Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Actual Message Of The Book Of Mormon

Previously: How To Calculate What You Owe In Tithing

It's no secret that untold thousands of formerly faithful latter-day Saints have been abandoning the faith over the past few years, prompted by the discovery that many of the Church's truth claims appear to have been less than historically accurate. Indicative of this trend is a well-written monograph, Letter To A CES Director: Why I Lost My Testimony, which outlines many of the problems a growing number of members are currently wrestling with.

Then again, countless other Mormons -myself included- have been aware of these "problems" for decades, yet continue to accept the divine calling of Joseph Smith and embrace the Book of Mormon as quintessentially true
. We are unfazed by what others consider to be damning contradictory evidence.

This dichotomy of opinion recently motivated John Dehlin, proprietor of the popular Mormon Stories Podcast series, to put out a call to those who, although aware of these apparent contradictions, continue to embrace the gospel of the Restoration, and to offer up our reasons for remaining in the faith.  Among those who responded to this request was Brett Bartel, some of whose conclusions mirror my own feelings.

Brother Bartel has graciously allowed me to reproduce his letter below, which I present here as a special Guest Post. As you'll see (and as LDS scholar Daymon Smith has aptly demonstrated), the Book of Mormon provides some stunning insights that many of us have overlooked, and that have been de-emphasized in official Church materials. It will come as no surprise then, that the deeper meaning of the Book of Mormon is often not well understood or appreciated by the general membership of the church. 


What I present below is a slight abridgment of Brett Bartel's letter, the original of which can be accessed here. Because a few introductory statements included in the original were directed to John Dehlin personally, I have left them out in order to adapt the piece to a more general audience. Slight edits have been made for purposes of clarification and formatting, but otherwise what you see below is an accurate presentation of Brett Bartel's remarkable thesis.  Here is that letter:

Making The Case For Belief
Having a testimony is not to be equated with sticking your head in the ground and believing in fairy tales. I do not pretend to have the answers for anything. However, I believe there are legitimate reasons that support investigating the veracity of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. And that is what I will attempt to communicate.

First, some background: I have a Masters degree in Molecular Biology. I also have a law degree and I am currently in-house IP counsel for a generic pharmaceutical company. My educational upbringing is critical to understanding my point of view. I participated  in debate from 5th grade all the way up through high school, and I’m a lawyer now. So early on, I have been trained to see both sides of an issue. I believe this skill is essential to discovering truth. I’m also a scientist. I’m comfortable with hypotheses, proving them, and models; and adjusting my model depending on what best fits all data. As data increases, the models adjust.

There are many ways of viewing the Church and the gospel. Some paradigms are closer to the truth than others.

Those who grow up in the church are fed the paradigm that God restored His ancient church through Joseph Smith. That church will retain keys, authority, and will spread throughout the world, will never go astray, and will usher in the Second Coming.  All is well in Zion right? As the Presiding High Priest looks out over us and says, “Aren’t we all a great looking bunch.” (Hel. 13:27-28) We are wonderful aren’t we? However, looking at the corporate Church today, it’s hard to accept that it’s a divine institution. Its behavior doesn’t resemble what’s taught in scripture.

Didn’t we all grow up thinking our Church had angels, miracles, and teachers who spoke to God face to face? Weren’t we told that our Church had this relationship with all other true prophets since the dawn of time? Adam, Noah, Enoch, Peter, James, John, and the 3 Nephites are all on Team Mormon, right? That is what we fell in love with. We were part of the true, ancient organization since the dawn of time.

Now we find out that we are just a registered trademark of a private corporation? Do we see any divinity with the corporate Church? Or do we see media studies, surveys, polls, and overall general lack of knowledge regarding which direction we should head?

Are we Zion, or are we General Motors?

So, what if that is not the right paradigm? Is there a way Joseph Smith could still be a prophet, the Book of Mormon true, yet the Church be a total mess? What if the very things we think we know about the Book of Mormon aren’t what the Book of Mormon is trying to communicate at all? How best do we reconcile the last 180 years?

Here’s one way:

Denver Snuffer wrote a book about how to reconcile the last 180 years. That book, Passing The Heavenly Gift, offers a paradigm in which one who is aware of the Church’s historical issues can happily stay a member and not let the idiocies of the corporate Church or overbearing bishops and stake presidents get to them. I’d like to make it absolutely clear that I in no way speak for Denver, nor am I even attempting to summarize Passing The Heavenly Gift. This letter is not about that. It’s about how I see the Church, how I understand the gospel, and why I still believe in the Book of Mormon. I’m just suggesting that some may have lost an opportunity to reconcile their faith with a workable paradigm. And perhaps it’s because Passing The Heavenly Gift has allowed me to change my paradigm. Or better said, Passing The Heavenly Gift enables me to better articulate my own paradigm, because I have had these questions just hanging out there in an incoherent way for so long.

Reading It Upside Down
What if we’ve gone about understanding the Book of Mormon the wrong way? What if we are wasting our time looking into DNA,[1] artifacts, and names of cities? What if the entire purpose of the Book of Mormon, as understood by the Church, is inaccurate?

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[1] People really need to be patient; scientific models are always changing. According to recent discoveries "nearly one-third of Native American genes come from west Eurasian people linked to the Middle East and Europe, rather than entirely from East Asians as previously thought."

I would submit that the most important function the Book of Mormon serves is bringing us to deity, helping the individual connect to heaven. You see it on the very first page. In 1st Nephi 1:8, Lehi is brought to the throne of God. We instantly learn that man can dwell in the presence of God. Nephi takes us through his journey and is a witness to God, as well are Jacob and Isaiah. Enos connects with God and receives his calling and election. King Benjamin and Abinidi are ministered to by angels. Both Almas see Christ. Helaman sees Christ. Mormon, Mahonri, and Moroni see Christ.

THE MESSAGE OF THE BOOK OF MORMON IS HOW TO SEE CHRIST.

Now.

In the flesh.

It is not a story book. It’s not a morning devotional book; it’s not there to motivate you to feel like a champion. It’s an instruction manual. Nephi gives us all the steps, then the rest of the book fleshes it out.

First it starts with the testimony of someone who knows, Lehi.

Then Nephi,
  • asked to know whether the things his father taught were true,
  • had a desire to believe,
  • received the confirmation of the Holy Ghost,
  • had his obedience tested,
  • received a ministry of angels,
  • pondered over the things he’d received, and
  • received The Second Comforter.
Nephi’s message to us is what he did to connect to heaven. And we ought to emulate that.

So the best way to test to see if the Book of Mormon is true or not, is to follow its teachings and see if you get the results. If the Book of Mormon connects you to heaven, then does it really matter if there were horses in America, or if there was a neighboring town near Palmyra called Zarahemla? (As an aside, why would it be all that terrible if he did name the cities after places he was familiar with? Suppose the way they were really said were: Hangzhou, Shijiazhuang, Makhachkala, Magnitogorsk, Dniprodzerzhynsk -all real cities). I would rather refer to them as Heber, Sandy, Murray, Midvale, and Draper. He may just be trying to communicate ideas, not literal translations. The literal translation of proper nouns will not save you, nor will it connect you to heaven, but he does have to call the places something.

When I say, “connects you to heaven,” I do mean talking to angels, Jesus, and the Father and Mother, not just some really intense experience with the Spirit that could be confused with a spike in dopamine or serotonin in the brain. (Yes, hallucinations are another possibility, but my understanding is that the knowledge one learns from the other side of the veil is the proof that it’s not a hallucination. You learn things your brain just couldn’t come up with on its own.)

The Book of Mormon is filled with so much more than we give it credit for. All the tokens we learn of in the temple are in the first 13 chapters of 1st Nephi. Most of the temple is also in 3rd Nephi. The Book of Enos is all about Enos receiving his Endowment. Temple imagery is everywhere.

One of the biggest proofs to me that the Book of Mormon is true, is the inclusion of all the Isaiah chapters.

Now, you’re thinking, you’ve got to be kidding me. That’s just plagiarism. And how is it that he copied the exact structure in the King James Version? That’s not what Isaiah actually wrote. But what if “translation” is more about communicating ideas than a literal word-to-word translation? What if, as Joseph is peering into the hat, he sees the idea that Nephi is trying to convey through the words of Isaiah and so he copies it, so as to communicate the idea?

It’s funny, as a lawyer, I hate it when lawyers play their games. Lawyers can pick apart words to death so as to construe a phrase completely different from what he author intended to communicate. Let’s not get bogged down in words. Words can be ambiguous. I think it best to focus on the idea being conveyed.

So Nephi receives this vision; sees Columbus, the Revolutionary war, and the restoration. He sees the latter-days and the end of the world. But then he says he is “forbidden that I should write the remainder of the things which I saw and heard” (1st Nephi 14:38).

So he saw our time. But he’s prohibited from writing about it.

But he figures out a way to communicate a warning to us. He uses the words of Isaiah to communicate an idea to us.

We do this all the time, but we use them for our own purposes. It’s like when people quote Shakespeare and say, “To be or not to be.” Now, usually the person is not contemplating suicide like Hamlet, rather, "do I date this person?" Or "do I take this job?"  If I say, “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” that doesn’t mean I just left the state of Kansas.

So when Nephi is quoting Isaiah, he’s not giving Isaiah’s message. He knows we already have that in the Bible. He’s giving his own message, but he’s using Isaiah’s words.

Now look at the context. In 1st Nephi he describes his visions, which include the fact that he’s seen our day. Then he gives a whole bunch of Isaiah chapters, and then he gives his own commentary about the latter-days in summary.

(One thing that ought to be clarified: I will discuss many things that we have changed as a church; one of them is the definition of “Gentile.” In Joseph’s day, it was clear that when one referred to gentiles, that term included members of the LDS Church. Even Bruce R. McConkie stated that the LDS church is the gentile church.[2]  In addressing the dedication of the Kirtland temple, it is clear that the LDS church is the Gentile church. D&C 109:60 “Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.” Go read the Book of Mormon again, and understand that references to gentiles are references that, at a minimum, include the LDS Church. See how differently you understand the Book of Mormon. I mean it only makes sense right? Mormons are the ones reading the Book of Mormon, the authors ought to be addressing us and not an entire population who will never read the book.)
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[2] "Thus Joseph Smith, of the tribe of Ephraim, the chief and foremost tribe of Israel itself, was the Gentile by whose hand the Book of Mormon came forth, and the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have the gospel and who are of Israel by blood descent, are the Gentiles who carry salvation to the Lamanites and to the Jews.” (McConkie, Millennial
Messiah, p 233). “We are those Gentiles of whom Nephi speaks.” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, p 238)



So Nephi uses Isaiah’s words to talk to us. He has some interesting things to say:
"Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness." (1st Nephi 20:1)
This is really interesting because “out of the waters of baptism” is in 1st Nephi, but not in Isaiah 48. So this is different, and it’s clear that he’s talking to those who are baptized—us.
"Nevertheless, they call themselves of the holy city, but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel, who is the Lord of Hosts; yea, the Lord of Hosts is his name." (Verse 2)
Hmmm. We tend to call Salt Lake a holy city don’t we? And he’s saying we’re not?!
"And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;" (verse 4)
Great, now he’s telling us that we’re stubborn. I don’t really like where he’s going.

We don’t have time now to go through all the Isaiah chapters, but let’s get to the juicy stuff.
"O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked  ways." (2 Nephi 12:5)
Wait, who’s he talking to again?
"Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots. Their land is also full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made.  And the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not, therefore, forgive him not." (verses 7-9)
I mean, we’ve all got 401Ks, and nice cars, nice homes, and great careers, but he can’t be talking about us, right? It’s those other guys that are worldly, proud, and idolatrous.
"Moreover, the Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet—" (2 Nephi 13:16)
I mean, I know there are a lot of boob jobs in Utah, but that can’t be what this is about.
"And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths." (verse 12)
Personally, I think this is the most interesting. It’s our leaders who cause us to err. We sure hear a lot of “follow the prophet,” but I don’t actually recall that idea in the scriptures. Rather “…the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.” (2 Nephi 9:41)

(The only support for “follow the prophet, he won’t lead us astray” is in the Official Declaration 1. But if you recall from Daymon Smith’s interview, President Woodruff was not saying that “the Lord wouldn’t allow the President to lead them astray” because it's a true principle, but it was a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, we’re not really giving up polygamy.)[3]
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[3]  And prophets do lead people astray. Aaron was a prophet, and he built the golden calf.

The Lord can’t be deceived, unlike a bishop who can be deceived in a temple recommend interview. And I don’t exactly recall “follow the prophet” as part of the pattern taught in the endowment either. (Pre-1990, there was only one other mortal man in the endowment other than Adam and Eve, and I think the point was to not listen to him, right? Instead we’re to seek messengers from Father.)

Consider Lehi’s vision:
"And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.… as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. (1 Nephi 8:5-7)
So, a man who appears holy, leads him to a wasteland. 
"And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me …And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree..." (verses 8-10)
So it’s not until Lehi prays to the Lord that he is delivered from the desolation where the man had led him. Back to Nephi and Isaiah:

After Nephi likens Isaiah unto us, he talks about us a little.
"And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor." (2 Nephi 26:20)
Have we not done this? Our own wisdom? (F.A.R.M.S., FAIR, BYU?)

Gain and grind upon the face of the poor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Creek_Center
versus:
https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/welfare/2011-welfare-services-fact-sheet.pdf
Chapter 28 is really the best part:
"And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. 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." (verses 4-5)
Wow! Aren’t we taught we needn’t seek the face of God and search “deep doctrine,” and all we need to do is to sustain our leaders, because they have the keys?  You see, God has given his power unto men through keys.

Doesn’t Correlation kind of “deny the power of God?” I mean, if we all just relied on the Holy Ghost, what need would we have for a correlated curriculum? Couldn’t the Holy Ghost just direct?
 "Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted." (verse 11)
All, huh? Ouch! Sure he’s talking about us?
"Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up." (verses 12-13)
He’s not talking about City Creek and the recent development in Philly, right? Or the land in Florida, and…..
"They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (verse 14)
Wow! We’ve ALL gone astray, even you and me. And even the humble err because they follow men. This was so much easier to take when I thought it was talking about Billy Graham and Joel Osteen.
"O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!" (verse 15)
The rich can’t be all that bad!. I mean, it’s not like there are any poor general authorities, right?

I’m not going to go through the rest of this chapter, though it’s a worthwhile read. Remember, Nephi tells us to liken Isaiah to ourselves, which is about a rebellious Israel. What do you think Nephi is trying to say, other than, “Hey, you latter-day guys, you are just like these guys?”

So yeah, we suck.

Or as Hugh Nibley, once said, “Woe unto the generation that understands the Book of Mormon. (An Approach to the Book of Mormon)

A Peek Into The Future
I guess now I’m going to jump right into it. What if Joseph Smith was a prophet, translated the Book of Mormon; but, as Moroni said, we have dwindled in unbelief? (Mormon 9:20) "Unbelief" meaning that we do not believe what we need to believe in order to have miracles and the power of God made manifest in our lives.

I do not doubt that the Saints believe. I’m sure they do believe. They have unbelief because they believe the wrong things, or we lack belief in the right things we need to believe. Our unbelief is because of the traditions of our fathers. (Helaman 15:15)

Look at the Book of Mormon a little more closely. Can you not tell it is entirely written about us? Seriously, the Zoramites and the Rameumptom -that is totally fast and testimony meeting. Most latter-day Saints only concern themselves with God on Sunday, we think we are chosen and better than everyone else, we have to wear nice clothes to church, and we’re hard on the poor.

Look at what Moroni has to say about us:
"Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing." (Mormon 8:35)
See, Moroni has to be addressing Mormons. He’s specifically saying, I speak unto you. YOU, the guy reading this bloody thing! If Moroni were talking to the Catholics and actually saw them, he’d see they aren’t reading the Book of Mormon, so it would be silly to address them.
"And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted." (verses 36-37)
We sure have a nice conference center, some great temples, and all our churches are really nice. And we really do love our money: our cars, boats, vacations, granite counter tops, and 55’ flat screen TVs. Come on, I know who we are. 
"O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?" (verse 38)
I mean, who else even makes the claim that they are the “holy church of God”? Maybe the Catholics might, but, again, they ain't reading this book.

“Praise of the world.” Did we not all want Mitt Romney to win? Don’t we all love David Archuleta, Steve Young, the Marriotts and Osmonds, and Stephanie Meyer? And hey, Jabari Parker, how could you not go to BYU?  We want Mormons to get the praise of the world. We’ve been seeking it for 150 years. Damn those polygamists that gave us such a bad rap!
"Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?" (verse 39)
Didn’t we build City Creek so that we could move the homeless farther from the temple and preserve all the beauty that is downtown Salt Lake? Well, that was just Moroni’s opinion. His opinion doesn’t matter too much, he’s the last writer anyway.

Anyway, Jesus likes us. Look how he validates us in 3rd Nephi 16:
"And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father. Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them." (verses 6-7)
See, the Gentiles are brought the truth and the fullness is made known unto them. Anyone else but the Mormons fit this description?
"And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall  sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and  priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall  reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them." (verse 10)
Huh? What? The LDS Church rejects the fullness?!

It doesn’t say “if” it says, “At that day when…” So Christ tells us that the Gentiles/Mormons will reject the fullness. What an odd thing for Joseph to write. There is so much of this book that predicts a Latter-day dwindling in unbelief. And our own latter-day revelations reveal the same:
"And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon …" (D&C 84:54-57)
To my knowledge, this condemnation has not been lifted. We always point to how the Israelites messed up:
"Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
"Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;" (D&C 84:23-28)
We pretty much all know that the early Saints tried to establish Zion. We know they failed … cause it’s not here.  Did they harden their hearts? Could they endure His presence? Was Joseph taken out of their presence? (And wasn’t it members who were actually responsible for Joseph’s fate?) So what if we are also only left with the “lesser priesthood?”
"For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood." (D&C 124:28)
Wait, huh, what? The fullness was taken away?! When? Was it restored?

It seems like we may very well have less than we presume.

Back to the Book of Mormon and the parallels to the LDS Church. Look at the parallels with Abinadi and King Noah as recorded in Mosiah chapter 11. King Noah had the keys. He rightfully received authority from his father. But he:
  • "had many wives and concubines."
Not like Brigham Young, right?
  • "And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed,"
Tithing the poor on their gross income, that’s not an oppressive tax, it’s faith.
  • "And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom."
It’s not a salary our general authorities receive, and they’re not being paid. It’s a living "stipend." How else are they going to serve the Church and live? They don’t have jobs.
  • "And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;"
That’s not at all similar to City Creek.
  • "And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things."
The Conference Center is for everyone. And surely Noah’s fine wood was not made from the tree of his childhood youth.
  • "And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass."
See, it’s all work on the temple, so it’s okay.
  • "And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold;
Gold seats are sinful. Nothing wrong with cushy red seats, though.
  • "And it came to pass that he built a tower near the temple"
The Church office building needs to be that big…lots of employees.
  • "And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom;"
The Book of Mormon can’t be bashing City Creek again, so it’s clearly not referring to it.

I mean seriously, could there be more parallels than this? I’m going to ignore the very obvious Abinidi parallel.

When Denver Snuffer was interviewed for Mormon Stories Podcast, I don’t think many understood what he meant when he said the writers of the Book of Mormon nailed us. They saw our day and they nailed us. This is not a book about everyone else. It’s about us.

How Did We Get To This?
One reason is we’ve ignored the Book of Mormon. (See again D&C 84:57)
"And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God …And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell." (Alma 12: 9-11)
Alma is saying we should open our heart to receiving the mysteries. But doesn’t the Church teach not to delve into the mysteries? Yet the scriptures seem to tell us we are commanded to seek out and learn the mysteries.
"Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you…" (D&C 11:7)
No, no, no, we need milk before meat, right?
"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:13-14)
While we start with milk for sure, it seems that those who stay on milk are “unskillful in righteousness” and only those with strong meat can discern good and evil. Are we as a church receiving meat, or are we stuck on milk?

Haven’t we changed ordinances? Haven’t we changed our scriptures?

We’ve changed the sacrament. It used to be wine, which is a much better symbol for Christ’s blood than water (and not just because it’s red). The priest used to pray with up-lifted hands like in the temple, and the congregation used to kneel.[4]

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[4]While D&C 27:3 does command us not to purchase wine from our enemies, and other liquids will suffice, there is no revelation that “ended wine” from being used in the sacrament. We just ought not buy it from our enemies.

The endowment has been changed. The penalties have been removed and the false preacher was eliminated. (Interesting that we no longer are instructed how to distinguish between a false preacher and a true messenger.)

You may like that the penalties were removed. They were uncomfortable for most. But they were trying to teach an idea. Now that idea is lost to all those who go to the temple post 1990. Unless you read the internet, like me.  =)

We used to have prayer circles and altars at home and in stake centers. The scriptures have been changed. We’ve removed, as of 1921, the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lectures On Faith used to be The Doctrine in the Doctrine and Covenants. Now we literally have no doctrine.

Aren’t we taught that changing the ordinances and scriptures are signs of apostasy?

So my paradigm is definitely unique in that I believe the Book of Mormon is true, but I also don’t believe that we’ve had a Prophet, with a capital “P” since Joseph Smith. Some might look at our present state and say, "see, this Church can’t be the only true and living Church." I would say that because the scriptures, including the Book of Mormon so perfectly predicted what would happen, that that is evidence for its veracity.

My deepest concern in publishing this is that it could be used by some to justify leaving the church. However, this entire letter is premised on the Book of Mormon being true. So, one would be a damned fool to use this letter in support of disbelief.

Most of the problems with “The Church” can be laid at the feet of the leaders of the Church: their discrepancies and contradictions, their racism, sexism, pride, and self-righteousness. You eliminate all that, and the “Joseph Smith Restoration Movement” isn’t all that bad. When you accept that these people are not getting marching orders directly from God, then it’s easy to see why we are where we are.

See, I believe God’s mission for Joseph Smith was to restore lost knowledge about how to connect with heaven. It wasn’t God’s desire for us to have a New Testament church. But that’s what the converted Campbellites and Sidney Rigdon’s congregation wanted. God doesn’t need a church; He needs families. The first many generations were simply ordered in families. The PATRIARCHS led their families. No church. Don’t you see, even the structure of the church was made in the image of the family. You have Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (3) the FATHERS (a First Presidency), then you have the 12 SONS of Jacob (12 apostles), then you have the 70 GRANDSONS (Exodus 1:5) for the Seventy.

So Joseph made a Church for the Saints. It wasn’t precisely what the Lord had in mind, but He often succumbs to what we want. See Ezekiel 14. (Though, next time they mention follow the prophet at church, have a look at Ez. 14:7-8).[5]

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[5]"For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself: And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord."


We talk about how the Lord was going to offer all the Israelites the opportunity to dwell with Him, but they didn’t want to go up Mt. Sinai, they wanted Moses to go up instead. Then they would just follow the prophet. The Israelites rejected the higher law and were given a lesser law.

We are no different. The Lord gave the saints an opportunity through Joseph to establish Zion. But we failed. We rejected that opportunity. And we have a lesser version of what we could have had. And we have a prophet now, instead of walking with the Savior ourselves.

We talk down and ridicule the Israelites and Nephites for being foolish. Our own pride and vanity blinds us to the fact that we are doing the same thing. Except we have their histories to warn us. That makes us even dumber than they were.

I mean honestly, are we closer to establishing Zion than we were in 1844, or are we closer to Babylon? I don’t think Babylon is about drinking alcohol and wearing immodest clothes … no, not even once. It’s an absolute shame that we’ve reduced the distinction between living the gospel and following the world to such crap.

Study the succession crisis of 1844 and you’ll see that while Brigham Young may have been appointed to the office of the President of the Church through common consent, that did not make him a “prophet,” nor did he ever call himself a prophet.  Our prophets, seers, and revelators, are such because they are offices in the Church, not because they are actually prophets, seers, and revelators.

In fact, it wasn’t until after Heber J. Grant that we actually started calling the presidents of the Church “Living Prophets.”[6] Before that, they were not called living prophets, but Presidents of the Church. We have exalted them beyond what they deserve. I would have no problem sustaining a man who leads the Church through the common consent of the members, but can we please stop pretending he’s got God on speed dial?

Or if he does, can't he just say so? All the other prophets did.

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[6] See http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/04/traditions-of-men-part-1.html
http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/04/traditions-of-men-part-2.html
http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/04/traditions-of-men-part-3.html


This brings me to the difference between signs and symbols versus the real thing. When we receive our endowments we are not actually receiving those blessings. We are not being pronounced kings and priests; rather we are being anointed, or invited to receive them if we are faithful and worthy.

Nor do we actually receive the Holy Ghost at confirmation; rather we are invited to receive the Holy Ghost.

What if, when a man is called to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, he is only being invited to become such, but he can reject the invitation?

So what is to be done?
“Adam, awake and arise.” First, we have to wake the hell up. But aside from merely waking up and telling everyone every bad thing the Church has ever done, we also need to arise. I don’t think arising means criticizing, doubting, and throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Once we awake, we arise by gaining faith, repenting, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Ghost (2nd Nephi 31-32). While this may seem too simple and overplayed, each of those principles should be reevaluated. I would suggest that their actual meaning may be something quite different than what is generally taught at church.

The Lectures on Faith discuss what faith really means and how to develop it. There are examples in the Book of Mormon of people who have repented within a very short amount of time. It kind of goes against the 5 R's or whatever the Church teaches repentance is about.

Additionally, there are a few examples in the Book of Mormon of people who have been born again, or have experienced the baptism of fire. It would be helpful to study those accounts to see if one is truly reborn.

Once you have “received the Holy Ghost, [you] [can] speak with the tongue of angels.” Then, “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”
"For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do." (2 (Nephi 32:5-6)
This actually sounds a lot like the temple. First, angels come to you (telestial) to prepare you to receive Christ, and then Christ comes to you (terrestrial). And He tells you what to do to receive the Father (celestial).

The Israelites were always focusing on the physical rites and ordinances, and completely missed what it all meant spiritually. There were symbols in their ordinances and in the Law of Moses that showed the higher law. The ordinances that were performed in the temple on the Day of Atonement were extremely symbolic of Christ’s own sacrifice. But they completely missed that. They focused on the bloodshed by the animals and the scapegoat carrying away the sins of the people, etc. (Lev. 16) So when Pilate judged Christ, and the Sanhedrin elected to allow Barabbas to go, they didn’t recognize that they were actually reenacting in real life the ordinance that the High Priest performed symbolically on the Day of Atonement. Man did they blow it!

Our ordinances are symbols too. First, before we come to the telestial kingdom (earth) we covenant to God to obey Him. All who are born may receive the light of Christ. We are to receive the light of Christ, in our temple, in our bodies. The light of Christ is like a gentle hand, holding us, guiding us along the way.

Then if we covenant with the Lord through sacrifice, we can receive the Holy Ghost. We are to receive the Holy Ghost, in our temple, in our bodies. The Holy Ghost is like a firmer hand, holding us, guiding us along the way.

The temple teaches us that true messengers will first come to us undisclosed to see if we are being true and faithful. Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” And Abraham 3 teaches us that there are noble and elect ones that are here proving others.

So suppose an angel were to come to you, undisclosed, and wanted to see if you were being true and faithful and living the law of the gospel. How would he do it? Perhaps as a beggar? A beggar could petition you on the street to prove you, and see if you were compassionate. If you show compassion, then you have shown him that you are true and faithful and have received the token.

Once you have been proven, then the angel may return to you, this time identity known, and as Nephi says, angels through the Holy Ghost will “show unto you all things what ye should do.” Then you are ready to be born again. Then you can enter the Terrestrial Kingdom. If you are loyal to Christ and do not cheat on Him, you receive your calling and election. We are to receive our calling and election, in our temple, in our bodies, and Christ will spiritually take your hand and guide you.

Then once you have shown you will give everything to the Lord, you will receive the Second Comforter and you will see the marks on his wrists and hands, and the Lord will teach you. (See D&C 76). We are to receive the Second Comforter, in our temple, in our bodies.

The temple is all over the Book of Mormon. I don’t really have to go into more. 3rd Nephi has a ton. Prayer circles, washings, anointing. I simply don’t believe Joseph could have constructed all that to perfectly fit what we have today. The endowment was created at the end of Joseph’s life, and all the elements of the temple were already laid out in the Book of Mormon. There's really nothing secret about it to those who bother to look.

While I have yet to see an angel, or the Lord, I know about eight people who have. I have personally met and spoken with five of them. Two of them I would say are friends. I have corresponded online with four others. The common denominator? They’ve all read The Second Comforter. Below are their testimonies:

http://thesecondcomforter.com/ I actually work with Dan. He’s a patent attorney in San Antonio. He’s local counsel for us there.

http://upwardthought.blogspot.com/2013/03/my-witness.html I’ve met the author and we talk through Gchat regularly. I’d call both of these two friends.

http://ldsperfectday.blogspot.com/p/this-blog-is-fulfillment-of-wish-that-i.html I’ve personally met and spoken with the author here. His blog is pretty much dedicated to helping people connect with heaven.

http://myjourneytothefullness.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/10/ The author of this blog has also seen Christ.

http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=27637 The author of this post has also seen Christ.

John Pontius actually wrote a book back in the early nineties about seeking the presence of Christ, Following the Light of Christ into His Presence. http://www.amazon.com/Following-Light-Christ-into-Presence/dp/1555176437 

Then of course you have Denver. But there are also others that I have not included. I understand if you don’t believe them. I wouldn’t blame someone for not taking a stranger-on-line’s word for it. But I have gotten to know some of them. I find them credible. So I believe them.

This is in fact what testimony is intended to do. It is for those with an actual knowledge to give hope to others to receive the same.

Our testimony meetings are rather vain and stupid. Not many people have an actual knowledge, so little is gained. This is what the role of an apostle is supposed to be. An actual witness who testifies to what they know. Then those who listen may have enough hope to see the same.

Our General Authorities call themselves “special witnesses.” I was told that when a Seventy is called they get an orientation. They are then told that “special witness” is a noun. It is akin to an office. So they can go around telling people that they are “special witnesses,” which is a position for people to bear testimony. But saying that you are a “special witness” is not an adjective describing the type of witness (one with actual knowledge). I find this position particularly troubling and quite intellectually dishonest. Especially when they know that everyone listening to their witness understands it in a different manner.

What about the frequently heard declaration that their experience is "too sacred to share?" Surely all the testimonies I linked to above must be lies because if they really had them, they wouldn’t have shared them.

I think this idea is a false tradition. It’s the excuse you give when you don’t want to tell people you haven’t had that experience. The scriptures are replete with people bearing testimony of their sacred experiences. The one thing I’ve found among those who I know, who have connected with heaven, they only testify that they’ve had the experience. Unless permitted, they do not share the subject matter of what the experience was about. Which makes sense. They are being instructed for what they need to know to progress. And we are all different. What an angel may tell you would likely be different than what an angel would tell me.

As the Second Lecture on Faith put it:
"We have now clearly set forth how it is, and how it was, that God became an object of faith for rational beings, and also, upon what foundation the testimony was based which excited the inquiry and diligent search of the ancient Saints to seek after and obtain a knowledge of the glory of God. We have also seen that it was human testimony, and human testimony only, that excited this inquiry in their minds in the first instance. It was the credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers, it having aroused their minds to inquire after the knowledge of God. That inquiry frequently terminated, indeed always terminated when rightly pursued, in the most glorious discoveries and eternal certainty." (Lectures On Faith II:56)
See, it is the testimony of others who have an actual knowledge that excites the inquiry for everyone else. Most people do not know people who have an actual knowledge of the existence of God. I don’t blame them for not believing. But I’ve seen too many witnesses to not give it a shot myself.

This is why I believe. Right now, I don’t know. But I hope to know someday. Perhaps if I do everything I know how and it doesn’t happen in a decade or two, I wouldn’t doubt it if I become agnostic.

Not Having All The Answers
Yes, there are many other issues:
  • What is the point of having an innocent man/God suffer and die to redeem everyone else? Why is that necessary and how does it work?
  • Why is the killing of Isaac good? Seems awful to me.
  • What about all the killing in the Old Testament?
  • If every dispensation goes bad, nearly from the beginning, what is it all for? Why is it so hard?
I’ve found paradigms and answers that suit me for now. I personally think it provides me a rational explanation, or at least enough of one to continue my investigation further. And it is likely that as I go along, I will further refine my view, hopefully getting closer and closer to the truth.

So while I am familiar with the issues, I can still find belief, though it’s through a paradigm that is somewhat unorthodox. I cannot believe in the corporate LDS Church. Didn’t we all grow up thinking our church had angels, miracles, and teachers who spoke to God face to face? That is what we fell in love with, right? But do we see any of that with the corporate Church? Or do we instead see media studies, surveys, and polls?[7]

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[7]  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0cHQPe2_G8fUnU1d2tWTFRURGs/edit

Jacob, King Benjamin, and Samuel didn’t need a survey or poll to tell them what the members were thinking; they got their stats from heaven.
"But behold, hearken ye unto me, and know that by the help of the all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable unto me, yea, and abominable unto God." (Jacob 2:5)
Jacob didn’t need any polling or surveys.
"And the things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angel from God. And he said unto me: Awake; and I awoke, and behold he stood before me." (Mosiah 2:3)
King Mosiah didn’t have speech writers. Wait...well, yes he did. But it was an angel. 
"And behold, an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me, and he did bring glad tidings to my soul. And behold, I was sent unto you to declare it unto you also, that ye might have glad tidings; but behold ye would not receive me." (Helaman 13:7)
Honestly, I would seriously doubt so many people would be having a crisis of faith if they ever once heard at General Conference, “And the things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angel from God.”

No, instead we get:
"The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine." (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/race-church)
This is an example of the Church’s “continuing revelation.” And it is definitely revealing.

Why is it coming from the Church’s Newsroom? Why are all these new statements not coming from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?  This really looks more like a corporate structure with a strong public relations arm than a church led by a living prophet.

Do the modern General Authorities claim to be True Messengers from the Father?  Do we believe in a true messenger who is without prophecy, seeing, and revelations, who sits upon the top of a topless throne, whose keys are everywhere and whose authority ends nowhere but fills the world, who is surrounded by myriads of beings who have sworn allegiance and confidentiality to receiving second, secret ordinances, for acts of their own? Do we believe in this great True Messenger?

I do not. I cannot comprehend such a messenger.

Perhaps we believe in a great hell for those without authoritative ordinances into which the wicked are cast, and where they are continually burning, but are never consumed?

I do not believe in such a place.

I don’t think what we now have is what God would have liked to have given us. But this is what we chose. And don’t you see, that is the most logical explanation. The traditions that have been handed down to us, simply don’t work. Our traditions are being exposed one after another as being totally false. But I believe this because the scriptures said this would happen.

I really felt bad for Tom Phillips. He seemed like such a true believer. I mean, that man was ready and expecting to see Christ when he went in for his second anointing. I imagine all of the apostles are like that. I have tremendous sympathy. It could have been really easy for me to continue along in my traditions, be called to higher callings, and then what if I were called to be an apostle? And I find out that being an apostle is not much different than not being an apostle.

It’s just an office in the Church. You get called in, you’re sustained, and set apart.

However, being an actual apostle is different. It requires sacrifice, faith, a real endowment, and a witness from God.

I like the guys who lead the Church, generally. I have loved Elder Holland’s talks for years. Still do. Elder Bednar, and Elder Maxwell, and wasn’t President Hinckley great? This was a really hard realization to come to. Though I do find Elder Uchtdorf’s talk utterly hypocritical as he welcomes all into the big tent of Mormonism, then the Church excommunicates Denver Snuffer, Brent Larsen, and others simply for their beliefs, and now Rock Waterman is being threatened with discipline.

Of course, Elder Uchtdorf probably never read any of the Excommunication Appeals that were sent to him, so I probably can’t blame him personally. The Church seems to be operated by minions running around in the Church Office Building. It seems out of control. Though we were warned about secret combinations being everywhere, weren’t we?

And on that note, I realize that you must think that I’m utterly crazy. You’re probably right. But I can’t let this thing called Mormonism go. I’m sure you’ve met with tons who say, "I know the corporate Church isn’t true, but I can’t leave. The Spirit kind of wants me to stay."

Sometimes it’s simply peer pressure/family pressure keeping them in. But other times, the Spirit is really telling people, "Yes, there are faults, even lies, but you should stay." I would submit that the reason we should stay is because the important parts are true. The non-important parts aren’t true.

We have made the Church and its leaders into an idol. We rise when they enter. When we have questions, we ask, “Well, what have the brethren said about the matter?” We have become Brethrenites.
We are taught to “submit to priesthood authority,” but what exactly is that?
"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; by kindness, and pure knowledge…" (D&C 121:41-42)
THERE IS NO PRIESTHOOD “AUTHORITY” OTHER THAN PERSUASION. And if you don’t persuade someone, you better be ready to be long-suffering, because you’re going to have to be patient with them for awhile.

We have replaced our worship of the Lord with worship of The Church.

I’m no longer an idolater.[8]  Look, the Israelites apostatized, they had their idols too. But they were still the Lord’s people. He did come to them. While Jesus held no keys or authority in the Jewish religion in His day, He recognized those who did have keys. The Nephites rebelled, but the Lord still came to their temple in Bountiful.

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[8] Well, yes, I probably still am, just not in this regards anymore. Go Niners!!!

Look at all the people who’ve had commissions to teach repentance without any ecclesiastical authority or office: Lehi, Abinidi, Alma, Samuel, John the Baptist, Paul, and Christ. This actually seems to be the way God works a lot. He doesn’t seem to use ecclesiastical hierarchy. Yes, they received a commission from God, they had authority from HIM, but did not have OFFICE in the Church. Few of the Old Testament Prophets were the High Priest.

But we have been raised with these traditions that there’s always a Church and the Presiding High Priest is the Prophet.[9]  I don’t believe that tradition any more. I think the Mormon Church is still the vehicle in which the gospel is best disseminated throughout the world, though it’s capacity to do so is becoming weaker as we draw closer to Babylon.

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[9] 3 Nephi 5:12 seems to indicate that there was no church at all in the Book of Mormon from Lehi until Alma.

In my opinion, we ought to stick with it. The Lord will straighten it out in time. Though, I think it may be unpleasant at first.
"Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.  And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord." (D&C 112:24-26)
Who are the people who claim to be His House and profess to know him? Anyone else making this claim? I have to say I’m rather content that I don’t live in Utah right now.

Everyone is on a different level of progression. That is why the Spirit says different things to one person than to another. The Spirit could very well tell a Methodist to stay in the Methodist church. That is right for that person then.  I don’t believe the Spirit is so much black and white. We are all somewhere in between and the Spirit adapts to what each of us needs.

When I was a sophomore at BYU, I was taking a microbiology class and learning about evolution. I seriously looked into it, the science, what the Brethren had said about the matter. And it was really undeniable to me that evolution was a fact. I made the comment to my roommate, who was also a microbiology major and in the same classes as me, that I thought it was interesting that all the theologians say the earth is 6000 years old and there’s no evolution, and all the atheists say there is no God. How ironic that they are both wrong, and they are both right! God does exist and evolution was the means by which he created man.

I enjoyed watching “The Practice” on TV, which was a lawyer show. On one episode, a judge made a decision that upset both sides, and the judge remarked that he then knew his decision was right, precisely because it upset both sides.

We tend to be a mix of right and wrong. No one has a monopoly on right, and rarely is someone completely wrong. One of the biggest problems our society faces is the right vs left with no compromise. In my opinion, conservatives are right to want freedom/captitalism and shouldn’t be compelled by the government, but the left is also correct; we ought to be more compassionate and more charitable, we have a societal duty to take care of one another and we need not be so self-interested and greedy.

The Democrats wouldn’t get a ton of support if they were all error and no truth. Likewise, no one would be Republican if there was no truth there. The problem is there is truth in both. Even Satan has to deal out some truth to lure people in. He corrupts the truth. But he has to use some. Few people are solely attracted to error and evil.

That is really the hardest part in finding truth. It’s everywhere and no one has a monopoly on it. And it’s mixed in with error. Finding truth is perhaps the hardest thing about life. But at the same time, when you see truth standing right before you, you can’t deny it.

I don’t have time to explain my view on all the known problems, but let me address some of the translational issues with Joseph (Abraham, seer stone, Kinderhook plates,[10] etc.)

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[10]  Joseph never translated anything from the Kinderhook plates that would be considered scripture. In fact, all he did with them was ask someone to fetch his Egyptian Alphabet. He had made the Alphabet while translating the Book of Abraham. When it was fetched, he looked for symbols on the Kinderhook plates that matched anything in his alphabet.One figure matched and it was a figure that indicated being a descendant of Ham, which is exactly what is recorded by Joseph's scribe in his journal. No seer stone, no urim and thummim, no revelation from heaven. All he did was match up a drawing to his attempted Alphabet. It's crazy that people get so worked up over the Kinderhook plates.

It’s one thing to be upset that the Church isn’t transparent about the issue. But remember, I don’t think they have all the answers anyway. What exactly is the concern? Do you worry about how Mormon compiled the record, or Matthew, or John or Moses? If you’re concerned about the means of Joseph’s translation, why aren’t you concerned about the others?

Suppose Mormon stuck his head in a hat as he “abridged the record,” but never actually read the records. Or suppose Moses stuck his head in a hat when he received the ten commandments. I would suggest that the seer stone and papyrus were simply means in which Joseph could be inspired to write scripture. It didn’t have to be those tangible things, the Lord could have used something else. And those weren’t translations in the original sense, but he was translating ideas that a previous prophet had already written.

You can get mad at Joseph Smith for not being frank about the fact that he wasn’t translating the way we understand, but what if he didn’t know at the time? What if the Lord was just using him to disseminate info to us through all sorts of means? He didn’t even use anything to correct the Bible. No one makes a big deal about that.

Getting worked up about all these little issues just baffles me. You were fine with angels and golden plates left in holes in up-state New York, but he sticks his head in a hat and everyone loses their minds? If you’re a cynic, shouldn’t you have been lost at golden plates buried in up-state New York?

See, as a lawyer, all I have to prove is that it’s possible something could have happened. Then the inquiry can still continue. Only when something is impossible is it justified to stop the investigation. (Or if it’s simply not worth it.)

But that’s the problem here. Mormonism offers the most extravagant claims. There is so much that is at stake and could be gained. It really justifies as thorough an investigation as is possible.

I read The Second Comforter four years ago. I’ve given that book out more than any other book. I’ve recommended Denver's other books too. I read Passing The Heavenly Gift, and because it addresses such controversial issues that most members don’t know about, I would never recommend that book to someone ignorant of Church history. But, if they are aware of Church history, it’s the first book I recommend. Passing The Heavenly Gift is the best book that will help you reconcile your faith.

It’s ironic. Now that Denver’s been excommunicated, I have to recommend Passing The Heavenly Gift first, so they can understand why the corporate Church did what they did to him. Then they can read The Second Comforter.

Daymon Smith has written a 5 volume set about the cultural background of the Book of Mormon. Nephi blames our state on the traditions of our fathers. Well, what if we don’t understand the Book of Mormon at all? We assume the Jaredites left the tower of Babel. The text doesn’t say that.  There’s a lot the text doesn’t say, but we simply assume. The Book of Mormon could have a tremendously different meaning than what we understand.

I hope that I have not communicated a dislike for the church. I love the church—the people in it. The church is a great organization to be a part of. There are so many opportunities to serve and help others. There are great friends to be made.  But the corporate Church and correlation? Well, they kind of suck, and I strongly dislike most everything about them.

I don’t like the pride we all have thinking we are better than others. I don’t love the bureaucracy. But you see, I don’t really care about “The Church.” My focus has changed. I’m far more interested in the gospel, and in seeking out Christ. Living the gospel and seeking Christ are more than enough reasons to stay active. There’s an important distinction between the Church and the gospel. (See Elder Poelman’s talk back in 1984.)[11] When you focus on living the gospel and being Christ-like, there is no need for continual guilt trips about home teaching, it just takes care of itself.

_______________________________________________________________
[11] But make sure you watch the original version, not the version the Church replaced it with.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcM7koDc-jg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuUv4nca4Gc


Women and priesthood, gays and sealings, etc. --it’s all just a waste of time. Salvation and heavenly power comes from God alone, not from an earthy institution. Who cares if women lack an office which is only a symbol of the real thing when they could go out and get the real thing? If they get the real thing they can bless and heal their children regardless of whether or not their “ordinance” is accepted by the Church.

Consider the Levite priests. Only the Levites could officiate in the ordinances of the temple. Only they could kill the animals, sprinkle the blood, light the incense, and enter the Holy of Holies, all of which symbolized connecting to heaven. But they were not actually connecting to heaven. The symbols and ordinances only point and teach us how to do the real thing.

The modern parallel is that women really want to get in there and kill the animals and sprinkle the blood and light the incense as symbols. In reality, they can have heavenly blessings, but in meekness and humility as it wouldn’t be “recognized” by anyone. (Real power from heaven administered through men also tends not to be “recognized” by anyone.)

But women can still receive the second comforter and other real spiritual gifts. They can commune with God. They can be brought before the throne of the Father and the Mother. Why covet the symbol? Seek the real thing.

Doctrinally, I have no problem with women holding Church office. I just think we are focusing on the wrong thing. Women were the first to receive the second comforter after the Lord’s resurrection, right? He came to women before he appeared to his apostles. In fact, he came to two disciples on the road to Emmaus before he came to his apostles. Clearly, Church office/hierarchy is nothing to be concerned about.

I believe the Book of Mormon because it causes me to be a better person.  It is true if it connects me to heaven. Studying out its message is far more valuable than any historical or textual criticism. ALL of the authors were visited by Christ. The authors are trying to get you to make that connection too. They are not merely telling stories. There is so much more there.

The Book of Mormon is a sealed book because people can read it and not understand the true message that is in there. It takes receiving the Holy Ghost before one can truly have the sealed book opened to them.

“Okay, fine,” you might say, “the Book of Mormon doesn’t suck as much I thought it did, but what about Joseph Smith? What about the different accounts of the first vision and the polygamy?”

I don’t have time to go into all the polygamy, other than to say, for having 30-plus wives, it’s awfully odd that he never fathered another child with any of them. I’d submit that the relationships he had with them are not the husband-wife relationship one normally has. (Yes, I know there are documents saying he had sex with them; there are also arguments that contest that. Again, I don’t have time to go deeper here.)

What about the visions? Well, I’ve had it explained by one who’s had a vision that when you are taken out of time, and you enter into eternity, it’s initially quite confusing. Multiple things seem to happen simultaneously. It isn't linear. It’s actually hard to know what’s going on while you’re experiencing it. However, you retain a perfect memory of what happened, and then you are able to weed out ideas as they become relevant and important over time.

Consider Nephi. He pondered the things he saw for 30 years before he made enough sense of them to write them down (2nd Nephi 5:30). With that background, it is entirely possible (assuming that’s how visions work; I don’t know, I haven’t had any) that Joseph articulated certain aspects as they become relevant in that moment. All accounts are true. They all happened. He only saw an angel. And he saw the Father and the Son. It all happened simultaneously and it was all distinct. And each account was an attempt to communicate the idea that was important to communicate at that time—or something like that.

I wouldn’t blame you at all if you say, that’s just crazy. Yeah, it might be. But I’ve never had a vision. What if it is like that?

I think it’s dangerous when we assume that our construct, our paradigm, the cultural traditions we’ve been raised in, are used as the lens through which we see everything, especially if we use them to peer into the heavens. Because I think it’s fair to say that the heavens operate differently than our paradigm. Since they’ve been around longer, and are more resilient than our changing culture, it might be a good idea to try and understand a heavenly-based paradigm, rather than forcing it to conform to ours.

It’s also possible that heaven does exist and the idea of visions as I explained above is not what a vision is like. All I’m saying is that there is a paradigm that explains the different accounts. Since it’s not impossible, we can continue the investigation.

I think there is an argument that supports belief. I think it’s reasonable to keep investigating scripture and seeking God. There is nothing in the Letter To A CES Director that proves the Book of Mormon is false. It simply shows that the traditional Church narrative is untrue.

And to make clear, this letter of mine is not intended at all as a comprehensive response to the CES Letter, though I personally have ideas that overcome the letter’s objections.

I want to end on why I think it’s important to seek the face of Christ. I don’t think that it would just be cool to see Christ. I’m not looking for a sign. Many members believe or say, “While it would be nice to meet Christ, I don’t think I really need that. I don’t have to see Him to believe. And I’ll be fine if I don’t see him until after this life.”

I disagree. I believe it essential to exaltation to see Christ in mortality. That’s because Nephi described the Doctrine of Christ as faith, repentance, baptism, receive the Holy Ghost, be instructed by angels, then be instructed by Christ while in the flesh. While in our temples.  Christ has things to teach us while we are in our temples so that we may fulfill them while in our temples. And if we don’t, then we will receive less than we could have.

Again, my purpose in writing this is not to resolve anyone’s issues. It’s to persuade people to start over and look again for answers. I personally believe that if you connect to heaven, you will find them.

Brett Bartel
Marietta, Georgia


   *****

Important Reminder From Blogmaster Rock:
As announced previously, henceforth all comments posting on my blog only as "Anonymous" will be deleted. (This will not apply to the anonymous commenter who just posted yesterday before I placed this reminder.)

I respect all reader's wishes to post anonymously, and you may continue to do so as long as at the beginning and/or end of your comment you use some type of unique identifier so that others can tell you from the hundreds of others posting as "Anonymous." With so many commenting under the name "Anonymous," the conversations have become increasingly difficult to follow.  It has also become obvious that some of those posting anonymously are often among the most uncivil; rather than engage in intelligent arguments, some of these people tend to get quarrelsome.  A civil argument advances the dialogue; petty and immature attacks on other's views do not.

Please note that if you are concerned about your privacy, the drop-down feature that reads "Name/URL" already keeps you completely anonymous. When you post using that method, I don't have the ability to track who you are (not that I would want to) and neither does anyone else. So it makes sense to use that feature if you wish to keep your true identity hidden. All you have to do is place whatever username you wish to go by in the "Name" box and ignore the URL part. Of course, if you want to further mislead others, you can put any link in the URL box you choose, such as Youtube.com, Amazon.com, or LDS.org

Those with Google, Yahoo, Wordpress, and other accounts can choose to post under those accounts, which helps to lead others to your own blog if you have one. But seriously, enough with all these people calling themselves "Anonymous." It's getting to be too much.

That having been said, please join the conversation below.


284 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 284 of 284
LDSDPer said...

Yes, President Benson said the condemnation (for not valuing the Book of Mormon) had not been lifted--

that's in the D&C (the original condemnation), Pierce.

:)

Elder Oaks said the condemnation could be lifted on individual members, as they valued the Book of Mormon.

So--

interesting.

Inspire said...

Pierce,
You said, "They used it [the Book of Mormon] as a conversion tool to convince people of the restoration and to come to Zion.

I believe you are absolutely correct in that "they" (being the early leaders of the church) USED the Book of Mormon to prop up their zealous beliefs of the "restoration." But really little changed about their doctrine (which was mainly Campbellite) when the Book of Mormon came along. This is, I believe, the "Great Work" of Sydney Rigdon, magnificent preacher that he was. I happily give him credit for bringing the book out of obscurity. But that was only phase one. Now that it is on display for the world, can we take it take it out from underneath the broken leg of the Bible Bench (which it was holding up) and look at what it is was saying on its own merits? Can we throw out the old, distorted traditions of a hierarchical Godhead, a restoration to a failed New Testament church, a penal substitution atonement, and all the other "follies and abominations" forced into the text of the Book of Mormon? Can we just look at it for what it is saying, without some voice claiming "authority" telling us the interpretation of things we should be learning through our own experience and searching?

Taste the fruit of the church of our day. Are we seeing the mighty miracles which were prophesied in the Book of Mormon or something else? Is it "apostasy" (which, by the way, is word meant to invoke fear and compliance, and can't be found in the Book of Mormon) to want to know the truth? Why would looking at something... a book... to see what it is saying, sans any other influence, be considered as anything but a good venture? Unless you are one of the "authorities" and what is found runs counter to those words, then there seems little to fear.

The Lord said (in Ether 12) that He will make us strong by showing us our weakness. It can be painful, as LDSDPer pointed out, but it is the only way we mortals get it, or so it seems.

Pierce said...

LDSDPer,

I sincerely appreciate you sharing as much as you did. Your feelings about your experiences of hurting and not receiving the help you needed in your ward or branch was not what I had in mind when I was speaking of those here who have disdain for the church. Those comments are aimed more at those who have disdain for the church over the philosophical issues and premises described here.

I agree that there is nobody in the church you ultimately can turn to beside the Savior. And that is the key message I get when I go to church. I hope that I can be the kind of person who can recognize a hurt soul and be there to help. I have had many opportunities to so far, but hope for many more.

BK said...

Seeking,

I agree that the Church is not following the Book of Mormon, (let alone Christ) despite that they say it's their foundation and keystone of their religion.

But I too really like the Book of Mormon and believe it teaches us many important truths. And I held out for a long time thinking it must be true, and thus didn't study the possibility that it might not be from God but from Joseph Smith and others instead.

But now, the more I honestly look into that possibility (that Joseph wrote it and not ancient prophets) the more it seems highly likely that he did, probably with help from others.

The reason we may feel confirmation and good feelings about the book is because, divine or not, it teaches many true principles in it, even if it wasn't from ancient Prophets.

If Joseph really did write it then he probably got alot of it's material from a book written by a Pastor near where Joseph was from. And so the Pastor could have written of many important truths, which Joseph would have included.

So true or not, the BoM can be a great help and inspiration to us, for truth from any source will be inspirational. We just have to be able to discern the truth from the falsehoods in the Book.

But the 'Gospel of Jesus Christ' is in the New Testament in it's fullness. The BoM may expound on some of Christ's teachings, but it doesn't have most of Christ's teachings in it, for the bulk of
Christ's Gospel we have to go to the New Test.

We aren't sure that the BoM account of Christ in 3rd Nephi is true, so we take it with a grain of salt and make sure we compare it's teachings with what the New Test. says.

You mention the 'restoration'. I would ask what did Joseph restore? The Gospel? For the Gospel was never really lost, all the world has the fullness of the Gospel contained in the New Testament.

Maybe you mean restoration of the Priesthood? But then again, even if Joseph did restored true Priesthood & Keys to the earth, it was lost by wickedness, especially in the Church, long before any of us ever came on the scene.

So I don't know what good a 'restoration' does us today, except to know that what was lost will someday be restored once again by Christ, in Zion.

It seems you are trying hard to find out the real truth about the Church, and I would encourage you to try to discern those truths about the Church as soon as possible and take a stand for it and teach such things especially to your 8 children.

For unless you intend on fooling your Bishop the rest of your life (assuming you find the Church isn't true or following Christ), if you want to see your children's and grandchildren's weddings and be allowed around them & your grandchildren, then you must teach them the real truth before it's too late and they buy into the Church hook line & sinker.

That is what I'm dealing with right now, it took me too long to wake up fully and now I won't be able to see any of my children's weddings, plus the fact that they are afraid to talk about religion with me, and may even restrict time with my future grandchildren, for they probably will think I might influence them all against the Church.

Now that I know the Church isn't true and that it's completely corrupt, it's too late to convince my children of that, or at least it will take many years for them to come to that reality.

And yes, I also believe the LDS Church is becoming more tolerable, before we know it I believe it will accept both Gay Marriage and Polygamy again, just as soon as those things become legal across the nation. For the Church seems to change it's stance according to what the members as a majority want, just as long as member's are 'yes men', and don't think for themselves or question their leaders.

engaged19times said...

BK, what r u reading that joseph wrote the BoM? I want to read that. I'm open to him having written it. I still believe something must have happened, given his untimely death. But I have completely decided the Bible and everything therein isnt true.If it turns out the BoM isnt either, then Im REALLY going to be hoping for my personal visit with Jesus. Cuz I want the truth. If He i sthe knower of truth I want to meet him.

Also, does anyone know...of these ppl who have met Him, does he heal physical ailments? Does He still do that like He allegedly did in mortality?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

For those who may be interested (and can endure my pointless rambling for at least the first fifteen minutes) I was interviewed this evening by the inimitable John Dehlin for the Mormon Stories podcast, and that interview is already available:

http://mormonstories.org/rock-waterman-and-pure-mormonism/

Anonymous said...

Hi Rock this is Suzie,
Not too bad of an interview on Mormon Stories. I did finish it this morning.

John Dehlin wanted a name for people like you. I personally feel like a mis-fit mormon.

I grew up a solid, serving TBM (and for those in the COB who read this and are looking for demographics I am F in my late 40's) but now over the last few years my desire for truth has led me to a very different view of what it means to be a mormon.

Anthony Larson
Denver Snuffer
Daymon Smith
and last but not least Mr. Waterman

have helped change my mormon culture and cosmic view drastically.

Now I just don't fit in. I am in the lone and dreary world and I am waiting....waiting...waiting...for a true messenger to let me know what to do.

I would even be thrilled beyond measure for my baptism of fire.

Oh well, thanks for your blog and God Bless.

Robin Hood said...

LDSDPer,
Being offended is a choice we make. No matter what someone has done to us, said about us, or inflicted on us. We make a choice to take offence or not.
Believe you me, I've been there. Was I justified in taking offence? No I was not - in a gospel sense at least. From the world's point of view? Absolutely!
But Christ told us to forgive as often as it takes, to turn the other cheek etc. In fact, he told us that to fail to forgive (even when the other person has not asked for forgiveness) is the greater sin. This doesn't just apply to something trivial like gossip or rumourmongering, but also to some of the most hienous of trespasses against us.
It's not easy to do. It's impossible without Christ, but with him it is doable.
Elder Bednar was right on the money when he said that to take offence is our choice, it absolutely is. And who's to say his talk didn't help somebody? I know someone who felt it helped her. In fact his talk might have been just for her. The Lord does that sometimes.

BK said...

Robinhood,

I believe differently. Sometimes taking offense may be a choice, but sometimes just because we are human and have feelings we can be injured emotionally by others, no matter what our thought processes are.

I believe even Christ was deeply offended by many, meaning he felt injured and sad at the choices others made. His happiness was dimmed because of the choices of others. When he took our sins upon him he was deeply offended, but he was eventually healed from those offenses when he returned to heaven.

Christ said that those with Charity are not 'easily' offended, he didn't say they aren't offended at all.

When we have Charity (something I don't believe Bednar knows anything about) we are strong emotionally and we understand others well, thus aren't easily offended. But we still can be offended if the actions or words of others are cruel enough or done by those we love the most.

To not ever be offended we would have to not have feelings, we would have to be 'past feeling', with no heart, no love, no emotions.

I do not believe anyone, including Bednar, can practice what he preaches and never be offended.

It is not a sin to be offended. We can feel injured emotionally by the actions of others and still be righteous & forgive them.

But just because we love & forgive someone doesn't mean we are healed from their actions against us. It can often take a life time and beyond to heal some emotional wounds that people inflict.

I believe those who think being offended is always a choice, just don't understand abuse and it's effects nor do they understand true love (charity) and how it makes one especially vulnerable to involuntary emotional and physical injuries.

Sometimes taking offense can be avoided, by choice & understanding, but many times it can't. And thus we will be held accountable by how we make others 'feel' and the 'emotional injuries' we cause.

I think people don't want to accept responsibility for other's feelings because they don't want to be accountable for the way they may hurt others.

But sometimes we can't stop the emotional pain of other's actions against us, anymore than we can stop the bleeding from their physical wounds upon us.

Gary Hunt said...

Robin Hood,

I believe your understanding of the laws of forgiveness seem to be a bit off. Here’s what the Lord says on the matter…

D&C 98:39-45:

39 And again, verily I say unto you, if after thine enemy has come upon thee the first time, he repent and come unto thee praying thy forgiveness, thou shalt forgive him, and shalt hold it no more as a testimony against thine enemy—
40 And so on unto the second and third time; and as oft as thine enemy repenteth of the trespass wherewith he has trespassed against thee, thou shalt forgive him, until seventy times seven.
41 And if he trespass against thee and repent not the first time, nevertheless thou shalt forgive him.
42 And if he trespass against thee the second time, and repent not, nevertheless thou shalt forgive him.
43 And if he trespass against thee the third time, and repent not, thou shalt also forgive him.
44 But if he trespass against thee the fourth time thou shalt not forgive him, but shalt bring these testimonies before the Lord; and they shall not be blotted out until he repent and areward thee four-fold in all things wherewith he has trespassed against thee.
45 And if he do this, thou shalt forgive him with all thine heart; and if he do not this, I, the Lord, will aavenge thee of thine enemy an hundred-fold;

By the way, the Lord gets offended. Read D&C 59:21.

I think you are misunderstanding the point LDSDPer is trying to make. There is a condescending attitude in the Church that if there is a disagreement between a leader and a member, the leader is always correct.

In my time I have experienced and witnessed varying degrees of bad behavior by Church leaders. When you or the offended person does what D&C 42:88 says and go to them or their superiors to get the problem resolved, several things usually happen:

1. The matter gets swept under the carpet. The problem continues to fester.
2. They get offended and treat you like you the offender.
3. The person gets “blacklisted” and/or threatened.

Mind you, this doesn’t happen in all occasions. I have also had good experiences with some leaders. However it happens far too often. I have seen evil leaders ruin people reputations, careers, marriages etc….

LDSDPer, you can correct me if I’m wrong.

engaged19times said...

Gary Hunt, would enjoy reading the scoop of how a leader ruined someones reputation. U dont have to gloss over things here! I love gettin dirt on the mormons.

Gary Hunt said...

engaged19times,

Sorry, they asked me not to share any specifics.

engaged19times said...

Aww c'mon! Spill it! At least give the process of how that kinda stuff happens (i.e., bishop so and so's wife wasa big gossip and she went and told sister x who told her husband who was the *sinner's* boss and so forth).

Pierce said...

Inspire,

There is a lot of merit to what you said about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It is true that it was undervalued in the early church. However, I mentioned it being a tool of the restoration because I don't believe that Joseph's main calling was to give us the Book of Mormon. It certainly wasn't how he saw it. Rather, Joseph's major goal, as I see it, was to gather people together in a Zion community and be edified by the Spirit and instructed by the living God and to be perfected in Him.

I believe in the doctrine taught in the Doctrine and Covenants. It seems to really take a big backseat in this crowd. I believe truth to be circumscribed into one great whole. I believe all that has been revealed, what is now revealed (though it may be little or even absent for the time being), and that God will reveal many great and important things. So why would I limit myself to a book, the same way that Christians limit themselves to the Bible?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the Book of Mormon. It is found in the Bible. But I do not see the appeal of assuming that the Book of Mormon is the "final word" on anything, any more than I see the appeal in applying that to the Bible. Again, that's not the paradigm I see in the early church. For example, I believe in the doctrine of Exaltation, whether or not it was taught to the Nephites.

"Can we just look at it for what it is saying, without some voice claiming "authority" telling us the interpretation of things we should be learning through our own experience and searching?"

Of course, but to a point. Joseph Smith established himself as an "authority" who dictated what scriptures mean, even going so far as to make inspired changed to them, doing Q&A about Revelation, etc. To really embrace what you are saying suggests to me that the restoration (or whatever moniker you want to apply to this movement. I whole-heartedly endorse "restoration") wasn't necessary at all, because you can just kind of float on the Bible with your own interpretation and experiences. Besides, whether you want to believe it or not, you are influenced by other people--be it apostles or bloggers.

"Taste the fruit of the church of our day. Are we seeing the mighty miracles which were prophesied in the Book of Mormon or something else?"

Not really, I don't think. It's really a matter of opinion, since the church is really made up of individuals with their own experiences. But I venture to share your opinion. It doesn't mean that one has to embrace all of the conclusions that some have drawn from their observations.

Anonymous said...

LDSDper- AMEN!!! to your comment. Well said. I realized awhile ago that no matter how things "shake down" with the church(finding out what things are true or not true), I am okay because I have Jesus. He is my rock. I keep my eyes on Him. All things may fall by the wayside but I still have Him.
Homeschool Mom

LDSDPer said...

@Rock,

I'm listening now. I have read a few of the comments, and some people are really . . . bitter.
I wonder why brutality is so acceptable these days?


@Robin,

I've already considered all of the things you said. I think you are confusing 'taking offense' with having an emotional response. I think of 'taking offense' as going on an emotional/social rampage and telling 'everyone' that you've been hurt by ________--and seeking justification and reprieve.
I have not done that. What I'm talking about is trying to resolve emotional responses that are normal; even Jesus felt emotion. And anger.

I know that that talk by Bednar has helped some people; I'm just not 'there' right now. I have struggled intensely to understand 'turning the other cheek. I believe, personally, that it has to do with making peace and not striving. The things I'm sharing on this site are to try to help other people, really--
and, of course, it's nice if people understand what I say now and again. :)
I felt so ashamed if I had any negative feelings, and now I realize those negative emotions need to be addressed and processed. I hope this makes sense.

@BK,

I wish you would share what you do believe, instead of what you don't believe. You seem to be intent on convincing everyone that the church is 'wrong'. But, please, can't you tell *us* what is right? I think we have some common beliefs; I do. I don't think you would be on this site if you didn't care about core Mormonism, especially the Book of Mormon. So, what is right about it all? I'm sorry you will be divided from your grandchildren. I am divided from mine, for different reasons. But, if you can teach your grandchildren to love Jesus, how can your children object to that? If you spend all your time with your children telling them how wrong the church is . . .
then I can see why they would be wary. You need to tell your children what happy things you believe. Share your faith. It sounds as though you have a deep faith in and love for Jesus Christ. How can that offend your children?

@Gary,

I can't see anything wrong with what you say. LOL! Your logic is good, I think. I'm not strong enough on logic to know. :)
But I agree with what you say.

Thanks, Homeschool Mom.

:)

LDSDPer said...

@Rock,

And, *I* could never be interviewed; I don't know how you do it.

I realize that it works for some people, but it's really hard on a lot of people; some people who are good writers don't interview as well. Vice Versa, I suppose.

You were wise to explain your health issues, but Dehlin is so smooth. Kind of makes me feel wary of him.

Charity said...

Rock,
I don't know if the Church will "discipline" you or not. Whatever happens, I hope your blog remains. It takes courage to say and post the things you are saying and posting.
Thank you.

One who is reading said...

I bet they will try to intimidate you into taking down your blog. I hope you don't fall for that. I have gained an invaluable measure of understanding from reading it over and over. It challenges people to think for themselves, this is a threat to those who would have us blindly swallow every word they dispense. I'm sure reading and pondering your material has brought eternal blessings to myself and those close to me. Thank You!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

One Who Is Reading,

Happily, I don't work for the corporation and therefore don't depend on them for my livelihood, so I can't be intimidated to stop writing. If they do hold a court, it will be interesting to know what I'll be charged with, since my devotion to the gospel is not in question.

Be assured that whatever happens, I'll write all about it. It's a chance to witness.

Anonymous said...

LDSDper- I meant to tell you how much I enjoyed your casserole analogy. It was so close to the truth I had to laugh or else I would have cried. I shared it with my husband as we were discussing a family member who is in the middle of addiction. We needed a good laugh! Thank you! Years ago a family member was struggling with addiction and when counseled by the bishop he was advised to get a hobby. That would fix it. It was a casserole moment. He was hemorrhaging spiritually and was offered a band aid.
Homeschool Mom

engaged19times said...

Who really did come up.with that temple ceremony? Joseph or brigham? I have been reflecting on what I saw on utube and its so satanic looking. I read about wiccan rituals and that prayer circle is at least as creepy-bajeepy as the wiccan stuff i read. Those aprons are flippin creepy! No other way to describe it! Im so glad Ive never paid my hard earned money to participate in that as many of u schmucks have!

But seriously, who came up with that? Joseph or brigham? How do i find out?

Just one of the "schmucks" said...

It seem as though you want all the answers handed to you, when I don't know of anyone that has it all figured out. We all have differing opinions on these things. You need to put forth the effort and study these things and see what feels right to you. I don't think you're going to get anything but 10 different opinions on that.

engaged19times said...

I dont know where to find the definitive truth. I want these things to be true, but Im afraid a satanic looking ritual like that can only invoke black magic results. And by black magic i mean limiting other peoples free will, or possibly harm to other ppl. And the mindless ppl going thru it and defending it....well, lets have it out. Ur the ones potentially invoking the dark side! If ur doing occultic practices i damn well want a better explanation. Being born into a religion such as this, all the mind games that are played.

So, Im asking all of u here on pure mormonism, who came up with this? Cuz if it was joseph, im goijg to have to rethink my position on this whole BoM thing. If he put together this occultic ritual, which used to be even more bizarre than the one thats now on utube, then either god is really satan or theres a good chance the BoM was made up. Or maybe neither. Atheism is actually becoming more comfort to me than relgion ever was.

Schmuck said...

Do not trust your eternal salvation on the opinions of others, you alone are responsible for exercising your agency. There are people of all opinions here. Asking for someone to give you the "truth" is not how you will know.

BK said...

engaged,

I agree that you alone should much make your own conclusions, and I commend you on thinking this all through and wanting to know for sure before getting involved with something that could be false and even evil.

Most follow church leaders blindly, right into the temple, to go along with all their rites & rituals, (I did too when I was younger) few people think for themselves and 'prove all things are right' 1st, as we are commanded to do, before going along with something or someone.

I believe we must go back to the beginning. To Christ (assuming you agree with his teachings as I do) and judge everything anyone says (even Joseph Smith) and compare their teachings to Christs' to see if it's the same. Christ said to not follow anyone who preaches or practices contrary or different to him.

And Christ also said that the way to tell if someone is a 'true disciple or prophet of Christ' is they will have true Christlike love (Charity), which I have found is very rare to find in anyone, even prophets.

So 1st and foremost, I wouldn't follow anyone or think them a true prophet if they don't have Charity, and no leader in the Church from Brigham Young up to today seems to have it, in fact they all appear and preach & practice just the opposite from Christ, imo.

But I believe Joseph Smith (if he really was telling the truth of his innocence with polygamy) did seem to have a degree of Charity.

I believe we must put ourselves back in the days of Nauvoo and decide whether we would have followed Brigham Young out west or not. Would we have believed Joseph's teachings 'against' polygamy or Brigham's teachings 'for' polygamy? That is a basic and easy question to ask ourselves. I believe I would have believed Joseph over Brigham and been repulsed by a man like Brigham who abused women the way he did. Thus I wouldn't have believed in any of this temple rituals either, for we have no proof that Joseph ever taught such things during his life, so I don't believe the temple stuff came from Joseph.

And most importantly, God would not want you to believe in abusive men or in things that can't be proven true and right. So I don't believe in the temple sealings or endowments, garments, etc. that Brigham instigated and wrote. For I believe they are and teach 'contrary' to the teachings of Christ and the scriptures.

But each must make up their own mind on this and stand accountable to God for it.

But we know that if we are deceived to fall for falsehoods and false prophets we can loose our salvation, so we must be very wary, wise and careful with what we believe and who we follow.

engaged19times said...

I have been giving joseph smith the benefit of the doubt, mainly because the guy died @ 38 and was so hated and so I feel like something must have happened. I read rough stone rolling a few years ago. I thought it was nonjudgemental even tho a mormon wrote it. and i wish i had kept it because i would like to look up some things. Such as Who came up with a satanic ritual as the pinnacle of mormonhood??

Im overwhelmed by the js papers. And so thats why i ask. Someone may have done the "heavy lifting" on this topic and may have a reference i can go look up

Im gonna ask daymon smith and see if he has found the definitive truth about this.

LDS Anarchist said...

Rock,

(Very sorry for the threadjack... )

I sent you an email message a couple of weeks ago about the silver "tithing" coin:

http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/should-i-produce-a-silver-tithing-coin/

Did you get it? (I use Hushmail for email and some people have had trouble trying to open my emails.)

LDSDPer said...

@engaged 19 times,

I don't know. I've wondered about it for years. I have had some profound experiences with sealings--

things I can't deny.

As for endowment ceremonies, I think it was intended to be a teaching experience.

I can find no proof that Joseph Smith did anything other than come up with the basic plan or idea--

and Brigham Young attached his own methods to completing it.

I know that the first time I visited Salt Lake I felt that things were not what they *should* be--

when I visited Brigham Young's home as a tourist I had an uneasy feeling.

I know that. When I was young and went to Nauvoo I couldn't stop weeping.

The temple in Nauvoo was never completed; I don't see how there could have been the same kind(s) of ceremonies that are featured in temples now.

I am 'with' you on giving Joseph Smith the benefit of the doubt. He spent a tremendous amount of his young life on trial or in jail (and not 'nice' jails/prisons), whereas most of the later 'leaders' spent very little time in jail or on trials.

Brigham Young seems to have gotten off quite 'easy', and he often talked about how much Joseph Smith loved him.

He was skeptical of people who talked too much or were too sentimental in bearing testimony. But it seems to me that he 'protested' too much about Joseph's affection for him.

But that is MY opinion only.

Joseph Smith was obviously experimenting with sealings or he wouldn't have been sealed to so many women (which began all the nonsense over polygamy); he was sealed to men as well, but that didn't mean he was 'married' to them--

I think the definitions 'back then' and now were entirely different.

But this is just what *I* think.

I am not sure there is any evidence for any of *us* to know, really KNOW, either way. And that makes things difficult.

In the meantime, one of my children who is adopted (from a foreign orphanage) saw our scriptures before coming to our home (and never met any LDS; there were no missionaries anywhere near where the orphanage was, and that was confirmed to me by an American missionary to that country)--

wanted to be baptized before even speaking English enough to understand--

and was very driven about being sealed to us.

There are other things that happened to this child (spiritual) that are really too personal and private to share, things that would definitely fit with the kinds of experiences many want to have with Jesus--
it's my child's story, not mine.

I suppose there are those who would say that a 5 year old could be visited by satan and shown LDS scriptures and told to go to the temple.

Strangely, however, when, before being sealed to us, this child saw the SLC temple there was no sign of recognition, but later, in another, farther away (not in Utah) temple there was definitely recognition.

I thought this unusual at the time.

We all only have our own experiences.

I think the temple ceremonies are very much imperfect; I don't think Joseph Smith completed them, and I believe Brigham Young went too far--

I think there have been those since who realized that and have tried to correct the error(s).

But that is just my belief. I spent many years attending the temple, and I never felt 'the spirit' in an endowment ceremony, but I have had some really precious experiences in baptismal fonts and in sealing rooms.

As for prayer circles, there are other Christian churches that gather into a circle to pray--

It's very common to hold hands and pray in a circle around tables, etc.--

very common in *my* part of the country--



LDSDPer said...

@engaged 19 times--

I recently attended the temple; I went to an endowment session. My husband and I had been very busy with baptisms and sealings and hadn't 'afforded' the time for endowments, because our temple is VERY far away--

just too hard physically, especially for me--
:/

I felt I should "try" it again. I had recently had very good feelings about baptisms and sealings, and I thought, perhaps, I should be 'fair' about the endowment.

Yes, a person can learn many things; some of the things that are taught there are wise--

but, again, I had the feeling it was merely an educational tool, not a necessary ordinance.

Just me. Don't blame me.

:)

Jews wear all sorts of 'garments'--many of them have a correspondent article/item in temple clothing--

I'm not saying that I think that is 'cool', just that it isn't very unusual or abnormal.

I think 'costumes' are a universal symbol in all religions.

Not saying I agree or disagree, just that it is.

LDSDPer said...

@LDS Anarchist--

wow, what a powerful idea--

I'm shaking my head (in a positive way) over the ingenuity of the strong, young mind.

I know I would never think of such a thing--

My time for ingenuity is past.

engaged19times said...

Standing in a circle praying with friends is very diff than what I saw in the video! To say ,Oh lots of ppl do that is to discount what is actually happening.

I dont want to know ur "profound" experience in the temple because I feel very strongly what goes on there is of satanic origin. And i dont find any pleasure in hearing of communicating with.the dead as i believe Life is for the Living. But u could very well have conjured up.a dead relative. That probably falls in the "white magick" category (but i dont know. Thats why im not messing around with that stuff). But there may be ppl who go to the temple with bad intentions, leading to "black magick" results. And if God and Jesus are real, so are those dark forces. And the bad intentions along with the group ritual....excuse me if i have a little bit of a problem with that. And my gullible mother who dragged us into this church sends my name to the temple for praywrs! God in Heaven!!!

Never dreamed Id be talking black magick white magick....yet mormonism has led me to that strangeness yet again.

FWIW, i did ask daymon. He wrote about it in 2b and i ordered that today. When i get to the bottom of this i will share my results/thoughts.

37andholding said...

19times,
Good for you! I'm happy to read that you are thinking and not afraid to speak your thoughts. I have Damon's book too. I'll read that. I'll be interested in your findings.

I get a kick out of reading your comments. You're lively!

Pierce said...

Engaged,

I guess I'll just say it: what the heck are you going on about??

I don't feel at liberty to discuss the details of the temple, but I will say that nobody is using magic to conjure up spirits of the dead. Your smuggled video watching seems to have given you the wrong idea. I mean, it would be make temple night more interesting, but it's just not happening.

I don't think it's mormonism that's making you put things in terms of light/black magic. I'm guessing it's a mixture of hollywood's take on summoning rituals that you've seen in film and your interpretation of a smuggled video, which events you don't really have a context to. Context is everything and being there makes all the difference in the world.

I mean, I've never heard of satanic rituals where a Christian man addresses heavenly father, prays for the well being of people, and asks for blessings in the name of Jesus. But then again I haven't been involved in any Satanic rituals, so I'm no authority. I just thought there would be more...satan...or something.

You've formed an opinion, and that's fine, but your evaluations of things are just getting more and more bizarre.

BK said...

engaged,

I also believe that what goes on in LDS temples is satanic. Things that are totally anti Christ. Now that I realize this I also don't have anything to do with it, for Satan has great power and can easily convince us our feelings, revelation or experiences are from God, when they aren't.

And we can easily be deceived by unrighteous deceased spirits who are under Satan's power also.

So it's just best to not have anything to do with such things, even if there might be some nice or true things mixed in. For Satan always covers evil with lots of good and truthful things.

There are people in every religion that say the same things and have just as convincing of experiences, testimonies, revelations and visions as the LDS do about their rituals, places of worship or doctrines.

Judging by Joseph Smith's published and proven teachings and understanding of marriage, to me it appears very obvious that he had never heard of or had nothing to do with sealings (to men or women) or endowments or any such temple rituals or teachings.

Nor did Christ ever teach about such things and we know that the few and pure words of Christ will teach us all things that we must do.

The temple Joseph designed and envisioned was not at all like the LDS temples today inside, but like the Kirtland Temple, just a place for Sunday Services and meetings, etc.

engaged19times said...

BK, Yes in a nutshell exactly what u said. "Its best not to have anything to do with such things even if there are some nice and true things mixed in."

May I suggest Pierce that u google up some topics about wiccan and black magick then compare to mormon temple ceremonies.Also, the symbolism on temple square in salt lake is filled with satanic symbols. Upside down stars. Anytime u see upside down or backwards anything 10000 watt light bulbs should go off in ur brain.

Robin Hood said...

engaged19times,
It is said "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". You seem to have a little knowledge, gained from very questionable sources, and are putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with any number but 4. I feel so disappointed in people when they accept or reject something without really understanding it. The reason you find the temple endowment (what little you know of it) to be so distateful is because you have decided to. And you have decided to because you want to. Simple as that.
But there is very little point is disgussing the temple endowment with you because you don't really know what you're talking about. "Pearls before swine" and all that.
Besides you accused me of being off-topic earlier when you insisted this thread was all about the letter to the CES director, and that is what we should be discussing!
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander my friend!

engaged19times said...

Yep Im swine. I have no problem being swine to mormons and their satanic rituals!

Dude, ask anyone under the sun what those rituals invoke, and i guarantee u anyone from any culture would say dark forces. The imagery is all I need to see! Life is all about symbols not words.

But really, these facts dont surprise me b/c the reason the mormon church has been building so many temples is so that more ppl will pay to go! Thus increasing their profits! *witches cackling*

Pierce said...

Ask anyone under the sun? In any culture? What about the Mormons who actually participate in it, in different cultures and countries around the world? Including first timers? A vast majority of those that actually participate in temple ordinances do not agree with your outside perspective.

My wife is actually very sensitive to feelings of darkness, evil influences, etc. She would never participate in anything that gives her an ounce of a trepidation.

You told me to Google stuff about Wiccan. I'm not totally oblivious to the occult. For example, I do know that the Wiccan movement began in the early half of the 20th century. So trying to draw comparisons between the Mormon temple and the Wiccan religion is trying to pound a square peg through a round hole, woudln't you say. Again, I'm thinking your education about satanic rituals (different from pagan ones, I might add), is coming from Hollywood.

Your other point about occult symbols on the temple are addressed here:

http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_temples/Symbols_on_the_Nauvoo_Temple

"Life is all about symbols not words"
Yet you fail to research or understand what certain symbols mean to certain groups of people. Watch the beginning of the Di Vinci Code. Tom Hanks gives a nice little exposition that should broaden your understanding a bit ;-)

Doubting said...

I can not believe intelligent people are taking this individual seriously. It is obvious to me an internet troll trying to press your buttons.
Go back and read all of it's posts, they are all over the place and reveal an opinion strongly against Mormons.
It seems to ask a sincere question, and then reveals an opinion strongly biased against our beliefs. It would seem we are all, (even her own mother) just a bunch of naive schmucks that practice witchcraft and satanic rituals.
I do not think this is a sincere individual at all.
Why would she be trying to figure out the origins of temple rituals when she previously asserted she was an agnostic.
Her expectations are ridiculously unrealistic and absurd (she has read the BoM a few times and Christ has not visited or even bothered to send a messenger yet!) they seem to come from someone who doesn't understand the most plain of scripture,(Signs follow faith, they are a result of having a strong faith, not given to those who describe themselves as agnostic) and then appears to reveal a hint of a more intelligent understanding.
As if the individual is intentionally trying to appear naive to provoke a debate.

Pierce said...

That was my thought as well. But I'm new to the blog and don't know all the handles yet, and nobody else seemed to address her. And I give people the benefit of the doubt. But I think you are right.

Anonymous said...

I have a question that is WAY off topic. I have been reading about the Cliven Bundy ranch standoff with the BLM. I just realized that they are LDS. Does anyone know how the church is reacting to this? My guess would be washing their hands of it and threatening him with disciplinary action. I was just curious what was really going on with the church in that situation. Thank goodness our founding fathers didn't have a church hanging over their heads threatening to remove temple recommends and excommunicate them for not obeying the powers that be. Or maybe they did? We have the audiobook of "3 against Hitler". I always listen closely to it as they describe the German LDS church members' reactions to the boys who are protesting the Nazi's. The reactions were NOT of encouragement or support.
Homeschool Mom

LDS Anarchist said...

@LDSDPer--

Thanks for the compliments, especially the one concerning a "strong, young mind." That helps to counteract being called old by my children. :)

engaged19times said...

Pierce and Doubting, Ur worshipping satan in the mormon temple rituals, as demonstrated by a hidden camera video currently available on utube. U pay money to participate in the macabre. Mormon leaders continue to need ur money and so they build more temples and tell u its to save families in the hearafter Meanwhile ur unwittingly worshipping satan.

BS detector said...

"Doubting, Ur worshipping satan in the mormon temple rituals"

I have never participated in temple worship.

"U pay money to participate in the macabre"

I do not pay tithing, but I always give to those who ask.

"Mormon leaders continue to need ur money and so they build more temples and tell u its to save families in the hearafter"

That seems to be the product they're selling.

"Meanwhile ur unwittingly worshipping satan"

I believe that when people make a multiple assumptions with regards to others that have never been suggested they reveal a little about their own character, tendencies and lack of wisdom.

But what would I know, I'm just another naive, schmuck.

I think you already have a strong opinion about the temple and the nature of things that take place there.
I do not believe you are sincerely searching for the truth. If you were sincere and held out any possibility that it may be of god, I do not think you would be so quick to label it "satan worship" and condemn all who participate. I think you already have your "truth".

I think you're someone that's trying to use some of the legitimate arguments that have been discussed here (or, "dirt" as you called it) to promote further doubts in the minds of people that may be following what this "discussion" has devolved into.

37andholding said...

The "occult" means "hidden" not "satanic".
I've been to the temple many times through many years. I was married young in the temple. I have to say that it was weird my first time. I just assumed that because everyone seemed to be calm and peaceable that it was just because I wasn't spiritually educated enough to understand it all. I have to admit now that my feelings and thoughts about the temple ceremonies have brought me to believe that it is mostly just something that most people need as something to hang on to. Could be because we choose not to hang on to a true, living relationship with Jesus the Christ and our Father in Heaven. It still felt weird the last time I attended. There are things that are expressed there that go contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know Satan can be very subtle and clever in introducing corruption into the minds and hearts of people. I think he has had fun with us. I also believe that there are some good things to glean from being in the temple but truly, for me, I think I can gain greater truths elsewhere and in more concentrated ways without sifting through a lot of unnecessary crap.

As far as the commenters on this blog and especially this post, I believe and think that each person has the right and responsibility to search, ponder, think, and pray about everything they come in contact with. Maybe those who think they KNOW ought to re-examine their most sacred beliefs and do the same. We could all be amazed at what we find out.

engaged19times said...

Thank u 37and holding! Im not as diplomatic as you but Word Up to everything u just said!

Look i dont blame anyone for doing temple ceremonies. Hell if i had married a mormon man i probably would have done it too! But as someone else said...a spades a spade....if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc. Furthermore if we r pitting spouses opinions on this, my husband is a level headed engineer and he thought the cerwmony was creepy.

Robin Hood said...

But engaged19times, neither you nor your husband have experienced the temple ceremony; so how can you make that judgement?
I have never experienced the Haj in Mecca. I have seen some film footage of it, but that is just not the same thing. Therefore I cannot make a judgement that even approaches reality. Many millions of Muslims who have experienced the Haj say it is wonderful, so in the absence of my own experience I have to believe them.
You may not agree with the need for temple ceremonies, or the Haj or anything else. But your unbelief that does not render them Satanic.

BK said...

I believe people who haven't been in the temple can often see it for what it is far better then most LDS can. We LDS are like the FLDS who can't see errors in what Warren Jeffs taught or what he is really like. Most LDS can't see the errors of what Brigham Young made up in the temple or what he taught or what he was really like either, but he is out of the same mold as Warren Jeffs.

Would LDS blindly believe in a secret temple ceremony or teachings by Warren Jeffs? I don't think most would, but they blindly believe in Brigham's temple & teachings and don't see that it's the same, usually because they have grown up in it all, just like many of the FLDS have.

It usually takes an outsider to see the reality of the evil LDS are blinded to and have been raised in, to help wake us up, but most don't seem able or willing to wake up.

As I have slowly awoken to the falseness and corruptness of the Church today, I can't believe how blind and gullible I was to believe in such men and doctrines all my life, and give so much time and money to corrupt men who used it on themselves rather then the poor. For that I have had to repent, but I'm so glad I could repent before it was too late and I had to learn the truth in the next life when it was too late to earn vital eternal blessings from repentance.

I began to progressively see more & more errors and problems in the Church and that it's leaders were corrupt, 1st all local leaders then I realized all higher leaders were just the same too. At 1st I thought it was just that all leaders were in apostasy, but then as I searched farther and farther back to where the problems stemmed from, I could see it was Brigham Young that instigated most all the problems.

Thankfully Rock provided some key information and direction for research to help gain the whole pictures of just how bad and false the Church is.

But I now can see how blind I was and how blind everyone else is in the Church and how few ever 'prove all things' and research church history for themselves, and thus they all just following blindly, right into the temple, not comparing it with Christ's teachings.

I have been a faithful RM & temple going a Mormon for over almost 50 years and I firmly do believe the temple ceremonies & teachings are of Satan. I believe the secret, dark and false things done & taught in the temple are far worse then any truths or good there may also be taught therein.

BK said...

Continued -

At best I believe the temple is a huge waste of precious time (including Fam. Hist. work, which can be easily soon done in the millenium) when families already don't have enough time to spend on each other today to keep marriages and families from falling apart as most are. Our time should also be better used in studying Christ, truth and church history so we don't continue to fall for all these falsehoods and errors like the temple and it's teachings.

At worse, I believe the temple teaches men to abuse women and women to accept it and to do make secret oaths of obedience to a corrupt Church and leaders, and the temple is very destructive to family relationships by excluding them from marriages and teaching they won't all be together in the next life, unless they attend the temple and obey church leaders. And last but not least, it teaches, encourages and rewards adultery, abuse and abandonment of spouse & family by promising polygamous sealings and relationships in the next life and by allowing remarriage after divorce, which is totally contrary to Christ's teachings.

Nothing in the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith's or especially Christ's doctrines teach anything remotely close to the temple ceremonies, sealings and teachings.

All we have is what an abusive and evil man like Brigham Young said & wrote, a man who preached and practiced totally contrary to Christ.

Why would anyone follow such a man blindly? When no true prophet or Christ backs up his temple ceremonies, let alone his preaching and practices during his life?

I like all other Mormons blindly started going to the temple early in life without any proof or hardly any research into whether it was true or not. That I sometimes felt good & peaceful & received revelation at times in the temple is no indication of it's truthfulness. For I have been in many beautiful buildings and places that have also brought the same peace and revelation. It's not where we are it's what we are that brings revelation.

But the more I realized how wrong & evil the teachings & ceremonies of the temple are, the more I knew I must repent of my blind obedience to such things and leaders that I did not prove right 1st, and I knew I must not support or subject myself to them anymore or I would lose my salvation for supporting evil as Joseph Smith taught we do.

JoCl said...

I want to see the source materials that suggest the temple ceremony was conceived and created by Brigham Young, and not Joseph Smith. I would be very interested in seeing respectable sources. As far as I know, Joseph started the endowment after joining the Masons. What evidence is there to the contrary? Can anyone point me to some good reference material?

engaged19times said...

JoCl, Well I put the question to Daymon Smith. He briefly said BY started it in 1877 after molding it for 30 years prior. He wrote about it in 2b he said. I ordered the book a couple days ago and if i cant figure out whats going on im going to pester him with questions on his blog since he is doing that group reading thing. Either it came from joseph or it didnt. Either its of God or its not. I tend to think its not so i want to know who is the reponsible person for it (joseph, brigham).

Alan Rock Waterman said...

It's been several days since I've had a chance to read the comments here on my own blog, so to those who have asked me direct questions, please be patient, and I will respond soon.

Connie's hip replacement did not take correctly, and she will most likely have to be cut into again; meanwhile she requires my care more frequently than usual, and though I have checked in on my computer briefly lately, I haven't had the time to devote to this space as I had intended.

I'll be back soon. Keep the conversation going.

Anonymous said...


Amen. This article has renewed my faith in the gospel, in striving for a personal relationship with my Father and Mother and to seek the mysteries of God more fully.

I am grateful for the the faithful LDS members who have been excommunicated for helping restore truths that are inconvenient. I love the leaders of the LDS church, for bringing goodness and light into my life.

I am also dissapointed that the leaders have not or refuse to recognizing the truths that have been changed over time. I still sustain you by consent of the church, but am saddened by you still the same.

All is not well in Zion, and we do not understand our own scriptures and are taking out truths as the ancient churches have done. We are no better, nor different than they. We are consumed with our riches, me included.

This article made me cry with shame. I literally cried in shame for my pride and sins. I cried in joy as well, as my eyes have been coming to this realization for some time. The gospel is true. I am committed to relearning the gospel in its more pure form if possible despite my own frailties and biases.

I wish and desire to recommit to having a relationship with Mother and Father and my Savior Jesus Christ.

Thank you Mr. Bartel for that wonderful testimony. Thank you Rock, for this place to share and learn.

Your friend,

Clifton





LDSDPer said...

about temples, etc.:

I'm not really directing this to anyone.

I have family and friends who are non-LDS Christians. It is very common for them to take down names and pray. They meet in church bible groups and pray for people on the lists.

And, yes, Christians have or 'do' prayer circles. I'm not saying they are the same as what LDS do in temples, but they do use the concept of praying in a circle. Or using circles in prayer.

That might seem to be 'creepy' to some people; I don't know.

The biggest concern *I* have about this discussion is the calling of others' experiences 'evil'. Nobody on here knows me personally. I have spoken to Connie Waterman on the phone, and I have been in e-mail contact with Connie and Rock (they share an e-mail address)--

Nobody knows what kinds of experiences I have or what kinds of 'religions' are in my family.

I know what evil is; I have experienced it. I know, also, what the divine is; I know what the holy spirit feels like.

There is a person on this discussion blog who claims that he/she knows that people can feel 'the spirit' from satan. I have no doubt that people can be deceived by satan, but to tell a person that he/she cannot discern between evil and good (or the divine, or the Holy Ghost/Spirit) is being not only self-righteous, but it is cynical and even nihilistic.

It is also very collectivistic. Try to find out what that means, if you don't know, and it will open a new world to you.

I know Mormons who are truly evil, who are 'active'. I know at least one Wiccan who is a very righteous person.

I know Christians who are not LDS who are good and bad. I know a Catholic who is truly a Godly person; I know a Catholic who is cruel and full of designing machinations.

Labeling and telling others what to believe is really not a righteous thing.

For those who believe in the New Testament, Christians are supposed to 'encourage' one another, to build each other up.

I have taken that admonition and lifted it into Mosiah--about standing as a witness of God.

I realize that there are no 'rules' that are completely agreed upon in religious discussions.

Anyone can believe whatever he/she wishes--

but there is rank hypocrisy in telling others what they believe, when there is no way that another person can really see into anyone else's heart--

yes, by their fruits ye shall know them--

and that's really hard to discern on an internet site.

Rock, I'm sorry about Connie's surgery. Take care of her and yourself--

and don't worry about the people who visit your site--

I think, by and large, *we* are grown-ups. LOL!

As for LDS temples, I don't think they are perfect. I believe they are transitory. I am not comfortable with the masonic basis for many of the rituals. There are no rituals in either sealings or baptisms. None. Unless a person thinks it is satan to be 'dunked' in water. LOL!

I believe these things will be clarified when Jesus returns and cleans everything up.

Until I see proof that the things Joseph Smith said about sealing(s)--

(that have nothing to do with polygamy, by the way, and everything to do with entirely different principles than even marriage or are not restricted to marriage)--

were not said by him, I will stick with his having introduced the concept(s) of sealings.

BK, just show me the proof, and I'll consider it.

I have no doubt Brigham Young messed things up, but, unlike you, I believe that God works even through evil men or corrupt men--

to do His Work. He'll deal with those evil people in His Own Way and in His Own Time.


LDSDPer said...

I have a "P.S." to what I just wrote, somewhat casually directed to 'engaged 19 times'--

I have never been disturbed by the offer of anyone's prayers in my behalf.

I have had people of different religions offer to pray for me (illness, financial troubles, family heartaches)--

It's a loving gesture, whatever anyone's religion.

LDS people offer to put people onto prayer rolls, because they care about them.

I guess I find it surprising that anyone would think this abhorrent.

I am honored when anyone prays for me.

I suppose that I see religion as merely a vehicle. I don't see how a perfect religion can exist in this world. I admit that I have never met a 'satanist'. Well, not in America, anyway.

I did once have an encounter with a member of a radical (violent) Bhuddist (yes, they exist) who cursed me and Jesus Christ, when I told him I was a Christian.

It was a difficult experience for me, and it took years for me to work it through--

However, this person had a close family member who was interested in Jesus and whose character/personality was very gentle and loving.

Also a member of the 'group', but not willing to participate in anything hateful.

I guess this is why it is extremely important not to judge by 'membership' in a group; God looks on the heart, whatever a person's outward label.

C.S. Lewis spoke of this in one of his books from the Chronicles of Narnia.

There were members of the heathen/pagan religion who were so hated by the Narnians (who had the 'true' religion)--

who knew God; who knew the 'real' God--

and there were Narnians and others who had the 'truth', but who did not know God and did hateful, destructive things.

It's an interesting way to learn why it is important not to discount everyone from inside a particular 'group'; one never knows when a true heart may be found among heathens and pagans--

or when a cruel, hard heart may be found among those who outwardly or ostensibly worship the only true and living God.

But, engaged 19 times, I can't say what kind of relationship you have with your mother. You call her 'gullible'. Maybe she is, but it also sounds as though she has a kind heart.

I hope you honor her. There are no perfect parents, anywhere. When your children are older, your children, if they are 'typical' will probably point out to you have many mistakes you have made; you will feel more gratitude to the imperfect people who raised you; I didn't have a chance to show my gratitude to my mother; she was dead before I became a parent. But when someone offers to pray for you or to have others pray for you, it is usually out of love. If not, only you would know, but 'gullible' people are not always hateful or spiteful.

Perhaps her spiritual path is different from yours. Maybe I'm being too personal, but my mother was in 'mortality' to have entirely different experiences from the ones I have had; she has been dead for decades; she died too young, and I know she was imperfect, but I would give much to have just ten minutes with her, to tell her how much she did for me and to apologize for not always appreciating her.

In the meantime, your mother at least taught you to make your own choices, since you are not following her 'gullible' path. That's something not every mother can pull off.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Engaged,
I appreciate your curiosity regarding our temple rituals, but I believe your conclusion that they are "Satanic" is faulty.

I am known for having questions about the accuracy of Brigham Young's memory of what he claims Joseph taught him. It would appear that he got much of it right, but, going from memory, he ended up "winging" a lot of the ceremony, perhaps filling in gaps here and there.

Nevertheless, whether the ceremony itself is word for word perfect, the symbolic imagery, I believe, is spot on, particularly that which was built into the architecture of the Nauvoo temple as designed by Joseph Smith.

What you see as Satanic is in reality evidence of light and knowledge. I recommend you read the link provided by Pierce above on temple imagery, but more than that, I suggest becoming familiar with MormonProphecy.com.

Don't despair about not understanding the deeper mysteries of the temple. Their meaning may seem beyond your reach, but as it happens, a good many temple-attending members have little idea of the mind-expanding information available to those who truly make the effort to search the mysteries.

Here's what Anthony Larson, proprietor of MormonProphecy.com has to say:

"No study of the Restored Gospel can be complete without a thoroughgoing understanding of ancient cosmology. It is the foundation of all prophetic imagery, employed in the scriptures and in our latter-day temples. Without that knowledge, we simply cannot fully comprehend either. We are as children trying to read a book when they have learned only the alphabet. The letters on the page are familiar to them, but they make no sense of the words. Yet they pride themselves on recognizing the letters, saying that they 'understand,' when they know nothing of the real message contained therein."

The mysteries of Godliness cannot be explained in a brief blog comment nor understood without some degree of effort on the part of the student. The rewards of diligent, FAITHFUL inquiry can be substantial, and a real mind expander.

Seriously, I'd spend some time on MormonProphecy.com if you're honestly seeking some insight.



Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anarchist,
I did indeed overlook your email, so I'm glad you mentioned your project here.

I have long felt that paying our tithes in silver coin was a smashing idea, and of course as you know it is consistent not only with article 1 section 10 of the constitution (inspired, as we know, from God), but also consistent with God's law of requiring honest weights and measures.

I believe there are sufficient number of good members of the church who would prefer paying their tithes in that manner, and who are aware of the reasons that method SHOULD be practiced by faithful. As for those to whom the idea might seem foreign, it should be a simple thing to educate them on the matter.

I wonder, though, if it might be more fitting to mint 1/10th ounce coins for this purpose rather than 1/20th as you have proposed? With the spot price of silver running at around 20 dollars an ounce, now would be a good time to accumulate a store, and I daresay the inevitability of a rise in the price relative to the dollar would likely be on the side of the person paying.

Having a number of silver coins on hand to give to the bishop at the end of the year tithing settlement would be the beginning of putting things right again.

For those readers who missed that link, here it is again:

http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/should-i-produce-a-silver-tithing-coin/

Alan Rock Waterman said...

HomeSchool Mom asked about the persecution facing Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and whether Church leaders have bothered to support him or not.

I wouldn't know, but I do know that church member Harry Reid from Nevada has the power to call off the dogs, and has not done so.

Of course, expecting Brother Reid to have any respect for the constitution just because his religion requires it is not something I'm holding my breath waiting to witness.

Harry Reid has no more respect for the constitution than Mitt Romney displayed during his presidential run, the difference being that in Harry Reid's case, that wouldn't surprise anyone.

For those not fully apprised about the abuse of power currently taking place against Mormon Patriot Cliven Bundy, here's a brief report that should bring you up to speed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jEMyX-v1Io

The pertinent story begins at about the 11:50 mark.

Also per the Bundy affair, Mike Ellis is currently proposing this Revolution silver coin. Looks pretty keen. "Like" the Facebook page if you're interested (and when it comes to accumulating some silver, you SHOULD be interested, whether for paying tithing or otherwise):

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Revolution-Coins/620707194670818

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Looks like I'm behind the curve on this one. Earlier this afternoon the Federal Land Bureau finally backed down in the face of overwhelming resistance on the part of the American people and media exposure of its crimes. Just goes to show that darkness cannot persist in the presence of light.

I do enjoy seeing justice prevail now and then.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/tea-party-libertarian-ranch-ruby-ridge/2014/04/11/id/565102/?ns_mail_uid=28372644&ns_mail_job=1564212_04122014&promo_code=i7oy6evj

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Rock. I am on my husband's smartphone and haven't figured out how to copy and paste yet (yeah I know...watch out for the dumb woman on the smartphone!). But I will go back and read the link you posted about the withdrawal of the B L M. My husband wants to know if Reid has a temple recommend? But its okay...he doesnt drink coffee. That's what is really important. I think he belongs to the "Not even once club". Sorry, that is our joke around here. If anyone doesnt know about the club look up the lds book by the same title and check it out. The sad thing is that I imagine Cliven is a bit in the hot seat with the church over this, and Reid has no worries. Oh, the hypocrisy of it.
Homeschool Mom

LDS Anarchist said...

Ah, Rock, now that I know the email went through (and that you opened it) I'll just send you another email message.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

No Anarchist, no!

I really like the idea of Hushmail, and I'm behind that idea of privacy 100 percent, but I, like others you mentioned, was not able to open and read your actual email. It was too confusing, and simply wouldn't open for me. So although I found the email, all I really know is what I read on your blog.

I hope they can make Hushmail accessible to luddites like me. Why don't you PM me on Facebook and we'll figure out a way to communicate privately from there.

engaged19times said...

LDSPer, Saying, Oh lots of ppl pray in a circle discounts what is going on in that prayer circle in the temple. The elaborate surroundings and ritual, the costumes, strange veils, and the fact u basically had to pay to be in there. Very different than a group of friends casually praying together in someones living room, wouldnt you agree? And if ur not trying to conjure up some kind of energy or spirit, why the need for an elaborate performance?

Just imagine one of those evil active mormons u know in the temple praying, with bad intent in their heart. I dont care for elaborate rituals performed on my behalf, speshly by some stuck up mormon who thinks they know more about. "Godhood" than I do. Its a case of, Dont pray for me please I dont want to go to ur heaven.

If something strikes me as evil, Im going to mention it. My mothers parents absolutely refused to join the church even tho my mom was their oldest and best daughter. My grandfather would have nothing to do with the masons even tho he was southern and many of his male relatives were in that. My scientific engineer husband thought he ceremony was creepy and he is the type who sets feelings aside to learn something. Could it be that many mormons have become so familiar with the occultish nature of those rituals it just seems normal? IDK the answer but God bless the internet for bringing so many things to light.

LDS Anarchist said...

Lol, Rock, I'll tell you what. I'll send you an email from my email.com account, which doesn't require a password to open it.

LDSDPer said...

@engaged 19 times,

I'm glad you got a response from Daymon Smith, but I, for one, already knew that Brigham Young "completed" the endowment ceremony.

It has since been revised heavily, and I have appreciated the revisions.

I don't think you've really read anything I've written.

Hold onto your beliefs if you are comfortable with them; if you admire your grandparents for rejecting masonry, I don't have an argument with you.

I just feel that there is no point in trying to answer your questions, because you really don't have any.

If you want to believe that everyone who enters an LDS temple does so with evil intent or does so to participate in evil things, nothing I can say will change your mind.

I don't think anyone is trying to get you to enter an LDS temple against your will.

You talk about being something of a rebel in your family; you are walking a new and different path; you don't worry about the Word of Wisdom, etc.

And yet you seem to be very eager to call others evil.

I acknowledge that there is evil in the world; I know that all religions are very imperfect; I have had dealings with LDS who seem to me to be very evil. It's a lot of work trying to protect the innocent and vulnerable from the evil in the world; some people do need protection from those who want to exploit others.

You have children; you can do that for them.

I support fair trade, and I work not to give my money to corporations that exploit children and the poor; sometimes it seems like a completely futile effort--

that's how I fight evil. If you want to fight evil by holding a sign (figuratively or literally) in front of LDS temples, declaring how evil they are, you are free to do so, if you don't infringe on property rights. I'm not sure how that works, because I haven't seen many people doing that. I think most people are just trying to survive from day to day.

But I have certainly gotten the message that you don't approve of LDS temples. And now I know that.



LDSDPer said...

@anyone who has followed the Bundy incident in Nevada--

Is it really over?

And how did the network work so well, when it hasn't seemed to work in so many other cases?

The fact that Sheriff Mack and Stewart Rhodes were there is interesting indeed, but they can't go everywhere--

I just wonder if this is just a lull in the storm; all those metal protected anonymous monsters from the federal government; will they just go away?

And it's really hard to see Mormons on both sides--and that's coming from someone who is not a collectivist at heart--

I'm not sure I would have very much to say to either man (Reid or Bundy)--

Reid is inexplicable to me politically, and Bundy has access to a tremendous amount of land, probably through sheer tenacity, when so many others have lost their land(s) after a lot of hard work and heartache--

I know some ranchers; I come from a long line of farmers who sweated and suffered and died; nobody has any of that land now; well, a few agribusinesses got it.

I just wonder, sometimes, if any of these freedoms can even be gotten back? Have they ever really even been there all along?

And the 'church' probably won't say anything about any of it--

Farming is no longer a respectable and honored 'profession' among LDS--

Most of the farmers I know here locally (far from Nevada) also raise beef; they farm and raise cattle. I know that western lands aren't cut out for that; my father was a scientist, and he studied land management in the west--
so long ago. He was very sympathetic to the 'lone' rancher, but he also saw a lot of greed.

LDSDPer said...

but I need to add--

farmers aren't seen as 'romantic'; ranchers are--

LOL!

I wonder if this goes back to Cain and Abel somehow--

*tongue in cheek*

And yet, here, small family farmers do both; they produce vegetables and graze cattle. A few mavericks in our area are trying to 'heal' the land from huge operations that have wrecked havoc by bringing back the idea of grazing--

and yet you'll see those same men (and their wives and children) at farmers' market--

selling tomatoes and onions and carrots--

and eggs from the chickens that run around not far from the cattle--

I'm not sure I can see the Bundy family doing that, but I could be very wrong--

Things are just so different in the West.

The West is such a romantic place, but my greatest concern is the lack of water.

I recently read (not in a book I would recommend to anyone) that water rights in Nevada are almost gone--

the 'government' has done a very good job of taking water away from private land holders, and yet nobody has gone to fight that--

it has happened quietly, behind the scenes.

In a place where water is so precious, how much longer can this go on?

The earth needs to be renewed, indeed.

In the meantime, back at the ranch--

LDSDPer said...

@anyone who wants to read this--

I look back (sometimes, just briefly) over the comments on here, and I see what I have written.

Writing about polygamy and what Joseph Smith did or didn't do--
and about what seems like a hijacking of the 'original' church by the men 'in charge' after Joseph's murder--

and Mormons grazing cattle on 'public' lands in the West who are being threatened--

and about the cultural history of the coming about of the Book of Mormon--

180 (plus) years ago--

and what or whom is evil or not--

and then I get an e-mail from the Liahona Foundation, showing a group of LDS primary children in South Sudan--

children who are literally starving--

and now the branch has been broken up, and the senior/couple missionaries who were there have been sent home; the country is in turmoil--

and nobody knows what has happened to the children.

I can't send a link from an e-mail, but those children!!!

This is what I think of, day and night; I feel so weak and helpless and unable to do much of anything to help.

SO much to talk about; so many questions to ask and answer--

and yet those children?

Aren't they really the most important 'thing'--

and I'm stuck here, well over 5,000 miles away--

and I have a job just keeping my own family fed--

THAT is evil.

I disagree with those in the church who blame it on 'corrupt leaders in the local governments where those children live'--

I think that many of the wealthy of the world live well, because they exploit such people (through banks, etc.)--

So I can't just be smug and say, "oh, that's a problem for Africa"--

Even though I am in the 99% (tongue in cheek), do I gain, somehow, when such children go hungry?

I know I won't buy non-fair-traded chocolate--

that's my little area. IF I buy/eat chocolate, it will not be from the labor of child slaves in Africa--

but the feeling of helplessness--

is anyone else praying all day long every day for Jesus to come?

That's where I am, no matter how much I babble about Book of Mormon cultural history and Joseph Smith and toxic wards and even politics--

when will those children have enough to eat?

How?

My praying all night for them won't make their hunger go away--



engaged19times said...

LDSPer, Thank u for acknowledging my disapproving feelings. That truly means the world to me.

Maybe someday I will pay my money over to the church and get me one of those temple recommends to go do one of their magick sessions. Id like to cast a love spell for my sister to find someone nice to marry.

37andholding said...

Engaged. They really don't cast spells in the temple ceremony. In my opinion, the intentions are pretty sincere in doing what they think is of God. The patrons who go there are doing what they've been taught and have a belief in it. I don't believe they are satanic nor are involved in casting proverbial spells. It is just a case of you seeing something from the outside that seems odd to say the least and those involved are just accustomed to it. Please don't set yourself up for believing all this temple stuff as evil. I think it best to live and let live. Think for yourself and let others do the same without blasting them for it. Makes for better relationships. And you never know where more truth and knowledge will take you. It might be where you never suspected. ;)

James Brian Marshall said...

Rock,

The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to raise up a repentant, ever learning, people of profound faith, like the Brother of Jarred.

Many think the Brother of Jarred the exception to the rule. But what we as Saints forget, is that in time we like Jarred will all see God.

The Book of Mormon was never intended to give a people the right to polish their fingers nails and brag "we are the 1 TRUE CHURCH"...

The Book of Mormon was created to teach us to be like unto the brother of Jarred, capable of being humble, caring about God's agenda while forsaking our own. Being willing to hear the Spirit of God. Not only saying, but doing His will.

The whole Restoration basically worships Joseph Smith, or the current prophet or minister before our eyes. It's our excuse to not get real, not have a real relationship with Jesus Christ.

Even in the RLDS Church they worship Joseph Smith. Most people miss the point of the Book of Mormon. In God's point of view, everybody is wired to minister, everybody in their way, after their strength, their calling, is a Joseph Smith.

You or I may not be a prophet, but what is a prophet anyway? He's a man like you or I! Just a man, who'm like the Brother of Jarred made mistakes and repented.

Someday, after death, if we care enough, we will all see Jesus Christ in the flesh, just like the Brother of Jarred and Joseph Smith. Or we can get with the program and decide we want to see God now!!!

As matter of fact, if we're not seeing God face to face, or if we are not having a deep and regular communion with the Holy Spirit morning to morning something is wrong!

The point of the Book of Mormon is to teach us how to have that "real relationship" with God. The Book of Mormon teaches us how to repent, to get real, the Book of Mormon teaches you that God can teach you how to do anything!

WE don't need a college education! We need the Holy Spirit as our teacher. No! Not our pastor, our minster, our elder, or priest! We need to be able to discern and hear the Voice of the Spirit of God.

Like Lehi, like Nephi who built the ships, like Jarred who built their boats. We need God to instruct us to build our ark of safety from the soon coming storm.

The Book of Mormon teaches these good things.

The Book of Mormon also teaches what happens to a proud, unrepentant people who reside in this choice land of Zion above all others.





Toni said...

"and get me one of those temple recommends to go do one of their magick sessions. Id like to cast a love spell for my sister to find someone nice to marry."

:D :D :D ROFLOL ROFLOL You've never been inside an LDS temple, have you, dear child?

Toni said...

Rock, loved your interview.

Anonymous said...

bologna

Locorado hiker said...

Interesting you discuss some of the prophecies in Mormon 8. If you want further proof (not that I need any) that he's talking about the modern-day church, look at what he says about "great pollutions upon the face of the earth." Who's got the worst air quality in the country during the winter? Yup, good ol' SLC. This prophecy is so "in your face" it's not even funny.

mj said...

I admit, staying continues to hurt. I decided to stay active as much as possible. But after earnestly seeking answers to why all the changes from the days of Joseph as compared to today, wondering why we have no Zion to join and weeping for Zion since 2008... all along the way, I was alienated by my wife, and secretly she helped alienate me from my fam and her fam and our ward family. My questioning eventually led to my wife of 15 yrs squeezing me out of our relationship. I have been denied baptizing my only son, and my next daughter, and was totally un-included at all in my son's ordination to Aaronic priesthood, I have not been given callings since 2009, seen as some weird apostate and left alone by church leaders and family when comfort was needed most. All I wanted was answers. I was concerned for my own salvation and that of my family after finding out about the final temple ordinance that used to be done among us... and simply sought to find out if there were some doing all the ordinances and prepared to be a part of Zion in or out of the church... along with having real connections with the Father and Son. I have been meek and humble during my search. I searched far and wide to find a people who knew about the fullness and looking forward to the real return of Zion as spoken of in the prophecies. I simply wanted true religion. I did not experience much comfort from LDS family and wards... in fact, all of my discomfort came from there. I was being squeezed out of my own LDS world, for simply asking questions and researching about Zion and Church History. Today, I still try to repair broken relationships. I still do not get much chance to talk with my siblings and parents about what I really know, and they try to exclude me and my new wife as much as possible. I have talked with my new bishop about some of my concerns about the church, and he doesn't bother us or check in on us. I want to help my wife get baptized, but it's hard for her to want to after seeing what my own family and wards have done to me. For a time I looked into break off groups, and they too reject me for thinking they too do not hold a real fullness and greater connection with heaven. Through the past 7 yrs, I wouldn't change a thing. All the alienation and neglect, helped me turn to the Lord. It helped propel me to search and repent harder. It helped me to get closer to a Savior who was ready and willing to comfort in time of need. While rejected by my own, and still trying to be a part of my LDS world though still being pushed out of it... I KNOW that our redeemer lives. I KNOW that which I have suffered from my own, was worth it. I know Holy Priesthood can be given from the Lord. Calling and election is real. Sealing power can be had outside the institution - one that will only further persecute me more for saying so. Surely, the truth can set us free. If everyone only knew how willing the Father and Son are to grant these things to individuals, no matter their church acceptance or calling... surely the minds of the people would be free. Hold to the rod or the word of the Lord to you. Have compassion for those who misunderstand in that comfortable and spaceous church building that mocks and persecutes you!

mj said...

Cont: Now is the time to prepare for Zion. Now is the time to connect with the Lord no matter what you go through. Great things will soon be had as a group again, now is the time to be prepared and invited when the time comes. The gospel is real. Experiences from on high do come! Things you may not be able to fully explain (bad and good) will occur! Angels, revelation, visions, word of the Lord, promises, most amazing feelings of love and light that you will never ever forget, revelation that will boggle your mind and work against your own understandings for a time... It's all part of the path. That individual path you must take with the Lord on your own, no matter what goes on in your mortal world. Receive your own testimony from the Savior and the Father that no man can take away. These are they who receive of the "testimony of Jesus". These are they who go on to meet Him face to face. These are they who are part of the church of the Firstborn before standing in His actual presence or meeting the Father at some point.

Cato said...

How thankful I am to stumble only this letter. I thought I was alone in my thoughts and studies. I am a convert to the church from the RLDS in 1987 due to their years of changing and watering down the restored gospel. Then what did I find; but changes in the temple almost immediately after I went in 1988. I have struggled to understand what to do next but could never leave the Book of Mormon behind. Thank you.

Unknown said...

hi brett
im not tryin 2b a skoosh la doosh but jus thot youd like this brot 2 yer attntion
was readin yer blog "the actual message of the BofM" n was followin along w yer scripture rfrnces
unda yer heading "a peek in2 the future", the scripture rfrnces of moroni 8:35 & 9:20, r actually mormon 8:35 & 9:20 tho moroni is the author
---
also read where u rfrnced that nephi saw colombus
this is a very common mistake but the truth is, is colombus nevva even saw n.america
all 4 of his voyages took him 2 s.america n the carribean islands
in fact he set sail way dwn in spain n had no bearing on the brittish pilgrims, whom nephi did see
u kno wut man had a gynormous n direct influence, on the pilgrims?
cptn john smith did by not only discoverin the eastern seaboard of n.america but helpin w the colonization of jamestown
also j.smith said he could trace his bloodline back 2 cptn john smith
---
enjoyed this blog immensely
btw
my pet peeve is ppl who correct others publiclly but knew of no other way 2 alert u
so plz delete this comment n make the neccesary changes

Hannah Violette said...

Hello...I just wanted to say that I am not a Latter-Day Saint, but have always felt drawn to their teachings. At 45 years old I am now actually reading the Book of Mormon (having gone through missionary lessons multiple times) and I appreciate what you've said here. Although there is much to criticize (coming from a Protestant viewpoint), a I have read I have also sensed that there is something far deeper in its meaning than the mere words on the page. I don't know where this journey will end for me, but I deeply appreciate your blog and will continue to read it as I explore a faith that continues to attract me. Many blessings to you.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thank you for weighing in, Violette. There are indeed many deeper things to learn from the Book of Mormon, greater things that most of Mormons haven't been aware of. I certainly was blind to the greater things until quite recently myself.

Brett said...

Lance, you're awesome!

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