Witness and Forgiveness

I woke up this morning with envy of another person on my mind. Since I have been working to pattern my life after how the Lord would live, I instantly began to pray for the person I had envied, and prayed for his continued success. The envy departed instantly, as the Lord promised it would.

My mind went next to people many years ago who supposedly were my brethren, who claimed to know and love the Lord, but turned out to be false brethren.

I thought I had forgiven those people for something that happened over 25 years ago, and I could move on. But I was feeling kind of lost and asked the Lord what I should be doing next. I know the answer came from the Lord and not my ego because what he said really surprised me. I thought I had forgiven these people, and that the Lord had probably also forgiven them, and we could all just move on.

Not so fast. He reminded me, again, that I was one of His servants, and that when we receive His servants, we receive Him, and when we reject His servants, we reject him. He commanded me to write up a testimony of my witness as His servant who ministered among those brethren, and also a witness of their rejection of a servant of the Lord. The phrase “of whom the world wasn’t worthy” (Heb. 11:38) kept coming to mind. In most cases, we should forgive, and the Lord will forgive. But justice must be done, and my testimony must stand as a witness.

I was told that I wasn’t going to receive any more from Him until I did this. I really don’t want to do this, but I will because I was asked to do it. This might be what’s standing in my way and blocking me at this point. I have nothing but forgiveness in my heart for these people. I am not saying I would ever unconditionally trust them again, but the bitterness and desire for revenge is gone. Most of them are dead, but for those still alive, I wish them nothing but the best. This is my “Liberty Jail” moment, and it’s time to end this and let myself out of jail. https://john144restoration.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/witness-and-forgiveness.pdf

My response to the recent conference and darn near every conference.

I think it is only fair that I explain why I advise LGBTQ people who are unhappy with the Mormon church and the way it is treating them to leave. I am not saying it to demean the LDS church, or to be mean-spirited. I am saying it because there might be an alternative, which some might find attractive and doable. I have not spelled out this alternative in the past because I was hoping somebody would figure it out on their own, but so far no one has. This post is an attempt to spell it out in the hopes that somebody will take the suggestion. It’s a pretty outrageous suggestion, but I am asking you to at least consider it for a second.

If you would like be part of a group of true followers of Christ, who want to honor their covenants and serve God and form eternal family units, but are prevented from doing so by a church that considers you and your friends as outcasts and apostates, then read on.

If you are looking to remain in a church where the main purpose is not serving the Lord, not building Zion, not honoring and strengthening your relationships, or not helping one another, regardless of one’s identity, but instead supporting a corporate hierarchy, or putting forward some political agenda, then this post would be of no interest to you.

If you are looking to serve the Lord, exercise your Priesthood, serve others, build Zion, and fulfill your covenants, in the most effective way possible, may I suggest that you approach the Lord in prayer, state your plight, and ask for further light and knowledge as to how to proceed.

Many people say that they have received revelation from the Lord that it is OK to be LGBTQ. I can tell you that it is OK, provided you abide by all your other covenants, to the extent that your church permits you to do so. But, there is so much more available to you. If you are willing to pray and ask the Lord whether He is willing to invite you to do more.

This is exactly what a group of gay and Lesbian ex-Mormons did in 1985. Our prayers were answered. We wanted to serve the Lord. We wanted to meet and partake of the Sacrament and teach and bear testimony to one another, but the way was hedged up, and we were at an impasse. There was no human way out of our situation, so we turned to divine help.

We started receiving revelation — not just one person, but four or five different individuals. The revelations told us only to organize ourselves into Priesthood quorums and ad hoc family units, and join faithful, stable, and worthy couples in temple marriage.

Most of us were Priesthood holders who were formerly LDS, but we did not consider ourselves a “break-away” group. (1) We were driven out. and (2) We were given a completely new dispensation of keys and authority, by revelation, and in a manner described by Joseph Smith and revealed in the D&C.

In the early days of our organization, we received many revelations about how to proceed in our unique situation. We extended the blessings of the Priesthood and the Temple to our members. We build a small temple/tabernacle structure and dedicated it. Despite our poverty and the meager surroundings, the feeling inside the temple space was the same feeling you get in a regular LDS temple. During the dedicatory service, several members reporting seeing angels. Angels were also seen in some of our temple services and sacrament meetings.

As long as we were seeking direction from the Lord, things were going great. I want to caution and emphasize that as some of the leadership desired to seek positions of personal power, and return to the LDS corporate, hierarchical model, the Lord warned us that we were “following the arm of flesh”. We persisted anyway, and the heyday of the church lasted only about a year and a half. The church continued to dwindle and linger for another 25 years, sometimes having as few as 2 remaining members. Eventually, the president of the church died, and the remaining leadership scattered.

The organization failed because we collectively, and not individually, failed to listen to the Lord’s counsel. Every day I read stories about LGBTQ Mormons, DADT, DOMA, HIV/AIDS, suicides, same-sex marriage, and I regret not having made the difference we could have made in peoples’ lives, had we continued.

It may be that the Lord has given us our one and only chance. Or, it may be that He is willing to take another chance on us. But, whether He is willing to invest in another organization and suffering through their learning curve, is not for me to say. There are plenty of affirming churches out there, if you want to join Community of Christ, or Reform Mormons, or any number of organizations. The Lord may direct you to stay in the LDS church, or join any of these other groups, or remain on your own. Or, take a look at the possibility I am offering. The Lord has much more available for you, if you will take it. The choice is yours.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of ALL Latter-day Saints (aka Restoration Church of Jesus Christ), the Lord communicated his love for us over-abundantly, and in return, we sought occasion against one another, and thought it more important to be the greatest in the Kingdom instead of being humble servants.

I once prayed and asked the Lord for forgiveness, as we had allowed His name to be dragged through the mud. He asked me, “Did you learn anything?” I said, “I certainly did.” Then, He said, “Then, it was all worth it.”

Would I personally try and start another group today? No. That experience still has me gun-shy, and, most importantly, I have received no confirmation from the Lord to do so. In fact, quite the contrary.

Instead, I am offering you a chance to go to the Lord and inquire about small, intimate fellowships, while adamantly warning you of the dangers of forming a church. But, if the Lord does direct you to do something, I would strongly advice you to humbly seek revelation and direction every step of the way, even if people criticize you for doing so.

I would also advise you to learn the Gospel and teach it. Learn the Doctrine of Christ, as taught in the Book of Mormon, and teach that. Teach people to make and keep covenants with God and with each other.

There are now other people out here “in the wild” seeking to live the Doctrine of Christ, and forming small intimate fellowships, which act as ad hoc families, the same as we started out doing in the Restoration Church. But, these people are focused on coming to know and become like Christ, following the teachings of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, the Bible, and the Lectures on Faith. They are preparing themselves as a covenant people, looking forward to the day when the Lord will bring again Zion, preparatory to the Second Coming of Christ.

The Gospel isn’t complex at all. It’s deceptively simple. But, it is strict and exacting. It isn’t to make you comfortable or affirm you, though these might be by-products. Focus on the Goal. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all the rest will be added to you. It’s a matter of where your focus lies.

The purpose of the Gospel is to change you and make you more Christ-like, and to build up His kingdom on earth in preparation for Zion and His Second Coming. You have a chance to engage in a work where your gender or sexuality is simply not an issue. You should expect to be neither shunned nor fawned over. It is simply not an issue. Of course, we comfort one another and bear one anothers’ burdens. But, we should support others’ burdens, not create them.

Receiving the Second Comforter: What lack I Yet?

Last night I was reading in Denver Snuffer’s book The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord through the Veil, for the second time. This time I am taking notes. You may have heard of the book. If not, Google it. I heard all about this book on Facebook, mostly from detractors who never read the book, much less picked it up. A brief explanation from me would not even begin to persuade you to read the book, but if you have ever been curious about the Second Comforter, go find the book on Amazon, and download a preview.

I was first curious because I have heard about the Second Comforter all my life, and I now suspect that the people that I heard talk about it had probably already received it, and this inspired me to want to receive something that we are entitled to, promised, and even commanded in the Book of Mormon to receive. And, the good part about it is, this is part of the Lord’s personal ministry to you to give it to you, as soon as you are prepared.

In this life, we are so used to dealing with treacherous or untrustworthy people. Even the best-meaning people will occasionally disappoint us. How refreshing would it be to deal with somebody you could trust absolutely? The Lord is not going to play games with you or move the football on you. He’s somebody you can trust and somebody who will go out of his way, in very surprising ways, to help you. I learned that this is called “grace”. Yes, surprising, as well as amazing.

I had a bishop in my college ward who often quoted the following passage. Once we had a Q&A fireside, and I asked him to bear his testimony of Christ. He spoke extemporaneously for 1 1/2 hours. He held a room of restless college students spellbound while they sat on a hard floor, listening to him. I have the impression that he knew whereof he spoke.

O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and 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 bishop also used to say “the scriptures are a here’s how, by who’s who”. The Book of Mormon is a guidebook. But sometimes we need a guidebook to the guidebook.

This post is directed to those people who know about the book, have read it, or in the process of reading it. Every page inspires me and makes me want to stop reading and practice what I just read. Denver says in one place: “You may have the faith, but lack the knowledge and confidence.”

On the Internet I found the testimony of a man who had the faith, but lacked the knowledge he needed to receive the Second Comforter until he read Denver’s book. He considers himself “a real LDS guy”. He is relateble. He could have been your college roommate, or your next door neighbor. I listened to his testimony on a podcast of the Boise Doctrine of Christ Conference, held in 2016.

Audio:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rmjie6noe0jbkr9/AADb9eL19ej71YjWmXJVQs-0a/3.%20Naturalization%20and%20the%20Doctrine%20of%20Christ%20-%20Daniel%20Rogers.mp3?dl=0

PDF:
http://www.doctrineofchristconference.com/resources/3.%20Naturalization%20and%20the%20Doctrine%20of%20Christ%20-%20Daniel%20Rogers.pdf

From the minute he opened his mouth, I sensed that his testimony, which he was about to bear would be extraordinary. His speech was simple, non-assuming, and admittedly not all that well organized, but there was a Spirit about it that compelled me to listen. His purpose was to not draw attention to himself, but to simply bear testimony of Christ. At the end of his talk, he briefly and modestly mentioned having received the Second Comforter. He said that his testimony had been posted on the Internet.

After listening to his talk, I went searching the Internet to find his testimony, a testimony which eventually cost him his membership.

The rest of his testimony had been taken down. I couldn’t find it anywhere. He referred to it in his speech, but that was back in 2016. I had nowhere to go, but I had not given up hope.

In Denver’s book, he compares our preparation to receive our audience with the Lord to perfecting your swing in baseball:

The process can’t be rushed. There may be many things you lack, but address them one at a time. There is always “only one thing to do”. The most important thing to work on the thing that is the most wrong at the moment. This is the one thing to do. The Lord will always answer when you ask him: “What lack I yet?”

I took all this down and wrote it up in my notes.

At this point, I laid down the book and prayed again: “What lack I yet?”

The Lord always responds if you ask in faith, listen in faith, believe the answer you are given and act on it. This is called having your heart drawn out in prayer. This is constant contact.

I got the shock of my lifetime, when I was praying to God, once. I was kind of lost and wondering what I should be doing. The answer I got back was simply. “Talk to me.”

There is a Hebrew word: “chesed“. It is usually translated “mercy” in the Bible, but it means so much more. One dictionary renders chesed as “unfailing love, loyal love, devotion, kindness, often based on a prior relationship, especially a covenant relationship.” Since the word is often used in the context of a covenant, it has been suggested that chesed also can be translated as “covenant love”—meaning the faithfulness required by the covenant.

You might say that chesed “lives” on a two-way street, as something which God certainly shows to His people, but also desires for us to give back to Him, as well as to one another. It’s like calling or texting your spouse several times a day, just to stay in touch. According to the prophet, Hosea. This is all God wants from us. He wants to be in contact with us. Try it. It will change your life.

OK, back to receiving answers. God doesn’t play games with you. He will always answer your prayer. If you are not ready for the answer, he will arrange things in your life so that eventually, you will be ready for the answer. When you are ready, the answer will come. Sometimes, it’s a new thought or idea. Sometimes, it’s something you have to do. But, everything you receive is your next step. In this particular case, I received the answer that I should try again to find the complete testimony, having failed before. I was even told the words to use in my online search. So, the Lord knows Google, too.

This time I found the testimony! Somebody preserved it on his own blog. Nine pages. I read his testimony. It was EXACTLY the counsel I needed at that moment i time. He spent one short paragraph describing the exact experience — in enough detail so that the Spirit could witness to you that what he experienced was true. The rest of the nine pages were instructions on how you could receive your own interview with the Lord. What I needed to know was not the “juicy details” of his encounter, but more advice on how to proceed along the path to an encounter of my own. Why did everybody else leave out this vital information when they posted his testimony?

Only wanting to find out the sensational parts of a spiritual experience draws attention. It’s sensational. But, it is what Denver calls “spiritual veuyerism”. It might satisfy your curiosity, but it doesn’t fill your soul. What you need to know are the governing principles behind the experience, the laws upon which the blessing is predicated. Nobody else’s spirituality can save you.

Was this a lucky coincidence? I choose not to think so. It was just one in a string of little faith-building incidents along the way, but when you start getting a lot of these, they really begin to pile up.

In the hopes that this information might help somebody else, too, I am posting the link, and including this testimony also in this blog.

This is the link to Daniel’s testimony: http://lincolnnotes.blogspot.com/2014/

Love Everybody

Gods laws are unchanging, but our understanding of them will change as we learn discernment.

The time will come when it will be a matter of medical knowledge what causes homosexuality, and it will also be a matter of spiritual knowledge about how and where gays fit into the plan, because God will reveal it. When he does, we will discover that our heavenly father is more liberal and generous in his designs than we imagine and more liberal and generous in his judgments than we can imagine. If we are to become like Him, can we do any less?

But, now we are commanded to love (love without understanding all reasons), to forgive (forgive without imposing conditions), and not play the role of the accuser, and not dig a pit for our neighbor, nor make a man an offender for a word. If we do not believe and practice these commandments, now, while our faith is being tested, we will not believe and practice these commandments when our knowledge is more complete. And, at that time, if we have not learned to love, we sill stand ashamed and condemned for our lack of faith and charity.

“If you do it unto the least among you, you have done it unto me.” The least among us is he whom we esteem to be the least among us: the greatest sinner, the most irritating person in your life. Instead of being your enemy or somebody you would overlook, see him as you Savior. See him as coming to you with a lesson in his hands.

Knowledge and Ignorance

I discovered a blog called “Upward Thought”. The blogger’s name is Robert Smith. He wrote a free eBook called The Glory of God in Intelligence. I am reading it now. here are some quotes that rang true for me:

The Lord created this earth to “prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25). Some have erroneously understood that the principle test of mortality is to see how you act in the absence of direction from God. This is simply not so. The test of mortality is to see how you act in relation to direction from God.

Satan recognizes we are all in bondage to our ignorance. He tries to keep everyone in ignorance through means that cause people not to think, not to question, and not to act for their own improvement. He wants them to be satisfied, addicted, unintelligent, docile, dogmatic, frustrated, confused, and angry. His strategy is to keep everyone in ignorance, but he realizes that some people have certain traits that make them dangerous. With these people, he takes a different strategy, depending on their traits.

Those who have the gift of belief, but who have not developed the skill of discernment are flooded by Satan with extraneous nonsense. You can tell these people by how much of their lives they spend on unfruitful practices—practices that might be readily recognizable by others as hokey, superstitious, or cult-like. Note the intentional use of the word “practices.” Those who are believing but neutralized by Satan remain on the hamster wheel of action without ever becoming better people. They are far too busy with their rituals to actually buckle down and learn something: about themselves, about God, etc. These people embrace a very watered-down view of God, and usually subscribe to the simplistic and weak idea that God exists to uniformly accept any and every desire they might have. Satan can rest assured that these types of people will never exert the testing necessary to let go of their time-consuming beliefs, and since their identities are so wrapped up in their false ideas, he can count on their rejection of anyone with higher light and truth who comes along trying to dislodge them.

Those who have the skill of discernment, but not the gift of belief, tend to write off out of hand (either initially or after a grace period of blind obedience to typically inherited religion) anything connected to God. These people readily accept that temporal knowledge is sufficiently complex to require years of professional education and practice, but expect spiritual knowledge to come all at once, with no effort whatsoever. They expect child-level spiritual explanations to endure the weight of adult-level problems, while having no such expectations in temporal areas. All that is required for Satan to derail these people is to expose them to greater awareness than their belief can support. They will not invest the experimentation and study required to grow their faith.

Those with a tendency towards obedience will be bound up in the dogmatic acceptance of whatever they currently believe to the crowding out of anything that is better.

As a result of these tactics, most who would otherwise acquire great light and truth end up turning away from the productive paths and spend their lives doing very little good in the world.

Manifesto

I wrote the following on January 3, 2018.

In July, 2019, I discovered a movement of remnant saints, making covenants with Christ, preparing themselves as individuals, as families, and as a people to come a people of one heart and one mind, and when Lords commands it, to rebuild the waste places of Zion.

I think I found the answer to everything I wrote below. I will be posting more about it in the future.

Of course, all religion is man-made. It begins with one person’s authentic, individual search for truth and reality. Then, somebody else comes along and tries to systematize and codify that search so that, instead of following their own path, people blindly tread in the true seeker’s footsteps, Then, somebody sees a potential to control these blind followers and creates a religion.

We see this pattern repeated over and over throughout history. You can pick your own religion and plug in your own names — different story, same plot.

I see myself as one of those authentic and original seekers. I am not a follower, and I am not looking for followers. I am looking for other leaders who want to change the world. And by change the world, I don’t mean remake the Mormon Church in my own liberal image. I am pushing for a total change in paradigm — how we see reality, how we organize ourselves, how we see ourselves.

Immersing ourselves in man-made religions is not a solution. Atheism is a natural reaction to this madness, but it is a reaction, not a solution. Blind faith and blind doubt are not solutions.

We need to approach all of truth and reality on the spiritual, mental, emotional planes, the same as we use science to approach the physical plane. We need to objectively study and experiment, and we need to share our findings with others. We need to build a body of knowledge that we can pass on. Not so we can create blind followers, but so we can build on that platform and create even more enlightened seekers and researchers, remodel society, and remake the world.

This is not an identity. I don’t need an identity. I’m not looking for an identity. An identity is static. An identity locates you in space and time, and in a fixed mindset. I am constantly changing my viewpoint, seeing things from a new viewpoint, from any and all viewpoints, and from no viewpoint. It’s dynamic.

I’m talking about Christian churches and organized religion in general. And what I’m about to say applies less to the Community of Christ than another church I can think of, so please don’t think I am directing this at you because I am not.

The original meaning of “church” in New Testament times was a gathering of the out-called (ecclesia), but in English and the other languages derived from German is it called “kirsche” (Origin of church: Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, ultimately from Late Greek kyriakon, from Greek, neuter of kyriakos of the lord, from kyrios lord, master; akin to Sanskrit sura hero, warrior)

Churches have become our masters, not our servants. Instead of gatherings of the faithful, they have become seats of power and influence.

Some churches teach that the only way to get to God is through them, and they claim to have a monopoly on power and authority. In this way, they have modeled themselves after civil governments.

Churches have also followed the military in their hierarchy of graded rankings. This works for the military because an army is supposed to be authoritarian, strong, unyielding, impenetrable, merciless, and monolithic. And, at times, secretive. This is a great pattern for a military unit, but not for a body of believers, not for the elect who have been called out.

Military units have rank. Followers of Christ should not. Like the military, in churches, some people are regarded as being better than others. Some people have more access to special communication, or special contact or special access to God that others don’t have. Some peoples’ thoughts and opinions are more highly regarded than others.

Peoples’ personal righteousness is evaluated in terms of their loyalty to the church, not by how well they follow the commandments of Christ, and the “doctrine of Christ”, as taught in the Book of Mormon.

Church members are not encouraged to learn and grow at their own pace. Instead, their leaders hold them back. The members are not allowed to seek for a deeper understanding of the so-called “mysteries”, whether it be learning, by study, or by faith. The Book of Mormon says that this life is the time to prepare to meet God. How many understand this, let alone follow this? How many people expect to meet God in this lifetime. How many people are preparing to meet God in this lifetime?

Another term for holding back a person’s progress is damnation. Self-appointed leaders attract followers and then damn them.

And, while we’re at it, the Book of Mormon teaches that faith is an active, dynamic process by which we obtain knowledge. But, churches teach faith as a static belief in church leaders.

There, have I gone far enough?

We need to re-think this whole concept, and while we are tossing out whole institutions, wholesale. We ought to consider the good purposes they did serve, use that as a foundation, and build something better, that serves us better.

We need to each think of ourselves as stewards, not spectators, and in this role, consider our institutions and their leaders as not our masters, but our servants, as we serve Christ.

I believe a lot of what those dubbed “Restorationists” believe. But, I don’t believe that the early church had it all right. I believe it was just a step in an ongoing journey of restoration that is continuing to this day.

I was involved in the formation of what some envisioned as a “gay Mormon church”. I came to see us are another step in a long succession of restorations. Others wanted to cling to the old model. They prevailed, and we quickly went the same way that I think the LDS church is going to go.

I would love to talk to John Dr. John Dehlin about this because this is a “Mormon Story”, but I guess if you don’t turn into an atheist or progressive liberal, or famous as an ex-church leader, or infamous for blowing up cars, there’s no interest.

I don’t want to go back to polygamy. But, I do want to prepare people to live “The New and Everlasting Covenant”, of which polygamy was an uninformed aberration. I also want to prepare people to receive ALL the ordinances of the temple, make sure they understand and live all the covenants therein, and receive the Second Anointing and the Second Comforter, the public and the private portions of this ordinance. I want them to understand that this is conditioned not on their faithfulness and service to the church, but on their faithfulness and service to the cause of Christ, and to their fellow humans. And I want to give them opportunities to grow and learn and perform faithful service to one another.

I see no conflict between keeping one’s covenants and the sex or gender of the person with whom you are making that covenant. And, by revelation, neither does the Lord.

I also believe that no one group or person has a monopoly on the continuing progress of the Restoration. We all have something to contribute, and we need to include more viewpoints (including this one) and stop fighting one another.

As for the church, at the core, it is like the branch that has been severed from the Vine. Cut off from its source, it is dead and brittle, and will soon turn rotten and become food for the much-needed new life, which will hopefully reattach itself to the Vine.

What’s my religion?

For me, it’s not that simple. Sorry to go on for so long, but this is who I am, and a one-word label would not suffice. I don’t want to give it a name, because when you name it, you define it, you stagnate it, and it ceases to be a living, growing part of you.

I was raised LDS, but I have synthesized for myself a number of things that I have found to be workable and true in my life. I don’t believe anything that I can’t demonstrate for myself. I prefer faith to belief. Belief is passive. Faith is that great active experiment described in the Book of Mormon, where you hold onto a proposition or hypothesis until it is proven true or false. At that point, that thing is no longer faith, but knowledge.

I pick up ideas to test everywhere I go, and in everything I explore. For me, I have found much grist for thought, practical tools for living, and keys to a knowledge of God in Evangelical Christianity, some New Age thought, A Course in Miracles, Kaballah, Sufi, Buddhism, Scientology (Yes, you read that right. I am Clear.), early Mormon writings, the teachings of Joseph Smith, and the writings of JJ Dewey. I don’t follow anybody blindly. I don’t agree with everything these people say, but I take what I can use, and put the rest back on the shelf. I am constantly growing and learning. Nothing is so sacred that is can’t be set aside in order to embrace even greater truth.

For me, a “higher law” isn’t a more restrictive law, it’s a more general law; it covers more ground; it explains more; it places more responsibility on the individual and depends less on external micro-management and policing. In this respect, the two great commandments is a higher law than all the law and the prophets.

For me, spirituality is all about the acquisition of knowledge and the development of our god-like potential, which lies within each of us. This is in contrast to religion, which is a series of exercises designed to force obedience in followers in order to appease an angry God in the hopes that if we do enough, or believe enough, he will overlook our sins and some day endow us with abilities we haven’t developed, and kingdoms we haven’t won, and that in some magical way that being whom we never knew will suddenly become our best friend.

“Someone today making the same claims would be seen as a candidate for the asylum or a fundamentalist, but the actual prophets of today would be saying far different things, things that resonate with people and start social movements. That’s really the primary criterion–that they identify a pressing need and articulate it in a way that deeply resonates with others.”

By this definition the leaders of the LDS church are not true prophets, and they are not even good imitations of the real thing. And yet, today as you said there are people who have identified a pressing need, but have yet to articulate a solution in a way that deeply resonates with enough people to accomplish anything, as of yet.

My experience with the LDS church, and with ending up co-founding another Restoration church taught me that this authoritarian “church” paradigm no longer works. It doesn’t resonate with people. We need a completely new model.

The church I was involved with began as a study group, not a church. It provided the opportunity for disenfranchised LGBT Mormon to continue to serve God by exercising their Priesthood, serving in callings, and receiving all the essential ordinances including the ordinances of the temple. Many of us received revelations. Sometimes the revelations would come to several of us at the same time. We even had our own Day of Pentecost experience when we dedicated our little tabernacle as a temple. We received authority by revelation to do all that we did.

But, we failed to listen and went off on our own and started a church. Not content with that, some members were upset that we were not following the exact pattern of the LDS church, and they steered the church in that direction.

Long story short. We failed. We failed in our mission, and we failed to help the people who needed help. After pondering this for years, I came to the realization that we were good people with good intentions, but were blindly following a failed paradigm. We didn’t need a church with traditional apostles and prophets. We needed something else. What that is I don’t know. And, maybe I’m not supposed to know. One thing I do know is it’s going to be a group effort. There won’t be “one mighty and strong”, leading a bunch of blind followers around. There will be many leaders, and they will have a shared vision, and they will do something that will resonate with the people. That’s all I know. I like to think that when we are ready, the Lord will touch a lot of people, and when that happens, I will get behind them and support them all I can.