Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mark 16:6

I've noted an emerging trend in Mormonism: Jesus Christ is hardly ever quoted anymore (or even referenced, except tangentially) in any LDS sermon or lesson on any given Sunday. He is almost never the focus. Many meetings -- in fact, many Sundays! -- pass without our Lord being quoted even once. This phenomena is so common I will no longer observe it, except to note, perhaps, its rare and dramatic obverse. 

Today in Sacrament Meeting several current and returned missionaries "testified" of...what would you guess? Jesus? Guess again! Missionary work! It was almost, it was exactly like...every "sales" meeting I've ever attended. The keynote speaker identified various strategies one may use to "invite" others to learn more about the Church, gospel, etc. 

He even introduced a novel approach to "sales": set a goal to have your "close" rejected a certain number of times. Then, if you "fail" to reach your goal -- because someone actually accepts your invitation! -- you won't be disappointed! If you do "reach" your "goal"...hey! You're still a "winner", see? 

How clever is that?!

Can you imagine anyone using this "strategy" in Rome or Carthage or Jerusalem in 50 AD? 

I can't. 

I think they just shared the marvel that is Jesus, who is called Christ, because their hearts were filled with love for Him and gratitude for what He did and had done for them.

That, somehow, was enough for them. That was their "missionary program".

It was "enough" for me when I was a kid. Christ was the only topic that drove my "missionary" efforts. I wanted people to know how great Jesus was, how I felt about Him, what He had done for me, what I had received from Him -- not how great our Church's Boy Scout program was or what a great lifestyle Mormons live. (Sadly, that changed as I became more "institutionalized" by the LDS Church. And I found the LDS "gospel message" less fulfilling.)

I was asked to give the opening prayer today in Sunday School, but when I explained to the good sister that I had just been excommunicated for apostasy, she recoiled in disbelief! 

"What? I don't believe it!"

"Yeah, I know! Tell me about it!" I shared her dismay and incredulity. I suggested she invite my wife to pray, but my wife declined, somehow failing to "feel the Spirit" at that particular moment, I wonder why.

The Sunday School lesson was on the tribes of Israel following the prophet (Joshua) to wage war, conquer and kill. (How perfectly that lesson dove-tails with what Rock Waterman is teaching today at Pure Mormonism!) 

Combined Priesthood/Relief Society was an hour-long presentation on how to get a college degree from BYU Idaho online by paying just $65 a credit hour! 

Isn't that wonderful?!

How to succeed in direct sales; how to wage and win a war of aggression (while tooting your own horn!); and how to buy a college degree through a Church-sponsored university -- these are the "stuff" of the "gospel of Jesus Christ" nowadays, don't you know?

I thank God that the LDS Church is true and that I'm the only one who is apostate!


My "unofficial" home teacher called today. I'm really grateful for him. The other ward members are taking this "ex-communication" very seriously! As in "no communication". You might be surprised how many, knowing of my "status", don't even look at me now -- as if I were one "diseased", perhaps even contagious. (I'm not sure if that's any different, however, then how they treated me before! I've always been a "cast-away" Mormon of sorts.) Certainly no one from my ward has called, emailed or come by since April 9, except for this "home teacher".

And a few friends in the stake: one, in particular, whose "child"-like love, faith and friendship will never be forgotten.

I know how Joseph Smith felt when he wrote: "[I was] persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me" (JS-H 1:28).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Dream

My wife had a vivid dream many weeks ago. (Long before “all hell” broke loose!)

In her dream she was at a strip mall (like Costco). She could see the surrounding hills with surreal “super” vision (“magnified” in her mind). She saw armies of black “ninjas” surrounding our valley and approaching on every side.

Our children were not with us, but protected. I stood in front of her, exposed to the enemy’s fire while she sought shelter. Strangely, I told her “I will not fight for you!”

Yet we both knew our children would be safe.

My wife saw that they were cared for by the family of Bishop Calvin Lowell, a righteous man who has loved our family very much.

In her mind, she saw the ninjas approaching. They swarmed the building where we were at – which was now the stake center (where I was excommunicated).

My wife hid while I walked in the open.

We did not understand her dream at all. It made no sense!

Until now.

Giving Up

You may be wondering how Thursday night’s meeting with the stake president went! (I’ve been asked.)

It never happened.

That was entirely my fault. After he wrote me to confirm our appointment, I wrote him back:
Thank you, President Morris, for agreeing to meet with me tomorrow night. I have written the following to indicate what I hope to accomplish by our meeting.

--Will Carter
In pressing the “send” button, I actually felt a glimmer of hope surge through my soul! At last I would get my questions answered! And, perhaps, even reconcile my differences with the stake president.

Oh, foolish man that I am!

He promptly wrote back:
Brother Carter,
I have read your blog. If what you hope to accomplish by meeting with me is a "battle", you will be disappointed. We have scheduled time to meet with you, but if you are coming to argue, debate and contend with us, you may want to make other plans. 
Matt Morris
That broke my heart. Clearly he does not know me. If he “read” my blog, he didn’t understand it.

Now, it is true, I am a fighter. “Back in the day” -- when I was a kid -- fights on the playground were commonplace (unlike today). I mean, I got in fights all the time. (“Every day” may be an exaggeration...but not by much!) Can you imagine? We had “knock-down”, “drag-out” fights in school! I broke my foot once blocking a kick from some guy. I nearly got knocked out once from a sucker punch while getting on the bus! And I “hand-delivered” more than a few bloody noses and black eyes. “Fighting”, amazingly, just seemed like a normal thing to do growing up! I don’t know why.

I never fight now. At least not physically. (Not that I couldn’t!) In college I threw a snowball at a fellow about 30 yards away and hit him square in the face. Splat! He got up and got ahold of me and, despite my apologies, punched me hard on the nose. There was blood. I didn’t hit him back, though. I was truly sorry.

Nowadays, when I think of all the harm I’ve done, the hurt I’ve caused, the mistakes I’ve made (and make), I try to tell myself “let it go”. When my kids break another piece of furniture or equipment…let it go. When that guy cuts me off on the freeway…let it go. When a student accuses me of having an excessively affectionate relationship with my mother….let it go.

I’ve still got a long ways to (let it) go.

I wrote back President Morris (what I considered to be) a “nasty” letter. In the interest of full disclosure, I include it here. (I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a “holier-than-thou” saint. I have my “Captain Moroni” moments.) Here it is:
No, I planned to "come in peace". I needed to know why I was excommunicated. But I have since received clarity on that matter.

I also wanted to know what you expected me to "do" to regain full fellowship with the saints. But after considering that question further, as well, I don't think there is anything more I can do. I can't (or won't) trust my "salvation" to mere men. And I can't "repent" of something I haven't done.

You have made me "an offender for a word, and [laid] a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn[ed] aside the just for a thing of naught" (2 Nephi 27:32). You have trifled with the souls of men, putting my family at great risk.

The Lord judge between you and me, Matt Morris. That you would excommunicate me as you did destroyed every confidence I had in your leadership. That loss of confidence could be restored. But I see no evidence that you are willing to do anything toward that end. That's unfortunate, because I considered you my friend.

I will do my best to raise my children in righteousness in the Church until you (or your kind) find a way, perhaps, to excommunicate them, too.

I hope that you will reconsider your ways, lest in a future day you be judged by the same standard you have used to judge (and condemn) me.

Thank you for scheduling time to meet with me; however, I will take you up on your offer and make other plans.

Was I mistaken to miss that meeting? I don’t think so. President Morris didn’t seem interested in answering my questions. And I didn’t really want to “fight”.

Friday morning, as I drove to work, I continued my prayer to the Lord for help. I needed help. I needed a new spirit. I needed humility. I needed forgiveness and a softened heart. I wanted peace and reconciliation. I wanted what is best for my family.

In that spirit, I wrote the stake president again:

Dear President Morris,

Perhaps I am mistaken. I would be most appreciative if you would identify for me the "false doctrine" you have alleged that I have “espoused and persisted in teaching...after having received counsel and correction by priesthood leaders.” This would be most helpful to me in either formulating any appeal I might make to the First Presidency or charting my future course of action, if repentance on my part is called for. (I have left my blog "active" to facilitate that process. Feel free to link to it and quote from it, as you deem necessary.)

I know you quoted from it at length during my disciplinary hearing. (My blog appeared to be the "basis" for your accusations against me.) What you did not do, however -- or what I did not hear you do -- is explain why you found fault with my writings. What, exactly, did I teach that was false? And upon what basis did you determine it to be so?

I would very much appreciate your citation of authoritative sources (including scriptural references, citations from Church history, the teachings of Joseph Smith, etc.) used to justify your determination that (whatever) I have taught (is) false doctrine. I am cognizant of the two scriptural verses you have cited thus far -- D&C 1:38 and 68:4 -- both of which suggest that that which is spoken, when one is moved upon by the Holy Ghost, is equivalent to scripture: the will, mind, word, and voice, even the power of God unto salvation. I couldn't agree more!

I would appreciate having the opportunity to review any other scriptures you have relied upon to justify excommunicating me, particularly those which are referential to the false doctrines and beliefs you claim I have "espoused and persisted in teaching". 

Neither of us is interested in a "scriptural debate". However the scriptures remain the authoritative basis for determining the truthfulness of all doctrine. True doctrine (given to the world) is supported by scripture. False doctrine is refutable by scripture. If I have taught anything false, it should be refutable by scripture, as Jesus demonstrated (ex: Matthew 4:3-4). If I have taught anything true -- but which shouldn't be given to the world -- it should not be supported by scripture, neither by published writings and histories of the Church, nor by the teachings of Joseph Smith.

Inasmuch as you have disciplined me for espousing and teaching false doctrine, I would be relieved to learn that (1) you erred in denouncing true teachings to be false, and/or (2) I erred in announcing false teachings to be true. Either condition is correctable. Perhaps we both made mistakes.

I hope each of us is humble and wise enough to admit our mistakes, if any, and do what is right.

With fondest regards,

--Will Carter

P.S. The continued faithfulness and activity in the Church of my wife and children are at stake. I pray you will take me up on my offer and provide the further "counsel and correction" I require. 
I leave it to the reader to discern the sincerity of that letter.

What would you expect to be the reply?

I was flabbergasted by his two-sentence response:
Dear Brother Carter:

We scheduled an appointment to meet with you on May 15, which you chose not to attend.  We invite you to meet with us so that we might again express our love and concern for you and your family, and counsel together about how you can be welcomed back into full fellowship with the Saints.

Matt Morris
I will admit, I spent the weekend in despair. The “icons” and "idols" of my faith – priesthood leaders, living “prophets”, the “true” church – were all crumbling before my eyes. It was not unlike the scene many beheld during the Lord’s “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem, what became His final week of mortal life. They watched Him die on the cross. Many presumed “all is lost”.

I have to admit, it has felt like that these past few weeks.

But I know how the story ends.

The Savior talked with two while they were in the way with Him along the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). These men were confused, even doubtful, and perhaps still somewhat ignorant of all that had transpired in Jerusalem regarding the passion of the Christ. But they were sincere in wanting to know more, and they welcomed Him, this Stranger, into their conversation and their company. Clearly these men were followers of Christ.

He rebuked them (meekly calling them “fools” and “slow”), but cheered their hearts, nonetheless, by instructing them from the scriptures:

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

This is how the Lord does things. He teaches the word. He uses the scriptures. And when He does, He teaches by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

The scriptures are powerful for guiding us to the right spirit and the right understanding. My beloved brother “Log” buoyed my spirits this morning by quoting scripture to me, like the angel who comforted Christ in His distress (see Luke 22:43):


Do you remember what it is to be filled with light and love and the joy of the Lord?  Oh, why not then cry mightily to be so again?  And from thence will you not know precisely what to do, whether in or out of the Church?  

To be filled with light and love and joy, you will have to relinquish your just claims against your leaders - they will not admit their errors, neither could they make you whole even if they would admit their errors, and as long as you retain their wrongs against you, you cannot all dwell with God in happiness.  Forgive them, for they know not what they do.  If you would be as Christ, you must take your beating without murmuring, as Christ did - "not as I will, but as thou wilt."
31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.

1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance—
2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;
3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels. 
4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

He continued:

And I'm going to clarify here - it's not that you necessarily have done anything wrong.  Remember Job.  You are being tried in all things - the challenge before you is to keep the commandments of the Lord - see 3 Nephi 12.

27 Break not my commandments for to save your lives; for whosoever will save his life in this world, shall lose it in the world to come.

Log added, perspicaciously: “And certainly don't break them for less.”

Take the blows. “Let it go.” Can you imagine the goodness of our God?! We frequently focus on the 39 lashes, or the punches to the face (when He was blindfolded!), or even His crucifixion.

But can you imagine the lifetime of blows He took without murmuring? Every insult. Every ridicule. Every misunderstanding. Every physical trespass. Every false accusation. Every undeserved blame. Every humiliation. Every argument He could have easily “won” – being more intelligent than us all – but which He quietly conceded.

He does not force His opinions or His will upon anyone. He is meek and lowly.

As Log wrote me last Friday: “The key to authority is to wield none.” Our Lord came as a servant, not a master. Those who would make themselves our masters are not His servants.

No wonder He is described as being so gentle and meek that He would not bend a bruised reed! (See Isaiah42:3.) Or quench the faintest ember! (See Matthew 12:20.) Knowing this, His making of a cord to overturn the tables of them that defiled His Father’s house seems all the more magnificent! In the defense of His Father, He roars as a lion!

I love our Savior. And in His honor, I’m putting down my sword. I’m dropping my weapons. In the words of Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce, “I will fight no more forever.”

And I will forgive, that I might be forgiven.

May we all dwell with God together in happiness!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dumb ways to "die"

I told you I was a "bad guy", right? I'm every bit as much in need of the Lord's saving grace as anyone else. The works of men are nothing compared to what He has done for us.

He is the only One who could save me from my sins. (Moroni 10:32-33.) 

King Benjamin taught:
Mosiah 4:29:
29 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
That got me thinking: What does it “take” to be a Latter-day Saint today?

  • Would being “worthy” to enter the temple – appropriately answering all of the temple recommend interview questions, meeting the Church’s highest standards of behavior and devotion -- qualify one?
  • Would not only believing these things, but doing them to the best of one’s ability -- even more faithfully than the “average” member (who doesn’t even come to Church!) -- qualify one as a Latter-day Saint? For example, if one were to be baptized by immersion in water, by one having authority; receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (again, by one having authority and/or power to confer this gift), and thus be cleansed of one’s sins by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, so that one no longer desired to do wrong and was able to prophesy and manifest spiritual gifts; be ordained to the priesthood (both Aaronic and Melchizedek) and thereafter testify to beholding visions of angels and God, as promised by the scriptures; serve a full-time, honorable mission; cast out devils and heal the sick by faith in Christ; be sealed to a spouse in the temple; raise (if possible) a righteous posterity in the Church; fulfill every Church calling to the best of one’s ability (even if inadequately and imperfectly); pay a generous fast offering and give to the needy; keep and use a current temple recommend…if one were to believe and do all this, in additional to everything else indicated above, would one then be a Latter-day Saint?
Apparently not.

It would appear that, despite all this, there are numerous ways one can still “fail” to be a Latter-day Saint.

In my conversations with my bishop and stake president (before I was excommunicated), they repeatedly asked me if I “sustained Thomas S. Monson and the other General Authorities as ‘prophets, seers, and revelators’”. I told them I did.

For some reason, they didn’t believe me.

“But is Thomas S. Monson a prophet, seer and revelator?” they asked again.

I confessed that I hardly understood their question.

“If I answer you again, in a different way, will you then believe me? Are you asking if I know of any prophecy, vision or revelation that Elder Monson has spoken, seen or revealed? No, I do not. Do you know of any?"

They were surprised by my question, but they admitted that they didn’t know of any, either.

“Do you know of any ‘prophet, seer, or revelator’ who has never prophesied, ‘seen’ or revealed?” I asked.

They obviously didn't like this line of questioning! But they confessed that they couldn’t think of any examples, off hand.

“Even so, if the Lord were to speak to the Church today, I do not doubt that He would speak through the President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson”, I said.

One would think that would be sufficient to warrant a “vote of confidence” from them. But no!

“Do you have a testimony that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet, Seer and Revelator and the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?” they asked me, a third time.

I confessed I didn’t know what “keys” the President of the Church holds or what he is supposed to hold. I invited the bishop to explain it all to me, but he declined.

“Anyway, you don’t have to have a ‘testimony’ of the President of the Church to be a member of the Church or to get a temple recommend”, I said. “You just need to ‘support and sustain’ him in his calling.”[1]

They were shocked by this assertion and quickly told me I was wrong. They hurriedly re-read their temple recommend questions, wondering how on earth I came to that conclusion. But after making the effort, they couldn’t refute my statement.

I then testified that it was my belief that Elder Monson is fully authorized and empowered to fulfill all the duties of the President of the LDS Church, as “prophet, seer and revelator”, and the only one so authorized and empowered. On top of that I said I thought he was a nice guy.

“Of course, my calling him a ‘prophet’ doesn’t make him a prophet. Only God can do that”, I said. “I haven’t received any ‘revelation’ about Elder Monson, if that’s what you mean.”

“Well, then, maybe you ought to get that revelation”, President Morris said. (That sounded almost like a threat!)

Apparently one must now have a "testimony" of the President of the Church in order to be a Latter-day Saint!

What they were really asking (I suppose, without being so blunt) was if I swore unquestioning allegiance to the operations and leadership of the Church. Would I ever even pause to ask “Is this right?” or “Is he telling the truth?” Anything less than unequivocal submission to The Powers That Be, in any respect, they considered apostasy -- Christ’s admonition to “beware of false prophets” (Matthew 7:15) not withstanding.

Having got what they "needed", apparently, they changed the subject to Church history.

“Do you believe the ‘fullness of the priesthood’ was taken from the Church in the 1840s?”

Did the Church even have the fullness of the priesthood in the 1840s? (Doctrine and Covenants 124:28.) What’s the fullness of the priesthood? I had an idea. I told them mine. The fullness of the priesthood is to have everything necessary to come into God's presence. (Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-25.) But I didn't know for certain what the Saints had lost, if anything, at Nauvoo.

“I don’t know,” I confessed. “But the scriptures say that the saints would be “moved out of their place” if they disobeyed…and they were, indeed, moved out of Nauvoo…and their partially-completed temple was destroyed!”

“They finished it. It was dedicated”, the bishop interjected, matter-of-factly.

“Well, they may have dedicated it – but the temple was never finished. They deemed it 'finished'. After the Saints were driven out of Nauvoo, some sneaked back in to get the job done. The upper floors were not completed. (They hung curtains for walls.) The roof, damaged by an earlier fire, was also not fully repaired. After the temple was dedicated, rather than being 'accepted' of the Lord -- with divine manifestations, as with the Kirtland temple -- the Nauvoo temple was almost immediately destroyed, first by fire, then by a tornado, which left not one stone upon another. That doesn’t sound like a ‘holy place’, accepted by the Lord”, I told them.

Apparently, one must also now have a “testimony” of Church history to be a Latter-day Saint! A testimony that doesn’t acknowledge or “interpret” historical facts in any way that casts shadows or doubts upon those whom the Lord said would be “rejected as a church, with their dead” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:32) or “moved out of their place” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:45, 71) if they did not obey Him. The saints actually being "moved out of their place" didn't seem to have any bearing on the argument, according to these brethren.

Not having a “testimony” of Church “inerrancy” is now also regarded as a “sure sign” of apostasy, apparently.


It seems the more one learns about the LDS Church, the more one is likely to either leave it or get kicked out by it. I am not among the former group. I would have never left the Church unless my life (or my family’s lives) were threatened by it or if unrighteousness within it became so pervasive that the Church no longer fulfilled its divine mission. Then I would leave it, happily.

But that point has not arrived (yet). The Church is (or can be) a great place to “come unto Christ” -- if you don’t get distracted by everything else!

I have no control over the latter scenario. Being "cast out" is already my fate. Despite complying with all of the above, “there are divers ways and means” to get kicked out of the LDS Church, “even so many that I cannot number them”.

I have shown you two or three.

[1] Hadn’t I always done that? I mean, didn’t I drag my family around town just a few years ago, posting signs in my old neighborhood, going door to door, making “friends” in support of Prop 8? I think one guy we met actually wanted to kill us! I was almost sorry I brought my children along. [2014 May 15]

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bring your scriptures

I have an appointment with President Morris Thursday (at 7:45 pm). I’m grateful he granted my request to meet with him, since I have not been particularly “gracious” toward the presiding high priest of late. Watching my family potentially get “mowed down” spiritually while standing by and doing nothing is not something I can countenance.

I have “engaged” the stake president in a polite “battle” of sorts – a “battle” he brought on by instigating this action. I spoke up first, it’s true. But it is written:

DC 88:81-83:
 81 …it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
 82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.
 83 He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.

That well sums up my entire motivation. I want all mankind – including myself – to come unto Christ and not be forsaken. Toward that end I have done my best to raise the "warning" voice.

Inasmuch as President Morris believes I have erred, I expect him to come to our meeting bearing “the whole armor of God” (see Ephesians 6:11-17). In this case, I hope he arrives with “the gospel of peace” and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. I will strive to do the same.

At that meeting, I’m going to ask him again to tell me why I was excommunicated. If he repeats the only answer I’ve received thus far (“You have espoused and persisted in teaching false doctrine after having received counsel and correction by priesthood leaders”), I will politely ask him to repeat his previous “counsel and correction”, this time referring to the scriptures to identify what “false doctrine” I have “espoused and taught” to justify whatever “counsel and correction” he has given. (I’m not even clear on what he has asked me to do…other than to read The Miracle of Forgiveness and stop paying tithing and what not.)

If ever anyone had the right to argue doctrine, based on his word alone, Jesus did. Yet when challenged -- even by the devil -- the Son of God argued from the scriptures. Whenever possible, He backed up His teachings with scripture, saying “It is written…” (see Matthew 4:4, 7; 21:13; 26:31). Even when He revealed new doctrine, thereby contradicting former prophetic utterances, He said: “It is written…” or “It hath been said...” followed by “But I say unto you…” (see Matthew 5:31-32).

How, then, were the people expected to know the truth? How were they to know these new teachings were, in fact, “scripture”, the inspired word of God? Especially since they contradicted the already established word of God?

They were given to know by the same means all scripture is inspired, revealed, recognized and interpreted: “by the power of the Holy Ghost” (see Moroni 10:5; 2 Peter 1:21).

Heretofore the only scripture I recall ever hearing any LDS leader cite while denouncing my beliefs or teachings is Doctrine and Covenants 1:38: “…whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same”. What do they who cite this scripture imply? That anything they say is equivalent to God’s word? Or (as I infer) that only the inspired things they say are the word of God?

And what have they said to me other than “You’re wrong”?

That may, indeed, be inspired “counsel and correction”. (And, if it is, I'm willing to repent.)

But, if you don't mind, I’d like to see the scriptures first.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My testimony

I’m not a scientist, but I have a scientific bent. I poke and prod and push things – to see what happens. I’ve nearly killed myself several times doing that. I’ve driven at high speeds up and down winding mountain roads. I’ve jumped from an airplane at 12,500 feet. I’ve put a garden hose in my mouth and turned it on full blast! I’ve even stuck my head in the mouth of a full-grown barracuda!

Yeah, I’ve done some stupid things.

But my students say I have great stories! And I do! Because I’ve learned a lot. (Note: never stick your head in the mouth of an angry barracuda!)

So what am I doing now with the LDS Church? Why am I poking and prodding and pushing?

Well, like I said before, the Church is a “box” and I want to find out what’s “in” it. (It’s good to “take inventory” from time to time, to see what you’ve really got.) Does the box still hold anything useful for me and my family? Maybe to share with others? Have I added anything of value to the box? Or have I tossed trash into it? Does it hold useful tools? Or mere memorabilia?

Is there any room left in the box for me (to add something else in the future)?

I thought “Let’s pick it up and see! Let’s shake it a little! Does anything come loose, roll around or fall out? Does everything still fit in the box? Does everything work?”

I wanted to know.

When I first got the box, I noticed that it wasn’t mine. (Not all of it, at least.) It clearly said on the outside: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. So it was His Church. He owned it, perhaps in conjunction with the Saints. That was fine with me. Since I was a Latter-day Saint, I imagined I owned a small part of the box, too. (A very small part, maybe 1/15 millioneth!) So each month, I put 10% of my income in the box. Over time, a lot of my life (and money!) went into that box!

Looking more closely, however, after feeding the box for several decades, I noticed someone else had quietly stuck his own name on the box. Fifteen others, in fact, had placed their labels over the name of that first guy -- the one who had assembled the box! -- and his name, like the Owner’s, was written in blood! That first pasted-on label was very old. I could barely read it: “Brigham Young, trustee-in-trust”. But the last label was very easy to read: “Sole Property of Thomas S. Monson, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150”.

Clearly someone thought I didn’t own this box at all! Not even a little bit!

Since my original focus was not on who owned the box, but on what was inside, I opened it to find out. There I discovered layers and layers of “stuff”. There was newer, mostly “synthetic” bubble wrap on top of older, discarded padding. (There was even a few old “bubbles” that hadn't yet been “popped”!) There were lots of cornstarch peanuts, but these hardly served any purpose (from what I could tell) and most just got in the way, obstructing my view.

Underneath, I could see there were “heavier” things -- the “good” stuff -- so I started digging…until I got to the bottom of it.

What I found was extraordinary…a testimony! It was dated November 19, 1977. (That’s when I first opened the box!) The testimony was written down, very elaborately, and filled with details about Jesus Christ, His love for mankind, and His gifts to all of us. There was mention, too, of modern prophets – especially the one who had been killed – and a book or two he translated. That little card said “This testimony is true and faithful” and it was personally signed: “With love to you, my son. -- Jesus.”

I was so happy to find that testimony! I took it out and shared it with all of my friends and family. (Most weren’t very receptive...or appreciative.) But I cherished it, nonetheless.

I looked inside the box for anything else I could use. And I found it! The Book of Mormon! With a few other wonderful books as well! That first book had been badly abused and long neglected. People had tried, since before it was published, to destroy it and, later, to rip it apart! But I found it amazingly truthful and helpful. Clearly, Jesus wanted me to have it! That’s why He put it in the box! I was so grateful. As my family and I read those books together – and applied their principles to our lives – we were enormously blessed. (We’ve been using the “online” versions lately. More convenient!)

Wasn’t there something else in the box? I heard cornstarch peanuts possessed “priesthood power”, but I didn’t see much evidence of that now, though I remembered seeing it before. (Maybe someone took it out and didn’t put it back?) Had the peanuts “gone stale”? I squeezed and poked the bubble wrap, too. It made loud noise…which startled me, at first…but soon I learned it was just air. There was nothing to it.

I had heard the box, originally, was filled with faith and knowledge! But by the time I got it, it held mostly empty wrappers.

I resolved to look around and see if I could find more faith, knowledge, and priesthood power hiding somewhere. I dug deeper into the box, and inadvertently upset some peanuts and popped a few more bubbles. I told others about what I was doing.

Then a knock came at my door. Two guys wearing white shirts – both friends of mine – handed me a letter from the manager of the local box distribution center. The letter suggested that the owner wanted his box back.

 “Which owner?” I asked. “The one who signed His name in blood? Or the one whose name is on the label from Salt Lake City?”

They couldn’t answer my question. And I didn’t wait for their answer.

They could have their box back -- bubble wrap, peanuts and all.

I still have that testimony, signed by Jesus. And I’m going to keep it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Going Dark

For 5-1/2 years (as of today) I've maintained this blog. It has been my "soap box", used to proclaim those "important" truths I've thought the world should know.
I've learned the world is not all that important. Coming unto Christ is. If my thoughts, words and works prevent me -- or anyone else -- from coming unto Christ, I need to stop (whatever I'm doing) and do something else. 
I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for almost four decades. I have a beautiful, faithful wife, seven attractive, talented, spiritual children (they really do take after their mother!) and a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
To sum it up, I've really do "have it all".
More than that, my cup overfloweth! I'm lucky enough to have had experiences with Deity by which I have learned that Joseph Smith fulfilled a prophetic role and that the Book of Mormon is absolutely true. In fact, I am assured it is "the most correct of any book on earth" to bring us "closer to God", if its principles are applied. 
How close? That's what I'm aiming to find out. 
I'm willing to do anything God asks of me in order to come unto Him. I offer to make any sacrifice He requires and obey any commandment He gives me. (If that frightens you, take it up with Abraham! It kinda frightens me, too!) 
I imagine it was an easy thing for Abraham to say "I'll do anything you ask, Lord"...until he heard what God wanted him to do.
I know the Lord cannot lead me astray. He is a God of truth and right and there is no darkness in Him. He does not lie. He keeps His promises. I want to see what promises I can obtain from Him. I want to see what promises He will ask me to keep in return.  
Everything. (Wrap your mind around that.)
"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith.)
I want to remain a member of the LDS Church. I would have remained a member all my life. I thought I was contributing to the building up of the kingdom of God on earth and the establishment of Zion. (I know my wife and children certainly are!)
I have a chance -- one chance -- to get this right. If my appeal to the First Presidency of the Church is successful, I will be "restored" to "full fellowship" with the saints and thereby be able to join with my family in the temple, baptize my four youngest children, ordain my sons to the priesthood, and stand as a reflector of God's light to the world, upholding the values and mission of the Church I have loved and served for most of my life. 
In the end, my goal is to follow Christ. I believe I can best do that as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- not as an emissary for His Church, but as a servant of the Lord Himself
If this blog -- and all that it contains, in the viewpoint of the presiding leaders of the Church -- detracts from that effort, then I wish to take it down. I am going to take it down, preemptively, to show my sincerity. Zion is of "one heart" and "one mind". Unless and until I am forced to do otherwise, I will join with the chorus of saints in striving to "sing" with one "voice". 
In turning this blog off, I do not repudiate anything I've written here (unless I already have!) for I have only told the truth as I understand it. Others have said it much better that I have, anyway. I've said my piece and that is enough. I've made some big "sacrifices" in doing so.
Now I'm making another sacrifice, in the interest of reconciliation, social harmony and good will. 
I can still answer all of the temple recommend interview questions appropriately. Given the chance to do so (again), I will support and sustain the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I do not wish to do anything to "move them out of their place" or to detract from their efforts to bring all mankind unto Christ. I appreciate them, pray for them, and wish them success in their efforts. 
If you hear from me again on this blog, it will be because I have "failed" to make that reconciliation. It will mean that I have not been deemed "worthy" or "valuable" enough by LDS Church leaders for them to keep me in the fold. It will mean that the Lord's kingdom is not yet of this world (for me, at least). 
I hope I'm wrong and that they are right.
I hope you never hear from me again.


I was going to post that under the title "Going Dark" and close this blog today.

Then I went back and re-read everything I have written since May, 2013. 

It's not perfect. It's not even "good". But it's true.

My wife sang in a Church play Saturday night. (She looks and sounds like an angel.) Those who were in attendance got to hear her (and 11 other women) sing about 10 virgins -- 5 foolish, 5 wise. My wife was one of the "foolish" ones. Her sin, according to the play, was that she spent all of her time doing necessary chores for others, cleaning this and washing that. (As a mother of 7, she knows that role pretty well!) In the play, she never meets the Bridegroom. She never makes it to heaven. She is condemned. (More about that in another post!)

But before that "condemnation" occurred on stage, the audience was "condemned" to endure 20 minutes of the presiding high priest extolling the virtues and honors of men! He praised this person and congratulated that person -- after the previous "speaker" had already spent nearly half an hour doing the same! Virtually everyone associated with this play was praised for their "good work". Thus, those who came to see and hear a one-hour play about Christ got to experience a two-hour play, much of it devoted to praising men (and, in this case, women). Christ, somehow, got "lost" in all that.

This is a common occurrence in the LDS Church. Not a public event goes by but what some celebrity, politician, "VIP" or other "dignitary" is praised for their "good work"...sometimes for just showing up!

My wife had brought her non-Mormon mother and sister to see this play. They were "put off" by all the back-slapping and self-congratulation. I am likewise disgusted every year by all the same "self-praise" done during the stake's Christmas concert. It can be (and has been) an orgy of self-adulation, with roses and standing ovations, detracting (most ironically and offensively) from celebrating the birth of the Man of Holiness, who, with our lips, we pretend to worship above ourselves.

Why do (did) I belong to such an unChristian cult? Why do I keep bringing my family there?

One reason only: because the Book of Mormon is true. What other church will support that truth? What other church has a (at least sentimental) connection with Joseph Smith? What other church believes in the divine restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

I know of no church fit for my family on this earth. Not even this one.

So we went to Church on Sunday and to sacrament meeting. Jesus Christ was not mentioned once -- not a single time -- except as a closing remark ("I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen") at the end of every "talk" and, of course, He was referred to (briefly) during the sacramental prayers. Good for us! We "remembered" Him! Yea!

Then I went to Sunday School. Once again, Christ was not mentioned a single time...except as a referent during opening and closing prayers.

I did not go to priesthood. (I'm sure I "missed" something!) Instead I spent the entire time watching my infant daughter, Adel, and talking with a brother who attended my excommunication. When I saw him, I told him, flat out, stone-faced cold:

"I don't feel like coming to Church anymore."

He was genuinely worried about that. He didn't want to see me excommunicated and didn't know why it happened.

We talked about it. I asked him why I was excommunicated. I'll try to summarize what he said:

"I've sat in maybe 20 disciplinary hearings over the years. Yours was unusual. I have never seen one done like that before...." He struggled to describe how it was different. It was long. (Four hours. Late at night.) The stake president spent nearly two hours just laying out the "charges" -- which were never really  well defined. No one was even able to recite them fully...or write them down!

"You have a really good case for getting this overturned completely" he encouraged me.


"Well, when you were out of the room, the stake president did something I've never seen him do. He polled each member of the high council individually, asking each one what he thought. (Usually he just asks for comments generally. Some men have nothing to say and say nothing. But he asked each to give his opinion and they did.) That was unusual. And, from what I remember, not one of them indicated that they thought you should be excommunicated."


"And it was all very confusing. That's normally not what happens."

"So what did I teach that was false?"

"You believe that Jesus must appear to you personally in order for you to be saved."

"I do?"

"Don't you?"

"I never said that. When did I ever say that?"

"Well, they thought you said that. You see! That's why you need to appeal! It wasn't very clear."

"But they excommunicated me anyway! Even though it "wasn't very clear"! How could they trivialize my family so? How could they trifle with the souls of men like that! Don't they see the harm they've done to me?"

"Oh, they see. They expressed their concern about the impact this would have on you and your family."

I didn't really try to hide my sarcasm or disgust. "What else did I teach that was wrong?"

"You believe that the Church is neglecting to teach other important doctrines."

"So? Is that 'false doctrine' now? To believe and teach that there is more 'important' stuff to learn?"

"You believe the Church might be going astray."

"And that gets you excommunicated?"

"Like I said, you need to appeal."

I asked if I could use him as a reference, even get a note to send with my appeal, and he (courageously) agreed. I also asked if he would help me get an interview right away with the stake president -- who hasn't spoken with me or my family since my excommunication.

Except for one brother (and son) -- who visited our house as "pseudo" home teachers two Sundays ago -- no one in my ward has visited or contacted me...even though many know.

Saturday night as the presiding high priest and his wife greeted others, congratulating them, they walked right past my wife without saying a word to her.

So, perhaps, you now understand my comment: "I don't want to come to Church anymore."

I roped one more high priest from the hall into a classroom after Church yesterday and asked him point-blank: "Can you tell me in one or two sentences why I was excommunicated?" 

"Sure", he said. He was there. He ought to know.

His answer was a little longer than one or two sentences, but I'll try to capture his "drift":

"I believe the Church is a divine institution that can never do wrong. God has given us prophets to lead us and He has promised us they will never lead us astray. Before any leader would do so, God would remove him, we've been told, so we can never be deceived if we just follow the Brethren. You don't believe that. You think the Church can and will go astray. That is false doctrine."

I had to admire his simple faith, but I rejected his foolish logic.

"Where is it written that the leaders of the Church can never lead us astray?"

"It's been prophesied."

"When? By which prophet? Who?" I asked.

"I...I...don't really know."

"Then why do you believe it? Where is it written in scripture that the leaders of the Church cannot fall or fail, that they cannot lead us astray?"

"I'm not sure."

"So the prophets have said 'We can never lead you astray' and you believe that because...because they said so? You don't see a problem with that?"

This wasn't even circular reasoning! It was just a point in space. A naked assertion! 

"Uh, how about '...whether by mine own voice of the voice of my servants, it is the same.'?" he said. "The scriptures say our leaders' words are the words of God."

"Not everything they say, surely! They make mistakes!"

"How would you know which is inspired and which isn't?" he asked

"No scripture is of private interpretation", I said. "You'll know by the witness of the Holy Ghost". (I was referring to 2 Peter 1:20-21.)

"But what if my Holy Ghost is telling me something different than your Holy Ghost is telling you?" he asked.

That does present a problem. Getting the Holy Ghost is essential to receiving revelation. That's why Nephi stressed it so much. (See 2 Nephi 31-32.) We weren't going to see eye-to-eye on that (yet), so I changed tactics. I'd go back to basic principles.

"You don't know which of the prophets said it, and it isn't in our scriptures, but  you still believe it: that the Church can't lead us astray."


Like I said, I admired his faith.

"Then why didn't God love all those other dispensations that failed in the past? Why didn't He just raise up leaders who would never lead those people astray? Didn't He love them, too, just as much as He loves us? Why did their churches fail and ours can't?"

"Because it has been prophesied that this dispensation cannot fail. It's the last dispensation."

That was another twisted "myth" of Mormonism, interpreting the "last" to mean the last (rather than the latest). But I wasn't going to win that point either.

"So you believe we cannot be lead astray by a prophet because a prophet said so?"

"Yes. I follow the Brethren. I believe in them. I trust them. Even to build a mall to make downtown Salt Lake City look attractive. You don't trust them. That's why you were excommunicated."

At least he answered my question.

I see in this man all the qualities of an LDS leader! He even has his priorities straight!

I realized how utterly hopeless it was to argue with him. He was a "Brethrenite". A follower of the Brethren. A follower of men. He perfectly trusted in the power of the Church -- in the power of men -- to "carry" him and his family "home" to God. All he had to do was obey them. To him, their words -- whatever they are, so long as they do not "offend" his "Holy Ghost" sensibilities -- are equivalent to the words of God Himself. He doesn't even need the Holy Ghost! The Brethren will never lead him astray.

The Lord has a special place in the telestial kingdom for those who believe such things. (DC 76:98-101.) I hope this brother "wakes up" before it's too late! Satan thus binds souls with supple cords and carefully leads the followers of prophets to hell. 

Let us Read 2 Nephi 28 together. It's long, but worth the effort:

3 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord
According to Nephi, a church "built up, and not unto the Lord" will say they alone have salvation, authority, etc. What does the LDS Church claim again? That they are "the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth"? (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30.) 

However, not even Jesus claimed this prerogative on behalf of His disciples:
Luke 9:50:
49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
A church claiming authoritative "exclusivity" is a potential bastion of false prophets. (False prophets hate competition!)
4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.
I have been ordained to the priesthood. Yet other "priests" in our stake debate with me over points of doctrine, telling me by their learning that I teach "false doctrine"; yet they admit that they have never received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, "which giveth utterance", by which one may "speak with the tongue of angels". They "deny the Holy Ghost".
Truly Nephi saw our day (and Church).
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
This amazing scripture summarizes so perfectly the arguments and effects of what I am saying. They deny the power of God! "God no longer does His work! Hear ye our precept from the pulpit and from Temple Square! We bear witness of Him, the Redeemer, and proclaim that He has done His work! But now He has given His power unto us."
6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.
If "they", meaning someone like me, shall say they have done a miracle or have seen God, they, meaning those among the unbelieving, shall say: "We don't believe you. Joseph Smith" they say, "did all that stuff before. But it's done now. It's over. Now we are just 'waiting faithfully' for the Lord to return. We have had 'miracles' enough to prove our faith. We shall not tempt God by asking for more."

Latter-day Saints don't deny miracles. They just don't believe in them anymore. They don't believe miracles can, or should, happen to them. Miracles were for those other guys, in olden days. Now we rely upon the power of men.
7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.
There are others who are worldly, who deny God altogether, and have no fear.
8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
And there shall be those who "believe" in God, but are worldly, nonetheless, who deceive themselves into thinking perfect repentance is unnecessary. Perhaps being "saved by grace" also negates repentance for them.
9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

These people are proud. They do many things in secret. (That's especially true of the wicked, those who, like me, in days past, were "trapped" in sinful habits.) They seek to "hide their counsels" -- what they tell themselves and what they allow themselves and others to think and do -- and they do their works "in the dark". Lots of wickedness happens in the dark.

10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
"Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?" (Acts 7:52.)
11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted. 
Who? Surely not all the churches! No, it says "all". Including the Latter-day Saints, apparently.

12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.
They say "We are the Lord's Only True Church On The Face Of The Earth! We will never fail or go astray! We cannot be corrupted!"
13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.
There are women in my ward who own 200 pairs of shoes. The clothes in their closets cost more than my cars! Churches who "rob the poor" also build multi-billion dollar shopping malls, so they can shop at Tiffany's. More than all the money they spend on the poor -- many times more! -- they spend on themselves! Tithing money! (Or at least the proceeds of interest from tithing money. Does not that belong to the Lord, too?) They wear the finest of clothes. (I've seen men sit on the stand in Church, week after week, wearing tuxedoes!) They even make the poorest among them do without to build their "fine sanctuaries", to pay for chapels and temples, and then they cast out of those same sanctuaries the meek and poor of heart who call them on it!
14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astraysave it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.
There's that "all" word again! The "whoredoms" spoken of here refer not to sexual sin (though there is certainly much of that!), but following after "false gods", failing to worship the Lord Jesus Christ, failing to put Him above all else. Even those who are not inclined to idolatry still err, being lead by those who know no better.
15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!
16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.
Have you even read the arguments they used against me? How trivial! Did I teach anything that was not good? Did I not teach that we should receive the Holy Ghost and come unto Christ? And yet they reviled against that, saying it was "unnecessary"! Of no worth!
17 But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.
18 But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.
This great "collective" of churches and "non"-churches -- all who refuse to repent and come unto Christ -- shall share this fate.
19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;
No matter what, it is imperative that we do not get mad! For contention is of the devil. (3 Nephi 11:29.)
20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
The Latter-day Saints are just beginning this process. The world is already well on its way. So what of the Latter-day Saints now? Where are they today?
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
Only Latter-day Saints talk of "Zion". Only Latter-day Saints sing "All is well! All is well!" They think that some "organization" can carry them "home" to God. There is no need to come, individually, to Christ, they say. "The Redeemer, He hath done His work and has given His power unto men! Come receive our ordinances and be saved", they announce. One must simply receive the ordinances and do "good works" and he shall in no wise lose his reward. 

Thus the devil "cheateth" their souls. It is a very clever trick. For they never come unto Christ.
22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none —and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. 
Again, Nephi sees the fate of those who reject religion and morality altogether.
23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
But let's return to the "faithful" Latter-day Saints, to those who speak of Zion.
24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! 
25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! 
26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! 
27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! 
28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall
29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

These verses so clearly define the Latter-day Saints today, they require no further interpretation.
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
There are those who will interpose themselves between God and man, who claim to speak on His behalf. But Nephi warned, in chapters to follow (2 Nephi 31-32) that one must receive the Holy Ghost! And get the word of God directly from God, for himself!
31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Latter-day Saints, by and large, deny (or ignore) the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. They "reject" His power. They have "dwindled" in unbelief. He has become merely a "burning bosom" that "waters" their (canned) "testimonies" once each month (if that).
32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts."
We (Latter-day Saints) are "the Gentiles". Our (Latter-day Saint) church is the "Gentile" church spoken of. (DC 109:60.) These prophesies of Nephi pertain not to "others" who will never read these words, but they pertain unto us, the ones to whom His words were intended to be given.

This is our destiny.


I was going to take down my blog preemptively, as a gesture of good faith, while making my appeal. I was going to "drop my guard" and "fold my hand" and petition The Powers That Be for "redress of grievances".

But I can't do that now. For one, I no longer "support and sustain" the leaders of the Church. (Some of them -- maybe even all of them at the highest levels -- are followers of men.) That's why I was excommunicated. The men at the bottom...they don't even know why they excommunicated me. They can't even articulate the reasons. They just do what they're told to do. And they were told what to do.

Those who follow the Holy Ghost, not the teachings of men, would not have excommunicated me.

I'm going to leave my blog "up". If I'm wrong, let those in charge show me where I am mistaken. I will change it. I will edit in BOLD BLOCK LETTERS each and every "false doctrine" I have taught. I will denounce it and retract it. And I will leave it up that all may know and learn that I am meek and lowly in heart. I will insure that "the bandage must be as big as the wound". 

Now let the Brethren do their part and show me the error of my ways, or otherwise exonerate me.

I am going to write my appeal. If they restore me to full fellowship immediately, my faith in them will be restored in full. If they correct me, using scripture and the Holy Ghost, I will stand corrected. (They must show me why I'm wrong, not just say "You have spoken evil against the Lord's anointed.") Jesus said He would forgive all manner of sin and blasphemy, even against Himself. (Matthew 12:31.) If Jesus could take the heat, so can the Brethren.

I can forgive (and live with) all that has transpired in the past, good and bad, for I have charity, both for myself and for all others. I do not believe the Church is irreparably "broken". I do not reject the Latter-day Saints. I love them. And I am willing to stick with them, for good and bad. I would die for them.

I will leave it to the leaders of the Church to determine if I am "irredeemable and "expendable", or not. The Lord has shown me that I am not. So if these Brethren condemn me, I will know who they are by what they do. I will let them prove themselves.

God bless them.