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.”

The Best is Yet to Come

I don’t see the point of these “celebrations” or “press conferences”, or whatever you want to call them. People and commentators typically act outraged and surprised that the church could excommunicate them. Then, they become “celebrities” like the “September 6” or the “Top 20 disturbers of the kingdom”, or whatever.

I’ve seen the endless parade of blogs, all written by people, supported by their endless fans who judge them as “awesome” or “amazing”. They try to outdo each other in word smithing their condemnations of the church.

I’m not saying they aren’t original or interesting because they are. The songs are different, but the melody is the same, and it’s getting tiresome. They are as attached to the church and obsessed with whatever the Big Brethren say as the “true blue Mormons”.

Blind acceptance and blind rejections are two sides of the same coin.

Hatred is just as much an attachment as love.

It does no good to fight the church or think that your blog, your suicide or excommunication is going to make any difference.

Whenever, you get filled with hubris and think you are indispensable, get a glass of water, put your finger in, then pull it out.

Don’t blame the church. The church is just being what it is: a church — an earthly seat of power masquerading as the Kingdom of God. A church is gonna do what a church is gonna do. Establish a seat of power, and the corruptible will be drawn to it like flies. The game of “King of the Mountain” has nothing to do with the kingdom that Christ established.

When you strip off the pomp and the fancy titles, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the various sects. That’s sad, because this church, before it organized itself as a church, had such auspicious beginnings. A group of people worshiping Christ, seeking to establish His kingdom, receiving revelation and latter-day scripture, through living prophets.

You don’t need a lot of money. You don’t need a lot of people. You don’t need a fancy temple to serve God, or to see God. You can get your own revelation and direction, and take it from there. We are told that in the last days the young men and women will dream dreams and see visions. Have you had your dream yet? We are told that Elijah will come to REVEAL the Priesthood. Has Elijah revealed the Priesthood to YOU? Do you even know what that means?

But, rather than wasting your time mocking what you see as evil, why not put that effort into establishing something good and worthwhile — something that will hasten the coming of the true Kingdom of God and his Zion?

If complaining is all you know, I feel sorry for you. I feel especially sad knowing all that God has in store for us in the future, and how He stands ready to reveal more of his will for us in establishing peace and goodwill to this planet. But, people are so obsessed with looking down at the mud, that they will not look up at the heavens.

What we call “the Restoration” is not over. Not even close. It’s just the opening salvo. I have a testimony that the best is yet to come.

And, I have a testimony that we will SUCCEED, either because of this church, or in spite of this church.

I also have a testimony that “if you have desires to serve God, you are called to the work”, and not only that, God will empower you and enlighten you and show you your part. The Restoration is not a spectator sport. We are all here for a reason. We are all here to help. We are the people we have been waiting for.

I really don’t care whether Runnells was blessed by a deacon or the angel Moroni, himself. If you have faith to be healed, and if such is the will or the Lord, you will be healed. I have witnessed miracles of healing by Priesthood holders of this church, so I know the power is there. It is a poor workman that blames his tools. And, an ever poorer workman who broadcasts his problems to the world.

I am not insensitive to his need for an interpreter. I am visually impaired, myself, and am gradually losing my hearing. My husband is handicapped. People with impairments don’t need sympathy, but they do need acceptance, and they do need reasonable accommodation. It’s the decent and the human thing to do.

Temple Ordinances

I have been a veil worker, temple sealer, officiator, and leader of prayer circles. I was also on a committee to revise the Endowment for LGBT people in the RCJC. At first, I thought all the ordinances and rituals were a bunch of empty mumbo jumbo, until I really immersed myself in the work. I had to memorize the lecture given in connection with the prayer circle, and how to conduct the prayer circle. I was determined to learn it by heart, so I walked around and around this big city block in LA until I memorized it. After the 10th time around the block, I realized that there was something very important and powerful to this.

I am going to toss out a few seemingly unconnected statements of Joseph Smith and others for you consideration, and for you to connect the dots:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed with pure water.—Hebrews 10:19-22.

“Let my servant William Law also receive the keys by which he may ask and receive blessings;” D&C 124:97

“You do not know how to pray and get your prayers answered.” Joseph Smith

“There are signs in heaven, earth, and hell. The Elders must know them all to be endowed with power,to finish their work and prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs but dos not know the sign of the Son of Man, or Jesus.No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the Holiest of Holies.” —Joseph Smith, Diary, in “Book of the Law of the Lord.

“Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that He talked with him [Noah] in a familiar and friendly manner, that He continued to him the keys, the covenants, the power and the glory, with which He blessed Adam at the beginning; and the offering of sacrifice, which also shall be continued at the last time; for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the Priesthood, under the directions and commandments of the Almighty in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation, therefore all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at any former period, shall be had again, bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets; then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable offering to the Lord. “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord.” (See Malachi 3:3.)

I am not convinced that if you are just doing vain repetition, an ordinance is a waste of time, but with understanding and the Spirit, these can literally open the heavens to you, and educate you about the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation in a way that nothing else can.

Faith Crisis

I look on a faith crisis as a good thing. A crisis means questioning, and that means change and growth. Or, at least should mean change and growth. If it doesn’t, it’s not faith, it’s indecision.
 
Faith isn’t a static belief or disbelief in something. It’s dynamic. It’s changing. If faith doesn’t lead you to a place you haven’t been before, then it’s not faith.

Understanding “New Power”

This is what I have been saying ever since I was first exposed to this idea in Business School. It helps explain what is happening today in the fields of government, business and even Internet. What’s up with the Tea Party and Occupy? What do they have in common? Does Apple understand the “New Power”.

This will give you insights into how traditional religion operates and the best way to change it. But you need to understand power and how to use it to produce desired effects. For instance, if you want to give women more voice in churches without changing the power model, you have just substituted a new tyranny for the old tyranny.

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

Harvard Business Review