This is what I have been saying ever since I was first exposed to this idea in Business School. It helps explain what is happening today in the fields of government, business and even Internet. What’s up with the Tea Party and Occupy? What do they have in common? Does Apple understand the “New Power”.
This will give you insights into how traditional religion operates and the best way to change it. But you need to understand power and how to use it to produce desired effects. For instance, if you want to give women more voice in churches without changing the power model, you have just substituted a new tyranny for the old tyranny.
Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.
New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.
Here is a very brief summary what I have learned on this subject. I can back all of this up from the D&C, the temple endowment, the Bible, and church history.
Some of this stuff might sound new to you because it is not taught in Sunday School. But it is a lot simpler and much more fair that than is being taught. The main difference is it is not calculated to install fear, but freedom and personal responsibility.
The reason for this is it comes from the revelations of God, not the teachings of an institution who is only interested in self-preservation and maintaining control over its members.
When Christ established his church, he said the gates of hell would not prevail against it. The gates of hell are meant to keep people IN, not keep people OUT.
Terrestial are the honorable people who were deceived by the craftiness of men.
Telestial are those crafty men who lie in wait to deceive.
Celestial are the people who are honorable who neither deceive, nor are deceived.
It is important to remember that not all the judgments of God are revealed. Also, God wills that all mankind will be saved. Also, Christ saves all the work of the Father’s hands. Also, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.
The vast majority of Mormons is not good enough for the Celestial Kingdom, and nowhere near bad enough for outer darkness. Read D&C 76, 130, 131.
The bracketed comment in 131:2 was not revealed through Joseph Smith, but was added later by Orson Pratt, under the direction of Brigham Young, in order to support plural marriage.
Even outer darkness is not a final state, but the folks there will have to wait billions of years for another chance.
There are kingdoms above the Celestial Kingdom.
The Telestial Kingdom is hell. It is also the world in which we live. This is a kingdom composed of people of many degrees of glory, as the stars differ in glory. You will run across Celestial, Telestial, and Terrestrial people here. The deceivers, the deceived, and those who are not deceived.
The reason why we have so many different churches and philosophies here is because God is trying to reach out to everyone and speak to them in terms of their own time, culture, language, and understanding.
We progress from kingdom to kingdom as we progress and obey the laws pertaining to that kingdom. Otherwise, we keep returning to the same kingdom until we learn and obey those laws and show that we are ready to move on.
The words damnation, condemnation, and judgment all refer to the state where we are “dammed in our progress”. We are stuck in one place, where we “suffer the wrath of God”, which really means we stay here and face the trials and lessons of mortality until we learn all the lessons we are supposed to learn and prove ourselves ready to move on.
“Eternal punishment” does not refer to the length of the punishment, but to the quality and intensity of the punishment.
By the same token “eternal life” means the kind of life that God lives. We can obtain and enjoy eternal life, even in this life. We not only can, but we must.
“… and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead…”
We can also volunteer to remain behind and help other struggling souls climb higher. This is why the sacrifice of Christ was so important and significant. Christ said “come follow me”. It is important to understand the full import of what that means, and always be ready to follow Christ, wherever he leads us, or asks us to go.
We are constantly taught, take a covenant at baptism, and renew that covenant every week to take upon ourselves the “name of Christ”. This principle is demonstrated quite literally and visually in the temple. The name of Christ means something and is not just a euphemism.
I don’t believe in being confined to a static destination for all eternity, no matter what that destination is. THAT is the definition of damnation. I expect to keep growing, learning, and progressing, as in the words of the hymn:
The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.
So, keeping an eternal perspective i’m focused on the HERE AND NOW, and making the most out of this life, and assisting others to do the same. There is no reason why we can’t create heaven on earth. It will come when we are ready for it.
As the Lord said through the prophet of the Community of Christ:
“Zionic conditions are no further away nor any closer than the spiritual condition of my people justifies.” [D&C 140:5c – Israel A. Smith – April 7, 1947]
Zion is just the start. After Enoch built
Don’t be waiting for God. It’s up to us.
This is the whole crux of the church’s incorrect doctrine enshrined in “The Proclamation on the Family”. It is that in the Celestial Kingdom, exalted males and females produce spirit offspring, and thereby bring new beings into existence.
Joseph Smith NEVER taught this doctrine. He taught that man was in the beginning with God and is co-eternal with God. The idea of producing “spirit children” originated with Brigham Young and Orson Pratt in order to promote and legitimize polygamy, and is false.
Joseph Smith, in one of his final speeches on the resurrection, said that the saints should be constantly be seeking to find out the mysteries. This is in stark contrast to those who would tell us to avoid the mysteries and, thus, remain in darkness.
Here are a few mysteries from the D&C that bear looking into. It is said that the best place to hide a mystery is to put it out in plain sight. These “mysteries” are all out in plain sight in the D&C, for anyone to read.
It may be that when these mysteries are finally “revealed” (and I am providing an “out” for the church), they may well prove that same-sex marriages are not only welcome, but necessary, for the fulfillment of God’s plan, which is the eternal joy, happiness, and progression of ALL of his children.
1. We are told that God has not revealed all his judgments.
2. We are not told the purpose of the lower two degrees of the Celestial Kingdom.
3. There are kingdoms of a higher order than the Celestial Kingdom.
4. Polygamy is not the only new doctrine taught in D&C 132.
These principles are all found in the D&C. Go look for them, and when you find them, go ask the church leaders to explain them to you, if they can.
I must know a couple of dozen people who left the Church, but without the drama, the soul-searching, the gut-wrenching, the torchlight vigils, the parades through the park, whining to the press.
However, did they do it? Answer: they just did it. They followed the best that they knew and just did it.
I did it so I could have the type of relationship I yearned for and believed I could have. I walked through that door and found that the Lord was on the other side of the door waiting for me.
My son did it because he sincerely believes that no other success can compensate for failure in the home. Here’s one parent who put his kids above the church.
I know another man who left because of freedom of conscience and because he felt he had a calling to teach the truth.
I know another man who was being groomed for high positions in the church because of his family connections, but he just didn’t believe it, and had to beg and plead to be excommunicated. He left it all behind.
Why is it so hard for some some people to just leave it all behind. If you really think you are now on the right course, then don’t look back? No man, having put his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom.
Or, on the other hand, do you really know what you want? You just know what you DON’T want? Blind, indecisive, and regretful. That’s no way to go through life.
Mormons, remember our Sunday School lessons about the pre-existence? Satan was going to force everybody to do right and return to God. Christ was going to allow everybody to exercise their free agency, with possible casualties along the way.
It’s a classic case of the old saw “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Or, the business principle the trade-off between risk and reward. If a person is allowed to exercise his or her innate agency, there is more risk that they will fail. but if they face opposition, use their agency, and succeed, they will grow and be better off because of it.
But, if a person is kept confined in a cage, whether of iron bars, or artificially-imposed barriers, the person doesn’t grow and develop.
In the temple, we learn that we are here to have experience and to learn to choose for ourselves, in order to learn the differences between opposing forces. But it seems like churches (all churches) don’t want people to have experiences. In fact, they condemn people who think for themselves, make their own choices, and have their own experiences.
I ask you, whose plan is that? Christ’s or Lucifer’s?
In case you have trouble answering that, answer this question: where do we read that the “war in heaven” ever ended or that a truce was called? Nowhere.
Also, where do we ever read even though the pre-existent spirits rejected Lucifer’s plan, where do we read the Lucifer ever gave up or that God ever stopped Lucifer from trying to fulfill his plan? Remember Lucifer has HIS agency as well?
Again, if Lucifer got his way, how would he go about forcing people to do “good”?
I submit to you that that war is not over, and Lucifer, who became Satan, is going about deceptively working through religion to still force people to do “good”.
Sometimes the greatest evil we can do is to force men to be good. Or obey what we think is good.
Remember, Adam and Eve weren’t looking for religion. They were looking for true messengers. I think the church has gone down the slippery slope, forgotten whose side they are on, and become more preachers of religion, rather than true messengers.
The prophets, seers, and revelators have before profiteers and regulators.
Doctrine and Covenants 10:67-68 – “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.”
It is easier to prove from the Bible that Christ established the kingdom of God than to prove that he founded a church.
Same with the LDS church. Nowhere do you find in revelations. prior to the actual legal organization of the church that God commanded JS to organize the church as a legal entity, but God does acknowledge it after the fact.
Now my own experience. In the 80’s a group of gay excommunicated Mormons decided to start meeting together in homes and partaking of the Sacrament. While we were praying for directions from the Lord, he instructed us by revelation to organize ourselves into a Priesthood body. He mentioned NOTHING about a church, only the Priesthood. And, the revelations came not just to one of us, but two. There was a true second witness. Sometimes the revelations came to us simultaneously, even though we were in different physical locations. I take all of this to mean that the Lord was serious about us knowing that he approved of what we were doing.
As we grew larger, and into multiple locations, we organized ourselves into families. The impression came to me that since we had, in many cases, been disenfranchised from our biological families and couldn’t marry at the time, we should gather into de facto families and seek out committed relationships.
But, somewhere along the line, we stopped listening to the Lord and started imitating the LDS church. We sought legal recognition, organized a “First Presidency”, and formed branches. One revelation warned us that we had “followed the arm of flesh in organizing branches”.
The group ceased to grow, and more and more internal strife ensued. Certain individuals began seeking for power and position and staged a political coup, ousting the original leadership. After the takeover, the group began to take on more and more of the LDS characteristics and become a closed organization.
By this time, I was out of the group and pondered for years where we went wrong, with a group of friends, turning out to be enemies. I came to the conclusion that the exact point where we went astray was when we switched focus from being a group of families, united by the Priesthood, and turned into a group of branches, organized into a church.
There was a church founded in 1985, called The Church of Jesus Christ of ALL Latter-day Saints. It wasn’t a break-off. It was founded by revelation and a new dispensation of priesthood. We received all the keys, the same as Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
The LDS church sued us over the name, so we changed it to The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just a church for gays and lesbians, but was intended to be a home for all those thinkers, activists, dissidents, feminists, intellectuals, etc. We ordained women. We conducted temple ordinances. We married couples for time and eternity. And, all of this, with keys and authorization from God.
But, just stop and think about this for a minute. God loves and values all of us so much and doesn’t want any of us to miss out on the blessings that flow through the Priesthood. There were people who loved God and wanted to serve Him, but the church, supposedly set up in His name, prevented them from doing so. Therefore, God had to make an end run.
We followed the open model of common consent used by the Community of Christ, which meant that in Conference, any member could discuss and disagree with any proposed revelation of leadership change, without consequences. After a couple of years, the entire presidency was voted out, and the church was reorganized after more traditional LDS lines, so that such a leadership coup could never happen again. Following that, the church limped along and eventually lost most of its members, finally disbanding in 2011, after a 25-year run.
If necessary, and if and only if directed by God, I could re-establish such a group, but I feel no need for it, no demand for it, and most of all, no direction from God to do so. In fact, I am under the same direction as Joseph Smith when God told him: “Join none of them!”
The idea of churches and organized religion is a failed model, and is failing us as an institution. I am praying that God will reveal something better, going forward, and frankly, I don’t care whether direction come through me or through somebody else. But, I don’t see anything like that happening until more people are sick and tired of tolerating and denying failure, and trying to fix what isn’t working, and are hungering and thirsting after something better.
In the meantime, there are many enlightened and motivated individuals, each following their conscience and working to achieve progress on many different fronts. I consider these my co-workers, though I have to keep reminding myself that, even though we don’t always see eye-to-eye, each of us is following his or her highest light.
We have all read the news, and hopefully by now, those who were in denial have now read the writing on their Facebook wall from sources they trust. There will continue to be angst, wailing and gnashing of teeth, scripture quoting, statements from groups attempting to build bridges, calls for suicide prevention, etc.
But the question is this: given that the Church is answerable only to itself, and you have no input or recourse, what are you going to do?
Spend the rest of your life whining and complaining, or look for something better?
Is your loyalty to the church or to your God? Do you believe that a God who wills everybody to come to Him has not provided other ways to approach him?
Are you still under the illusion that the Church will someday moderate its policies and let you live your life, that is not really a life, but a half-life? Toward which direction are they moving? More acceptance or less? Once they have declared something “apostasy”, how can they ever back down from that stance? How can they ever come back in 1 year, 10 years, or 100 years and admit that they were wrong?
The real test in life for each of us is not what happens to us, but how we decide to deal with it. This is the stuff of life: a problem or challenge, (which is really an opportunity or blessing in disguise), and a decision that need to make. We can choose to confront the problem and solve it and gain the experience and blessing, or we can choose to whine about the problem, but refuse to confront it and just let it fester and damn ourselves in a quagmire of indecision.
We can’t see past choices we can’t understand, but to understand the choice, we first have to recognize and confront that choice. The pain and angst that I see expressed is not because of what the Church has done, but because people are being force to see a choice that we don’t want to see. If you haven’t seen it before, the choice is now placed clearly before you. It might be painful to look at that choice, but once you face that pain head-on and deal with it, you can then continue your life and that moment of pain will seem as a brief moment. You may even look back and laugh at yourself for getting to hung up on such a triviality.
So the question again: what are you going to do? I know what my husband and I are going to do, but if I told you what to do, I would be no better than these blind guides who crave your blind obedience. This is your life. This is your choice.