I wrote a paper on what keys are. I discuss every reference to keys in the scriptures and in the speeches of Joseph Smith, and some quotes from contemporary authors. This paper also deals with the Mormon succession crisis, and who, if anybody, has inherited the right to run the modern corporation. Power in the Priesthood.
Many Mormons have put their church and its leaders ahead of Christ, and as such are idolators. But, as a commentator pointed out, to say that all Mormons put the church ahead of Christ is taking a generalization too far. Many LDS people are today waking up to the fact that, as a group, we have had a tendency to do worship the church and not Christ, and to trust the church not the Lord to save us, and I will stand by my position that many top church leaders put the organization ahead of Christ. But many ordinary members are grateful for other members who showed us that we were doing this, and we realized our mistake. I think some of the best teachers in the church, are not the leaders, or the official teachers, but fellow members, who by their example, and a word or two, get us thinking.
I am grateful for the church for bringing us together under a common umbrella and for preserving the scriptures so that we can study they for ourselves. I hope, in this blog, I can attract and retain people who want to put the Lord first in their lives, and I promise that I will try harder not to overly generalize. This is a tendency we get into online. This trend actually started when all people had was email, when we lost that personal connection and could hide behind words. And now it’s carried over into blogs and Facebook. We all really need to watch ourselves in this.
“Christianity”, as a belief system, is nothing to be admired as its adherents place their creeds ahead of Christ, and are just as much idolators. Their idea of “faith”, for example, is not seeking revelation and acting it, but instead, their idea of faith is a set of beliefs that you must follow.
I will admit to one of my pet peeves. I really, really, really don’t like organized religion, and I tend to go overboard in condemning it. It’s just because I have seen what it can do to people who would otherwise be great friends. However, many people see great value in large organizations, and I will try to be more tolerant. To me, the most spiritual times I ever had with people was in private discussions, or in small meetings held in peoples’ homes. I grew up in small branches of the church all my life, and on my mission, and that was all I knew until I attended college in Utah.
The definition of the church of Christ and a true disciple of Christ is very simple. It’s in the D&C.
10:67. Behold, this is my doctrine–whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
10:68. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
10:69. And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
10:70. And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.
Are you as excited as I am about obtaining and reading the additional records which are promised to come out in the last days? If you are, then you are probably a Book of Mormon reader, and a believer that additional records will be forthcoming:
- The fullness of the re-translation of the Bible, including the contents of the plates of brass (Old Testament).
- The fullness of the record of the Twelve Apostles (New Testament).
- The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon.
People are going to approach you, if they haven’t already, claiming to have translated these records. They will make sensational and tantalizing claims. These records will surely come forth, but only under certain conditions, and possibly only to certain people. What are those conditions and who are these people?
Here they are:
3 Nephi 26:8 And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.
3 Nephi 26:9 And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.
3 Nephi 26:10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.
Ether 4:5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.
Ether 4:6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
Ether 4:7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.
These records will not come forth until there are enough people with faith sufficient to receive them. To receive them means more than to possess them, or lightly read them in order to satisfy your curiosity. To receive them means to read them, embrace them, search them, receive revelation concerning them, and teach them.
These additional scriptures aren’t given to people who either want to satisfy their lusts with them, or debate against them.
Ether 4:8 And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.
But the main condition pertaining to the coming forth of these records is FAITH. By now, you should realize that faith is more than just belief or assent. More than following some “abominable” [the Lord’s word, not mine] creed. More than obedience to some man claiming to act for God. Faith means to seek revelation from God, receive it, and act on it.
How do you receive the word of God? From the scriptures, from inspired teachers, from true servants of the Lord, and ultimately personal revelation from God to you. In order to receive and appreciate new revelation, you must have also received some personal revelation yourself and be familiar with the revelatory process. You will probably have received at least your baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. The scriptures (above) say you must be sanctified: the definition and the result of having been “born again”. Your journals will contain sacred experiences and insights that you know came from God. You will understand how God teaches us, and specifically how God teaches you, and you will be hungry to learn more. You may probably have had revealed to you some of the contents of these records, so they will come as no great surprise. But, even if God has revealed every word of them to you, already, they must still come forth as a witness to the world that God faithfully honors His covenants and promises.
So, this is a call to prepare for coming events by knowing the true definition of faith, and by developing your own personal faith. As enough of us do this, and enough of us cry out to the Lord for additional light and truth, in order to bear up under the trials yet to come, the heavens will be moved with compassion, and the Lord will send His servants to you with these records in their hands. In His name, Amen. So let it be.
If you are anything like me, you used to skip over the chapters in the Book of Mormon that quoted Isaiah. I always did. Then, I bought a copy of Avraham Gileadi’s translation of the Book of Isaiah, and I could finally see what Isaiah was talking about. I think it was Chapter 49 I was reading when I realized: he’s talking about some kind of special “servant”. Then I found other chapters talking about a servant. Is it the same servant or different servants? I have read from other people talking about end-time servants. And, there are people from time to time claiming to be that servant.
I finally decided to dig into this issue for myself. Gileadi is the ultimate resource. I have taken the chapters from his translation of Isaiah that specifically have to do with the end-time servant and listed them together with a condensed version of his commentary.
Here is a brief list of what are the most important attributes of the end-time servant as gleaned from the chapters of Isaiah and included in this document.
• Called before birth.
• Helped create the world.
• His genealogy: Wild shoot grows out of trunk of Jesse (Christ). Wild shoot doesn’t produce fruit, but keeps the tree alive. A tame natural branch of the tree is grafted onto the wild shoot. It blossoms and bears fruit: this is the Branch, the end-time servant.
• Likened to Moses, David, Hezekiah, Cyrus in the Old Testament.
• Likened to Joseph Smith D&C 103.
• His missions are to defeat the archtyrant, return Jacob to Israel, be a light/ensign to the Gentiles, prepare the way for the coming of Jehovah. Subduing nations, releasing captives, leading the new exodus, and rebuilding ruins.
• As Jehovah’s hand to Jehovah’s people, the servant reclaims their remnant, smelts away their dross, empowers them, leads their new exodus, leads their new conquest, assigns them inheritances, and protects them. Many, however, pay no regard to him.
• Goes through life phases of Descent (futility), Marred, Healing, Ascent (reversal of circumstances.)
• Ascends to seraph level: beloved, sealing power, power over the elements, Patriarchal Order.
• The world knows nothing about him until he is empowered, neither do Jehovah’s people.
• Initially rejected by Jehovah’s people (Jacob/Israel), who later trust him.
• Initially rejected by the world, but later acclaimed after battling and defeating archtyrant.
• Replaces a previous servant who neither “sees” nor “hears” spiritually.
• Fulfills ancient prophecy.
• Predicts the future which is immediately fulfilled.
• Personifies righteousness, prepares conditions to bring about salvation (Jehovah).
• Brings about true Justice.
• Confounds current ecclesiastical leaders.
• Teaches his things that have never been seen nor heard before.
• Divine revelation resumes and is available to all.
• “Astute”. Knows how to teach and convince Jehovah’s people and confound their false prophets.
• Mediates Davidic covenant. People obey him as he obeys God.
• The covenant is initially a conditional covenant until the servant and his people prove their loyalty to Jehovah under all conditions, then conditions are reversed and the covenant becomes unconditional.
• Receives new name after proof of loyalty to Jehovah.
• As Jehovah empowers his servant, he empowers the people.
• Those who “follow” and “know” righteousness —Jehovah’s servant—in other words, ultimately ascend spiritually and assume restorative functions toward Jehovah’s people as the servant does
• The servant helps others ascend and become like him.
• There are others from the Gentiles who are like him: “Kings and queens”. Share seraph status. They assist others to ascend. (Nursing fathers and mothers.)
• Isaiah writes about the servant as an individual, as a surrogate for those like him, and as a surrogate for all of Israel/Jacob.
• Imbued with the knowledge of God, Jehovah’s servant seeks to wake up Jehovah’s people as he is awake. Those who need waking up include their prophets and seers.
• Jehovah’s servant receives opposition from the rebellious who feel threatened by his preaching true doctrine that they have not heard before.
• His enemies plot against him behind his back.
• While God’s holy Spirit serves as a Comforter, so does Jehovah’s servant and Jehovah himself—each according to his people’s needs and circumstances.
• Zion’s watchmen “see eye to eye,” having seen the same vision of the end from the beginning.
• With the empowerment of Jehovah’s servant and his associates, a new day dawns for those who ascend to the Zion/Jerusalem level and levels higher.
• Like Jehovah’s servant, in other words, all who covenant with Jehovah may ascend and attain higher spiritual categories—from Jacob/Israel to Zion/Jerusalem to sons/servants to seraphs/saviors. In the millennial age of peace that ensues, they may likewise inherit thrones of glory.
• In the course of serving as a proxy savior of Jehovah’s people — “bearing their iniquities” under the terms of the Davidic Covenant—Jehovah’s “servant” or vassal suffers horrific physical “marring beyond human likeness” at the hands of enemies as an intrinsic part of his descent phase. Just as many people are appalled at his plight, however, so he astounds them when Jehovah heals him. In his ascent phase that follows—when Jehovah empowers him over his enemies—he becomes “highly exalted” and “exceedingly eminent”.
• The servant teaches the kings and queens of the gentiles so that they may perform their savior roles.
• His mission is so that all who desire it may partake of salvation.
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.
I wrote the following on January 3, 2018.
In July, 2019, I discovered a movement of remnant saints, making covenants with Christ, preparing themselves as individuals, as families, and as a people to come a people of one heart and one mind, and when Lords commands it, to rebuild the waste places of Zion.
I think I found the answer to everything I wrote below. I will be posting more about it in the future.
Of course, all religion is man-made. It begins with one person’s authentic, individual search for truth and reality. Then, somebody else comes along and tries to systematize and codify that search so that, instead of following their own path, people blindly tread in the true seeker’s footsteps, Then, somebody sees a potential to control these blind followers and creates a religion.
We see this pattern repeated over and over throughout history. You can pick your own religion and plug in your own names — different story, same plot.
I see myself as one of those authentic and original seekers. I am not a follower, and I am not looking for followers. I am looking for other leaders who want to change the world. And by change the world, I don’t mean remake the Mormon Church in my own liberal image. I am pushing for a total change in paradigm — how we see reality, how we organize ourselves, how we see ourselves.
Immersing ourselves in man-made religions is not a solution. Atheism is a natural reaction to this madness, but it is a reaction, not a solution. Blind faith and blind doubt are not solutions.
We need to approach all of truth and reality on the spiritual, mental, emotional planes, the same as we use science to approach the physical plane. We need to objectively study and experiment, and we need to share our findings with others. We need to build a body of knowledge that we can pass on. Not so we can create blind followers, but so we can build on that platform and create even more enlightened seekers and researchers, remodel society, and remake the world.
This is not an identity. I don’t need an identity. I’m not looking for an identity. An identity is static. An identity locates you in space and time, and in a fixed mindset. I am constantly changing my viewpoint, seeing things from a new viewpoint, from any and all viewpoints, and from no viewpoint. It’s dynamic.
I’m talking about Christian churches and organized religion in general. And what I’m about to say applies less to the Community of Christ than another church I can think of, so please don’t think I am directing this at you because I am not.
The original meaning of “church” in New Testament times was a gathering of the out-called (ecclesia), but in English and the other languages derived from German is it called “kirsche” (Origin of church: Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, ultimately from Late Greek kyriakon, from Greek, neuter of kyriakos of the lord, from kyrios lord, master; akin to Sanskrit sura hero, warrior)
Churches have become our masters, not our servants. Instead of gatherings of the faithful, they have become seats of power and influence.
Some churches teach that the only way to get to God is through them, and they claim to have a monopoly on power and authority. In this way, they have modeled themselves after civil governments.
Churches have also followed the military in their hierarchy of graded rankings. This works for the military because an army is supposed to be authoritarian, strong, unyielding, impenetrable, merciless, and monolithic. And, at times, secretive. This is a great pattern for a military unit, but not for a body of believers, not for the elect who have been called out.
Military units have rank. Followers of Christ should not. Like the military, in churches, some people are regarded as being better than others. Some people have more access to special communication, or special contact or special access to God that others don’t have. Some peoples’ thoughts and opinions are more highly regarded than others.
Peoples’ personal righteousness is evaluated in terms of their loyalty to the church, not by how well they follow the commandments of Christ, and the “doctrine of Christ”, as taught in the Book of Mormon.
Church members are not encouraged to learn and grow at their own pace. Instead, their leaders hold them back. The members are not allowed to seek for a deeper understanding of the so-called “mysteries”, whether it be learning, by study, or by faith. The Book of Mormon says that this life is the time to prepare to meet God. How many understand this, let alone follow this? How many people expect to meet God in this lifetime. How many people are preparing to meet God in this lifetime?
Another term for holding back a person’s progress is damnation. Self-appointed leaders attract followers and then damn them.
And, while we’re at it, the Book of Mormon teaches that faith is an active, dynamic process by which we obtain knowledge. But, churches teach faith as a static belief in church leaders.
There, have I gone far enough?
We need to re-think this whole concept, and while we are tossing out whole institutions, wholesale. We ought to consider the good purposes they did serve, use that as a foundation, and build something better, that serves us better.
We need to each think of ourselves as stewards, not spectators, and in this role, consider our institutions and their leaders as not our masters, but our servants, as we serve Christ.
I believe a lot of what those dubbed “Restorationists” believe. But, I don’t believe that the early church had it all right. I believe it was just a step in an ongoing journey of restoration that is continuing to this day.
I was involved in the formation of what some envisioned as a “gay Mormon church”. I came to see us are another step in a long succession of restorations. Others wanted to cling to the old model. They prevailed, and we quickly went the same way that I think the LDS church is going to go.
I would love to talk to John Dr. John Dehlin about this because this is a “Mormon Story”, but I guess if you don’t turn into an atheist or progressive liberal, or famous as an ex-church leader, or infamous for blowing up cars, there’s no interest.
I don’t want to go back to polygamy. But, I do want to prepare people to live “The New and Everlasting Covenant”, of which polygamy was an uninformed aberration. I also want to prepare people to receive ALL the ordinances of the temple, make sure they understand and live all the covenants therein, and receive the Second Anointing and the Second Comforter, the public and the private portions of this ordinance. I want them to understand that this is conditioned not on their faithfulness and service to the church, but on their faithfulness and service to the cause of Christ, and to their fellow humans. And I want to give them opportunities to grow and learn and perform faithful service to one another.
I see no conflict between keeping one’s covenants and the sex or gender of the person with whom you are making that covenant. And, by revelation, neither does the Lord.
I also believe that no one group or person has a monopoly on the continuing progress of the Restoration. We all have something to contribute, and we need to include more viewpoints (including this one) and stop fighting one another.
As for the church, at the core, it is like the branch that has been severed from the Vine. Cut off from its source, it is dead and brittle, and will soon turn rotten and become food for the much-needed new life, which will hopefully reattach itself to the Vine.
What’s my religion?
For me, it’s not that simple. Sorry to go on for so long, but this is who I am, and a one-word label would not suffice. I don’t want to give it a name, because when you name it, you define it, you stagnate it, and it ceases to be a living, growing part of you.
I was raised LDS, but I have synthesized for myself a number of things that I have found to be workable and true in my life. I don’t believe anything that I can’t demonstrate for myself. I prefer faith to belief. Belief is passive. Faith is that great active experiment described in the Book of Mormon, where you hold onto a proposition or hypothesis until it is proven true or false. At that point, that thing is no longer faith, but knowledge.
I pick up ideas to test everywhere I go, and in everything I explore. For me, I have found much grist for thought, practical tools for living, and keys to a knowledge of God in Evangelical Christianity, some New Age thought, A Course in Miracles, Kaballah, Sufi, Buddhism, Scientology (Yes, you read that right. I am Clear.), early Mormon writings, the teachings of Joseph Smith, and the writings of JJ Dewey. I don’t follow anybody blindly. I don’t agree with everything these people say, but I take what I can use, and put the rest back on the shelf. I am constantly growing and learning. Nothing is so sacred that is can’t be set aside in order to embrace even greater truth.
For me, a “higher law” isn’t a more restrictive law, it’s a more general law; it covers more ground; it explains more; it places more responsibility on the individual and depends less on external micro-management and policing. In this respect, the two great commandments is a higher law than all the law and the prophets.
For me, spirituality is all about the acquisition of knowledge and the development of our god-like potential, which lies within each of us. This is in contrast to religion, which is a series of exercises designed to force obedience in followers in order to appease an angry God in the hopes that if we do enough, or believe enough, he will overlook our sins and some day endow us with abilities we haven’t developed, and kingdoms we haven’t won, and that in some magical way that being whom we never knew will suddenly become our best friend.
“Someone today making the same claims would be seen as a candidate for the asylum or a fundamentalist, but the actual prophets of today would be saying far different things, things that resonate with people and start social movements. That’s really the primary criterion–that they identify a pressing need and articulate it in a way that deeply resonates with others.”
By this definition the leaders of the LDS church are not true prophets, and they are not even good imitations of the real thing. And yet, today as you said there are people who have identified a pressing need, but have yet to articulate a solution in a way that deeply resonates with enough people to accomplish anything, as of yet.
My experience with the LDS church, and with ending up co-founding another Restoration church taught me that this authoritarian “church” paradigm no longer works. It doesn’t resonate with people. We need a completely new model.
The church I was involved with began as a study group, not a church. It provided the opportunity for disenfranchised LGBT Mormon to continue to serve God by exercising their Priesthood, serving in callings, and receiving all the essential ordinances including the ordinances of the temple. Many of us received revelations. Sometimes the revelations would come to several of us at the same time. We even had our own Day of Pentecost experience when we dedicated our little tabernacle as a temple. We received authority by revelation to do all that we did.
But, we failed to listen and went off on our own and started a church. Not content with that, some members were upset that we were not following the exact pattern of the LDS church, and they steered the church in that direction.
Long story short. We failed. We failed in our mission, and we failed to help the people who needed help. After pondering this for years, I came to the realization that we were good people with good intentions, but were blindly following a failed paradigm. We didn’t need a church with traditional apostles and prophets. We needed something else. What that is I don’t know. And, maybe I’m not supposed to know. One thing I do know is it’s going to be a group effort. There won’t be “one mighty and strong”, leading a bunch of blind followers around. There will be many leaders, and they will have a shared vision, and they will do something that will resonate with the people. That’s all I know. I like to think that when we are ready, the Lord will touch a lot of people, and when that happens, I will get behind them and support them all I can.
The following came from my journal entries written back in 2003. I have recently learned from the D&C the importance of taking the Lord at his word, not only to say, but to do.
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received–
Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written–
That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. D&C 84:54-58
I have also learned how important it is to listen to the whisperings and promptings that the Lord sends you, and to act on them. I was directed to find this entry from my journal from way back in 2003. I wanted to publish it now because, looking back in retrospect, it seemed to foreshadow what is happening today.
This is all about not sitting around waiting to be commanded in all things, but stepping out in faith, taking that next step, and as you obey what you receive, the Lord will reveal your mission to you as it unfolds. This was certainly something I needed to know, then as well as now, though, I haven’t truly realized the importance of acting on it until now.
Now Melchizedek was a man of faith who wrought righteousness. And when a child, he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained a high priest after the Order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the Order of the Son of God, which Order came not by man, nor the will of man, neither by father nor mother, neither by beginning of days nor end of years, but of God. And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. Gen. 7:18 OC
Melchizedek demonstrated faith first. He received Priesthood later.
I need to add some explanation to this because people who take this at face value in light of their LDS traditions. I need to explain the usage of “you”, “prophet”, and “followers”. The traditional LDS viewpoint is of a strong authoritative leader who they call a “prophet”, whom they believe is the exclusive channel for God upon the earth, and whom them follow unquestioningly.
Here, “you” is the general “you”. It’s not speaking to me or any one particular person, but to all of us in general. “Prophet” simply refers to anyone who is a servant of God, coming with a message from God, and “followers” are anybody who receives the message as coming from God. It is true that when somebody comes with a message from God, if people receive that message and act on it, God will then use that channel to provide more truth and light. The channel becomes a more useful tool under the hand of Christ, but the messenger is never above the message, nor the servant above the master,
10/22/2003 8:57 PM (written that evening as an explanation to what I received earlier)
A couple of nights ago, I was praying about what I was supposed to be doing. Christ said: “I want you to … write. Don’t worry about what you will write about. Just sit down and write I will tell you what to write about.” Here is what has come out of this effort.
10/22/2003 3:16 AM (written that morning)
Here are some principles to keep in mind:
If ye have desires, ye are called to the work.
You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.
A servant of God can only function as a messenger for God to a people, to the degree that those who follow the message give heed and diligence to act on the light and truth given them.
Where is there room to sit around and wait for a prophet to appear? Do the work you feel called to do now. Be your own prophet. Follow the light that is given you. And it may be that God will show you a greater vision of the work you could perform, and the vision he shows you will be according to your desires and your faith. Jesus said: “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Another translation of this is “You have not chosen me SAVE I have chosen you.” In other words, he is saying that we could not be able to choose him unless he chose you first.
If God gives you a vision of a great undertaking or work, and if you begin to serve and perform the work which God has shown you, and if you perform it under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you will become what you have been waiting for and God will place as much power and authority in your hands as is necessary in order to accomplish the work you are called to do. When you have exhausted your personal reserves of knowledge and your personal mental capacity, and if you seek God in humility, you will have the added endowment of light which you need in order to accomplish the task.
The day will come when one or more people have such an overwhelming desire to establish Zion and such a sense of mission that they will have the desire above all else to see it accomplished and presented to the Lord as his Bride that they will work to that end, and God will bless them jointly with a greater vision of the work and provide whatever authority they need to accomplish the task. And the light which they generate will attract other lights. And the lights which are gathered will sustain each other in their endeavors. And because of their desires they will have the ability to call down the resources of heaven and obtain whatever revelation is necessary to complete and perfect the work.
God already has people in mind who will perform this work. But they need first to choose themselves and to find themselves. Then God will take over and supply whatever else is lacking. And all this will happen because God has already ordained and set in place a covenant which will allow this to happen. This is the covenant which God made with our fathers when he told them that when men look upward, then will the Kingdom of Heaven look downward, and the day will come that those of the Kingdom of Heaven, Enoch and his family will come down and dwell in our midst.
It is well-said that Zion cannot be built up on any other principles but those of the Celestial Kingdom, and the Celestial principle which rules in this case is this: If we are willing to consecrate all that we have to the building of up Zion, then God is willing to consecrate all that He has to the same effort. We have the opportunity, even in this life, to enter into the same Celestial order which God belongs to. It’s an order of equals, each giving their all for the good of all.
The questions we need to answer are these: Is the time right? Are enough people prepared? Are we prepared to sacrifice all that we have in order to obtain something better? Until we can answer yes to all of these questions, then more preparation is in order.
God does not have to wait for Zion to be established. If one or two people are ready now, he will abide with them, and they will have a little Zion.
When we were directed by revelation to organize the Priesthood in the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, I was called to be Second Counselor in the “Temporary Presidency”, and as a Patriarch. Eventually, I was ordained a Patriarch, given the Sealing Power, and was eventually sustained as Presiding Patriarch/Evangelist to the church.
I had a rough idea of the duties of a Patriarch, as every member of the LDS church does, but it never dawned to me to ever think I would become a Patriarch. In the blessing I was given, the Lord instructed me, through the person acting as voice, to study the revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants pertaining to Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith. So, I studied and prayed to receive the spirit of the calling, as well as receive the Lord’s confirmation that He approved. And, as Evangelist, a calling that was completely unfamiliar to me, I prayed for an understanding of the duties of an Evangelist. It is one thing to have an office conferred upon you, but quite another to receive the Lords ratification and to connect with the “powers of heaven”.
I found out the Lord really knows what He is doing when He calls somebody to a position. I asked for confirmation, and received it many times in many miraculous ways, which I won’t go into now. Sometimes, when you ask the Lord if a calling is right, He doesn’t say “yes” or “no”, He just starts in with “Here’s how I want you to do.” If you ask for His approval, then just go ahead and act in faith and perform your duties, the approval comes in a way that you cannot deny.
I was amazed at how the calling rested so naturally upon me, and the doctrine of this, the Patriarchal Priesthood, literally distilled upon me as promised in D&C 121, and the Lord taught me of and about the covenants he made with mankind, as explained in D&C 84.
The Patriarch to the LDS church, and the Community of Christ is traditionally somebody who is a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith. (However, the LDS church released its Patriarch, Eldred G. Smith, and never called anybody in his stead. That office no longer exists in that church.)
I am not a direct descendant of anybody in the Smith family. I don’t have any great or illustrious ancestors going back in the church. The closest thing I had was a great great great uncle who was a farmer and school teacher living near Palmyra, New York. When Joseph Smith showed him the Book of Mormon characters, my uncle told him he was crazy and to forget about the whole thing.
Still, even after I had a testimony of my calling, I also know about the ancestry requirement. I had to know Why Me? So, I once asked the Lord, how come he wanted me to be the Patriarch, seeing as how I was not of the proper lineage, etc. The answer I got was this: “Because you are filled with the Holy Ghost”. The Lord can call whoever he wants, whenever He wants, to do whatever he wants.
If I didn’t have an incentive before, I had one then. I was directed by the Spirit about what to read, and given additional insights about what to teach the members. The impressions I received were that I was supposed to teach about family and relationships. And I use the term “relationships” with the broadest possible meaning. Not just relationships within a couple, or family, but the human relationships that make up societies. My constant emphasis was on preparing people to establish Zion. This became my obsession.
What I learned became the basis for what I taught in the church, and for what follows in this post.
Although we in the Restoration Church saw ourselves as a home for all displaced, disaffected, and disenfranchised Mormons, our primary membership was individual Gay and Lesbian people, who had no families or had been cut off from their own immediate families. I was impressed to teach about getting into steady, committed relationships. Marriage was on nobody’s radar at the time. We met not as congregations, wards, or branches, but as small ad hoc “families”, as the basic unit of the church. We were each others’ families. Zion, when it is established, will be gathered from all God’s creations and it will function as one big family.
What better group for the Lord to instruct about the true basis for families and relations than those who were ripped from their families and told their relationships were “abominations”? Who could be more open to learning about the reordering of the world, the coming Kingdom of God, and the establishment of Zion, than those who had been cast out of the religions and societies of men? It just seemed to be the right people, in the right place, at the right time. It’s time for the “weak things of the world” to step up. The so-called wise and noble didn’t bother to show up at the party when the Lord sent out the wedding invitations, so He went out into the streets and gathered in all the homeless and outcasts — people who could understand and appreciate what he had to offer.
I felt impressed to study what was called the “Patriarchal Order”. In the Pearl of Great Price, in the Books of Moses and Abraham, we read about the ancient Patriarchs, whom Abraham refers to as “the fathers”: Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. In the modern world, these men get a bad reputation as feminists decry “the patriarchy”. Knowing these men as I do, it’s painful to hear this, because they were benevolent leaders and mentors to their posterity. They were fathers, and in a day where there are so few decent role models for fathers and males in general, this might be hard for us to visualize anything other than an angry old man with a beard and long hair. And though we know little of their wives, except for an occasional name, these men would necessarily have strong women at their side. Mormons most familiar with Eve, and view her as just as noble a character as Adam.
These men were preachers of righteousness; they were evangelists, to use the modern term. They taught their posterity the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve, even after being cast out of the Garden of Eden, by obedience to the Gospel, and by keeping their covenants, and by teaching their posterity to keep their covenants, eventually obtained righteousness and were redeemed from the Fall. Some of their children believe their first parents and were righteous; most did not. God called Enoch to leave his righteous community and go out and preach among the more wicked part of the people. He and his people built a city that was so righteous that Christ came down to earth to join them. In the process of time, Enoch and his city were taken up to heaven. How did they do it?
If we are to have a Restoration of all things going back to the beginning of the world, if we are supposed to be building Zion which will eventually join with the Zion of Enoch, and if the last days are supposed to be like the days of Noah, then how come we still know so little about these people? What did Enoch do to succeed in establishing a Zion, when mankind has failed to do so ever since? How are we ever supposed to have Zion here on earth, and have the Heavenly Jerusalem descend and join us? When will Jesus return? What responsibility does mankind have in determining WHEN and exactly HOW he will return?
The Bible, is a collection of books which appears to modern people to be lot of isolated and sometimes unrelated bits and pieces of mythology and history. Modern scripture sheds additional light on the Bible, but behind it all, there are some very important, common elements. We have misunderstood the scriptures and have failed to see the grand thread that sweeps down throughout all history. And that grand thread is the covenants that God makes with us to join us back into his family. Everything that we learn in the Gospel is a part of this thread, and once we understand this, the Gospel takes on a new simplicity. You might call this “The Vision of ALL” because it takes in the grand view of the history of God’s dealing with man throughout all of history. And, when we can connect with our past history, as a race, when our hearts are turned to the “fathers”, when the promises made to the fathers are planted in our hearts — the children, then we can continue this journey which our fathers began, and see it through to completion.
The Gospel is not merely a prescription for individual righteousness; the “fullness of the Gospel”, is also a description of perfected human relationships. It could be called an “order”, and is often referred to as “The Patriarchal Order”.
The design of the great God in sending us into this world, and organizing us to prepare us for the eternal worlds, I shall keep in my own bosom at present. (Joseph Smith DHC, Vol. 5, p. 403)
What Joseph Smith kept close to his bosom will be gradually unfolded to us, as we follow the instructions we are given, step by step. One of the most profound clues is given out right in plain sight in the Lord’s prayer. “The kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. This is why the Kingdom of God must go forth, that the Kingdom of Heaven may come. (D&C 65:6)
If we are gods-in-training and destined to become like God, we must also learn to think like God thinks, and work like God works.
We need to organize the human family on earth such that it matches and corresponds to the way things operate in heaven. This affects everything that a society of people engage in. All their “covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” will be affected. In other words, our human relationships. What better defines a human relationship, whether it be a marriage, a family, a group, or a society better than the set of mutual agreements or expectations we have between ourselves, as enumerated above and in D&C 132:7.
But we are going to need a lot detail to go on this. Where do we go from here?
As latter-day saints, we say we believe in revelation, but who is receiving this revelation, and shouldn’t they start preparing? But we also know that Zion will be gathered from all of God’s creations, not just Mormons. So, God will have to speak to a lot of different people. In fact, everybody who gathers to Zion will have to have their own vision. This program is as big as the world.
Do we not believe in the prophecy of Joel that young and old alike will dream dreams and see visions (Joel 2:28), or the prophecy of Habakkuk that the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (Hab. 2:14), or the prophecy in Hebrews that says no one will need to teach their neighbor, for all shall know the Lord from the greatest to the least (Heb. 8:11)?
Moses wanted all of Israel to be prophets. Christ wanted all his disciples to enjoy eternal life by coming to know him. Joseph Smith wanted all the saints to know for themselves. But, in every case, the people rebelled or apostatized and demanded a single “strong man” to lead them and tell them what to think and believe. Joseph Smith felt that the minds of the saints had been darkened because they were depending too much on him.
How else can a people share one heart and one mind if they don’t share a single vision?
I had a vision or an idea or a conception that a lot of people in diverse places and diverse cultures would independently come to more or less the same vision, back about 10 years, and this is why I put up this blog in the first place. But this is a vision that one person cannot and must not impose upon anybody else. Each person must see and understand it for themselves. And not just to know, but to act as the Lord directs them. The day of the “strong man” is over. We each need to take responsibility for ourselves, our families, our knowledge, our salvation, for building Zion, and for preparing for the return of Christ.
I was hoping to catch the attention of like-minded people, but I am not very good at promoting my website, and attracted very little attention. But, this hasn’t stopped me from looking to see what else is out there. I was surprised to find out that a lot of other people, isolated and unbeknownst to each other have the same idea, too. I believe this is how Zion is going to be built: from the grass roots, from the bottom up.
So, it seems to be individuals coming together with the same vision, gathering in small groups, and then coming together in ever larger groups.
But what about “the One Mighty and Strong”, the “Davidic servant”, and other prominent individuals prophesied to some forth in the latter days? Joseph Smith talked about angels and some of the noble souls from the past who could come and assist in the work from time to time.
These men are in heaven, but their children are on the, earth. Their bowels yearn over us. God sends down men for this reason. And the Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that give offense and them that do iniquity. All these authoritative characters will come down and join hand in hand in bringing about this work. (Joseph Smith, TPJS p. 159)
There may still be a parade of these “authoritative characters” sent to assist in this work, but we will know them more because of what they will accomplish behind the scenes, rather than who they as personalities. Christ said he will come “as a thief in the night”. People don’t usually recognize that a “thief in the night” has been there, until he has come, done his work, and left.
These are pretty big dreams, and a far cry from the narrow-minded misogyny, prejudice, jealousy, and arrogance we see all around us today. Churches are built up to get gain, fighting one another, each claiming to be the Lord’s. We need to rise above that, learn the scriptures for ourselves, and see what they say to us, not how we have been taught. Then, we need to lift up our eyes and see the big picture. I am hoping and praying that even more people will see the picture, catch fire, pray for revelation, and do what the Lord directs them to do. I have faith in people. Maybe too much faith. But, “I’m not the only one”.
I wrote this the following post back in 2011, and recently re-posted to my blog.
This volume Revelations given to John Taylor and WIlford Woodruff contains seven revelations given to John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff over the period from 1880 through 1889. These revelations were given to the presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but were never presented to that body for a sustaining vote, and in fact, the successors to these men in the presidency denied that these revelations were ever received. This is the reason why these revelations are called The “Hidden” Revelations.
Interpreted within the context of the times in which they were given, these revelations appear to some as speaking only of that single portion of the New and Everlasting Covenant known as plural marriage. However, the words “plural”, and “polygamy” do not appear in any of these seven revelations.
The Lord had a much broader subject in mind and simply used the questions and problems posed by the problems of that day to teach much more far-reaching principles: namely, the eternal nature of The New and Everlasting Covenant and the necessity to live the laws of God:
“My Son John: You asked me concerning the New and Everlasting covenant and how far it is binding upon my people; thus saith the Lord: All commandments that I give must be obeyed by those calling themselves by My Name, unless they are revoked by me or by My authority, and how can I revoke an everlasting covenant; for I, the Lord, am everlasting. (1886 Revelation to John Taylor.)
For if My Priesthood, whom I have called, and endowed with the spirit and gifts of their several callings, and with the powers thereof, do not acknowledge Me, I will not acknowledge them, saith the Lord; for I will be honored and obeyed by My Priesthood. (1882 Revelation to John Taylor.)
Section 132 of the D & C makes it clear that Celestial Marriage is a new and everlasting covenant, but it is only part of THE New and Everlasting Covenant, which covers “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, [and] expectations” which should be “made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise”, and which endure in and after the resurrection. (verse 7)
What is a society if not those beings which compose it and those things which enable them to relate one to another. Section 132:7 lists just about everything that could be considered a relationship between two people, including but not limited to marriage. The Kingdom of God on earth, then, is nothing more than a group of people who are bound together in all their relationships by the ordinances of The New and Everlasting Covenant. Or, in other words, they understand and live according to The Gospel of The Kingdom.
Where does the church fit into all this? A church, as a body of believers, bound together by common goals and ideas, may choose whether or not to take upon itself the Name of Christ as a body.
A church may also choose whether or not to become subject to the laws of God as contained in the New and Everlasting Covenant. No church is the same as the Kingdom of God, but any church may choose to be subject to the Kingdom of God. In this light, it seems ridiculous for any church to proclaim itself as a true church any more than a club can proclaim itself a true club—let alone, the ONLY true club!
The only statement a church can or should make is that it, as a body, sustains the Kingdom of God and is willing to function within The New and Everlasting Covenant. Or, at the very least, supports its political rule for the sake of world peace. All this, as the D & C tells us, will be voluntary; it will not be the kind of forced rule we are so accustomed to in our present world. (See D & C 97:19, 105:32, 45:68-69.)
Beyond this, it matters little what additional customs or traditions a church believes in. A person could be a good Catholic, a good Jew, a good Muslim, as well as a good Mormon and live as he has been taught, provided that he or she obtains the Holy Priesthood, receives the ordinances of the House of the Lord, and lives by the covenants entered into therein.
This may seem a rather bold statement, but The New and Everlasting Covenant is not tied to any particular mode of worship, including and especially Mormonism. It will be that universal thread that finally ties the entire human race, with all its variegated cultures and traditions, together into one body.
What applies to a church applies to any other society, business, nation, or human organization whatsoever. In fact, this is how ZION will brought about – not by one self-proclaimed telestial organization conquering the globe with its truth, but when person after person, church after church, and nation after nation each realizes that man alone does not have the answers, and that only by aligning oneself with the laws of God will we ever establish the era of peace, righteousness, and prosperity that the ancients dreamed and sang about – the ZION of our God!
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.