Religion is believing in other peoples’ experience.
Spirituality is having experience for yourself.
Religion is believing in other peoples’ experience.
Spirituality is having experience for yourself.
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.
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.
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.
Mormons, remember our Sunday School lessons about the pre-existence? Satan was going to force everybody to do right and return to God. Christ was going to allow everybody to exercise their free agency, with possible casualties along the way.
It’s a classic case of the old saw “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Or, the business principle the trade-off between risk and reward. If a person is allowed to exercise his or her innate agency, there is more risk that they will fail. but if they face opposition, use their agency, and succeed, they will grow and be better off because of it.
But, if a person is kept confined in a cage, whether of iron bars, or artificially-imposed barriers, the person doesn’t grow and develop.
In the temple, we learn that we are here to have experience and to learn to choose for ourselves, in order to learn the differences between opposing forces. But it seems like churches (all churches) don’t want people to have experiences. In fact, they condemn people who think for themselves, make their own choices, and have their own experiences.
I ask you, whose plan is that? Christ’s or Lucifer’s?
In case you have trouble answering that, answer this question: where do we read that the “war in heaven” ever ended or that a truce was called? Nowhere.
Also, where do we ever read even though the pre-existent spirits rejected Lucifer’s plan, where do we read the Lucifer ever gave up or that God ever stopped Lucifer from trying to fulfill his plan? Remember Lucifer has HIS agency as well?
Again, if Lucifer got his way, how would he go about forcing people to do “good”?
I submit to you that that war is not over, and Lucifer, who became Satan, is going about deceptively working through religion to still force people to do “good”.
Sometimes the greatest evil we can do is to force men to be good. Or obey what we think is good.
Remember, Adam and Eve weren’t looking for religion. They were looking for true messengers. I think the church has gone down the slippery slope, forgotten whose side they are on, and become more preachers of religion, rather than true messengers.
The prophets, seers, and revelators have become profiteers and regulators.
Doctrine and Covenants 10:67-68 – “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.”
It is easier to prove from the Bible that Christ established the kingdom of God than to prove that he founded a church.
Same with the LDS church. Nowhere do you find in revelations. prior to the actual legal organization of the church that God commanded JS to organize the church as a legal entity, but God does acknowledge it after the fact.
Now my own experience. In the 80’s a group of gay excommunicated Mormons decided to start meeting together in homes and partaking of the Sacrament. While we were praying for directions from the Lord, he instructed us by revelation to organize ourselves into a Priesthood body. He mentioned NOTHING about a church, only the Priesthood. And, the revelations came not just to one of us, but two. There was a true second witness. Sometimes the revelations came to us simultaneously, even though we were in different physical locations. I take all of this to mean that the Lord was serious about us knowing that he approved of what we were doing.
As we grew larger, and into multiple locations, we organized ourselves into families. The impression came to me that since we had, in many cases, been disenfranchised from our biological families and couldn’t marry at the time, we should gather into de facto families and seek out committed relationships.
But, somewhere along the line, we stopped listening to the Lord and started imitating the LDS church. We sought legal recognition, organized a “First Presidency”, and formed branches. One revelation warned us that we had “followed the arm of flesh in organizing branches”.
The group ceased to grow, and more and more internal strife ensued. Certain individuals began seeking for power and position and staged a political coup, ousting the original leadership. After the takeover, the group began to take on more and more of the LDS characteristics and become a closed organization.
By this time, I was out of the group and pondered for years where we went wrong, with a group of friends, turning out to be enemies. I came to the conclusion that the exact point where we went astray was when we switched focus from being a group of families, united by the Priesthood, and turned into a group of branches, organized into a church.
There was a church founded in 1985, called The Church of Jesus Christ of ALL Latter-day Saints. It wasn’t a break-off. It was founded by revelation and a new dispensation of priesthood. We received all the keys, the same as Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
The LDS church sued us over the name, so we changed it to The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just a church for gays and lesbians, but was intended to be a home for all those thinkers, activists, dissidents, feminists, intellectuals, etc. We ordained women. We conducted temple ordinances. We married couples for time and eternity. And, all of this, with keys and authorization from God.
But, just stop and think about this for a minute. God loves and values all of us so much and doesn’t want any of us to miss out on the blessings that flow through the Priesthood. There were people who loved God and wanted to serve Him, but the church, supposedly set up in His name, prevented them from doing so. Therefore, God had to make an end run.
We followed the open model of common consent used by the Community of Christ, which meant that in Conference, any member could discuss and disagree with any proposed revelation of leadership change, without consequences. After a couple of years, the entire presidency was voted out, and the church was reorganized after more traditional LDS lines, so that such a leadership coup could never happen again. Following that, the church limped along and eventually lost most of its members, finally disbanding in 2011, after a 25-year run.
If necessary, and if and only if directed by God, I could re-establish such a group, but I feel no need for it, no demand for it, and most of all, no direction from God to do so. In fact, I am under the same direction as Joseph Smith when God told him: “Join none of them!”
The idea of churches and organized religion is a failed model, and is failing us as an institution. I am praying that God will reveal something better, going forward, and frankly, I don’t care whether direction come through me or through somebody else. But, I don’t see anything like that happening until more people are sick and tired of tolerating and denying failure, and trying to fix what isn’t working, and are hungering and thirsting after something better.
In the meantime, there are many enlightened and motivated individuals, each following their conscience and working to achieve progress on many different fronts. I consider these my co-workers, though I have to keep reminding myself that, even though we don’t always see eye-to-eye, each of us is following his or her highest light.
We have all read the news, and hopefully by now, those who were in denial have now read the writing on their Facebook wall from sources they trust. There will continue to be angst, wailing and gnashing of teeth, scripture quoting, statements from groups attempting to build bridges, calls for suicide prevention, etc.
But the question is this: given that the Church is answerable only to itself, and you have no input or recourse, what are you going to do?
Spend the rest of your life whining and complaining, or look for something better?
Is your loyalty to the church or to your God? Do you believe that a God who wills everybody to come to Him has not provided other ways to approach him?
Are you still under the illusion that the Church will someday moderate its policies and let you live your life, that is not really a life, but a half-life? Toward which direction are they moving? More acceptance or less? Once they have declared something “apostasy”, how can they ever back down from that stance? How can they ever come back in 1 year, 10 years, or 100 years and admit that they were wrong?
The real test in life for each of us is not what happens to us, but how we decide to deal with it. This is the stuff of life: a problem or challenge, (which is really an opportunity or blessing in disguise), and a decision that need to make. We can choose to confront the problem and solve it and gain the experience and blessing, or we can choose to whine about the problem, but refuse to confront it and just let it fester and damn ourselves in a quagmire of indecision.
We can’t see past choices we can’t understand, but to understand the choice, we first have to recognize and confront that choice. The pain and angst that I see expressed is not because of what the Church has done, but because people are being force to see a choice that we don’t want to see. If you haven’t seen it before, the choice is now placed clearly before you. It might be painful to look at that choice, but once you face that pain head-on and deal with it, you can then continue your life and that moment of pain will seem as a brief moment. You may even look back and laugh at yourself for getting to hung up on such a triviality.
So the question again: what are you going to do? I know what my husband and I are going to do, but if I told you what to do, I would be no better than these blind guides who crave your blind obedience. This is your life. This is your choice.
I think it’s time for people who feel they have been harmed by the church, to just let it go and move on, rather than to continually wallow in their grief and publicly revel in their sorrow by staging yet another media spectacle.
If you have forgiven somebody, then just forgive them and get on with your life. If a specific individual has harmed you, then settle it alone between you and them, if that is possible.
You have been hurt. Acknowledge that. Also acknowledge that this is what religions do: they set up little circles of inclusion and exclusion. If you were once in the circle, they have the power to enforce conformance in thought and action, and if you don’t comply, they ostracize you. So what? If you happen to be an atheist or somebody who never believed in the doctrine anyway, what do you care? Good riddance.
But, if somebody was a member of any church and harbored a feigned allegiance or born a false testimony, then it is they who have sinned against the church, and not the other way around. The church needs to forgive you, and not the other way around.
How many of these people are still connected with the church in some way? Have they actually been officially excommunicated, or simply sent a letter of resignation. Have they made a clean break, or are they still connected in some way? Love and Hatred and both forms of connection. The difference is only in degree.