Do You Need a Redeemer?

Mainstream Mormons are used to communicating in a certain rhetoric, and anybody who strays from the accepted script is in trouble. If anybody doesn’t believe me, then just try restating standard orthodox Mormon doctrine, but do so in your own words. They won’t understand you.

If we once lived in the Presence of God, but do not do so now, then we need a Redeemer in order for us to return to the place and condition from whence we came. But, that Redeemer is us. Christ showed us how to do it, but it is we who must do it. That’s what it means to follow Christ and to believe in Christ. To follow Christ is to do what Christ did and live as he lived. To believe in Christ is to have faith that following Christ will redeem us.

What is “Mormon” Exactly?

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 …”

Mormons Admit to Racist Past

Why, after all these years, is this coming up now? 35 years later? The Mormon Church never does anything unless it is forced to do so. Sure, all churches had a racist past, BUT the Mormon church always presented itself as an exception — the true church of Jesus Christ, living prophets who were in constant communication with God. They didn’t moisten their finger and stick it in the air. They talked to God. Joseph Smith ordained women to the Priesthood and at least one black man to the Priesthood. The racism really flowered under Brigham Young.

If they were mistaken, why didn’t God step in and correct them sooner? According to Church doctrine, God will never allow the prophet to lead the people wrong. Is this now an admission that God lead them wrong, or an admission that they never asked God about this in the first place? Which is it?

I believe the reason the church is doing this now is they are setting the stage to soften their stance on Gays. They won’t come out in full support of Gays, but they will soften their stance in a few years. Then 35 years later, they will admit they were totally wrong for being homophobic and were “just caught up in the the times”. 35 years too late to save the families they destroyed and bring back the people who committed suicide because they were falsely told that they offended God.

Advice to a Mormon Thinking of Coming Out

If you tell them you are gay and if you are in some way “acting on it”, (Whatever that means. The church’s definition, not mine.) you stand in a position to be excommunicated.
If you just have an attraction, and never “acted on it”, you are probably safe in telling your bishop. But, IMO, it’s none of anybody’s business, if you’re not acting on it. If you can live that way, (I did for over 20 years.) more power to you. Living a lie for so long was tearing up my life, and I had to come clean with myself and the rest of the world.

At this point, the choice is up to you. But, it has to be your choice. Don’t let some “Gay community group” talk you into coming out if you are not ready. They already have enough martyrs. They don’t need you to be their next victim.

Some people are afraid of excommunication and try to stay in hiding for the rest of their lives, hoping the church will never find out. I told them and they excommunicated me. I don’t really mind, and I have no hard feelings. I may have lost the church, but I never lost God, and that is what’s really important to me.

 
One of the things that helped me reconcile all of this back in the 80’s was a pamphlet from Affirmation about excommunication. It basically explained that it was not the end of the world.

 
I have, over the years, seen the church lose some of its best, smartest, most capable, and most faithful members because they came out as gay. This, IMHO, is a terrible shame and a waste, but this is the game they want to play.

 
But, before you do anything, I would make sure you have a strong support system of friends, associates, and hopefully family to back you up, whatever your decision is. It going to be tough to make any decision, and it’s going to be tough living with any decision, but such is life. Nobody said it was going to be easy, and this is how we grow.

 
Sorry to have to say this because many church teachings actually clarify and elucidate some of the darker passages of the Bible, but, here, the LDS Church has fellen into the same trap of mis-interpretation, mis-translation, and mis-application of Biblical passages that the sectarians have fallen into.

Nowhere does the Bible provide a definitive definition of marriage, and nowhere does the Bible condemn a stable, faithful, committed relationship or marriage between two people of the same sex. The D&C tells us (29:30) that not all God’s judgments are given to man. So, until God sees fit to reveal them all, we must never presume that we know them all.

Some say: “Gods laws are eternal, and it is not our place to question them.”

Let’s dissect this statement.

(1) These are not “God’s laws” in the sense that God owns them, or they originated with God. These are laws that God has to follow, himself. As Joseph Smith taught, following these laws is how God became God. Or, as the Book of Mormon teaches, unless God follows these laws, “God would cease to be God”.

(2) Man becomes like God, or more correctly, develops those godlike attributes inherent within him, on the same principles.

(3) But, if any church, teacher, prophet, guru, etc. claims to speak for God and tells you what God’s laws are, our religion teaches us that we have not only the RIGHT, but the DUTY to question those pronouncements and find out whether the laws are true or fabrications. There are two ways we can do this: (A) By going directly to God, ourselves, or (B) Discovering these principles, for ourselves, by life experience.

(4) It IS your place to question what a church teaches and claims to be a “law of God”. In the end, it is you and you alone who is responsible for your own salvation. You stand or fall based on your freewill obedience to divine principles, not on your blind or forced obedience to what some church tells you are divine principles. You can either live the Gospel, or what you think it the Gospel. In this light, it is IMPERATIVE that each man learn the truth for himself.

(5) If a church comes to you claiming to teach the “law of God”, it is up to you to judge whether they are “(A) telling the truth, (B) the whole truth, and (C) nothing but the truth”.

  • (A) As I previously said, the principles the church cites in this article are not factually true, if their sole basis for their claim is the English translation of the King James Bible.
  • (B) The church is not telling the whole truth, because there has been no fresh revelation, (to them at least, though God will reveal His mind and will on this subject to any person who is humble enough to ask for it), and we are told that the judgments of God are not all given to man, neither are we told what qualifies a person for the lower two degrees of the Celestial Kingdom.
  • (C) Given their statement, it is impossible to separate out what are the laws of God and what is the cultural bias of the evangelical right-wing political rhetoric, so they are guilty of adding to the truth.

(6) But, if a person chooses not to follow those laws set up by some man-made church, either through ignorance of them, or through blind rebellion, or because he chooses to follow the laws of God, not the laws of man, what right does any church or religion have to step outside of its own ecclesiastical circle and trample, in the public area, on those individuals who choose not to these laws which they believe to be of God? I refer you to D&C 134, which clearly delineates the boundary between church and state.

What Would it Really Take for the LDS Church to Embrace Same-sex Marriage?

As same-sex marriage inevitably becomes legal in more and more states, thoughtful members and investigators must ask themselves: if the Church believes so strongly in marriage, and believes that families are forever, and since same-sex marriage and families headed by same-sex couples are the law of the land, why does the LDS church still frown upon this, and excommunicates whose who also strongly believe in the institutions of marriage and family?
I don’t see it as much of a doctrinal stretch for the LDS church to embrace same-sex marriage.

 

  • The first step, of course, would be to approach God on the subject and be open to new revelation that somes. Revelation comes in answers to questions. If a person believes he already knows all the answers and that God has spoken the final word on the subject, he will not seek the mind and will of God, and is no better than the sectarians who deny modern-day revelation.
  • The second step would be to insist that the Law of Chastity applies to all. The 1990 version of the Endowment describes this covenant in a non-gender-specific way. Same-sex couples must be under the same obligation to be faithful to their husband or wife, the same as opposite-sex couples. There is no special pass for gay couples.
  • The third step would be to realize that, as the D&C says, not all of God’s judgments have been given to man. Why? One reason why is we have not asked to know them, or they have not been relevant until now. One question all Mormons have is what happens to those who do not inherit the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom? This has never been explained to us, and is a “mystery”. But, our founder, JS, Jr. specialized in uncovering the mysteries. Therefore, if there is a living prophet cut out of the same cloth, he should be able to do the same. This brings us back to point 1.

Zion

This is a commentary on this link http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/08/we-dont-need-new-church.html

The man is right on. Zion is an idea. This idea is not owned by any one man or group of men. (women either). It exists in the hearts of us all. Someday, conditions will cause it to blossom forth, and then, nothing can stop it.

There is nothing more powerful than a great idea, when its time has come. Great walls cannot keep it out. Armies cannot kill it. Propaganda engines cannot corrupt the vision, when all can see it for themselves.

I believe it will start when enough people are so sick of the way the world has been running all these years; they will realize that our efforts so far have been a FAILURE; and they will try to institute a new order. Eventually, we will succeed.

Sealing, Keys, and Priesthood

We were having a discussion on Facebook about how people are sealed to one another. Here is a comment from Rob Lauer:

“We seal ourselves to one another by the Holy Spirit of Promise which is that spiritual bond that we create one with another. And whatever glory we possess when we enter into eternity is the glory that we have cultivated within ourselves; it is not given to us or granted to us by some outside power or authority. As the eternal aspect of each of us is eternal and uncreated, without beginning or end, we possess the power and authority to order our lives and to progress on our own. When we cultivate any degree of glory within ourselves, it is because we have lived in harmony with the eternal natural law upon which that glory if predicated. Ordinances and rituals are–like scripture–works of art, the creations of human beings. This gives them even deeper meaning to us as they can speak powerfully to our individual conditions; but ordinances and rituals only celebrate a spiritual reality or aspiration. In and of themselves they do not (cannot) grant blessings or powers or insure results of any kind.” Rob Lauer

I agree with what Rob said, but I also believe that authority and keys need to be conferred.

How, do you recognize the two ideas? After thinking and praying about this issue, this is what makes sense to me.

We, as gods in embryo, or as part of the great whole called “God”, whichever way you want to look at it, already possess the power that God has. Nobody can give you any more power than you already have. But, God has one thing that we don’t have.

(1) He has knowledge of HOW to use this power. Without this knowledge, the power is useless and ineffective. Keys in the Priesthood consist of knowledge of how to use the Priesthood. I duscuss elsewhere in this blog, in “The Foundation of Zion Vol. II” how we obtain this knowledge and these keys from God. If a man claims to hold the keys, but possesses no knowledge, then he does not have any keys, nad therefore, no power in his Priesthood. If a man has knowledge of how to use his Priesthood, then, he must, of necessity, recognize that he possesses keys. And he must know that he has the keys.

A formal ordination does not confer Priesthood. It simply means that a body of people recognize your Priesthood and acknowledge that you are able to exercise it within their purview. The article mentioned above describes how receive the ultimate power, knowledge, and keys in the Priesthood from none other than God.

(2) Joseph Smith recognized that no man exercises the Priesthood in a vacuum. Each person who holds the Priesthood, exercises it in concert with every other Priesthood holder who is alive, or who ever lived and held the Priesthood. President John Taylor also taught this principle. Priesthood can only effectively function when we are linked together with our brethren through the ages, and our immediate brethren in a Priesthood quorum. This principle needs to be more fully taught, understood, and lived. We are far more powerful when we organize ourselves into groups of individuals and work and act together as one.