Monday, October 20, 2014

Telestial Church

Last night in the foyer of the LDS stake center I spoke with a high priest -- the only person "foolish" enough (from the Church leadership's standpoint) to "engage" me in doctrinal discussion (and I'm grateful he was willing!) since no one has spoken with me (about LDS doctrine) since my excommunication six months ago...not my former bishop, not my former stake president, not my former elders quorum president, not even my former hometeacher (as if I ever had one!)...just this guy -- who told me six months ago that I must learn to "bow and kneel to the scepter of their authority". He asked me, sincerely, what it would take to "get me back" in the Church. 

I told him, flatly, "I'm never coming back. What would I 'come back' to?"

To rejoin the Church I would need to "repent". And what would I repent of? (I held a valid, current temple recommend at the time of my excommunication.)

[I want to point out here -- again -- that I am not a "righteous" man. I stumble and fall almost instantly. No sooner do I offer a prayer to God, pledging to unfailingly do His will, then one or more of my children does something that displeases me, disobeys me or destroys something -- in other words, they do unto me what I, undoubtedly, do unto God! -- and I lose my temper, demonstrate selfishness, and what have you. While I am free of gross sins and temptations, I am an utter fool and novice when it comes to living by celestial law. I'm working on it. And in every temple recommend interview I ever had I confessed my utter "unworthiness". I am no "saint". Nevertheless, I look forward to the day when the Lord shall say to me: "Thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee." Anyway, back to my story....]

"Well, I don't know why they excommunicated you," he said. "I wasn't there."

Perhaps by divine design, a man who was there joined us. I stood and greeted him warmly. (I love that man!) He sat nearby, mutely attending to our conversation. 

"Bro. [So-and-so] was there," I said, pointing to the man. "He knows why they excommunicated me. That's what's so amazing about it." I described to my friend the confusion evident at that hearing. I said, "This man" (sitting quietly nearby) "heard one high priest ask me 'Do you believe that Jesus saves us personally?' to which I responded 'Absolutely!' and he (the inquisitor) replied, 'That's false doctrine!' And no matter how many times I said 'I support and sustain the Brethren', they would not believe me!" This man's silence was deafening affirmation to the truthfulness of my words.

This exposition, however, seemed to have no effect upon my friend's opinion of the LDS Church. 

"But don't you need the priesthood?" the high priest asked.

"What is priesthood?" I responded. "Doctrine and Covenants 84 says that a man must have priesthood to behold the face of God. Did Joseph Smith 'have the priesthood' when he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ as a 14-year-old boy? Was he ordained to the priesthood by the laying on of hands before his first vision? The priesthood predates the LDS Church!" I said.

My friend didn't understand I still have priesthood. We spoke about the perdurability of the Aaronic or "lesser" priesthood, that even wicked priests -- like the sons of Eli, or Caiaphas -- sit in Moses' seat and the ordinances they perform are yet valid, whereas the Holy Priesthood -- which we call Melchizedek or "higher" priesthood -- is utterly dependent upon righteousness for its possession and exercise. Without righteousness, said priesthood, even if conferred, is void. (See Doctrine and Covenants 121:36-42.)

Members of the LDS Church today, even "high priests", are amazingly ignorant of the most basic tenets of the gospel. (A beloved stake president I knew once confessed that he had not even read the Book of Mormon all the way through before he was ordained to be stake president! These are the men we are "required" to follow in all things as if their words are the words of God Himself?) People simply don't understand Doctrine and Covenants 64:8:

4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.
I invited my friend to read 77 Truths. (I presented him a copy.) It's an astounding volume of inspired gospel insight and LDS utterances, beckoning men and women to come unto Christ in the flesh. My friend even spent a few minutes perusing several of its pages and concluded that it was "all true" (as much as he had read). But he said he wouldn't be inclined to read it or get a copy (even if it were freely given to him) because it wasn't published or endorsed by the LDS Church. Coincidently, I offered the same deal to several people at church yesterday, but none were interested in reading what one friend called my "anti-Mormon" book. But I digress (again), pondering the words of Nephi....

"I am free to exercise any priesthood I have as God directs," I told my friend. "I'm just not permitted to do anything in the LDS Church anymore. All they've done to me is take my name off their membership rolls and limit my activity in the Church. I can no longer go into their temples -- temples I helped pay for and erect, by the way. It's all very 'Zoramitish'."

I explained to my friend how Heber J. Grant, as LDS Church president, so confounded "priesthood authority" and "Church offices" during his administration that he ended the practice of ordaining men to the priesthood and merely called and set them apart to their respective offices in the Church, leading to much confusion. (This practice was later "undone" by a subsequent administration.) Apparently, not even the "key holder" -- the President of the LDS Church -- seems to know how all those "keys" work. Yet we're expected to "follow" him, under all circumstances, like a bunch of "key holes"? (I'm sorry, Denver Snuffer. I will never be able to forget what you said in St. George, even if you wish we would!)

"While men can confer, by the laying on of hands, lesser priesthood to perform outward ordinance -- including temple ordinances -- and ordain men (and women) to offices in the Church" I told my friend, "only God can confer greater priesthood. The Church does not control that."

26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. (JST 14:26-29.)
"Oh, so it's just dormant," he said. (No, my priesthood is not dormant. But I wasn't going to argue with him.)

"But don't you need the gift of the Holy Ghost?" he asked.

"I still have the Holy Ghost. You don't need to be a member of the LDS Church to have the Holy Ghost."

He disputed that point somewhat, but I reminded him that Moroni admonished everyone -- mostly non-members of the LDS Church -- to confirm the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost. This they are expected to do even before they get baptized, join the Church, or receive any special ordinance. 

He had no response.

The LDS Church has transmogrified the gift of the Holy Ghost into a binding ligature upon God, suggesting that only those who receive the laying on of hands (an outward ordinance) by "Mormon" priesthood authority may enjoy the continuing ministrations of God by His Holy Spirit. That is patently untrue! As happened anciently, those full of the Holy Ghost and duly authorized may lay hands on others and have them receive the Holy Ghost instantly, with its attendant gifts and ministrations, to fulfill the Lord's purposes (and as a "sign" that the one so administrating is, indeed, on the Lord's true errand). But this has become the extreme exception, not the "norm" today. Now, it's just a perfunctory ordinance administered after baptism, seldom followed by any attendant gift of prophecy, revelation, speaking in tongues, healing, etc., as was frequently evident when the gift was once administered by one having true authority to confer it. (Elders of the LDS Church are ordained to this power now, but how many of them receive it? Many are called, but few are chosen.)

And that leads me off onto another tangent. I don't want to go too far astray here -- but the gift is always available to all who would receive it. Go ahead. Read your Book of Mormon and, perchance, see where multitudes, even wicked people, have received the gift and ministration of the Holy Ghost -- by which they saw angels and testified of God! -- without so much as the laying on of hands by anyone! (In fact, the "laying on of hands" is shown, at times, to break the spiritual "spell" that holds the one so receiving the gift from being under its influence.) There is no evidence whatsoever that one is denied the Holy Spirit's continuing ministrations solely for failure to receive this ordinance; rather, it is wickedness and disbelief, losing faith in Jesus Christ and departing from living His gospel, that separates one from the gift of God.

There are many ways to lose the gift and influence of the Holy Ghost, but failing to follow "wicked" priests is not one of them!

Adrian Larsen's experience was apparently almost identical to mine. He met with his bishop and stake president a few times over a month, was told to "take down your blog, resign or be excommunicated", followed by summary "execution" for non-compliance with this authoritarian (if not somewhat confusing) directive, without so much as a quote of scripture.

In my case, I got to hear two quotes: Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 and 68:4, which they used to suggest that whatsoever they said was equivalent to God saying it.

In fact, my friend quoted Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 to me several times last night. It's the ultimate "trump card", apparently, for everything now. (As Denver pointed out, there's only one LDS doctrine left.)

"So whatever those 15 men agree upon unanimously is the truth?" I asked. "Whatever they say? Even if they're mistaken?" 

I brought up polygamy and racial discrimination as just two of many "truths" that, apparently, are no longer truths in the LDS Church. "God cannot lie," I said. "He is never mistaken."

What was my friend going to say to that?

"Well, men make mistakes," he said. But before he could launch into paroxysms of circular logic and rationalization, I cut him off:

"That's why we don't follow men! We follow Christ!"

Mine wasn't a convincing argument, however, since my friend was so well indoctrinated to believe that following men -- at least "authorized" men in the LDS Church -- is following Christ.

I opened Doctrine and Covenants 76:99-101 for him and asked him to explain what it meant, to no avail. 

When I got up this morning, I talked with my wife. She said, "You know...many of these people would be simply lost without the Church. They wouldn't know what to do." And, I admit, the Church provides a great benefit for them. 

The LDS Church serves a divine purpose. It was intended to be a "schoolmaster" to bring us unto Christ. It was patterned after the family of Abraham (3 presidents at its head, representing the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel); 12 apostles, representing the 12 sons of Jacob; 70 elders, representing the household of Abraham, etc.). Joseph Smith was very susceptible to impressions and suggestions. If Sidney Rigdon asked him to approach the Lord, and Joseph did so, saying "We need a church! How do we organize a church?", the pattern given would resemble the LDS Church today. I suspect that's what happened.

I believe the Lord never intended the LDS Church to replace the patriarchal order or The Church of the Firstborn, merely to "stand in" while the gospel of Jesus Christ was being given to the Gentiles (who are accustomed to "Babylonish" enterprises). The times of the Gentiles is now at an end. The gospel is to be taken to the remnant of the house of Israel.

The Lord will raise up prophets among His lost and fallen people. They will bring forth records to establish the truth of their people's ancient faith in Jesus Christ, the Eternal God. They will look to those records -- and to the Book of Mormon -- to confirm their faith, even as the Gentiles (and the main body of the LDS Church, apparently) reject these things, not allowing or permitting there to be any more prophets but what they pretend to be. The remnant will be gathered, even as the Jews begin to believe in Jesus Christ, while the remaining world rejects the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and fights against Zion.

I told my friend last night, "The Church gets us to the gate. We are not expected to stay at the gate, however. We must press forward!"

41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name. (2 Nephi 9:41.)
We spoke briefly on the doctrine of Christ and this high priest agreed it is very plain and simple: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, and receive the remission of sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

But, after that, I reiterated, we are to press forward, feasting on the word of Christ and endure to the end. This is the doctrine of Christ. It doesn't requiring bowing and kneeling to the scepter of any man's authority. In fact, those who require that we so do practice priestcraft and pervert the right ways of the Lord.

The Lord is merciful. He knows we stumble and fall in darkness, making mistakes. He knows, because of the fall, our natures are evil continually. Thus He has provided for us a way to repent and be redeemed. But it involves looking to Him and not to any man! 

The LDS Church can go to hell. Enoch (successfully) taught his people to follow Christ, not follow Enoch! Noah (unsuccessfully) taught his people to follow Christ, not follow Noah! Moses (unsuccessfully) taught his people to follow Christ, not follow Moses! Joseph (unsuccessfully) taught his people to follow Christ, not follow Joseph!

With few exceptions, the people have wanted to follow a prophet (or no prophet at all) rather than do the "heavy lifting" required to follow Christ

So be it. Those who refuse to come unto and follow Christ can enjoy the ministrations of the Holy Ghost in a telestial existence, guided by prophets and ministering angels, worlds without end.

Edit: A flurry of blogger activity addresses this topic. I urge readers to peruse the posts at Rock Waterman's Pure Mormonism and Tim Malone's Latter-day Commentary.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry... I had a huge spelling error on the comment I deleted.

    Wow... I love this post. I too am finding so much gospel ignorance among many sisters in my ward. All they can quote is the mantras that are made up by men. I'm so tired of the new one I could croak, "Stay In The Boat and Hold On." Posters will be showing up at Desert Book any day now.

    We have become such a doctrinally weak people even though the brethren have encouraged reading the scriptures. I'm convinced that folks don't study but read the BOM like a non-fiction novel that happened a long time ago and the message really does not apply to them... especially when it advocates angels, visions and miracles.... let alone the warnings in 3rd Nephi.

    This man you were talking with may have defended his point of view... as we all have the tendency to do.... but I assure you... he will do some thinking... and perhaps look more carefully into the scriptures.

    You have planted seeds that should drive any "truth seeking" man to follow up... to either confirm your words or discount them.

    Blessings to you.

  3. Thank you, Insightful Nana. I wonder what I am doing in the Church. Why do I go and even try to talk to members about the truths I am learning or that I have learned? I experience no relevant discussion of anything substantial at Church. Nor do I get any positive feedback. Members of the LDS Church do not want to hear or know anything that might "rock the boat" they're "holding on" to.

    Frankly, Christ said "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." We live only inasmuch as we cling to Him, not to any group of men or organization He once-upon-a-time established.

    Sure, I wish the LDS Church were "true". (Who wouldn't?!) Unfortunately, no group or organization of men can be "true". Only God is worthy of our discipleship, obeisance and worship. We must hold to Him and none else.

    Now I must go and do as I've told.

    1. Another great post Will. I have been inspired by you and others to also start a blog and I just wrote a post on being subject to men and how that is contradicted by the scriptures. Check it out:

    2. Like ripples from a thrown stone into a still pond...

    3. Log's comment is cryptic. From what I know of him, he is not saying that my "thrown stone" is a good thing, but a dead thing, just making waves!

  4. Good Will.... I got it. I left after sacrament meeting on Sunday and sat in my car... trying to get the courage to go back in and hear the "Same old..." that I have heard over and over again.

    I picked up the Book of Mormon along with my red pencil and before I knew it... folks were coming out of the building. Church was over.

    It turned out to be one of the best meetings I have attended in a long time.... just me, my scriptures, my red pencil, in a warm car. I just smiled, started my car and went home.

  5. So why do you go and even try, Will?

    1. Because someone cared enough to "try" with me. And that made all the difference.

  6. Will,

    I have known you for years. I have been on your side of things and on the other side of the line with things that not only you, but others have talked about in church. I have sat there in elders quorum, when you would ask the questions that people felt to uncomfortable to answer. I have sometimes, been the one to try and volley with you.

    I have also vigorously defended you to people who thought you were too ‘out spoken’. I have always gravitated towards people who speak their mind, as I mostly do.
    One thing I am not, and I admit this freely, is that I am not as eloquent and knowledgable in both the gospel and the english language, as you are.

    In the past I have questioned things in the scope of why certain things are done, why certain people “ordained or not” in the church, do and say certain things. I have questioned WHY certain leaders do things and have no issue saying I don’t agree with things, when they are done in ways that I don’t agree with.
    I don’t tell you these things to try and ‘relate’ to you. To try and say “Oh I am like you”. I tell them to you because they are true.

    One thing I have always lived by, or try to live by, is the old saying that “The church is perfect, the people aren’t”. Now you have dissected that statement in the past, and that is your right. You want to question the leaders, prophets, etc. Again your right. You want to post your raw feelings on your blog, again your right. You want to tell the church to ‘go to hell’, again that is your right. I would never tell you it isn’t.

    As someone who has ALWAYS shaken your hand with sincerity. As someone who has ALWAYS looked you in the eye, when I agreed or disagreed with your point of view. As someone who has and still does treat your family with the love and respect that is due to them and you. Finally as someone who still cares and loves you and your family as friends and equals. I feel I need to tell you, I am concerned for you.

    Let me explain. As long as I have known you…for years… you have been forward. You have been insightful. You have been caring. You have been aggressive. You have been passionate. You have been humble. You have been….you. Again, let me say, you have been you, Will.

    (I guess I need a second, post...I wrote too much...)

  7. Part 2:

    We weren't the best of friends, I will admit. Could I have been a better friend, of course. What I am getting at is there is a trait that you are showing now…that is not what I know you to be.

    You are angry beyond measure. You may say you are not. You may feel you are not, but it is very evident.

    If I had been through what you have been through, maybe I would be the same. I don’t know. I am just telling you what I see through your writings. You can do what you want. You can follow your path, and I am not one to judge you. No man should. People you have known since childhood sat there and judged you, and in your opinion, have misjudged you. They have cast a shroud over you, that to some people, including yourself, is still there.

    When I see you on Sundays (when you are there), I don’t have any thoughts but to shake your hand and let you know that you are still loved. I may not agree with some points of view you have, that is fine. I just want you to know when you shake my hand, it is not out of anything more then a fellow man, saying hello and he is very glad to see you.

    I know it is hard to be in the the middle of a storm, I have been there. Sometimes..the hardest things to see are the ones in the mirror. I am not asking you to change your thoughts or see things from a different perspective on church matters. I am just asking you to see your soul and spirit in the mirror, because from an outside perspective, to someone who has known you for years, it looks very angry. If that is your goal, then fine. If I had to bet (ok that was funny, a mormon making a betting joke) I would say that is not the state you want to stay in.

    Just some thoughts from a ‘friend’. I hope it all came across correctly.

    Now to those who would ask “why are you posting Anonymously?” I am writing this anonymously because my post is not about me. It is about Will. It is not about WHO is writing this, it is about WHO it is being written to and about. That is my reason. Take it or leave it.

  8. Too bad the brother you conquered in debate isn't here to share his point of view. I wonder if his version would he the same. In any case, you've made it clear that anything people say to you can be posted on your blog without their consent. I'd be wary of talking with you too after this post.

    1. I didn't "conquer" anybody. The only "righteous" tools any of us have are persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge. We parted as friends.

      I didn't mention the brother by name. Who is the worse for wear?

      Why are people so afraid to "go on the record" about the gospel of Jesus Christ? What are people so ashamed of? What am I missing here?

      And that brother, by the way, has access to this blog and has commented here more than once. He is free to do so again. I have never removed a comment from this blog. (Hopefully the trolls will stay away and I will never have to.)

    2. Will - You can parrot scripture all you want, but the fact is that you posted a lopsided version of "conversation" with someone who probably didn't realize he was being tape-recorded, so to speak. The account your provide seems to be focused on showing that you're right and that the LDS church is wrong, not on "love unfeigned." And I'm not sure that saying "The LDS Church can go to hell" is what the scriptures meant by "long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge."

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Anon,

      I honestly -- and, I think, adequately -- presented his side. (If not, I certainly welcome him -- or anyone! -- to add to the discourse!)

      What is love unfeigned? Doing what's best for others even when it hurts yourself. You must think I delight in proving the Church wrong. I spent my life doing just the opposite. I am forced to "switch sides" now only because, to be virtuous, I must be honest and it is not "loving" to knowingly teach people lies, half-truths and falsehoods -- which, apparently, LDS Church leaders are wont to do. They are willing to let people "languish" in misinformation "for their own good" and when they discover the truth, they tell them to "shut up" so as to not "rock the boat" and, perchance, cause others to fall out.

      I KNOW THIS. I have sat in "council" with LDS leaders who have admitted the truth in private, but will not "go on record" to disclose it publicly, because it would harm their precious reputations or "make" the Church look bad.

      "The Church" should not be about appearances. It should be about the truth. I'd rather have fellowship with a uncouth, unkempt man who frowns at me all day, cusses and swears, smells of cigarettes and beer...and tells me the truth about God...than sit with a clean shaven, effeminate fellow in a Mercedes, wearing a white shirt and pretending to holiness, while he dissembles to my face and stabs me in the back, bearing witness to nothing and to no one other than himself and his vain confidence in other men.

      I didn't tell the LDS Church to go to hell. I said it can go to hell. (Surprisingly, most Mormons -- like proud Nephites, confident in their armor, weaponry, inspiration and self-righteousness -- don't believe that.) It certainly is possible. And not only possible, it's inevitable.

      The Book of Mormon was given to us for our day. It is a prophecy for our time. 2 Nephi 28 is about us. The blind leading the blind point the finger to others and say "not me". I say, hell yes! Hell, indeed! I can go there! And so can you! And so we shall if we don't come unto Christ.

      Unless you have done so, then with me, you ought to be seeking to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling". Do you get the sense in sacrament meeting that anyone is being taught that? Or is Fast and Testimony Meeting just a boast-fest of "I know this" and "I'm grateful for that"?

      The best cure to a "lopsided version of 'conversation'" is to add to the dialogue! Bring it on! Perchance one or both of us will be improved...and change our minds!

      I hope you will continue to speak up.

  9. Anonymous

    I can't even begin to speak for Will... so I will speak from my own point of view and experience, as I see it.... which should be acceptable, since you expressed yours.

    You say you see anger... yep... so do I. I also see a man who is broken hearted. I see a man that's emotions volley between anger, relief from the bond that held him, to sadness. Round and round it goes. I see emotions that always seems to accompany feelings of betrayal.

    I am a divorced woman who gave 27 years to a man who preferred other women and eventually had a child with one of them. (Didn't know of his issues until his child was born.... stupid... naive.... I know.

    None the less, I gave my life, my devotion and loyalty to a man I trusted and loved dearly. Then... suddenly it was gone. I was ripped from a life style, contentment, security, his family, (whom I dearly loved),... I could go on and on but you get the point.

    I was suddenly the "odd man out" because my children could continue their relationship with him and his family when I could not. They benefited from all kinds of things, when I could not. It was painful.... I was hurt and angry. When he re-married, I had to work hard to not love (who I thought he was) because it put me in the position of mistress not the wife. I was the "outcast." My identity was gone.

    When you give so much to a marriage, or an organization, as in Will's case, and have it snatched away from you with a stroke of a pen... it can leave you dangling out there in space for a long time. It's like a sudden death over which you had no control.

    Angry... you bet! Sad... you bet! At times, Elated... you bet. Discouraged... you bet. You begin to wonder if you will ever be able to "let it go." You wonder if life will ever feel normal again.

    I resented when, well intended people would say... "It's time to move on." Or, "You need to get over your anger... it's not good for you." Or, You need to quit hoping for something that will never be the same again." "You are just not yourself." I especially loved this one... "You should pray." (I cannot tell you how many hours I spent begging the Lord for relief.)

    "Yep... I get it, wise ones." But, they were not standing in my shoes! And, who in the hell were they to dictate my timeline for healing or how I should heal.

    In Will's writing on this blog, I have seen the pendulum swing in many different directions....from anger, to hope, to humility, to shutting down his blog, to reviving it again, from sharing his experiences of feeling left out, to wondering where he fits... on and on. It exhibits all the emotions of "BETRAYAL."

    Who am I to say when "enough is enough." Or "you are not the man you use to be." And guess what... he isn't. His healing may go on for several years... who knows... it's his healing process.

    Can we just be supportive and just listen, and pray for his well being and that of his family. Can we offer our confidence that in "his" time all wild emotions will subside and he will feel peace again.

    I suggest we walk this journey with him and let him just "talk it out" in this blog. Actually, it's a great healing technique.

    Wish I would have had the technology back in the dark ages.

    P.S. Will, if I have misjudged your situation, just take this as ramblings of an old woman that, on occasion, likes to lick her scars.

    1. While I appreciate your response and story, I don't know you. I would not respond or even contemplate responding to a blog of yours because of that fact.
      Half of your response is about a broken and hurt marriage. That is not what we are talking about here. So I am hesitant to even comment.
      I did not wish to get in a whole discussion with others about my post. I am not here to debate church thoughts or feelings.
      My post was strictly to tell Will what someone who has known him for a while is thinking and seeing from a different point of view. That is all.

    2. Thank you, Anonymous (friend), for your considerate thoughts. See my response below.

    3. Thank you, Insightful Nana! Your words were "right on" and just as appreciated now as they were when you first wrote them. You understand my situation very well. Thank you for your kind and gentle encouragement.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. One must suffer betrayal to recognize its effects in others. It is so hard to forgive, yet forgive we must, lest we become as the devil and his angels.

    But I can say that I do not see anger in Will's post. Maybe I'm wrong. I find generally that I judge others as I am myself inside. I didn't see anything he wrote that if I had said the same, I would have had to have been angry.

    1. Log... I didn't mean this particular post expressed anger... but I have detected anger and disappointment in other posts, especially in his account of his ex-communication and a couple after his appeal was denied.

      Yep... you are right... we see others as looking into a mirror, a wise self observation on your part. All I can say is if I had been him, I would have been damned ticked.

      Yes... and I agree, we must forgive... however, it is not an event but a process that may take time. And, I'm convinced it cannot be completed without the grace of the atonement.

      I guess the best thing to do is let Will speak for himself.... (always a wise move.)

    2. Insightful Nana and Log,

      You are both my friends. Thank you!

      Insightful Nana,

      Your analogy from personal anecdote was perfect! That's exactly how I have felt. Thank you for your kindness, compassion and shared perspective.

      And, Log, you are right. I didn't feel any anger writing this post.

      However, the brother who mentioned my being angry at church was telling the truth. At times I have gone to church seething with anger, bitterness and resentment. (Though not so much lately.)

      In the aftermath of my excommunication, I felt like a gang-rape victim, forced to confront my attackers, again and again each Sunday, some of whom would take me aside and say (if they said anything to me at all): "There, there! All will be well soon enough! We only did it to help you! Remember, you brought this upon yourself, not us! Hopefully, you've learned your lesson now...and your place. You'll be 'as good as gold' in no time! Good to see you! And give my best to your lovely wife and family."

      Sometimes it's best to just walk away. We would have ran...gladly!...except for our children. We want them to have the best of what we had growing up (if that's still possible in the LDS Church).

      I've explained why I still go to church. I needn't rehash that. I can forgive those who condemned me. They were merely doing what they thought was necessary to protect themselves, their families and the interests of the Church. In their shoes, I might have felt compelled to do the same. (I'm glad I'm not in their shoes...and I pray the Lord is merciful. I'm glad to know He is. I'm just as dependent as any upon His mercy.)

      Now let's get back to doctrine.

      In the above case, the issue is to be Christ-like...and that requires not taking offense (nor giving any, if possible) nor rending again, but turning the other cheek...and praying for those who hate you...and doing good to them who despitefully use you and persecute you (or keep you from the temple you helped erect to worship God...don't get me started!) And overlooking the faults of others, and not judging, nor condemning nor accusing. (Thanks, Log, for the reminder.)

      If we can do that without falter and without complaint, we are well on our way to coming unto Christ.

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  11. Good post Will. I only disagree with one point:

    I do not believe the LDS church is a stepping stone. It is a stone of stumbling. There was a time when one would grow closer to Christ for having known of the LDS church. That time is over. We've crossed the threshold. Now, any association with the church brings so much damnable false tradition with it that it is a net loss for the individual's journey back to Christ. Those unitiated today are better off NOT meeting the missionaries, NOT attending LDS services, and (more often than not) NOT knowing members.

    The Book of Mormon, the JST of the Bible, the pearl of great price, and the sermons of JS all remain wonderful resources. But none of those are the exclusive property of the LDS church. Today, nothing the church has that is good is unique to the church. Nothing.

    1. Rob,

      Interesting point. I do not regard the LDS Church as anything "special" now -- except that, like the husk of a mighty rocket ship launched into space, it still benefits from the impetus and trajectory afforded it by Joseph Smith. Alas, that husk is now in free fall, circumnavigating this fallen globe, and it's getting lower by the second! But there is still much "good" in it. I know of no better organization.

      I appreciate your many conclusions. I agree with you that association with the "saints" and all they offer -- from vain repetitions to dead outward ordinances -- would be damning, if one were under the delusion that what they practice is all that is necessary to save us. I do my best to educate my children at home while providing them with an influence at church that supports an appreciation for the Book of Mormon, a respect for the contributions of Joseph Smith, and a love for the songs of Zion that praise Jesus.

      There will come a time when the LDS culture will be so toxic as to destroy faith in Christ, not build it. Hypocrisy and false doctrine deteriorate faith, but one who has been born of God can endure, even if alone.

      I find the influence of the Latter-day Saints, even when negative, a "plus" -- like the Lamanites were to the Nephites, always stirring them up to remembrance of what they had and what they ought to be, by comparison. I find astonishing disparities in Mormondom, but I know that others also find profound incongruencies, failures and deficiencies in myself. I'm not giving up on me yet! And I'm not giving up on my LDS brothers and sisters.

      As my younger children approach baptism age, I will have to re-evaluate my position...and our family's participation in the Mormon cult. "Following a prophet" has caused this family to get caught in a snow drift that will lead to our deaths unless we are rescued and press forward. Unfortunately, this time, the "faithful" back at Salt Lake apparently couldn't give a damn and offer no assistance whatsoever.

      But I trust in my Savior to lead us to safety.

  12. Will,

    Sometimes, through judicious use of opposition in a certain direction, we can be provoked to do or say certain things. When we accept a certain dichotomy - that we must choose between two options and those two alone - we can be corralled and funneled into a certain pattern of behavior.

    My voice, as those who know me can testify, is always for reconciliation and peace.

    I would leave the Church alone. I would leave the leadership alone. I would bypass the sins of those who cast you out in silence. You can see already by the comments here that it provokes some to judge unjustly, and why would we wish to incite others to sin?

    1. Log,

      You know I love you and appreciate your counsel. I have ever found it to be of God.

      The Spirit has witnessed to me that I must set these things aside, as the Anti-Nephi-Lehis buried their weapons of war for peace. I will endeavor conscientiously to do as you advise. Watch me (and call me to repentance if I don't!). I will speak no more of the sins of those who condemned me; I will not rail against nor criticize the Church or its leaders. I will, instead, focus on my relationship with God and raise my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

      Thank you, Log, for your ministry.

  13. Good Will,

    I don't have anything to add to the discussion. I only wanted to say I very much appreciate your posts.

    So much in our church is done out of fear. We isolate, marginalize, and excommunicate people who say or do things we do not understand. I am so sorry you were victim to our ignorance and insecurity.

    Bless you as you continue your journey back to God.


  14. This is Anon here. Will, I really enjoy your blog. I agree with you on a lot of things. Unfortunately, I tend to only comment when I disagree on something. It's a bad habit of mine. So keep that in mine when I shoot off a negative comment...I'll try to reign it in.

    I am a continuing LDS member with no plans to go anywhere in the future, but I still appreciate your blog. Your emphasis on Christ is spot on. Many of your criticisms of the Church make sense. The LDS Church is highly imperfect. It's unfortunate that there is so little tolerance for open criticism. I'm not yet convinced that the authority of the LDS Church has been wrested, but I think many of Denver, Rock, Tim, etc.'s writings also have a lot of merit.

    The surprising thing that has happened to me over the years is that I've become much more non-denominational. I think JS was a true prophet etc., but I just have a hard time believing that all the good folks in other religions that accept Christ, but not the LDS Church, will be condemned. Perhaps I'm deceived. It's hard for me to understand why Jesus told JS that the other churches were abominations before him...because very good people existed in those churches. And very good people like you are no longer LDS.

    Keep on focusing on Christ, my Brother! Thank you!

    1. It wasn't other churches that were "abominations", but all their creeds.

      19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (JS-H 1:19.)

      False doctrines, false beliefs, false teachings and false teachers are damning. They prevent us from coming unto the fullness of Christ and doing His will. They corrupt the minds, hearts and lives of those who practice and follow them. Thus they are "abominations: things that are disgusting, to be loathed and intolerable.

      Joseph Smith did not believe in "creeds". He wrote: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (AofF 9.) Joseph's "creed", quite frankly, was to embrace all truth.

      We ought to do the same.

  15. Loved your post and your comments. What you said about feeling like a gang raped victim having to face its attackers is what I would feel when it happens to me. You answered the questions asked of you perfectly!