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Dear President Uchtdorf,

In your Saturday morning talk at conference, you began by telling a story of a man who had a dream. The man dreamed that ‘he was in great hall where all the religions of the world were gathered.’ The story continued with this man meeting a nice couple who represented the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and asked “What do you require of your members?” Their response was that ‘we do not require anything, but the Lord asks that we consecrate all.’ The couple went on to explain about ‘church callings, home and visiting teaching, full-time missions, weekly family home evenings, temple work, welfare, and humanitarian service and assignments to teach.’ The list was expanded with ‘family history, youth camps, devotionals, scripture study, leadership training, youth activities, early morning seminary, maintaining church buildings. And, of course, there is the Lord’s law of health, the monthly fast to help the poor, and tithing.

Upon hearing of all that is required of members and the fact that none locally were paid for these contributions of time and talent, the man responded, “Why would anyone want to join such a church?” The couple’s response was, “We thought you would never ask.”

The story reminded me of a talk given by Boyd K. Packer in the Sunday morning session of conference in October of 1974. I was not privileged to hear this talk directly as I was serving a mission in Finland at the time, but the words sunk deeply into my soul.  It was not easy for us, my father had passed away when I was in high school but, at a sacrifice, my mother easily agreed to help cover the costs of my mission. It was she who sent me a copy of the conference proceedings as well as a tape of the session.

In this talk, Elder Packer referenced an event that occurred while he was a mission president as found here. A family receiving the discussions had requested no more visits. The man had heard of tithing and had decided that was too much to pay. When visited by the branch president, he was asked if he knew about fast offering, building fund (remember those days?), welfare and teaching assignments. The story ends with these words

As they departed, almost as an afterthought, he turned and said, “Have you ever wondered why people will do all of these things willingly? I have never received a bill for tithing. No one has ever called to collect it. But we pay it—and all of the rest—and count it a great privilege.

“If you could discover why, you would be within reach of the pearl of great price, which the Lord said the merchant man was willing to sell all that he had that he might obtain it.

“But,” said the branch president, “It is your decision. I only hope you will pray about it.”

A few days later the man appeared at the branch president’s home. No, he did not want to reschedule the missionaries. That would not be necessary. He wanted to schedule the baptism of his family. They had been praying, fervently praying.

For many years, the story helped validate the work I was doing and justified the many church assignments and activities that made up the agenda of an active member. Are we not to be busily engaged in a good cause?  Are not all these things expected of us in order to gain salvation? Doesn’t paying tithing, attending our meetings and the temple regularly, contributing to fast offering, and fulfilling our assignments represent what is expected of a member in good standing? Is this not how we are measured in the church?

I no longer hold that view. I now understand that relying on these works of men can only give us ‘joy in our works for a season.’ (3 Nephi 27:11) These outward acts – tithing, buildings, assignments and other works of man requiring our time and energy, do not gain us anything but a short lived satisfaction without the correct foundation. Checking all the boxes is not the prerequisite to entering into the rest of the Lord.

In a marvelous display of the workings of the Holy Ghost,  the people of King Benjamin were baptized by fire and received a remission of their sins. They were cautioned to ‘humble themselves even in the depths of humility’ in order to retain a remission of their sins. (Mosiah 4)

They were also taught that, in order to retain a remission of their sins, they were to consider the needs of those around them as described in verse 26:

And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

The pattern that the Lord has set here is that we are to first seek a remission of our sins through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. We are then to maintain humility and seek to serve those around us in order to retain a remission of our sins. We must cleanse ourselves before we can truly serve others. Through that service, we are able to retain a remission of our sins from day to day.

But, let me know turn to the message you delivered to those who are estranged from the church. I quote from your talk:

There are some who leave the church they once loved. One might ask, if the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave? Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended, or lazy, or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations. Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question of whether they should separate themselves from the church.

I am gratified that there is at least some recognition that offense and sin are not the general cause of people leaving the church. Yet, in the pamphlet the church sends to those who have asked to have their names removed, that attitude is still apparent, at least as of last year.

In this church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers. We respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the church we love and the truth we have found but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience just as we claim the privilege for ourselves.

Does this church truly honor personal agency? What would you say to the September Six who were honestly seeking truth, albeit outside the bounds of the lesson manual? Are we not told we must seek the mysteries of God or be bound by the chains of Hell? (Alma 12:9-11) Are we not to share these mysteries as guided by the Holy Spirit? Who is to judge from the outside which of us are to share and which to keep to ourselves?

What is the message to Denver Snuffer now that he was involuntarily separated (excommunicated) from the church? Is that how the church honors personal agency? Is that how you show respect for those who are honestly seeking for truth from the scriptures and historical records of the church. It seems that the church is doing the exact opposite. It is dictating what are the acceptable bounds of personal agency – bounds drawn by the currently accepted view of historical events and filtered by the need to justify the abandonment of practices and doctrines of the past.

Do not the people who travel to listen to people like Denver Snuffer deserve the same protection of personal agency for themselves? Can a person who differs in the perspective message they derive from the scriptures versus the correlated message of the church be shunned and cast away. Can’t truth stand on its own?

In the past, I was a casual reader of Denver Snuffer’s blog. When his notice of pending church discipline was published, I ordered his book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, to see for myself what would get a person excommunicated these days. Having recently finished the book, here is my perspective. I found someone who had put many painstaking hours into rationalizing the scriptures and the documented history of the church with the current church practices and doctrines. I found many of the same scriptures and information that I had independently found on my journey. I would suggest that the message delivered in the writings of Denver Snuffer are as worthy of the sanctity of personal agency as the result of any other prayerful search for truth.

Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of church history along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.

Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.

Patience appears to be the only rational response to the cognitive dissonance that prompts many of these questions. Will patience answer the question why the ordinance of the sacrament differs in practice from the scriptural dictate? Will patience explain why the call to gather to Zion is now ignored? Must we wait to understand the core aspects of the gospel and the true meaning of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost? Must we wait for a season to understand why the works of God have been replaced by the works of men in the validation of the mission of the church?

Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the facts really mean. The question that creates doubt in some can. after careful investigation, build faith in others. And to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

Is the difference of opinion as to the ‘facts,’ even after careful investigation, sufficient to threaten church discipline if that opinion runs counter to the current correlated version of church history? How does one resolve which events are mistakes and which are ‘inspired?’ Are we not encouraged to seek the confirmation of the Spirit in these matters? Should that not be the encouragement given to members when confronted by these differences in opinion, rather than threats and coercion?

As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and as one who has seen firsthand the counsels and workings of this church, I bear solemn witness that no decision of significance affecting this church or its members is ever made without earnestly seeking inspiration, guidance, and the approbation of our Eternal Father. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. God will not allow His church to drift from its appointed course not fail to fulfill its divine destiny.

To this comment, I would ask where in the scriptures do we find that God would not allow the church to fail? On the other hand, is the church still under the condemnation identified in D&C 84:56 and reinforced by the voice of President Benson? What is the vengeance directed to His house as decribed in D&C 112:23-26? Are we not the Gentiles who have received their belief, in and of the Holy Ghost, and then reject the fulness of the gospel? (3 Nephi 16:6-12)

Joseph Smith stated “…for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel his wrath. (TPJS p. 18) Has Zion purified herself in all things, may I ask? We face the same bitter end as the Jews at the meridian of time should we choose to ignore this warning.

The Church of Jesus Christ seems to attract the kind and the caring, the honest and the industrious. If you expect to find perfect people here, you will be disappointed. But if you seek the pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God which healeth the wounded soul and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost, then here you will find them.

Does the church promote the pure doctrine of Christ as found in the scriptures (ex. 3 Nephi 11:31-40) or has it added to church doctrine, many doctrines of men? Does the church teach, as doctrine, the scriptural representation of sanctification or has it adapted doctrine of Christ to be more palatable to the average member (see 2 Nephi 31:17-20) Is it not the definition of some of these core doctrinal questions that cause some people to waver with regards to the church?

I am reminded of a time in the Savior’s life when many abandoned Him. Jesus asked His twelve disciples – “Will you also go away?”  Then Simon Peter answered Him – “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

There are times we have to answer the same question. Will we also go away? Or will we like Peter hold fast to the words of eternal life.

We stand across a gulf from one another, each pointing an accusing finger toward the other shouting “apostate!!” Has the church itself not gone away from the original teachings of the Savior and the core revelations of the restoration? Have we not rationalized our condemnation by pointing proudly to the fact that we now have 15 million members across the globe and are building many fine structures? Do we, as a church, offer a pittance to the suffering around us while an investment in a shopping mall dwarfs decades of humanitarian efforts by the church?

I have seen how strongly the church values personal agency. I watched, a number of years ago, a good friend excommunicated for apostasy when the underlying issue was their belief and acquisition of personal revelation (and it repeats to this day). I watched the friends and associates of this person grilled and threatened with the same punishment. I saw a stake president abruptly released because he would not proceed with church discipline in one case. I listened to the father of one of these targets confide that the general authority who was leading the charge admitted candidly that this could have been a mistake.

This entire scenario is what prompted me to begin my search for truth. How was I supposed to rationalize what had transpired before me with the undeniable witness of the Book of Mormon and the existence of God I had received in my youth? In the process, I purchased a large library of literature touching on the topics of church history and doctrine. I read voraciously and studied all sources available to me. I sought the Lord in prayer and fasting to help guide me on this journey and felt the confirmation of His Spirit in my acquisition of knowledge.

I can say, Come, join with us, rings hollow when I contemplate the gap between the promise of Zion and the lesser law that the church has embraced this day. I seek to see Zion established. I seek to prepare myself spiritually and emotionally that I may be worthy to someday enter the gate to the community of God; to be in close association with His sons and daughters.

While I cannot attest that my path is the appropriate direction for anyone else to take; what I can say is that the Spirit has guided me to the place I now stand. I know not where this will lead but I can only express my gratitude to my Father for the knowledge and understanding I have received. I carry with me to this day a testament of the spiritual nuggets available to those who search the scriptures and seek to receive the words of Christ.

Sincerely,

Joe Jensen

Perrysburg, Ohio

73 Responses to “An Open Letter to President Uchtdorf”

  • Log:

    Good luck, my friend.

    Speaking of PTHG, I need to re-read it because I know I have not understood what I thought I understood. Now, given an insight provided me here, it seems very nearly everyone can be right.

    But, here’s a dumb question for ya – why do you think the Lord isn’t actively withdrawing light and knowledge from an ungrateful and unreceptive people by circumscribing the teachings He directs His servants, the Brethren, to dispense to the Church?

    9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.

    10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

    11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

    As an aside, it may be the case that Snuffer was ex’d not so much for his own words, but what others claimed he said. I’m afraid that even I, without malice aforethought, have misrepresented his actual claims – as can be seen in that conversation linked to.

    • Spektator:

      Log,
      With respect to Denver Snuffer, I believe that all who have interest should read and listen to what he has to say and draw their own opinion. There are definite issues that his writings have tried to address. I was certainly not as comprehensive in terms of my research and analysis but I agree with one aspect of message from DS. The church can and has been subject to apostasy as it has tried to move into the mainstream of world religions. To your point, are we able to only ascribe to a lesser portion of the word because of it? I think that is an important aspect to the discussion. The process of correlation removed much of the ‘mystery’ from the teachings of the church. No meat, just milk.

      President Uchtdorf’s message of patience and we will someday have the information that will clarify the questions is a valiant attempt to deflect concerns. There are likely many in the Church who will use this approach to not seek after additional light and knowledge.

      I strongly suspect that DS was excommunicated because he intended to draw others to him through his lecture series. The timing of his court and excommunication speak loudly to that connection. PTHG had been out for many months yet on the eve of the first speaking engagement, he is brought in to church discipline?

      • Log:

        Snuffer says his former stake president (as opposed to the current officeholder) was also pressured from Salt Lake to take action over him.

        You ask “To your point, are we able to only ascribe to a lesser portion of the word because of it?”

        To which I respond: it hasn’t stopped me from seeking more; why should it stop anyone? And if they’re not interested, well, that’s on them.

      • Spektator:

        Log,
        I hadn’t considered the thought until you brought it up. Are the restraints put on teaching by correlation an example of what happens when one (individual or organization) does not seek the mysteries as commanded in Alma 12?

      • Log:

        Spek – wouldn’t that just make all kinds of sense? I think something like that happens to be true.

    • Frederick:

      Log,

      He is and has actively withdrawn light and knowledge from the Latter Day Saints. The Lectures on Faith were removed from the Doctrine and Covenants, even though they were the “Doctrine” portion of the D&C. How often do you hear the doctrine from the Lectures on Faith being taught by our leaders today? The answer is you don’t.

      Also, it seems like you are making your rounds on websites like these and making your point of view known. Are you in the service of the LDS church? Why would somebody’s letter to Dieter Uchtdorf even concern you? If it uplifts, enlightens or strengthens you, great. If not, why even bother making your views known here, unless that is you are somehow in the service of the LDS church, and your mission is to do that.

      • Log:

        Are you in the service of the LDS church?

        I am glad you asked, Frederick.

        As a matter of fact, I have covenanted before God, angels, and witnesses, that I would sustain, and defend the kingdom of God. Now, that phrase, “the kingdom of God,” is open to interpretation, just as is anything else; however, as it is my firm belief that the kingdom of God – those who repent, and come unto Christ – is a subset of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I choose to honor my covenant by sustaining and defending the LDS church. I seek to do that consistent with what I know and with what I believe, while distinguishing very carefully between the two.

        If what you’re asking is whether I am employed by the Church, the answer is no.

        Why would somebody’s letter to Dieter Uchtdorf even concern you?

        If you mean “worry” where you say “concern,” then I must say, it doesn’t worry me one bit, though I was impressed that the author appended his real name to it on the internet. If you mean “involve” where you say “concern,” well, I’ve been commenting on this blog for a while now (gee, has it been nearly a year already?), and have had many interesting discussions with Spektator, who is the blog owner, and some of the other commenters here. That’s why, I presume, Spektator allows comments, so that he can interact with others on the topics he’s speaking about, and likewise why we comment.

        If it uplifts, enlightens or strengthens you, great. If not, why even bother making your views known here, unless that is you are somehow in the service of the LDS church, and your mission is to do that.

        Now this portion of what can only be read as you censuring, or accusing, me is confusing. I can only imagine – and I think I have good cause for imagining – that you are offended at what I have written because I referred to the Brethren as servants of the Lord. I am not sure why that would offend one unless one was quite convinced they are not. I cannot condemn anyone for not knowing what I know – that the Brethren are servants of the Lord – because I, myself, bought that knowledge at a price.

        Doctrine and Covenants 88:81
        81 [I]t becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

        I’m not trying to stuff that knowledge down anyone’s throat, but I am trying to warn people to be very, very cautious in how they handle the Brethren and their teachings, lest they find out the hard way the Brethren were doing what they were told, as I did, and possibly bring harm to others in the meantime. Nobody wants that.

        It is consistent with the Brethren being servants of the Lord to say that the Lord may be withdrawing light and knowledge by circumscribing what the Brethren present, because it suits the Lord’s purposes for the Church. I think that hypothesis, if it were true, would actually answer most of Spektator’s concerns voiced in his letter.

        Sometimes, the way to get the horse to drink is to lead him away from the water, or even give him a salt lick. Then he tends to get quite thirsty, and will sometimes go to the water and drink of his own accord.

        Just a thought.

      • Spektator:

        Log,

        It is consistent with the Brethren being servants of the Lord to say that the Lord may be withdrawing light and knowledge by circumscribing what the Brethren present, because it suits the Lord’s purposes for the Church. I think that hypothesis, if it were true, would actually answer most of Spektator’s concerns voiced in his letter.

        If I understand correctly, what you are suggesting here is that the leaders of the church are “doing what they are told.’ That they are, at the behest of the Lord, restricting knowledge regarding the true doctrine of Christ. Does the Lord want them to draw the focus away from the message of ‘come unto Christ’ and replace it with ‘follow the brethren?’ Does the Lord want these men to teach the membership that being born again is an imperceptible process over time rather than an event? There are many similar questions that could be asked in this vein.

        There are aspects of this idea that are troublesome to me. First, I believe , strongly, that the Lord respects our agency and will, individually and collectively, grant us as much wisdom and knowledge as we are willing to accept. He is no respecter of persons. The leadership of the church has as much right to seek wisdom and understanding as other mortals to fulfill their responsibilities and prepare themselves for the eternities. If they choose, either out of a lack of understanding, or out of pride and ego, to draw people away from the true message of the gospel, they will be held accountable for their choices.

        I don’t believe that the Lord is behind this nor that He condones their behavior any more than He did with respect to the Pharisees and priests at the meridian of time. I do not believe the Lord would sustain any leader in teaching error rather than truth. Remember that in the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew, chapter 21, the Lord called the leaders of the Gentile church “miserable, wicked men.”

        Secondly, is that what a prophet is supposed to do? Are they to lead the people down strange paths or are they called to preach repentance and to teach us how to come unto Christ? Are they fulfilling this admonition by building malls and supporting Babylon?

        I know, from our past discussions, that you received revelation that suggested these men are true servants of the Lord. I have not received that, in fact, I have received just the opposite. These men are focused on building up the church and drawing people to them rather than to Christ and the kingdom of God. I believe they are sincere in their misapplied desire to accomplish their task of filling the whole earth with the Church. They are fulfilling prophecy by doing so but that does not excuse them from their actions.

      • Frederick:

        Log,

        It makes sense that you are in the service of the LDS church. I am not offended at all by your comments, only puzzled. There are dozens and dozens of LDS blogs that I have no interest in visiting, or even less so, adding my comments. Why would I assert my views on those whose beliefs are not identical to mine? It would be a waste of time. I share my views with my family, friends and those with whom I fellowship at church. It is strange that you feel you need to defend an institution. Defend the doctrine of Christ. Of course, one would need to know and understand it first before being able to defend it.

        I also agree with Spektator, it would really be a twist of logic to assert that the Brethren are deliberately leading people astray, (away from the water hole as you put it)so that people would want to come back again. Seriously, that is really twisted. Yet, it is that type of reasoning I find frequently put forth by people who have their faith in an institution and men, rather than faith in the Savior and His gospel.

        The simple fact is that the LDS church is only following the same path as the Nephites and the Jaredites. We are dwindling in unbelief and rejecting the fullness of the gospel. It is even prophesied that we would do so in the Book of Mormon.

        You don’t need to warn me about rejecting the Brethren and their teachings. It is obvious to anyone who looks that the church has rejected much of what Joseph Smith brought forth. Joseph Smith stood in the presence of the Father and the Son. The testimony that is recorded in D&C 76 is one example of his testimony. What leader of the church has seen what Joseph has seen? Yet, the committee who removed the Lectures on Faith presumed to know better than Joseph did concerning the “Doctrine” of our church. Did they see more than Joseph did in his recorded testimony in D&C 76? Where is the revelation stating such? The only thing they mention is that the doctrine in the Lectures seemed inconsistent with what is recorded in D&C 130, which is a revelation that Joseph received. Anyone who has knowledge, received directly from heaven, will know that both the Lectures on Faith and the revelations in Section 130 are true. The only reason confusion may arise would be due to an incomplete understanding of the Godhead and the Holy Spirit. Joseph stated plainly that he would answer to every principle put forth in that book. He never once thought to remove the Lectures, or the Doctrine of the church, during his lifetime.

        We reject the teachings of Joseph Smith at our peril.

      • Log:

        Spek,

        I didn’t say they were prophets. I simply said they were servants of the Lord. Not every servant of the Lord is necessarily a prophet, neither a seer, nor a revelator (to literally say nothing of being translators).

        Moreover, I have no reason to suppose they are prophets, seers, and revelators. They never claim the gifts for themselves, but always refer to the other guys as such.

        If I understand correctly, what you are suggesting here is that the leaders of the church are “doing what they are told.’ That they are, at the behest of the Lord, restricting knowledge regarding the true doctrine of Christ. Does the Lord want them to draw the focus away from the message of ‘come unto Christ’ and replace it with ‘follow the brethren?’ Does the Lord want these men to teach the membership that being born again is an imperceptible process over time rather than an event? There are many similar questions that could be asked in this vein.

        I’m not sure if the Lord wants those exact words to be said. What I am sure of is that the Lord does not wish otherwise well-meaning people to grow discouraged because of things which they’ve not obtained through faith, who might then depart from the ways of righteousness into wickedness, and so forth. The teaching of an extended process of repentance which is potentially imperceptible is precisely what I took issue with as well. I was punished for doing that publicly, that being the substance of the explanation I was given – it is so that many do not grow discouraged – with the Lord saying “you have spoken stout words against my servants.” It was clarified that repentance, scripturally, means to repent and call upon the name of the Lord until one has faith in Christ. So defined, a lifelong imperceptible process of repentance is consistent with the scriptures. Perhaps not every variant of that teaching is.

        You’ll note what I said, and you may also note what I didn’t say. There is significance to that.

        There are aspects of this idea that are troublesome to me. First, I believe , strongly, that the Lord respects our agency and will, individually and collectively, grant us as much wisdom and knowledge as we are willing to accept.

        That is true. With the reduction of content and alteration of the ordinances of the temple, just to name one very important and obvious example, apparently done because a great majority did not like them as they were, you can guess that the Lord is giving us, as a people, just as much as we are willing to accept. Messing with the ordinances of the temple is not a thing which can be done lightly.

        Isaiah 24:1 Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.

        2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.

        3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.

        4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.

        5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

        6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

        We, as a people, get what we, as a people, deserve – and we, as individuals, get what we, as individuals, deserve. The prophecies shall be fulfilled.

        He is no respecter of persons. The leadership of the church has as much right to seek wisdom and understanding as other mortals to fulfill their responsibilities and prepare themselves for the eternities. If they choose, either out of a lack of understanding, or out of pride and ego, to draw people away from the true message of the gospel, they will be held accountable for their choices.

        That, too, is true.

        I don’t believe that the Lord is behind this nor that He condones their behavior any more than He did with respect to the Pharisees and priests at the meridian of time. I do not believe the Lord would sustain any leader in teaching error rather than truth. Remember that in the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew, chapter 21, the Lord called the leaders of the Gentile church “miserable, wicked men.”

        One of the things I am keenly aware of is that anything which has not been spoken to me by the mouth of God, in words, is not knowledge. Moreover, how we handle these things has an impact on others, as well. As Joseph said, only a fool trifles with the souls of men. I am at the point where I will help those who are sent to me directly but I am waiting on the Lord to make the rest known, so that I may proceed on a basis of pure knowledge, which cannot be overcome nor gainsaid. Having obtained knowledge from the Lord, then I will know whatever it is I am supposed to be doing, saying, and teaching, as well as how to, and have power to do it. Why settle for speaking of one’s beliefs, when it is possible to know?

        Also – perfect is not the enemy of good.

        Things are more complicated than I know. This is a huge machine with millions of agents as moving parts.

        Secondly, is that what a prophet is supposed to do? Are they to lead the people down strange paths or are they called to preach repentance and to teach us how to come unto Christ? Are they fulfilling this admonition by building malls and supporting Babylon?

        A prophet is supposed to give the keys of knowledge whereby a man might enter into the presence of God. Joseph tried, and failed, or we’d be in Zion right now. There are multiple definitions of “prophet” one can apply to people (the minimum is one who has the gift of the Holy Ghost, by fire). The one that I use is the Biblical definition – a prophet is one who has stood in the divine council. I do not believe we have had a prophet, in this sense, since Joseph. Snuffer might be one – I don’t know.

        But you know what? If I see a lack of miracle-workers, prophets, seers, and revelators in the Church, does it make sense to rail against those in leadership positions for possibly not being what I am looking for? Is not the root of my dissatisfaction that I, myself, am not all I wish to be? Is not the gate open to me to obtain all of that for myself, for the asking, from He whose it is to bestow such things? Why not seek, strive, and ask to be received into the council, myself? Isn’t that the point? Isn’t that the fullness of the Gospel? How does calling attention to other men’s failings get me where I want to go?

        Moreover – and this is something which I have yet to hear an answer on from anyone – does calling attention to the failings of the leadership help, or hurt, the cause of Christ? I mean, how does this play out, ideally? Who’s the target audience? What should they be doing? If there are any other authorized administrators of the outward ordinances, then who are they, and how did they get such authorization? If there are not, then does publicizing their failings help, or hinder, someone from receiving the teachings and necessary ordinances from them?

        I know, from our past discussions, that you received revelation that suggested these men are true servants of the Lord. I have not received that, in fact, I have received just the opposite.

        But was it said explicitly and verbally? I’m at the point where that’s the standard I’m applying to these things – I don’t accept less, and I don’t accept “testimony” from men except they also give sufficient grounds as a basis for their assertions – that is, they explain how they know what they claim to know. I was recently in a “discussion” with someone who said he’d asked a complex question of God and received an affirmative feeling. I don’t doubt that he did. I wonder, however, at what the affirmative feeling meant. When one plays the “hot or cold” game, where you try to find something someone’s hidden, and they give you clues in the form of saying “hot” or “cold,” saying one is “hot” if one is headed in a generally correct direction is not lying, even if they are not exactly headed in the correct direction.

        Come to think of it, that would explain certain other people’s answers that I have been made aware of, and the problems such answers have caused them.

        And it is also possible that not all the leadership may be in harmony with the Lord; disunity and inconsistency would be prima facie evidence of such. I have my own thoughts on that matter.

        These men are focused on building up the church and drawing people to them rather than to Christ and the kingdom of God. I believe they are sincere in their misapplied desire to accomplish their task of filling the whole earth with the Church. They are fulfilling prophecy by doing so but that does not excuse them from their actions.

        Leave them in God’s hands, then, and let us seek knowledge, through fasting and prayer, until we receive it, knowing what we should be doing about it. What else can we rationally be doing?

        In this, I don’t mean to censure you, Spek. I’m encouraging you to take the path that I’m on. That’s it.

  • boo:

    In general an excellent post ..So who was the General Authority referenced in the 4th from the last paragraph . Iy is my impression it was Pres. Packer. O have always found it interesting that Gileadi was reinstated without the necessity of being re-baptized or having his blessings restored.

    • Spektator:

      There were several general authorities involved in the situation. It occurred several years after the September 6 and the same people were not involved. The GA that ran point in this was a seventy, now an emeritus, operating at the direction of a member of the council of the twelve who now sits in one of the highest chairs of church leadership. More than that needs to go offline.

      Gileadi, if I recall correctly, was the only one of the six that was disfellowshipped. His path back to full fellowship did not require rebaptism.

      • boo:

        Actually your recollection is incorrect. He was excommunicated. See Wiki article or google his own blog comments. That action was later expunged was his records and he was welcomed back in full fellowship w/o rebaptism or restoration of blessings. No public explanation . We aren’t very good about institutional apologies. It will be interesting to see what happens to Snuffer. Thanks for raising these issues

      • Spektator:

        Boo,
        Dang, that is what I get for being lazy. There was one of the six that was disfellowshipped but it was not Gileadi. I saw a DesNews article that announced he had been rebaptized. Is expunging an ordinance?

        I don’t know of any institution that is good at apologies, especially one that claims to have a corner on the truth.

  • Fusion:

    Hi Spektator,

    I’ve been a silent reader of your excellent blog. God bless for having the courage to stand up and say something. Most everything you say are things I have felt since my spiritual awakening about 4-5 years ago. I joined the church purely on the basis that the Book of Mormon completely and utterly filled my soul and caused me to weep. Yet, I had very little interest in joining the church initially but relented due to the missionaries. However, from the first week there I just felt that something was gravely wrong…that what I read and felt in the Book of Mormon and our other scriptures did not carry over into the church. I knew something was up yet I did not want to worry myself over it. However, when my awakening creeped up on me, oh my…the things that I have discovered is simply astounding. I prayed very hard for the truth, and the Lord started opening up a myriad of avenues to enlighten me. I believe this is available to all of us, and the number of us is growing exponentially, those who are repenting of supporting the arm of flesh and thinking this is all about us, rather than the Lamanite Remnant…

    Thanks so much for your wonderful efforts.

    Fusion

    • Spektator:

      Fusion,
      Thank you from coming out of lurk mode. It is certainly bittersweet to read comments such as yours. Why are we placed in this dilemma? Why are those who are supposed to guard the vineyard trying to destroy those who seek the knowledge God has promised to those who reside within it’s fences? I have often considered how the church would operate if it were based solely on the Book of Mormon. But alas…

      You bring up a point regarding the Lamanite Remnant. This concept seems to be lost today as DNA has challenged the idea that the native Americans originated principally from the migrations from the middle east. I still follow the limited geography Heartland model that is promoted by Rod Meldrum as what appears to be the most rational option if one needs to place the Book of Mormon in a specific geographic setting.(That has nothing to do with the fact that I live on the borders of the East Sea. ]>}

      But what of the Lamanites as the remnant of Lehi? Since the Gentiles were ordained to take the fullness of the gospel to them and assist them to build Zion, where do we go? That is on my list for a ‘seek’ one of these days.

      I wish you success in your continued search for knowledge and wisdom.

    • Jen:

      Fusion,

      Would you mind sharing some of the avenues you have been led to? I would really love to hear.

      Great post, Joe. This is my first visit. :) Hope to stumble by again.

  • JR:

    Spek,
    Thank you for speaking out.
    What you have said is the bare truth…and Pres. U is one of the best of the lot.
    Don’t church members see and feel the schism that is splitting the church?
    How long do the men in charge think they can continue to practice damage control using oppression to hold the church together?
    There is a LOT of resentment bubbling just below the surface in the church today.
    When will they understand that force and threats are a very poor way to run the “Church of Christ”.
    JR

    • Spektator:

      JR,
      I have a great sorrow resting on my heart from watching the messages of this last conference week. I don’t know how to completely explain the emotions that welled up inside me from the combination of the adoration of the men to lead the church expressed by the congregation (relying on the arm of flesh) and the messages that focused on the works of men not the works of God.

      As I see it, the leadership of the church have the same passionate regard for protecting the corporate church as the Pharisees and priests had in their day. I find it interesting that that temple at Jerusalem had a private entrance for the elite, just as the Salt Lake Temple and the Conference Center. I watched as the men and women left the stage after conference. It appeared this was done by rank, and they exited through their own entrance as the congregation stood in reverent awe of these men who claim to be prophets, seers, and revelators. Why is this the case? Why do many gush over the same trite phrases and old stories? Why is the ‘inspiration’ derived from the talks have such a high emotional quotient?

      These may be some undercurrent in the church but I don’t see that in the occasional meetings I attend. The people are under a burden to perform the checklist and they don’t recognize the bondage that holds them. Many don’t realize that the superficial emotion they feel pales in comparison to the richness of the Spirit of God. Many are much more comfortable, as were the people at the time of Moses, to let their leaders simply tell them what God wants rather than seeking Him out for themselves.

      Alma expressed my feelings better than I can…

      “O THAT I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth. But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.”

  • Lilli:

    Yes, Just because The Gospel is true, doesn’t mean the Church is. Just because the Book of Mormon may be true, doesn’t mean the Church is. Just because Joseph Smith was a true prophet doesn’t mean Brigham & those today were and are.

    Prophets can and do fall & lead people astray, the scriptures and history prove that. Just because a false prophet says he can’t lead you astray, like most false prophets in other religions say too, doesn’t mean he can’t and hasn’t.

    We need to follow the adminition of Christ & true prophets, that teach us to compare what anyone teaches, especially those who call themselves prophets, with what Christ taught and with what the Book of Mormon taught. If you do this you will quickly see that the LDS Church, since Brigham Young took over, preaches & practices completely opposite doctrines to what Christ, ancient Prophets & Joseph Smith did.

    Joseph never preached or practiced polygamy, the Church & it’s leaders can lead you astray, prophets can and often do fall, women do hold the same Priesthood power & authority as men and are equal with men in the home, church & society, there is no such thing as temple endowments & sealings all families of the earth are automatically eternal, even if family members don’t all end up in the same kingdoms, they will still know, love & visit one another, there is no such thing as polygamy, divorce or remarriage according to Christ, all 1st marriages are eternal and the couple will be together in the Celestial Kingdom if at least one spouse was righteous (and could thus save the other).

    There have been so many falsehoods taught by so many false prophets in the Church since Joseph died, that the LDS believe in a totally different religion than Joseph or Christ preached.

    Joseph warned that most everyone would fall for the many false prophets that would be around us today, especially in the Church. Because false prophets seem so wonderful and right and say 95% truth that makes you feel good but 5% falsehoods to lead you carefully astray.

    Joseph taught that unless we have perfect Christlike love we will be easily deceived by these crafty prophets and men who just want to get gain & set themselves up. They make you pay for forgiveness of sins & salvation, in the form of a temple recommend, when such is already ‘free’ from God and your family is already eternal, no need for Brigham’s false ‘sealings’ to make his whoredoms seem valid & official.

    • Log:

      So who then are the true prophets, and by what standard do you judge them to be true?

      • Lilli:

        Log,

        Great question. How did Christ say we would tell his true prophets & disciples? Didn’t he say we shall know them by their Christlike Love. The one trait the Devil knows nothing about and can’t duplicate. But to recognize perfect love in someone else we must understand & possess it ourselves. Joseph Smith said only those who possess perfect love aren’t deceived by falsehoods & false prophets. It takes a prophet to know one.

        And if we want ‘perfect understanding’ then we again must possess perfect Christlike love & charity, for only love (which brings the Spirit) can teach us all things.

        Joseph also taught that one of the ways we tell true prophets is that they will not preach or practice anything ‘contrary’ to what Christ & the scriptures teach. If they do he said we will know they are teaching falsehoods and are probably imposters & false prophets. It’s not very hard to find numerous teachings by Brigham Young & LDS leaders since him, then & now, that are completely contrary to Christ’s & Joseph Smith’s doctrines. So what does that say about these leaders preaching errors?

        I believe contention is caused ‘not’ by someone teaching truth with the Spirit, but by someone who doesn’t have the Spirit & who rejects the truth. People can discuss contrary opinions and beliefs without contention if they both are respectful of the other’s viewpoints.

        If preaching truth or identifying error or wickedness in others or in churches is wrong or contentious, then Christ and all the true Prophets often caused contention, something the Savior couldn’t do because he was perfect.

        Did Christ cause contention when he cleared the temple? Or when he identified wickedness in those around him? He was perfect, so apparently it wasn’t him that was causing the contention, but rather, those who refused to accept his message.

        True Prophets frequently identify wickedness & call people to repentance. If they were contending by doing so then they would not be true prophets. Abinadi was very frank with King Noah, and also Nephi with Laman & Lemuel & Moroni (with his perfect understanding) with Pahoran or those men who refused to defend their families & freedom. And Samual the Lamanite wasn’t the one who caused the contention, it was those who rejected his message who did, and thus he left.

        If discussions get contentious because someone is not accepting the truth, then it’s best for the other to end the discussion, for once they have determined that the other won’t hear or accept the message anyway, ‘then’ it’s wrong to continue for ‘then’ it’s just contending, which gets nowhere.

        But teaching truth by the Spirit or identifying errors, wickedness or false prophets is not being contentious, it’s righteous and we are even commanded to do so & try to warn others of evil, so they don’t fall, or continue to fall, for such.

      • Log:

        Lilli,

        I appreciate your view – but in all honesty, I don’t see much in the teachings of the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which is necessarily inconsistent with the scriptures or the teachings of Joseph Smith. Unlike you, I accept that D&C 132 is scripture.

        I’m asking specifically the identities of them whom you account as prophets, and how they meet your criteria. I understand that you’re not LDS.

      • Lilli:

        Log, it looks like Joseph Smith was a true prophet because he taught the same doctrines as Christ and I believe the Book of Mormon prophets were true also. Some of the ancient Prophets in the Bible fell from grace though & succumbed to whoredoms, as Prophets even do at times.

        But Brigham Young preached a whole different religion than Joseph & Christ did, many contrary doctrines. Even though you may want to believe in 123 it does go against everything that Joseph Smith taught the Saints, for he, like Christ & the BoM prophets, all condemned polygamy in every instance. So Brigham brought out new & contrary doctrine with 132, which Joseph said is how you know it’s false, cause it goes against the scriptures and Christ.

      • Log:

        Lilli,

        You don’t have to answer the question I asked, but in that case, I have no other questions.

        Thanks.

  • Log:

    On a completely unrelated topic,

    For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

    1. Strife; struggle; a violent effort to obtain something, or to resist a person, claim or injury; contest; quarrel.

    Multitudes lost their lives in a tumult raised by contention among the partizans of the several colors.

    2. Strife in words or debate; quarrel; angry contest; controversy.

    Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law. Titus 3.
    A fool’s lips enter into contention. Proverbs 18.

    3. Strife or endeavor to excel; emulation.
    4. Eagerness; zeal; ardor; vehemence of endeavor.

    This is an end worthy of our utmost contention to obtain.

    I am so tired of contention.

    • Spektator:

      Log,
      I have pondered the topic of contention for a long time. As I see it, there will be no contention when “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.” At that time, we will all share the same understanding and be privy to truth untainted. Does anyone have a perfect understanding before ‘the perfect day”‘

      Until then, I believe there will be an ongoing struggle between truth and error, right and wrong, spiritual and carnal. Is it not contentious to speak out against error? To raise a voice against wrong ideas and incorrect perceptions? To rail against pride and vanity? I don’t think we can do missionary work without contending for the souls of those whose paths we cross.

      • Log:

        … If you look for the phrase “perfect understanding” in the Book of Mormon, then yes, people do have perfect understandings before the perfect day; I guess for some the perfect day arrives earlier than for others. But you’re right about when everyone knows the same things, there will be no contention. I had pondered that same verse in this context as well. Nobody argues whether the sun is shining when it is in their faces, do they?

        BUT.

        The Savior has forbidden contention, and we are not to contend against any church save it be the church of the devil, which, as I understand it, may mean, as you say, to speak out against error and wickedness, and perhaps pride and vanity. Wielding the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue, ultimately, but even then only when we have knowledge from the Lord, not merely belief – because the other guy’s going to have beliefs, too. If we only believe, and we contend against others for their beliefs, or even contend against their beliefs, then we are no better than they.

        It is when someone undertakes to dominate another, to raise himself above another, through disputing, contests, debates, reviling, or evil speaking – making men appear offenders for a word, among other things – for the sake of pride and vanity that I wish to withdraw. This is the contention of which I speak, and which I believe the Savior condemned.

        I haven’t seen you revile those you disagree with; I haven’t seen you lay traps that you might make men appear to be evil, immoral, and so forth. I see this kind of behavior from within the household of faith and it displeases me sorely. But, then, what has changed since the fall of Adam, as can be seen throughout the scriptures…

  • Spektator:

    So the church is reacting to the number of people who are leaving because the cognitive dissonance derived from really searching the doctrine and history of the church. Rather than telling the members to be patient and the answers will be revealed in the future, why wasn’t the answer something like this:

    If you have a question or concern about the history or doctrine of the church, study it out and seek the Lord through prayer and fasting (Alma 5:46-47). Are we not promised that the Lord will answer our prayers just as He answered the pleas of Joseph Smith?

    Should the church leadership be fearful of people who actually study the scriptures, seek answers, and rely on the same spirit of revelation that taught Alma of the things of the kingdom of God? Regrettably, it appears to be so.

    • Lilli:

      I agree the Church could & should have addressed the issue better of the many members who have serious doubts & questions.

      The truth will come out sooner or later which will make them look worse, so why do they continue to not admit it?

      How great it would be if instead of just saying ‘leaders can & have been wrong’, that they would actually acknowledge & correct the many errors past & present leaders have made.

      When they refuse to do this but instead skirt over the issue, telling people to doubt the promptings about ‘errors & falsehoods in the church’ that may be coming from the Spirit, then the leaders lose even more credibility & respect, causing even more doubts & questions for true truth seekers.

  • Log:

    I also agree with Spektator, it would really be a twist of logic to assert that the Brethren are deliberately leading people astray, (away from the water hole as you put it)so that people would want to come back again. Seriously, that is really twisted. Yet, it is that type of reasoning I find frequently put forth by people who have their faith in an institution and men, rather than faith in the Savior and His gospel.

    There is scriptural precedence for it.

    2 Nephi 27:5
    5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.

    And, again.

    Amos 8:11 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:

    12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.

    13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.

    And again.

    Jacob 4:14
    14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.

    And, unfortunately, there happens to be scriptural precedent for “follow the brethren.”

    2 Thessalonians 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you…

    9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

    I think I saw others along those lines, but I can’t recall off the top of my head; they were all in Paul.

    • Frederick:

      Log,

      You are wresting the scriptures and coming up with some strange interpretations. I find it hard to believe that you are actually saying the Brethren are deliberately leading us astray. Seriously, that is twisted.

      Those scriptures are actually saying what happens when we reject the words of the prophets. Joseph Smith was a prophet. We have rejected his words. See my comments above regarding the Lectures on Faith. So, in the sense that we’ve rejected the words of the prophet Joseph Smith, you are right, He hath covered they eyes of the seers because of “our” iniquity. That would mean the eyes of our leaders are “shut.” If they are “shut,” they don’t see. Therefore, they cannot be deliberately leading us astray, because that would imply they do see, and have knowledge of what they are doing. Seriously, it is really twisted to think that the Brethren are leading us astray.

      However, you are right about a famine in the land. That is apparently obvious. Again, one of the reasons for the removal of the Lectures on Faith was that they seemed inconsistent with what is taught about the Godhead in D&C 130. Jacob 4:14 literally describes why most do not understand what is written in the Lectures on Faith.

      Log, you did a better job than I did of showing scriptural evidence of why the Lectures were removed. God took away his plainness from us. Our understanding of the Godhead today is incomplete as a result.

      The Lectures on Faith state first that in order for us to exercise faith in God, we must have a “correct” idea of who God is. When we actually do have faith, the heavens are literally opened and we obtain knowledge from Him. This teaching is confirmed in Moroni 7:37-38. Mormon also states in this scripture that if the heavens are closed, i.e. we do not have angels “appear” and minister to us, then our faith has ceased, awful is our state and we exist as if no redemption had been made for us.

      Log, I do agree with you on some things. There is a famine in the land. The eyes of the seers have been covered and it is due to our iniquity. Thank you for bringing up those scriptures.

    • Log:

      Oh, yes, forgot to wrest one more scripture to establish my twisted point.

      3 Nephi 15:18
      18 And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.

      To be clear, my twisted point is not that the Brethren are intentionally leading us astray – for that would be a perversion of what I am establishing. My twisted point is the teachings they are giving us may well be limited on orders from God.

  • Log:

    I had another reply posted, but you know what? I hate contention.

    I refuse to be accountable for that which another man has placed in my mouth.

  • Log:

    I love it. I’m too orthodox for the apostates, and too apostate for the orthodox – ldsanarchy has put my comments on indefinite moderation, and I have been banned outright other well-known LDS blogs. We get a guy here who says I’m wrong while agreeing I’m right, and posting disagreeing comments about how I shouldn’t post disagreeing comments. I can’t get a break, I’m telling ya.

    • hagoth:

      Log,

      Actually it’s funny that you mention this, I seem to visit the same sites as you and have found myself really reading what you say. You have a lot to say, do you have your own blog? I think that might help you with your banned issues :-). I’ve read you now on this site, Pure Mormonism, LDS Anarchy and Latter-day Commentary to name a few. I like what you have to say man….just know that your words are being heard. And i don’t feel any contention from you….I think most folks are just scared at your freakish knowledge of the scriptures :-)

      • Log:

        I had a blog, I posted all I really had to say on it – all that concerned me – and then I was prompted to take it down, so I did. Now I just comment here and there. Until I get banned.

        (Incidentally, I got banned off a lot of sites for putting forward a formal, scripturally-based argument that whoever publicly teaches or endorses evolution as the mechanism for creation either never has been converted, has been converted but fallen into transgression, or is speaking against the Holy Ghost. Go figure.)

        I find this blog to be the most congenial, as Spektator doesn’t strike me as being one who bears false witness, neither does he seek to make a man an offender for a word, neither is he a flatterer, neither does he engage in back-slapping, and so far as I have seen (granted, haven’t read the whole blog) he hasn’t condemned any specific person that I know of.

  • Lilli:

    People are only truly ‘apostate’ if they preach & practice ‘contrary’ to Christ’s teachings, not the Church’s teachings. Christ is the only standard that matters.

  • Log:

    Lilli,

    Broadly speaking:

    People are ‘apostate’ when they are filled with pride, vanity, arrogance, contention, malice, and are puffed-up, while rejecting servants of the Lord.

    People are ‘orthodox’ when they are filled with pride, vanity, arrogance, contention, malice, and are puffed-up, while following servants of the Lord.

    From this perspective, it doesn’t matter how well they know their scriptures, nor how doctrinally correct either group perceives themselves to be, for neither of them follow Christ; neither of them abides in the truth. Neither keeps the greatest commandments – to love the Lord their God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, and their neighbor like unto themselves. And this is true no matter what revelations or visions or visitations they claim.

    And the public propensity of both groups to bear false witness, to make a man an offender for a word, to flatter, to back-slap, to mock, and to pass judgement on the character of others, is a dead giveaway as to whom they follow.

    • Lilli:

      Yes, I agree with most of what you said, such people in any group would be apostate and not following Christ’s teachings.

      But the only part I may believe differently about is passing judgement on other’s character. We shouldn’t condemn people but we are commanded to lovingly use ‘righteous judgement & discernment about others around us, especially church leaders, so we aren’t deceived to follow false prophets and so we can be wise & safe in choosing our associates, whether for business, social, dating, marriage, our children’s friends, church leaders, political leaders, etc.

      We will be held accountable if we are not able to discern the righteous from the wicked & thus become deceived.

      All these different people in our lives we must make as good a judgment on their character as we can, leaving the final judgement to God.

      Before we can even help others ‘repent or become undeceived’ we must be able to discern if they need to.

      • Log:

        We shouldn’t condemn people but we are commanded to lovingly use ‘righteous judgement & discernment about others around us, especially church leaders, so we aren’t deceived to follow false prophets and so we can be wise & safe in choosing our associates, whether for business, social, dating, marriage, our children’s friends, church leaders, political leaders, etc.

        If that were the case, we could point to the scriptures which say exactly that. Yet, they consistently affirm the opposite.

        I can do nothing else but cite the Savior’s repeated, public teaching on the matter.

        1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

        2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

        3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

        4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

        5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

        To judge is to show oneself to be a hypocrite, a pretender to the faith of Christ.

        We will be held accountable if we are not able to discern the righteous from the wicked & thus become deceived.

        Speaking of Joseph Smith, a true prophet, the Lord said this.

        Doctrine and Covenants 10:37
        37 But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter.

        If, therefore, Joseph lacked that discernment, and was not condemned for it, I would be slow to hearken to the spirit that whispers we had ought to, or even must, judge between the wicked and the righteous.

        “The spirit that seeks only to accuse, that can only delight itself in the failings and errors of mankind, so born of hell as only to find delight in the defects of humanity. . . . It is the very work of Satan, and his servants.” – Joseph Smith

        Before we can even help others ‘repent or become undeceived’ we must be able to discern if they need to.

        And, since the Lord has straitly forbidden us to judge, the logical conclusion is to wait until the Lord Himself tells us whether any particular person needs to repent, and, if so, what exactly to say. And I don’t know about you – you could be different than me – the Lord has not ever told me that any particular person hath cause to repent. Such a thing would tend to puff one up, I would think, unless one was not a hypocrite, but was full of light and truth, being one with God. Such are disinclined to judge, by nature, because they lack the beam in their eye – they possess charity.

        Hearken unto the Savior, again.

        Saith the Lord:

        15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

        16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

        The essence of the judgement the Lord condemns is to judge after the flesh – the sight of the eyes, the hearing of the ears, and so forth. The only judgement we can make is therefore not our own, but given to us from on high – which is not our judgement at all, and unless we are ourselves pure and clean before God, I strongly doubt it will be given to us until we learn the lesson – that we shall not judge.

        Lastly, let’s look at the Savior’s one seeming contradiction – which isn’t one.

        24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

        That was aimed at the Pharisees (v. 15) who claimed that since Jesus miraculously healed a person on the Sabbath that He was a sinner and a sabbath-breaker, and were seeking to kill Him for it.

        What is righteous judgement?

        14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

        15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

        16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

        17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

        18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

        It may be noted that Mormon is not speaking of judging people, but ideas, philosophies, teachings, and works.

        Remember: “Mind Your Own Business” is the Mormon creed, said Joseph Smith, and in an article entitled thus, he said this:

        An individual . . . with [an] abhorrence of evil [joins the Church]. . . . He sets himself upon the watch to detect the failings of others, deeming that he is doing God a service in being so employed [for God and Country], and thus is he decoyed into the occupation of the great master of evil, to be the accuser of the brethren. And during the time thus occupied by him, he considers himself actuated by the purest of motives, arising from a detestation of sin. . . . Yet mark the subtlety of Satan in thus leading men into a false position. Such a course, in the first place, probably arose from the purest of motives, and perhaps the individual was instrumental in rectifying some error; he feels a satisfaction for having done so, his self-esteem is gratified, and ere he is aware, he is seeking for another opportunity of doing the same, . . . continually set[ting] himself up as being capable of sitting in judgment upon others, and of rectifying by his own ability the affairs of the kingdom of God. – Joseph Smith

        I would be very, very slow indeed to hearken to the spirit which whispereth we had ought to judge.

  • Lilli:

    Log,

    The Bible is only true when it’s translated correctly. Joseph changed & corrected that verse about judging to ‘judge not unrighteously’. Even Christ told us to judge people and whether they were true disciples or not, but our discerning if they have love or not.

    I think the scriptures often use the word ‘judge’ when they mean condemn. Which of course we shouldn’t do.

    I think the word ‘discern’ is a much better definition of what our responsibility is. For the scriptures teach that we must learn to discern truth from error, right from wrong and devils from saints, as easy as telling the night from the day, or we will be easily deceived and never know it.

    If we can’t discern if those around us are good or evil, then we will be deceived. Even Prophets like Joseph were often deceived by evil men, calling them to even be apostles. So it’s something we all must continually strive to get better & better at.

    Joseph taught that only those who possess ‘perfect love’ will be able to discern perfectly and not be deceived. Thus gaining Charity/perfect Christlike love is the key to discerning & judging righteously & correctly & quickly.

    • Log:

      The statement stands in its “uncorrected” form in the Book of Mormon, leading me to believe that the “uncorrected” version is, in fact, what the Savior actually said.

      1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he turned again to the multitude, and did open his mouth unto them again, saying: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged.

      2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

      3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

      4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

      5 Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

      As for the rest, I’ve said my piece.

      As an aside, whatever the JST may represent, I don’t believe it necessarily always is “what was actually said,” in part because of examples like above.

      • Lilli:

        If you don’t believe what Joseph Smith taught about ‘judging righteously’, then I don’t see the sense in believing what the Book of Mormon says, for Joseph wrote/translated that too.

        Maybe Joseph made up the Book of Mormon, if so, it would explain why there are so many exact quotes of Christ’s from the Bible, and later he could have come up with his new translation saying ‘judge not unrighteously. But he couldn’t change the Book of Mormon cause it was already published. Just a thought. For there is no proof the Book of Mormon was really written by ancient prophets. Though I tend to believe it is.

        Also, in the New Testament, Christ specifically told us the way to discern his ‘true’ disciples (those who are righteous), for He said we will know them by their ‘Christlike love’. Thus he clearly expected us to judge if someone was righteous or not by watching them to see if they possess true charity & love.

        Again, if we don’t or can’t judge righteously, then we will be easily deceived to support falsehoods & false prophets. For the BoM also teaches that we must be able to tell right from wrong, truth from error and ‘devils from saints’ as easy as the night from the day. That requires really good judgement. So you can’t really believe one part of the BoM and not other parts. Clearly if those were Christ’s exact words, he didn’t go into all the details about judging, or the author who was quoting him didn’t. Christ seemed to be talking about condemning more than discerning, which is an important distinction.

        If we don’t judge, we also won’t be able to determine if others have committed serious crimes against people and thus protect the innocent. And we won’t be able to tell if people need our help & encouragement to repent. We also won’t be able to protect ourselves & loved ones from others.

        Judging is not just for civic or religious leaders, it’s for everyone, because the common person has to ‘choose’ those civic & religious leaders to do part of the judging for them.

        It just doesn’t make any sense that we are to walk around not making any kind of judgments about anyone, that would not help anyone and society would be chaos.

        So it stands to reason that Christ understood it was a necessity to judge, just that unless we have the spirit and 1st remove the beam out of our own eye, then we won’t be able to judge righteously.

  • LDSDPer:

    I’m also on another Mormon blog–

    And I’ve said much the same thing over there–(Pure Mormonism)–

    I like having facts and truths pointed out to me, but everyone does different things with the facts and truths that are pointed out, whether those ‘facts and truths’ are true or not.

    I’ve seen this with politics. Someone who really has integrity tries to get into the ‘system’ and change things, make things better, and there will always be someone else crying, “you’re selling your soul!”–

    Because within institutions in a telestial world, there will always be so many twists and turns and false paradigms built right into the system–

    that even the very best people can accomplish very little–

    institutions are corrupt by their nature, and in a corrupt world where there are forces constantly seeking to destroy anything that is good–the battle becomes even more bitter.

    LDS (generalizing) don’t like to discuss conspiracies; they fear being called conspiracy theorists; it doesn’t matter if the Book of Mormon is filled with them, *we* are supposed to deny that they exist in order to be good Mormons, while also being told, by presidents of the church and apostles, to read and study the Book of Mormon–

    theoretically, most LDS who read the Book of Mormon would realize that the ‘leaders of the church’ generally, though specifically and individually I would suggest that there are vast differences among them–

    are doing their best to keep some kind of ‘kingdom of God’ going–while dealing with the reality of the church being in heavy bondage, in captivity–

    So, everyone is getting the ‘right’ answer; it depends upon which part of the elephant you are touching–

    yes, I believe that the gift of prophecy has been stunted deliberately and drastically since Joseph Smith’s murder–

    I believe evil and conspiring men (and I think they’ve done a very good job of disguising their identities; some may have been original church members/leaders; other are just ordinary evil and conspiring men who care little about religion but are deeply invested in running shadow governments and shadow churches around the world)–

    were there from the beginning, and they did everything they could to destroy Joseph Smith; ultimately, they succeeded in killing him–

    they came (or went, depending upon where you live) to Utah–and the battle has continued–

    I do believe the keys (whatever that means) continued within the church in spite of corruption–

    God allowed this, knowing the end from the beginning, as He does–

    He allows people to repent, and He allows people to hang themselves, and *we* are not always going to know which people are which–

    and yet, the ‘purists’ among *us* will cry, “corruption, corruption, deception, deception; NObody is doing any good; get off the Titanic!”–

    and those who try to see the big picture or who are capable of seeing that God works in amazing and wonderful and miraculous ways with ALL His children throughout the world–

    and doesn’t even have a ‘favored’ people, beyond the fact that He loves the righteous, the true–everywhere, even if they are not Mormons or even Christians–

    can see that one person, even within a corrupt organization CAN and will do good–

    a lot of truth seekers tend to be radicals and purists, which is why these discussions take place and often so heatedly–

    so, one says *he* has received revelation to let the leaders be and that they are doing what God wants them to do, and another says *he* has been told that they are not prophets and seers–

    You are both right–

    Each man/woman has a stewardship, and *we* can’t always see where they are headed; in time, the truth about each heart will be known. Those who infiltrated with evil intent will be known; those who held on to the iron rod and still put up with a lot of garbage will be known–

    now and then a martyr–

    you have to see the big picture; I cannot see it; I don’t pretend to that; I’m not arrogant enough, but I know there is one–

    So I can state that I believe there are good men among the church leaders, and for some reason, even in captivity and bondage, the church is meant to continue–and I can also see that much light and truth has been lost–and many are floundering–

    I served an LDS mission long ago and far away, and I made a lot of mistakes; the program(s) were riddled with mistakes, but I know there were times when miracles happened, becaues God appreciates any little bit of obedience or truth or courage–

    wherever He can find it. I know there were times when He worked through me. In spite of the red tape, in spite of there being plenty of unrighteous dominion, good things came out of it–I know I was meant to be there and do what I did, even though I was so immature and so blind in so many ways–

    He works through simple things–

    You may not know (sometimes you can) who within a ward is being Christlike; yes, there are those who are blatantly mean at times–but there are those who go about doing good that you might not even know about–

    private saints–

    who don’t show their alms–

    this very complicated, very ‘captured’ church allows that sort of thing; it allows the kind of testing those who claim they believe in Christ need–

    and it will get sorted out–

    a while back someone on some blog was talking about wheat and tares and how they were meant to grow together; it HAD to be that way. I agree.

    The truth will be known. In the meantime, I think that Uchtdorf and others do know there are corruptions, and I think they are working within a really broken system, and they have been told, even by the Spirit, to say and do certain things–

    it would be hard to be in that position; it would take a unique personality not to be destroyed by it.

    I wouldn’t want the job. The ‘purist’ in me wants them to expose the bad guys and reward the good guys, but in captivity that is not going to happen.

    Are there some bad eggs among them? Probably, but maybe it doesn’t matter that we know the hearts of others so much as that *we* know *our own* hearts and clean them out and keep working to overcome the world with all its horrors–

    institutions are corrupt; someone incorporated the Church of Jesus Christ; it was a travesty, but it was probably done with a gun to the back (figuratively speaking)–

    I think we’ll all be amazed when we see the final ‘film’–

    what a ride–

    In the meantime, don’t ‘honor’ these men, but leave them alone to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. When/if you feel the Spirit from them, rejoice–

    when/if you don’t . . . turn to places where you CAN feel the Spirit.

    I highly recommend, just from personal experience, and I am not young–constant reading and study of the Book of Mormon for that very reason. And let people be. Find little ways to fight evil deeds; be a light to the world in your own way, seek truth, but don’t spend too much time looking for the flaws in others–

    Thanks for reading, if you did–

    • Lilli:

      I also believe there are good & honorable leaders & members in the Church, but as Joseph said, they are deceived by the craftiness of men & false prophets, and thus will lose their exaltation because they allowed themselves to be deceived to support evil and not know it.

      I too served an LDS mission and had many spiritual experiences and help from the Lord. But that does not mean that the Church is true, only that the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I was spreading was true.

      I believe the Church is far more ‘false’ & corrupt & evil than most other Christian religions, but it’s leaders and members still can feel the Spirit about the Gospel of Jesus Christ when it is talked about in any talk, class or meeting. Plus we feel the Spirit when we are in the service of others, but it still doesn’t mean the Church is true or good to be a part of or that we won’t be held accountable for being a part of it.

      I’m sure missionaries of other religions have just as much help, inspiration and spiritual experiences because they also try to bring people to Christ, even though their church has no true authority and isn’t ‘the true church’ either.

      If as a missionary I had told people the truth about Brigham Young and the early leaders dark deeds and about polygamy and how they controlled & suppressed women’s equality, etc. and if I tried to get them to believe in all that, I’m sure they nor I would have felt the Spirit. They would have been very turned off. But because missionaries focus on the ‘true’ parts of the Church, the Gospel & the BoM, of course they & others feel the Spirit but it doesn’t mean the Church isn’t evil for the bad things it preaches & practices.

      Christ is glad to have any missionary from any Church spread his Gospel and he will help them to do so, but it doesn’t mean the Church they belong to is good or right, nor does it mean their exaltation is sure, especially if they have allowed themselves to support a corrupt church with their time & money.

      Joseph clearly warned us that we will be damned if we follow & support false prophets, who he said teach maybe 95% truth (to look good & make you feel good) & 5 % falsehoods, just enough to lead us carefully down to hell while we feel so good about the truths they teach & the beautiful temples & churches they build with all the money they collect, which should have been used for the poor instead.

      We have been warned by true prophets that everyone will be deceived today to support evil and false prophets, except a rare few who really believe in Christ and live his Gospel and thus don’t support evil or corrupt churches.

      • LDSDPer:

        I’m sure missionaries of other religions have just as much help, inspiration and spiritual experiences because they also try to bring people to Christ, even though their church has no true authority and isn’t ‘the true church’ either.

        I completely agree.

        Christ is glad to have any missionary from any Church spread his Gospel and he will help them to do so,

        I agree with that, too–

        See, we CAN agree on some things–

        :)

        His Love is all encompassing.

        He works with each child in the way that child understands best–

  • Log:

    Lilli,

    Did you voluntarily separate from the Church, or were you excommunicated? What were the issues?

    • Lilli:

      I have slowly woke up over the years, seeing many things utterly wrong taught & done in the Church by leaders who should know better, even the top leaders. Coupled with alot of study & prayer of why so many falsehoods and evil were & are preached & practiced in the Church,

      I realized that is was not a true church and it never did have any true authority to act in the name of God, nor was it his Church, just the false prophet Brigham Young’s corrupt break off from the original church, no more true or having authority than the RLDS or FLDS or Catholic Church.

      It is not surprising that Joseph was about to excommunicate Brigham and other apostles for polygamy, and that he pitied anyone who might later follow Brigham.

      Once you realize these things everything starts to make sense.

      So I left the Church of my own accord, after being an active very faithful card carrying duped member my whole life & married in the temple (which I now must repent from) & after coming to these realizations, I’m now repentant & repulsed at how deceived I was to support such false prophets & such vile evil for so long without seeing it sooner.

    • Lilli:

      I believe in Christ and his teachings, and only in those who preach & practice his exact teachings. Joseph Smith appears to be a true prophet and the Book of Mormon appears to teach in harmony with Christ’s teachings, so I believe they are true, though not perfect.

      Once you start comparing Christ’s teachings with the doctrines & practices of the Church leaders, it is amazing how complete contrary they are and how so few see it.

      But then again, Christ’s teachings were never popular and have been rejected by everyone, especially in the LDS Church, except a rare few. Christ’s teachings require such a high level of righteousness that I can’t find anyone who really believes in his teachings, let alone lives them. Though I’m sure there are some people out there who do, but they are just so rare to find.

      Some day soon Christ & Joseph will return to restore the true church to the earth, but I don’t believe the LDS Church will have anything to do with it & will probably be the last to know about it.

    • Log:

      The reason I ask is because, please forgive me, but when I read your posts, you seem to exude a spirit of betrayal, and it appears to me you have not yet forgiven them who betrayed you.

      I say this not to condemn you. I know for myself that it is a feeling of betrayal which motivates Satan and his angels. They feel we betrayed them at the council, and this is why they hate us. They can’t let the offense go – they want to be unified with us again, but on THEIR terms, where instead of them forgiving, WE must acknowledge THEY were right… and even then they would not be satisfied.

      The Lord commands that we do differently.

      2 Nephi 12:22-24
      22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

      23 Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—

      24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

      Luke 6:35-38
      35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

      36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

      37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

      • Lilli:

        Log,

        Just because I don’t agree with church leaders and are disgusted with their actions & teachings, doesn’t mean I hate them or have not forgiven them. I have tried to help them see their errors for I know they will have to answer for them in the next life, but they seem past feeling or too blinded to see the truth, or they don’t want to. For they would have to give up a lot of perks to repent.

        Have they betrayed me, of course but I’m over it and past it, but I can see that they continue to betray all members, though few see it. It really doesn’t bother me now, I just feel bad for the leaders and the members who are still caught up in it all.

        I do try to pray for them and I hope they repent before it’s too late. But it does not concern me and I don’t care about reuniting with the Church at all, even if they all repented, it would still not make the Church true, just that those leaders & members would finally have a chance at salvation. I would be happy for them if they did repent.

        I think you want to imagine that I’m upset and angry and unforgiving because it helps you put the blame on me, when the truth is those leaders are to blame for the way the Church is and how it effects others negatively. Our job as members is to wake up and not let them deceive us. I have done that and try to help others to do so too.

        I really could care less about the Church now, I have moved on and never look back. I see the LDS Church like any other Church out there, teaching both truth & error, but completely without any authority from God. So why should it matter to me what they do or think of me, for I know they are wrong, even evil.

        I believe in Christ and believe in and try to live his teachings, and I know I am right with him, that’s all that matters to me, no matter what others want to believe.

      • Log:

        I have no interest in blaming you; fixing the blame does not fix the problem.

        I would simply like to say that all of this here rests, in the end, on relationships. The whole point of the mortal experience is to see if we will do whatsoever the Lord our God shall command us, and it can be summed up thusly.

        3 Nephi 14:12
        12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

        Because I wish God to judge me mercifully, I am merciful. Because I wish God to forgive me should I sin against him, whether in ignorance or not, I forgive others whether they repent or not, and I don’t mention their sins.

        Actually, I misspeak – because I wish to be as God is, I do what He has declared by the mouth of His Son, Jesus Christ. I wish to be perfectly merciful, forgiving, just, kind, loving, and so forth. I wish to be united with Him in perfect union of heart and soul as I was in the day I was born of Christ, and that eternally.

        Said Joseph – “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins.”

        Therefore, I accuse none. That is the role of the accuser, who is cast out.

        Moreover, I don’t bother censuring the Brethren. I did that once and was smitten of God for so doing; He told me they are His servants. Therefore I am holding my peace until the Lord shall speak to me by His own mouth, or by the mouths of messengers sent from His presence, and instruct me in the things I have asked of Him; then shall I have knowledge which cannot be gainsaid in the things I wish to do in His service.

        As Joseph taught, “It is essential for any person to have an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to the will of God to enable him to have that confidence in God without which no person can obtain eternal life. Such was and always will be the situation of the Saints of God. Unless they have an actual knowledge that the course they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint.”

        And he said, “Only a fool trifles with the souls of men.”

        Therefore, lest I cause damage in my zeal to serve God according to my own (probably) deficient understandings and (probably) deficient judgements, I am waiting for further light and knowledge.

        In the end, if I can’t provide something demonstrably better than what people already have, why should I expect anyone to listen to me?

        Indeed, what kind of person would listen to me if I spent all my time accusing or railing on others? If I evince not the peaceable fruits of Christ, do I not dishonor the Lord whom I presume to serve? Is not the whole reason to open our mouths on the subject of religion to lead others to repent and turn to Christ, that He may baptize them with fire and with the Holy Ghost?

      • Lilli:

        Just because we make judgments or discernments about people doesn’t mean we don’t forgive them or have mercy. In fact, judging has nothing to do with forgiveness. Christ forgave people but he still judged & knew them to be wicked and knew they would lose their salvation if they didn’t repent.

        We can also forgive people and be merciful, but we still would need to discern and judge whether people are righteous or not. It is in fact a merciful loving righteous thing to discern whether someone is righteous or not, so we can either protect ourselves from their evil & error or help them repent. It does no good for anyone to look the other way and not make judgments about or see and/or mention serious sin & thus not be able to help & encourage a person to repent.

        And I do not believe Joseph made that statement, people use it a lot but there is no proof he said it & it does not sound like him at all, he himself pointed out errors in others all the time. And it is contrary to what he always taught and what the scriptures teach. Joseph even taught us to look for errors in others too, especially church leaders, and beware of them if they preach or practice contrary to the scriptures & to warn others about them if they are leading people astray. Which I am trying to do about the current church leaders.

        I believe the above statement that people said was from Joseph is even a blatant falsehood, (like the many false statements & falsehoods the early church leaders said Joseph said, to justify their dark deeds), for no one will get into heaven just because they don’t accuse anyone else, they only get their because they were righteous, which takes a lot more than the things we say or don’t say. In fact if we don’t judge, we can’t even be righteous or keep ourselves from being lead astray & deceived.

        It is Satan’s idea that we shouldn’t judge others, Satan doesn’t want us to judge anyone, he wants us to just ignore if people are unrighteous and not say or do anything about it. Satan is always preaching a false compassion, to try & make him & his followers look good, while trying to make those who judge look wrong and unmerciful & unloving. Which most people fall for because people often don’t want to judge because they are uncomfortable with being judged in return by the same standards of righteousness.

        Christ and Joseph Smith warned us that we must judge especially church leaders, and that it’s absolutely vital. If we didn’t we would easily be led astray by false prophets. For false prophets always say not to judge and that they can’t lead you astray, thus lulling people to sleep. The scriptures say we must get so good at judging that we can tell if a person or leader is righteous or not, as easy as telling the night from the day.

        God has told me over & over that the LDS Leaders are ‘not’ his servants, but as Joseph put it, ‘imposters & false prophets’, and that I should ‘not’ follow or support them or I would be damned. It seems one of us is receiving inspiration from the wrong source. So it’s important that we realize that the prophets have taught that we can’t just automatically trust our feelings, impressions or revelation, for they are usually from the Adversary, thus they say we must ‘prove’ such revelation and ‘prove all things and everyone’, according to what the scriptures say, and that requires judging & discerning too when we ‘prove’ people, especially those who call themselves prophets.

        Christ, Joseph Smith and ancient prophets warned us about all the false prophets that would be around us today, in & out of the church, and how we must judge if they are true or not and they warned that everyone today in the Church would be deceived by them, except a rare few.

        Again, to understand what the Bible is saying we must study what the Book of Mormon says, which often goes into more detail about doctrine than just the little tidbits that the Bible authors gave us.

        As far as ‘judging’ here is some more explanation from the BoM:

        Moroni 7:15-18

        15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

        16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

        17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

        18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

        It is given unto us to judge, everything & everyone. And we do this using the Spirit AND the words of Christ, thus comparing what people or leaders say & do to what Christ said, to see if they are really righteous or not. It’s not that hard. It’s very easy & plain to see if people or leaders are following Christ or not.

        So it’s a commandment to judge, but it will often make us feel uncomfortable doing so if we are not righteous and can’t judge righteously.

        As far as ‘trifling with the souls of men’, it has nothing to do with judging, to trifle means to disrespect or act frivilously with their souls, which righteous people would not do, even if they judged them to be unrighteous, for they would help them repent and teach them, which is very respectful and not ‘trifling’ with their souls, but aiding & respecting them.

      • Log:

        John 8:15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

        16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

        Let the reader judge.

      • Lilli:

        Again, I could come up with a lot of little isolated verses from the Bible too that are completely wrong and misleading by themselves, how about the one about women not speaking in Church.

        Thus we see that when we take one little scripture, especially from the Bible which has not usually been translated correctly or completely, we can be easily mislead, even if we like it cause it fits our chosen agenda.

        We must study ‘all’ the words of Christ and the Prophets on a certain subject to get the whole & complete picture of what is right & true in relation to that certain issue.

        But if you want to go with some isolated verse and just ignore all of Christ’s other teachings and the Book of Mormon and all of Joseph Smith’s teachings, that is your choice. To each his own.

        We can just agree to disagree.

  • Joshua Maskovich:

    Revelations 19: 9-10: “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
    And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    “…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    This is what constitutes a prophet–not merely holding an office, or title, but receiving the testimony of Jesus. I do believe anyone who receives this testimony of Jesus, subsequently receives an assignment from Him to act or do something according to His will–whatever that assignment may be.

    • LDSDPer:

      I think I can agree with your last sentence, but I don’t think the assignments are necessarily public; I think they can be very private–

      :)

      • Joshua Maskovich:

        Absolutely agree with you! The assignment or what it is He may ask you do undertake and do could be anything, however unnoticed, or noticed it is among the Children of Men! Thank you!

  • Log:

    I think the big question is “what constitutes ‘the testimony of Jesus’?”

    Is it having received the testimony of the Father during the baptism by fire?

    The closest I can come to establishing that is this.

    3 Nephi 11:35
    35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

    You know what, nevermind.

  • Log:

    Well, there is more.

    This is the only other evidence I can figure to lead to that conclusion.

    D&C 42:16 And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;

    17 For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.

    Is that enough? What do you guys think? It’s a serious question.

    • LDSDPer:

      what do I THINK?

      :)

      I think that Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ “tailor” the experience for the individual, knowing what each individual needs–

      I am uncomfortable with anyone who circumscribes what sort of experience *we* need to have with the Savior in order to “know” Him.

      I also think it’s personal. I know; I know; people in the Book of Mormon spoke in detail about it, prophets.

      But it is interesting that Abish’s experience (or her father’s) was not detailed–

      So, that is what I think–

      and from then, prophesy may not be public at all–

      The Holy Ghost can tell us things that we need individually or for our families, not necessarily for other people. Frankly, I believe too much in agency to think I need to tell my fellow ward members things–

      I do bear my testimony of Jesus Christ, though–and I encourage people to read the Book of Mormon–

      but there are many people in our ward who care little for that, sadly.

      • Log:

        Oh, I’m asking the question because of a legalistic accretion to the faith, wherein we must assent to a creed or be asked out of the Temple.

        This question directly impacts my religious observances. Otherwise, I wouldn’t care.

  • Log:

    Oddly, if you search for “temporal”, “existence,” or “temporal existence” using the scripture search function at LDS.org, you don’t get D&C 77:6 in the search results – at all.

    That is very, very strange.

    • Log:

      D&C 77:6 appears to not come up no matter what search you run – search for “thousand,” “seven,” “economy,” etc. That’s extremely odd.

  • Log:

    Spek,

    You may find this paper interesting, with regards to the conversation we were having.

    http://daymonsmith.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/brazilian-mormon-studies-conference-presentation/

  • Fusion:

    Log,

    You said above that we must assent to a creed or do asked out of the Temple. I believe that may just be the BEST thing that ever happens to you. I joined the Church because of the undeniable and astonishing effect reading the Book of Mormon and its message had on me. That there was a second, more perfect witness to what the Bible purports, just blew my mind. Praying about it then did undeniable things to my spirit.

    however, when I went to the Temple for the first time, I was utterly convinced by the Holy Spirit that what was going on in their was mocking the Gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon- in fact it is based the very things the Book of Mormon warns against: secret tokens and handshakes, and the penalties that the Book of Moses clearly declares to be from Satan’s direct covenant with Cain…and thus puts one under immediate bondage, rather than keep ‘the burden light’ as promised my Jesus.

    After 15 years of searching, I cannot find a single thing supporting the Masonic elements that is the Temple Endowment, in any of the scriptures, ESPECIALLY the Book of Mormon, which Moroni said contains the fullness of Jesus’ Gospel. I have searched for documentation that this so called endowment was taught in Joseph’s time, but have found nothing. The earliest reference I found describing these things is from a lady’s testimony who wrote that she experienced it in 1846, 2 years after Joseph died, and was appalled that Brigham sat in the Temple as king and Lord. the endowment which Brigham said Joseph gave him directly, has no evidence of being anything other than a fake substitute for the real endowment ‘from on high’ from the actual voice of the Lord Himself, as was documented at the Isaac Morley Farm in June of 1831. Lyman Wight and others saw Jesus and the Father, and some incredible spiritual manifestations occurred. Soon thereafter the Church rejected consecration and the building of Zion, and the endowment, as described in JST Genesis 14:25-41 was never to be had again, until today. Brigham, who was not even a member at this time (!) had no part or parcel of this amazing event, and later concocted the present so called endowment, that does NOT have the ‘voice of the Lord from on high’ nor any backing whatsoever from the scriptures. In fact, the Kirtland Temple did not even have any of this endowment there…it didn’t even have telestial, terrestrial and celestial rooms!

    In fact, it has become a massive stumbling block for the Utah LDS (of which I am a by-product) since Nauvoo, which was the hotbed of Freemasonry in the mid-1840’s and has caused nothing but bondage for the Saints in a Masonic ceremony which mixes things straight out of the Book of Moses. In my opinion, Joseph was right: the Devil will teach 9 truths to make you believe one lie.

    The best thing I ever did for my faith in Jesus, the Book of Mormon and the Gospel it contains, is to no longer be in bondage to the businessmen who guilt the Saints into living the Gospel of Works by paying tithing that they can build ridiculously expensive malls and other enterprises to entertain the stinkin’ rich…while the widows and orphans suffer, so that the elite class can get to BU to learn to keep the wealth growing in the family. Bloomberg Times reported that while the Methdist Church donates 29% of its tithes and offerings to charity, the LDS church only donates 0.7% I repeat 0.7%! Where in the name of Gadiantonism does the other 99.3% go?!

    The Book of Mormon is right, the Gadianton are amongst the Church’s upper crust right now. Hence no astonishing miracles by the leadership, and not a single so called ‘prophet’ or ‘apostle’ can look one in the eye like every other scriptural man of God, and say he has seen the Lord face to face, from Brigham to the present fella.

    It is time we seriously get back to the Book of Mormon in humility and see that those patterns are for us today!

    Much love,
    Fusion

    • Log:

      I appreciate your view, Fusion.

      I submit to what you call bondage because God has counseled me to.

      I can say for myself that the ceremony has spiritual power to it – the influence of the Holy Spirit (lest I be misunderstood) attends us in the temple. Of course, this is more or less true with the single-mindedness with which we seek to serve God.

      However, I might redirect your attention to one part of the ceremony, for I perceive God is not without a sense of humor.

      There used to be a character in the endowments which was removed in the ’90s, I am told. I have read the text pertaining to what was said, and I know some mourn its excision.

      [redacted]

  • boo:

    Log, I received my endowments when the portion you mention was still very much part of the endowment. The significance of it troubled me then and its removal troubled me even more. I suppose I fall into the camp of those who mourn its removal However lets be plain . If you are willing
    please spell out your present interpretation of the significance of this ,no longer extant portion ,together with the remainder which you reference above.

    • Log:

      First, I have to be clear – I think the Lord either permitted, directly, or directed the removal of the preacher – the character was no longer relevant to our lives. We are extremely religiously insular and don’t really talk with anyone outside of our faith.

      Therefore, with respect to what’s left, this is a possible meaning:

      [redacted]

      Now, if you believe that is a possible, or even probable, meaning, then you might agree that it would appear the removal of the preacher was inspired of God. And one might see considerable humor in it, when one considers the (un)likelihood of the Brethren intending that message.

      • boo:

        i appreciate your reply but i disagree with several of your conclusions. I have difficulty with you statement that the Lord “permitted” the change. That is oxymoronic . The Lord “permits” all sorts of erroneous things to happen that he doesn’t approve of . The slaughter of the innocents in Alma 14 for example. Terrible thing that free agency. So I don’t think saying he permitted it says anything about whether it was suppose to happen or that he approved of it, Secondly your point that the preacher is no longer relevant because we are more insular than we were 100 or even 50 years ago is clearly wrong. 50 years ago there were 1 or 2 million of us ,the bulk of whom were in Utah, Idaho or Az with a few in Calif. Most of the Church lived in areas where they were surrounded by other members. Now we are at 15 million scattered all other the world and few live in areas dominated by fellow believers once you get outside Utah Valley. You must live on the East Bench. However I don’t disagree with you conclusion about what we are taught at church and I certainly agree that we must be seeking true messengers and salvation can’t be achieved via the Corporation.

      • Log:

        It’s cool, Boo. I offer it as an idea; you don’t have to accept it. It honestly makes me laugh to consider that particular interpretation. The more clearly I see things, the more humor and joy I take from what I see.

        If other ways of seeing things give you greater joy, then please, adopt them.

        Oh yeah, by “permit” I mean I think the query was asked of Him by the leadership if they could take it out, and He said “yes.” It’s not like it’s the real thing anyways – Joseph instituted some rites by direction of God, and told Brigham to tidy them up, indicating that what we have never was the real thing, since “ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.” (DHC 5:423, June 11, 1843)

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