Sunday, November 30, 2014

Exiled into Egypt

Two high priests from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to my door this afternoon. I invited them in, but they declined, saying they were there to deliver a letter "in private".

Right there. On the doorstep.

So I shooed the kids inside and closed the door behind me.

"What's the letter say?"

"We want you to read it."

The last two "messengers" the Church sent (eight months ago) delivered a letter that summoned me to a "kangaroo" court where they stripped me of my membership.

I scanned the first paragraph: 

"As a result, you are no longer welcome to come onto any property owned or controlled by the Church, wherever located."
I had already pondered the implications of a global restriction, having been given the "heads up" by Bishop Risenmay two Sundays ago.

Imagine sending your children to a church where you are not welcome...and never allowed. How would you describe such a church?

Repugnant and repulsive, right? 

How would you feel about belonging to a church that treated your family and friends that way?

It's an unimaginable blasphemy.

"Do you even read the scriptures?" I asked one of them.

He was my friend. Our families had spent serious time together (several years ago). I genuinely loved the guy! He was on the stake high counsel that excommunicated me and the only one who sat beside me and comforted me (with cheerful banter and genuine support) during that ordeal. He tried to encourage me: "Don't worry! You'll be back in no time!" He clearly didn't understand the enormity of what was transpiring.

A month ago he confessed he hardly ever studied the scriptures. "Not enough time!" he lamented, "I really need to study more." He didn't seem the least bit interested in the respectful doctrinal discussion I was having with another member of the stake -- even though he knew I had been excommunicated over doctrinal concerns. He turned a deaf ear to our conversation, perhaps thinking: "Better not get involved."

I summarized the following verses for him:
30 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood. 
31 But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered. 
32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them. (3 Nephi 18:30-32.)

"How can I return and repent," I asked, "when you won't even tell me what I've done wrong?"

"You've been told many times."

"Oh, really? Remind me."

He wouldn't elaborate. (Of course he wouldn't!) Instead, he remarked about my demeanor:

"You don't seem very humble...You haven't been humble for a long, long time."

"How am I supposed to be humble when you keep persecuting me?!"

I knew I didn't look or sound humble. What does a "humble" person do? I could use some (more) humility.

The truth is: I don't suffer bullies and thieves well. (My inclination is to beat the crap out of the bullies and bring the thieves to justice!) These people -- not the guys I was talking to, but the ones they "work" for -- were stealing both my church and my religion.

I didn't like that at all!

I guess if it were possible for someone to take away my church and religion from me, then I ought to let them have them. As they say: "You can't take it with you!" And if they could take these things from me, then they weren't mine to begin with and certainly nothing "eternal". In other words, nothing to get mad about.

Even so, I was obviously ticked. Not at these gentlemen, but at the organization -- an organization I deeply loved and proudly served with all my heart -- an organization that had morphed into something...diabolic.


A friend of mine expressed his own concerns to me at Church this morning:

"There is a schism forming," he said. "The bishop of [he named a ward] stood up and told his congregation not to go to anymore because they teach false doctrine there!" He described what's happening in the Church today as "tyranny". He urged me to teach my children how to survive in a world -- and Church -- fraught with tyranny.

"Types like this," he said, naming several political and genocidal despots of the recent past "arise in every generation and organization. You have to learn to deal with them. If you don't, you're dead. If you want to survive, you've got to learn to keep your mouth shut and your head down. That's what I do!"

"That's un-American," I said. "Americans don't submit to tyranny. I'm going to teach my children to stand up and speak out!"

"Then they'll be dead. They're going to need a job. It takes only 30 or 40 days to starve to death, you know."

"I would rather they were dead than acquiesce to tyrants."

My wife said tonight: 
"You've only got to read Moroni 6 to know that what they did to you was wrong. They were supposed to have three witnesses. They were supposed to give you time to repent. 
Also the meetings are supposed to be conducted by the Spirit. They aren't. That's why the meetings are always "dead" now. There's no Spirit there. It's all routine."

I was mad at the blasphemy of it all! These guys (the ones on my doorstep) were just cogs in a machine, doing what they were "programmed" to do. "We're just the messengers", they said.

I believed them.

But I wanted true messengers.

I reminded them that, in three and a half years, not one of them (or their leaders!) had ever visited my home to instruct me in correct principles or doctrine. If I had gone astray, why didn't they visit me?

"We've not even had a hometeacher!" I told the pair, "But you've already come to my home now twice to cast me out?"

Such was a sickening perversion of priorities, in my opinion.

We went back and forth a few times, talking in rancorous circles. It was obvious these two were sent, not to solve problems, but to get rid of one: me. They were sent to deliver their letter and to let me know "there would be repercussions" if I showed up at Church again.

What type of repercussions? 

"If you come onto any Church property in violation of these restrictions you will be treated as a trespasser and subject to arrest and prosecution."

This letter was dated November 17. My wife told me yesterday a certified letter from Utah had been sitting at the post office since November 19. (She just found out. We don't check our mailbox very often. Who does anymore?)

Ironically, I've been attending church with my family -- unaware of this "prohibition" against my doing so -- for the past two Sundays...three, if you count the day Bishop Risenmay threatened me, saying it was "out of [his] hands now".

That pretty much sums up what the LDS Church has become: Distant. Impersonal. Imperial. Legalistic.

I attended church these past several weeks as an unwitting "trespasser" and no one said a word. Not the bishop, who obviously knew. Not the bishop's first counselor, who shunned me. Not the 1st counselor in the stake presidency, with whom I shook hands this morning and said hello. (We went to school together!) Yet he never said a word.

They all knew.

These aren't my friends. They aren't even my brothers. I don't know who these people are.

We are nothing alike.

Feelings and inclinations

This is a very long post. I apologize in advance. But wolves are circling.

It's time for me to make a lengthy confession -- well, many confessions really -- which, no doubt, will disillusion what's left of my paltry readership and utterly ruin my sad reputation. 

"How can he ruin his already sad reputation?" one asks.

"Isn't he gone already?" another inquires.

Let my try again, since my first attempt apparently failed, to stop you from reading this blog.


I've been tempted to commit adultery.

"Normally people don't confess temptations, just actions", a critic mutters. "Get to the point."

Okay, I've been more than just tempted (i.e., "enticed" or "invited"). 

At times, I have even wanted to do the dirty deed. Very much so. I have sinned in my heart, again and again, if not in body, then certainly in mind and spirit, not just once, but hundreds, nay, even thousands of times.

There, I said it.

You may start throwing stones now.

I've never actually committed adultery, mind you (in the "full-blown" sense), but that's beside the point. I'm guilty anyway. I deserve to die. Jesus said: "[W]hosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:28.) That wasn't a scribal error. (See 3 Nephi 12:28 for confirmation.)

According to Jesus, long before I explored the internet, Playboy magazines, or even puberty, I committed adultery.

Can an eight year old do that? 

Apparently so.

I remember lusting after Debbie Hawes in 3rd grade. (My, what beautiful hair she had!) I wondered what it would be like to be married to our teacher, Mrs. Crane. (I won't go into details. I don't know if she actually was "Mrs." Crane anyway. We just called her that.)

Whew! I've wanted to get that off my chest for years!

I wish we were done now and that I had broadcast the worst of it already. But we are not and, no, I haven't.

Not by a long shot.

In my wayward "youth" two decades ago, after first one and then another failed "temple" marriage, I inspired and enabled others to actually commit adultery. For those serious and sundry sins and sorrows, I sadly confessed my involvement and was summarily shown the door by the LDS Church. (And rightly so.)

Life is messy. (You ought to try sorting out Joseph Smith's real history sometime!)

I met my current wife a year or so after I was re-baptized. I introduced her to the gospel. She joined the LDS Church a month after our wedding. 

"If I marry you," she told me, "I'll have my first child when I'm 25 and then, maybe, a second." 

"If you marry me," I told her, "you will be pregnant the first year and eventually have six children." 

She laughed.

We have since out-grown two minivans and now have seven offspring in our quiver. (That last child was a real gift from heaven I'll tell you about sometime.)

Elder Robert D. Hales blessed our firstborn, giving her a name, at the same time blessing her father. He told our -- then -- stake president to stop dragging his heals and reinstate me in the Church. (Thank you, Elder Hales!) Our temple sealing in Hawaii (several years later), with our (then) three children, was -- and remains -- the happiest day of our lives. The Church's current actions against me somewhat tarnish that memory, but we cherish the blessings of heaven we then received nonetheless.

It wasn't until relatively recently, as my body moved into a much-appreciated period of senescence (I'm now 52), that I realized how completely dominated my life had been by sexual issues, urges and temptations. Nearly a decade ago I cut off virtually all television, continued to eschew pornography, refused to listen to "filthy" music and avoided watching "inappropriate" movies. I had done these things, generally speaking, from my youth up.

Yet, from before I hit puberty until after I got married for the third time -- with regard to sex -- my subcortical regions (including the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum) and the cortical regions (including the orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex) were pretty much singing Willie Nelson's theme song full time.

We each bear our own burdens and crosses. Mine was always wanting to be married and have a family.

That being said, in 14 years of marriage I've never had occasion to make confession to my bishop for a moral transgression...

...until now.


Until recently, I had an LDS acquaintance I considered to be a friend: a single, attractive mother, who told me she was barely "making it" financially. The holidays must be particularly brutal for her. 

Each year, about this time, she reappears at Church, seeking help . (I hope she had better luck this year!) Last month she appeared at my (former) ward and invited me to follow her outside, where we talked.

"The bishop's a f---ing liar!" she ranted. "He won't help me! I'm never coming back to this f---ing church!" (She had no idea concerning my current standing.)

I listened to her complaints and urged her to reconsider. I assured her the bishop would help and I encouraged her to meet with him again. (By the way, I don't believe the bishop is a "f---ing liar"...unless willfully hiding the truth about the Church from unwitting members qualifies as "lying". Even if it doesn't, I don't like it.) I pledged to her, in any event, my family's support. Since I'm not paying tithing to the LDS Church anymore, I have extra resources to help the needy. I offered to "help" her in any way I could (so long as it was "legal", I said! ;o)

She brought up again (as she often has) the HBO series "Big Love". (That's how she sees the Mormon Church, apparently.) She said it's the obligation of LDS men to support single LDS women with children. I found her assertion scripturally sustainable, but I confessed I didn't approve of "Big Love" or polygamy. My wife and I stopped watching the show when it mocked the LDS faith, revealed sacred ordinances, and subtly "enticed" me to imagine doing what men and women ought not to do. 

Still, I commiserated with her need for a husband and a father for her children. I wished I could help more! I was naturally willing to do so.


Okay, you can chime in here. Am I the only man on earth who has ever felt powerful sentiments of concern for, affection toward and a willingness to "take under his wing" any person such as this? Am I "wrong" for feeling this way? I will leave it to you to decide.

But I will broach here what I consider to be an eternal truth: women naturally desire to expand their lives by bearing and rearing children. Men naturally desire to expand their lives by having wives and making children.

To contest this truth is to ignore biology and scripture which purports to be latter-day revelation. If the revelation is in error, then so too were those faithful saints who practiced and promulgated it! I, too, would be deluded into accepting as truth a falsehood that, once taught and promoted by this church, led me (and countless others) to contemplate circumstances which, except for the claim of "divine prerogative", would be considered adultery in any other context.

Excuse me if I seem a little confused now.

It will be noted that two of the patriarchs of heaven -- Abraham and Jacob -- practiced polygamy at the urging of family members, and did so only with great controversy and heartbreak. Sarah was jealous of her young handmaid, Hagar, forcing Abraham to drive her into the wilderness with her male offspring. Rachel despised her plainer, older, but obviously more fecund sibling, Leah. Both men were sorely tested to love their wives (all their wives) unconditionally and without favoritism, but they failed miserably.

Polygamy is a terrible (but nonetheless enticing) enterprise for some. It is championed and despised by both men and women. Nephi's brother, Jacob (himself no doubt named after that famous polygamist patriarch), called just desiring to have more than one wife "grosser crimes", "iniquity", "whoredoms", and "abominable". (And that's just in one verse!) He likened polygamy unto being "lead away captive". Indeed adultery (in all its forms) captivates many.

I remember the first time I ever contemplated having more than one wife. It was in the context of divorce, not polygamy. A childhood friend of mine called his father by his first name. I asked him why he did that.

"He's not my dad," my friend said. 

That was my introduction to the breakdown of the nuclear family. I never imagined, before then, that any child could have more than one father or mother, or be without either. I felt very sad for my friend.

Then my own parents divorced.

And I was thrust into hell myself.

I first heard about polygamy from the Mormons. I tried to wrap my mind around that awful idea. They made it sound so appealing and, well, normal. But any "normal" person is disgusted by the thought. The fact that we aren't all retching now is a reflection of our cultural disintegration (and Mormon upbringing). Few women will stomach "sharing" their husband with other women, while many men, no doubt, are willing to take on an extra wife! (That's how we're "programmed".)


In my conversation with this woman, I invited her to bring her children to my home, if she cared to, to join our family in studying the scriptures. She confessed she never read the scriptures with her children. I offered to show her how we do it. She, apparently, however, was only interested in day-care. If she didn't feel comfortable bringing her children to church -- she complained about not feeling welcomed there -- she could always bring them to my house, I assured her. I knew my wife would object! But I sought this woman's welfare -- not just our own. I sought what was in my power to do to help her.

Some men would consider her charming and attractive. I did. She has a "gift" for eliciting sympathy and support from men like me. (I'm admittedly a "sucker" for such wiles and ways.) My wife and I noticed that our friend only contacts us when she wants something. I chided her for not keeping in contact in previous years. I assumed she was "just trying to be good", or "avoiding the appearance of evil". I applauded her for that. I never imagined her enthusiastic overtures of abiding friendship were inauthentic, or that her apparent indifference was anything other than a simple consequence of being a very busy single mother! I certainly never imagined her actions were any form of sinister manipulation.

Oh, foolish man that I am!

She assured me she wasn't intentionally avoiding communication, so we swapped phone numbers and email addresses (again), making sure they worked this time. I texted her during the week to see how she was doing.

No response.

I admit: I liked this woman. I imagined that I loved her (or could love her). I knew it was wrong to feel such affection for someone not my wife and I took steps to correct it. (No, I didn't propose "celestial marriage" to her, like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and countless others did to 14-year-old girls and other men's wives!) No, I just wrote about it on my blog (early Sunday morning, October 30th). 

By email I invited her to read what I had written.

No response.

One of the best ways I've found to overcome temptation is to get it out in the open. Works of darkness have no fellowship with light. Some people strongly disagree. Are we to confess only those sins we don't want to commit? Ought we to "hide" the sins we "love"? Are "sins of the heart" even considered "sins" anymore? 

Apparently not. We'll see what the LDS Church says about this later in this post. (I apologize for taking so long, but my self-immolation must progress slowly, if not painfully, for my goose to be thoroughly cooked!)

After -- tacitly -- acknowledging the error of my ways, I still found myself attracted to this lady, not just aesthetically, but emotionally, too. In typical "gamma male" fashion, I imagined myself swooping in on my royal steed, playing the role of the "white knight", rescuing the damsel in distress. What a vain and foolish imagination I have! I couldn't get out of my mind and heart the sympathy and affection I felt for her, nor the futility and frustration I sensed, believing she was alone and needy. I had experienced such loneliness and need before and I could barely bear to see another good person struggle so. I couldn't help her! Not in this culture or century, at least. Not in any "Mormon" way, that is. 

I struggled with my feelings. Didn't I have an already endless supply of "needs" to fill? Surely I did. Why, then, was I searching for more?

Through it all, this woman remained utterly silent.

I didn't know what I had done to offend her (if anything), but it didn't matter. She was neither my wife nor my friend (apparently) and I had kept (or so I thought) my "inappropriate" thoughts and feelings mostly to myself. No harm, no foul.

When I saw her in passing at Church that afternoon, she hurried by. (My companion said she gave me a "nasty" look!) Well, that hurt! So different than the week before!

Why did I care? Was I unhappy in my marriage? Heavens no! Was I the least bit "dissatisfied" with my state? Hardly! Just the opposite! I couldn't be more blessed! Then what motivated me? 

Yearning for purer motives, I turned my attention to her spiritual needs. That I could help with!

Early in the morning of November 3, I offered her Bret Corbridge's book:
You will find great comfort, insight, and guidance from reading this book. The author has given me permission to share it with you. 
Best wishes, 
But, again, in return I got no response. (I should have taken that as a "hint", but her previous reassurances and denials, followed by inexplicable distancing, only left me confused.) Having received no communication from her since our first discussion at church, I concluded later that day to "write her off". I had misjudged the sincerity -- even the existence -- of our "friendship". (We had none, my apparent misguided affections and attentions notwithstanding.) I wrote her a short and sweet "goodbye":
I am poorer for your "ex-communication" of me. I intended to invite you to join our fledging "community" of believers of common truths. Your association would have been richly appreciated. I'm sorry I offended you. 
The devil has a way of destroying everything good. 
That lament was was my dismay for the devil's influence. The modern welfare state and sexual promiscuity have "liberated" women not only from their mores and husbands but from the necessity of marriage altogether, while emasculating men of the virtues and powers of their sex. With Babylon's imminent downfall, however, the natural order of things will once again return and prevail.


The task I struggle with (and poorly, too, at that) is to put my wife first (before myself) and make her happy. I don't do her justice. She deserves all of me -- all my worldly attention and affection, all my efforts, support, affirmation and allegiance. Prior circumstances in my life lamentably "splintered" my devotions and emotions. There was a time before I met her when I dreamed of loving one -- and only one -- woman in my life. (Sadly, it didn't work out that way.) Fortunately, God has given me another chance -- this woman -- and I am very pleased and grateful for the privilege to have and hold and make her my soulmate.

The truth is my wife already is my soulmate. I'm probably "spilling" more than I should here, but I never felt "welded" to another until I married her. We were "sealed for time and all eternity" in the LDS temple in Laie, Hawaii, together with our (then) three children. But I have always felt our union was meant to last forever; indeed, that it always has. I have never doubted otherwise. In fact, I received spiritual confirmation that our match was made in heaven even before my wife was born! (I'll tell that story, too, someday.) My wife and I are as sure and steadfast in our love and support for each other now as we ever were -- our peculiar foibles, frailties and failures notwithstanding.

The leaders of the LDS Church, by excommunicating me, apparently claim to have severed that marital relationship in perpetuity. Mind you, these men call themselves "high priests" "apostles" and "prophets" of Jesus Christ. They claim to do His will, being in His service, even when they threaten to tear apart my family for not doing their bidding (which I characteristically did anyway, ironically). They've claimed that whatever they say and do in the Lord's service is the Lord's bidding. It's a lofty claim to make, for sure, one I don't recall even Joseph Smith ever making. In fact, I recall him confessing, quite frankly, that he sometimes "got it wrong" when he thought he was on the Lord's errand. I wish the current crop of LDS leaders were as circumspect in their opinions of themselves as Joseph Smith was -- and as fearless in admitting their mistakes.

The LDS doctrine of "eternal divorce" is not entirely clear either. I know when a temple-married man is divorced from his wife and the man is subsequently excommunicated ("losing" both his temple marriage and his privilege to exercise priesthood "power and authority" in the Church), his former spouse's bishop is required to inquire after him and request his consent to allow her to be sealed to another, if she so chooses. (My first wife followed that process and I gladly consented.) Lacking that consent, a formerly sealed wife can not remarry in the LDS faith for all eternity -- unless the LDS Church president steps in to force Brigham Young did when he took another Mormon man's wife for himself, against the man's will. (That man wasn't even excommunicated!)

By custom and tradition, perhaps even scriptural injunction, the LDS Church now "honors" all temple sealings -- even those of men now living (like myself) who are (or were) "sealed" (because of divorce and remarriage) to multiple women (likewise still living). The Church honors those multiple -- sometimes polygamous, sometimes polyandrous -- sealings of former saints, of those who never joined the LDS Church in this life, or who no longer practice or embrace the faith, and even those who have been excommunicated and who (supposedly) cannot exercise priesthood power for themselves any longer.

Does all this make sense? Not really. "The Lord will sort it all out", we're told. But the sad fact is the Lord is already sorting it out. The scriptures say none of our sealings are in effect, efficacious or in full force unless and until they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, the Brethren's "sealing power" and "priesthood ordinances" notwithstanding. The Lord (in my opinion) seals a man to his wife when he gains (or is promised) exaltation. Anything else -- or anything less -- is vain and foolish imagination.

The Church leaders apparently want you to think otherwise. They deign to hold their "supposed" power and authority over you. They have the sealing power to bind and loose on earth and in heaven, they claim. They threaten to vicariously destroy you and your family if you do not -- and I quote, as I was told by one of their high priests -- "bow and kneel to the scepter of their authority".

It is a compulsory system of agency-robbing mayhem. The work of the devil, in my opinion.

I will try to extract myself from this dark topic hereafter and touch upon it only once more, very briefly, at the end of this post.


After my "break up" email, she finally wrote back (in typical school-girl fashion):

"I don't understand" was all she wrote.

"Neither do I", I tersely replied.

"You don't understand your own email you wrote? Makes no sense", she "elaborated".

We were talking past each other. So little communication had transpired between us that we hardly understood each other. I was having an affair of the heart with a woman in my own head! To explain myself, I wrote a long and effusive email to her, full of affection, dismay and acknowledgement that my feelings and expressions were, no doubt, misguided. 

Well, it felt good to get that off my chest!

She received my email, again, without comment. I was more than a little miffed by that. Like King David, my pride, arrogance and "sense of entitlement" motivated me. She had better sense than Bathsheba, however, to steer clear of me! I could have withstood her "rejection". (I've experienced much of that during my life. What missionary hasn't?) I certainly wasn't seeking another "soulmate". But I could not stomach being ignored again. (I have suffered so much of that recently by other supposed "friends".) 

While attending one of my sons' football games the following day, I pestered this woman with a series of silly text messages, just to get her attention and "get a reaction" -- any reaction.

I got one. She texted me back saying, in effect, "Stop texting me." 

"Done," I replied.

Little did I know she was sitting in the bishop's office at that very moment, sharing with him the few communications I sent her. In return, she got what she wanted, I imagine, by way of assistance from the Church. Good for her.

Not being pure in heart, I felt scorned, used, burned up and shamed, all at once! My own conscience pricked me. Surely I had "crossed the line". Clearly, my interests in this woman were motivated by something more than mere filial or philanthropic affection and concern. I certainly enjoyed her company! In my heart, I had a "crush" on her. I couldn't deny it, even if I didn't act on it, or want to feel this way. (I laugh when other men feel the same way toward my wife. It's human nature and easy to love the lovable.)


The LDS Church recently published an essay misrepresenting what constitutes sexual sin. The essay states:

"The Church distinguishes between sexual attraction and behavior. While maintaining that feelings and inclinations toward the opposite sex are not inherently sinful, engaging in unmarried heterosexual behavior is in conflict with the “doctrinal principle, based on sacred scripture … that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
"Former Church president Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) told members who are attracted to those of the opposite sex: “Our hearts reach out to [you]. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and sisters.” President Boyd K. Packer affirmed, “We do not reject you. … We cannot reject you. … We will not reject you, because we love you.”
Those are comforting words, indeed. I hope they were sincerely spoken.

Only substitute "same-sex", "same", "homosexual" and "the same" for all the words bolded above, respectively, to read them as they were originally given. You will see, by doing so, that feeling attracted to, harboring affectionate feelings for, even wanting to have sex with or form a family with someone you cannot be married to in this life is not a sin (in the Lord's eyes now, apparently) -- just engaging in unmarried sexual behavior is.

What happened to the Lord's prohibition against even looking upon another -- even in one's own mind -- to lust after them? Are not such "feelings and inclinations" inherently sinful?

Not anymore, apparently.

My communications with this woman were never suggestive that I wanted to have a sexual liaison with her. My offer to "help" in any way I could, saying "Use your imagination!" was interpreted as such by the bishop, however. I admit I would have welcomed this woman and her family into my home, if it would have helped her. My desire to do so was motivated by my "feelings and inclinations". Fortunately, we are informed by Church headquarters now that such "feelings and inclinations" are not "inherently sinful".

My wife disagrees.

When the bishop invited her and me to visit his office a few Sundays ago, I didn't want to go. Nothing good, nothing loving, nothing holy has ever proceeded from anything he has ever shared with us. I flatly refused to speak with him, seeking to avoid any confrontation or contention. But he sent his emissary, again and again, to compel us to attend. So in the spirit of submissiveness, I relented.

My reward for doing so ambush! Instead of taking me aside in private to correct and counsel me personally in my faults, as the scriptures direct (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:88 and Matthew 18:15), the bishop excoriated me in front of my wife and his first counselor, dropping "bombs" of selected excerpts from my final, explanatory email to the woman involved. Statements such as "I loved you" and questions like "Would my wife be happy to read this? Probably not." were freely quoted. I admitted in that email that the quality of my "love" for this woman was no doubt compromised by my appreciation for her feminine charms. So be it. We work with what we have and who we are.

I was having my own "Joseph Smith--Sarah Ann Whitney" moment, however. (The bishop was apparently oblivious to the irony and hypocrisy of finding fault with me for doing what was not unlawful -- though arguably improper -- while he "followed" a prophet who flouted the laws of the land and practiced full-blown polygamy behind his wife's back!) However, unlike Joseph, when pressed to confess in public, I freely admitted my folly. (What good would it do to deny it?) 

My wife ardently and forcefully defended me in the bishop's office. (She always has. She doesn't approve of my every action, but trusts that I will eventually come around to making the right decision.) Both in and after that meeting, I bent over backward to insure everyone present that I did not regard my misplaced affections or my (almost non-existent) conduct to be anything other than misguided and inappropriate. Being a polygamist -- or a "wannabe" polygamist -- is certainly nothing I aspire to, I told them.

The bishop consequently threatened to have me banned from all LDS Church properties worldwide. He said the matter was "already out of his hands". (The wheels of LDS litigation turn quickly, once they get the ball rolling! Last time they gave me three whole days to prepare for my excommunication!) They were obviously looking for something to hang their hats on, to justify their treatment of me. My wife chided me for giving it to them. I acknowledged my folly.

I wrote the bishop the following email, sending it to him and his stake president on November 15:

Dear Bishop Risenmay,

As terribly painful and unpleasant as it was for all of us, I thank you for meeting with me, my wife and Brother Belmont in your office last Sunday to call me to repentance. I acknowledge that my affections, expressions and focus in the matter discussed were tragically misplaced, terribly misguided and highly inappropriate. What began as a pure intention on my part to help someone in need morphed into something more, which I surely knew at the time was wrong. I wasn't willing to allow that knowledge, however, to inform my conduct or make the necessary "sacrifice" required.

Surely "all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23), but he who would be as God must endeavor to do only as God would have him do. I grew to covet that which wasn't mine and wasn't willing to let God's will have any sway in the matter. I knew beforehand -- but hoped against all hope, anyway! -- that He would disapprove. Still, shirking my duty, dropping my cross and dreaming of vain and foolish things, I "ran the other way", deceiving only myself.

That sin was mine and mine alone. It was, almost entirely, a crime of the heart. I acknowledged -- and "repented" of -- it afterward, but your semi-private rebuke initiated the "perfection" of that process by forcefully putting an exclamation point on it.

I acknowledge that I succumbed to baser instincts that allowed a spirit of covetousness, lust and darkness to enter my heart. I have since cast that spirit out and have reconciled myself to God after having confessed my folly to my wife. I remain committed to abiding by your directive to have no further dealings with the person involved.
This is only the beginning of what I must do. (I am not telling you this to inform you, but to reinforce in my own mind and heart what must occur.) I must hereafter and in all cases call upon God and ask Him to consecrate whatever I do for the welfare of my soul. (Had I done that in the foregoing matter, I never would have written that email or those texts, much less sent them! I would have eradicated the thoughts I had and feelings I felt which inspired them.) I must focus hereafter on glorifying God and doing His will, not mine, in all things. I must assume the role of a priest -- not the outcast, renegade or reprobate I, for so long, have been "branded" to be. I must live as I ought to be, not as the LDS Church or others see me to be. I must break free from those chains that bind.


Moving on, I regret that our association has become characteristically rancorous this past year or two. I wish I could respond to your efforts to "correct" me, in turn, by demonstrating the requisite patience, kindness, humility and submissiveness. However, you ask me to do that which I cannot do! You ask me to ignore or hide the truth. (Isn't it ironic that the LDS Church -- by its release of "Newsroom" essays -- has endeavored to do the very thing I first proposed to you: to "come clean"? Those essays, in my mind, are poor attempts at reconciliation and full disclosure, but at least they are attempts! They are a refreshing (however inadequate) attempt to reconcile the truth with past performance by "spinning" and apologetics still. But at least someone in the LDS Church -- even if it's by issuing "non-authoritative" and thus "non-binding" essays -- is using the Church's resources to move in the right direction.

Really, it is all a matter of approach. Had I read 77 Truths before I ever spoke with you, I would probably be a member of the LDS Church today. (For how much longer, I don't know.) Had I been approached and dealt with differently initially, I believe I would have naturally been more inclined to "work" with you. Others have "exercised their priesthood" on my behalf in serious matters according to the dictates of Doctrine and Covenants 121:39-44 without eliciting from me any kind of negative response. But I chafe at your repeated and unrelenting ministrations of what you believe to be the gospel of Jesus Christ. I regret doing so. This is obviously a trial for both of us, by which we are both being judged for how we act and react to each other. We continue to have serious, ongoing disagreements about what constitutes LDS history and doctrine (our own personal flaws and foibles, notwithstanding). My articulation and sharing with others of my "testimony" has prompted you (and those "over" you) to censure me, remove my name from the membership rolls of the Church, and restrict my participation therein. I have agreed to accept and abide by those restrictions as a consequence of my testimony. I am willing to "pay the price" for following what I see as the truth...and you see yourself as one empowered with the authority and obligation to see that I pay it!

Heretofore I have not participated in any meeting, except as you have requested and directed. (You haven't heard me talking about Denver Snuffer or making comments in classes lately, have you?) But I have engaged with some in the foyer and elsewhere, discussing Bret Corbridge's book 77 Truths. Until last Sunday, after I spoke with Bret personally after speaking with you, I had no idea he had been excommunicated from the LDS Church (the previous Sunday)! Had I known that, I would not have continued sharing or recommending his writings to any member of your ward or stake.

I respect your position as the designated "leader" of your church's ward and I intend to honor your request (together with those who "follow" you and those whom you "follow") to "afford all men the same privilege" that I reserve for myself: namely, to practice my religion unmolested by those who do not (or no longer) share, support or sustain my views regarding what constitutes the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ or His priesthood. While you and I continue to vehemently disagree about these things, while I am in your church's meetings or on your church's property, wherever that may be, I will not converse or engage with anyone under your church's control or influence in any manner that might be construed by you (or by those who "supervise" you) to "advocate" any principle or practice you might not agree with. In other words, I will treat you "Mormons" on your church property like Mormons endeavor to treat Jews while in Israel. I will not "proselyte" you.

Furthermore, I respect your desire for me not to "blast" members of your ward or stake with unsolicited emails or information (regardless of content) even though many of those same members are now my personal friends and I have a constitutional right to associate with whomever I please . However, I acknowledge that I acquired many of those same contacts and associations through the auspices of the LDS Church, using LDS Church resources in connection with my former service and membership in the Church, and therefore I would consider it an act of "betrayal" on my part to use those same resources now entrusted to me to engage in activities that might be construed as "fighting" against the Church (should I ever feel constrained to do so). Thus far I have not "blasted" or sent any emails to anyone that were not carefully calculated to include only my closest friends and those I highly respect and trust, including yourself (however misplaced those assessments were!).

I don't wish to "fight" against anyone anymore.

I have no further interest in talking with people who have demonstrated manifest disinterest in anything I have to say (including my testimony). I acknowledge that any effort on my part to directly "proselytize" or persuade -- either in person or by email -- any member of the LDS Church would be perceived by LDS authorities as aggressive opposition to the Church's leadership, policies or programs, justifying my being banished from all Church property. That recourse will not be necessary.

I visit the LDS Church regularly for the benefit of my LDS wife and children, to sing with them the songs of Zion, and nothing more. I am not on a "recruiting mission" of any kind when I come to church. I no longer have any interest or inclination to "proselytize" any Mormon to my way of thinking. (I have found them to be, as a whole, remarkably uninformed, disinterested and unamenable to instruction in anything I have to say. I can, regretfully, live with that...and so, apparently, can they.) I am willing to "keep silent" in your church regarding any interests or activities in which I am engaged, the discussion of which would be clearly upsetting or disagreeable to you -- in short, I will not discuss anything in your midst that does not support the "standard narrative" of the LDS Church or that conflicts with what is currently taught and practiced by "mainstream", active Mormons. I have no intention of forming my own church or congregation, adding to the membership rolls of any other church, or becoming a light unto myself. I will not be a "Korihor". In fact, I still bring friends and associates to the Mormon Church and encourage them to join, if they so choose. I am still a remarkably faithful "Latter-day Saint" for being an "apostate"...even though (largely because of your efforts) I will never again call myself one.

I hope this letter mitigates any damage I have done and reassures you of my intentions to be a friend to you and your church and not your enemy.


--Will Carter

CC Matt Morris
As is now "customary standard procedure", they did not respond in writing or even acknowledge having received my email. The bishop gave me a grave "Hello, Will" (and that was all) in the hall last Sunday. His counselor walked by me, offering only a faint hand wave, and nothing more.

The love of many has indeed waxed cold.


We grant tremendous power to those in whom we trust our eternal salvation. They make themselves privy to our innermost secrets and set themselves up as "judges" of our "worthiness", demanding that we get from them "clearance" for "admission" to the very portals of heaven, as it were. 

But the prophet Alma rejected such nonsense. He said we can worship God even without "official" sanctuaries, services or secondary "middlemen". After all, it is God who saves us, not other men and their ordinances -- however earnestly we are convinced that anointing with oil and dunking with water unilaterally binds God to do anything on our behalf. Mormons have confused symbols with substance. "Priesthood power and authority" are the modern Mormon equivalent of Roman Catholic transubstantiation. Mormons are urged to exercise faith in The Brethren, rather than unequivocally and solely in Jesus Christ. You will hear Mormon Primary children sing "Follow the Prophet", not "Follow the Savior". Those children will hardly be asked to consider what it means to follow Jesus, except in the context of following other men.

And if you ever run afoul of their emblems of "power and priesthoods", they will seek to crush you -- those of them who exercise unrighteous dominion -- rather than lift you up. You have been warned by their true leader:
LUCIFER: Aah! You have looked over my kingdom, and my greatness and glory. Now you want to take possession of the whole of it. (Lucifer turns, and stares into the camera.) I have a word to say concerning these people. If they do not walk up to every covenant they make at these altars in this temple this day, they will be in my power!
So it shall ever be...until we come unto Christ.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A gathering

My friend, Bret Corbridge, believes the Lord is having His angels gather the wheat in many locations and in many ways. The Grand Mesa of Colorado, he believes, is one area where something sacred could one day occur. Native inhabitants of that land have regarded this place as holy ground. Perhaps it is reserved by God for the sacred purpose of gathering some of His people, a Remnant.

I confess I do not know whom the Remnant is or where they shall be gathered or what they shall be doing. I do believe in the literal gathering of Israel. I presume the Remnant will be awakened unto God and learn their true identity by God Himself, when they hear His voice calling them; that records had among them, written and kept by their prophets, shall come forth; and that angels shall descend to minister unto them and prepare them for the glories (and calamities) that await this fallen world.

At least I hope so.

I am seeking further light and knowledge from my Father. In terms of understanding and spiritual advancement, I have been greatly blessed these past two years, far more than in the preceding two dozen. Not too long ago, my growth was stunted. My progress had stagnated. I had stopped calling upon God to minister to me. I had stopped seeking after the mysteries of godliness. 

And God was content to let me do so. Apparently, He has all the time in the world. And then some.

I sneered at others, looking down kindly, but condescendingly if not uncomprehendingly, at those who rejected, fell away from or left the LDS Church and the gospel it preaches. "If only they knew better", I comforted and congratulated myself. 

Yet were the powers of heaven evident in my own life? Was I willing and able to call upon God in faith to heal the sick or raise the dead? Was I privy to revelation on behalf of myself, my family, my community, my Church or the world at large? Was I becoming more like Christ?

Surely I had felt the comfort and peace of the Holy Spirit in the Lord's temple. Surely I had been blessed in abundance by heaven in my own life and in my circle of friends and family. But how much closer was I to establishing Zion in my home? Where were the gifts of the Spirit in my life and in the lives of my wife and children? Thirty years from now, if I did nothing more, would I be satisfied with what I had accomplished? Would I be happy, as an old man, with the cumulative spiritual experience, power and understanding I had achieved?

No, I would not, I told myself. I wanted more.

I wanted to be holier. I wanted to be more connected with heaven. More interconnected with the powers and personality of God. I wanted to ascend Jacob's ladder and -- like him, with him -- commune with Deity. I wanted to enjoy the privileges known to the Ancients, the Savior's apostles and those of this early dispensation. I wanted to belong again to that true and living Church of Jesus Christ, where people didn't just pantomime coming unto Him, but actually did!

In my youth, I approached each new fireside and sacrament meeting with that ambition that I would learn something new and do something more that would bring me that much closer to Jesus. When was the last time you felt or did that in Church, in any activity or meeting? When was the last time you left a building -- or entered it -- and said to yourself, "Today I hope to meet my Savior!"?

Perhaps we have lost that expectation, trusting that "there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men." (2 Nephi 28:5.) Perhaps we now come and go from our meetings trusting in our leaders and in their ability to pierce the heavens, to steer and guide us Homeward, to speak to the Lord on our behalf, to hear His words and to direct us for Him, as He wills, to tell us what He would have us do. And we do it.

And yet we know Him not.

How much closer are we to the Savior today than we were last year? Ten years ago? Since the day of our baptism? And how much fuller are our fast and testimony meetings with exclamations of praise for Jesus and exultations of our experiences and interactions with Him? I submit -- and this truism I'm sad to acknowledge -- that the vast majority, almost every one, of the Latter-day Saints -- has no interaction at all with Jesus Christ on a personal level. They have never met Him, seen His face, heard His voice, or interacted with Him directly in any way. Except by reflected light -- the universal light of Christ and the ministration of His holy mind by the Holy Spirit -- they know Him not. And not one in a thousand, if that, can claim they have ever met Him -- as did Abraham, (presumably) Isaac, and Jacob, making a covenant directly with Him -- by which they knew they were saved and sealed up unto eternal life, forever to dwell with Him in celestial realms.

All our ordinances, signs and tokens are but symbols of that potential reality. How many of us have made them real? How many of us personally know a God who calls Himself by our first name?

Unless and until we do, we are not saved.

One must ask himself: "Am I associated with an organization and body of like-minded individuals and families who want the same things I do? Who seek after and search for Righteousness, the Man of Heaven, the Prince of Peace? Am I progressing spiritually? Am I communing with God, angels and these men in a way that brings me closer to the person I want to be?"

If not, perhaps we need a change.

Last night my new friends, John and Jacqueline Olson, visited my home for the first time, stopping in on their way home to Mesa, coming from Newport Beach. We first met two months ago at Tim Malone's house in Camarillo, where we partook of the Lord's supper and they witnessed my rebaptism. Tonight we ate and drank again, uplifted by the Spirit we felt during our hours-long conversation about Jesus Christ and His gospel. That is what church ought to be. That is what I remember going to church was as a kid: a celebration of the Son of God and His marvelous workings among men. 

Is that what church is, for you, today?

I don't know what the future holds in store for me, my family, our country, this world. Only a fool would presume that the present course of things can continue forever: when what is wrong is lauded as right; when the wicked are exalted and the righteous abased; when mounting debt is looked upon as wealth; when leisure and pleasure are preferred over work and production. We have hollowed out our culture and hallowed the profane, rendering worship as a saccharine, soothing substitute for the real thing.

I want to meet God again. Over and over. I want to draw down the powers of heaven by personal repentance and the ministration of His grace, that, by association with Him, I may learn how to be, how to act, how to serve, and to be once again filled with that everlasting love that pervades all those who know Him.

Why not?

I want nothing less.

A group of us are planning to gather this late spring at Grand Mesa, Colorado, to socialize, celebrate, worship and learn. We are going to continue to practice what we preach. We are preparing now. We don't know -- at least, I don't know -- what will happen there. 

But in the past few years I have greatly enjoyed meeting, sharing with and learning from that body of believers in Christ who embrace the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as a literal, sacred history of (some of) God's people; who believe in the fullness of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith; and who rejoice in and look forward to the fulfillment of that promise.

We cannot do this ourselves. We cannot "hasten the work" before its time. We cannot claim to be anything more than who and what we are. This is God's work. We can only gather together and say "Here am I, Lord. Send me."

For more information -- and if you'd like to attend this free event -- contact Bret.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another apostate

I've been in contact recently with Bret Corbridge, author of the marvelous book 77 Truths. His work has the effect of scripture. It is delicious to me. Like Denver Snuffer does with most of his blog posts, Bret, in this book, marches through an exposition of vital truths pertinent to the welfare and salvation of all Latter-day Saints. The author's inspiration is evident. He quotes generously from the work and words of LDS General Authorities, other LDS (and former LDS) authors, even a smattering of (whom I assume to be) non-members, plus many scriptures. (In short, he embraces all truth.) But Bret's own words are equally informative and inspiring. The whole book is a delicious meal of divine truths, organized and presented to help the weary, perhaps wary and wayward soul stay focused on seeking Zion and coming unto Christ. It is one of the very best books I have read. Bret and Denver are doing what prophets and priests ought to be doing: preaching, teaching, expounding and exhorting all to come unto Christ.

I was saddened, therefore, but not surprised to learn that Bret was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints two weeks ago for apostasy. (One will be hard-pressed to find anything "apostate" in Bret's book -- or his life, for that matter.) I must confess I have read only to truth #39: "ABANDONING THE CHURCH AND ITS MEMBERS IS USUALLY NOT THE ANSWER. THE WHEAT MUST HOLD FAST TO THE PROPHECIES AND TEACHINGS RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE. THIS INCLUDES SERVING OTHERS WITH WISDOM, PATIENCE, AND LOVE." Bret's book is filled with the spirit of wisdom, patience and love! I have found nothing in it that isn't edifying, truthful, supportive of the LDS Church's mission, or pointing to salvation in Christ. I leave it to the reader to deduce, therefore, what it means when such works as these and "faithful" Latter-day Saints such as Bret Corbridge, Denver Snuffer, Tim Malone and others are branded as "apostates" and cast (or forced) from the Church. It is a terrible sign of apostasy, indeed.

I am still providing a copy of Bret's book, free of charge, to all who wish to read it. Just email me with your request.

Monday, November 10, 2014

No other gods

When you endeavor to meet the Savior and pledge your whole soul to Him, He will introduce you to your greatest weaknesses and your biggest fears. He will demand that you cast off your every sin and sinful desire.

For His namesake, He will threaten your occupation, livelihood, savings and career. He will plumb the very depths of your soul and tug at your tenderest heartstrings. He will find where your dearest treasure lies...and ask for it. He will subject you to the cruelest ironies and the greatest hoaxes and hypocrisies. He will introduce you to your own Judas Iscariot and invite you to take him/her under your wing, only to be betrayed. He will ask you to do the unthinkable: to go against natural inclination, social convention, even "orthodox" religious practice. By following Him, you will be sold, as it were, for 30 pieces of silver. You will lose friends and be estranged from family. You will be crushed to the ground. Your reputation will be in tatters. You will be despised and rejected of men, the subject of ridicule and scorn. Your name will be spoken of for evil. Those religious types who persecute you will think they are doing God a favor. And, in return, you will be asked to lower your weapons, not revile again, nor defend yourself.

In fact, you will be required to bless those who curse you and do good to them who hate you, despitefully use you and persecute you. You will be asked to forgive all men their every trespass, to practice The Golden Rule, to give to them who ask of you, and from those who have not to turn not away, but strive to make yourself (with them) equal in all things.

It will tear you apart.


This is the only way you can be purged and cleansed from all your sins. Your follies must be exposed, acknowledged and corrected. You must gain knowledge that will enable your salvation. You must learn not to trust in the arm of flesh or place your confidence in any man (or woman) to save you.

You must learn there is no one else to turn to...or to obey...but Him; that it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks or says...but Him.

He will have no other gods before Him.

Friday, November 7, 2014


I imagine most, if not all, of those who visit this blog also read Denver Snuffer.

But for the few of you who don't -- and I imagine there are some of you -- I urge you to read this. This is what a prophet sounds like. This is what a prophet says. This is the truth.

A prophet's words make you want to shut your mouth, close your laptop, go to your room and cry unto God with all your heart, repent, and be received.

I'm going to go now and do what I can...and invite God to do the rest.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Apples and oranges

A juice connoisseur visited the local supermarket and asked the head grocer for some fruit of the Tree of Life. 

"Do you know what fruit this is?" the head grocer asked, pointing to a picture of an apple on the wall. "That's an orange!"

"An orange?" the juice connoisseur replied, "That's a pretty remarkable orange! It looks just like an apple! A very good apple, no doubt, but an apple all the same. However, if you say it's an orange...I believe you."

"Don't you know an orange when you see one?"

"How would I know? I haven't tasted it yet. It looks like an apple. But because you say it's an orange, trust it's an orange. I believe it's an orange. I'm even going to join you in calling it an orange. But my calling it an orange won't make it one, you understand. It either is or it isn't. One mustn't judge an orange by its color!"

The juice connoisseur had learned from sad experience that appearances can be deceiving. He had tasted magnificent oranges that had the appearance of mere apples...and had tried several apples (expecting them to be oranges) only because of how they looked, how they were labeled or because others "recommended" them. They were marked "oranges, grapefruit and lemons", after all. Ought they not be citrus?

"Just to be sure, I can't know if it's an orange...until I taste it!" the juice connoisseur reiterated. "Maybe if I could sample some of its juice? Do you have any...from that orange...that I can taste?"

"No," the head grocer admitted, bowing his head, perhaps wondering for the first time why he didn't have any freshly-squeezed orange juice to sell. No one had even asked for it until now! His other customers were perfectly content with the canned stuff! Likewise, no patron had ever questioned his judgment or authority regarding citrus. He was taken aback. What impertinence for asking for fresh juice! This guy doesn't know anything about oranges! he thought to himself.

But the juice connoisseur persisted: "What kind of orange doesn't have any juice?"

The head grocer tried to explain: "Look, the juice is in the orange, see? That's where it stays. You can't taste it or see it for yourself. You just have to trust that it's in there...until you buy it." The head grocer ratcheted up the sales pitch: "These are the only oranges left on earth!", pointing to a display of several nice-looking apples on the wall.

Really? The juice connoisseur wondered to himself. He had tasted several wonderful oranges recently. (Admittedly, they weren't on display in this store because the chain no longer carried them.) Because of his experience, however, he knew those "apples" on the wall couldn't possibly be the only oranges left on the planet, even if they were real oranges. He let the head grocer know where he might find some more.

"Those other 'oranges' aren't real", the head grocer announced. "How can you claim to have tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Life without knowing these are the only true oranges?" he asked with incredulity, pointing to his pictures.

"Whether those are apples or oranges makes no difference to me", the juice connoisseur confessed. "I don't need to know anymore. I've tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Life for myself and I prefer it above all others. That's all I want to eat now! I don't have to 'know' or 'love' or 'buy' this particular fruit you're selling."

The head grocer was displeased by the juice connoisseur's comments. Claims like that could ruin his business! If he lost too many customers, he might even lose his job! He went for the "hard sell":

"Listen, brother, you'll buy...and love...and endorse this fruit...if you know what's good for you!" 

"Don't get me wrong!" the juice connoisseur back-peddled, feeling pressured, but not wanting to offend. "I love citrus juice! Really, I do. I drink it all the time! I share it with my friends and family nearly every day. Full of vitamin C!" The juice connoisseur mentioned several varieties he had tasted recently. Many preserved juices were still sold in that very store!

But because the juice connoisseur couldn't -- or wouldn't -- testify that he "knew" this particular fruit was, in fact, an orange -- a real orange; indeed, the only orange on the face of the earth -- the head grocer banished him from his produce aisle, where he kept what little fresh and canned fruit they had left.


My family and I noted the words of Jacob this morning as we read:
6 And we also had many revelations, and the spirit of much prophecy; wherefore, we knew of Christ and his kingdom, which should come.
7 Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest, lest by any means he should swear in his wrath they should not enter in, as in the provocation in the days of temptation while the children of Israel were in the wilderness. (Jacob 1:6-7.)
As to what it means to "enter into his rest", I point the reader to Doctrine and Covenants 84:23-25:
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the HolyPriesthood also[.]
Jacob continued: 
8 Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world; wherefore, I, Jacob, take it upon me to fulfil the commandment of my brother Nephi.
Are you suffering the shame of the world yet? (You should try it sometime!)

The people of Nephi did. Even so, they loved their prophet Nephi. They even named their subsequent leaders after him!

But they knew and loved Christ for themselves.

Those who set up men as lights to be followed as if they were God Himself are, in fact, (unwittingly or otherwise) anti-Christ.

We must follow Christ.


Update: I really hate this post. Oh, it's somewhat clever and cute and tells a familiar story in a slightly different way that makes, I mean, the juice connoisseur...look good and noble while the "head grocer" (whomever the heck that might be) looks bad and dim-witted...shame on me! For that reason alone, I hate it! 

So why is it still up? 

Because it's true. Because idolatry of the Brethren will damn you.

But here's the twist. "Following the prophet" is good for those who have no one else to follow! The LDS Church, generally, makes bad men good and good men better -- still. It's a great organization -- if you don't "buy" all the b.s. Unfortunately, the "ultimate" b.s. -- that following some man is going to save you -- has become the central tenet of the faith and they kick you out, or deny you entrance to the temple, if you don't cowtow and tow that party line. So, eventually, you reach the end of your rope (if you're tied to the a prophet) and you end up with all those who follow him and not Christ (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:99-101).

But I'm tired of telling this truth. I'm also tired of making other people look bad...especially since they're doing the very best they can...and deserve my support, not my criticism. I deserve to look worse than they do...and I'd rather not be judged negatively, either. (How can I expect to go to heaven if I'm willing to condemn others to hell?) Can we focus on the good points now? (Log would slap me -- spiritually speaking -- for writing this post. I can feel the burning palm print of his "slap down" on my cheek, even now, as I type these words!)

Please be patient with me, Log!

I'm also tired of telling this story. It's "old" news now. Really old. If I hadn't read the Book of Mormon yesterday morning about how the (righteous) prophets and the (righteous) people were always talking about "coming unto Christ" (instead of "following the prophet"), I wouldn't even be bringing this subject up again.

Maybe someone "new" to this blog hasn't heard my "story" before and this will give them a clue. This post alludes to what happened to me. And turns us back to seeking Christ.

I hope all of us find our way back to Christ. He deserves our worship, faith, and total effort. He is our God and, I'm sure, He looks forward to us "sanctifying ourselves" (i.e., preparing ourselves) to come back into His presence. (I've got to keep reminding myself of that. I don't want to give up! I don't want to do this again! By "this" I mean starting at the beginning again.)

Given the right conditions, a seed will "pop" open, seeking light, living water, and nourishment. It's "built in". If it does seek these things, it's a "good" seed.

We are like seeds. God "plants" us in places -- fortuitous circumstances and otherwise -- expecting us to "pop" as we are inclined to do. If we have enough intelligence, we will apprehend and recognize even Him. And, if we are developed enough, we will come back into His presence, be received by Him, and ascend to celestial glory.

But, if not, we go "around" again -- for God's work is "one eternal round", worlds without number, worlds without end. Until we get it right. This is what God does: He brings to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, no matter how long it takes.

Worlds without end.

I'm sick of this world. There isn't one damn thing in it that I couldn't live without. If I got cancer right now and had a death sentence pronounced upon me, I would wonder if I'd even fight it. Why? My only regret -- my only reason for wanting to stay -- is to come unto Christ in the flesh (so I didn't have to start climbing that ladder again from the bottom in the life to come!). 

I may not have what it takes "in" me yet to be like Jesus. And that's a real possibility. I hope I can develop (receive) the gift of faith sufficient to pierce the veil completely before I die. If not, I will consider myself a failure. I don't care about "worldly" accomplishments at all. What better thing could I do than "come unto Christ"? (That's all Log talks about online.) I just keep talking here (and elsewhere) to remind myself to stay focused, headed for the goal: 

Come unto Christ.