Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Training Day

(Previous entry: Bad Science, Weird Science, and Strange Mormon Prophecy)

I recently received this email from an online friend who happens be serving as bishop of a ward in a neighboring state:
"Tonight I received a leadership training video from the church. I didn't watch the DVD, but my wife and I did watch a few of the videos on the church's website. Needless to say, I found it AWFUL!! I thought, I can't show this to my ward council, it contains too much false doctrine and pride. It is horrible.
"I kept thinking, these people don't know what the priesthood is. I thought, the scriptures don't teach that at all!

"I noticed in the first video from the church training that talked about priesthood keys, they never ONCE referenced the scriptures. They only looked at the handbook of instructions and showed it over and over again. It was the most prideful video I've seen in a very very long time, if not ever.

"I may receive some chastisement from my own leaders and from within my own bishopric, but I cannot show these videos to my ward council or anyone else at church. I feel these videos would stunt the growth of members rather than help them.

"In some ways with the new youth curriculum, I've felt that there are some good things coming from the church. However, these videos represent a huge step backward in my opinion. That or I may just be trying to be too optimistic. I still feel yuck inside from watching them. Their faces were so completely smug! I kept thinking, these guys are being coached on facial expressions! It lacked the Spirit."
The DVD my friend referenced is entitled Strengthening the Family And The Church Through The Priesthood. It consists of a half dozen short training videos, and is being mailed to local church leaders with suggestions to have them shown to their congregations.  The segment that left my friend so aghast, Priesthood Keys, is only nine minutes long, and you can view it right now from the Church's own website. I recommend downloading it directly to your hard drive though, because when headquarters gets wind that this video is having an effect other than the one intended, they may very well pull it from circulation. Please watch the video now, then rejoin me below for my analysis. Here is the link:

https://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/priesthood-keys?lang=eng

The thing that most struck me upon watching Priesthood Keys is that for a video that purports to provide important training, it seems to be a bit short on anything in the way of usable information.

On one level what we have here is a bunch of suits sitting around a table metaphorically slapping themselves on the back with assurances about how important they are. There is considerable back-and-forth between them about possessing priesthood "keys," but if you're watching this stunning pridefest in hopes of coming to an understanding about what these "keys" are, what they do, or what they can be used to unlock -well, good luck figuring that out. The film was clearly intended to instill awe and respect for local Church leadership, but the unintended result is that priesthood power gets trivialized.

Welcome to the Restored Church of Christ in the 21st century. If you expect it to resemble the one founded by Joseph Smith 183 years ago, you're in for an unpleasant awakening. This is a corporate funded video, so terms will be defined by referencing the company's Standard Operating Procedure manual. For this group, that does not mean an appeal to scripture. For purposes of this video, the ultimate authority is the Church Handbook of Instruction.

I should not have to remind anyone that the CHI is not scripture, nor has it ever been sustained as scripture. It did not come down to us through revelation. It is not the word of the Lord, the mind of the Lord, nor the will of the Lord. It was not written by any prophet, or even any theologians on the Church payroll. The Handbook is mostly the work of corporate lawyers, and reflects Mormonism as filtered through the corporate collective.

Do you think I'm being too cynical? Well, if what we are watching is intended to train us in the way the Lord would have us go, shouldn't we consult the written words of the Lord Himself?  You know, that thing Nephi referred to as "The Iron Rod," the only guide that will prevent us being diverted from the path back to Him?

Not today, apparently. In this video the only authority consulted is the handbook that contains the Policies and Procedures for the corporation that owns the trademark doing business as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Scriptures down, eyes front. Get ready for the new theology.

At about the three minute mark in the video, Elder Hallstrom reads the definition of Priesthood Keys directly from the CHI: "Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood leaders to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on earth."

This view is not appreciated by my friend, the irate bishop who emailed me about this matter. Here's what he had to say about it:
"Men DO NOT control or govern His priesthood on earth.  The Lord bestows His priesthood by His voice out of the heavens and in no other way.

"We have been given authority to lead over the earthly church, authority to build temples, do ordinances, but this authority does not equate to priesthood power.  They are two different things." 
But my friend is a mere Bishop of a ward in one of the many stakes of Zion. What does he know compared to the great collective minds coming out of Salt Lake City? Let's get back to that training video.  After reading from the CHI, Elder Hallstrom addresses the young Teachers Quorum President to get his thoughts.

I almost feel sorry for this kid having to go first, because you can almost see in his eyes that he knows he really hasn't got a clue about any of this. But not to fear. Before the cameras started rolling he and the others were coached about the type of faith promoting responses expected. What this kid lacks in the ability to articulate, he makes up for in raw earnestness.
Hallstrom: "President Bryant, you're a Teachers Quorum President. How do you feel about that? How has that affected your life and your quorum?" 
 Bryant: "Well, I think it's just an amazing opportunity we have in this day to have keys, and to be able to be, um, have the authority to sit in a quorum and guide and kind of counsel people what they need to do, it's been just an awesome experience to use my keys to teach them and to show examples to them, it's been just an amazing blessing to my life."

Hallstrom: "Has it changed your life?"

Bryant: "It has changed my life. I look at things differently because of it; I see a person for what they can be instead of what they are."

Hallstrom: "That is wonderful. A wonderful testimony."
If that's a testimony, I'm going to have to revise my understanding of the word. To me that didn't sound like a testimony so much as an awkward attempt to grab hold of a fumble. But never mind. It's now L.Tom Perry's turn to direct the questioning, and he turns to the Stake President.
Perry: "Now you, as a Stake President, hold the keys and have the responsibility of presiding over a stake of Zion. How do you feel about your role, and the keys that you hold?"
Stake President: "I take it very seriously. One of the opportunities that I have is to call Elders Quorum Presidents and Bishops who have keys, and one of the things that I can do, my part is to teach Bishops and Elders Quorum Presidents about what it means to have keys right when I extend that call."
So far no one in this video has bothered to explain to us anything about these keys they keep mentioning, but at least now the Stake President tells us he has been teaching what it means to his Bishop and Elders Quorum President. Perhaps we'll get lucky and he'll elaborate for us.
 
But no. Now it's Elder Dean Davies' turn to play moderator, and he's moved on to the Bishop.
Davies: "Bishop Mulitauhlo, could you give us some understanding of how you view your keys and the relationship between the Bishop and the Elders Quorum President?"
Bishop: "I delegate as much as I possibly can to him. It's that simple. And what we do is, when we coordinate, we meet regularly, it's almost like we're side by side in the efforts to rescue both spiritually and temporally and in every possible way."

Hallstrom: "What Bishop Mulitauhlo was saying is so powerful. Because when Bishops understand that Elders Quorum Presidents hold keys, and they delegate, and they do so with trust and confidence, it empowers the Elders Quorum President in his quorum to perform the labors to which they've been called. Plus, it allows the Bishop to be freed up to focus on other keys."
What Bishop Mulitauhlo was saying is "Powerful"? Are we to understand that the power of the Priesthood consists of the powerful ability to schedule meetings and delegate responsibility? I guess if it's done "with trust and confidence" that's what makes it powerful. Better stand aside. With all that unchecked power flying around the room, someone could lose a clipboard.

Keep in mind that the "power" these men are supposedly discussing is power of the Holy Priesthood of God. Yet for some reason no one at the table has managed to mention what this power is used for outside of holding meetings and getting together to help each other with their various "keys." Where are the powerful signs and wonders? Where are the miraculous healings and the casting out of devils? Why don't we hear about any of this in connection with these awesome and amazing powers of the priesthood?

All of these wonders were in abundance in the early LDS church during the Nauvoo and Missouri periods, just as they were in attendance in the first century church of Christ. How obviously anemic do things have to get before we begin to realize something is amiss here?

But I digress. Dean Davies now has the floor, and he directs his questions to what appear to be the Elders Quorum President and his counselor. 
Davies: "President Cowley and President Mills, give us some understanding of how you view keys, and the relationship between the Bishop and the Elders Quorum President."
Cowley: "A lot of times the thing that, the thing that the people are working through are things that we could be doing in the Elders Quorum that aren't necessarily things that are related to worthiness, but things that are obviously going to be helpful to worthiness."
I haven't the first idea what Cowley was trying spit out there, but ten bucks says he probably wants to hold another meeting.

If you're beginning to get the impression that none of these guys has any idea what he's talking about, you're right. They don't. They really, really don't.

We appear to have entered an age in this Church when few in authority feel it necessary to consult either the scriptures or the historical record in an effort to understand the doctrines of the Restoration.  Our religious heritage demonstrates that those endowed with the Holy Priesthood after the Son of God should expect to exhibit actual, observable, palpable power that would stand as a witness to the world. This Priesthood power had nothing whatsoever to do with whether a person had the prenomen "Elder" or "President" in front of his name, but these guys on the video seem to think it does.

In his email to me, my friend the bishop reminds me there are plenty of places in scripture to show what we should expect from those who truly hold and honor the priesthood. This example from Genesis 14 of the Joseph Smith Translation is one example:
"Every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from the foundation of the world." (JST, Genesis 14)
But let's get back to the conversation. Ho, what's this? Another guy has interjected something, unprompted. I think this is Mills, and will you listen to that! What Mills says turns out to be a lot closer to actual doctrine than anything else put forth at the table this day.
Mills: "Keys allow us to do things that the Lord himself would do if he were in the ward. And that's when an Elders Quorum President can really minister, is when he has the power of the priesthood and he can know the mind and will of the Lord."
Well now. Maybe there's someone in the group after all who has an inkling about what priesthood power is intended for.  Who let that guy in? 

Wait...whoops! Where did he go? There is a quick, awkward edit in the film and suddenly Elder L.Tom Perry is back on visual to steer the discussion back to the importance of holding meetings. This guy Mills has retreated along with his wacky ideas about ministering the will of the Lord, gone without so much as a word of acknowledgment or a thank-you-for-your-testimony.  Quick, Tom Perry! Change the subject! Turn to the High Councilor and ask that guy something!
Perry: "Now, High Councilor, do you feel any responsibility in this?"
High Councilor: "It's a great responsibility to help them understand their oath and covenant of the priesthood and to sit in, to sit in counsel with them and teach them. It's a privilege to work with the Stake President and to bless the Elders Quorum Presidency with that."

Stake President: "I feel that those of us that have keys, there's an opportunity to have presidency meetings; ward council, stake council. In those quorums is an opportunity to talk about needs and then you can zero in on this family, that family; this brother; this prospective Elder; this couple that needs to go to the temple. I think that's a way to utilize priesthood keys."

Davies: "There's a principle that's coming out here that is so wonderful, which is in the righteous exercise of priesthood keys, you are strengthening individuals and families. That's what this is all about."
So that's what this is all about? Strengthening families? Okay, fine. Tell us how. How does this mysterious business of having keys end up strengthening other people's families? Would you mind explaining what that means and how that process works?
Hallstrom: "Our greatest responsibility as leaders who hold keys is to help fathers in the home, mothers in the home, youth. We're really supplemental to the very important work that goes on in the home."
Okay, now this is getting silly. Hallstrom is just talking to hear himself talk, stringing tired bromides together and slapping them against the wall in hopes maybe one of them will stick. You get the idea. It all sounds so momentous, but when you sit back and take a look at the words these very important looking gentlemen are actually spouting, it comes down to a whole lotta nothin'.

I don't wish to minimize the actual good that results when Bishops and Elders Quorum Presidents meet together to work out the logistics of performing their duties.  I believe that pinpointing the needs of various members of the ward and providing the necessary assistance is the most important responsibility of ward leadership. But why are these guys acting as though it is only through the priesthood that they are able to get these things done? If priesthood keys are the things that make possible the fulfillment of their duties, how do we explain the fact that members of other denominations are providing the very same services to their congregations without benefit of having these essential keys?

On a recent Saturday I joined a group of friends who happen to be members of another church to help a single mother move her little family across town. None of these guys is LDS, so none of them held the keys to the priesthood, yet they managed to figure out how to get the job done anyway. An email had gone out describing a need, and at the appointed time a bunch of us just showed up.  The entire event was efficient and fun, like an Amish barn raising.

Come to think of it, don't you wonder how the Amish ever get those barns put up without having the benefit of priesthood leaders exercising their keys?

This past Christmas eve, Connie and I took the two grandchildren who live near us to one of those mega-churches to see one of those lavish outdoor Christmas pageants these types of churches are known for. It was a huge event that featured a living nativity, live bands, a light show, and an amazing choir, all  projected onto big outdoor TV screens so everyone present could see and hear. A bit gaudy? Perhaps. Joyful? You bet it was. Will I attend again next year? Yes I will.

By previous arrangement, two thousand disadvantaged children from the Sacramento area were in attendance, and at the end of the program the leaders of this church distributed 526 brand new bicycles and 2600 toys to those children.

How did the members of that church manage to pull off this incredible act of charity without having the benefit of priesthood keys? Beats me.

Where The Keys Are
By now you've probably gathered I am not satisfied with the way the guys in that video illustrated the importance of priesthood keys. Don't get me wrong; I am a firm believer in the importance of these keys. I just feel those guys have misunderstood and trivialized them.

The keys of the priesthood are of infinite importance, but the congregations these men serve would be better off if all hands understood what the keys actually are. The best description I know of for grasping the meaning of priesthood keys the way the concept was understood by Joseph Smith is to think of these keys as little packets of information that serve to unlock the mind to further light and knowledge.  When the prophet organized the Ladies Relief Society, which was intended as a sort of parallel priesthood for women, he conveyed the keys by introducing a set of instructions and providing counsel. In departing this information to the women of the church, he was delivering certain and specific keys of knowledge.
"The word key was often used by the Prophet Joseph Smith. In this instance it refers to a means of unlocking revelation whereby 'knowledge and revelation shall flow.' It is this knowledge and intelligence that empowers people to become more like Christ, and by becoming more like Christ they are in turn unified with each other. In other words, the magnificent "key" that was given was the key to the knowledge that allows the blessings and power of the priesthood to change us -to allow us to be born again." (Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration, pg 247.)
For a clear understanding of what priesthood keys are all about, I would direct you to Understanding Priesthood Keys by Mike Ellis, at his exceptional website Zomarah. Mike provides a thoroughly researched history of the subject, and when understood through the teachings of Joseph Smith, it's quite easy to grasp what keys are and how they are supposed to function.  The true nature and purpose of keys cannot be found in the video above or by consulting the Church Handbook of Instruction. You'll have to look to the teachings of our founding prophet. He is, after all, the person our modern leaders claim to have received their keys from, so I would think he would know something about them.

Does the modern LDS Church's understanding of "keys" depart radically from that put forth by our founding prophet? Compare the nebulous nonsense spouted on the video above to the speeches and writings of Joseph Smith and judge for yourself.

Ellis provides scriptural examples as well as teachings from the Prophet, then provides an analysis of their meanings. Here's a short excerpt from his conclusion:
"In order to receive priesthood keys the recipient must be taught them. This concept is almost completely foreign to modern members of the church. However, this is exactly what was meant by Joseph Smith. And we know this is the case because of Joseph Smith’s early practices, his statements, and beliefs.
"Knowledge of what the keys are and how to use them cannot be transferred through simply uttering the phrase, 'I bestow upon you the keys.'"
"It would be like giving your car keys to someone, but not actually giving them the physical keys. Instead you just tell them that they now possess the keys to your car. But unless they do some hot wiring, they aren’t going to be starting the car anytime soon.
"No, the Keys must be taught to the recipient. Therefore, when Joseph Smith received the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, the messengers who bestowed them must not have simply pronounced upon them the keys. Rather, they bestowed the knowledge of the physical and spoken manifestations that are the Keys."
How is it that those who have placed themselves in positions of leadership in the Church today could be so far afield in their understanding of the purpose and use of priesthood keys? One answer might lie in the changes that have taken place at Church headquarters since the latter half of the 20th century.

When I was growing up in the church, many of the apostles were competent theologians and first rate scriptorians. They had a keen understanding of the history and doctrines of the Restoration, and the ability to teach them to the church at large. Today the quorums are made up mostly of men who, prior to accepting their current positions in Church leadership, built their reputations in professions such as corporate law, business, and finance.  The paradigm for this new Organization Man was the wealthy Canadian tycoon N. Eldon Tanner, who admitted to knowing next to nothing about the scriptures, but plenty about how to help the Church turn a profit on its investments.

Local wards are no longer autonomous communities of believers unified in Christ, but are treated like franchised appendages to the Corporation. The Church today is governed by a flowchart mentality, with leaders at the top and members at the bottom.

Another reason things feel askew in the church is that we simply have not taken seriously Joseph Smith's admonition that the Lord has placed this Church under condemnation.  We feel no anxiety about or need for institutional repentance. We want to believe we are somehow God's chosen people, and therefore our leaders are men with whom God is always well pleased. We wholeheartedly believe, in spite of the complete lack of evidence to support that belief, that all is well in Zion and that priesthood authority continues to flow uninterrupted from heaven.

You would think it a simple matter for the Saints to look around them and notice that the gifts of the spirit once abundant in the early church are virtually nonexistent today. But most prefer not to acknowledge that reality.

The LDS Church of today is a busy little make-work beehive run by self-aggrandizing men wearing the uniforms of corporate America, scurrying about handing out assignments. Goals are listed, meetings scheduled, and solutions arrived at using the corporate business model, which is the one familiar to those now in control. An inordinate amount of time and energy is expended not in saving souls, but in perpetuating the power, influence, and image of the institution itself. What gets lost in all this frantic hub-bub are the precious gifts of the spirit -the very powers those keys were intended to unlock.

When spiritual gifts are no longer in evidence, terms such as "keys" that represent abstract spiritual concepts get co-opted and given new meaning. Thus today, the word "keys" is used to bolster the idea that obtaining office and title in the Church equates to "awesome" spiritual powers and an ability to dispense solemn wisdom and provide superior insight. Why then should we be surprised when a fifteen year old boy whose prefrontal cortex is still a decade away from being fully mature believes he is somehow imbued with the the skills to "sit in a quorum and guide and counsel people what they need to do and use my keys to teach them and to show examples to them"? Why wouldn't he harbor such delusions about himself when he finds himself sitting across from a respected elder statesman who encourages him in those delusions? 

I understand the outrage expressed by my friend the bishop who sent me the link to this video, and I applaud his decision to refuse to present these aberrant teachings to his own congregation.  However, what I felt when I watched the video did not quite rise to the same level of outrage as my friend felt. Maybe I've just become accustomed to this sort of usurpation in the modern Church.  I felt some type of emotion, to be sure, but I couldn't put my finger on just what that emotion represented. Was it anger? Frustration? Close, but not quite. Sadness? Yes, certainly sadness. But even sadness did not quite describe what I was feeling.

I watched that video over and over again because I wanted to be certain I was hearing what I thought I was hearing. Then I got to wondering about my friends who belonged to that other church, the ones who showed up to help a woman move without ever requiring a priesthood line of authority to assign them or motivate them to action. Suppose I was watching this video with them? How would I feel watching that video in the presence of people whose only requirement to act as disciples of Christ was to perceive an opportunity to serve and then simply get busy serving?

With that in mind, I sat down and watched the training video one more time, this time imagining what it might be like if I were to view it in the company of these true followers of the Christian imperative, men who recognized no authority in their lives other than Jesus. I watched once more as the well dressed LDS men in the video arrogantly congratulated themselves on the authority they held because they were the righteous possessors of magical keys that enabled them to perform whatever it was they were claiming the power to perform.

That's when I recognized what it was I had been feeling for these men in the video, and for the organization that spawned them, and for whatever committee at Church headquarters came up with the foolish idea to coach and then film a bunch of well-dressed men sitting around a table boasting about their imagined power and authority. 

What I was feeling was embarrassment.

                                                               *****

Update March 15, 2013: Zomarah has just posted a new piece pertinent to this discussion regarding the history of the Relief Society as intended as a parallel priesthood to the priesthood held by the men.  I have no doubt that if our women had been allowed to continue to recognize that priesthood, the gifts of the spirit once abundant among the Saints in Nauvoo would still be very evident in the church today. You can read about it here:

 The History and Purpose of the Relief Society

Update April 29, 2013:
Three more very informative analyses of the purpose and meaning of priesthood keys were recently posted on LDS Anarchy. There is plenty to learn and much food for thought in each of them:

An Anarchical View of the Keys Part 1

An Anarchical View of the Keys Part 2

An Alternate View of the Keys



223 comments:

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Just ME said...

I think more than sadness and embarrassment - my only reaction to the video was cynical indifference.
(perhaps that speaks more to my character than anything else, but...)
So much of what comes out of Salt Lake seems to be empty talk, meaningless words, as you put it, "stringing tired bromides together and slapping them against the wall in hopes maybe one of them will stick."
WHO CARES
I would love to be taught
I would love to learn something
I would love for A PROPHET OF GOD to give me some nugget that I could hold onto in my cold winter of discontent.
I find myself with no desire to attend church nowadays. I recently took my family to visit an out-of-the-way temple and I think merely walking those grounds was more spiritual than my last 100 sacrament meetings.
I wish I was better at separating the gospel from the church.
Crap like this just makes me tired.

Anonymous said...

The blog post Brother Snuffer wrote was interesting: What is Meant by Keys

Anonymous said...

The kinds of help that most people need, in these times, requires no priesthood.

Anonymous said...

When I was a very devoted, faithful 17 year old our ward missionaries invited me to join a missionary zone meeting at the stake center. It proved to be two hours chock-full of intense emotional "testifying" and such.

And when it was done, I was amazed by my own reaction. I literally ran out of the building and broke every speed limit to get as far away from the stake center as I could. It was deep and visceral revulsion, irresistible. For years afterward, even after my own mission, I couldn't understand why I'd reacted that way.

But now I do. I was not mature or self-aware enough at the time to realize that my innate desire for truth and my trust in that organization to teach me truth was being manipulated by those contrived emotions, by the tug of tearful "testimony," by sentiment masquerading as spirituality. But in my gut, I seem to have realized what was going on, grasped the difference between the peace of truth I could trust and the contrived temporary intensity of emotions that claimed to be something they weren't. And that not only offended, it scared me. So I escaped as fast as I could, as soon as I could.

I see that same phenomenon in countless LDS meetings and materials to this day. It is remarkably skillful. This training video is but one more example. The music in the background, so soft some might not even notice it, but every second of it carefully chosen to evoke the reverential respectful aura within which the church wants these General Authorities and their teachings regarded. The seating arrangement of the leaders, in strict compliance with seniority. The repeated emphasis on feelings and asking how do you feel, which reiterates the myth that feelings are reliable guides to truth--the same myth I ran away from in panic as a teenager.

Shorn of all those theatrical and misleading trappings, the actual content of what's discussed here is remarkably pedestrian, even boring. Tom Perry tells a story about Spencer Kimball that has been in circulation ever since I can remember. It's nothing but a shopworn personal anecdote now dressed up as if it were doctrine, and countless trusting young LDS local leaders will take it that way. Everything else said by everyone else in the video was carefully crafted to look heroic and valiant and faithful, something all viewers should aspire to.

But to the minority of viewers who know the tactics, recognize the worn-out script, know that the historical record has no trustworthy indication that Peter James & John ever visited Joseph Smith, this video seems like a bunch of overgrown schoolboys sitting round a meeting of their own World's Most Amazingly Fantastical Cosmic Power Club in the treehouse, congratulating themselves on how awesome they are and believing their own rhetoric. With an advertising budget.

This kind of manipulation and smugness still scares me. Because it's designed to coerce other people to bet their lives and their trust and their time and their money on such stuff. It is the very priestcraft the Book of Mormon rails against.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is priestcraft, rather than priesthood.

2 Nephi 26:29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

The self-aggrandizement we see, along with the way the church's money is spent on lavish real estate rather than the poor, along with the seeking for the approval of the world that has been such a huge focus of the church for so many years......well, we are fulfilling prophecy, aren't we?

Jeremiah Stoddard said...

Part of the problem--and possibly part of the reason why we don't have those "wonders" among us so abundantly anymore--is our fixation on the concept of priesthood being power, as evidenced by our constant use of the phrase "priesthood power." D&C 121:41 says, "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood"--no power can be maintained by virtue of the priesthood? Then why do we talk about priesthood power? According to the scriptures, we're talking about something that doesn't exist.

Even JST Genesis 14, as you cited above, doesn't make any claims of wonders being done by the priesthood. Read closely: "Every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains," etc., etc. They should have "power, by faith"--then faith is the source of divine power, not priesthood, isn't it? Every one being ordained--every priesthood holder--should have power by faith. That sounds to me like power through faith is supposed to be a prerequisite to being ordained to the priesthood, not a result of ordination.

If we keep trying to use the priesthood to exercise power and leaving faith somewhere else, no wonder there isn't any real power being exercised!

tl;dr: priesthood does NOT equal power

Jamie said...

and then there arw guys like Melvin Fish who get the ax for ACTUALLY USING his priesthood power for casting out devils and healing people like you're supposed to. Smh

Anonymous said...

Christ clearly taught that 'Christlike love' is the 'proof' of one possessing the Priesthood or worthiness of any leadership position or confirmation of righteousness. And I see no evidence of any church leader, high or low, possessing Christlike love, they don't even appear to even believe in it or Christ.

Arrogance, pride & unrighteous dominion have been the hallmark of the church leadership since Brigham Young lead this part of the Church out west 170 years ago.

Anonymous said...

So true. Unfortunately, we rarely see this kind of help from church leadership, despite all their claims of pompous righteousness.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Your points are well taken, Jeremiah. You make me realize I should not have used the phrase "priesthood power" myself. Excellent points!

Anonymous said...

Rock, you always say it so well.

I too am embarrassed, to realize how much time, money & support I was deceived to give to these Gadianton leaders.

I am now having to repent for falling for false prophets & their false doctrines & pretended Priesthood authority & for leading my children & others to do so too.

Christ & those who 'prove' they preach & practice his exact teachings are now the only one I trust.

zo-ma-rah said...

Wow, this video is unbelievable. I've been open to possibility that Church leaders may have an understanding of priesthood keys but they just aren't articulating it to the members. But now I'm not so sure. My research shows that Joseph Smith's understanding of Priesthood Keys was completely different than the modern one. Today people think of keys as more of some sort of magical spiritual power/authority. But that's not what Joseph Smith believed they were.

I thought it was interesting that not a single scripture was mentioned in the whole video. In fact when they first pull out the handbook they show one of the guys, who has scriptures in hand, set his scriptures aside and pick up his handbook.

Why are Elder's Quorum Presidents(a Melchizedek Priesthood office) subject to Bishops(an Aaronic Priesthood Office)? This makes no sense? I understand that in absence of a literal descendant of Levi a High Priest may act in the office of bishop(with councilors). But when that happens the High Priest is acting in that Aaronic office, not in his Melchizedek one.

Did anyone else catch this...”It is the Saviour's church that we belong to.” Then the camera fades to a graven image. Really? This is the Saviour's church and your representing Him with a graven image?

zo-ma-rah said...

Great comment. If you look at all those spiritual gifts, prophecy, healing, etc. They come by FAITH not Priesthood.

Janie said...

its very telling the moment when he moves his scriptures to get to the church handbook. a thousand words right there.

Tim Malone said...

You're not being too cynical. There is an appalling lack of depth in the video. It seems, I don't know, Rabbinical. But then, think of the target audience - those who do not yet understand where priesthood power really comes from. Didn't see enough of Christ in this video, the source of true priesthood power. Gotta run, but I'm coming back to read this one again. Thanks for sharing. As always, well done.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

For those unfamiliar with the shameful way this tender spirit was treated, see here:

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2013/02/18/excommunicated-for-priestcraft/

Melvin Fish is a man who has the gift for casting out spirits, so in a day when such things are rarely seen, he gets disciplined out for doing God's work.

Gaybob Spongebath said...

Your allusion in the title to the film "Training Day" was not lost on me. In that movie a veteran cop is supposed to be training a rookie, but he teaches the new guy precisely the opposite of what it takes to do the job properly.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between a deacons quorum president with keys and a beehive president without keys?

LDSDPer said...

this is most illuminating or . . . mind-blowing or . . .

As a woman who hasn't ever 'fretted' about not "having" the priesthood (possibly because I'm married to a man who isn't a chauvinist)--

but watching the younger generation of women struggle terribly with this (in my family)--

I've never cared enough to find out enough about the priesthood (beyond D&C 121 when I 'smell' unrighteous dominion in either men or women within or without the church)--

to substantiate anything that is being said here, but I've called my husband's attention to it.

Coincidentally he just got released from a 'priesthood leadership' calling--

so he may not see this video; he would have if he hadn't been released, as he was in the ward council, whatever that is--

I've been skeptical of ward councils, because it seems that they are a bit elitist--

and, being a person who values privacy and is grateful not to have anything going on in the family's life that would get us talked about, I find the idea of people being talked about . . . repugnant--

but I'll pass on making comments beyond that. I've never really believed it mattered that I know about the priesthood--

I ask for blessings; I get them; I have had some miracles, actually--

some big ones, from priesthood blessings--

so, anyway-

maybe I'd better start caring!

Anonymous said...

While in the MTC to learn for my mission (1982-1984, and I'm female) and during my mission I seriously thought something was amiss in the church. (The MTC opened my eyes because I grew up in a small town and attended a Branch). As time went on and living in different areas I became more convinced the church was not what it is supposed to be. At first I thought I was being too judgmental and cynical. After many, many incidents aimed at me and my family and how the fallout was handled in our previous ward (the ward split Oct. 2012) I am very convinced the members have no idea of what truth is, what the Priesthood is, and no one knows how to be a true Latter-day Saint anymore. I stay in the church for what Joseph Smith restored.
This past Sunday two men from the ward came by and said something I did not appreciate, but it showed me that members as a whole do not understand the true Gospel of Christ and the members as a whole do not live the principles of the Gospel. The church has turned into a Sunday Christian only church like all the other religions.
What is going to happen to members who strive to live the doctrines and truly follow Christ but keep their membership in the church? Are we going to be punished for following those leaders who are leading the church astray? I worry because I have a special reason. Many things bother me but will have to wait. I commend the Bishop for realizing the problems with that video. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

LDSDPer,

I so agree that it is repugnant, even atrocious how people & families are talked about in meetings, especially when there is usually others in the room who will not keep confidences, I've even known many Bishops who don't keep confidences.

I truly believe that if most people realized how they & their problems are being openly talked about by Bishops in meetings, they would be very upset about it & not trust leaders anymore.

I have felt so bad & even been outraged for people in the ward as I have sat & heard how they are so disrespectfully talked about in secret meetings & they never know it. It sure helped me learn to never trust a Bishop with my business.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I believe we are going to be accountable for allowing ourselves to be deceived by leaders who lead us astray. Christ & the Prophets continually warned us about watching out for false prophets & false doctrines & wolves in sheep's clothing, for if we are deceived we will lose our standing in the Celestial Kingdom, according to Joseph Smith (D&C 45 & 76)

I believe all church leaders are & have been leading members astray since Brigham Young, he being the most wicked of false prophets in this dispensation.

It is the test of this life to see who can be deceived or not.

theholleyspot said...

I agree, I was just fumbling around on the LDS.org website and decided to have a look at what LDS corp had to say about training the preisthood. I too felt embarrassed for these men. they were superficial, with no depth. No mention of what the keys were. Though they were trowing the term "keys" around like every knew exactly what they were talking about. IMHO - Priesthood Keys are just an authority boosting term with not much substance to the real work of God, almost as if it allots a Tile or status rather than work of service it possible renders. But anyone can see the needs of others if they are willing to look for them. Also the amount of meetings to accomplish anything is getting out of hand. I get that some organizational meetings must take place, but really if we focused more on the individual responsibility to live and act like Christ would, we would have a lot less need for meetings to discuss what council needs to be handed out. disappointing for sure. It has Church corp written all over it with a pretty poor attempt to reach any other emotion or feeling other than pure embarrassment for all who may view this. I am glad that bishop had the guts to say hell no!

JLC said...

I find it interesting that both Moroni 3:4 and D&C 20:60 state that elders priest, teachers and deacons are to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost. Priesthood is never mentioned. and yet we ordain men and boys to their offices " By the priesthood which I hold." When did that change take affect? Just a hunch, but I bet it was in Brigham's day.

The fact is the scriptures never talk about holding the Priesthood but only holding the keys of the Priesthood.

And as was stated so nicely above, power comes by faith. If you take it back one more step, faith comes by way, or as Hugh Nibley taught, it is received or increase, by charity because charity is the only thing that won't fail.

Rock, every time I read your new blog I'm lift to ask myself, " how much more of this crap do we need to endure before the heavens release its wrath and see the arm of the Lord reviled?" To quote a real prophet in the Bool of Mormon," Would to God it would be in my day, but let it be sooner or later, in it I will rejoice."

Charlotte Canterbury said...

I think I can relate to your reaction to the Zone Meeting. My sister got home from her mission the other day and before she was released the Stake President asked her to talk to us (the family that was in the room). Listening to her tear up at just the right moment and say how she knows that the church is the only way to happiness, then afterwards we're having dinner and people are passing around stories about "tender mercies". Really it was everything to be silent. All I could see was mind control and training, not anything real and solid. Good feelings, happy stories. Halfway through I was like, "Alright I'm ready to go home." It reminds me of this video - it's supposed to be about "keys" but all I see is "Awesome, we're so awesome. We are cool because we have Preisthood Keys!" Just like all I heard the other day is "Awesome, we're so awesome. We are cool because we are active members of the Church." It really makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Having sat in Ward Council mtgs, I completely concur. I bailed out of that postion as fast as I could, one of the reasons being I did not want to be implicated in the gossip mill. Our ward was a virtual anthill of gossip, and I'm sure 90+% came from the Sunday morning Ward Council mtgs.
My reaction to the vid was one of boredom. Been there, done that. The suits were trivial, pompous, self-congratulatory, and utterly BORING.
Church is a chore, a tedious chore these days. When I joined the church several decades ago, it was different. I ENJOYED welfare assignments, ENJOYED putting a new roof on an elderly sister's home, ENJOYED working with the scouts, ENJOYED attending meetings in the AM and in the PM, ENJOYED fund raising activities, ENJOYED church sports, even if I had to walk to church in the rain I ENJOYED IT. Now, I go for 3 hrs of boredom punctuated on very irregular intervals with an occasional uplifting talk or lesson (usually given by someone substituting who doesn't have the approved, correlated lesson manual).
Seems to me that when we switched to the correlation committee approved 3 hr block the whole church fell in the crapper.
Just today I found a lesson manual from 1957 for the Mel. PH. written by Hugh Nibley on the Book of Mormon. WHOA! Why don't we have lesson like that anymore? Now its more of the same stale pizza we just saw on this film. BAH HUMBUG!
JR

Good Will said...

In reading your comments here, what I felt most was your burgeoning spirit of apostasy. It manifests itself in an unnecessarily critical appraisal of the Brethren (especially Elder L. Tom Perry).

Yes, the brethren at that table vocalized useless blather, for the most part. But having the discretion to overlook their shortcomings is an important "gift of the Spirit" that you apparently lack. (As do I, apparently, since I'm taking the opportunity to point out your apparent shortcomings. Touche.)

Yes, the video is lacking. And your post about moving mountains, turning out the course of rivers, etc, highlights a stark contrast between what you expect the "keys" to be and what they commonly truly are: the authority to officiate in the Church.

When the Lord returns, He will continue the practice of assigning individuals to personally represent Him (and His authority) at various functions and in various capacities. This authority is very real and important. (We're not talking "barn raisings" here, but "power-of-attorney" stuff.) This authority must be reflected at the most local and intimate level. Hence, "keys".

You may "poo-poo" the essential nature of this. But I would argue that having the "keys" is not necessarily the same as having the gifts of the Spirit. And having those gifts -- in the long run -- is far more important than holding or exercising any "keys".

Good Will said...

I think you've nearly answered your own question.

A bishop, as president of the Priests' Quorum, officiates in that duty and, by necessity, involves himself in all the material aspects of the ward (facilities, collecting tithing, Sunday School instruction, etc). Because we have no literal descendants of Aaron, to speak of, claiming the right to officiate in the bishop's office, we have high priests filling that calling now. It is given to the high priest holding the keys the authority to do all that bishops do by the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood under the auspices of the Melchizedek Priesthood. We have, in effect, created an amalgam of priesthood authority which, in time to come, may be divided and delegated again along strictly priesthood lines (with bishops attending to the strictly Aaronic Priesthood matters, and Elders Quorum leaders and High Priest group leaders attending to more "spiritual" concerns).

Steven Lester said...

Rock, I am reminded of this link on YouTube:

http://youtu.be/VauzhTAuoFw.

The song upon which it is based came immediately to mind as I was watching the video. I know it is in German, but it was the only one that had the walking on water scene. Instead of quiet music in the background, they should really be repeating this refrain over and over. It is so appropriate!

Anonymous said...

I used to see more of the practical help approach decades ago, and old timers told me there was even more of it before. It's what the church was famous for to the outside world, in fact. But it seems to have been phased out in favor of a bottom-line, business calculation.

karl waterman said...

I was moved by the spirit as a witness to the below quote, the rest of the article just left me wondering what i've not been missing since leaving the church in the 1990"s. love you brother from the same mother, she would be proud of her oldest son rising up and speaking out to this meaningless Corporate blather.

When, in my opinion the LORD silenced president benson, because the teachings of the church failed in the teachings of the gospel, well, I testified with my feet.

Every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from the foundation of the world." (JST, Genesis 14

Anonymous said...

Actually Good Will, possession of true Priesthood power 'is' completely dependent on one having the gifts of the Spirit. If a person does not have Charity (the true love of Christ, especially for their spouse), they cannot possess Priesthood power or the gifts of the Spirit.

I believe Rock does realize that there is true Priesthood authority given by God, just that some, or most, of these men & leaders today (especially the one's in the video) don't appear to have it or understand it.

Also, I wonder why you can feel so confident to judge apostasy in others while you admit (in your other post on marriage) that you don't believe in Christ & his teachings yourself? For you appear to conveniently reject his teachings on divorce & remarriage and instead believe the philosophies of men taught by some leaders in the Church today that want to allow divorce & remarriage.

No one can change Christ's laws, there is no such thing as divorce & remarriage,(except in the rare cases of fornication by a spouse, meaning they had relations with someone else before they married you & didn't tell you). We are married forever to our 1st spouse (there is no need for or truth in a temple sealing, that I believe Brigham Young made up after Joseph died) Joseph taught that all marriages are eternal, no matter what religion they are or no religion at all, if the spouses are righteous.

If one or both spouses aren't righteous, God will decide what to do in the next life, there is no divorce & remarriage in this life for such cases. Christ was very clear (and even the Church teaches this too) that remarriage is adultery (cause they are still married to their 1st spouse) & those who remarry are living in apostasy & adultery, no matter how they want to justify it.

LDSDPer said...

anonymous 7:06 p.m.

You mentioned being in the MTC in 1982, so you are about 10 years younger than I am.

I don't want to be argumentative with the other person who responded to you.

Your decision to stay in the church is yours alone. It isn't for anyone else to tell you what to do. I made that same decision (as did my husband), based upon fasting and praying, and I was told that "Father" wanted me to stay in the church.

"Staying in the church" means nothing more than attending meetings (where possible) and being kind to people and trying to serve, also by the Spirit, which is important. Sometimes callings extended are not inspired.
What is the point of leaving the church? It is possible to be 'in' the church and also realize that some of the things that are going on in the church are not only wrong, they are VERY wrong. Ezra Taft Benson made mistakes, I believe, in some of his political teachings, though I stand behind him firmly when it comes to the constitution. I do believe he put too much emphasis on 'fearing' communism and therefore sent people running in the wrong directions at times. But he was ADAMANT (sorry to yell) that the church was under condemnation, and for that I applaud him and keep his memory in my heart. He knew what he was talking about. Why did not he leave the church, since it was under condemnation? He didn't, because he had preaching to do, and when people listened to him (on the Book of Mormon especially), they benefited.

It is nobody else's stewardship to tell you to leave the church. Just know, please, that others of us are struggling to stay in the church and deal with abuse, false doctrine, etc.--

but we know we are supposed to be here, so we stay. Why would we be better off leaving? I don't think we would; the abuse and false doctrine would still be there. I don't trust ANYone to lead me, except Jesus Christ. Stick with Him, and you're in good shape, I encourage. Just staying in the church doesn't mean that you put any of those leaders on pedestals. You aren't 'following' them; you are following Jesus Christ, and sometimes we can do much more good by staying in the church.

Rock has pointed out, and I applaud him for it, that being a member of the church means that you are following Christ; you are His; it doesn't mean more than that--

all the other 'stuff' is just stuff--

there are people hungry to hear, but your quiet example is more important than everything else.

What *I* have done--

bear testimony of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and make certain that testimony is genuine--

pray for Jesus Christ to come, and let other ward members know that you want Him to come. Keep it simple. Talk about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked--

and don't get into the "politics" of the church. You can smile when people make the accepted general authority jokes (that everyone chuckles at), but don't make that your focus. Remember they are MEN. Men. They and they only will be accountable for what they have said, done, etc. And for all we know they are doing their best--
You are responsible only for what you do, but nobody has ever been condemned for attending any church--

President Benson, while living in Ames, Iowa and going to college there attended protestant meetings weekly, because there was no organized LDS branch, not even a Sunday School--
he recommended doing that. If we are not punished for attending other churches, why should we be punished for attending the church we joined?

Again, let others who feel that leaving the church is commendable . . . deal with their own decisions about that.

I am deeply disturbed by the direction America has taken (and has been taking for decades)--but I realized a long time ago that if I left America and went to any other country I would just be leaving the frying pan for the fire.

The same logic applies to the church--


LDSDPer said...

All right--

I watched it--

it's men talking--

I can't relate to it, but then I've never been for 'contrived' things--

Once many, many years ago my best friend (who was a strong Catholic) took the missionary discussions to please me. I was all caught up in the discussions at the time. I was very involved in the missionary program, and all the little things that the church did in the 60s--

all the tools and things that missionaries used; I thought it was all so very brilliant--

and I was really proud of it, and I wanted my friend to meet the missionaries (who were really nice young men)--

after all, she and I were rather alone in our high school; there weren't many high quality young men, and both of us had to leave and go far away to find good men to marry, and both of us are still married to #1--:)

MANY years later--

so, what is the point--

she finished the discussions; she was very polite, though I saw her smiling wryly a few times--

and then when it was over, she said, "it's . . . canned; it's all canned"--

I was SO hurt, but she had done what I had asked her to do, after all. Now she was a very intelligent, thinking young woman, and she had given me her honest answer. I could have been ruthless and told her that Catholic rituals were 'canned'--but I didn't.

The fact is that--

it was canned, and when I accepted that I was able to realize that I had to teach by the Spirit when I served a mission and not be 'canned'--

it didn't always work; we still had to memorize discussions, and I had to memorize them in another language--

but--

canned works for this, too. Until there is genuine Spirit in what anyone does (whether LDS or Catholic) the Lord can't be there.

I don't like groups around tables, though, or did I say that? It's . . . too contrived or . . . canned.

The only way that religion can be pure and undefiled is to listen to James on that--

see to the needs of the widows and fatherless--

anything else can easily become . . . canned.

Anonymous said...

LDSDPer,

I respect your decision to stay in the Church, but I have to wonder how you can follow Christ & stay in the Church at the same time, unless you think Brigham Young and all the Presidents since him were true prophets, though they taught completely contrary to & led us far astray from Christ's Gospel.

When we receive revelation from God, Joseph Smith taught that we should realize it could be coming from our own mind or from the Adversary far more likely than from God, (especially when our supposed revelation says to do the easy thing).

But I believe we will have the Spirit & revelation in far greater abundance if we stop supporting false prophets & false doctrine & stop subjecting ourselves & children to destructive & evil teachings that are everywhere in the LDS Church today, from encouraging 'adultery' by polygamy & divorce & remarriage to supporting evil by giving our money & support to a Church & leaders who ignore & neglect the needy in favor of building malls for the wealthy & false temples dedicated for abominations & Satan's ceremonies.

I know many many people who say they have been told by God to commit adultery or do all manner of evil things, (of course they never see it as adultery or evil) but they never stop to compare their 'revelation' to what Christ & the scriptures really teach, to see if their revelation is true & really from God or not.

The prophets have been very clear that if revelation, ours or anyone else's differs from what Christ & the scriptures say, then we know for sure it's not from God.

If we believe it's ok to stay in the Church, despite all the wickedness & false prophets in it, then it would be ok to stay in any apostate or false church out there. Why didn't Alma stay in the Church in his day when he realized it was in apostasy? I believe he would have left even if he wasn't chased out, for how can one be righteous & maintain the Spirit & remain unaffected if they support evil & false prophets & false doctrine?

We can easily worship God on our own in our own homes with friends & family who see how corrupt the Church has become since Joseph died and that it is not a true branch of the Church that Joseph started.

I believe following Brigham Young out west 170 years ago or staying in the LDS Church today, would be the same as following Warren Jeffs & supporting him & his Church. I believe neither has any true authority and we will be held accountable & lose our Exaltation for giving our support to error & evil men.

Christ & his prophets constantly warned us about falling for & supporting false prophets & false churches in our days & that if we do we will lose our exaltation.

I realize it's easier to just quietly stay in the Church than to stand for the right & let everyone know we believe the Church is corrupt & then go it alone, but if we stay we give our children & friends & family the appearance that we support evil, insomuch that it could cause them to become more deceived by & embracing of all the falsehoods then we have been.

And I believe we will be held accountable for encouraging others, especially our children, by our example to support evil.

I believe God gives everyone who is willing to accept the truth, the same revelation that he gave Joseph Smith when he asked what Church should he join or stay with?", which was, "Join none of them", for they are all wrong."

I believe we should do like Joseph, Alma, Lehi, & so many others have done when they realized their churches had gone into apostasy, & just wait & do the best we can on our own with the Holy Scriptures & personal revelation to guide us, until God again restores his true Church to the earth in Zion.

Anonymous said...

Melvin Fish and his wife helped me, as well as a couple of my friends, a number of years ago. In my opinion he is a man of God and a follower of Christ's teachings. I believe we will see more and more of these sorts of injustices as time goes on. In the end, it is God who judges, not man -- even "The Brethren".

Anonymous said...

If we are bent on staying in or attending a 'Church', then at least lets choose some other Christian church out there that actually preaches & practices the teachings of Jesus Christ, for the LDS Church teaches anti to Christ in most things.

Anonymous said...

Steven, I tried to find the video you mentioned on you tube and wasn't successful. Can you help?

Steven Lester said...

This should do it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VauzhTAuoFw&feature=youtu.be

Or search "Jim Carrey I've got the power."

Isaac said...

Of course faith is a prerequisite to receiving or using any gift of the spirit, but would you say there is a difference between priesthood power and priesthood authority? Just like there is a difference between a cop's power and his authority. Could it be that to perform mountain-moving level miracles that one must be "ordained after this order," (you know, the Holy Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God)) or in other words, previously authorized and entrusted to use such power?

Anonymous said...

I believe 'authority & power' are the same thing. One can be 'ordained' to the Priesthood, yet never gain real power & authority of the Priesthood, if they weren't worthy of it.

We can also easily lose the 'power & authority' of the Priesthood after we have gained it, if we become unrighteous or use 'unrighteous dominion', which has been a rampant problem in most all marriage since the beginning of time. So only rare men have probably ever really held true Priesthood power & authority, despite many being ordained to the Priesthood. Many have been called but few have been chosen (righteous).

When we are not righteous & worthy of the Priesthood we lose not only power but the authority to use it or pass it on, too. Amen to our power & authority.

Just like one can be baptized & confirmed but never receive the Holy Ghost, if they are not truly righteous, repentant & worthy of it.

Such ordinances are meaningless & empty without personal righteousness. It's as if the ordinance never happened.

LDSDPer said...

@Anonymous 11:45--

Alma didn't leave 'the church'. Alma fled from a wicked king who threatened his life.
These men (Lehi, etc.) didn't leave a 'church'.

I find your logic as frightening as the apostasy in the church, because you take it upon yourself not to teach others, in a way that is 'final'. You take upon yourself the 'either or'--
You either do it the way I believe you should do it or . . . you (basically) go to h#ll. !

Anonymous 10:09 (also, same person I assume)--

I am not begging you to come back to the church. I am speaking to someone who wonders, as I did, if it would be better to leave.

You, on the other hand, want *us* to leave. Why? Are you really that worried for our souls? Honestly.

I will paraphrase scriptures here, because I don't have the time to look them up--

but even the very elect (if it were possible) being deceived means so many things--
How do you know that you haven't been deceived in other areas; there are so many areas in which a person can be deceived.

I don't condone divorce. Going to church doesn't mean I condone divorce. You wouldn't be able to find a church (especially Christian) in which there weren't some divorced people. I think you might be happier in an Amish community, where people are shunned when they no longer are considered faithful or worthy--

Because the black and whiteness of your logic is really very harsh.

You can believe that I have been deceived in my prayers, but that is a terribly bold thing for one person to say to another person. I mean--audacious.

Yes, the church has slipped into apostasy, I believe. I do believe the church is under condemnation; so did President Benson.

My attending church doesn't support evil. If I were to carry your 'doctrine' as far as you seem to carry it--

I would not do anything, I mean anything . . . in this world at all, because everything is evil. As I have read the D&C I have gotten the idea that Jesus Christ was really blunt with Joseph Smith about how evil the world and ALL its cultures were, all its religions, etc.

Everything is evil. So--
don't eat; don't sleep; don't buy anything; don't find a place to lay your head, because in anything you do, you support corruption and evil.

I challenge you to show me anyone in this world who is living in a way that completely and totally does not support some kind of evil.

The world is a web, and the evil is so thick and so deep that--

nobody is not touched. All have sinned.

My life has not been threatened by anyone in the church. My family and I are able to live up to the standards of morality and chastity and every other kind of standard that we feel strongly about without being persecuted or hunted down--

And we are free to read the scriptures and receive promptings of the Spirit about things that we do NOT have to share with people at church, because we do have our agency, because, as the Savior admonished it is possible to be 'wise as serpents, harmless as doves'--
You don't have to wear your every belief on your sleeve, and if you do you are merely asking to be ridiculed. If that is what makes you happy, go ahead and do it.

I found this recently on another Mormon blog. I read this years ago; it was not written by an LDS person, but it talks about the spiritual stages in any religion--

and, yes, I have met people who are not LDS and not necessarily even Christian who have discovered that living a spiritual life is more important to them than being involved in a religious life, and that is fine for them--

LDSDPer said...

I still want and need a faith 'community', and my own extended family has as many flaws in it (including myself and my immediate family) as any ward or stake--

why would I isolate myself to just my family when we all are as flawed as anyone else. Reading and studying the Book of Mormon and practicing pure religion--taking care of the widowed and fatherless . . . is the please to please Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ; the rest of it is just . . .
part of being alive.

So, here it is, if Rock doesn't mind--
the stages of spiritual growth--

some of *us* are in the stage where the 'church leaders' are like the senile grandparents; we remember the good they have done and laugh benignly when they stumble--not malignantly--but lovingly.

Others can't get past stages 3 and 4; they wind up in stage 4 hating everything about stage 3 and not being able to get beyond.

Yes, I believe very strongly that Brigham Young made some terrible mistakes--I believe plural marriage was a mistake. The difference between you and me, anonymous 11:45, is that I believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ; I believe that His atonement is real and that I can be saved even while living in this vile world; I don't have to jump off a cliff in order to please Him. He'll see me through this, even if I (*gasp*) attend LDS church meetings.

If you can't understand what this is saying, you won't understand what I am trying to say--

and there will be no point in our further communicating, but somehow I think we've been through this before.

http://barerecord.blogspot.com/2013/03/153-transition-moving-to-next-stage.html

How a person treats those who are in need means more to me than where that person spends his/her Sundays (or Sabbaths, if you want to argue about which day of the week matters)--

I read Rock, because he's had a conversion towards taking care of the needy--

I like to seek out the truth of what is going on and ponder it--

but that doesn't mean I have to go off 'half cocked'--

I don't have to act impulsively if I believe that there are things wrong in the church; in fact, I believe it is better to be cautious, always--

I've seen people go off . . . impulsively and make decisions that they spend the rest of their lives having to justify--

and they aren't usually very happy people--

You don't sound very happy to me either.

I'm looking for joy in the middle of this corrupt world--

and spending all of my time being mad at flawed church leaders--

doesn't bring me joy. Yes, the truth is important, but it's not easy to face it, and believe me, I have faced a LOT of truth--

I have awakened from many dreams.

I don't spend my time any more trying to pop other peoples' bubbles--

it's not very nice, even if *we* think the bubbles are purposeless--


LDSDPer said...

in my first post I said that you are not teaching. It is one thing to 'share' a person's feelings; it is one thing to say, "this is what I believe". It is another to say, "if you don't believe what I believe, then you are wrong."

I believe Rock shares what he thinks and believes and what he is learning--

he doesn't say, "you are wrong if you don't do what I do."

When you are expressing your faith experiences and talking about your faith 'journey' (and, yes, I am using words that are used in many religions, not just Christianity or LDS-view)--

you say, "you do what I do, or you are . . . done, deceived, bad, making things worse."

If you can't see the difference, then--

there's really nothing more I can say. Joseph Smith shared the Book of Mormon with people.

I know some evangelical Christians who speak much as you do--

they are always right; their rightness is more important than anything, and they always made me feel . . .

like a big wad of nothingness. They were so convinced that I had been deceived to be a Mormon--

and they didn't care about my feelings--

these people only made me distrust evangelical Christians; they didn't make me look into my own soul to see where i needed to improve.

Only Jesus Christ can make us look into our own souls, and He does that for everyone--

even if they don't live up to your standards. Some people refuse to let Him work in their lives, I admit--and will find it harder in the end--or until they submit . . .

but He is there . . . --for all of *us*.

If you don't believe that, then I feel sorry for you, because He is the Savior of the World. Everyone--

As much as I respect Joseph Smith I don't need anyone between myself and my Savior--

including . . . you.

:)

Peace--



LDSDPer said...

an apology to the anonymous who stated that someone praying and being inspired to stay in the church is being deceived--

I'm sorry. I lost my temper. I still believe the things I said/wrote, but I shouldn't have been angry.

Brought back memories of some difficult experiences our family had with some people who were very 'right' and very . . . hurtful.

I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is working with everyone; He loves us all--

and He gives us so many chances to get it right, and only He knows what is in each heart--

the heart is what counts, after all--

This is what I believe. I could talk about spiritual experiences, etc.--but those are personal, and I won't--

I just know He doesn't want me to be angry. So, I am sorry. You can try to convince people that they are wrong to stay in the (LDS) church--

it's your right, your agency.

I will share my experiences of why I have stayed.

Again, peace--and this time not with a frown on my face.

Hatchet Jack said...

I didn't realize you and people outside of working full-time for the corporation could have these insights. Has it gotten that obvious to the rank and file?

Working for the church was one of the most disappointing things I have ever experienced. Time and again I saw the same type of guy rising, with promotions, thru the ranks and often what happens is what happens in any other group, those who can play the game the best and who crave power over others, deceive and are successful at politicking climb to the higher rungs on the ladder.

I DO NOT know what the priesthood really is, what "keys" truly are or how it works but I do know that mixing priesthood with personal gain does not work. I also know that many crave power to control others and are not decent administrators of the power.

I'm likely included in that but I have never had much power so have not had a chance to fail the test yet as so many of those in leadership positions have. Suffice it to say "i wish i didn't know now what i didn't know then".

I still have a recommend, still believe Joseph but so many things I don't buy into and I distrust anybody with authority.

Hatchet Jack said...

Can I add one thing though because the angel on the other shoulder is reminding me of some of the concern I saw for people. this came from three departments in the church I worked with:

1) RS general presidency - they were very sincere and really wanted to help lift the sisters.
2) in 1985 the young women's presidency, I've forgotten all their names - but I think sister Grassley and sister Malan were two. they were so genuine and honest and helpful and had no ego's or political agenda and wanted only to help lift others.
3) in a meeting with the welfare dept sometime between 2004 and 2007 which include their then managing director - he, and they, showed amazing compassion and real intent to simply help others at whatever level those others could and would be helped…no politicking…no squandering of budgets that I could see.

There are at least two of the dept's of the church that I've had years of contact with that are replete with corruption at the top…it comes down, in both cases, to personal ego's and the desire to control everything in their sphere, every person, every dollar to make them look great to their higher ups and be given more power.

So I've seen both kinds there at headquarters and calling, title, position don't insure righteousness or even decent managarial ability.

Mike said...

Another thought-provoking piece, Rock.

Now bear with me while I try to invoke my own movie allusion to this matter...

What is the alternative to the pablum the Church puts out? I say, instead of worrying about black suits and meetings and keys and church handbooks, just follow the simple admonition from Samuel L. Jackson in "Unbreakable":

"Go to where people are. You won't have to look very long."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmhpv6a__H4

Of course, Bruce Willis' power is the ability to know the evil things people have done, but I think we could transfer the basic concept of this scene into service for our fellow man. And if playing the Unbreakable theme song on your ipod while doing it helps, more power to ya!

Jackson continues: "It's alright to be afraid, David. Because this part won't be like a comic book. Real life doesn't fit into little boxes that were drawn for it."

I cannot think of a more apt comparison here. Basically, the comic books equal the handbook of instructions and the brethren are trying to box us in according to its uninspired corporate blather. But Mr. Glass is right; real life doesn't fit into already-drawn boxes. "Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward" (D&C 58:27-28). Must we make it any more difficult than this?

This entire "training" video could have just been one of the general authorities reading this scripture and I would have gotten more out of it.

vikingz2000 said...

Well, you can take away my power in the priesthood if that makes you feel better, but you’d better not mess with my “power in the loins and in the sinews”!!

Eric said...

One phrase kept coming to mind as I listened to each speaker drone on about how wonderful his own keys were - Circle Jerk. Just replace the words "priesthood keys" with whichever term you prefer to describe male genitalia, and just watch how proud these guys are of their "keys". It's just a big Mormon sausage fest, and they were even nice enough to invite a couple of token minorities to the party. So it shouldn't be long before someone who is non-white, and not closely related to a current general authority, becomes the newest apostle, right? Yeah, I was just kidding, that's NEVER gonna happen.

Steve said...

Rock,

Thanks for the link to latterdaycommentary. Interesting articles there and at the related blog. So sorry to hear about Mel, though.


Steve

Anonymous said...

Great article, as usual, Rock. After everything that you have written, I am surprised that you continue to have face-palm moments over the latest Faux pas committed by church leadership. The church is in apostasy from top to bottom, and the leadership is no longer capable of making holy or even rational decisions. Why does this still amaze you? I personally couldn't care less what these clowns do because I seperated myself from their lunacy years ago. Once I realized that no one has the power(priesthood or otherwise) to stand between the Lord and myself, I became a much happier and more content person. Take care, Rock. What you say contains much truth, but quit dancing with the corpse.

Anonymous said...

From Anon. 7:06 pm on 03/12/2013

Thanks to those who responded to my questions. I apologize for my questions starting an argument. That was not my intention. I understand both sides of the argument. I have wondered for a long time about those things I asked about, along with much, much more. I appreciate the help.
I appreciate everyone who gives their opinions, tells stories, and asks questions.


Anonymous said...

Rock, I wish to extend my gratitude for your blog. It has shown me much of how awesome our faith is.

I'm a convert from Catholicism and not even baptized yet actually,(taking the plunge this sunday though) but I have been prompted by the spirit to join nonetheless.

I tried to justify my decision with logic but I came to an impasse upon my decision to be baptized or not. The Spirit told me that I could not be saved except by faith. The experience was interesting because his voice was as loud and clear as if he were right next to me. This 'still small voice' that I hear about on sundays makes no sense to me.

Anyways, after I decided to tell the missionaries that I wished to become baptized, I stumbled upon your blog. It has helped me to learn a vast amount about our faith and increased my desire to read the scriptures by a vast amount. I realized that I am being rewarded for my faith and that my thirst for the truth is being fulfilled when I read your writings and the scriptures.

When I first started investigating the church, everything felt very Catholic to me but without the rituals to keep it interesting and I was incredibly skeptical of everything the missionaries told me. Now that I know more, I feel that the church is in apostasy. I'm not sure why the Lord wants me in the church as it is now but I'm going to trust him on this one.

I would just like to thank you again though for helping me to realize how amazing the Lord is and to appreciate what he has actually set up upon this Earth.

Please, please keep this blog going.

I promise keep you and Connie in my prayers.

sincerely,
Andrew

Thomas said...

Hi Andrew,

It's interesting you should say that. I'm getting ready to be rebaptised after a long spell away from Church. Like you I believe the leadership have gone astray, but I feel from the spirit that the Lord wants me in this Church.

I don't think I'll ever be a successful member as I don't fit the mould but hey at least I can try to set an example through simple living and trying to put the poor and needy first.

Maybe the Lord is after a renaissance movement from people who have figured it out.

What's your thoughts Rock?

Thomas

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Why thank you, Andrew. And welcome into the church of Christ. As you can see from the comments above, there are some who feel the LDS church is something to be escaped from, and though I honor and respect everyone on their chosen path, I personally feel this community is where I belong, just as you do. It helps, though, to differentiate the church from "The Church."

The Lord has defined His church in Doctrine and Covenants 10:67-68 as all who repent and come unto him, so in that sense (the correct one), the church is the community of believers who gather together for the purpose of associating with others of like mind. In the first century church, it was little more than that: a reason for like-minded individuals to gather together.

The other "Church" is the one incorporated in 1923 as a Corporation Sole. You won't be a member of that Church (according to the bylaws of that corporation, there is only one member anyway), and neither am I, which is why I can remain a member of Christ's church without overly concerning myself with that other one.

That Church, the corporate one, is administered by a group of men who don't always adhere to the instructions the Lord outlined for the members of His church, so in those areas where they depart from the policies and procedures laid out by the Lord, I simply consider them irrelevant. (Their decision since 1959 to ignore D&C 26:2 and 104:71 are recent glaring examples.) I speak out at times because I sometimes notice members of Christ's church laboring under the impression they are supposed to follow those men. The Lord has given the members of His church no such instructions.

No men or group of men are "in charge" of the members of Christ's church, and He has never commanded his children to follow the president of the corporate Church. God did not put you on this earth and assign leaders over you, though it seems to be human nature for some individuals to desire to look to someone to tell them what they must do.

There are two sovereigns in this church, evidenced by the name we go by. This is The Church OF Jesus Christ(and)OF Latter-day Saints. That means the community consists of and belongs to all of the Saints equally.

The church of Christ consists of individuals with varied gifts and callings, as in the early church where Paul states in Ephesians 4:11 that the Lord "gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; etc., but none of these gifts and callings were intended to be ranks of privilege.

If you'll just remember that the church is intended to be an egalitarian society where we have the opportunity to share this journey with people of like mind, you'll have a wonderful association with your brothers and sisters here.

Also remember that your baptism is necessary for eventual entry into the Kingdom of God, but that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not that Kingdom. The two are separate, though many latter-day Saints do not seem aware of the difference.

So I applaud your decision to be baptized, but one does not become baptized in order to "join the church." You can be formally confirmed a member of this church after you have been baptized, but your baptism does not make you a Mormon. Your decision to join our society is what makes you a Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Andrew,

I would like to second the thoughts by Rock. I think that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints actually has a lot to offer. However, what we need to understand is what role this church, (LDS church) actually plays. Currently, we have the fullness of the priesthood taken from us. (D&C 124)
That leaves us with the lesser priesthood, which still has a very important role. The lesser priesthood, or Aaronic priesthood, contains the preparatory Gospel, the gospel of repentance, baptism, remission of sins, and the outward ordinances. As we read in Alma 25:15-16, it is expedient that we keep the law, until that time that Christ is revealed to us. That is, we should each strive to live our lives accordingly until that time when the Savior will appear to us personally, in the flesh.

The greater priesthood has but one purpose, to bring us to the Father in this life. (D&C 84:23, 46-47 D&C 107:18-19)

The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the Gospel, as it was taught to the Nephites during Christ's visit. Understanding what this means should be of great importance to each of us.

There are great treasures of knowledge contained in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. The ordinances, as they are performed in the LDS church, can teach us many deep and sacred truths. In fact, we are also taught that the power of God is made manifest in the ordinances thereof. (D&C 84:20) The word manifest is defined as being easily understood, or recognized by the mind, to show or demonstrate plainly, reveal.

Recall what we are taught in Alma 25:15-16, compared to what we are taught in D&C 84:20.
15 Yea, and they did keep the law of Moses; for it was expedient that they should keep the law of Moses as yet, for it was not all fulfilled. But notwithstanding the law of Moses, they did look forward to the coming of Christ, considering that the law of Moses was a type of his coming, and believing that they must keep those outward performances until the time that he should be revealed unto them.
16 Now they did not suppose that salvation came by the law of Moses; but the law of Moses did serve to strengthen their faith in Christ;

It is part of God's plan that the majority of the Latter Day Saints do not understand these great truths. They are meant to be learned individually. Salvation will never be attained by membership in a group, even if it is being a part of the Lord's chosen people.

Rock's blog is valuable in pointing out essential truths, namely that the fullness the LDS proclaims is absent. HOWEVER, one must also know that every individual can obtain the fullness, AND, the scriptures published by the LDS church, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Bible contain God's word to men. Joseph Smith said it best, a man will get closer to God by abiding by the precepts contained in the Book of Mormon, than by any other book. The Book of Mormon teaches from its first page to the last, that each of us may come to know the Savior in this life, in the flesh. That is the purpose of the Gospel.

Frederick

AnonymousNV said...

Great Post, Thanks. (By the way we met last month at the fireside in Rancho Cordova.) Now, I'm a convert and I'm female, so when I hear the word priesthood, I still can't help but picture a bunch of monks in, well, hoods. But I must admit after these many years of LDS-ness; the word priesthood still makes my brain go fuzzy.

One of the reasons for that is this: While the D&C (and to a lesser extent the OT) talk about Priesthood; In the NT, Jesus references it not at all as far as I can remember in that book. The Book of Hebrews discusses it, and I think Peter brings it up in the sense of a "Royal Priesthood." In the Book of Mormon, the only references I remember are in Alma where he talks about the Holy Order of God. So, if Priesthood IS a real thing or power; then the Book of Mormon and the NT are using other words to talk about this "thing" or power.

LDSDPer said...

@7:06, you owe nobody any apologies, and you didn't start any arguments. :)

I get hot under the collar a lot! LOL!

I think I've had the same discussion with the other person before; this person is very 'black and white', I believe. And this person likes to say that if we are attending church we are being deceived (which is illogical, because nobody knows why anyone does or does not attend church; it's a very personal thing)--and will be 'held accountable' for 'supporting evil men or evil programs', etc.--

I put things in quotes, because I don't believe those things, and those are the kinds of things I understood that person to be saying. To say 'that person' sounds rude, but I don't know the person's name; I am LDSDPer (and there is a reason for that), so at least people can know that much about me; I also admit to being female, which is quite a bold move on my part. :)

The fact is that I really do resent it when others come on such boards as this and try to proselyte, especially against the church--

I don't believe that it is my place to try to tell anyone else what to do, but I will try to lend support if it sounds as though someone is having the same struggle I have had. I believe that that is part of the baptismal covenant I have made as per Mosiah--

I don't believe that telling people they are sinning by being at church is bearing others burdens, standing as a witness of Christ or comforting those who stand in need of comfort, but that is perhaps my bias.

The fact is that if we take the Holy Spirit to be our guide it really doesn't matter where we are on Sunday.

And just being at church on Sunday is not proof that we accept all the programs, all the customs, all the traditions or even the leadership of the men and women who are considered, in this religious culture, "general authorities".

The idea that someone is somehow 'safer' not being at church is deceptive.

I did something, because I was 'upset' (not terribly, but a little) about that person's comments.

I went through all the Book of Mormon and D&C scriptures that could refer to a person being a 'sinner', because he/she attends a church whose leaders are not only imperfect (being human) but are perpetuating imperfect, even evil in some cases, traditions--

to be continued, because I am too wordy--

LDSDPer said...

and, now, finishing:

and there is nothing. *We* are warned not to be deceived; *we* are not warned to stop going to church if there are those within the organization who are deceiving or who have deceived or who have been deceived. So that person is wresting the scriptures.

ALL of us are capable of being deceived; in fact, only Jesus Christ is not deceived (2 Nephi 9:41; THAT verse is a treasure; what a powerful concept, that only Jesus is safe from being decieved)--

So if we rely on Him, our chances of not being deceived might be a little better, but we are all still moral, weak and sinners and need to repent constantly--

Pointing out that there is a false pride that can grab us if we think of ourselves as better, because *we* have the 'keys' or . . . the 'fullness' or . . . whatever--

is something that people who are trying to follow the spirit will do--

and Rock has done that--

We all must watch ourselves, but not going to church isn't the answer--

I had an opportunity to 'teach' a friend who was struggling in my ward recently, and it strengthened both of us as we both realized that the keys really are repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ--

I can't do that if I am not part of the body of the church--I can't really do anything to help anyone; I am just focusing on myself and kind of stewing in my own juices.

But I realize, also, that there are those who need to separate themselves, for whatever reason, and I won't condemn them any more than I will condemn the leaders who have been deceived. I just don't appreciate it when they come and preach separation.

Does that make more sense now? I hope the very best for those who preach separation, and I am always sorry when I let my hot neck (LOL!) get the better of me.

:)

zo-ma-rah said...

Andrew, It is interesting that you view the Melchizedek as the fulness of the Priesthood. It is my understanding that the fulness either refers to the Patriarchal Priesthood or to a fulness of those three priesthoods. So we are left with a lesser Melchizedek Priesthood and a Lesser Aaronic Priesthood.

But thanks for inspiring me to reread Section 124. I found this little gem:

34 For therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory.

It says it right here in the scriptures that the keys were to be given to people in the temple! Too bad I didn't find that for my article. I guess I'll have to make a part two.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I have added an update at the end of this post announcing a recent article by Zomarah showing that the Relief Society was intended as a parallel priesthood possessing the same gifts and authorities as those held by the men in the church. Each priesthood operated in its proper sphere, sort of a yin and yang complimenting one another. You can find that article here:

http://zomarah.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/the-history-and-purpose-of-the-relief-society/#comment-1270

Anonymous said...

Rock & Frederick,
Very well said indeed!
You two brethren have encapsulized the church and The Church very succinctly.
Thank you!
JR

teelea said...

Is it just me, or has there been increasing emphasis lately on NOT going outside official, Church-approved channels for getting help with life's problems? It seems that lately, in general conference, speakers have been warning against relying on "the wisdom of the world" even in dealing with the most common challenges, but rather to go to correlated magazines, ProvidentLiving.org, and all the rest. It sounds like they're worried that members will find out that Correlation doesn't have all the answers after all.

Anonymous said...

Rock,

Thanks for yet another amazing article. These topics keep blowing my mind! I just can't believe the extent to which we've moved away from the doctrine of the church in Joseph's day. The modern concept of keys, of course, fits perfectly into the corporate model of the Church. It's the uber-authority differentiator. You can never challenge what the leaders are doing, because *you don't have the keys*. Well, now that my mind is opened to what the term "keys" might mean, it makes me wonder exactly what keys are held by the leadership at all. They've certainly got the keys to making money, the keys to good public relations, the keys to conservative US politics, the keys to authoritarian leadership, etc

But what happend to all the godly keys? What is the knowledge required to receive the ministering of angels (D&C 13)? This topics makes me reexamine all the scriptural references to keys. What are the keys to the dispensation of the fullness of times? What was the knowledge associated with that?

OK, so is a "key" something that is meant to unlock knowledge and/or power? I suppose the key itself could be symbolic, like a temple sign/token, or a name, or a book/scripture. The symbol can lead us to greater knowledge. Or the key could be direct information required to unlock heavenly power, like the instruction to fast/pray to cast out devils, or the instructions to Oliver Cowdrey on how to translate, or the instruction on healing, etc.

So, in essence, the "keys" are available to all followers of Christ if he/she has the faith and commitment.

Jim



truth hurts said...

I think the priesthood is like humility- if you have to blather on about having it, you probably don't have it. Same with keys.

Just saying.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Truth Hurts,
That is concise and profound. You said it all in a nutshell.

LDSDPer said...

You know, I'm going to 'share' an idea I've had which probably many have already had--

I'm not thinking myself brilliant here. For years before I began to study the corporate nature of the 'church' and before I really understood what incorporation meant--

I had this 'gut' feeling that the 'brethren' were in captivity. I kept wondering why Ether (beyond chapter 12) was in the Book of Mormon. Yes, I believe, very strongly, that most of the people in the world are also in captivity of some kind or another, mostly economic and political, though also social and cultural--

but I knew there had to be a reason that Mormon put Ether in there for modern day gentile Mormons--

there were righteous kings who spent their entire lives in captivity; captivity was/is the theme of those records--

and I think that there is a captivity going on--

Some of *us* who are young or zealous or who haven't really tried to break out of bondage--

tend to think that the brethren can just say, "I'm done; I'm going to start over; I won't be a pawn anymore"--

but it's so much easier said than done. Culture and tradition are SO powerful (as the Book of Mormon, again, teaches)--

that often those who are in captivity don't realize they are; they honestly might think they are doing what they should be doing--

those who have awakened have a responsibility to be truthful, but also compassionate, or maybe patient, with those who have not, yet, awakened--

The traditions of the fathers (thank the Book of Mormon recorders for that powerful phrase) is such a powerful phenomenon.

Yes, truth hurts.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Churches that choose to incorporate place themselves under the regulation of the state. When Lyndon Johnson was a Texas senator, he got tired of pastors preaching against political corruption. He came up with the idea of selling the churches on the "Privileges" incorporating would provide them, such as the advantage of being tax exempt.

But churches never were under the jurisdiction and taxing powers of the state in the first place. Incorporation puts them there, then gives them certain exemptions as long as they don't step out of line. Incorporating restricts the ability of churches to speak out on issues the state decides are off limits. What it did was give the state authority to regulate and silence the churches in America.

An incorporated church must obey regulations promulgated by government; they are not free to preach the unimpeded word of God. A church licensed by the government no longer operates under the authority of Jesus Christ; it exists because it has asked the government for the right to exist.

Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and preach his word. The State says "only those parts we approve of."

So yes, when you say you have this gut feeling the Brethren are in captivity, you are not far from the truth.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I am rather confused where you are coming from. Scripturally and historically I have never heard this.
I agree with goodwill that the keys of the priesthood are quite different from the gifts of the spirit, however, they both come from God, so they will be found together. Like faith, the keys aren't much good without works to back them up.

Anonymous said...

Zomarah,

I believe that it would be wise to 1st prove, which I don't think we can, that D&C 124 or the temple ordinances (other than baptism for the dead) are really from Joseph Smith, or that he ever heard of D&C 124 or temple ordinances.

D&C 124 was added to the D&C 'after' Joseph died, and thus it could have been, & sounds like, just another made up section by Brigham Young, like I believe D&C 132 was.

Before we put faith in or follow something or someone, we should 1st prove that it or they are true, like so many Prophets have warned us to do.

Blind obedience just creates more blindness & causes us to always be easy deceived & lead astray.

I do not know of any proof that Joseph wrote D&C 124, so I believe the wise thing to do would be do lay it aside and not consider it scripture or even true, until Joseph or Christ returns and can verify if it is or not.

Anonymous said...

Yes Jim, I agree, all keys are available to anyone, male or female, for God does not play favorites.

Anonymous said...

@ LDSDPer from Anon 7:06

What you posted 03/15/2013 @ 9:15 a.m. made a whole lot of sense to me, and actually answered what I have wondered and worried about. Things clicked and became clear. I can't thank you enough!!! (And I understand about getting a little hot under the collar) :)

Anonymous said...

Rock, I appreciate you explaining all that, I did not understand it before.

And having it explained like that makes it so clear to me that God would never allow his Church to come under such unrighteous dominion & control. I doesn't even sound constitutional to me.

I do not believe God would sell his agency, to counsel & conduct his Church, for money & 'privileges', no matter how much of it the devil waves in front of him.

Thus, unfortunately this 'incorporation business' seems like just more huge proof that the LDS leaders, & thus the Church, are 'not' being lead by Christ one bit, nor do they seem righteous & understand & uphold the Constitution & God's laws.

How much proof do we need before we conclude there has been a complete apostasy of the Holy Church of God?

Anonymous said...

LDSDPer,

So am I right to assume that you believe that everyone who attends Warren Jeff's Church, or any false prophet's Church, will also not be held accountable for being deceived to attend a false church and leading others to attend also and be further deceived?

For I don't believe the LDS Church can be considered any more true, correct or righteous than Warren Jeff's Church or any other Church in the world out there. For I believe the Church is obviously in complete apostasy.

So if I understand you, you seem to believe that it doesn't matter if the Church we attend is true or righteous or not, just that we attend some church on Sunday, while we hope & pray we won't fall for any of it's false doctrines.

If that is true, then why did God tell Joseph Smith to join 'none' of the Churches on the earth because they were all 'wrong'?

Churches are like people, they can influence us for better or worse, especially the more time we spend with them. And since everyone can be so easily deceived, even Prophets, then wouldn't it be wise to be very careful 'who' we allow to preach or teach us or our children?

Don't the scriptures warn us to make sure that only 'righteous' people be allowed to teach us & our children? Makes sense to me. Why would I ever anyone, let alone a church leader who might be looked up to & believed, teach & influence my children if I don't believe everything they preach & practice?

And yes. I do believe things are very black & white, for that is how the scriptures are and how I believe God is with us, gentle & loving, but very black & white.

And Joseph Smith did warn us in D&C 45 & 76 that we will be held accountable for being deceived, it's one of the great tests for worthiness in the Celestial Kingdom,Joseph taught.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well it is constitutional, as no one can be prevented from entering into a contract that places him in servitude to another, and that goes for societies as well as individuals.

Although involuntary servitude is unconstitutional, voluntary servitude is perfectly legal. American men and women contract their liberty away every day when the join the U.S. Military. (If you are a soldier and don't believe the State is your master, just ask your Drill Instructor.)

In the case of church incorporation, that is a contract the church can dissolve any time it wishes, and many churches have since taken steps to dis-incorporate. The only question I have is what is our Church waiting for?

Here's an interesting short primer on why it's better to be a church that renders unto God than one that renders unto Caesar:

http://www.blessedquietness.com/journal/housechu/unregisteredchurch01.htm

Anonymous said...

Great minds think alike :)

All that's needed is a little audioshopping and then the whole thing will make perfect sense: for each utterance of the word "keys", just swap in "cocks". Then scatter it around the internet in strategic places, and try to round up one of those "Anonymous" dudes to hack into lds.org and swap in the revised version for the inscrutable original version (with a little extra tweaking to make it hard for the COB geeks to undo the swap or take the page down).

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Come on guys; let's try not to be a little less vulgar, please.

Gary Hunt said...

LDSDPer,

I think you have brought up some very important points. The ideas of captivity, culture and tradition of the fathers. The captivity you speak of is that of the mind because we have allowed institutions to influence, manipulate and control us.

In society we voluntarily organize into groups to fulfill mutually beneficial goals. Each individual in the group benefits from this association. Over time many organizations grow larger and become more important than the individual members of the group. The purposes and goals of the organization change from serving it's members to the individuals becoming subservient and secondary to the institution. This is akin to the stereotypical "virgin without blemish" being thrown into the volcano. This to appease the gods so that they won't be angry with the villagers and would be blessed with good crops etc.... This type of thinking is called "pagan fatalism".

In his book, "Calculated Chaos - Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival", Butler Shaffer explains... "We have been taught that institutions are necessary in order to provide for peace, order, and coordination in society; and yet our society is filled with much discord, agony, and violence. We are very much aware that institutions have failed to provide their promised harmony. What is not so familiar to us, however, is the central role institutions have played in actually generating the personal and social conflicts that permeates our lives."

We allow ourselves to be manipulated and exploited by these institutions, and have turned over our souls to them. Our identity becomes that of the institution instead of being an individual child of God, with our own, unique, individual personality and characteristics. We become "cookie cutter people" who are cut or extruded into the shapes the institutions wants us to be and not what we really are. We divide and isolate ourselves into competing groups such as Mormons vs. Catholics, Republicans vs. Democrats, and Americans vs. the rest of the world etc.... Pride creeps in and we believe our group is better than their group. This is satan's plan of divide and conquer.

Each of us, in our society, have subjected ourselves to numerous institutions. Each one wants our devotion. The scriptures say that we cannot serve two masters, yet we try to please all these institutions. We become internally divided and confused. We fragment ourselves with conflicting wants and value systems. No wonder we have all the physical, mental and emotional problems we do. No wonder we have training videos with no spiritually nourishing substance.

I believe it is up to each individual to free themselves from the captivity of our minds, the traditions of our fathers, or in other words, institutional thinking.

Gary Hunt said...

Rock another great article. The picture for the article reminds me of a cartoon character, "He-Man" from the early 1980's. when he lifts the sword and says "By the Power of... I Have the Power!" he is magically transformed into "He-Man." Now, I didn't watch the cartoon. My wife would tell me about it, and imitate it after she would tend her nieces.

I remember attending a special ward council meeting on a weekday evening in the late 1980's. A member of the stake high council came and introduced us to a new program of ward visits. They paired us up and sent us out to visit a family in the ward which had "special needs." We were supposed to return to the bishop's office and discuss how our visits went. When we returned the guy from the stake went around the room asking how the visits went. It just turned into a gossip fest. People were sharing things that should not have been discussed with anyone else. I and the person I went out with (elder's quorum president) didn't think it was appropriate. Fortunately the family we went to visit was not home. To top it off, at the end of the meeting the stake guy said how wonderful and spiritual this experience was.

When I first became a home teacher, if someone asked for help and shared something personal with you, you were supposed to tell them that they should talk to the bishop or ask if you could share it with the bishop. If they said no you didn't share it with the bishop. You respected their privacy and kept thing confidential.

Keep up the good work.

PallasAthena said...

Rock-

I read the article and watched the video multiple times. I did not read all the comments so hopefully I am not repeating what has already been said in another comment.

Your analysis of the video was spot on. But you focused so much on what was said. For me, the thing that stood out when I watched it is not what was said, but the nonverbal communication. The handbook is first mentioned by Bishop Davies at about 3:09. He is speaking normally but puts extra emphasis on the two words: "The Handbook." This shift in his voice is a subconscious cue to the listener that what was just said is important. It is the only time in the video that cue is sent, setting the stage for the listener to know that “The Handbook” is the main topic. When Bishop Davies says those words: "The Handbook," the camera is not focused on him, the speaker, but his voice is overlaid as we watch the hands of one of the guys at the table set their scriptures aside and open the handbook. Wow, the unspoken message here is clear. Set the scriptures aside, the authority is the handbook – that is where the important information lies. Throughout the rest of the video the camera frequently focuses on the handbook, leaving faces and other items that may distract the viewer out of sight so the viewer has nothing to look at except the handbook. Almost always when the handbook is the focus of the frame, the scriptures are in the background either closed or zipped in a case. At only one time in the video (6:44) does it even appear as if the scriptures are being used. (There was another time when it showed a ward council meeting and I thought I saw a lady with scriptures open in her lap, but alas, upon closer examination it turned out to be her Franklin Covey planner.) The unspoken message is we should prefer the handbook over the scriptures.

I do not want people to think I am inferring the church is purposely building subliminal messaging into their videos. I do not think that at all. I do not think there are people in the COB who are sitting around trying to put hidden meanings into the videos (and I have read Daymon Smith’s book, multiple times). I think this sort of stuff happens naturally. The people making these videos make them in this way because they feel it is the right thing to do. They are not malicious, they are misguided. They are trying to impress the right people and feel this will do just that.

Your friend said: “Their faces were so completely smug! I kept thinking, these guys are being coached on facial expressions! It lacked the Spirit.” Unfortunately I doubt he was right; they did not need to be coached they already had it down. It is the way of the church, leaders are picked from the pool of people who didn't just drink the Kool-Aid but went for a swim in it. These people mimic the apostles in the way they speak, the way they dress, and yes, even their facial expressions. This is how you get a head in the church. People are trained to believe the most spiritual get the leadership positions. And most everyone in the leadership positions acts the same way. Therefore acting that way equals spirituality. As a member of the seventy once told me “If you want to be a general authority you have to do two things: 1) act like the brethren, and 2) put yourself in a position where the brethren become aware of you. Anyone can do it.” The people around the table recognize that to get ahead in the church you have to act in a certain way; you need to say you feel the spirit when there is none, you need to refer to gibberish as ‘testimony,’ you need to use the proper facial expressions, and most of all – you need to mimic the brethren in every way. After all, the brethren do hold the keys, right?

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Isaiah 5:20-21

Isaac said...

If power and authority are the same thing, why do we have two separate words? I think it's inaccurate to say they're the same thing. Related, yes, but that was my point. If there are some things that need to be done by virtue of priesthood power—not speaking of power as a compulsive force but as the ability to perform an act—then authority also has to be present, as well as faith. Enoch and Nephi (the son of Helaman) come to mind, but I guess I have to show that those miracles were performed not solely by faith. I guess it's something to look into.

By the way, I think your marriage/divorce/adultery axe is about ground down to the nub. It's fairly presumptuous of you to say "most all marriage since the beginning of time" has been spoiled by unrighteous dominion, unless you mean that it's coming from the Relief Society side of the equation, in which case I'll agree with you. Anyway, maybe you'd feel better if you got some therapy or counseling or something. Railing at everyone here isn't doing you any good.

Elder Chantdown said...

Hey Zo'. I Really enjoyed ya first article so I would welcome a part two. I only ran across your piece recently when the spirit moved me to start writing on the topic of pre-stood keys sometime last week. I just started writing and couldn't stop till it was all done. While writing I felt led to certain information including your blog post. I am sharing my post in two parts, the first of which is up now. Please check it out and share any thoughts.

http://mormonreconciliation.blogspot.com/2013/03/true-pre-stood-power-keys.html

Elder Chantdown said...

It is the mother who passes pre-stood power along to male offspring in the form of the cross (X) chromosome. The father plays an administrative role and passes along the ke(Y) chromosome which designates the child as another ‘key’ bearer. The boy will learn from both but will one day have to leave the mother and the father and cleave unto a wife if he is ever to learn how the lock (potential power) and key (latent authority) operate to release and reseal in Heaven and on Earth. In the case of female offspring, a double dosage of pre-stood power is deposited. The Xtra dose from the father is that which assigns her gender determining the placement of her power. Therefore, it is from the father that she receives her pre-stood power. But the young woman will not experience full unlocking of her divine potential until she joins herself to a young man. The woman is a gate through which all enter this world. The man holds the key to that gate. Both embody spiritual DNA from the Father as well as the Mother and so both may bestow pre-stood power. But it is the Father who decides in what capacity each new life will serve, whether as a priest or priestess. He is not, as many like to think, the sole dispenser of the pre-stood power; unless we are to see the work of the Father as hit and miss. Since when did an X signify a miss? The world may address a divine daughter of God with the title ‘Ms.’ but she is no miss.

Indeed D&C 121 states plainly that “almost all men” cling to safety cushions which are stuffed by a staff of stiff pretend priests who place pillows with carefully crocheted clichés over the faces of their sleeping wives to stifle and suffocate them. Their so-called “priesthood position” stems directly from their “dis-position” as unrighteous dominant partners who think they can domineer the Pre-Stood Power and hog the fallsecurity blankets of a defiled marriage-bed. The bedspread or counterpane is described as a fantasy land by the poet Robert Louis Stevenson in his children’s classic, The Land of Counterpane. Here the overgrown, sick child imagines himself a giant among men, sending “ships in fleets…among the sheets” and sprawling “houses out…cities all about.” – such masculine and Masonic imagery. Stevenson’s other well known children’s poem, The Land of Nod is also a subtle nod to the vanity of this League of Just Men who leave women outside their inner prayer circle. It is the vain dream of the Church of (Cain) the Firstborn who goes about building the first City-State and naming it after his own firstborn, Enoch. This is the anti-zion or ante-zion, a false illusion that appears before the real City of Enoch and sets itself against that which the Lord blesses because it wrongly sees itself as having emerged first like Esau. But it was his mother who knew and understood that Jacob was to preside. Nephi and Joseph of Egypt were not the firstborn in their families. Even Adam, in his confusion, wrongfully assumed superiority over Eve, thinking that seniority if only by moments should always reign. But what does Adam know about that which pre-seeded his self? Being that he does not remember clearly anything that happened before his physical creation and seeing as how he was asleep during the physical formation of Eve, he can not be a credible witness. Why then do we unquestionably accept his authority as near absolute?

ShawnC said...

Pallas,

This is the best response to this video I have seen on here.

Shawn

Anonymous said...

Pallas,

Great comments & insight. Thanks for sharing that. I believe what you say is true. I believe church leaders are chosen at every level because of they are 'yes men', men who don't question or think for themselves, but who will follow blindly & do whatever they are told. Men who are mesmerized by the lust for power & praise.

It is very 'revealing' how truly humble, awake & spiritual men are rarely chosen to lead.

I agree that many lower leaders are men who are good, honorable & well intentioned, but who have just been 'deceived', as Joseph Smith taught, by the craftiness of higher leaders & false prophets & their false doctrine & evil designs.

The scriptures are the only 'handbook' the Church should be using, yet church leaders write & go by their own handbook that is often contrary to what the scriptures say.

If a leader needs more than the scriptures to lead by because they don't have the Spirit to guide them, then they aren't worthy of their calling anyway & shouldn't be leading anyone, let alone a group of people who are easily deceived by falsehoods & false prophets.

Joseph Smith taught that we should reject any handbook or teaching that is contrary to Christ & his scriptures. He especially warned us to not fall for any leaders or church who is/are deceived or prideful & seek power & control or who don't have the Spirit & true Christlike love.

Christ taught that leaders must prove to us they are true disciples of Christ, by their love, humility & teachings that are according to the scriptures, before they can ever expect anyone to follow or listen to them. As Alma said, they must "win our hearts' before we shall believe in them."

I have never known a church leader or even rarely a member, who has the Spirit and true Christlike love. The LDS Church appears to be led and run by a completely opposite spirit than the Spirit of God.

The scriptures & prophets teach that the whole essence for religion & church attendance & need for church leaders is to provide for & protect women & children, (especially single mothers, so they don't have to go to work).

The scriptures teach that the Church & all men are to protect women from the abuse, adultery & abandonment & neglect of their husbands & fathers especially, yet most Churches, especially the LDS Church, instead protect men in doing these evils, instead of protecting women & children from such things.

Most all churches, including the LDS Church, teach just the opposite of protecting & respecting women, they instead pressure women to submit to the abuse & control of men, both leaders & husbands.

LDSDPer said...

Gary Hunt, are you SURE you haven't been hanging on on libertarian sites?!

LOL!

What you say rings true, but then I am a . . . libertarian. I have a family member who professes to be an anarchist--

All these 'an's and 'ism's and 'ist's--

I think that collectivism is a powerful means of controlling people, but there are many who run around in libertarian circles who think that word is overused and losing its potency--

Unfortunately *we* can see collectivism in the scriptures, but Hugh Nibley was always a proponent of the idea that individual will really kept the world going; all of those who acted as individuals and worked outside boxes . . . have been those who have made huge cultural and spiritual and social and political and economic changes--

when people move in bodies all they do is bog down any kind of creative power--

and prevent positive change--

on the other hand, there are those individuals who are 'mad' men and women who can also do a lot of damage by controlling populations--

it's a very interesting thing to think about, and I appreciate your mentioning the title of that book; I want to look at it--

Thanks--

weston krogstadt said...

This is a lying deceitful blog full of idleness and all manner of abominations. What I'm trying to say is, this blog sucks, visitors would be better off watching Dancing with the Stars or some similar worthless TV program.

Anonymous said...

Elder Chantdown,

I agree, I believe that women usually have far more Priesthood power & authority than men, because, as prophets have taught, they usually possess more Charity/Christlike love, which is a prerequisite to possessing the Priesthood.

Accept for Christ's Atonement, I believe women have been given the greatest Priesthood power, authority & calling there is, that of bearing children.

Only men who completely support women in their high calling by protecting & providing for women & children, can gain any Priesthood power & authority too. Only men who truly love, protect & provide for & are faithful to their wife, have a right to equally preside 'with her' over the children & family.

Isaac said...

Once again, Weston decimates us with the sheer power and substance of his arguments. Thanks, Westy.

LDSDPer said...

To anyone, even Rock--

why did the church incorporate--

and how would *we* as members, as 'the church' get 'the church' (inc.) to end the incorporation?

Wow, revolution?! *yikes*

I like Chuck Baldwin, and Chuck likes Mormons--

I know that he respects those churches that have unincorporated themselves--

is it too late for the church (for *us*)--

to have this kind of change? But why did it start; who started it?

Which president of the church (POTC)--

and . . . *getting into spooky conspiracy things here* . . . did President Woodruff die, because he was getting into a banking muddle or because he was trying to get out of a banking muddle (with the 'bankers')?--

Did Harold B. Lee die of natural causes or because he wanted to get the church out of:

--corporation
--the banking mess

etc.?

All things that everyone has an opinion about, but I can't find enough documentation to prove anything to myself.

I'm probably just muddying the waters.

I do sense/believe/think that many of the O.T. prophets also made mistakes; sometimes they repented; sometimes they didn't--

after all, everyone is just mortal--

I might have gotten off topic--

the priesthood, I believe, is completely dependent upon personal righteousness, so only the Lord really knows whether a man is capable of . . .

or whether the person receiving a blessing, etc. is worthy of . . .

the blessings--

and it's up to Him what He decides to do--

in the meantime, back at the topic--

LDSDPer said...

thank you--

*taking a bow*

There ought to be a little bit of pure water coming out of all that steam, eh? *wink*

I'm a dyed in the wool 'stick to the Book of Mormon' type--

:)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well said, Gary. For some reason, people tend to think they owe their loyalty to institutions, as if the institution is some kind of extension to their own identity. But I can't think of any institution in America that is not corrupt and compromised, can you?

Government, religion, military, medical, pharmaceutical, food processing, entertainment -the list is endless. Why do we give these institutions any power whatsoever?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

>Chuckle<

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I don't really know why the Church took the step to incorporate, but it took place under Heber J. Grant's watch in 1923. Whether it was Grant's idea or not, I couldn't tell you, because the Corporation Sole was a very obscure, little known type of corporation.

It was created in medieval times to invest all power and ownership of the property of the Catholic church into the hands of one man, the Pope. Similarly, the charter of the LDS Church makes the President sole owner and controller of everything the Church owns.

Up until that time church property was considered held in common by all the members of the church, with common consent required for the purchase or disbursement of that common property. Our tradition of power transitioning smoothly to the man next in seniority did not come through revelation; it is done that way because that's the way it is written into the corporate charter.

It's worth noting that the word "prophet" is not found in the articles of incorporation, because it really has nothing to do with religion. The new leader is simply referred to in that document as the "President." It is our traditions that presume the person designated President will hold the keys to Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, but the charter cannot bestow upon that man anything resembling those gifts and abilities.

I too would be interested in knowing which Church lawyer or group of lawyers came up with the idea of converting the Church of Christ into a Corporation Sole. There are people much more up to speed on these things than I am, so I hope they will weigh in here.

I was interested to learn that the Manifesto of 1890, though credited to Wilford Woodruff and assumed by some to be a revelation from God, was actually carefully worded by attorney Charles Penrose, so the tradition of deferring to lawyers is something our Church has a long history of.

It is very interesting that Woodruff died in San Francisco after attending the highly secret conclave at Bohemian Grove. I don't believe many members are aware that he passed away far from his Salt Lake City home, and there is some speculation that he may have been poisoned. Sadly, we have very little information as to what he was doing consorting with all those powerful bankers and political big-wigs, but it is apparent to me that the official Church histories don't like to advertise that he spent his last days hobnobbing with that notorious secret combination.

Gary Hunt said...

LDSDPer,

What ever gave you that idea?

I don't like labels either, but if you accuse me of being libertarian, anarchist or volunteerist, well, you won't offend me. LOL!

I personally believe that collectivism, in any of its different forms, is satan's plan. Many LDS people may say, what about the Law of Consecration/ United Order?" First the Law of Consectration and the United Order are not the same thing. The United Order was one method used to try and live the L.O.C. It failed because the one's implementing it (not Joseph Smith) thought it was socialism/ communism.

When Pres. McKay assigned J. Rueben Clark to see what kind of system ther Lord intended it to be. He searched the scriptures and Church archives and found that it was intended to be more like a true free market, volunteerist system, which had individual ownership of property etc..., not the Church owning all the property and everyone eating at communal tables! Try to tell members that in Gosplel Doctrine, Preisthood or Relief Society.

I glad that you brought up what Nibley said. It reminds me of what the great historian Will Durrant said in his book, "The Story of Civilization".

“The history of civilization is a river on whose waters soldiers and politicians are fighting and shedding ballots and blood; but on the banks of the river, people are raising children, building homes, making scientific inventions, puzzling about the universe, writing music and literature.”

He said this because most historians wrote about the "great leaders" (politicians and soldiers)and not about the ones really making positive, creative, life supporting contributions to civilization.

Gary Hunt said...

I do like Weston's new outfit.

Gaybob Spongebath said...

Me too, Gary. The first time I ever saw an outfit that looked like that, my grandfather was buried in it.

Gary Hunt said...

Rock,

When we talk about a person being "institutionalized" we are talkling about them being stripped of their freedom and being locked up. They can only do what their keeper tells or allows them to do.

From birth we are being institutionalized. First by our parents, then our church, then the public school system, then the media through news, advertising and entertainment. By the time we start doing our own thinking, if we ever reach that point, we have a lot of deprograming to go through in order to develop the tools necessary to free ourselves.

Fun LDS said...

Ironic how Rock says the video doesn't use scripture to explain anything, but instead refers to the HBI, and then Rock turns around and doesn't use scripture to explain keys. One doesn't have to prove others wrong to be write. It just comes across bitter. It isn't building anything, it's just there to moan and complain that they aren't as awesome as Rock wishes they were. Build something, stop taring down.

ThomasLDS01 said...

This may be a little off topic but bear with me.

A key theme of this video seems to be pride, the leaders all patting each other on the back and congratulating themselves about their 'keys'. Nothing there about using them to help others and build the kingdom.

I've been reflecting recently on Pope Francis and have come away impressed, he seems like a welcome breath of fresh air. The most humble Christian leader I have seen in a long time, stripping away pomp from all the ceremonies he has to do and making time for those in need, speaking off the cuff in simple language.

Maybe the LDS leaders with their keys could learn a thing or two from this man?

ThomasLDS01 said...

Speaking of idlesness I'd say your rebuttal was more lacking than Rock's presentation ;-)

Steven Lester said...

I think that another element to the advancement formula is to find one high-ranking man to be your advocate to the Brethren. All of the higher-ups had one, you know. The one man I knew who advanced steadily and who is still the Lead Counsel for the Church had Elder Ashton as his advocate. I think that this is the one way to success in the Church of today.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Fun LDS,
Perhaps you overlooked this section: "For a clear understanding of what priesthood keys are all about, I would direct you to Understanding Priesthood Keys by Mike Ellis...Ellis provides scriptural examples as well as teachings from the Prophet."

The link to the piece referred to was embedded in the phrase "Understanding Priesthood Keys," where the appropriate scriptures can be found. Although I could have included those scripture references in my own post, it would have been redundant, since I felt the reader could get a fuller understanding by clicking on the link and reading Ellis' piece for his or herself.

According to internet protocol, when links are embedded within a post, they are intended be read as though they are footnotes. This makes the citation easy for the reader to obtain with minimal effort. Whether the reader chooses to follow a particular citation and read the scripture provided is, of course, up to the reader.

Anonymous said...

Rock,

Your posts on this blog criticize the Brethren and the church constantly. Why bother to be a member of a church whose leadership you do not like or agree with? If they are as you say then they must be astray and not following the dictates of the Savior. So why continue your membership? Shouldn't you see your Bishop and ask to have your name removed from the records?
Near the beginning of this post you ask whether the current church resembles the church in Joseph Smith's day. Then you say it does not. So, why not leave this church you do not support and find something else that suits you?
I don't know if you think you are going to change how the Brethren lead this church. You're not. They follow the Lord Jesus Christ whose name is borne by the church. If you don't think they are following Jesus Christ's direction then I ask again: why would you want to keep your membership in this church?

Abinadi said...

I think you may have missed the point of many of Rock's articles. First, Rock has always maintained that the LDS church has a lot to offer. (I hope he doesn't mind if I speak for him here.)

Second, there is value in recognizing the LDS church is in a fallen condition, or in other words, we have dwindled in unbelief. Pride is the great sin we see in the Book of Mormon. Moroni states so plainly, "Why have you polluted the holy church of God. Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?"

Moroni was speaking directly to Latter Day Saints! Do you believe you are ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Was Moroni correct? Or are we as LDS convinced that Moroni must have been speaking to non-Mormon heathens.

Taking a critical and honest look at training videos such as these can help many to awaken to the situation we are in. It isn't steadying the ark, but a call to awake and arise. What about the Bishop who wrote to Rock, should he go and speak to one of his leaders? The LDS church will not change its course. However, as many as will listen to the Spirit can be brought to the fullness of the Gospel. The purpose of this Gospel is to come to Christ. In other words, to come to know Him personally, here in this life. To meet him, as Moroni commends us to do in Ether 12.

It is not good enough for us to let our leaders speak to God for us. That is why the Children of Israel were condemned. We must not be like them and come to know Christ ourselves, in this life, in the flesh. If we do not, we may very well find ourselves in a very surprising situation as Christ tells us He never knew us. We will ask, "didn't we cast out devils in thy name? Didn't we prophesy in thy name and in thy name do many good works?" Then He will say, "I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Abinadi

Isaac said...

I thought it was the Swedish Chef.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,
I can't add much to Abinadi's excellent response above, but I will ask you whose church do you think I belong to? The Lord defines HIS church in D&C 10:67 as all who repent and come unto HIM. In the next verse he warns that anyone who declares anything more or less than this, "the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church."

I am a member of THAT church, the one defined by Jesus Christ. I remain a member because I embrace the doctrines promulgated by Him as revealed through Joseph Smith.

In the past I have adopted all manner of false traditions I picked up in Sunday School, Seminary, and through Faith Promoting Rumors, but late in life I have come to realize that it is only those teachings that were given to us in the Book of Mormon, and through WRITTEN revelations that are binding upon the church. Everything else is vain traditions and the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

I am perfectly content to remain a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, and not follow after the doctrines of men, which you seem to think is necessary for me to keep my membership.

I have no use for doctrines the Lord never taught, such as the idea you promote that in order to be a a member of Christ's church I should demonstrate my devotion by following the current leaders. When I see them loosen their grasp on the iron rod, am I expected to do likewise?

You may go off in that direction if you care to, but I feel if I were to follow your advice, that would put me in the category of verse 68. That's not the place I feel I belong.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

If you believe that the Church follows Jesus Christ then you do not know Jesus Christ nor understand his Gospel, nor do you follow or believe in the Book of Mormon & Joseph Smith's teachings.

I suggest you do your homework instead of just following blindly, for even though that is much easier, but it won't get you very far in the next life.

LDSDPer said...

I have a different perspective, 11:28--

(a.m.)

#1--the term 'leaders of the church' is not found in the scriptures, anywhere--

#2--the word "brethren" is not used for 'leaders' either; *you* capitalized the word "brethren" in your first line--that's not scriptural--

#3--prophets, speaking by the spirit, have admonished, pled with, begged members of the church to study, study, study, study, study (did I say it enough?) the Book of Mormon, and when a person begins to do that, a person begins to look to Christ, realizes that the 'brethren' are . . . brethren, just other members; these men may have positions to fill, and how they fill it is a personal stewardship--
D&C 64:40 is rather . . . um . . . strong, but that is what is being said. If a person fails in his stewardship, it will be taken away from him--but when?

In my opinion and only in my opinion, I believe that the Lord determines whether or not a person loses his/her stewardship, and a stewardship is a personal thing--
only these men know if they are filling their stewardships, and it will be determined between them and the Lord at some point--
but, in the meantime, if *we* see something that feels 'wrong' . . . are *we* commanded anywhere not to speak of it? There is no term for 'criticizing the brethren' found anywhere in the scriptures.

Where people are condemned is for speaking ill of those who prophesy of Jesus Christ or point others to Jesus Christ. If *we* do not heed that, *we* are surely in trouble--
Speaking ill of those who do point to Jesus Christ is a very real thing; it happened recently in a priesthood class in my ward--
a man who was testifying of Jesus Christ, teaching of Jesus Christ, and pointing to Jesus Christ (through the scriptures) was laughed at and mocked; this is dangerous, indeed--

LDSDPer said...

continued:

#4--another thing that many people do which concerns me, with regards to 'the church' is to generalize. "The Brethren"--

each of those men is an individual, and only God knows what is in each man's heart. There may honestly be a man or two in that quorum of the 12 whose heart is not right with the Lord, and we might not know it--other than that sometimes something that he says might not ring true, and then we might wonder; we do have the gift of discernment, if we are righteous--
There may be others whose hearts are very right, and we might feel that when he (they) speak, the Spirit is there--

To group them all together is a danger, I believe. The culture encourages that, but there is no scriptural tradition for it; apostles fell by the way constantly during Joseph Smith's time, and that didn't erode the entire group or those who remained faithful (if that was what was happening--)

the good actions of one might be nullified by that very generalization; the bad actions of others might stain the ones who are good--

so being involved in that 'body' is a danger to everyone--because of the idea of 'unity'--

unity can only happen through the Spirit; it can only happen when the Spirit is there, always--

otherwise, just having a "form of godliness" (or unity); see 2 Timothy and Joseph Smith History--

isn't enough--

I believe there are those in the quorum of the 12 who are righteous and who feel trapped; I pray for them--

and I pray for those whom I feel have slipped off the track--

The important thing for the 'rank and file' LDS church member to realize is that this church is about Jesus Christ, and the sooner more of *us* wake up to that and begin following Him (not a prophet; that is not scriptural in any way)--

then the better off for everyone--

and the better hope for all--

if *we* truly love our 'brethren', we will serve God, not them--

unless we serve them by being an example to them--

I'm not much of that; for one thing I am so far away from the 'headquarters' of the church, and not a one of those men knows me from a bar of soap--LOL!

but I can do it in a little way, letting *my* light shine; that light, if I let it shine, comes from Jesus Christ, not from Salt Lake or . . .

anywhere else--

Anonymous said...

This is the original Anonymous of this post. The replies of this post have talked about really following Jesus Christ and not men. Yet it is men who are given the authority to speak for Him. If you don't think the Apostles and Prophets really are doing what the Savior would have them do then they are false Apostles and false Prophets. If this is the case then why would you want to be a member of a church with false leaders acting in the name of Jesus Christ? If they aren't false Apostles and false Prophets then why do you constantly criticize those whom the Lord has chosen to lead?
Obviously the Lord is not here in person to direct His church. From the heavens He guides men. I guess it comes down to believing or not believing that He directs them and "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (D&C 1:38). Either church leaders do or do not speak for the Lord, according to His own word.

Rob said...

"men are given authority to speak for Him"

Jesus has never authorized a man to speak for him without either telling him what to speak (see every scriptural prophet) or promising him that his (the man's) character has become so close to his (God's) that he (God) will honor it (see Nephi of 3rd Nephi). Nephi (the 1st one) warned against our thinking that God had given his power to men:

"5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 28)

Since Joseph until today, no man has been authorized to speak for Jesus as the president of the Church without being given Jesus' word explicitly.

I think you can grow much spiritually by doing a study on God's power and how it never, ever exists without his word. For example, if you exercise God's power you will either get permission to do something specific (when ____ happens, you will be able to _____) or given general power (you have power over _____). There is no third option that I am aware of anywhere in the scriptures or church history. For example, Moses was given power over the water. Despite his being "the prophet" (no such thing really, just "a" prophet) he was unable to exercise God's power over the water until God told him (specifically him) he could.

As Joseph said, a prophet is only a prophet when speaking as one. In other words, words from a man are only God's when God told him to say them.

Rob said...

http://upwardthought.blogspot.com/2013/01/power-in-priesthood.html

http://upwardthought.blogspot.com/2012/04/power-and-authority-of-priesthood.html

Anon 23 said...

To the original Anonymous at 10:43,

I wonder & ask the same thing, if people criticize the Presidents & Apostles & doctrines & practices of the Church, then why would they want to support it all & be apart of such an erroneous & false Church? Especially when the leaders don't follow Jesus Christ or teach according to his teachings, (which I do not think they do.)

I believe righteous people would be repulsed at the LDS Church and the things it preaches & practices & wouldn't be able to stay & attend such a church that is so destructive to marriages & families & individuals.

The way Christ said we can determine if leaders have true 'authority' to speak for God is by their 'Christlike love' & that they will teach Christ's exact teachings, & not contrary to him & his scriptures, like LDS leaders do.

I believe it is very easy to see that all church leaders since Brigham Young, have been deceived to preach & practice contrary to Christ & his scriptures, despite that some of them may be good men at heart.

Joseph warned us about how good & honorable men in the Church can be deceived by the craftiness of false prophets & false teachers and lose their standing in the Celestial Kingdom (D&C 76)

Men & women can be 'good & honorable' but that doesn't mean they are 'righteous', for the righteous have the Holy Spirit as their guide and can see through falsehoods & false prophets and aren't deceived or at least not for long.

Thus I do not believe in the LDS Church today, nor any of it's leaders, nor do I support or attend it anymore since realizing how apostate it all is.

But I do believe that Joseph Smith restored the true Church on the earth, but then after he died false prophets (BY) & false apostles took over & lead many members out west.

Many other members listened to Joseph's warnings against polygamy etc., & thus weren't deceived by BY & those other leaders, thus didn't go west with that crowd.

But to attend a 'false & apostate' break off of the former true Church doesn't make it right or beneficial, for I believe the LDS Church today does far more harm than good in it's teachings, because it preaches & practices such abusive whoredoms & abominations.

I have been personally so disgusted for years at how all the leaders & most members I have known support such vile evils and seem to totally disregard the teachings of Christ. I will not support such evil now that I am aware of it. I have never found a leader in the Church that I would consider righteous. They seem to all be so deceived to support & do evil.

There are many other churches one can attend that teach Christ's teachings, & that are far more 'Christlike' than the LDS Church, if people feel they need to attend a Church, even if it's a false one.

Gary Hunt said...

Anonymous, March 20, 2013 @ 10:43am:

Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 is probably one of the most misapplied scriptures in the church. You need to read the entire verse in order to really understand what it is saying. Here it is...

38. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

The misapplication comes into play when members believe that whenever a servant (church leader) speaks he is always speaking the word of the Lord. This is not true because the scripture says that the Lord has to be speaking, ("What I the Lord have spoken...by mine own voice"), or He tells one of His servants to deliver His message ("or by the voice of my servants it is the same.")

There have been many situations through out the history of the church when the bretheren have had differences of opinion on doctrine. Even the presidents of the church have taught principles that differ from previous presidents.

I now ask you to answer the following question. How does a member of the church know which one of bretheren (presidents, apostles etc...) to follow when they contradict each other?





LDSDPer said...

about righteous men/women/prophets--

can anyone help me find the O.T. scripture that deals with how one righteous man (prophet) despaired that there were no good 'men' left in the land--

and how God pointed out that there were good men, and He knew who they were--

I cannot find that scripture. I've seen it, read it and written the reference in a journal, but that journal is bogged down with many journals--LOL!

The fact is that the 'church' has always been apostate, from the very beginning.

Jesus Christ (and Heavenly Father) gave Joseph Smith the opportunity to restore it in its purity, and it lasted about 10 minutes--

*wink*

and then was apostate again. It has always been apostate; Moses wasn't allowed to go into the 'holy' land, because of things he had done--

the people he led were rife with apostasy, and yet God didn't give up on them--

He hasn't given up on other churches or religions either, not the people in them--

so the bottom line is--

I learned about the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ, because I was a member of the LDS church; sure, it took longer to learn about Jesus Christ, because many were hesitant to teach about Him, and my other-Christian friends helped me along the way there--

but the young man I knew who was the son of a 'reorganized' minister in the town in which I grew up and went to high school (where I was the only LDS)--

who mocked and persecuted me, because I was . . . apostate--

was a 'rotter'; his language was foul, and he had a dirty mind--

poor kid--

and the fact is that now the Community of Christ has almost disavowed Joseph Smith and doesn't do much with the Book of Mormon--

because I had 'the church' I now have the Book of Mormon and my personal testimony of Jesus Christ, which is my most valuable possession--

so--

I stay in the church and do my best to help, just as Moses did, just as so many have done. I am not a Moses; I am not a prophet, though--

which O.T. prophet was it who said he wished everyone was a prophet; I suppose that if I were righteous enough I could be a prophet, but I really just want to be a disciple of Christ.

It is self-righteousness which causes a person to set him/herself above others and claim to be better, by separation.

At least Moses didn't have that stain on him; he continued to work with God's people, however 'bad' they were--

So did Jesus; the 'church' at the time of Jesus was profoundly apostate, and yet it produced a John the Baptist.

God always works with what He has, always. Thank the heavens for that!

Gary Hunt said...

LDSDPer,

Are these the scriptures you are looking for?

Micah 7:2

2. The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his abrother with a net.

Numbers 11:29

29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!

Gary Hunt said...

LDSDPer,

You might also go to Kings 19 where the Lord tells Elijah that there are 7000 in Israel who had not bowed to Baal.

Abinadi said...

Great articles Rob, thanks for sharing.

Anon 23 said...

LDSDPer,

I agree that most all of the members of the Church when it was 1st started, in Joseph's day, were apostate then too. It appears Joseph saw the total apostasy coming because hardly anyone would listen to him. And the Book of Mormon Prophets certainly saw our day and how everyone, both members & leaders, in the Holy Church of God have become so corrupt & evil today, except a rare few.

But I don't consider a church in total apostasy until the leaders become wicked, like with Brigham Young and those leaders who supported him & like the LDS leaders today.

Though Brigham's break off group was in total apostasy, there were still many righteous Saints in the original church who went off on their own after Joseph died, who kept the Kingdom going & their Priesthood alive, just because of their own righteousness and that they weren't deceived to follow & support false prophets.

Many Saints, like Emma and Joseph's apostle brothers, could see through Brigham Young and knew he was evil and thus didn't follow him either, yet they remained righteous and did the best they could on their own.

And I agree that there are still righteous people in the world, even though they are very rare. I believe there are righteous people in every religion who see the falsehoods & errors of their religion and are looking for something better & thus will recognize & accept the truth & Christ when he returns to establish his true Church again in Zion.

I just don't believe the LDS Church will have anything to do with establishing Zion or even know it's happening until the rest of the world does.

I believe there are true Prophets & Prophetesses on the earth right now, preaching among very humble people somewhere. It would be wonderful to actually know of & learn from a true Prophet or Prophetess. I do not believe they would have anything to do with the LDS Church though, for they would call the LDS leaders to repentance, like Abinadi did or Moroni did in his letter to Pahoran. It will be interesting to see if any of the LDS leaders are willing to repent like Alma did.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for those links, Rob. Looks like a treasure chest full of information.

Anonymous said...

Anon 23March 20, 2013 at 1:17 PM

"I wonder & ask the same thing, if people criticize the Presidents & Apostles & doctrines & practices of the Church, then why would they want to support it all & be apart of such an erroneous & false Church? Especially when the leaders don't follow Jesus Christ or teach according to his teachings, (which I do not think they do.)"

You have asked a very astute question. Here is my answer, and perhaps the answer others here would also give to your question:

i stay with the church (not The Church) because there is still goodness in some hearts, and there is still authority to preach at least the Preparatory Gospel in this church. That is more than any other church on earth can claim.

Yes, there is a vast amount of apostasy in the lds church today. Yes, there is persecution of those who try to follow Christ instead of following "the brethren", and yes, it is VERY difficult to determine what to teach your children or non-member friends about the church as it exists today!

I have friends who have left the church because they could not stand any more hypocrisy. I do not judge them. I have noticed that in every case I know of, they have not prospered spiritually.

My take is much like that of LDSDPer. I look for the good and eschew that which does not taste right to me. For those who have the Spirit, it is not hard to tell the difference. Frederick (Anon March 15, 2013, 8:40AM) also got it right, I believe. He mentioned that in Alma's day the people were living the Law of Moses (Alma 25:15-16) but looked forward to the coming of Christ.

IMHO we are in much the same situation today. We have the lesser priesthood and the ordinances of the lesser priesthood. We dazzle ourselves that we have "the fullness" and the higher priesthood, but when I go to the Temple, it is made abundantly clear the we "have been ordained to become such, the realization of these blessing is dependent upon faithfulness." Also, when I read D&C132, it is abundantly clear that every ordinance, sealing, blessing, contract, etc. MUST be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise or it will be of no validity after this life.

I try to the best of my ability to hold fast to the good and to let go of that which draws me away from Jesus Christ. Moroni was well aware of what we would live thru and gave us some great advice in Moroni chap. 7 about holding on to every good thing, and about being in the situation we find ourselves in today.

Much love dear Brother or Sister,
JR

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous at 10:43,

You ask, "why would you want to be a member of a church with false leaders acting in the name of Jesus Christ?"

Answer: Because I don't recognize top-down leadership as essential to my membership, or even a legitimate and ncessary part of the church as defined by Jesus.

Although I previously pointed out the meaning of the "church" as given in D&C 10:67, you still appear to hold to the idea that "the church" somehow consists of the current crop of managers and administrators, and that without them we would be wandering in darkness.

Joseph Smith did not see himself as indispensable to the church he organized, nor did he expect anyone to "follow" him, in the way we are constantly counseled to follow the current president.

The church is and always has been "the body of Christ;" that is, the community of believers as a whole. I feel very comfortable as a member of that community. Those who have appointed themselves leaders, unless they specifically speak in the name of the Lord, are irrelevant to my membership.

Of the estimated 20,000 Saints in Nauvoo and environs who considered themselves Mormons, only half felt it necessary to separate themselves and head to the Rockies. The remaining ten thousand were still Mormons, were they not? Most continued to embrace the doctrines of the Restoration; they did not apostatize just because they stayed put. They remained members of the church of Jesus Christ.

Although I was raised in what is known as the mainstream LDS church, my baptism was performed preparatory to my one day entering the Kingdom of God. My confirmation as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a separate thing from entrance into the Kingdom. membership in the church merely recognizes that I am "No more a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the Saints," but my baptism is not what made me a Mormon. What makes me a Mormon is my embrace of the doctrines of Mormonism, and my choice to identify and associate with others of like mind.

My baptism did not make me a member of the Corporate Church that was chartered in 1923, and neither did yours. That entity, which serves as an exclusive body open only to the general authorities, is separate from the body of Christ. If you don't think so, try associating with any of the members of that elite group as the members of the primitive church of Christ were comfortable doing in the 1st century A.D.

A reader once told me of a friend who was a daughter of a general authority. After her wedding, two receptions were held, one which was closed off to everyone except general authorities, and a later receptions for everyone else. Can you imagine the original 12 apostles separating themselves from having to mingle with the rabble at a regular reception where the rank and file might dare come up and address them as equals? Can you imagine Jesus shutting himself off like that?

I'll tell you who I can see insisting on such segregation of classes within the church: Annas and Caiaphas, leaders of the Church in Jerusalem circa 33 A.D.

I am a member of the body of Christ. Membership in that body does not require that I recognize any man as my leader, especially when that man or his cohorts appears not to have exhibited any evidence of leading at the behest of the Savior.

When I was growing up in this church, we frequently heard that the "true" church can be recognized by its fruits. I don't hear that mantra much these days. Could it be because the leaders today produce no fruit to speak of?

Here is my question for you: Why do you continue to recognize as prophets, seers, and revelators men who, for decades now, have produced no prophecies, presented no revelations, and translated no ancient documents? What fruits can your church point to that would recommend it to the world as different from all others?




LDSDPer said...

That (about Elijah) is the one, Gary Hunt. Thank you. I even searched under "Baal", but I couldn't find it--

The one above (Numbers 11:29) is the other one I was looking for--
Micah 7:2 is just sad and reminds me of the current times--

I wonder why that account in Kings keeps eluding me; I think it's very significant--

LDSDPer said...

Elder Chantdown--

I will have to read that again--

very interesting things you say--

:)

very . . .

Anon 23 said...

JR,

Thanks for your response, it helps me to understand.

I agree that there are good things taught in the Church, just like there are in any Church, but I just don't agree that the Church does more good than harm to ourselves & our families.

I also can't agree that the Church still has any authority or Priesthood, for unrighteous leaders can't maintain or pass on such power or authority. I believe all those men who followed BY out west lost their Priesthood & authority for supporting evil.

So where does the current LDS Church get authority more than any other Church out there? If you think it has authority than you have to say the FLDS or RLDS or Catholic or Baptist Church has authority to baptism too, cause the LDS Church is in the same apostate boat as they are.

I also am confused why you believe in the temple, unless you believe in polygamy and Brigham Young. If you believe he lied about polygamy then he could have lied about the temple endowments being from Joseph too, not to mention all the abusive falsehoods taught in the temple, especially pertaining to women.

But I realize we all are waking up to different things and in time I'm sure you will see such things if they are truly amiss.

I agree that many or most who leave the Church seem to do worse, and that I believe is not because they shouldn't have left, but because it is rare for anyone, in or out of the Church, to have the Holy Spirit as their guide, which is a vital necessity if you are going to go it on your own & stay righteous, like the early Saint had to who didn't follow Brigham Young west. So when people stay with the Church who don't have the Spirit to lead them, they often seem to do better because they are still given some guidelines, yet they also are easily led astray to do evil by all the false doctrines taught in the Church too. And the evil far outweighs any good in the Church in my opinion.

I guess the bottom line for me is, I too stayed with the Church for years even though I saw many things wrong with it, but when I awoke to a certain point and realized just how deep & evil the practices and leaders of the church were, I couldn't be around such evil anymore. For me, having no Church to attend is better than attending the LDS Church, which I believe is an evil Church.

I like Rock's attitude, that we should feel free to attend other Churches at leisure, for I believe most other Christian Churches are far more Christlike & close to the original LDS Church than the present LDS Church.

LDSDPer said...

Thanks, Rock--

this corporation business is deep and dark, indeed. I've been trying to study it, but it's a bit of a black hole--

!

All corporations, not just churches, but especially churches, which 'pretend' to be more--

are a quagmire.

Thanks for that. I did know about Woodruff and Bohemian Grove--

but was he trying to get away from them, or was he joining them? THAT is the big question, and I'm not sure we're meant to know--

and it is sad, isn't it? That an old man died there in S.F.--but it is also significant, the tie between SLC and S.F.--
I hadn't put together those facts about LBJ and tax exemptions, etc., either, but LBJ was a rotter--

well, a close, long-time ago friend of mine grew up on the ranch next to his, and LBJ was not a good neighbor, at all. None of the locals (who were honest, hard-working families) trusted him. I like those little personal anecdotes--

LDSDPer said...

I've been reading lately about people who are separated from their 'tribe' (people from around the world who leave their 'villages' and go out into the world to find work, often menial, just next to enslavement)--

often these people just die; their hearts are broken, because they have no tribe--

it takes an extremely strong person to remain intact while in a completely foreign culture--

which is why people do group together; this is probably why Father in Heaven originally created the family, to keep humans from self-destructing right at the beginning, because of the loneliness--

families often work; sometimes churches work--

there's no perfect answer, of course, but I am old enough to remember when wards generally 'worked', when being in a ward was a protection--

I can remember, also, my now deceased parents and grandparents (some LONG deceased) warning me again and again--

that I must stay close to the Spirit, read the Book of Mormon and put Christ at the center of my life; especially my father did this--
I had a grandparent who weathered some very interesting things in the church and who was, while 'in' the church, really good at looking at the church through the lens of an outsider--

this grandparent, who was so incredibly full of integrity, was not an 'easy' person for me, at all--

but now I am so grateful for her example, for the courage she had to pick things apart, while being so harmless--

nobody ever knew what a great mind she had--but what an impact she had on me--

and, yes, I know I am 'blessed' to have had parents and grandparents like this--

not having a 'tribe' (whether righteous or unrighteous) usually means death--

I've often thought of Moroni; he had the teachings of his father, and he probably got visits from others--

(those 3 Nephites that everyone joked about when I was growing up and about whom nobody ever speaks anymore)--

Among my own children I have a child who was driven completely out of the church (long, sad story)--and whose life is a wreckage, a child for whom I weep and pray day and night, but who I know is in Jesus' arms--
and another child who could have left but has tenaciously stayed and is doing much better; we talk openly about it--and that helps. I know too many whose parents have told them, "well, you just STAY; that's all, and don't TALK about it!"--

which is the fastest way to have a young person become a lost soul--

people need people--

and, yes, cruel people are a huge trial--

but when I see these things happen I remember every warning I got about the 'last days'--
and I just dig deeper into my scriptures--

Anon 23, God bless you--

and all of us . . .

Anonymous said...

I believe the prophets of today do not bring forth the great revelations like those of the past because church members fail to heed what they already have.
President Benson reminded us that we were still under condemnation for not studying the Book of Mormon as we should. Today, many members have read it once or twice but don't make a lifetime study of it. How can we be expected to be given the sealed portion or anything else of ancient origin if we don't study what we have been commanded to study already? This isn't the fault of church leadership (who have constantly urged us to study) but church membership.
President Hunter spoke about increased temple attendance and President Hinckley increased the number of temples worldwide yet temple attendance is still low in many parts of the world. How can we be given greater revelation when don't go to the ultimate location for personal revelation (the temple)?
President Monson has spoken about greater missionary work. He has made it possible for more young men and young women to serve missions and will increase the number of missions by 58 this summer. Yet members of the church (by and large) will not open their mouths and share the gospel with family and friends.
This is not a new problem. Joseph Smith himself said that he sometimes felt restrained from sharing more because the Saints were not ready for more or simply wouldn't believe it. Maybe the problem isn't that church leadership have lost the Spirit or aren't inspired anymore. Rather, maybe the Lord has withheld more revelation because the church members aren't doing their part to qualify for it by doing the things He has already asked. There are times when the Lord tells His prophets to keep quiet (the prophet Mormon, for example).

Jonas said...

Well done, Rock. At the end of your essay you are unsure of the "emotion" you felt toward this video. Perhaps it wasn't emotion; Perhaps it was your higher self telling you that there is no longer any a need to submit to these corporate dictators of doctrine in Salt Lake City.

I would like to bring up a question that I recently wrote to you privately a couple weeks ago.

In the temple ceremony, when Adam prays to God, he prays "The true order of prayer" which is a Melchizedek Priesthood ordinance. And who answers the prayer? Not God. It's Lucifer who appears, (and announces himself as "The God of this world") to answer Adam's plea. Well, he is, isn't he!? That's Mormon belief and doctrine.

During their conversation Adam asks, "What is that apron you have on?" Lucifer replies that it is a symbol of his "power and priesthoods" (notice the plural). Shortly after this conversation, temple patrons are told to "put on your aprons."

What bothers me about this is that there only two people in that room with aprons - me . . . and Lucifer. God doesn't wear an apron. Nor does Jesus, Peter, James, or John.

I know that the apron is supposed to "cover [my] nakedness", but maybe the nakedness isn't the body, but rather that I am void of any type of power, such as a priesthood.

Am I the only one who has ever noticed this???

There is at least one poster on here who seems to get that something is amiss when they write:
Anonymous March 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM
"Yes, it is priestcraft, rather than priesthood."

I could go on and on about this whole temple scenario, but I will leave you to think about it.

Aho!
Jonas Thomander

JL said...

Rock,

I have been reading your blog for sometime and have much appreciated it. A few comments ago, there was a discussion of "corporate sole". This view originated with Charles Nibley(grandfather of Hugh Nibley) the Presiding Bishop who got the idea from the Roman Catholics as that was there structure. He went on to serve in the 1st Presidency implementing the "corporate sole". We are becoming more like the Vatican then what Joseph Smith had desired of the latter-day-saints.

Rob said...

Anon 23:
What did Jesus do? Did he abstain from the synagogue? Did he abstain from the ordinances of the law of Moses? Did he stay out of the temple? I would submit that we would be wise to follow his example.

Rob said...

Anon 23, have you read "Words of Joseph Smith," or his diaries? I think you would find them interesting.

After doing so myself, I am very reluctant to pass any judgment on people or their teachings without the promptings of the Spirit to guide me.

I would assume (forgive me for assuming) that your failure to see good in teachings of the presidents of the church from Brigham to today (as well, of course, as the bad) may stem from judging based on mental reasoning and not illumination from the Spirit.

I can tell you that Brigham made mistakes, and some serious ones. I can also tell you that I have to, and I can guess that you have as well. I know that Brigham was an honest man, though misguided on some things. I look forward to meeting him at the judgment bar, and you can bet I won't have a rock in my hand to throw at him.

(this part isn't just for Anon 23) I detect a lot of close-minded hatred towards Brigham in particular and the other presidents of the church minus Joseph. I find most of it is based on incorrect reasoning or theories that, while popular, are false about certain doctrines. I would caution those in this boat to take a step back and think and pray about things. I find that people with that attitude are just as unwilling to take truth from the Spirit and fit the bill of those about which Joseph said would kill him if he taught them what he knew. Don't set up stakes for God. Just because something is unpalatable to you doesn't mean it isn't true.

Rob said...

except the new pope said:
"Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor."
and "He said that Catholics should remember that Jesus, not the pope, was the centre of the Church"

Last I heard the handbook was the center of the Church, or at least SLC, and we care more about trusting in the arm of the flesh via saving for a rainy day (with massive cattle ranches, grain silos, malls, and multi-billion stock portfolios) than trusting in God to provide and giving to the poor.

Seems like a duplicate of the old Nephite Lamanite switcharoo!

Anon 23 said...

From what I have seen, these days if you believe 'the teachings of Christ & Joseph Smith' over the Handbook or what Church leaders now teach, you will be disciplined, if not excommunicated, for not following the 'so-called' Prophet, who apparently knows better than Christ did.

What ever happened to "more or less than what Christ taught, cometh of evil"?

It appears Christ or Joseph Smith would even be excommunicated if they tried to come & teach their religion in the Church today.

LDSDPer said...

8:48--I used to believe this, and I still do to quite an extent--

the general membership are very much also under condemnation--

but I think it's interesting that even in the scriptures the words "but not all" are used when speaking of condemnation--

in other words, again (I wrote about this above as did another poster) generalizing is always a problem. Not everyone is corrupt. Not everyone is disobeying. Not everyone is not reading the Book of Mormon. Etc. By the same token, not all of the 'leaders' are corrupt. Not all of the leaders are disobeying. Not all of the readers are giving flimsy talks--

The fact is that the corporate structure is corrupt, very corrupt--

and, as Rock pointed out above, the ruination of the church was planned when it was incorporated back in the early 20s? Yes--

I'm quite sure that good men have tried to hold the line; I am quite sure many have done their best, but corporations are doomed to spiritual failure, always. Corporations ARE babylon, and babylon will fall.

It's a terrible conundrum, isn't it? No matter how good any of those men 'at the top' are--

babylon is predicted by the Lord Himself to fall--

and when it does the corporations, all of them, will come tumbling down; it doesn't matter if they are churches or horrible things like Monsanto; they will crumble and dissolve--

so . . . those who are not preparing for this are . . . somewhat like the not so wise virgins--

Finding out that the "church" (one interpretation of it anyway) is a corporation and acknowledging that corporations are babylon and seeing all the scriptures about babylon falling--

how can any intelligent LDS just stand there and not let it soak in?

Of course *we* are going to panic a little--

when all the corporations fall . . . the righteous people will be left--


and the labels that are on all the righteous people won't matter so much, because 'every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ'--

and those of *us* who remain in the 'church' (by its purest definition) might feel a bit dismayed by all that is going on, but *we* will not be surprised.

When all the corporations are gone, all the evil shadow governments and all the evil companies that have done so much damage will be gone--

satan will indeed be bound! Think of it--

and look at all of this in a different way--

I used to believe the 'membership' were fallen and the 'leaders' were lofty--

now I realize that we are all in this sinking boat together, all of us--

and to say that someone is bad, because he/she is a general authority is no more accurate than to say that someone is bad, because he is . . . a regular little member or: a Baptist, a Bhuddist, a Catholic, a Hindu, a Jew or a Muslim--or even a Mormon-- *wink*

generalizing is just not a good idea--

Alan Rock Waterman said...

JL,
I very much appreciate that information. It's ironic that it was Charles Nibley who recommended the Church convert to a corporation sole, because his grandson Hugh indicted the entire church (members as well as leaders) in his book "Approaching Zion." He was very much concerned about the direction we were headed.

LDSDPer said...

Rob at 11:44 a.m.--

Thank you; that was very well said--

I do believe Brigham did some evil things, but I also believe he had a mission and probably performed it better than most of us understand--

He had some brilliant ideas about a few things actually, things were very much ahead of his time (things that had nothing to do with polygamy or race! LOL!)

I think some of his mistakes were corrected by later presidents of the church, too--

Being compassionate and being forgiving are really big things here--

because it is a commandment, and because if *we* don't do it, *we* won't be recipients of it--

LDSDPer said...

you said it better than I could, Rob at 11:37--

he knew how apostate the Jewish "church" was, and yet he participated--

Anonymous said...

Alright, I decided to do my best to be objective and I watched the rest of the videos in the hopes that the "Priesthood Keys" video was just an overture or a preparation for further knowledge.

I was sadly mistaken. There is such a lack of useful knowledge that I would hesitate from even saying that there is enough for milk let alone any meat.

I was apalled at how many time they quoted anything but scripture.

I learned nothing that I couldn't observe by simply being a decent human being.

There is nothing on how we are to use the keys of the priesthood or what they actually are save for Brother Mills unscripted blurb.

As I was watching I couldn't help but feel how similar these are to "Tommy videos", which videos put out by the CEO of my company. They are scripted, cliched and obvious that Tommy is reading from a cue card. I have only seen Tommy give one video that was truly inspiring and that one was completely unscripted.

I kind of wish that the one mighty and strong will show up soon so that I can quit being so darn frustrated with "The Church tm" as well as Christ's actual church that has been led astray.

If the Spirit had not directed me to do so I would definitely not have chosen to go through with this frustration.

- ANDREW

Anon 23 said...

I don't understand how anyone can just pass over & excuse something as vile, adulterous & abusive as polygamy, especially since Christ & the holy prophets condemned it. Not to mention how anyone can ignore all the severe unrighteous dominion of women in general by early Church Presidents.

But Joseph warned us that such men like BY, false prophets, usually easily fool most everyone into believing they are good men & true prophets. That's why we need the Spirit to discern false prophets from true ones & good from evil.

I know that if those who don't learn from church history, will have to live those same mistakes themselves, in this life or the next, in order to learn just how awful those mistakes, like polygamy, were. I would not want to learn the hard way in Spirit Prison, so I am trying to learn from church leader's mistakes now, & choose right from wrong.

I believe that those who have true compassion & forgiveness & Charity & 'The Spirit' will judge Brigham Young & others righteously & leave him in God's hands, yet they will still call the kettle black, so others won't be deceived by him too. Compassion & forgiveness doesn't mean 'silence & denial' about someone's wickedness.

I'm sure BY & all church leaders since BY who have died are repenting now in Hell and will one day become righteous, before they are assigned to probably the Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdom, as Joseph Smith taught they will go.

Rob, I have prayed & studied these things for many years, living the principles even, & I believe 'the Spirit' has taught me the things I speak about in relation to Brigham Young and all the other leaders who came after him.

I have found that people who don't seem to be living the Gospel nor have the Spirit 'deny' or 'can't see' how wicked Brigham Young was, they make excuses for him and think that just because he taught or did 'some' good things then he must be ok & not so bad. (But the devil always mixes some truth & good in with the bad to better deceive people, so they won't detect a wolf in sheep's clothing) (The 'sheep's clothing' is the good that the wolf says & does)

Most of the evil people I know fool almost everyone they come in contact with, especially leaders of the Church, because they do & say wonderful things most of the time.

So I would encourage you to further pray & study the things we can actually 'prove' that Joseph Smith taught, things he published while he was alive & but his stamp of approval on, not things others 'said' he said. Everything else should be highly suspect and not trusted as coming from him, for maybe it does & often it probably doesn't.

I also have read alot of the 'Words of Joseph Smith' & his diaries, and some things sound true to me & like something Joseph would say & some things I believe were tampered with by church leaders after his death & thus weren't Joseph's true thoughts or statements.

I don't trust Brigham Young at all, I believe he was on the level of Warren Jeffs or worse. And though I'm not perfect, not everyone is out committing Telestial sins, like adultery & other abominations. Some of us are on a Terrestrial level & some rare people are on a Celestial level, but at all levels people still sin, but just minor sins, not near as bad as the lower level sins.



Anonymous said...

In reply to: Anon 23March 21, 2013 at 8:25 AM
"JR,
Thanks for your response, it helps me to understand.
I agree that there are good things taught in the Church, just like there are in any Church, but I just don't agree that the Church does more good than harm to ourselves & our families.
I also can't agree that the Church still has any authority or Priesthood, for unrighteous leaders can't maintain or pass on such power or authority. I believe all those men who followed BY out west lost their Priesthood & authority for supporting evil.
So where does the current LDS Church get authority more than any other Church out there? If you think it has authority than you have to say the FLDS or RLDS or Catholic or Baptist Church has authority to baptism too, cause the LDS Church is in the same apostate boat as they are."

Dear Brother or Sister Anon,
I apologize for taking a few days to respond.
I must reply to your post because my experience has taught me that what you have said is not the way it truly is.
I came to the LDS church, "the church" not "The Church, Inc.", by way of the Catholic church, by way of the Lutheran church, by way of the Baptist church, by way of growing up in my step-father's home which was completely devoid of religion. I found the church, or it found me, thru a friend in High School. When I took the missionary discussions I came to the conclusion that IF there really is a God then this must be HIS church. So I submitted to Baptism. I tried to live the teachings I found in the church and I tried to read the Book of Mormon. After a period of time, for some reason completely unknown to me, the Savior came to me and administered the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost which changed my entire life. No more was there any doubt about the reality of God, no more was there any doubt about the course I should take in my life, no longer was I wandering in confusion and doubt.
I have been told not long ago by the Spirit that just as in the Meridian of Time when the church was deeply into apostasy, so in our time there is an apostasy but there are still good people, and some good leaders (Nicodemus in the Meridian and Elder Richard G. Scott in our time being examples of righteous men seeking the truth).
I am not responding to contend with you but to offer what I have found to be the truth.
In our day, "the church" is almost exactly as was "the church" in the Meridian of Time. It is in apostasy, but it still produces leaders and members who will one day make up Zion and will make up the Church of The First Born. There is still authority, and power to administer the saving ordinances of the Preparatory Gospel found in some worthy individuals, in the church today. I have experienced these things personally.
With much love dear Brother or Sister,
JR

Anonymous said...

Regarding the two wedding receptions of the GA's daughter, one for just the GA's and the other for the general membership. I am bothered that the only people who have access to the SLC leaders and the only people the SLC leaders will have anything to do with are the rich and the famous members and non-members. Not right.

Regarding Jonas' comment about the apron in the Temple: I have also wondered about it. On an anti-Mormon blog this same thing is pointed out.

Anonymous said...

I can verify that it is next to impossible to get any personal contact with the GAs.
A couple of years ago one of the 12 Apostles gave a talk at the dedication of a temple. I called his office to request a copy of the talk. The secretary gave me a very rude brush off. Tried the next day to make an appointment with the Apostle, again the secretary gave me a rude brush off. Tried later to contact him by phone, same response from his "front office". Then I tried going to the COB to go to his office. The elevators for "the public" did not go to those floors. If my last name was Huntman or Reid or Marriott, I am very sure the doors would have swung open fast enough.
Godly men? Apparently only when the TV cameras are running!
JR

Anonymous said...

Rock,

I appreciate your words, but like it or not the fallen leaders of the church have the authority to carry on the legal matters of the church and to direct all priesthood functions. Even if you are a member of the body, you have no authority to act or do anything that is contrary to the official position of the church. Your only options are to obey the current crop of leaders, or to sever all ties to the church. You cannot pretend to have a half-assed membership. You can read the scriptures and abide by their precepts, but you are by definition an apostate yourself. The Lor'ds true church has no error in it. It is not "part good" it is all good. If the current church is "part good" then it is part false, which makes it completely false. There is no middle ground.

Anon 23 said...

JR,

I understand your beliefs, I used to believe the same things, but now I see differently. I don't believe anyone can be a church leader, let alone a G.A, and maintain the Spirit or Priesthood, because of all the evil they have to go along with as a leader, & to support evil is evil.

I believe Elder Scott is probably a very wonderful & good man in most respects, I especially am impressed with his desire to have true love & faithfulness & keep his marriages covenants to his deceased wife, and not break them by dating & remarrying someone else. But though I believe he is good, I do not believe he is 'righteous' or a true disciple of Christ, nor do I believe he has the Spirit or any Priesthood power or authority. I don't believe any church leaders do.

Christ's true disciples are easy to detect and they don't support, or appear to support, evil. I believe they would not have anything to do with the LDS Church.

I can appreciate that you believe you had an experience with the Savior, but I'm sorry, I cannot believe in it myself. For I believe it takes a very high & rare level of righteousness and a great & personal knowledge of the Gospel to have such experiences. If a person ever has such an experience with the Savior, I believe they will know why.

I believe those who are worthy of and have such experiences would not be part of the LDS Church, for they would realize how things really are in the Church and would not want to be associated with it. It appears you are very unaware of many things about the Church.

I have known of many many people through the years who claim the same things as you do with the Savior and with the Spirit, yet they always seem to be living very unrighteous lives & do not really believe in or understand his Gospel, either before or after their experiences.

I believe, as Christ warned us, that many will come and say they are him today, whether by a personage or spirit or vision or false revelation, etc. I believe this is happening all around us to many people in the Church.

I believe that members of the Church often confuse their feelings about the truth of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ & the feelings they receive from the Holy Ghost, with the belief that the Church then must be true and led by Christ.

I believe many members join the Church because they get confirmation that the BoM is true and then just assume that the Church & everything else is true too, without a sound knowledge of everything else going on in the Church.

Joseph Smith said we perish without knowledge, even if we have a testimony of the truth of the BoM or the Gospel.

Anon 23 said...

Anon 10:07,

I agree with you that if the LDS church is 'part' false, especially on such serious levels like polygamy & so many other serious sins it accepts as ok, then yes it would be 'all' false.

Brigham Young either was 'righteous' & 'polygamy good & right' or BY was 'evil' & 'polygamy was just abusive adultery' & thus he lost any priesthood power or authority he might ever of had, as did all those deceived to follow & support him.

It really doesn't matter to a righteous person what the leaders do in the Church, for I don't believe a righteous person would stay in it for long once they realize & learn that it isn't a true Church and never was.

Just because the Church Joseph started was true, doesn't mean that the part of the Church Brigham Young took out west was. Or else the RLDS & FLDS Churches must be considered 'true' too & headed by Christ, despite the falsehoods & false prophets found therein, like in the LDS Church. For the FLDS & especially the RLDS had just as much, if not far more, claim to authority in being the continuation of "The True Church as the LDS Church does.

General Ike said...

Rock / I viewed the second video in the training videos on the subject of ministering. It was pretty much the style of contemporary reality TV. A camera followed every edited move into two families' homes. The plot was that one of the two high end brethren had been visiting the folks for years ministering patiently to their needs. He knew their names, etc. There were taped asides such as, "I really felt the sprit here tonight" from the folks being visited. The inactive father who apparently hadn't attended church for years prayed for who knows how long - just in time for a camera crew. People were in tears. It reminded me much like a History Channel episode of Pawn Stars when the cameras just happened to be running when someone shows up on queue with a Rembrandt etching. Was the Lord their to queue the Spirit? On Pawn Stars credits roll showing writers, video editors, et al. We know it is a dramatization. The church should label it as such. Instead we are left with a scene reminiscent of nothing most of us have ever experienced in our years of visits. Perhaps if we could afford a film crew and extras...

andrew said...

every few years, the wheels of modern Mormonism are reinvented. obviously the lord wants confusion and inconsistencies, so that's why the primary directive of those who hold 'The Keys' is to sit at the round table, approving handbooks and instructional material that redefine the dogma the general membership love to feast on, like swine to the slop bucket.

so much time and energy wasted on trivial matters, it breaks my heart to know that the worries of the church are how many piercings someone has, or whether a family wants to bless a newborn at home, or *ahem* a shopping mall. nope, never mind the naked, hungry, or the unloved. we've got to make sure we involve ourselves regarding issues the lord has already spoken, or simply doesn't care, about...

LDSDPer said...

@General Ike and andrew:

Our family doesn't 'do' television, but I know that reality tv has really had an impact on the American/Mormon mind--
where did you find that? I want to see it; I want to be aware of what is going on, and thanks in advance--

and . . .

the young people (some of them, many of them) are waking up, and this is hopeful, waking up and shaking us older ones up--

I think the renaissance will be good when it comes, and it is coming--
young people who DO think of the poor and unloved--

yes, it is heartbreaking in the meantime--

and what a wonderful thing that each of *us* can choose to minister to the 'naked, hungry, or the unloved'--

there is still some agency--

true, the 'church' keeps us running, but time and resources can be found to do just that--

I like James (brother of Jesus) and his 'pure religion and undefiled'--

LDSDPer said...

@General Ike, I found it and am watching it--

yes, that would be hard to believe it is genuine, when it's being filmed--

but there are people out there who do reach out to others; I know that--

These men who are visiting in the home are probably home teachers or . . . stake missionaries--

it's hard to see it being treated as reality tv--

the general authorities who are speaking have nothing to do with these people; they are just talking about the missionaries/home teachers--

that is rather sad, too--

talking about how the good people reach out--

and yet to televise it cheapens it--

and makes it . . . canned.

LDSDPer said...

in your third paragraph from the last . . . I think that spiritually immature people might do that, but many people, as they grow wiser, do not, anymore.

But when I read what you say about not being able to have a relationship with Jesus Christ I think that you must be filled with despair--

or, let's just say that when I read what you are writing I feel despair. Nobody can be righteous? Nobody's efforts are of any value? So--

maybe you and a couple of other people (maybe Joseph Smith) will make it to the celestial kingdom, and the rest of us are just dross?

The harshness of the religious system/spiritual system you relate on here is very depressing. I really question whether or not you believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ and in repentance and forgiveness. You do it right the first time or . . . you're shot for eternity?

Maybe I just can't understand your philosophy, but I remember that same philosophy from my youth in the LDS church, that idea that nobody can attain a relationship with Jesus Christ, because we are all worthless--
I'm not talking about what King Benjamin says about us being 'dust'; I believe his words--
I'm saying that this idea that regular, flawed people can't have a relationship with Jesus Christ . . . seems very sad to me--
I won't accuse your philosophy of being anti-Christ; I don't believe in eating, drinking and being merry, and we'll still get saved, but I do believe that regular people can love Jesus Christ and feel His love, without the kind of perfection you imply must be there--

I won't talk about my experiences with divinity, because I guess I think you'll just laugh and say that I have been deceived, but the fact is that I'm not perfect, and I have felt the pure love of Jesus Christ--
Such a high and rare level of righteousness? Well, I'm glad He loves the weakest among us--
and I really feel that there is something wrong with the idea of limiting people who have 'such experiences' to being not involved in the LDS church--
It sounds as though everyone you know is unrighteous--that's really sad; I know a lot of pure-hearted people, and some of them are even LDS--


LDSDPer said...

the above is to anon23--

Why are the scriptures filled with admonitions to repent--

if there isn't hope even for those of *us* who have been deceived?

The idea that leaving the LDS church will solve the problem seems . . . too simplistic. After all, it is our relationship with Jesus Christ (and even LDS can have them) that matters, not our 'label'--

anon 23, I think you are the same person of whom I asked this question before--

Are you completely disconnected from all of Babylon? From every form of Babylon? If not, then you are in the mess with everyone else--

and can't tell the rest of *us* that we must leave the LDS church in order to flee babylon (not sure it should be 'capped')--

We're all in the mess; all have sinned, and Jesus died for us all--

so where do *you* 'get off' saying, "yes, He died for everyone but the LDS"?

That is what it sounds like--you can deny it, but that is what it sounds like--

you must really have had some painful experiences with the church; I know some who have--but it sounds as though you haven't been able to forgive those who hurt you--

I can understand that you have needed to leave; I don't condemn you for that; I understand that some do have to leave--

but to declare, once you have left, that all of those who haven't left . . . are wrong and bad and won't 'make it'--seems . . . extreme.

You don't know the hearts of everyone who attends the LDS church. You don't know how many of them are 'awake' to the evils of corporations (including the one that the LDS church is involved with)--

some are, and they still attend. You cannot say; you have no right to say that anyone who would be involved in the LDS church is condemned. I asked you once before to show me a scripture that leads to that conclusion, and you didn't do that either.

I answered with, "once the person who calls to repentance those who remain in the LDS church flees every form of babylon him/herself, then maybe that person has a right to speak"--

but can you show proof that your life is entirely babylon-free? If you claim that you have left babylon spiritually--

then your argument falls, because a person who continues to go to an LDS chapel--

or temple . . . is no worse than *you* are if you go to a store of any kind--

or purchase anything made by any corporation. But you won't answer that; you just keep repeating that those who are involved with the LDS church are, basically, 'damn#d'--

If you are supporting babylon in any way--then your argument cannot hold water--

I admit that I have purchased things from corporations, and I know that corporations are evil--

but I would not eat if I did not purchase some things; my family and I would starve, even though we grow a fair amount of our own food and buy from local farmers as much as possible--

so, I support babylon and will until Jesus comes--

and I participate in LDS worship services and will until Jesus comes--

show me the difference--

I wanted to make it clear that the third paragraph I was speaking about is from anon 23--



Anon 23 said...

LDSDPer,

I am sorry if you feel despair in reading my beliefs. I don't mean to convey that feeling, but just one of how serious it is to seek the truth and live it.

I don't feel despair even though I believe it is very hard & rare to achieve Exaltation, for I also know Heavenly Father will lead us line upon line to get there if we really desire it. I'm not sure I will make it either, since it's so hard, but that doesn't make me want to give up.

It just seems to me that hardly anyone in the Church is taking the Gospel & Christ's teachings very seriously. I can hardly find anyone who knows what Christ taught on many issues. Most LDS I know don't want to even discuss such things. I have a lot of non-lds family and far more of them like to discuss religion & Christ and have open minds & actually believe in Christ much more than most all the LDS I know.

And I don't know why you think I said we can't have a relationship with Christ. I certainly believe we can, it's just I believe it is so very rare to find someone righteous enough to have such a relationship. I can't even find 1 anyone who seems to really believe in Christ, let alone know him personally.

I assure you I believe in Christ's atonement & in repentance & forgiveness, I just believe we do have one shot at it all in this life, for that is what I hear the prophets in the scriptures saying.

I definitely don't believe we are all worthless. I'm sorry if that was what you were taught when you were young. I have never believed such things, I know that if we get close enough to Heavenly Father he will tell us of our great worth & we will not doubt it, no matter what anyone says.

From what I have studied and from my experiences in life, I can see how hard it is to maintain the Holy Spirit as our guide, so we aren't deceived by the constant false revelations from the Adversary. I find we really have to take Christ's teachings seriously and while we don't have to be perfect, we have to be pretty close. Even Christ's Apostles had a hard time living up to Christ's laws. Even Joseph Smith did too. That should tell us how hard it is. Yet Joseph still taught that if we don't & we let ourselves be deceived, then we will lose our Exaltation. (D&C 76) Shall I now believe Joseph's & the ancient prophet's warnings?

I agree it is very sad & disappointing that it is so hard to gain Exaltation, I too wish it were easier. I often wonder if I can do what it takes to make it.

Almost every person I know says they love & believe in Christ & they feel his love & Spirit, yet they usually do not even know or study his words, and definitely don't live them. They support & do the opposite of what Christ taught. What am I to think? Can they really love someone they do not take seriously or follow? How can I think they are really feeling his spirit & not the Adversary's, when their 'actions & fruits' are pleasing the Adversary far more than Christ?

I know that Christ does love all of us, even if we are far from perfect. But he can't get us to heaven if we don't take him seriously & live his high laws, no matter how much he would like to.

I also believe most people in the Church are wonderful, kind, good & honorable people, but as the scriptures say will happen today, they all seem very deceived by the crafty falsehoods of men, which Joseph said will cause them to only achieve the Terrestrial Kingdom. I can only go by what Joseph Smith & Christ & their scriptures teach.

I too have found I have let myself be deceived in many ways also, so I am just trying to wake up to those things & repent before it's too late. But we needn't despair, for we can all achieve Exaltation if we really want to.

Anon 23 said...

LDSDPer,

I believe I did answer your questions before when you asked them. But I will say again that:

1- Where does it say we have to be perfect ourselves to discuss, warn or teach others of the truth or awfulness of our situation? Joseph Smith and all the Prophets had many faults & yet they still held up Christ's laws for us to follow & told us what would happen if we didn't follow them. Even though many of those prophets later fell & didn't live up to their own teachings themselves, doesn't mean their message was void.

I never said I was perfect or even near it, I am trying to do right just like anyone else.

2- I believe that we are not accountable for going along with evil when we are forced to. Like if you were a bank teller & gave a bank robber money when he demanded it from you. You would be doing wrong, cause the money is not yours to give, yet you aren't held accountable for you are being forced to do it.

When we go along with evil 'voluntarily', like in a Church, then I believe we are much more accountable. If the Government forces us to give them money and there is no other place on earth to go & live in peace & freedom, then God takes that into account, though we should do all we can to not support evil if we aren't forced to.

I agree we should continually think about what we are buying & what businesses we are supporting with our money, and if we are sincere, God can show us ways to stop supporting evil businesses if possible.

I think there is a lot more we can do to stop supporting evil in this world than most think & God can help us to do that.

Toni said...

Hey! That's his google page, not his web site. What happened to his website?

Toni said...

A problem with your scenario, Jonas, is that Adam was NOT praying "the true order of prayer" when he prayed. That came later, after the devil was cast out and could not be privy to what was going on.

The apron you wear in the temple represents the fact that you are mortal, imperfect. The fact that you go through the veil with it on is representative of the fact that even imperfect mortals can have the Lord (the real Lord, not a temple worker) part the veil, so that you may see Him and know that He lives.

Lucifer is and was a liar. Not much of what he says can be trusted. His apron represents the power of darkness, the antithesis of Light, of Christ.

Toni said...

I made a reply to his post. I don't know if it helped anything, but I tried.

Gary Hunt said...

And if you order Weston's cutlery set in the next 10 minutes you will get Weston's Wacky Waffle Warmer absolutely free! And that's not all!

Anonymous said...

Rock,
This statement from your article about sums up what I see every Sunday at church:

"D: "President C and President M, give us some understanding of how you view keys, and the relationship between the Bishop and the Elders Quorum President."
C: "A lot of times the thing that, the thing that the people are working through are things that we could be doing in the Elders Quorum that aren't necessarily things that are related to worthiness, but things that are obviously going to be helpful to worthiness."
I haven't the first idea what C was trying spit out there, but ten bucks says he probably wants to hold another meeting."

I agree!

This exemplifies the mushmouth say-something-without-saying-anything-that-will-get-me-in-trouble dogma we have learned to consider as "the only true religion on the face of the earth"!
What a crock!

Mormons as a group, are the most cowed, subdued, withered people on the face of the earth!
The unwritten doctrine seems to be say nothing that will offend...anyone, ever...especially anyone "above" me who might someday call me to a "position of authority".
JR





Jessica said...

(My comment has little to nothing to do with this particular post, but it needed to go somewhere, right, so here it is...)

Brother Alan (or Brother Rock?),

Firstly, see what I did there with the first name attached to Brother? Keys that I've been reading your blog. Reading in fact would be a poor summary. I discovered your blog, through what I'll actually call perhaps coincidence, accident and a little divine inspiration. And in the course of one day (from about 7am to . . . well it's 11:26pm now) I've devoured your blog posts, regretting that I honestly haven't been feasting on the scriptures in such a way as of late.

I am a convert to the Church (or perhaps Gospel) of thirteen years. I was fourteen when I experienced a great spiritual upheaval in my life, and luck would have it that I met a young rebellious Mormon boy who had a thing for redheads. In an effort to gain approval from his parents, I went to Church with them and as I was introduced as "an investigator" one missionary from across the building turned to his companion and said, "Did you hear that?! Someone needs lessons! To the Elder-Mobile!" After being cornered by my future Mother-in-Law and two strange Elders, I agreed to take the lessons and then proceeded to scream, "What do you mean I can't drink coffee!?" at them as a mouthy teenager does, for several months. During the time in between my last lesson and my eventual baptism, I experienced the gift of tongues as my dying Grandmother who'd previously lost her speech to a stroke 7 years prior, instructed me on her death bed to take care of the family, to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I already believed, and to one day marry the boy who she approved of. After proper prayer and study (I wouldn't even follow her blindly) my answer came to me as to prophets (and other little people like me) of old - in a dream of peace, love, and the prospect of reunion with my departed ancestors - many of whom were early pioneers of the church as I later came to find.

I spent many years devoted to the strict "doctrine", abiding by it's every word and defending it to the letter, losing friends and family in the process. My relationship too suffered and I went through a terrible time of absence from the church, where despite my personal beliefs, my actions against the laws (ie: temple recommend questions) were contrary to the teachings and I suddenly felt like an outcast among brothers and sisters.

Eventually I came to recognize my sin against the Church (not God) and returned to full activity and when my boyfriend was sent home from the MTC for a medical problem (that he would be later called shameful for not getting over it) and despite being married in the temple, we lost the original spirit of the Lord we felt we once had. Years of struggling activity came between us, arguments over issues like the Word of Wisdom, strict meeting attendance and tithing caused much marital strife. I'm so glad I stuck it out though because my marriage now is as close to perfect as I could ever imagine. He drives me bat-crap crazy, and I wouldn't have it any other way. (Continued . . . .)

Jessica said...

( . . . . Continued)



I've returned to full activity in the Church this past year. But something was different. My eyes were open and I saw the corporation versus the doctrine. I felt the difference. And I saw the changes in the youth who now instead of wanting to serve missions to bring others to Christ, they served to fulfill familial traditions, all the while admitting to not befriending non-members for fear of corruption. I was grateful to meet a new best friend who served with the Young Women and demanded of the leadership that the girls needed nothing more than to know that God loved them and that they should love Him and His children - Personal Progress could wait. Likewise I was called to Primary and sought to stop the hate before it started, teaching children the difference as I knew it between Church and Gospel, and my tattoos helped as a visual aid to teach about Agency, and that different did not mean evil or wrong.

Yesterday, I felt a darkness sitting on my heart. I found myself fearing something greatly. Was I an apostate? I found the counsel of some prophets appealing and helpful, but others hurt my heart and my spirit and I could clearly see that their "doctrine" was a sign of both the times, the culture and their personal experiences. But if I believed this, and not them explicitly, I was doomed for excommunication (something I shamefully feared more than damnation). I prayed, I researched, and I mistakenly went to Mormon.org to chat up the missionaries several times, some of whom will bring many souls to Christ through their love, but others slammed doors in my face - something I fear will be reciprocated to them. Anxious, fearful and stressed, I came upon your blog and realised that when I joined the Church, it wasn't because I believed in President Hinckley (the prophet of my youth) or President Monson, or even John Taylor or Wilford Woodruff or Brigham Young. I believed Brother Joseph. I read the Book of Mormon and believed it to be good and true and needed in my life.

And suddenly . . . I gave my permission to be Mormon AND have my own personal faith about things, regardless of Church teachings. And I honestly have you to thank as a large part of it. Seeing someone else (and in the comments of your blog - many others) believing the pureness of the original restored gospel was . . . well I could say peaceful but that would be a lie. It was exhilarating! Similar energy when I first knew the divinity of God (and myself as his daughter) and the experiences that Brother Joseph went through. My entire Mormon life, I'd seen reborn Christians who LIVED it. Who proclaimed to have found Jesus and developed a relationship with Him. I wanted that! I wanted to know my Savior . . . and today, for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I have permission to do that.

Last Sunday I dreaded going to church. I didn't want to be there, and sitting in the back of sacrament I wondered, "Do they see the girl in the back and wonder why she's so very sad?" But now I can't wait for Sunday. Because it'll be boring as ever and testimonies will ramble on about gratitude and the true Church and blah blah blah . . . but they are my brothers and sisters, and I'm so excited to tell them how I love them, how I want to love them no matter what, and how I want to love my Savior and be like Him.

Thank you so much. For pulling back the curtains. For removing the great shadow cast over Salt Lake City, so that I could see Jesus.

Anonymous said...

JR,

Amen! Most LDS seem so afraid of and run from 'the real truth'. Only nicey nice things can be talked about at Church, things that don't make anyone question their leaders.

What a shock it must be to most LDS when they actually read the scriptures and see how strongly & clearly 'real' prophets talk. I guess that's why most LDS I know don't study the scriptures much.

Thank goodness Heavenly Father will always personally tell us the truth about anything we want to know, so we aren't dependent on anyone else, especially leaders who don't want to face or talk about the real truths.

weston krogstadt said...

What a sucky post. Rock you really shouldn't have downed all of that turpentine back in '71 to avoid the draft. If you hadn't, today you would have a triple-digit IQ like many of your frineds who simply ran to Canada.

weston krogstadt said...

Heh heh

LDSDPer said...

@Toni, I read that reply, and it did make sense--

The idea that the temple, all along, has supported the idea of a personal Savior--

is encouraging, especially when some seem to imply that Jesus Christ only cares about those who are almost perfect.

LDSDPer said...

@Jessica, welcome home--

I went through this about 20 years ago--

and I was older; the prophet of my youth was David O. McKay--

and my journey has taken more time--

I feel a great affinity for the followers of Christ in the Book of Mormon--

and I keep working to convert my 'brethren'--


"when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren"--

every testimony of Jesus Christ borne is a brick in the wall of Zion--(that was tacky and corny, but I had to try to put it into words)


Alan Rock Waterman said...

How did you know about the turpentine, Weston?

Jessica said...

Thank you. It's a great feeling to know that it's not one way or the other. I always feared that. I believed in Joseph Smith's visions, and I believed in the Book of Mormon . . . but other things didn't resonate in me the same way but I accepted it and pushed through it because it all felt so black and white. I didn't want to leave the community of the Church that I had grown to love. I'll take my testimony and stay with the people, they'll be my brothers and sisters regardless.

Anonymous said...

Thank you sister Jessica. Many (most) of us here have similar tales of our private pathway into, thru, and past the weaknesses of the church. Most still go to church realizing that there is some goodness, some good people, and some truth remaining. It truly is from the church that the majority of those who go to Zion will come, and from the ranks of the church will also come those who will inherit the Celestial Kingdom.
Your brother in Christ,
JR

Anonymous said...

Rock,
Just noticed an obvious glitch in this blog...the guy up at the top, the one with the flaming eyes...is NOT wearing a white shirt. Obviously, he cannot have "The Power" if he is out of uniform! Help...!
JR

Anonymous said...

During the video I couldn't help but feel i was watching a training video at my company. It seems the emphasis on the "Handbook" is more of a “we’ve spent time and money on this, we need to push it", then a tool to help leaders. It's something they've spent money on and now they want to get a return. In the corporate world they have "Employee Handbooks" that's all this is.

Brother Rock,
This is my first post on your blog(on any blog for that matter) I’ve been immersed in your blog for about 4 months now and I have to say it's changed my life. I was on the verge of a faith crisis and through long hours of prayer the lord led me to this blog, I know that sounds strange but I believe it. Thank you for all you do and know that your words are making a difference. Honestly, my morning routine is to check your blog, if there is no new post, I reread old ones :-). Also, because of this blog I was able to find Brother Snuffer and his blog. my prayers are with you and your family. Thanks for all you do.

I think it would be intersting to hear how readers have come across your blog...I would wager that most are faith promopting.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I have asked this brother into my office, JR, and asked him to get with the program, but so far he refuses to comply.

I may have to consider further discipline.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm deeply moved by testimonials such as yours and Jessica's above. I have been accused in the past of driving people out of the church, or, as our dear brother Weston Krogstadt claims, of being "a Mormon hater."

I have yet to hear of someone who has abandoned the teachings of the Restoration because of something I have written; instead I often get emails from folks whose experience is similar to yours. I'm grateful for the support. And, yes, humbled.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding Rock. I didn't mean to post without my name. And I meant promoting not promopting, still new at this blog posting thingy. :-)

Richard

weston krogstadt said...

Heh heh, you know that was a good un.

Jonas said...

I watched this wretched video again and noticed something I missed the first time around. I think I missed it because the concept is so ingrained in members of the church that it just slipped by me.

Tom Perry says that he feels unworthy to hold the keys of the priesthood. First I don't believe that he feels unworthy. Second, if he really is an apostle, chosen by Jesus himself (which I also don't believe), then worthiness is not Perry's to question. He might as well accept his worthiness and get on with doing his job.

However, Perry's statement presents a problem in that it reinforces the concept that people are not "worthy". If an apostle is unworthy then we surely must be total washouts, right? Many people think that admitting to be unworthy is a sign of humility. I disagree. Saying that I am unworthy is self deprecating, and not in line with being a child of a great creator or a brother to Jesus. It is demeaning and counter-productive.

If we are to believe the gospel, then we have the ability to become gods. If that's true, then this life is a training ground for gods. We are each at the level we are at because this is what we have achieved so far. Take away any judgement of our "position" or our "level" of achievement and accept who we are right now and we find that we are perfect. You can say you are gods in embryo if that suits you, but either way you are a god already, so how is it that you are unworthy or imperfect?

Having a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth has absolutely nothing to do with worthiness. Since I turned my back on the church my relationship with Jesus has become more personal, more intimate than I ever thought possible. I simply never got this in 50 years of church.

Another person posted on here that he has felt the pure love of Christ. I second that. In fact I know what it is to be a Christ. That statement cannot be comprehended until it is experienced, but it is a true statement. It's much like the writings in the Book of Mormon when Jesus appears to the Nephites; some of Jesus teachings could not be recorded because words cannot convey the experience. These things MUST be experienced first hand or they CANNOT be comprehended. But here I am, an apostate, who has experienced Christ. By church standards I am not worthy, but by a higher level of understanding, I am perfectly capable of experiencing Christ consciousness.

For a person to think that they are "unworthy" is to deny the wisdom of God. It is to deny their own divinity. It is to succumb to a man-made set of rules that can never be lived perfectly. It's a very dangerous, fear-based trap. To live unworthily is to live in fear. Too many people believe that they will never be worthy until they are perfect. This is another trap to keep us in control and from recognizing our potential. Perfection is relative, but what is it relative to? Rules?

I submit that Noah was a drunkard, yet he was a prophet, called by God. I say that because we know that he lived several hundred years, yet we only have a tiny view of his life. And a main point in that view is one occasion when he got drunk. Either he got drunk only once in his life and the author had to pick out that moment to write about, or he was drunk on a regular occasion. It really doesn't matter how often he drank wine to drunkenness; what's important is that he got drunk - and he was a prophet. In other words, he was WORTHY in spite of his drinking.

There is a great lesson here about worthiness vs. perfection. When we learn it then we can begin to acknowledge our personal power and begin to recognize the gods that we are. It is time to wake up to that reality and stop putting ourselves down and to to build upon who we are and grow in that reality. We are already gods! We are already perfect!

CONTINUED IN A SECOND POST . . .

Jonas said...

. . . CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

This is what Joseph knew and taught. This is why the early saints had miracles and visions - not just the elite of the church, but it ran through many of the saints. And visions of the saints were accepted by all including the upper echelons of church leadership. It wasn't about the leadership; it was about bringing people to a knowledge of who they were.

When a person removes themselves from the pit of self-pity, unworthiness, self deprecation and imperfection, then they too will begin to experience the things that the early saints experienced. They begin to experience Christ, through various means including dreams, visions and miracles and personal encounters.

If you choose to open yourself to growth, then you can expect to be shunned and silenced. There is a reward for opening up. There is also a price to be paid.

This is as it should be. The great ones have never feared retribution; they have gloried in persevering through adversity and into the light.

Gary Hunt said...

Jonas,

I think you bring out some very good points. I think that as a society/ church we have perverted (made a lot more complex)the meaning of the word perfect as Christ intended it when he said "be ye therefore perfect".

I remember watching a documentary a number of years ago. They talked about the ten commandments and the law of Moses. In fact they said scholars had counted over 600 commandments in ancient Israel. The ancient Israelites were so obsessed with every little thing in life they made a commandment for it. I can't say we are any better today than they were then.

Christ simplified it to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Here's a good scripture on love.

1 John 4:

7. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

8. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

14. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

16. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

19. We love him, because he first loved us.

20. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

21. And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

I believe this scripture better describes what Christ meant when he said "be ye therefore perfect". What we have today is numerous prescriptive rules. When we become proficient at living these rules, we become acceptable to God. If we have a difficult time doing all these rules, we are not.

Anonymous said...

Here it is Easter again. Let us remember the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and give thanks to Heavenly Father for His Son and the love both have for each and every one of us in this world. I will continue to keep Christ in the forefront in church when I have the opportunities to do so and in all that I do in my everyday life.

(Glad there is this site where we can honestly discuss issues with like minded people)

Shalom and Kol Tuv
ma' asalama kheri

Anonymous said...

Last PM we greatly enjoyed celebrating the Passover in our home.
Today we are celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Easter.
What a wonderful time to be alive!
I too express my gratitude for this site and other like it where we can get together with like minded brothers and sisters.
We look forward with great anticipation to the day when we can, "meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of our souls and to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus." (Moroni 6:5-6)
Shalom,
JR

Anonymous said...

Like Richard above, I have several family and friends who have never posted on your blog. Yet they "hunger and thirst after righteousness" and eagerly anticipate all your posts. I'm always amazed how often it seems you put our own thoughts to words much better than we could ourselves. It's very comforting to know there are so many like-minded people out there. All the time and effort you put into this blog is VERY appreciated and, from my perspective, definitely worth it!

Carl

Gary Hunt said...

I am supprised that no one has tied down the definition of church keys. Anyone can type it into Google and get a definition. I was also shocked to see some people selling their church keys on Amazon! Also, Rock posted an article back on June 18, 2009 dealing indirectly with this issue.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Good one, Gary!

Back in the days before pop-tops, I would sometimes hear this term, but being a devout keeper of the Word of Wisdom, I had no idea what it meant until someone explained it to me.

For those too lazy to do their own Googling, here is where you can buy Church Keys on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-399-Church-Opener-Magnet/dp/B000HJ76C4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364829239&sr=8-1&keywords=church+keys

And here is that early post Gary refers to, the third piece I ever wrote on this blog, from deep in the archives:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2009/06/too-bad-i-dont-like-beer.html

Anonymous said...

Interesting,but did anyone address the significance of the keys held by Peter in the Denmark Church. Did they represent authority or "little packets of information"?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I suppose those keys held by the statue of peter were symbolic the keys of knowledge and ability to perform certain functions and ordinances.

Anonymous said...

Rock,
I agree that authority and priesthood power are two separate entities. However, from my study I've found nothing to distinguish between priesthood power and faith. The Savior said:
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you”. I understand this ability to include everyone, male or female, young or old, Mormon or non-Mormon, priesthood holder or non.
This is why I believe priesthood keys provide authority to perform priesthood duties, period. However, priesthood power and faith become blurry.
P

Anonymous said...

I have watched the video a few times and the thought came to me what if you changed the word Keys to Charity, it was then the video made a little more sense by their use of examples given, but I still don't know what priesthood keys are and really how they are intended to be used.

The CHI says that Christ gives the priesthood to leaders to direct, control and govern his priesthood on earth.

The word control has a negative connotation especially if you are the one being controlled.

But the scriptures say...That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

Thanks again Rock,
Suzie

Anonymous said...

I understand the negative connotation of "control" however D&C 121 states that priesthood power can be controlled as long as the bearer is righteous.

Gary Hunt said...

The 121st Section of the Doctrine and Covenants is one of my favorite scriptures. It provides us with great instructions from the Lord on how each one of us should conduct ourself, especially in our relationships with one another. As you read the verses below ask yourself questions such as, who or what is being controlled, what methods and means are we to use, and what methods and means are we not to use?

(D&C 121:34-42)

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

What is to be controlled is the "powers of heaven", based upon "the principles of righteousness", and not to "exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men". What are the principles of righteousness? We are to use "persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;" Also, "kindness, and pure knowledge,". These are the keys to unlocking the powers of heaven.

~ K i l e e ~ said...

The interesting part after priesthood have been discussed - I did have some bad experience regarding "priesthood" how those men use it as an authority or use it as to serve others through the time of their need.

I have served mission in 2005 - I have had very difficult time with those authorities that conduct the church actually abusing their power, and I have had hard time with leaderships in the church. When I was in MTC - there were a guy that fell in love with me at the first time I walked in the MTC, and after a month of being stalked, and talking about marrying me & that he prayed in the temple, and said I will be his wife. I finally had the courage to report it to my branch president's 2nd counselor.

After he left the office with all of my letters proof that Elder wrote stating about marrying me, and stuff. Few minutes later the branch president was furious & brought me in room with my companion - he shouted at me for shopping sympathy, and that I am the problems not the elder. He made it sound like I was having a mentally issue- so I left & I cried so hard in the bathroom after he told elders that I needed a friends....

At the very next day the mtc district for the whole MTC called me to come in the office, and he read me the letter that the branch president wrote to him & told the MTC district that I'm one that distracting, and having a serious problems in the room. I sat there all amazed how HORRIBLE liar he was - my companion had to interview with them, my MTC teacher had too, and in end they sent me down to counseling in MTC then the MTC president came in, and they said I have a really serious issue that I needed help. So I went to counseling I was naturally pouring out my heart, and we had the meeting at the very next day. The counseling told them that I have had no problem & that Im a very faithful servant unto the lord, and that I don't have any issues. The branch president end up coming to me and apologized for things he do. It was pure hell- after finally leaving MTC down to Houston - the president suspect that I have MANIC depression problems - it was actually because I have had anxiety disorder triggered while dealing with severe stress. The mission president request me to come in the office.

As I entered his office & he told me to sit, and gave me a priesthood blessing - that moment I wanted to RUN away after he said "If you take the anti-depressant medicine it will help you to be a better missionary, a better friend, a better companion, a better daughter, sisters, a better wife in the future, and a better mother to the children." The reason he gave me the blessing because I refused to take anti-depressant because I knew I don't have depression. If you have met me in person - Im basically the MOST happiness person you guys will ever met even though when times are hard.

~ K i l e e ~ said...

Continuing.......

So when he gave me a blessing - I knew from a moment that it was a "curse" blessing. I cried so hard when I went home, and the mission president called me & told me that he spoke to 12 apostles about my case of being depression - he said that "they all are praying for you, and your father doesn't want you to get better, your father doesn't love you." He was referring to 12 apostles that I wasn't taking any anti-depress medicine & later I learned that my father wrote me a letter he was fighting for me, and told my mission president what he did & how he did was evil way of conducting his own daughter, and said that I don't have depression. Mission president have threatened me over 100 times to send me home from my mission because I refused to take the medicine. I was a fighter, and I refused to let him domiant me, but then I was sent to psychrian to evaluation & wrote letter to mission president, and said that Kilee is basically the happiest person they ever see, and have no SIGN of depression, but anxiety disorder. So mission president decided to dignosis & wrote me RX on his own & send medicine to me, and told me to take them.

Again I refused- he again threatened me so my companion start to watch me taking my medicine- I started to take them & it made me feel horrible. My dad awoke from dream or he felt through spirit I can't remember & wrote to me, and told me to stop taking medicine so I stopped & I almost died - was sent to ER. The mission president said I guess she have had severe flu.... It NEARLY killed me! So it had been over 8 years now I am not on any drugs - I married to a wonderful husband that loves & care for me, and I didn't live with depression at all. I have a lot of friends, etc.. So the priesthood he used actually abused my belief in priesthood. My husband is slowly trying to help me, and I still have had hard time. Those people are actually apostasy from the doctrine, and how to use priesthood properly. It just definitely strained my relationship with God. After transfered to different state with new president & I have had a best 4 months of my mission because he was treating me so well.

I'm sorry if I ranted about this, and after all this happened I wrote letter to headquarter in slc, but after reading handbook that said if missionaries wrote letters down to headquarter in slc they will mail it to mission president. I decided not to wrote to them because I know I will have more issue with mission president. I was so upset to learn that I don't have freedom to speech - just like what ROCK waterman mentioned on tithing section that we can't speak up like previously members in J.S time. After I completed my mission I wrote letter to headquarter & I have never heard from them since - I still have those copied letter I wrote to them sitting in file. It is SO sad I felt neglected.

It had been 8 years today & I am still pretty irriating by that experience. I don't know why. I hope I am not complaining about this, but I had to get it off my CHEST!

~ K i l e e ~ said...

Continuing.....

Even today when I have temple recommend interview, or when I receive the callings - every time I walked in stake president or bishop's office I ALWAYS feel fear or the flashback came back with my experience with 3 different authorities of the church abusing their power against me when I felt powerless to defend myself. My anxiety went out peak, but I prayed all the time when I'm in office. I haven't had bad experience since then until recently that's other story. I was not able to seal in the temple with my husband because (his parents) doesn't approval me to be his wife because he left his mission to marry me through 3 months of praying & fast - he tried to talk to his mission president, stake president, and his parents they all ignored him & said he was doing it at wrong time. We both prayed and felt it was only way that I come & pick him up - I thought I was CRAZY. I went and pick him up in Arizona & brought him home, and been saved my life. I realized if he haven't - I would have been dead 2 years ago.

God had been my support & he sent Matthew to marry me. So his parents are still angry with me, and tried to prevent me from marrying him in the temple - the bishop decided to withhold our recommend for sealing priviledge so we couldn't seal. He said first I will need to work out with his parents & when they approval of me then I can get to seal in the temple with him so we have been waiting for 2 years- his parents refused to accept me. Now I don't have the opportunity to seal to my eternal companion. :(

~ K i l e e ~ said...

The mission president also stating that I have Obessive complusive disorder (OCD) because when he shook my hands, and called my parents that I have OCD issue because I washes my hands too much caused very dryness in my hands. My father blow at him & said that it comes from genetic - my father have a dryness hands we both born with it. I didn't have enough water in my system, its not because I wash my hand too much. Even today my husband have to held my dry hands everyday & doesn't even bother him. :)

Anonymous said...

@ Kilee: I had horrible experiences in the MTC and in the mission field. I too was treated very badly by many people. My mission president was arrogant and I did not matter. I did not want my children to serve missions, and they did not. It is not right for a Temple recommend to be withheld from you and your husband. His parent's have the problem so therefore their recommend should be taken away or not renewed. This really is abuse of authority. I understand about having to get it off your chest. This is a problem in the church and getting worse. And yet it is ignored by SLC. And many people are getting hurt mentally, emotionally, and physically because of abuse of Priesthood authority/power. What happened to Kilee should never happen. And yet it dies and members are powerless to do anything about it because the "leaders" refuse to listen. I have had to deal with deaf ears many times.
In an alternate universe it would be great if all the people in the church who thought alike, like the people who comment and write on this site and others like it, could move to the same town and same neighborhood so that we would all be in the same ward. Now that would be a great ward! lol :)
Keep praying to Heavenly Father and know these people who are doing this to you will answer for what they have done. I know it is hard.

Anonymous said...

It is not just women who are subjected to abuse of ph authority in the church. Abuse of ph authority (abuse of ph power is not possible because as soon as one attempts to abuse ph power there is no power) occurs widely throughout the church.

Many men are subjected to the same type of abuse of authority as women, especially in the church court system where the opportunity for abuse is rampant. Some church leaders exercise their authority wisely and with love and concern, but many times that is not the case and abuses of authority occur very commonly.

I saw in this training video posted by Rock two related issues: (1) ph leaders abusing the term "ph keys" without any apparent knowledge of what they are talking about (2) ph leaders abusing their authority in perpetuating false concepts and erroneous ideas (spreading false doctrine and unbeliefs) about what ph keys, authority and power are. These are both abuses of ph authority.

Denver Snuffer has pointed out (rightly so I believe) that the warning against abusing ph authority in D&C 121:34-46 was given by the Lord to CHURCH LEADERS: "many are called" "their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men" "the rights of the priesthood" "cannot be controlled nor handled" "they may be conferred upon us" "exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men" "amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man" "it is the nature and disposition of almost all men" "as soon as they get a little authority" "many are called but few are chosen". These are all terms that refer to men in authority and apply at least equally to men in the home as well as to men in positions of authority in church leadership.

With the widespread adulation and worship of church leaders in our day ("follow the prophet" "follow the brethren" "they will never lead the church astray", etc.) and the lack of accountability of church leaders to the members (no common consent, church finances are a closed record, etc.) the opportunity for abuse of authority is huge starting from the top down.
JR



Toni said...

Jessica, that was an awesome comment (both parts). You are one of the reasons Rock posts.

Toni said...

Lol. I had totally forgotten that they were called "church keys". We used to call them church keys all the time when I was a child.

Toni said...

His parents should have no power to prevent you from being sealed in the temple. That is insane! Why can't you two move out of state, then talk to your new bishop after you've been there for a while. I would hope you don't have to bring up your in laws.

In any case, neither your in-laws nor the church have the power to withhold blessings from you. And God will make it right if you are faithful to Him.

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