Responding to your latest efforts to "proselytize" me runs counter to what my mind (and wife!) tells me to do. (They say I should just shut up and leave you alone!) I would prefer to remain silent -- and not deal with this nonsense -- but my heart says "Doesn't he deserve to know the truth?"
God leaves us to ourselves -- to do and be and believe as we wish. He forces nothing upon us. I recognize that this email may, in fact, be an "imposition" upon you. You are free to consider or dispense with it as you see fit. I make no claim that God has instructed me to write it or to send it to you. I am not writing to be "combative" or "confrontational," but merely to demonstrate that an argument can be made.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2.)
I am ready with an answer, in all good conscience. (One might infer from my silence, however -- were I to remain silent -- that I found your arguments to be persuasive or scripturally sound. I do not.) Out of common courtesy, I thought you should know.
Frankly, I want nothing more to do with your idolatry -- either of "the Brethren" or of the LDS Church. Nephi didn't aspire to "follow (his father) the prophet" nor did he trust that being a devout Jew or a member of the synagogue would "save" him. Rather he sought to experience for himself what his father had experienced, spiritually speaking. That is all. He aspired to become a prophet, not to follow one! Even so, he submitted to his father in all things, even as the law of Moses (and custom) required.
You obviously place your trust in man (or in men) rather than directly (or completely) in God. Unfortunately, this misplaced trust in the arm of flesh routinely breeds dependency, complacency and gross ignorance (as it has in you) and ultimately (for others) sycophancy and aspiration to high office, almost always culminating in unrighteous dominion exercised by those having "a little authority, as they suppose." (D&C 121:39.)
You're all into "keys," "powers" and "authority," are you not? It's very distressing. Any keys, powers or authority you might have in the LDS Church are counterfeit...unless they are anchored solely and completely in love and in faith in Christ...not faith in some organization, priesthood power, ordinances, men or other such mumbo jumbo.
Unless you are filled with love and the Holy Ghost, you have NO authority from God. (At best, you have only a form of godliness, while denying the power thereof.) Even Nephi, though he were a prophet himself, wrote "And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not." (1 Nephi 10:22.) Without charity and the Holy Ghost, you have nothing...but the works and words of men.
I feel it would be "rude" for me to ignore you, but I also feel it would be rude for me to say what I really think. The kindest thing I could say to you, perhaps, would be to say nothing. But kindness can kill, as well, if one allows another to go on his way in error, uninformed. If I knew the bridge were out...and I saw you going in that direction...and I said nothing, would I not be at fault? Would I not have an obligation to say something to you...at the very least, to inquire as to whether you were fully aware of what was before you?
Even if you said to me: "I know what I'm doing...and you don't!"?
I think, out of compassion and concern, at the very least, I should speak up anyway.
So here I go. I share this with you, perhaps only "a little" for your sake (because you've been quite adamant that you are right and I am wrong), but "mostly" because I want to defend the truth, as I understand it.
Not having a "martyrdom complex" nor considering myself "worthy" to suffer for Christ's sake, I nonetheless take solace in His words:
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12.)
You have falsely accused me of having "itchy ears" -- an evident insult and allusion to 2 Timothy 4:3-4, which states:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
You perceive me as being "[turned] away...from the truth...unto fables" because I tell you the restoration of the fulness of the gospel begun by God through Joseph Smith was "hijacked" perhaps as early as 1832.
Ironically, this was done by those who, perchance to satisfy their own desires -- to practice polygamy, acquire power, privilege, prestige or position, or just because it suited how they thought things ought to be -- "heaped to themselves teachers" promoting "doctrines" contrary to the teachings of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. (See quotes of Joseph Smith contrasting with teachings by other LDS leaders; Jacob 2:26-30; Alma 1:26.) This departure from the faith in incontestable...unless you make Joseph Smith a liar! (Do you?) Those who went astray disregarded the oracles of God and rejected the new covenant (the Book of Mormon), thereby bringing the whole church under condemnation. (See D&C 84:54-58.) The saints were smitten, driven into the wilderness and afflicted (almost to the point of extinction) for their disobedience and disbelief, as it was prophesied they would be, if they did not repent. This condemnation laid upon the church was never lifted. (See Ezra T. Benson, The Book of Mormon -- Keystone of Our Religion, General Conference, October, 1986; and "I have a Question," Ensign, February, 1991.)
To cover for their lies and to "justify" secret works of darkness (practiced in the name of God!), former LDS leaders instructed church members and others to deceive (even murder!) and to alter, sequester and obliterate selected scriptures, journals and histories. (These facts are distressing to relate, but necessary to understand, in order that we might not repeat their mistakes and remain deceived. The truth is NOT our enemy, but belief in falsehood is.)
I invite you to do substantially more investigation on your own to determine the truthfulness of these things, inasmuch as I do not have the interest or inclination to recreate a thorough narrative of the facts or to provide sufficient links to everything that has been brought to light already. You may begin your inquiry by reading Denver Snuffer's Passing the Heavenly Gift, Bret Corbridge's 77 Truths, or Rob Smith's Teaching for Doctrine the Commandments of Men: Tradition in Modern Mormonism, if you are so inclined. (The latter two are available in pdf, if you'd like a free copy.) [This offer applies to anyone reading this. Contact me if you need assistance.]
I know you have already told me you're not interested in what I have to offer and I respect your decision to refrain from reading anything that might disabuse you of what you already "know" to be true. So I'll move on....
Evidence substantiating the latter-day "apostasy" is not now easily discerned by the "average" Mormon who knows little beyond what is shared in Sunday School or seminary; who doesn't scrutinize the scriptures or read much of church history; or who offers up only token "prayers" and vain repetitions as "testimony." It will not be acted upon by anyone unwilling to place on the altar of sacrifice even church membership in pursuit of the truth. Some may ultimately embrace lies (D&C 76:75) -- especially those for whom lies suit their purposes. (I will remind you that those who love and make lies are thrust down to hell. See D&C 76:98-106. You'll note that these same "lovers of lies" are described as followers of prophets.)
Some LDS leaders (including the present crop) have orchestrated official efforts to bury the truth. I saw this happen when my former bishop sought to "silence" me with regard to revealing any truth not currently "sanctioned" by LDS hierarchy, including basic doctrines such as following Christ and receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. (I am aware of far broader efforts to suppress even more information, but why should I bother revealing that here? My endeavor is not to "disprove" the LDS Church, but to announce that God is doing something ELSE!)
However, the LDS Church's behavior today is little different from that of the Catholic clergy who silenced and persecuted Galileo for revealing truths in conflict with Catholic "doctrine" at that time. (The Vatican has since repudiated its error, but, alas, 350 years too late!)
Truth has sprung from the earth and is now being shouted from the housetops. (Moses 7:62; Luke 12:2-3.) Anyone interested in coming unto the Father in the name of the Son may press forward to discover all truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. (John 4:23; John 16:13; 2 Nephi 31:20; Moroni 10:5.) Modern technology has enabled, even compelled, the release of incriminating evidence exposing the unfortunate affairs of the LDS Church. LDS leaders -- who have claimed, since the administration of Wilford Woodruff, to be incapable of leading the church astray -- now admit they (and their forebears) have led the church (and others) into error: either by teaching from the pulpit odious doctrines the Church now "disavows"; or by lying about it; or by now claiming that true doctrines are, in fact, not "doctrines" at all, but mere "theories" promulgated by "prophets, seers and revelators" who were evidently uninspired and unauthorized by God at that time to give voice and heft to their own misguided notions.
As the LDS Church has on many issues, it now backpedals from its own history, pronouncements and practices. To give just one example, the LDS Church recently condemned Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and most of the other LDS leaders (and members of the Church who followed them) by stating: "Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
So there. Either God and Christ are racists, promoting racism, or Mormon leaders are false prophets. You can't have it both ways.
That would be called double-speak.
I see you do this frequently: placing your whole faith and trust in men (even LDS leaders), with their supposed "keys," powers and "authority," even when they are obviously wrong. This is a grave and damning error. The Lord condemns "trusting in the arm of flesh" (2 Nephi 4:34.) I invite you to read Tanner Gilliland's review of the subject.
God is never wrong. That's why we are commanded to follow and worship Him and Him alone -- not some man, group of men, or even angels!
By contrast, men and angels are to be heeded only when they speak by God's authority -- as evidenced by them exercising God's power and spiritual gifts, with the Holy Ghost attending. Nephi taught: "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ." (2 Nephi 32:3.) The inspired nature of what is spoken today is revealed to us even as it was at the day of Pentecost: not by the character or stature or calling of the persons so speaking -- whether they be God, angels, or even "nobodies" -- but by what is said and by what power it is communicated. If the word being spoken is communicated by the power of the Holy Ghost, it is to be regarded as scripture. (D&C 68:3-5.)
Any apostasy from the truth by "the Lord's only true church" should come as no surprise to anyone. Practically no "true church" has ever endured for any length of time, in any dispensation (other than Enoch's). You come from a background of Catholicism which, itself, was once rooted in truth but has since turned away unto fables. The forces of entropy, superstition, misunderstanding, wickedness and weakness enveloping the Catholic faith now plague the Latter-day Saints. Powerlessness (with regard to the gifts of God) and a penchant for bureaucracy and heavy-handed suppression and oppression of those who speak the truth now pervade both organizations.
You imagine I hate (or oppose) the LDS church and its hierarchy. I do not. I hold no ill will toward any of them. On the contrary, as Jesus and Paul loved the church of their day, so do I. But I cannot allow my devotion to any organization or people, however dear, sway me from embracing and upholding the truth as I see it.
You claimed that I "tend to seek division...rather than unity, edification and Christlike walk." I suppose it would seem that way from your perspective, since anything I say to you with which you disagree must necessarily be labeled "divisive" and contrary to what you see as unifying, edifying or Christlike.
Given the negative opinion you hold of me and my views, it serves neither of us to engage in further dialogue.
Neither Moses nor Abraham were followers of "prophets." They followed God. Unless we do the works of Abraham, we have no fellowship with God.
You say to me (in effect): "I belong to the Lord's only true church and you don't, so I will be saved while you will be lost...unless you repent and rejoin the church." While this simplistic notion is not a gross departure from the true faith, it is nonetheless reminiscent of the self-righteous Zoramites who prayed vainly from their Rameumptom, boasting to God that "we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren. And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen." (Alma 31:17-18.)
I know you don't see it that way, but it pains me, like it did the Zoramites who labored to build the sanctuary from which they were cast, to be cast out by your church.
However, it would pain me even more to partake of your idolatry. I know you mean well. I know the LDS Church is "good" for you. (It was good for me, too...and for my family! To a point.)
But the leaders of the LDS Church can only take one so far. In the end, you must look to and follow Christ -- not some prophet or organization -- if you are to be saved.
If you don't understand that, you don't understand anything (worth understanding) from the scriptures.