Come All Ye Saints of Latter Days

“In This Lovely Summertime” is a very popular song from Sweden about the beauties of summer. It is also a song often sung at weddings.

It is even in the Swedish LDS hynmal. I first heard it on my mission.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/music/library/hymns/in-this-sweet-summer?lang=swe

Here the original song is sung by a Swedish choir. This will give you an idea about how it should sound.

I adopted the words to sing about the mission and beauties of the coming Zion. It is still appropriate, considering it is now the summer of the world, awaiting the harvest at the end of the world as we know it, and it is appropriate as a wedding song, about the Bridegroom coming to meet His Bride. Here is the song with the new words in English.

https://john144.com/music-by-john144/#jp-carousel-88

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 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.

Responsibility – The Foundation of Greatness

This is an excerpt taken from Radical Honesty, by Dr. Brad Blanton, PhD. These are some key lessons of life that cut across every philosophy, religion, and belief. To paraphrase one philosopher: “You are as much like God, as you as willing to take responsibility”. Another philosopher stated that: “The first and greatest lesson in life is to emotionally accept the premise: ‘I am responsible for me.”

For Mormons, or others into religion or spiritual, this principle of responsibility lies at the heart of these Gospel principles, among others:

  • Repentance
  • Being born again
  • Single-mindedness
  • Love for God and your neighbor with ALL your heart, might, mind, and strength
  • Making goals and commitments

Responsibility

Responsibility means that whatever you are doing, you are willing to experience yourself as the cause. You are the source of your troubles as well as of your successes. Wherever you are on the way to reaching your goals—whether you are cruising along, pulled over to the side of the road, or feel like you’re going backwards—the willingness to experience yourself as responsible is the crucial element of success.

As long as you are blaming, explaining, apologizing, trying, resolving to be good, hoping or feeling guilty, you are not being responsible.

[in other words: “Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.]

Trying to experience yourself as responsible won’t work. What you can do is declare yourself responsible, and then see what happens, it is possible to interrupt the powerless games we play to avoid being responsible. When we begin to interrupt those games, we can move on.

One of these games is called, “Okay, okay, I’m guilty.” This game is to make it look like you have taken responsibility for yourself when you haven’t. Admitting you are guilty is a great way to avoid being responsible.

There is a big difference between admitting you are guilty of failure, or “copping a plea,” and really owning your power as the creator of your life. Whether you feel guilty or not is irrelevant. Admitting you are wrong or were wrong is only a prelude to taking responsibility for your life. It is not enough. You have to make a commitment after you interrupt this game. After you acknowledge that you’ve been fooling yourself by trying hard, you have to make a public declaration of what you will now be responsible for creating. Stick your neck out. Put your ass on the line. Tell everybody what you are about, and by when you will get results, and ask them to help.

We all know that commitment is essential to creation. What has been unclear in our culture is what to do when you’re not committed to anything but struggle. When we feel powerless to keep our word, eventually we stop giving it.

Your wholeness—the experience of yourself the way you are must precede commitment, because to be anything less than your whole self is to be trapped in the morass of beliefs you have about who you are based on your case history. Commitment must be based on the awareness of what is, and on the willingness to be responsible for ourselves the way we are. That means if we are imperfect beings who make mistakes, break our word, get angry, and are selfish, greedy, petty, and unfair, we must make our commitment as those imperfect beings. We spend our lives waiting to get better so that we can accept ourselves. We refuse to enjoy life, refuse to accept that we are loved and forgiven, and refuse to tell the truth about who we are because we never quite meet our own standards. Perfectionists are people who would rather be the worst than be the second-best. Everyone who ever successfully made a change that worked and served as a platform for the next, did this first: they finally accepted themselves the way they were. They gave up the struggle to get better. Then, finally, they were free to change.

The source of your historical being and the source of your present being is like a generator that has been constant since it started. Getting back to your source is the first technique for change. When you pay attention to the being you are, you withdraw attention from the dilemmas of your mind.

This is at the heart of Buddhism, Yoga, Vedantic Philosophy, Christian salvation, and other forms and practices of enlightenment. When a Zen Buddhist sits and looks at a wall for fourteen hours a day for seven days in a row, he does it to be able to sit and look at a wall. To be able to sit and look at a wall and just sit and look at a wall is enlightenment. To sit and look at your life story like you would sit and look at a wall is to recontact your source in the same way.

Your heartbeat started about eight weeks after the egg that became you got fertilized. You tuned in to life by growing into attunement. That is who you are. To get back in touch with who you are when you have been lost in your mind is to get back to your source.

This is hard to do. You have to die to live. Your “pretend” self, that doesn’t include your imperfection, has to die. Then, you again become a whole being. You then have the power you have always had, only now you can use it consciously. This is the good life. It requires that you sacrifice the pleasure of crying yourself to sleep on a greasy mattress.

The Kingdom of God

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!

New Host

It has been weeks since I transferred this site to a new provider. I won’t mention any names because aside from the problem with security, the former provider gave excellent service at a reasonable price. However, it cost me as much per month for security as it cost to host my website for an entire year, plus the extra overhead and my time. Because of that, I didn’t have any time left to post. The domain has finally transferred to a new provider; domain problems have finally been resolved; the site has a new and evolving look; and I expect to be back posting soon.

I have a backlog of articles which I expect to be posting in the near future.

Authority and Wisdom

People who have to assert their authority don’t have any. As apostle is supposed to act in the name of Christ and be a special witness of Name of Christ, not in the name of the apostleship, which has no inherent authority in and or itself, only to act in the name of Christ.

I’m seriously wondering about the arrogance and sense of entitlement among the church leaders. The Spirit seems to be missing.

It used to be that when the First Presidency spoke out on a political issue, they didn’t take sides, but came up with a third-way solution that the average person would never think of. And the members were amazed at the wisdom they showed. Now, the church is in lock-step with the arch-conservatives and the Catholic Church when it comes to gay rights.

Surely, men of inspiration could come up with something more humane and still follow the Gospel. Jesus often came up with surprising answers that often irritated the authorities, but were completely in line with the Gospel. But, the time is long past to extrapolate and wrest from the scriptures,or put something in the mouth of Christ that he never said, or follow the views of some medieval Catholic theologian. They seriously need to get in touch with the living Christ.

Either that, or stand aside and make room for people who are willing to humble themselves and ask for wisdom.

The November 15th Policy

I see it as a unintended test (but a test nonetheless) to see how long people will tolerate being governed and judged by a book of rules they cannot read (unless it is leaked), and by “revelations” they cannot read and have no voice in sustaining.

The Law of Moses was intended to be a “schoolmaster” to lead us to Christ. Its purpose was to impose such heavy burdens on the people that they would be led to see the futility of the law as a means to achieve perfection and would be brought to that point of tension in their lives where they are forced to seek “a more excellent way”.

The situation is similar today. The Letter of the law or the Spirit of the law. Obedience by micromanagement, or obedience by following the Two Great Commandments.

There are many people, especially LGBT people, who are at this point of decision in their lives and are faced with choices they refuse to make. Gay, Happy, Mormon. They can’t have all three with making some complicated rationalizations which force them to “navigate” their way through life.

The purpose of this policy is to force a decision: either stay in the church, fall in line, support the leaders with all your heart, live celibate,and cease whining about about the policy, or leave the church, live your own life, make your own peace with God, and create your own relationship and your own family with somebody you truly love.

If this policy doesn’t force people to face reality and the decision they must make, the Lord will surely up the ante, and another, even more stringent rule, regulation, or policy will leak out and bring them even closer to decision.

“The tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfillment.”

 

Now, we come to our long-planned and long-awaited wedding day. We had planned on getting married in early 2013, but had to postpone it three times because of work requirements. After marriage became legal in California, again, and all the legal challenges were settled, we decided on Sept. 17, and determined that nothing could stop us this time.

One of my favorite parts of the book Lord of the Rings, which was omitted from the movie, is the description of the wedding of the king, Aragorn, and his beloved Arwen, who chose to marry him, even though he would die someday, and she would be immortal.

“Then the king welcomed his guests, and they alighted; and Elrond surrendered the scepter, and laid the hand of his daughter in the hand of the king, and together they went up into the high city, and all the stars flowered in the sky. And Aragorn, the king Elassar wedded Arwen Undomiel in the City of the Kings, upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfillment.”

I feel like our tale of long waiting and “labours” had finally come to fulfillment, after 27 years. A lot has changed in 27 years, and to illustrate this, I am including a photograph of our Commitment Ceremony in Los Angeles, in the Restoration Church on Dec. 13, 1986, and also a photograph of our recent ceremony in Sacramento, on Sept. 17, 2013. You can see how both of us have aged, waiting for this day to come.

A lot has changed in our families as well. We would have liked to have planned something formal, months in advance, but instead we had to opt for an informal ceremony in the branch county offices. We would have liked to have our families in attendance, but in the 27 intervening years, Thom lost both parents and a beloved grandmother, and I lost my father. When we first met in 1986, my oldest child was 16, and just beginning to date. Now, three of my four children are married, have children that are beginning to date as teenagers. All four have their own homes. My ex-wife has remarried twice. We have nephews and nieces who have gotten married and had children. I just received a wedding invitation from a great-niece, who is getting married. One of my nieces is a grandmother. In the meantime, Thom and I have been shoved to the back of the line, patiently waiting our turn, and most of the time, wondering whether we would even get a turn at all.

We flew from Austin to Sacramento on a Monday, had the ceremony and met briefly with family on Tuesday, and flew back on Wednesday. The weather was beautiful. It was a nice change to get out of the Texas heat. We arrived at the county offices an hour ahead of our appointment. We filled out the rest of our paperwork, and met the lady, who was going to officiate for us. Her name was Mary. I remember sitting in the waiting room as couple after couple came in: an Hispanic couple, a Black couple, even a biker chick and her boyfriend came in. Two by two, in matched sets, everybody with his or her mate.

It reminded me of the Opera The Magic Flute, and my favorite character Papageno. He was a comic character, a bit weird and out of place, but anxiously seeking for a wife. Eventually, he was given a women, Papagena, who was just like him, and they had a happy family, together.

Or in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where the prankster fairies magically mix up all the couples, but things finally get sorted out in the end. There was a recent movie called Were the World Mine, which builds on this same theme. Both, the words in the play, and in this song in the movie illustrate how we felt that morning.

On the ground
Sleep sound.
I’ll apply
To your eye.
Gentle lover, remedy.
When thou wakest,
Thou takest
True delight
In the sight
Of thy former lady’s eye.
And the country proverb known—
That every man should take his own—
In your waking shall be shown.
Jack shall have Jill.
Nought shall go ill.
The man shall have his mare again, and all
shall be well.

We invited everyone we could reach from Thom’s family to attend, since they lived in the Sacramento area. Thom’s sister, and one of her daughters came and were very excited about being our witnesses and taking pictures.

We had a very nice ceremony in a small room decorated like a wedding chapel. The ceremony was your standard ceremony that we are all familiar with. It could have applied to any couple. At the end, we were handed a marriage license. It did not say “Gay marriage license”. It just said “Marriage License”.

So this is what it feels like to be “equal under the law”.

When we said our vows, even they were a given for us, just stating them publicly, in front of witnesses caused me to choke up. When I lost it, Thom lost it. After the ceremony, Mary remarked at how emotional we all got. She performs ceremonies all day, every day. She’s seen it all. But, no wonder we got emotional! We have waited long for this day. Even Thom’s sister and niece both got emotional, too. They knew this was long over-due.

Everywhere we went, people were friendly and asked us why we made the trip to California. We told everyone we came to get married. Everybody wished us “Congratulations.” The lady at the rent-a-car agency. The clerk at the hotel. The woman in the shop at the mall, who helped us pick our frames for our wedding pictures. In fact, most of the people in our families offered their best wishes.

However, there were a few on each side, who just couldn’t seem to choke out the word “Congratulations”, and seemed to laugh the whole thing off as if it were some kind of a joke. They know who they are, and we know who they are. There is a certain family member for whom we planned and conducted her wedding reception. We paid for a night for them in the best hotel in town, for their honeymoon, the same as my dad did for me and my first wife. Thom took off from work to make the arrangements, and paid for much of the festivities our of his own pocket.

In return for this, they refused to let Thom stand in any of their wedding pictures with all the rest of the family, and they refused to even let him ride in the same car. Nothing has been said about this in the intervening years, but we have memories. If they would care to step forward and offer a long-overdue apology, speaking for myself, I would accept it. What Thom does about it is his business. But, our marriage and our relationship is just a valid as anybody else’s. If you don’t respect and acknowledge it, then you don’t respect and acknowledge me.

The evening of our wedding, we held a dinner at a fancy restaurant in town. As before, we invited anyone who would come to the wedding to come and enjoy the meal. I paid for everything. You could order anything on the menu that you wanted. Thom’s one sister came with her two daughters, a husband and a boyfriend. I wished more people could come and we could meet them. After all, a stranger that their brother has been living with for 27 years is coming out on a visit, and you will get to meet him. This reminded me of the story about the “supper of the bridegroom” mentioned in the Bible. The invitation came out to all, but not everyone would attend.

Now, we are back home, printing out wedding pictures, framing them, and hanging them in the hallways. We are going to print a copy of our marriage license, and a copy of the ceremony and hang them in the front foyer. It will be the first thing you see when you come into our home — the home that we dreamt of and built together. The home that I can now leave him when I am gone. The Texas home that I wished we could have been married in. I like to picture friends and family gathered there, as I mentioned before, Thom coming down the staircase, and me waiting for him in front of the fireplace. Then, afterward, holding a reception in our beautiful tree-shaded back yard.

That would have been lovely, and would only add to the great memories we have had living here, and hope to continue to build in the coming years.

Now, a little bit about the civil and religious background, without which we could have been married 27 years ago.

The fundamentalist churches would have us believe that the church owns the institution of marriage. Nothing would be further from the truth. In Greek and Roman times, marriage was something that families did in order to convey property and keep it in the family. The only governance by the state was to oversee all contracts, and to ensure that non-Romans could not inherit the property of Roman citizens. The vital essence of marriage, today, is still a contract. It is subject to contract law, same as under the Romans. Marriage does not belong to any church, much to the protestations of churchmen.

Marriage LAW really only comes into play when the marriage breaks up: death and divorce. The church has no legal role to play in either of these two events. The church merely exists, in this instance, to conduct ceremonies as duputies of the state and possibly provide a place where the two parties met.

The early Christian church believed that the end of the world was nigh, and they focused most of their attention of preparing for the return of Christ. They placed little emphasis on marriage and the family. In fact, it is very difficult to preach from the Bible that Jesus taught “family values”. He said “be in the world, but not of the world.” Marriage is of the world. On the contrary, he urged people to leave their families and follow him. Paul taught celibacy. To the early Christians, marriage was considered a necessary evil, and they introduced ceremonies, not to sanctify or ratify the marriage, but merely to remove the taint of sin. Nobody entered into a marriage for love or procreation. It was assumed that procreation would happen anyway, and it was common practice to have mistresses or lovers on the side. But, in the midst of all this, we have evidence of same-sex marriages being performed. In fact, we have written records of such ceremonial prayers in monasteries throughout the Roman world, including St. Catherine’s monastery, located on the slopes of Mt. Sinai, and in the Vatican, itself.

Then, there is the quote from Jesus that states: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” If you read the context, this is not a definition of marriage, but a condemnation of divorce! The Bible condemns lustful and unholy practices, whether they take place between two men, two women, or a man and a woman.

The Bible doesn’t not single out homosexuality because this concept of sexual orientation did not exist until modern times. Neither does the Bible condemn loving, committed, monogamous relationships between men. It simply ignores them. Fundamentalist Christians love to condemn the Mormons by citing the warning in the Book of Revelations not to add or take away from the words of “this book of prophecy”. They mistakenly believe that this warning applies to the book as a whole, and not just to the Book of Revelations, which is, indeed, a book of prophecy, put together in the Christian era together with other books of law, prophecy, and history. But, by their own logic, they are added their own words, meanings, prejudices, judgments, and superstitions to the Bible. They are adding doctrines and beliefs which are simply not there.

In another glaring example of misreading the Bible, we often hear somebody scream “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” The truth that you can read for yourself in Genesis is that God created Adam (a term translated alternatively as “Adam” and “man”), as a composite being, from which God later split off Eve as a separate being. Before this event happened, the two were literally ONE FLESH, as Christ and the Book of Genesis states.

The original man was formed in the image of God: male AND female. ONE FLESH. The word for God used in the Bible is Elohim. It’s a feminine word with a masculine plural ending. There is in fact more than one God, and like the original “Adam”, in whose image he was created, God is Male AND Female. There are many names given in the Bible that are translated as God, but the name that is usually given when speaking of God making a covenant is the name Elohim. In fact, some writers interpret the name Elohim as meaning “male and female joined together by a strong covenant”.

People all over this country are beginning to see the injustice of prohibiting same-sex marriage. Every poll taken in recent years shows increasing support, across the boards, but mostly in Blue states and among younger voters and better educated voters, for gay marriage. Where, given the chance to come up for a popular vote, same-sex marriage wins.

Opponents, however, will cite California, where a slight majority pushed through Proposition 8.

The Mormon church heavily supported and contributed to the defeat of marriage equality in California. But, for the Mormons who read this, I quote two LDS scriptures, the first from the Book of Mormon, and the second from the Doctrine & Covenants.

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law–to do your business by the voice of the people. Mosiah 29:26.

We should do our business by the voice of the people (majority), but once in a while the majority creates a law which is inconsistent with our other laws. In this particular case, the conflict is with the US Constitution, the “supreme law of the land”. The US Constitution states that all US citizens have the right to equal protection under the law. Therefore, any law which is passed, without a compelling benefit to the state or nation, that seeks to abridge the rights of a select class of individuals, is, on its face, unconstitutional. We have an established process — the court system — in this country for reviewing the constitutionality of all laws. Anyone with standing can challenge the constitutionality of a law, and if the challenge has legal merit, the law is struck down. This was the case with Proposition 8 and with DOMA.

We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. D&C 134:4.

The Mormon church does not read its own scripture. If it does, it does not understand them. A church has no right interfering with the rights and liberties of men, as long as those rights and liberties do not bind the consciences of the members of the church.

Fundamentalist churches claim it is a “religious principle” to restrict the rights and liberties of others. This view is without precedent in the Bible. Jesus never taught this doctrine. Neither did Moses. Neither did any of the apostles. This doctrine simple cannot be found in the Bible, and it is a violation of their own stated beliefs against adding words to the Bible that are not written in this book. And, it is solemn mockery before God, and taking the name of the Lord in vain to put words in His mouth that he never said, or to utter condemnations that He never made.

We read in Section 59 of the Doctrine & Covenants that God has created all things for the “benefit and use of man, to please the eye and to gladden the heart”. But, these things are to be used with judgment. “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” NOT the commandments we put in God’s mouth, but those commandments, spoken by the mouth of God, himself.

There is a time and place for mankind to partake of every blessing provided by God, whether it be food, drink, the beauty or nature, the wonder of science, the joy of the arts, and even the thrill of sex, EXCEPT for this one thing, which man, himself, not God, has singled out as being taboo. There is a time and a place for everything. There is a right way and a wrong way to enjoy everything life presents us. We are told to follow “moderation is all things”, and that “to the pure, everything is pure”. But, what does this mean in our everyday lives? How do we apply this?

In the temple, we learn that God does not condemn having “desires, appetites, and passions”, but we learn that they are to be “kept within the bounds the Lord has set”. To more perfectly fulfill our temple covenants and, thus, not be placed in the power of Satan, as we are warned, maybe we ought to spend more time reading those scriptures that lie upon the altars of the House of God, which we raise our rights hands and promise to obey. Maybe, instead of just condemning everything we don’t agree with, we ought to learn what bounds the Lord has set.

It’s not that hard. God delights in fidelity and chastity in both men and woman. He wants us to learn to keep and honor our covenants, whether we make them to Him, to our fellow humans, and especially to our spouse, regardless of their sex or gender. All, he asks us to do is to make promises and keep them. Those cast out of the kingdom, according to the Book of Revelations is “whosoever loves and makes a lie”. Instead of condemning those in same-sex relationships as sinners, the church ought to encourage faithfulness and chastity and condemn only those who are unfaithful to their covenants.

The day, Thom and I met, we were ready and willing to commit our all to each other — even without the constraints and restrictions of society and the church forcing us to do so. We were willing to make these commitments of our own free will and choice, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly over the years, for obeying His voice and doing this. If the church and the American public were of the same mind, we would have been married 27 years ago, and not be forced to wait for an entire generation to be married and have children, before we finally got our turn.

But, is religion and obedience to the Bible really the issue? Why is it that when you try to point out to these people the things that are in their own Bible, their own Book of Mormon, their own D&C, and their own temple ceremonies, and they fall on deaf ears. Logic dictates that they don’t hear and understand because they don’t want to hear and understand, just as the Jews in Christ’s day did not, as Christ said, have the truth or the love of the Father within them. Instead, they would rather vent their hatred and destroy the good name of religion, the LDS church, God, Christ, and Christianity, along in the process. I’m proud to be a disciple of Christ. I like telling people about the power of the Gospel, but when people are exposed to this rampant negative attitude, the only logical explanation for which is abject hatred, they will not listen to my words, or the words of anyone who tries to talk sense and logic to them. To the leaders of the LDS church, tolerance is no longer a virtue, but a trap.

To the leaders of the LDS church, I say, with apoligies to FDR, that the only thing we should not tolerate is intolerance, itself.

Large American businesses are ahead of the public, even. Large corporations like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, Exxon, and AT&T, to name a few have begun offering marriage benefits to same-sex couples, regardless of whether they reside in the state in which they were married. When Thom first got on my benefit plan at AT&T, we had to jump though a lot of legal hoops to get that recognition. We have to pay a fee and sign a legal paper that had no legal validity. We had to prove we were living together, had joint financial assets, and paid joint utility bills. And, we have to recertify that we are still “recognized domestic partners” EACH AND EVERY YEAR. Now, after we got legally married, we just had to FAX in a copy of our marriage license. I expect this to be the end of it.