I see the Mormon church, the Mormon culture, the Priesthood, and the Gospel as separate entities. Most Mormons and ex-Mormons conflate all of these, but I do not. The church is NOT the Kingdom of God, much as the Mormons would like you to think they are one in the same. They are not. I can cite you hundreds of references in the D&C to prove that in the mind of God and in the understanding of Joseph Smith, they are not the same thing. There is also a handful of revelations to John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, but the church refuses to present to its members, much less publish, which not only clearly state the differences between the church and kingdom, but outlines their differences in function and purpose.
It is far easier to prove that Jesus established the Kingdom of God than that He organized an institutional church. When he said “upon this rock I will build my church”, he was using the word that meant “a gathering of those who have been called”. The word we use in English means “a place or seat of power”. The two could not be more separate.
Nobody can decide to join or leave the Kingdom of God. If you are a human being, you are part of the Kingdom of God.You can, however, choose whether you want to recognize this and act upon it, or not. I choose to recognize it, to act upon it, and to accept all the rights and obligations that come with it.
I am a former member of the Mormon church, but never much of a member of the Mormon culture. I was not born in Utah, though I lived there for 6 years while attending BYU. I couldn’t wait to get out. My mother and father retired in Utah, but my dad expressed the strong wish not to be buried in Utah, so he in buried in our native Portland, OR.
I still have a testimony of the Gospel, the Priesthood, and the covenants I made in the temple. I believe in the Restoration, but I believe it did not begin and end with Joseph Smith. Like a tree, the Restoration had many roots, and it has many branches. There are many Restoration churches. God is too big to fit into any one church.
I was taught that the word “saint” means “a true follower of Christ”. If that is true, than I am a Latter-day saint (LDS). I am not a member of any church, nor do I intend to join any institutional church. The Kingdom of God functions through families, not churches.
Can a person still believe in God, have a testimony of God, serve God, and have a righteous life and still not be a member of the church? I know that it is possible. My testimony of the Gospel and my relationship with God has done nothing but improve since my excommunication in the early 80’s.
I got into the culture of Mormonism, but didn’t get into me. I didn’t grow up in Utah, but I spent 6 years there going to college — just long enough to know I hated it and wanted desperately to escape. Actually, it didn’t take that long. I was a lifelong member of the church until I was excommunicated in the early 80’s. What attracted me to the church was not the people or what’s laughingly called “Mormon culture”. It was the fundamental principles of Mormonism and the Gospel. When I “graduated” from the church, I took those enduring principles with me, and left the rest behind.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anybody would insist on simultaneously being a Mormon and being gay. Christ said no man can serve two masters. James said a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Alma said “wickedness never was happiness”. The great sage Anonymous said “you cannot have your cake and eat it, too”. Bottom line: we are free to choose, but some choices, if we are to be completely honest with ourselves, are mutually exclusive.
I have been accused by some of Wendy’s friends by always taking the negative side of their arguments. What I am about to say is not to negate the quote, but before taking sides, you must understand the nature of the conflict, then pick your battles carefully. Otherwise, you might end up on the wrong side.
This is what I see happening over this Duck Dynasty debacle. BOTH sides are using it to make political points, and an unsuspecting public is being lured into it. There are militant nazi-types on both sides trying to use an uninformed and unsuspecting public as pawns. I suggest that before jumping into any side of a conflict, we first understand what the conflict is about, how it came about, who benefits from perpetuating the conflict, and whether in the long run it really matters at all.
“These rights would be meaningless if the Constitution did not also prevent the government from interfering with the intensely personal choices an individual makes when that person decides to make a solemn commitment to another human being,”
Folks, isn’t that that life’s all about? The ability to make and keep promises, contracts, covenants, and agreements is the basis of society.
Mosiah 29:32 “And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.”
Mosiah 29:26 “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law–to do your business by the voice of the people. ”
Mosiah 29:27 “And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. ”
D&C 134:4. “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights …”