The Vision of All

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.

The Foundation of Zion, Volume II

Treating Lightly the Things which We have Received

The Lord gives a warning in the Doctrine & Covenants

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

This warning applies specifically to the Book of Mormon and the covenants contained therein.

Though, I am a big advocate of the Book of Mormon, and read it every year, I confess that I have been as guilty of taking the Book of Mormon lightly. There are so many passages that I just gloss over, and never fully read, assuming that I already know what is being said, or that a passage that is hard to understand is just something quirky and can be safely ignored.

The Book of Mormon claims to restore the “plain and precious truths” that have been removed from the Bible. D&C 20:9 claims that the Book of Mormon contains “the fullness of the Gospel”. But, at the same time, the Book of Mormon has come under criticism for adding nothing new to the Bible.

Lets take these points in reverse order.

I wrote a paper a couple of years ago pointing about 10 items that the Book of Mormon taught which were not found in the Bible, and if the doctrine was found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon shed additional light on it. I have come to realize that my treatise was quite shallow, and had missed the most important truths that were hidden in the Book of Mormon right in plain sight.

The biggest point that I missed were all the ascension experiences in the Book of Mormon. I have constantly pointed out to Sunday School classes and online discussion groups that the Book of Mormon encourages us all to seek and obtain such experiences for ourselves, but I failed to realize is that the Book of Mormon is a how-to guide for us. First Nephi and the visit of Christ in Third Nephi show what we must do in order to have our own personal visit with Christ.

Shocked? Does that sound new and radical to you? The Book of Mormon shows us how. It’s a “here’s who by who’s who”.

Christ promised all his disciples, that he would send another Comforter. We haven’t experienced the fulness of all that the Gospel has for us until we obtain this Second Comforter. The Book of Mormon explains how each person may obtain this for themselves, so the Book of Mormon really does contain the fulness of the Gospel, something only hinted at in the New Testament. These are the plainest and most precious truths that have been taken away.

The principles of the Second Comforter and the Holy Spirit of Promise are something we take lightly in the church. We tend to think the Second Comforter is only for “special people” like apostles, and we read about the Holy Spirit of Promise in Section 132, in connection with temple marriage, and when people ask about it, they get some vague or incorrect definition.

From: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/gs/holy-spirit-of-promise?lang=eng

The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise. He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father that the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept.

From: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1978/06/q-and-a-questions-and-answers/what-is-the-holy-spirit-of-promise?lang=eng

Elder Bruce R. McConkie in his book Mormon Doctrine clarifies this further. He states, “The Holy Spirit of Promise is the Holy Spirit promised the saints, or in other words the Holy Ghost. This name-title is used in connection with the sealing and ratifying power of the Holy Ghost,

NO. The Holy Spirit of Promise is Christ’s witness to you.

Lets get the true definition from Joseph Smith:

After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted, etc. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.

Now, what is this other Comforter? It is no more or less than the LORD JESUS CHRIST himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.150-1)

It’s promised to everyone in D&C 93:1 :

Verily, thus saith the Lord:
It shall come to pass that every soul
who forsaketh his sins
and cometh unto me,
and calleth on my name,
and obeyeth my voice,
and keepeth my commandments,
shall see my face and know that I am;

Back this up with some scripture:

88:3. Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.

88:4. This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;

The Holy Spirit of Promise IS the Second Comforter.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 14:10 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

These are not just idle words or figurative language.

Eph. 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance …

When you put in an offer to buy a house, you present the seller with an offer together with a nominal amount of money. The money is called “earnest money”. It tells the seller you are earnest about buying the house.

Both Peter and John taught the early-day saints about this principle:

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:9 (JST) Whosoever is born of God doth not continue in sin; for the Spirit of God remaineth in him; and he cannot continue in sin, because he is born of God, having received that holy Spirit of promise.

There is an office that used to be in the LDS church, called “Patriarch to the Church” or “Presiding Patriarch”. It entails far more than just giving Patriarchal Blessings, and far more than simply described here. Why this calling was eliminated is also beyond the scope of this article.

124:124. First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.

Man can perform the ordinance, which is an invitation to prepare for the coming of Christ to you, personally, to give you the promise of eternal life. Many church members in high leadership positions, who have received the Second Anointing, have supposed that this automatically qualifies them to have a personal interview with the Savior, perhaps even in the temple and in conjunction with receiving this outward ordinance, but when they failed to receive this visitation, they conclude that the church is false and has misled them.

What they don’t understand is that while the Second Anointing is secretly given out to select church leaders and their wives in consequence of their service and devotion to the church. The Lord comes to you in consequence of your service and devotion to HIM.

Here is an apt description of those who have been disappointed and disillusioned.

58:29. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

58:30. Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?

58:31. Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?

58:32. I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.

58:33. Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.

They fail to understand the principles upon which this blessing is predicated, which are given in the Book of Mormon. They also fail to understand this admonition:

“Brethren and Sisters, if you are true and faithful, the day will come when you will be chosen, called-up and anointed Kings and Queens Priests and Priestesses, whereas you are now anointed to become such. The realization of these blessings depends upon your faithfulness.”

This admonition is given early on in the temple Endowment ceremony and could well refer to the actual visitation of the Lord, rather than the Second Anointing ceremony.

Is this visitation just a nice reward for service and sacrifice for those lucky enough to receive it, or is it a requirement for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom:

D&C 73: 76:53. And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

D&C 76 also refers to those who “receive the testimony of Jesus in the flesh”. This is more than just listening to the missionaries bear testimony of Christ. It is the testimony of Jesus to you that you are an inheritor of eternal life.

Is it enough just to marry somebody in the temple, and your exaltation is assured? Better read the conditions upon which this blessing is predicated. This is one time when it really pays to read the fine print. This is the New and Everlasting Covenent, and It includes more than just marriage, but lets just confine it to marriage for purposes of this discussion.

D&C 132:7. And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these:
All:
covenants,
contracts,
bonds,
obligations,
oaths,
vows,
performances,
connections,
associations,
or expectations,

that are not:
made and entered into
and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise,
of him who is anointed,
both as well for time and for all eternity,
and that too most holy,
by revelation and commandment
through the medium of mine anointed,
whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power … ,
are of no
efficacy,
virtue,
or force
in and after the resurrection from the dead;
for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he wants to be more than a silent partner in your life. I hope these scriptures show you that He must be an active participant in your life and salvation, and everything that pertains thereto.

Two more passages are applicable:

“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” Alma 32:32

“O be wise; what can I say more?” Jacob 6:12

Here is a further discussion:

The sealing word of God; it must confirm or ratify a sealing for it to become eternal.

All mankind’s ordinances contemplate a further ratification from heaven. If one does not obtain this promise sealed by God, through His word — sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise — then there is no promise as pertaining to the ordinance. The only thing that will endure is that which is established by God or, more completely, through His word, which is then sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

The sealing of things through the Holy Spirit of Promise must come in mortality. This hope is to be gained in mortality as a gift of faith to empower the recipient to be able to claim it in the next life. Mortality is the time and place for obtaining faith and hope. When out of this life, the season for faith has passed, and the opportunity for hope has ended. It cannot be developed there.

http://scriptures.info/scriptures/tc/glossary/holy-spirit-of-promise

“Old Sectarian Notions”

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

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

The Best is Yet to Come

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

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

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

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

Hatred is just as much an attachment as love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth about the Atonement

Christ isn’t going to do anything for you that you can’t do yourself. The atonement is not going to erase all your problems; give you knowledge you haven’t learned; give you experience you haven’t had; make choices for you that you didn’t make; give you abilities that you haven’t developed.

Temple Ordinances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith Crisis

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