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.

“Old Sectarian Notions”

There are a lot of “old sectarian notions” that Mormons accept without questioning or examining. The idea that we think we know it all, and therefore, there is no need to think more deeply about it, or query the mind and will of the Lord on the matter, it itself an “old sectarian notion”.

In fact, one of the defining characteristics of a sect is that they have notions substituting for true factual and revelatory insights.

The November 15th Policy

I see it as a unintended test (but a test nonetheless) to see how long people will tolerate being governed and judged by a book of rules they cannot read (unless it is leaked), and by “revelations” they cannot read and have no voice in sustaining.

The Law of Moses was intended to be a “schoolmaster” to lead us to Christ. Its purpose was to impose such heavy burdens on the people that they would be led to see the futility of the law as a means to achieve perfection and would be brought to that point of tension in their lives where they are forced to seek “a more excellent way”.

The situation is similar today. The Letter of the law or the Spirit of the law. Obedience by micromanagement, or obedience by following the Two Great Commandments.

There are many people, especially LGBT people, who are at this point of decision in their lives and are faced with choices they refuse to make. Gay, Happy, Mormon. They can’t have all three with making some complicated rationalizations which force them to “navigate” their way through life.

The purpose of this policy is to force a decision: either stay in the church, fall in line, support the leaders with all your heart, live celibate,and cease whining about about the policy, or leave the church, live your own life, make your own peace with God, and create your own relationship and your own family with somebody you truly love.

If this policy doesn’t force people to face reality and the decision they must make, the Lord will surely up the ante, and another, even more stringent rule, regulation, or policy will leak out and bring them even closer to decision.

Faith Crisis Defined

People act like questioning one’s faith is a bad thing.

Faith SHOULD always be questioned. PROVE everything and and hold fast to that which is good. And the corollary to this is, if it is not good, get rid of it.

The problem, as I see it, is people have NOT been questioning their faith, but simply taking everything on faith. There is a subtle difference. But, one day reality, as it is always prone to do, creeps up on them and forces them to make a decision. This is known as a crisis.

Faith Crisis 2

I had a “faith crisis” of a different kind. It wasn’t because of church history, polygamy, Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, etc. My faith crisis came early on when I became converted to the church from the scriptures and the early writings. I became converted to a gospel, not a church. I believed that the church was best suited to implement the gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the potential to change men’s lives. Joseph Smith’s teachings about the fundamental god-like nature of man, free agency, and the principles of Zion that would transform society. All of this got me very excited about the possibilities of the church and its future mission.

This started to unravel when I moved to Utah and started college. I found a people who didn’t live, much less believe their religion. I found a church that was more interested in preserving the status quo and in damning its members to a life of mediocrity rather than lifting them up beyond the conventional norms of society. Instead of true prophecy and revelation, I find conservative talking points sugar-coated in Mormon-speak. I see no evidence of the keys their leaders claim to possess. They can’t even explain the Priesthood, or its ordinances. They cover their ignorance of the significance of the temple in a veil of secrecy.

I feel to say with Mormon: why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why have miracles ceased? It is because faith is not present, and all has become as if there had been no atonement made.

There is no faith in the church, and I have no faith in the church, and those who do so have misplaced their faith, and when the storms rage, and they are swept off their sandy foundation, they cry about a “faith crisis”.

Faith Crisis 1

I can’t understand anyone who was a Mormon having a “faith crisis”. From the very get-go, Mormonism is a religion based on KNOWLEDGE, not FAITH. Faith is a tool with which to gain knowledge, but the end product of faith is knowledge. I knew that God lived and loved me, before I was excommunicated, and I knew the same thing afterword. The church is just a temporary scaffolding upon which we can climb to learn about faith, knowledge, and to commune with God. When I was excommunicated, they took away the scaffolding, or the training wheels. Then, I realized that I didn’t need them.

If your faith is built on the church, then you have built your house on sand, not on a rock. You have trusted in the arm of flesh, which is guaranteed to disappoint you every time.

I’m grateful for what I learned from the church, and for the members, teachers, and leaders who helped me along the way. I’m even grateful that they showed me the door and pushed me out of it.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”