The Truth

Here is a recent conversation on Facebook

Comment 1: I Know that, but i still believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints still moving and no one can stop it.

John Crane: The fundamental ideas (like eternal progression, knowing the truth, seeking wisdom through study and faith, direct human experience with God, building a society where each person esteems his brother as himself, a person is saved no faster than they gain knowledge, etc.) behind the church will keep moving and no one can stop them. These are ideas that appeal to everybody, once they hear them explained. However, it seems to many people that the church, as now constituted, is no longer the vehicle for spreading and supporting these ideas, but has degenerated into a conservative, reactionary relic of the 19th century.

Read this quote from Joseph Smith. He doesn’t say a thing about the church:

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

Rob Lauer said: “The truth of God will go forth boldly…” As soon as anyone reduces the truth of God to nothing more than an organization, or one particular creed or nation or program or group of people–then amen to the priesthood of that person. The Spirit–the Light of Truth that is in ALL things and through ALL things; the same Light that is in ALL people, that quickens the understanding of ALL people–this Spirit is grieved and withdraws.

Kate Kelly and Ordaining Women

She’s exercising Priesthood right now. She’s speaking. She’s teaching. She’s writing. She’s organizing. She’s serving others as she sees it. Those are all Priesthood functions. They are just not in the church.

It’s easy to stand on the outside and look at the men in the church and think they have so much power. But, that is not true. Any male who has ever held the priesthood and tried to exercise it within the LDS church knows how little power he really has.

As a local leader, he has very independent latitude to make decisions, because all the thinking has already been done for him and placed in the handbook. Teaching by the Spirit? Not likely. Teachers have to strictly follow the manual. Speaking by the Spirit? That used to be one of my delights in the church. But, I understand now that topics for Sacrament Meeting talks are now assigned.

Even if a general authority says something in General Conference that is not in line with the current thinking of the authorities. Google “Ronald Poelman” and find out what happened to him when he dared stand up and say that members ought to follow their free agency.

We all hold the priesthood. The church never gave it to us, and the church cannot take it away from us. The power of God is a gift we all have from God, simply because it is one of the attributes we inherited by virtue of being children of God. The question is whether a person can develop power in their Priesthood and whether or not he or she can function in their priesthood within the LDS church, or any other church that believes in the Priesthood.

If we have desires to serve God, we are called to the work, but sometimes God calls us to do requires that we serve OUTSIDE the church. This is a shame, because the Priesthood is best exercised in concert with other Priesthood holders, as Joseph Smith and John Taylor taught. But it can be done, if God wills it, and if we have the faith to do it, He will provide all the assistance and support we can use.

If nothing else this Kate Kelly thing has got me thinking. I don’t agree with her methods, but I agree that women should be ordained. I have been scratching my head trying to figure out with scriptural justification for denying women the opportunity to serve. In the Bible, there were female prophets, judges, deacons, and priests. I just saw a problem on Islam today. It explained that the way they treat their women came from a misinterpretation of the Koran and a long-standing cultural norm that predates Islam. In other words, there’s no reason other than “we say so”.

However, lets not get the cart before the horse.

  • First, priesthood leaders must be open to the IDEA that God has Priesthood callings for women as men, and that a women could fulfill the office as well if not better than a man could.
  • Second, ordination to the Priesthood for ANYBODY should be by inspiration, and not done because a person has reached a certain age, or they are related to a high church official, and certainly not done because a person demands it. (Remember the story of Simon in the Book of Acts. Remember also, the story of Mozart’s Magic Flute.)
  • Third, women as well as men must be trained in their duties as priesthood holders.
  • Fourth, women as well as men must be held accountable for how they use their priesthood.
  • Fifth, women as well as men must be unleashed and unmuzzled from the constraints of the church handbooks and encouraged to follow the promptings of the Spirit, which always accompany who answers the call to serve and humbly seeks guidance.

There, ladies, still want to be ordained? The field is white already for harvest.

Ordaining Women

I, together with others, ordained the first woman to the Melchizedek Priesthood in this dispensation with the possible exception that Joseph Smith ordained Emma and other women of the Relief Society in Nauvoo. So, I know a little bit of which I am speaking.

Prople on the Internet are asking God for guidance. Sometimes, when those who should be listening close their ears and refuse to listen, God resorts to speaking through a jackass, or a little child, or through a “renegade” rabbi who is not part of the Jewish hierarchy. If God can speak through Balaam’s ass, through Samuel, or through Jesus the son of a poor carpenter, or Amos who was not a prophet, nor a prophet’s son, or through Nephi, whose father Lehi was the authority, he can probably speak through a FB friend.

The lack of ordaining women is not the problem. No, the problem is much larger, and it starts with the lack of understanding of what the Priesthood really is. We all hold the Priesthood – men and women – LDS and non-LDS. The Priesthood is simply the power to act in the name of God. We are all Gods in embryo. We are as God was and are in the process of fully becoming what God is. There is no attribute that God can give us that we don’t already have. (If you don’t believe this, just look at a new-born baby. You helped create the body, but the mind and spirit were already there. Neither you nor God created it. Now, God is entrusting you to develop it.)

What we don’t have is the knowledge and experience to use what we are already have. This is the purpose of mortality. The purpose of the church is to teach us how to properly develop what we have. The reason there are so many churches and religions is because we are all a different places in our development. We have different cultures and understandings. Each of us perceives God according to our own understanding and culture. But, God is greater than all of this because he is too big to fit in any one church or any one culture.

To ordain somebody to the Priesthood is simply to acknowledge that they posses the power and authority of God. And, to allow them to act, using that authority, in some capacity in the church. That is all.

When seen from this angle, there is no reason why some women can’t be ordained, and, this is the point everybody misses, why all men MUST be ordained. To exercise the priesthood in the church, a person must be called of God. He or she must not demand it, but they can feel a sense of calling and seek it out. Nobody takes this honor (not really the word I would use) unto themselves. Some men just do not feel this calling, while some women may feel such a calling.

The prophet of the RLDS church a number of years ago received a revelation wherein the Lord effectively said don’t be surprised if you see a number of women being called to positions within the church that required that they be ordained to the Priesthood. As I said, Joseph was instructed to ordain Emma in D&C 25. Early writings of church history indicate that Joseph ordained women in the Relief Society.

In the RLDS church (now Community of Christ), husbands and wives who both hold the priesthood, can exercise it together, by going to the hospital and jointly anointing the sick. I could see a father and mother, thus, blessing their children in the home.

Once, in the LDS church, I had to do my home teaching, but couldn’t find a male to go with me. I was recently married, and I asked my new bride to go with me. It was a wonderful, spiritual experience for all. She enjoyed it and appreciated the opportunity, and God didn’t fall off his throne in the process.

Church authorities need to revisit this whole issue of the meaning of Priesthood and its role in the church. They need to start using inspiration to call both men and women to these callings. They should not be automatic at a certain age. They should also prepare people to accept and understand these callings. We didn’t prepare our women properly and the results of their ordinations were not as smooth as they should have been.

Church authorities also need to look at the roles of the partners in marriage. If same-sex marriage has anything to teach society and the church is that there is greater strength and power in a marriage when the partners are equal. The church already recognizes this in their change the the Endowment in the 90’s. We need to be less focused on gender, and more focused on role.

I won’t tell you this is the word of God and threaten you with excommunication or damnation if you don’t believe it. That is your choice and your choice, alone.

But, if it touches your emotions, believe it.

If if makes logical sense to you, teach it.

If it touches you in the innermost being, testify of it.

When are people going to learn? You can’t pour new wine in old bottles. When are you going to recognize that this church has apostatized. The Restoration did not begin with Joseph Smith, and it will not end with Joseph Smith. If true Apostles and Prophets with the revelation and direction from God for us today are not coming forth from the LDS church, then, they must then come from somewhere else.

If all you are looking for is political change, and a voice for your activism, and if you want to continue to play Mouse to the church’s Cat, then by all means, continue to do so, but please stop mourning and thinking your lot is hard.

If, on the other way, you are truly interested in furthering the cause of Christ and the Restoration and bringing about a true Zion, where everyone is welcome and everyone wants to live peaceably with their neighbors, then pray with all the energy of your soul that God will send you true Apostles and Prophets, who understand their callings and fulfill those callings. But, don’t expect these true leaders to do your thinking for you. Zion will only come about because of the shared vision of all, not imposed by the few.

Too Much Tolerance?

There are many virtues that at times seem contradictory to each other, but in fact, enhance and define one another. What we need to do is to BALANCE one virtue with another virtual, instead of balancing one virtue with its opposite. For example: Justice vs Mercy, Love vs Wisdom, Freedom vs Discipline.

Balance Tolerance with what? IN-tolerance? Would a self-proclaimed “apostle of Jesus Christ”, actually advocate intolerance? This seems to be the message we take away from Boyd K Packer’s recent rantings (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56116400-78/church-women-lds-mormon.html.csp) given both the context of his previous talks and writings and in the vagueness of his current pronouncements.

We should balance tolerance with discernment and judgment, but not with intolerance.

With apologies to FDR, the only thing worthy of intolerance is intolerance, itself.

Legalized Immorality

Recently, Boyd K Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, in a Conference talk April 2013, warned of the “tolerance trap”. Tolerance is a virtue, but like all virtues, we must not carry it to extremes. I believe this is a fair and correct paraphrase of his remarks. Then he went on to imply that in the context of the pending U.S. Supreme Court’s pending ruling on marriage equality, too much tolerance leads to “serious spiritual consequences” and amounts to “legalizing immorality”

Let’s take a deeper look at whether marriage between two partners of the same gender or sex equals “legalized immorality”. And let’s use the words and doctrines of the LDS Church to do this.

Spoiler alert:

I am going to quote something to you from the LDS Temple Endowment. If this offends you, stop reading now.

However, these are words from a covenant which many of us have taken and are expected to covenant to live by. This is not any big secret, nor should it be. If you have not received your endowments, you have a right to know the nature of the covenants and obligations you will take upon yourself.
The church publicly teaches the Law of Chastity, and most of us understand what this entails. We are also told by church authorities that legalizing same-sex marriage is tantamount to “legalizing immorality”, because it violates the Law of Chastity. However, the true Law of Chastity is taught and explained in the temple endowment, and the specific wording of that Law is what we covenant to obey “before God, angels, and witnesses”.

So, is legalizing same-sex marriage, and thus making it possible for a man or a woman to be faithful to their “legally and lawfully wedded husband (wife)”, in reality legalizing immorality or, in fact, providing a way for people to obey this Law? Let’s examine the wording of the Endowment Ceremony:

Pre 1990
We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity. This I will explain. To the sisters, it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. To the brethren it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.

Post 1990
Footnote: The 1990 revision does not have women and men covenant separately to keep the law of chastity. Instead, women and men simultaneously covenant to have no sexual relations except with their “husband or wife” to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded. This revision was no doubt made to streamline the ceremony. However, the new wording has the presumably unintended consequence of bringing same-sex marriages–if legalized–within the pale of the law of chastity.

Source: http://www.ldsendowment.org/terrestrial.html

Therefore, a person could be legally and lawfully married to a person of the opposite gender, under the laws of New York, Washington, California, or any other jurisdiction that recognizes marriage equality, and live a monogamous and chaste lifestyle with his or her companion, and according to church doctrine, NOT be living in legalized immortality, Boyd K Packer’s absurd rantings notwithstanding.

And what about those who are in such marriages, but were previously prevented from doing so, and were forced out of necessity to live an immoral lifestyle?

For them, there is the principle of repentance. A person can recognize that he has sinned, make restitution, and promise to himself and God, not to repeat the offense. Or, in other words, stop being promiscuous, find a worthy companion, settle down, getting married and be monogamous.

There is also the principle that God has applied to His people in the past, where He commanded His people to do a thing, but were prevented by the legal authorities from doing so. Moses wanted to take the children of Israel out into the wilderness to offer sacrifice and serve God, but the pharaoh of Egypt would not prevent it. A little closer to the modern day was when the Mormons believed that God commanded them to practice polygamy, which they believed was a requirement for entering the highest degree of heaven, but were prevented from doing so by the U.S. government. Now, whether you believe in the story of Moses or that polygamy was divinely inspired, members of the LDS church, and most importantly, its leaders do.

These leaders should be versed enough in the Bible and in their own history and fair-minded enough to recognize the same principle here. But in this particular case, we have uninspired church leaders siding with the extremists in our government to prevent people from fulfilling his commandments.

D&C 121:16 Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.

The Book of Mormon repeatedly references a people having “ripened in iniquity”, but what are the signs that a nation, a people, or a church has “ripened in iniquity”.

We hear these terms a lot in the Book of Mormon, but how do we know what a people or a church is “ripe for destruction”?

What has to happen before the Lord allows destructive forces to come in and effect a long-overdue cleaning?

Samuel the Lamanite has the answer in Helaman 13:14:

“But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it is spared.  But behold, the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction; yea, wo be unto this great city, because of the wickedness and abominations which are in her.”

This defines the point at which a city, a nation, or a church is ripe for destruction — when they cast out the righteous from among them. Could we say that the LDS Church has reached this point where they cast out the righteous from among them – good and faithful members whose only sin is thinking for themselves and questioning the established authorities?

Freedom, Free Agency, Freewill

I recently read a comment on Facebook to the effect that Free Agency was so important that a war was fought over it. This is in reference to the passage in Rev. 12:17. “And there was war in heaven …” LDS teachings tell us that in that war Lucifer sought to rob man of his agency.

Thanks to Strong’s concordance. “war” could also mean dispute, fight, or quarrel. But whatever you call it, the fight for freewill always figures someplace in the mix, though it may be disguised by other issues. And, nobody said the war in heaven was ever settled. It just moved to a new field of battle: here and now.

Most LDS incorrectly assume that agency was a gift given to us by God. This is not true. Man was in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created, neither, indeed, can be. Man was in the beginning with God. If there was any attribute that God possessed, man also possessed it. God, through the application of free agency, and the aquisition of knowledge developed into the position where he is today. If man is to achieve the same exalted status, it must be on the same principles. If not so, then God is not God, and we can never become gods, ourselves.

But, agency is not a “gift”. It is an inherent part of what we are. I suppose one could consider that it is a “gift” to recognize that freedom in others and allow them to enjoy it. But, to presume free agency is a “gift”, i.e. something that was given, it also to presume that it can be taken away. We can thoughtlessly allow others to take it away, but it can never be taken from us.

Don’t ever fall into the trap of being led to believe that your inherent freewill is a gift that can be given or taken away at somebody else’s pleasure. There is a war going on, and to surrender your free agency is to surrender in the war.

New major writing available

The Foundation of Zion Volume 2

I haven’t been active with this blog because I have been busy for months getting this ready for publication. This is the result. This document gathers together in one place all that I am about. If you don’t read anything else on this website, you should download and read this.