When Good People Oppose Your Best Work

TMalonePatriarchalBlessingA while back I wrote an article entitled, “When Religion Comes Between Spouses.” It was my best effort at that time to share my ideas, successes and failures in dealing with a personal problem I was experiencing – and continue to experience in my marriage: a spouse who does not feel comfortable with, understand or encourage my blogging activities – for various reasons.

Stick Your Head in the Sand Mentality

I know from past experience this post is going to be difficult for a lot of people. For some reason that is a mystery to me, there are good people who simply do not want to talk about, discuss or see others write about subjects they consider sacred cows, such as what constitutes a testimony, what is a prophet, how revelation is received, who can receive revelation and if it can be shared.

Life’s Work to Teach the Gospel

I do not wish to offend. As with each of my posts, I ask the Lord to guide and bless me in the words and phrases I use. It is my desire to share in a manner that will be helpful and perhaps provide information you need to move your life’s work along. This blog is my life’s work, which is why I have approached the Lord in prayer first. I need to improve my communication skills.

This is Not a Scholarly Piece of Work

My method in writing these posts is to always write what is in my heart first, trusting the Lord to put there what He would have me say. If I were to approach the writing of my posts in the more conventional manner, I would do tons of research, find articles worth quoting, and then put my words together in a manner that uses the experiences of others who we would consider experts.

Using Modern-Day Social Media Tools

For example, my personal preference would be to cite the work and life example of John Dehlin, who has gone through this exact same experience I am about to describe, but perhaps on a more accelerated pace and with greater public attention. In other words, if you want to see how what I am about to describe has been put into practice, I recommend you find out how John has done it.

A Few Responses to Some of My Recent Posts

But since this is my blog, I’m going to cite my own examples and how I have handled it so far. Let me start by presenting an entertaining list of comments – all real-life responses – to things I have shared in posts found here on Latter-day Commentary. You can find some of them if you look, but since the blog currently has over 6,000 comments, I’ll highlight only a few of the best.

The Best Way to Build Blog Traffic

Also note some of these comments were shared in private. Like any blogger, I get tons of emails from individuals who, for one reason or another, don’t want to leave comments in public view. I can appreciate that. But as a blogger, I would always want my comments to be public with a link back to my blog. That’s the best way to build traffic – leave comments on other people’s blogs.

I’m Worried About You – Stop Thinking

Here’s an example from yesterday, a private response to my post “Allow me the Agency of my Doubts.” I may change some of the wording of these quotes slightly to reduce any likelihood of offending those who shared them: “I’m worried about you…” I can’t tell you how many emails start off with this phrase. “I plead with you…avoid speculation…” In other words, stop asking questions. This is just so contrary to the way I think, the way I study and the way I live my life.

Ask, Seek, Knock – God’s Formula

I define speculation thus: “Proposing a theory and then searching for evidence or proof of the hypothesis.” To me, speculation is the heart of the scientific method. My friend was pleading with me to stop thinking. Seriously. To stop asking questions is to stop thinking. Is that the way we are supposed to study the gospel? I find nothing wrong with speculation. It is good and the sign of a healthy, inquisitive mind, something I am certain is pleasing to the Lord. Ask, knock…

You Need to Step Back a Little…

Here’s another example from a few weeks back: “I think you need to step back and think about what you are writing lately…” That’s another phrase several people have used as they start a dialog with me. “Don’t you see how distressed your blog posts are making you? We’re supposed to be joyful in the gospel. You’re pulling away from the Lord, little by little. Satan loves that.”

Comfort the Afflicted, Afflict the Comfortable

Interpretation: What’s happening is this particular reader and others like him or her are feeling a bit distressed by the stuff I’m writing. I seem to bring comfort to the afflicted and to afflict those comfortable in the gospel. That’s not my intention but it’s becoming more evident. I thought life was supposed to be a journey. I thought we were supposed to learn new things on our journey. Why is it so hard to accept that learning new things can be an uncomfortable process? It just is.

Denver Snuffer’s Writings Not for Everyone

Carol won’t mind me sharing this one: “When I have prayed about Denver Snuffer I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can’t stand to read his stuff.” My response: “I can certainly understand that. How can the Lord confirm something to you that you haven’t studied? If what he writes makes you uncomfortable, stop reading. It’s obviously not intended for you.” The last thing I want to do is cause discomfort for my wife. She certainly has a right to her own feelings.

Honor My Agency to Follow My Heart

Gratefully, as I wrote in the comments on the last post when asked by a reader, Carol and I came to an agreement about my blog, and especially about when I’m writing something that can be attributed to an idea found in Denver’s books. She doesn’t like what I’m reading or writing, she will not read it herself and for the most part, we don’t discuss what I read or write. She finds it troubling and the source of much anxiety. Yet, she acknowledges my agency to follow my heart.

The Appeal of Denver Snuffer’s Writings

I proposed the sexist theory one time that Denver appeals to men because he cuts to the chase, doesn’t sugar-coat anything, tells it like it is, offers no apologies, and will not back down. He keeps saying we should not focus on the messenger. Sorry. I can’t help but make the observation how effective I find his delivery, his writing style and the fact that I feel spiritually fed each time I study a chapter, looking up the scriptures and pondering the new and different interpretations.

Message Appeals to Both Men and Women

I say this is a sexist theory because I wrote somewhere in the comments of a past blog post that only men would find this method of delivery I described above to be fulfilling. I was quickly corrected when a half dozen sisters in the gospel told me they felt the same way – that Denver’s method of delivery enhanced the message, made it more acceptable and memorable. So it’s not a pink / blue kind of thing. Some people simply feel threatened or scared by Denver’s message and I still don’t know why.

The Messenger Has Talent from God

I’ve been called a “Denver wannabe” by more than a few readers. I have always provided the same response: “Yes, even though I have not met him, I find the man’s style captivating. I am transported to a different world when I read his books, I seem to lose track of time and wish I could spend more hours cross-referencing his commentary to the scriptures (Use this tool: https://ref.erenc.es/ds/). I wish I had half the talent this man has in writing about the gospel and getting people to engage with his message.”

The Messenger is doing a Damn Good Job

And of course, anyone who reads Denver’s material cites the standard response, “This is not about Denver. It is about the message that we can come unto Christ, receive Him directly as in D&C 93:1 and become instruments in His hands to do whatever he needs to have done in these latter-days to prepare for a Zion people to gather.” I also cite that response, but do not hesitate to point out that for me, the chosen messenger, who calls himself a fool, is doing a damn good job.

How to Best Help Others – Honor Agency

From another friend: “I wish I knew what to say so I could help Tim.” Of course, this implies there is something wrong with Tim. I know this good man loves me. We have served together in various capacities for many years. I know what he says is an effort to comfort and to help. It also demonstrates the fact assumed by so many people who read my blog about my spiritual state.

Can’t Believe a Man Can Be So Committed

“Tim has either gone off his rocker or has gone over to the dark side. He needs to be saved. He’s fallen into the clutches of an evil man. It’s those apostate books he’s reading. They have warped his brain and changed his thinking. He’s not reasoning straight. He has thrown out all that is good in his life and his hell-bent (another favorite phrase) on seeing this through to the end.”

Rotten Fruits Are Being Made Manifest

And finally, from a Stake President of another stake, far, far away: “Snuffer is an apostate, who has been excommunicated from the Church. He is, as all apostates, following in the pattern of Sherem, Nehor, and Korihor, and will in all probability become more like Amalickiah. At the end of the day I stand by the Brethren. Snuffer and his followers are on a dangerous road and the rotten fruits of his work are being made manifest.” I have heard a lot about bad fruit lately.

Show Us Evidence of the Rotten Fruit

One good sister left me a Facebook message as follows: “I have not seen anything good come from Denver. He has destroyed three beautiful families that I know personally. ‘By their fruits, ye shall know them.’ I responded: “Can you tell me more about what happened in how Denver messed up these families? Have these other families gone through divorce or something because they can’t talk about what the other is reading or believing?” Several other readers asked her the same question. Her response was to repeat her original statement or accusation – no elaboration.

Responses Based on Fear – Not Love

Although I could go on and on, I think that’s enough examples to make my point. What do all these arguments have in common? They are all based in fear. You can see they claim to be based on loving concern for me. They will either say that directly or imply it by the way they phrase their words. But deep down inside, their responses are based on a fear, an insecurity, that maybe, just maybe, they are wrong or they are missing something in their own confidence and strength.

Update 5-18-14: A wise man kindly pointed out the fallacy of my conclusion. Although it may appear to me that each of the responses or comments I have cited above are based on fear – and perhaps they are – the problem is I have judged those who have taken the time to respond to me. Whether they are fear-based response or not is not relevant. If the individuals I have judged think or perceive I have judged them to be fearful, there can be no hope of building a bridge between us.

Update (continued): I have failed to put myself in their shoes, so to speak. Usually, nobody bothers to respond unless they do indeed love you, or at least have a spirit of love and concern in their hearts. If there were no love for me present, they would simply ignore their feelings of concern and go on to something else. I have need to repent, and, to state it positively, I now repent of having judged my friends of being fearful. I have returned loving concern with judgment. I am sorry.

Change is Difficult to Watch – It’s Threatening

Oh, they will deny it if you confront them. Or, if they are honest like my good wife, she will say, “You’re damn right I’m afraid of Denver Snuffer. I’m afraid of what he has done to you. I’m afraid of what he writes. It’s false doctrine.” Carol has only read chapter one of PtHG with me. That was enough for her. She also quotes the “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Before we agreed to stop talking about Denver, I would ask, “What fruits? Tell me what evil he has done.”

First Response to Change is Always Fear

But that would only lead to an emotional, fear-filled response about me getting excommunicated, her losing her promise of celestial life, eternal marriage and no father for her son. I mistakenly read to her Lynn’s painful comments from last week’s post. Her response: “That’s exactly right. Are you willing to throw it all away all because of the writings of one crazed lunatic you don’t even know?” Sigh. When will I ever learn to stop sharing such quotes? It’s that pink-blue thing.

You’re asking for Excommunication

And finally, “Tim, are you trying to get excommunicated? Why are you egging on the Brethren? Don’t do this to your local leaders. It’s not fair to them. They have done nothing to you. If you are really hell-bent on going down this path [there’s that phrase again], perhaps an open letter to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles might be more appropriate.

Shooting, Shooting but Missing the Target

“Your poor Bishop and Stake President are going to get whiplash from all this–they will just be confused and hurt.  You’re shooting and shooting, but you’re missing the target.  Aim for the real culprits if you feel you must keep firing away like this.” And this is from a long-time reader whom I know loves and cares about me. He’ll recognize this but it’s too good not to share.

Must Work With Local Leaders First

Here’s my response: Your advice is good but the wheels are already in motion. I am meeting with the bishop this Thursday and the Stake President sometime next week. I thought about an open letter to the First Presidency, but the handbook precludes that. We are specifically directed to work with local leaders first. I don’t have a beef with the General Authorities. My issue is what this church has become or what we collectively have caused this church to become.

The Real Issue – Things We Have Lost

“It’s a place where we’re discouraged from studying the gospel in small non-family groups in homes. Otherwise we can only study in groups at church. It’s a place where prayer circles are not allowed in the home. It’s a place where the true order of prayer is not allowed to be practiced in the home. It’s a place where we are not allowed to display or reveal spiritual gifts such as prophecy, tongues, visions, revelations or healings – only annointings, no charismatic healing.

No Longer Taught Meat of the Gospel

“It’s a place where we are no longer taught or allowed to seek: Being born of the spirit, baptized of fire, calling and election sure or the Second Comforter. I can go on and on but I think you’re familiar with the list and know the source. The particular issue I brought up in my post is the Fullness of the Priesthood. I apologize if it looks like I’m trying too hard to pick a fight with my Bishop and Stake President. I’m only doing what the Lord has asked me to do.

Open Letter to Leaders Waste of Time

“I hope this won’t hurt the Bishop and Stake President. I know they’ve already got too much on their plate but what else can I do? The church requires it this way. An Open Letter to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve will do nothing. It will get no response. It will be ignored. I think we both know this already. I am not trying to get excommunicated, but I am prepared for the eventuality – emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and with my wife standing at my side.”

Not Seeking Change – Just to Help Others

I hope what I’ve shared is helpful to someone. I know it will seem like foolishness to some, but I hope you got the final message. As I wrote in my agenda notes for Thursday’s meeting with the Bishop: “I’m only doing this because I felt the Lord ask me to do so. I don’t question why and I don’t know why. The real question is, “Do you think I am being deceived or am I being led by the Lord?” Is standing up for my right to write book reviews on my blog worth my membership in the church?

This Thing Was Not Done In a Corner

A note on openness: Some have criticized me for sharing this ongoing saga, including reports on what I have discussed with my bishop here on my blog. They say such lack of secrecy or privacy demonstrates unworthiness so that the Lord will never honor me with spiritual manifestations of any kind because I don’t know how to keep things secret. Thanks for your criticism. It has been duly noted. I disagree. All I want to do is document my fight for the right to write book reviews. I pray my openness will help others who are being excommunicated for simply reading a book.

Dates for Denver’s Remaining Lectures

Ephraim – June 28, 2014
Las Vegas – July 25, 2014
St. George – July 26, 2014
Phoenix area – September 9, 2014, this will conclude the 40th year and will take place on day 365.

All talks will be in the morning.

Note on Comments

The WordPress spam filter is being wonky again. I check for blocked comments as often as possible, but if yours gets blocked and you want a quick response, text me at 818-257-0513 or shoot me an email at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. Thanks for the dialog. I always appreciate comments.

67 thoughts on “When Good People Oppose Your Best Work”

  1. God bless you Tim, you gave me a good laugh with this post. The Lord must really be having some fun by having you post your PB. He has a great sense of humor, doesn’t he?–tinged with irony, but a great sense of humor nonetheless.

    “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.”

    We gotta get rid of the fear.

  2. Hi Jason,

    I specifically asked the Lord what he wanted me to put in that spot. It’s usually a picture. You’re right. He responded, “Why not put your blessing up there?” I wanted to see how many people would write me and say, “Hey, you’re not supposed to share that stuff…take it down!”

    Blessings upon you my friend.

    1. I enjoyed reading your blessing, Tim, particularly the part about going into the nations of the earth. How might you have done that without the internet? You are certainly fulfilling that now.

      I appreciate your clarity of thought, your straight-forward focus, and consistency. I appreciate that you’re seeking the same things my heart seeks — things our church no longer provides, nay, discourages! What has happened to the LDS Church?

      I’m not an enemy of the Church. I’m a “friendly-fire” casualty.

      1. Good Will, you have asked a good question – “What has happened to the LDS Church?”

        Matthew 13
        24 ¶Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

        25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

        26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

        27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

        28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

        29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

        30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

        D&C 112
        24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

        25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

        26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

        Why should it start there?

        3 Nephi 9
        11 And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them.

        12 And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.

        After all…

        D&C 121
        34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

        35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

        36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

        37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

        38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

        39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

        40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

        The only way for one who holds the priesthood to persecute the saints – the word means “sanctified ones,” or, in other words, those who have been baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, who have truly taken upon them the name of Christ – is from within the Church.

        Oh, I think there be interesting times ahead.

      2. I just have to add this.

        JST, Matthew 13:39–44.
        Compare Matthew 13:39–42; see also D&C 86:1–7
        39 The harvest is the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked.

        40 The reapers are the angels, or the messengers sent of heaven.

        41 As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world, or the destruction of the wicked.

        42 For in that day, before the Son of man shall come, he shall send forth his angels and messengers of heaven.

        43 And they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them out among the wicked; and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

        44 For the world shall be burned with fire.

        Mormon 8
        27 And [the coming forth of the Book of Mormon] shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.

        28 Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.

        29 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands;

        30 And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.

        31 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.

        32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins. [Or, alternatively, “for your money you won’t be burned.” “Liken the scriptures”, eh?]

        33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.

        34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things [the Book of Mormon] shall come forth among you.

        35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

        36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

        37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

        38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

        [How does one pollute the Holy Church of God once the Book of Mormon has come forth? If you’re in the Church, don’t you take upon yourself the name of Christ at baptism? Apparently not.]

        39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

        40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

        41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.

      3. And, to forestall certain doctrinal objections – it is in receiving the Holy Ghost that one takes upon oneself the name of Christ.

        Alma 34
        38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

        We receive the Holy Ghost through the baptism by fire.

        2 Nephi 31:13
        13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

        The baptism by fire is administered by Jesus.

        3 Nephi 9:20
        20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

        He employs no servant at the gate.

        2 Nephi 9:41
        41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

        If one passes through the gate, one shall be baptized by fire.

        2 Nephi 31:17
        17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

        The baptism by fire has been described, as well as how to obtain it.

        Helaman 5
        40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?

        41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

        42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

        43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.

        44 And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.

        45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.

        46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:

        47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.

        Therefore, if you do not know what these things mean, then you had ought to ask of God, in faith believing you shall receive.

      4. Will: I never thought of it that way. See, I’m not too keen on what we’ve been told all these years that it’s verboten to share our blessings. Oh, I know all about not comparing so we won’t feel bad, but doggone it, I just realized if I had shared my blessing with friends when I was younger, some of them could have given me equally interesting insights as you just did. Grrr…just a little miffed at the moment. Anyway, thanks for that thoughtful insight. I appreciate it. Blessings on you, my friend.

        By the way, I served my mission in Central America: Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua. That’s kind of like the nations of the earth. Log told me the other day that’s where the city of Zion will be built. I wish I had written down what scripture he was quoting. It made sense – it’s built by one of the tribes of Israel and we – the Gentiles – assist them. Hope I remembered that right. It was a long two-hour discussion filled with scripture after scripture. The man is a walking scripture bank Oh, sorry, I’m rambling…Goodnight all 🙂

      5. bd, I hope that if enough people petition, that log will start blogging again (at Log Loblaw’s law blog?). Unfortunately, some stubborn folks won’t blog unless the Lord tells him to do it.

  3. Tim, I’ll be in LA from May 16th – 22nd. If you’d like to meet briefly in person let me know. Your blog has my email. I enjoy your blog and ache with you as well.

    1. Hi Oogly Boogly. I’d love to meet. I’ll shoot you a private message. We can sit down for lunch and chat on just about any one of those days. I’ve got to warn you though, when Log and I sat down to break bread together yesterday, our “chat” went two hours, which is OK with me.

  4. Tim, I must admit that your insistence on pressing issues with your local leaders is puzzling to me. Personally, I have never had any leaders prohibit the telling of spiritual experiences. I have heard a man in Fast Meeting testify of seeing some of his ancestor’s in vision while doing temple work, on more than one occasion. This didn’t raise any issue at all. I think if you have visions or revelations and want to share them at church, I don’t see the issue, and doubt you will have one. As for seeking for these spiritual experiences, I think it is green light ahead, without regard to what leaders think. Who cares what they think? Your progress is between you and the Lord. However, what I fail to see is what it profits you to put yourself deliberately into the crosshairs of discipline? I like Gandhi’s example: he taught and practiced passive non-compliance. Now, once you travel all the way and get your interview with the Lord, if he then gives you the assignment to take on the institution, then that is a different matter. But that is the only way I would take the course you are taking, that is, by direct personal commandment from the Lord to do so. You apparently have a large following on this blog, and these bloggers do seem to genuinely care for you. They don’t want to see you drawn into and damaged with a confrontation that you don’t have a chance of resolving in your favor. What would be the purpose?

    1. But that is the only way I would take the course you are taking, that is, by direct personal commandment from the Lord to do so.

      In this, you are exactly correct.

      D&C 132
      8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

      9 Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?

      10 Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?

      Abraham did not offer up Isaac on a whim. The Lord would not have received such.

    2. Hi Karl. I think it might be helpful to clarify how this all came about and what I am trying to accomplish with my blog. First, I’m not trying to put myself in the crosshairs of discipline, nor do I think my priesthood leaders are out to get me. We do not have an adversarial relationship. Pressing issues? No again. I simply have a few questions that I want to get clarified.

      My biggest concern is why are some of my fellow bloggers being disciplined, some to the point of excommunication, simply for reading, writing about, and in some cases, speaking to others about what they are sharing on their blogs? They are being labeled apostates by their priesthood leaders and kicked out of the church – all for reading a book and writing about it on their blog.

      That concerned me and still does, simply because I do a lot of book reviews and have reviewed Denver Snuffer’s book – the one that got my friends excommunicated. So I have approached my priesthood leaders to make sure I don’t suffer the same fate as my fellow bloggers. I want to make sure I am open and communicative with my priesthood leaders. The next meeting with my bishop is one I asked for as opposed to previous meetings.

      So just to be clear, these meetings with my bishop and stake president are not adversarial, or at least I hope not. These are men I love. I work closely with the stake presidency as the financial clerk. My previous meetings with the bishop have been filled with love and concern on his part for me and my family. I apologize if I have portrayed it otherwise. However, this is not the case with my fellow bloggers. They have not been so lucky or blessed.

      Concluding the point of pressing issues, I am simply trying to get some things clarified and open between me and my priesthood leaders. I don’t want to be accused of apostasy and I don’t want to be excommunicated but I also want to be free to review on my blog whatever LDS books I want, be they orthodox or anti. My blog is not phony or fake or pie in the sky. It is reality and the reality is there are some serious questions out there that need to be addressed. They are being addressed, by me, if by nobody else, and I want to write about them – good or bad. Hope that helps.

      1. Tim, Thanks for the courteous reply. I enjoy your blog and just don’t want to see it and you go away. I think the many people that are telling you they are concerned about you, really are concerned (I am too). I will hope and pray that things are smoothed out and that approaching them is the best approach. I too, share your concern for what seems to be heavy-handed discipline by church authorities. While I believe Snuffer is incorrect in his conclusions about the history of the church, I do believe that he (along with anyone else) is completely entitled to whatever sincere belief they have. The authorities just don’t understand how small the essential core of Mormon doctrine really is. I just finished reading Development of Mormon Theology by Charles Harrell. If you want a totally mind blowing experience, you have to read it–you’ll never assume anything about Mormon Doctrine again, believe me (have you reviewed that book yet?) Best.

  5. Tim,

    I appluad your effort to abide the Spirit. What determines our futureresiding withthe Lord in his kingdom will be first and foremost understanding and obeying the Spirit. This of course will grant more to you as you obey. What if Abinidi decided to lay low? What if Nephi decided to let his brothers dominate. Honestly, this was not Joseph’s nature to take the course of the “brethren”, local or general. Love is feigned today. A far cry from the Spirit of the Lord. You will be just fine.

  6. Tim, you are writing down, for all the world to see, what you are thinking and believe. And what many are thinking and believe but keep to ourselves! I’m concerned for you. But, if you have the Lords direction to share these things openly, then I support you in your errand if the Lord and will pray for you and your family!

    1. marginalizedmormon

      That’s a good way to put it. My husband and I keep these things to ourselves. I’m sorry; I know many men and women who can’t share with spouses–
      in our case, well, if I were to tell you how and why I am marginalized, I don’t think you would envy that my spouse understands.
      But, I am always anonymous–
      I have a real fear of being kicked out, since I am already severely marginalized.
      And I fear what it would do to very vulnerable people over whom I have responsibility.
      That said, this latest spree of excommunications has me seriously worried.
      I almost fear that we’ll slip and say something; there is nobody in our ward to whom we can safely talk–

      Nobody in our stake. We have family members who share some of our concerns.

    2. Hi John D: I neglected to express gratitude for your concern for me. It is my dialog with Bishop Rob F (below) that convinced me my approach on this post was a little off. Good people – like you – truly are concerned for me. Rob opened my eyes to that fact by his plain and direct words. I appreciate when good men take the time to help me see things a little clearer, in this case, that concerns expressed are real and are motivated by love. It’s wonderful to know there are such generous and caring people out there who take the time to share their concerns.

  7. On a tangentially related note, I was perusing “forbidden and taboo” subjects and authors when I noticed this brilliant quote.

    In Britain [then], there was almost no civic virtue more highly prized than tolerance and if people thought differently, you just let them be, while in America today, there’s a great tendency to stamp out any heretical thoughts and make everyone think alike, particularly in controversial issues like this.

    Found here

    The errors of our surrounding culture are our errors as well. We are the Gentiles (D&C 109:60).

    Steve Sailer, the author of the article above, says political correctness is a war on noticing. Noticing what? Noticing that reality diverges from political / ideological orthodoxy. If that description is accurate, then political correctness is alive and well – thriving, even – in the Church.

    The creeds of Christendom were the products of political correctness in a religious context – definitions of orthodox belief which one had to assent to or be excommunicated from the Church.

    An interesting insight is that political correctness is a positional good. That is, the adoption of political / ideological orthodoxy is intended to signal one’s moral superiority to others.

    Once you have successfully exorcised a word or an opinion, how do you differentiate yourself from others now? You need new things to be outraged about, new ways of asserting your imagined moral superiority.

    N. B. – there were many creeds written after Nicene, splitting ever finer hairs.

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

  8. Oh yes, there’s more where that came from.

    Sailer continues…

    For years, I’ve been pointing out that much of the hoopla over racism and sexism isn’t actually about blacks or women or whatever. Instead, it serves as a cover story for ambitious, clever men to get what they want. For example, I’ve long been fascinated by how mortgage lenders like Angelo Mozilo, Roland Arnall, and Kerry Killinger used the rhetoric of the War on Racist Redlining to blow up the housing bubble.

    That is an observation which was also made by one of the Brethren in the ’60s or ’70s – Ezra Taft Benson, if I recall correctly – when commenting on the civil rights / priesthood push at the time (it’s been a while and I only read it once). He said something to the effect that those who profess their concern for the Negro were not so much concerned for the Negro’s welfare as for their own power or prestige.

    It seems likely that in any subculture there is an equivalent hoopla over some form of divergence from that culture’s reigning orthodoxy which serves as a cover story for ambitious, clever men to get what they want. By excising heretics, and by making ever finer ideological distinctions so as to widen the definition of heresy (increasing the size of the pool of easy targets), they can be seen as defenders of orthodoxy, which orthodoxy is, of course, the ideology of the powerful within that subculture, and in such ways ingratiate themselves with the powerful, and, hopefully thereby acquire power, prestige, and position within that culture.

    Just a thought.

    1. You can say anything you want about the Brethren, but when you quote a guy who’s saying Magic Johnson’s behind the whole Donald Sterling affair, you’ve gone too far! Magic is sacred.

  9. Tim,

    Why would anyone be concerned for you unless they fell into Log’s presentation? If you are doing the Lord’s will, there should be no concern, but joy. Log presented Orthdoxy representing political correctness and superiority. You are not to fear, for if the Lord be with you, why should you fear? Will change perhaps be manifested? Maybe. But doesn’t all Lord driven doctrine constitute change from prevailing ways and thought? However, I would continue the blog in its original intent, that is doctrinal review and book reviews and not spend so much time on the unknown; whether or not there is action against you. This way you will focus on what the Lord is setting up for you to do. Just a thought. Continue the race!

    1. Hi SFort:

      The Lord I trust to be perfectly just and merciful. But priesthood leaders are not perfect, no matter how much you or I may love and sustain them. Even using all the tools of D&C 121 – persuasion, long-suffering and love unfeigned, one may be – oh, let’s just say for example – kicked out of the church for reading a book and writing on a blog that they liked it. But you’re right, if I am following what I believe to be the will of he Lord, there is no reason to be unhappy or unsatisfied with the outcome, no matter what it is. That’s actually a very comforting thought.

      Thanks and blessings upon you my friend. Cheers.

  10. I am flattered that a few of my comments from my last email made it onto your next blog post. By the way, I was not really suggesting that you write an open letter to the First Presidency; or was I? I was suggesting that such a direction would be closer to the target. I have thought about doing this myself. You say that this would do nothing. What does that have to do with anything? Nobody here at ground zero is going to change the church or how it is operated. The vast pride of the gentiles is too deeply rooted in the church. The point is that our voices should be heard. Leaders should be aware of our objections and be fairly warned. What is acting up with your local authorities going to accomplish? You will be excommunicated. That’s all. Another one bites the dust; and you will have something else sensational to write about on your blog. This should be interesting reading. I look forward to it. Like Denver, you will make excellent entertainment to conceal our boredom. I know, you are sincere. But really, what is this really accomplishing? Nothing with the church. Just more sensational energy as fuel for the opposition. I suppose this is a good thing. But lets be realistic about the facts here. The fact is that the Gentiles will be destroyed. Dang it! So our whole purpose with this online frenzy is to save as many people as possible from the awaiting DOOM by opening eyes and ears, and softening hearts. And like you, I find greater clarity of mind by writing it all down. I appreciate your comments on this blog. It stirs my own energies in going forward.

    I was serious about taking a break from all this online hype. Pause is often good. It is needed for clarity of mind and honest introspection. Acting on the energy of the moment can get you killed. I know. I fly airplanes for a living. Emotion in an airplane during an emergency is your worst enemy. And that’s what this all is: an emergency. When I loose an engine in flight, first my adrenalin spikes, I sweat like crazy, then I simply say, “Oh dang-it, I just lost my left engine.” Then I methodically shutdown and feather the right engine, which would be the correct engine. I am careful not to shutdown the one good engine I still have. I also give myself the advantage of maximum thrust and minimum drag. I add full power on the operating engine; and I retract the landing gear and flaps if they are extended. This increases performance considerably and often spells the difference between a safe conclusion versus a fiery death. I’ve had two engine failures so far during my career, with multiple other in-flight emergencies. It happens. I do not believe in the infallibility of my airplane.

    I have expressed, as a friend and as one who cares. my concerns. I have not watered it down or sugar-coated it. I know you are man enough to take it with the bark on. And I know that we can speak frankly without jeopardizing our friendship. After all, we both want the same thing–ZION. As soon a possible, please.

    Are my words inspired by fear? Maybe. There is nothing so complicated as human sentiment. Like Sarek, Spock’s father, my logic is uncertain where my family and loved ones are concerned.

    Tim, may God’s blessings and grace go with you.


  11. In pondering the recent rash of excommunications for heresy, I noted that it seems to conform to the patterns of history, as I read Nibley. Understanding rests in identifying what orthodoxy is.

    Just as all obedient subjects are embraced in a single shining community, so all outsiders are necessarily members of a single conspiracy of evil, a pestilential congregation of vapors of such uniform defilement that none can be ever so slightly tinged with its complexion without being wholly involved in its corruption.71 A favorite passage with the churchmen of the period was that which declared that to err in the slightest point of the law is to break the whole law. To accept the homoiousios (of similar substance) in place of the homoousios (consubstantial) is for the enlightened Hilary not just a mistake; it is the commission of every possible crime, the consummation of all that is depraved; it hands the whole world over to the Devil.72 By attending a discussion of the homoiousios the emperor has anathematized the holy men of Nicaea; thereby he has cursed all who have ever approved of those men; thereby he has damned his own father and set himself up as the foe of divine religion, the enemy of the saints, and a rebel against all sacred filial obligation.

    There seems to be similarity between this and the Church’s recent statement on blacks and the priesthood – the hoopla over racism occupying the role of the controversy between homoiousios vs. homoousios. We seem to have anathematized those whose views diverge from our modern, enlightened perspective.

    Nay, he is worse than a Decius or a Nero, for they fought only Christ the Son, while he fights both the Father and the Son! Again, the emperor who tolerates heretical groups is not just a dupe and a fool, he is a monster of iniquity, guilty of adultery, theft, and murder—and that not in a mere, crass physical sense, mind you, but in a spiritual sense, which is infinitely worse.73 If the emperor in question refuses to make a martyr of the churchman who flings the coarsest insults in his face, that does not soften his guilt but only deepens it—he is only being kind to be cruel, because he knows that such kindness will put his priestly assailants at a disadvantage.74 Yet from the festering depths of unspeakable depravity there is one thing that can save the debauched and unnatural animal—by a single act, in fact, he can redeem himself and become the holiest thing on earth, an emperor under God. And what is the miraculous prescription? It is very simple: “Fac transitum ad nos” (Come over to us)!75 All virtue is comprised in the fact of membership in Our Group; all vice consists in not belonging.76

    And that is the point of political correctness / enforcement of orthodoxy / pointing the finger of scorn at those who are partaking of the fruit of the tree of life – “we’re better than you, you superstitious, or racist, or self-deluded fools – join us and you can be superior, too.”

    It can be shown by a most convenient syllogism that since God is on our side we cannot show any degree of toleration for any opposition without incurring infinite guilt.77 In the fourth century everybody was officiously rushing to the defense of God;78 but John Chrysostom’s pious declaration that we must avenge insults to God while patiently bearing insults to ourselves is put in its proper rhetorical light by the assumption of Hilary that an insult to himself is an insult to God.79 Therein lies the great usefulness of the doctrine of guilt and innocence by association that became so popular in the fourth century: one does not need to quibble; there is no such thing as being partly wrong or merely mistaken; the painful virtue of forbearance and the labor of investigation no longer embarrass the champions of one-package loyalty.

    “Do you agree with, support, or affiliate with any person or group whose teachings have been deemed heretical?” Well, that becomes somewhat problematic – after all, even polygamist Mormon fundamentalists believe, and teach, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God – they even believe Joseph was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is scripture. Should we disagree with them? Has it been demonstrated (as opposed to merely claimed) that Snuffer’s teachings fail to conform to the scripture, or our published histories? How finely can we split doctrinal hairs until “their” teachings are no longer “ours”? “Yes, they teach that Jesus is the Christ, but they don’t mean it the way we do.” Wasn’t that precisely the purpose of the controversy over consubstantiality vs. of similar substance in the Council of Nicaea – to distinguish between “true” believers and “false” ones? And, if I recall correctly, the losers were cast out.

    No matter how nobly and austerely heretics may live, for Augustine they are still Antichrist—all of them, equally and indiscriminately;80 their virtues are really vices, their virginity carnality, their reason unreason, their patience in persecution mere insolence; any cruelty shown them is not really cruelty but kindness.81 Chrysostom goes even further: the most grossly immoral atheist is actually better off than an upright believer who slips up on one point, since though both go to hell, the atheist has at least the satisfaction of having gratified his lust on earth. Why not? Is not heresy in any degree a crime against God? And is not any crime against God an infinite sin?82

    The key to likening this unto ourselves is to note that orthodoxy, in the modern Church, is “the Brethren cannot lead you astray.” Heresy, therefore, is anything other than this. Getting kicked out of the Church for heresy is eternal death, after all.

    The insidious thing about such immoral conclusions is that they are quite logical. The cruelty of the times, says Alföldi, “cannot fully be explained by the corruption of the age; . . . the spirit of the fourth century has its part to play. The victory of abstract ways of thinking, the universal triumph of theory, knows no half-measures; punishment, like everything else, must be a hundred per cent, but even this seems inadequate.”83 Compromise is now out of the question: God, who once let his sun shine upon the just and the unjust, and let the wheat and tares grow together, now insists that the unjust should cease to exist, that only wheat should grow in the earth, and that only sheep should inhabit it.84 In all seriousness the Emperor Justinian announced to the churchmen his intention of forcing the devil himself to join the true church and thus achieving in the world that perfect unity “which Pythagoras and Plato taught.”85

    We are yet early in this process. But we see its seeds in the interactions on Tim’s blog (“If you leave our employ, what will become of you?” “If you don’t stop countenancing heresy, I’ll stop being your friend.”). We see many officiously rushing to the defense, not of God, but of the Brethren, who are God’s representatives upon the earth. Rather than imposing a doctrinal test, we impose a loyalty test: “do you swear fealty to the Vicars of Christ upon the earth, yielding to them total obeisance and obedience, to the giving them of your wife, or the laying down of your life?” Well, we don’t word it quite that way, but some bishops, high councilmen, and stake presidents have imposed the content thereof (with only slight exaggeration) as conditions of retaining membership in the Church.

    “I follow the Brethren. I believe in them. I trust them… You don’t trust them. That’s why you were excommunicated.”

    A more succinct illustration of the contrast between orthodoxy and heresy in the modern Church could not be asked for.

    I have oft cited the Savior’s explicit teaching – “Therefore, let every man stand or fall for himself, and not for another, or not trusting another.” But demonstrating that today’s orthodoxy is anti-scriptural isn’t my point; my point is to simply call attention to the fact that there exists a de facto creed which defines orthodoxy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that the course of the Church is mirroring that of the Gentiles, and of the Jews, of old.

    “I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be trammeled.”

    1. In my own inadequate way, I have tried to capture some thoughts on “never lead astray.” I’m not trying to advertise here, it is just too long for a comment


      Basically, I just don’t believe it is possible, especially with recent statements regarding race and the priesthood, to seriously continue to hold to the “can’t lead astray” folk-doctrine.

      I have listened to the Nibley audio of “Time Vindicates the Prophets,” and although he is commenting on apostasy of the past, what he describes is becoming all too familiar I our day. I don’t say the church is in apostasy now, just that the same mistakes of the past seem to be repeated in our time. The direction of travel is worrying.

      1. To BD: I love your blog already. I added it to my blog-roll on the right. You really dug into the illogic of never being lead astray. I mean you nailed with your Either / Or conundrum with Brigham and SPK. Thanks for sharing. It was enjoyable. I’ll look for more good thinking / writing coming from your blog into my reader. God bless.

  12. Hi Jared. Your private email words to me *were* anonymous but now that you’ve revealed yourself publically, please allow me to respond to your current blog comments. The point about fear-based comments was not directed at what you wrote. It was directed at a bunch of my Facebook friends – mostly members of my previous stake were I had served on the High Council. It fits them but don’t think it applies to you.

    Many of them have expressed shock at what I have been sharing – my expressions of frustration that we are now kicking bloggers out of the church after Elder Ballard specifically counseled us to get involved in the blogging and other online communications going on about the LDS Church. It is confusing and frustrating to me when an Apostle tells you to do one thing and a Stake President pulls your temple recommend or worse – your membership – because you did what the Apostle asked.

    That’s my whole argument in a nutshell. It is not directed at my local Bishop or Stake President in my current stake. I feel sorry to waste their time with my petty concern, but the handbook will not allow me to approach Elder Ballard directly to get clarification. Thus I am now a thorn in the side of my Bishop and Stake President, both of whom I love and do not want to cause pain, sorrow, distress or any other negative emotion, although it may be too late. My desire to meet with them is make sure I do not step over the line like some other bloggers.

    The difficult thing is most priesthood leaders are too busy to be involved in the blogging community in any way – either as a reader or a writer. I know a few bishops who blog, a lot more who do Facebook, but not one Stake President who blogs. They just don’t have the time. Why does that matter? It matters because ultimately, the decision about what to do with a blogger like me who claims he is following the counsel of an Apostle, comes down to that Stake President when members of his stake claim their testimonies are being threatened by what this blogger is writing. As far as I know, it hasn’t happened in my stake but I have to wonder why my Bishop told me to stop linking to Facebook. Headlines. I’ve been asked to stop with the provocative headlines. I guess Elder Ballard really didn’t want us to be effective.

    If I really want my voice to be heard, I just have to write one email to someone I love with a request she pass the email around her office so the other Apostle’s secretaries can decide if they should bring it to the attention of their bosses. But I will never do that. It’s not appropriate and would be infringing inappropriately upon a relationship of trust. So I do what the church has asked us to do – counsel with local leaders. By tomorrow evening I hope to have my questions cleared up about what Elder Ballard meant when he said to get involved in the blogging world.

    Maybe Elder Ballard didn’t really mean for us to do book reviews of works published by a man now branded an apostate. But why not? What he has written has been written and sooner or later, more and more members will ask about his books, just like we have seen with Visions of Glory. That’s why I want to be prepared with book reviews (which I have) and with clear instructions from my priesthood leaders on what they will allow me to write about said apostate and his books. After all, theirs is the responsibility to look after the spiritual welfare of their flock.

    Then, of course, there’s the whole other argument of ramrodding things through because, as I have previously shared, I already asked for and received permission from the Lord to do what I’m doing with this blog. I will not take what some may consider to be the arrogant and prideful approach of writing, publishing and marketing (yes, blog posts don’t usually market themselves unless they are very good and relevant), something just because I feel I have the Lord’s direction / permission / authorization to do so. You’re right. That will probably get me kicked out of the church. All I want is to keep the lines of communications open with my priesthood leaders, try not to be an annoying gadfly to them and do what I feel the Lord has asked me to do with my blog.

    I’m rambling. Jared, I’m not sure my primary motivation is to make a difference because frankly, I am not an expert on what will make a difference and as you said, I don’t know that we or I *can* make a difference. I do what I do because the Lord has asked me to do it. In some ways it hurts that *MOST* people whom I consider friends don’t get it, think I’m an apostate and that I should be or will soon be kicked out of the church. But in the end, it is comforting to feel the love of Lord each time I ask Him – “Am I on the right track? Am I doing what thou hast asked me to do? Is there anything I need to do differently today?” And you know what the answer usually turns out to be? I’ll tell you. He usually answers me by saying, “Today, I’m going to send you someone who needs to read what you have written. Help them understand if they ask for help” Lately, it’s been more like, “Today, I’m going to send you someone I want you to meet.”

    Jared, please accept my apologies if I implied your words were inspired by fear. I placed your quote *After* I had made my point about fear-based responses. I thought your words were strong, courageous and filed with passion. But, they were not what the Lord wanted me to do – that is, he does not want me to “take a break.” I feel like I am just getting started. I suffered serious health issues last year, came close to death twice and endured physical and mental pain that I thought would destroy me. The headaches are almost gone, the psychotropic drugs are completely gone (the world calls anything you see from the spirit world a hallucination) and frankly, I feel fine and raring to go. There is something about to happen to this world. The hand of the Lord is about to be revealed. I can’t tell you what it is. All I know is I’ll do whatever the Lord asks me to do as my small contribution to his eventual return, as referred to in my attached Patriarchal Blessing.

    Thanks for the airplane stories. I work with pilots every day. I have a lot of respect for their ability to handle stress and danger. God bless you.

    Tim Malone
    Latter-day Commentary
    818-257-0513 (text me first)

    1. Tim,

      You are making a positive difference already.

      What you are doing has the potential to become a “bellwether case,” and I hope it does.

      May the Lord bless you,
      Tom Irvine

  13. Another key to understanding – from a position of orthodoxy, the query “do you sustain / support the Brethren?” means, in plain language, “do you believe that everything the Brethren say or do is exactly what God would say or do if he were standing in their place?”

    Or, alternatively, it means “are you orthodox?”

    I am reminded of the following snippets of dialog.

    “Do you preach the orthodox religion?”

    “Yes, that is what I preach.”

    “If you will preach your orthodox religion to these people and convert them, I will pay you well.”

    “I will do my best.”

    “Here is a man who desires religion. He is very much exercised and seems to be sincere.”

    “I understand that you are inquiring after religion.”

    “I was calling upon Father.”

    “I am glad to know that you were calling upon Father.

    Do you believe that God has sent forth servants who have been deprived of free will, who are divine puppets, whose words are those of God, whose actions are those of God, who cannot err or lead astray, and that salvation consists of hearkening unto their voice and theirs alone, despite whatever any of God’s servants who have come before them may have said or done, thus eliminating the need to call upon Father for yourself?”

    “I do not.”

    “My dear friend, I am sorry for you.”

    1. Log,
      I recognize the first part of that dialog from before 1990: however, that last paragraph does not go with that dialog, Where does that come from?

      1. Why, it is a description of today’s orthodox religion. It can be summed up like this.

        I follow the Brethren. I believe in them. I trust them… You don’t trust them. That’s why you were excommunicated.

  14. I, like Tim and most here, are questioners, deep thinkers, questers, seekers of truth, etc. I began online discourse back in 2000 on beliefnet – before blogs were on the scene. Someone would start a thread and then everyone would post comments much like this. I really honed my communication skills, particularly writing. When I first posted a comment, it was LDS orthodoxy. It didn’t take me long before I realized that I wasn’t in the Sunday School anymore. Great experience. Most people who defend their (usually untested) orthodox viewpoints quickly get put through the ringer. You have to be really good at debate, word-smithing, etc. After a few years of this, my master’s was much easier to obtain as I learned how to write, be concise, etc.

    I stopped for years. I had gotten into “enlightenment” thought and then came back (intellectually) to the fold. I happened upon Tim’s blog here a year, year and a half ago. I loved it. I loved that he was so interested in many of the same things I had studied and thought about. I loved his openness. I remember being shocked that he had been doing it so long and he was still basically orthodox.

    The fact of the matter is – if every member ventured out online and truly put their sacred beliefs to the test – they’d all eventually face the undeniable fact that we have taken many, many truths without enough thought required and not having the Holy Ghost confirm the principle/belief to us directly. The majority of our beliefs are other’s beliefs. Over time, this has led to our dwindling in unbelief at least as it pertains to the gift of the Holy Ghost, receiving angels, visitations , and ultimately receiving the Son and the Father.

    When I was a child I saw a movie in school that has stuck with me to this day – an adaptation of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” There are many people who are now acting as the little child who honestly declares, “The Emperor has no clothes. He’s naked.” I don’t mean to point this directly to the brethren of the church, but rather to all of us. We have all, to one extent or another, been walking around naked. Or, we have all been standing by watching it happen either without speaking our truth or without knowing the truth. It’s hard when someone finally has the guts to speak the truth.

    With that said, it doesn’t mean that we throw it away. To the contrary, we repent. We try to be more honest. We try to find inspiration and wisdom from God to correct our course. I think I enjoyed reading about Ignatius Loyola as much, if not more, as I did about Luther, Zwingli, Wesley, etc. Loyola had an experience with the Savior and reformed the church from within. He began the Jesuit order. We, too, can work to persuade others from within. This approach can be as effective, and really more so, than leaving the church. Where would you go?

    As I see it today, the LDS Church collectively enjoys much of the Aaronic priesthood. It is real. Anyone who has gone many weeks without the sacrament can attest to real power found within it. Similarly, when one attends a baptism, you can feel the power that is manifestly present. For the Melchizedek priesthood, we seem to achieve that individually, not collectively. That’s the feeling I get anyway. Perhaps that’s how it should be for right now.

    There’s an outer church that deals with temporal affairs (Aaronic) and then there is the inner, spiritual church that you individually have to seek after (Melchizedek).

    1. How I wish I had time to respond to this one properly. That’s why sometimes I just click “Like” to indicate I read it – there’s just not enough time in the day to respond to every post and every email. But I had to at least say something here to indicate my gratitude for thinkers like you who share and make me want to dig into what you have shared. I still remember the day you called after you found my blog. You were so excited. You still are. Thank you for that. Cheers.

    2. Great comment. I agree that most of those inside the church that see trouble (which is everyone when they really start thinking) would be better to stay put and try to help the ship of Zion make the course correction it needs. As a practical matter, once you are tossed out, you are anathema to the body of the church. The Holy Ghost is here in the church and operating, the spiritual gifts are here, and the pathway is open for each individual to go as far as they have the courage for–independent as to whether the authorities believe this or not. Whether any authority, even the Twelve or the President, believe these great blessings are available to common members or not, is irrelevant to me. I want those blessings for me individually, and my persuit of them is between me and the Lord.

  15. The conclusion to “The Unsolved Loyalty Problem: Our Western Heritage”.

    Each of the three attempts to foster loyalty in the century of crisis was a conspicuous failure. The disillusionment with the ideological appeal of West versus East is voiced in Jordanes’s commentary on the Battle of the Catalaunian Plain which, far from being a cosmic struggle between conflicting ways of life, proved to him only one thing: When such a slaughter of nations can be caused by the crazy obsession of one man, or when the whim of some arrogant chieftain can undo in an instant what it has taken nature centuries to produce—that proves that the human race lives for the benefit of kings.145 One-package loyalty was, as Alföldi shows, no less a hopelessly artificial concept that could only ruin what it meant to save.146 “Men were aware of the danger that threatened,” writes Straub. “They felt that the emergency of the time called for drastic decisions; but the absolute domination of Divine Grace left little margin [Spielraum] for any attempts at political reform. It is thus by no means surprising that we are almost never confronted by any concrete suggestion.”147 One does not reform a holy system, and where the social order was God’s order, “the human mind,” in Bury’s words, “was cabined by the Infinite. Thought was rendered sterile and unproductive under the withering pressure of an omnipresent and monotonous idea.”148 It was an age of “utter incapacity to invent anything new . . . devoid of all creative power and helplessly submitting to current practice.”149

    Partisan appeals to universal loyalty completed the crippling process: the whole Tragik of the Middle Ages, says Ladner, was the ruling out of all possibility of compromise by a theory of loyalty which was partisanship raised to the nth power (die ins Ungemessene gesteigerten Einseitigkeiten).150 “Reverence for Augustine,” writes Father Bligh, “forbids me to say that his justification of persecution was wrong; but its fruits were evil in the centuries which followed, and we may suspect that, if he had had as much experience to reflect upon as we have, Augustine would have reverted to his first opinion.”151 On the contrary, it is we who are reverting to Augustine’s second opinion.

    Rostovzeff sums up all the evils of the age we have been discussing under one head: oversimplification. “Everywhere we meet with the same policy of simplification, coupled with a policy of brutal compulsion.”152

    One might profitably consider the program of Correlation, and excommunications for “agreeing” with those whose views have been deemed heretical.

    The “system of the late Empire, despite its apparent complexity, was much simpler, much more primitive, and infinitely more brutal” than what had gone before.153 “In times of crisis,” says Alföldi, “when the choice of the Government is simplified down to a plain ‘to be or not to be,’ the policy that wins is that of the fire-brigade, which elects to destroy the contents of a house in order to save the naked walls.”154 And the ultimate expression of this blunt oversimplification was the army of secret police, agentes in rebus, whose business was to check on everybody’s loyalty.155

    Secret police are justified when the intent is to strengthen church members, of course.

    The fourth century is not the twentieth. But loyalty is a timeless thing, and if the experience of the century of crisis proves anything, it is that there is no problem of loyalty. Conformity can be had by bribery, flattery, or force, but one can no more legislate loyalty than one can legislate love, of which it is a part. “The professed object of Constantine,” says Cochrane, “was to legislate the millennium in a generation.”156 The legislation of loyalty lay at the core of his plan, and its miserable failure should mean something to a modern world in which no ruler possesses a tenth of the religious, political, and military prestige that Constantine did. Since the essence of loyalty is disinterested devotion, there is something distressing in the attempts of the fourth (or any) century to conjure it up by appeals to interest, fear, or expediency.

    But that is precisely what we observe in the responses of the orthodox: appeals to interest, fear, or expediency.

    Yet the “loyalty problem” is no mere question of semantics; the substitution of some such word as “security” or “conformity” for “loyalty” in designating the Executive Order of March 1947 does not really change the complexion of the thing. Loyalty is one of the few words in existence about whose meaning dispute is virtually impossible. Everyone knows what loyalty is, and what a desirable, nay indispensable thing it is to the survival of any community. Like honor and chastity, it is strongest when least talked about, and thrives only in a climate of uncritical acceptance. A virtuous investigation of loyalty is like a noisy oration in praise of silence, and the appearance of loyalty order and loyalty legislation such as are found in the Theodosian Code and elsewhere is a sign of lost confidence, a desperate groping in empty air for something which groping fingers only push farther out of reach.

    The “Google Apostasy” is a sign of lost confidence, and the response – to cast out the questioners after labelling them insufficiently loyal, rather than answering them by pure knowledge – is not a positive development. Trammeled, indeed.

    Two of the wisest contemporaries of Constantine, reflecting upon his Nicene Council, were not unaware of a serious implication in the holding of formal assemblies to decide upon the nature of God. “For if they believed,” writes Athanasius,” they would not be seeking as if for something they did not have,” and Hilary says the same: “The Faith must be inquired after, as if we had none. The Faith must be written down, as if there could be any baptism without faith in Christ!”157 Just so, when we start defining loyalty we demonstrate to the world that we no longer know what it is. That is the lesson of the Age of Constantine.

    Might we expect doctrinal councils sometime?

    *This article was originally published in Western Political Quarterly 6/4 (1953): 631-57, at a time when the loyalty of many patriotic Americans was being impugned by political opponents.

    And it was read in 2014, when the loyalty of many devoted LDS was being impugned by ideological opponents.

  16. marginalizedmormon

    This isn’t a response to Log who doesn’t respond to me unless he doesn’t like what I’m saying–*hey, there Log*

    It just happens to be underneath Log’s comment, and I don’t want it to appear that I am responding–

    There are many good ideas in all of these comments, and, Tim, I understand better than you think–

    since the ‘thing’ that has marginalized me over which I have absolutely no control–

    has been seen as a ‘non-thing’ by many people who have urged me to pretend I am not marginalized.

    The ‘concern’ that we as LDS show to others when we deem them to be, somehow, off the path–

    is so patronizing, so condescending much of the time, and most of the time it is done out of self-defense. “I am defending my beliefs, the faith, the church, truth by trying to ‘help’ you.”

    I did it myself to so many innocent victims for so many years; I was an uber TBM–
    and while there are TBMs who are not scary, I realize that for me I was a very scary person in my self-righteousness.

    I got taken down a peg by life and a loving Father in Heaven. He did me much good when he allowed me to be marginalized and, hence, humiliated.

    So, the point is that I read the Book of Mormon, and I felt I should not ‘understand’ it by the Bible or even the D&C/PofGP, but on its own–

    I didn’t need to read any books by anyone to do this, but I had been brought down to the dust–

    and I read it differently on its own than I had before when I was ‘mainstream’ and acceptable, etc.–

    And I learned so much. I learned I was a gentile. I learned I had nothing to be proud of, because I had Mormon pioneers for ancestors. I learned I had nothing to be proud of because I was LDS, and I wept for my former arrogance towards non-LDS or ‘inactives’–I realized how much the ‘dust’ I was (blessed King Benjamin), and suddenly when I listened to conference and heard the back-patting (we are good people)–
    I was highly uncomfortable and thought, “is this what I am; is that what I was?”–

    It’s not because I post book reviews or even read those books; it is because I READ the Book of Mormon, thought about it, studied it without the Bible, etc.–

    and now I am at the same point. I can’t talk to anyone. Except my husband. Which is a good thing, because he is just about the only person I can be in the same space with physically. Just about.

    I am questioning everything. About this culture, about the world and being an American and . . . everything I have been taught. I line everything I thought I believed up with the Book of Mormon and go over it–
    and am finding much amiss.
    Thanks for letting people like me have a voice somewhere. I hope things go well. I fear my stake president (not my bishop, but he will do what the SP tells him)–

    I fear that man. So does my husband. We have no closeness at all.
    So, you see–
    you are the guinea pig. I believe we are in for a ‘wild ride’–

    and some of *us* may not survive the wild ride physically, even if we do spiritually–

    1. marginalizedmormon,

      Well, I have Asperger’s, social anxiety, and fatigue. These may not be “rare” conditions, but I have learned to be sympathetic and empathetic to people who have any mind, body, or spirit challenges, or who are otherwise “neurodiverse.”

      Please send me an Email if you need someone to talk with.

      May the Lord bless you,
      Tom Irvine
      Email: tom@irvinemail.org

      1. marginalizedmormon

        Bless your heart. These ‘conditions’, in a way, can be a blessing or a conduit that can lead to blessings.
        I would certainly add to your anxiety and fatigue if I told you about my issues–LOL! (not laughing at you but at my situation; someone very close to me suffers with social anxiety; that one is a corker)–
        The fact is that on a number of blogs, including this one recently, people have reacted negatively to my ‘name’, and yet it describes my situation so perfectly–
        and I thought I owed it to those with honest, caring hearts . . . to explain.
        I have been blessed with a number of ministering angels, all of them nowhere nearby, some I have known most of my life, some only 10 years–most of whom I have met IRL–who understand my situation, feel frustrated with me, worry about me and care.
        And then my husband is a ginormous (a word some young people close to me use) angel. 🙂
        But now I know your situation when I see your name I will pray for you.

  17. marginalizedmormon

    I hate to be mysterious. My marginalization has much to do with my having an extremely rare health condition that will not, in this life, be healed. It is debilitating.

    I don’t want to talk about it on here, but I sensed that a few people don’t like my ‘name’. This illness has marginalized me heavily. My husband tried telling someone we thought we could trust about my illness, and that person (ward member, temple worker) said, “that’s not possible; someone couldn’t have that and still live.” And yet is is possible; my husband knows it as well as I do. I don’t exist. I cannot talk to anyone about it. I’ve tried a few people who don’t believe me. I have spent much time searching the internet for anyone who has anything even closely related to my illness, and there is nobody I can find, anywhere. I have become invisible, especially in the church. One very elderly man in our ward cares and has helped my husband give me blessings at times; he’s not always strong enough to come to our home.
    This has been an amazing blessing, however. My patriarchal blessing says that I will have blessings in disguise. This one surely is. It may be the salvation of me.

    But I have learned through this illness that Jesus is there. Here. Loves us. And He is all that matters.

  18. I write this in hopes that maybe it might help those of us with simpler minds to embark on the journey in finding out truth. I’m no where near as smart and wordy as most of the commenters here but maybe it will help those who could be a bit overwhelmed by that.

    Heavenly Father has made it perfectly clear that he’s given me a gift of feelings. If I pay attention to them I will know wether something is right or wrong.

    For the past year or so Judas Iscariot’s name has been running through my mind. The feeling present was that there was more to his story to understand. So I pondered and prayed and then was eventually lead to Tim’s blog. That’s when it all made sense why I kept getting that thought of Judas. The whole idea that a prophet couldn’t lead us astray just didn’t make sense to me. As far as I know there is not a single person on or ever was on earth who is perfect besides the Savior.

    So where does that lead me and others like me? We are wanting truth but do not want to be deceived or feel overwhelmed and intellectually inadequate to find truth. From my experience I learned something about fear. It is Satans motivator. So when I feel fear I can now logically think , why am I experiencing this when I go to read this or that? Obviously Satan doesn’t want you to expand your mind and find answers. Or, heaven forbid, find the mysteries of God!

    There have been sites that I have gotten a feeling like I used to get when I was dating the wrong guy and I knew it. So if I get that kind of feeling I can safely say yeah this probably isn’t for me to read.

    Now if I’m reading something such as Tim’s blog or yes, even Denver Snuffers books (Gasp!) it just makes sense.

    I don’t suggest you do this blindly by any means. A good start is to follow the council in the Book of Mormon to “awaken to your awful situation”. Please remember to continue reading the scriptures, PRAY, and fast. Ask specifacally not to be deceived and to be lead to the truth. Also pray to not get hung up on ideas that may be stumbling blocks. I even ask Heavenly Father what questions I should be asking.

    Since embarking on this journey I’ve gone through a bit of an emotional roller coaster but to me seems perfectly natural. Fear, extreme sadness and mourning for what was lost, excitement for the future, peace to know the truth, frustration because everyone around you thinks you are going apostate (because they don’t understand nor are they willing to) and most importantly liberation and freedom to have the ability to remove the “cloud of darkness” and come closer to the Savior.

    So there you go. Don’t be afraid. It’s so limiting and really just leaves you in bondage. There is no other place Satan would rather you be. Trust that Jesus will lead you in the right direction even if others think its wrong. You may make some mistakes along the way but how else can you learn?

    Thank you Tim for being part of my journey!

    *sorry for grammatical, errors it’s never been a strength of mine.

    1. Adrianne, I’m pretty sure you were talking directly to me… well, at least one of the “us” you mentioned. Well spoken imo and Thanks.


  19. Brother Tim,

    My eyes ache. I just spent over an hour scouring in200wordsorless, and was somehow linked to yours, and have spent nearly as much time here. It’s late! Must sleep! But it appears that so many are being led on this road. I was pondering the same things you mentioned regarding what would happen if it were your turn to be brought in. What is wrong with doubts? Is this an ousting of anyone and everyone who will so much as comment in support on a blog? Are doubts no longer safe? We work so hard to invest in finding new “sheep” and then so carelessly discard the ones who have invested so much in staying through it all. My thoughts have been heavy on what will come up when my recommend is due next year, and wondering that if just for commenting on these blogs if I will be invited in likewise, when the STMC discovers my name and whereabouts.

    Looking forward to scouring more of what you’ve got here. Prayers for Carol’s heart to be softened, and for your bishop and stake president’s as well, to hear what you’re saying, and not just exact the letter of the law. Christ taught it was the spirit of the law that matters, did He not?

    1. Has anyone here who has already been excommunicated, tried to return to the church? If so you will already know that the church requires a “test oath” for anyone who has been excommunicated for apostasy. It requires the person to take a oath that they will never question anything that comes across the pulpit from the brethren, whether past, present or future. That means you have to agree to agree even though you have no clue what may at some future date be taught as doctrine.

      Here is what Joseph Smith had to say on the matter:
      By the way he says it is worse than slavery. “Because of these facts, and the apparent imperfections of men on whom God confers authority the question is sometimes asked, to what extent is obedience to those who hold the Priesthood required?
      This is a very important question, and one, which should be understood by all Saints. In attempting to answer this question we would repeat, in short, what we have already written, that willing obedience to the laws of God, administered by the Priesthood, is indispensable to salvation; but, we would further add, that a proper conservative to this power exists for the benefit of all, and none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the Priesthood. We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, (even) even if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God, who seeks for the
      redemption of his fellows, would despise the idea of seeing another become his slave, who had an equal right with himself to the favour of God; he would rather see him stand by his side, a sworn enemy to
      wrong, so long as there was place found for it among men. Others, in the extreme exercise of their 1 almighty (!) authority, have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the
      Saints were told to do by their Presidents, they should do it without questions. When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience, as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves and wish to pave the way to accomplish that wrong; or else because they have done wrong, and wish to use the cloak of their authority to cover it with, lest is should be discovered by their superiors, who would require an atonement at their hands.”

      This is only a portion of the article from the Times and Seasons. But can easily be found on the web.

  20. I’m skipping all the comments because I just want to respond to your post. I hope this doesn’t come off as judgemental, as I only hope to point out what appear to me as factors that seem to be underlying your approach.

    I think there are a couple serious flaws with the argument there. First of all, I think you have over-generalized your claims about the church denying spiritual gifts. I suggest that if you spent less time seeking evidence for apostasy or persecutions, and more time searching for recent general authority statements and member experiences that reaffirm our teachings about the desireability of those gifts, you would see that they are not spurned by the church. We all like D&C 93:1. Why not start by looking to see how often that verse has been used recently by our leaders or official publications.

    Your favorite spiritual gifts or promises may be spurned by some members, or even leaders. But so what? Why should you make that have anything to do with you? Why not just focus on your own path and sharing the good, rather than accusing your brothers and sisters who may or may not share your views?

    President Benson’s sermon on pride reminded us not to judge by looking and comparing ourselves to others. I’ve been seeing a lot of that in Denver’s talks, and increasingly in your blog. You seem to have started to acknowledge that as an addition to your post. I would invite you to explore that in more depth and see how it might be influencing your judgements.

    One final observation. You also seem to have a flair for the dramatic. You are attracted to it. You have adopted a cosmology with wild planetary oscillations and dramatic spiritual manifestations, coupled with an almost elitist sense that you somehow are one of only a few to see these claimed truths. Again, I would invite you to explore your yearning for drama and elitism as possible motivations in your thinking and writings.

    You are manufacturing a spiritual and familial crisis, and it would behoove you to explore some of these motivations before your local leaders will have no choice but to fulfill your elitist and overly dramatic self-fulfilling prophecy.

    1. Hi Bishop,

      I suspect by the very nature of your calling you are more comfortable with judging others than I am. The older I get, the less I desire to be a judge. I am not here to judge or control anyone. I simply desire to be a witness – to observe and to report. That is what is underlying my approach in my writing. I am not looking for flaws or seeking examples of abuse by priesthood leaders. I am simply responding to what members – fellow bloggers – have shared with me.

      Their stories, some public, some private – about being disciplined for reading, writing and wanting to discuss the written works of a now-excommunicated former member and fellow writer – are what motivate me, and in particular, have motivated this post. I feel bad because some of my readers have determined I must be either lying or have been deceived by an evil spirit or have taken offense where none is directed toward me.

      I plead guilty to that last charge. Having invested years of my life doing something I felt the Lord wanted me to do, I took personal umbrage at the fate of my friends who have been on the receiving end of discipline by their bishops and stake presidents. I accused those who lashed out against me as being motivated by fear, when it fact, they are motivated by love and concern for me. It is more likely my own fears of being “called on the carpet” that motivated this post.

      You point out “serious flaws with the argument.” I’m not sure I was making an argument in this post. I was simply making observations, but I’ll accept your premise, since every post can be seen as an argument for one point of view or another. You state I have over-generalized claims that the church is denying spiritual gifts. Again, I’m not sure where I have done that. I have simply responded to a few specific instances of fellow bloggers who have been disciplined.

      Maybe you’re right. After all, what’s the word of a few obscure bloggers against the established procedures of discipline that MUST be followed to keep order in the church? They wrote on their blogs about the writings of a man who has been cast out of the church for apostasy. We can’t have that. We MUST take action to save their souls. They obviously are apostates themselves because they shared their honest feelings about what they read in this apostate’s writings.

      I’ll accept your criticism that I have over-generalized claims of the church denying spiritual gifts. After all, as has been pointed out to me by many friends, I simply do not know the other side of the story. I do not know for what specific action each of these individuals was excommunicated. Even though they said it was apostasy, perhaps they were lying. The church will never tell, so we have only their word to rely on to know what has happened. Never mind I have met them in person or have called them on the phone to get to know them better. It’s still one-sided, isn’t it?

      Perhaps I am overly dramatic. That may be due to the vested interest I feel because I, like they, have written specifically and frequently about what I have read and studied in the writings of the main culprit – this Denver Snuffer. I know this is not supposed to be about him. We should each be focusing on the Savior and upon what HE has said, or what was written about him. I stand guilty and, as I added in my update to the post of a few days ago, I repent of that inappropriate focus, which, it is obvious, has made numerous people respond with loving concern toward me.

      I am going to assume your comments toward me, Bishop, are based on loving concern. I thank you. I will make greater efforts to seek evidences of local leaders encouraging their sheep to seek after and share their gifts of the spirit, especially those who have gifts of writing or speaking in a persuasive manner. So even though my friends – fellow bloggers – are being excommunicated for writing about the insights shared by Denver Snuffer, and doing so in a manner that I find to be uplifting and helpful, I will not look upon the actions of their leaders in taking away their temple recommends, or enforcing other forms of church discipline as anything but encouraging.

      Bishop (sorry, I don’t feel comfortable addressing you as simply Rob), you write about me having favorite spiritual gifts. I wasn’t aware I had any favorites but maybe you’re right. I do seek the gifts of prophecy and revelation. I do seek the gift of having the heavens opened to me as promised. I am grateful you pointed out D&C 93:1. When I shared that from the pulpit a while back, the audible shuffling and clearing of the throat by my priesthood leaders behind me made it clear my emphatic testimony of the importance of seeking the fulfillment of this scripture caused them to feel uncomfortable. I am certain now I was being over-sensitive so I’ll share no more.

      Your paragraph about not taking things personally is excellent advice. I mean that sincerely. I feel encouraged by your words to focus on my own path, sharing the good the Lord has revealed to me. You are correct. It is not a good idea to accuse anyone of anything. It does come across as defensive and accusatory even when I was only sharing actual quotes, doesn’t it? OK, so they don’t agree with me, so what? I will strive to adopt your counsel. I will not be concerned they do not share my passion for those gifts or views. I have obviously made living the gospel way too personal, especially because I have been open about my passion on what I feel is important.

      I know this may come across as sarcasm, but trust me, I am appreciative you have shared it with me. It needed to be said. “Toughen up,” is what I read in your words. “Get a thick skin,” is what I find implied in what you have shared. I’ve made it too personal. I’ve let my passion get in the way of simply sharing what I have observed as I have tried to explain to others why I have been moved by the words of others. After all, they are only words. And words are cheap, right? Let others respond as they will. Don’t let it bother you and especially don’t express your honest feelings of shock that someone didn’t “get” what you were trying to share. Have I got that right?

      I accept your observation (since you wrote you are not judging) that pride must be the motivating factor behind Denver’s writings and increasingly in my blog. It’s always good to learn how your writings are being perceived by others. Prideful…hmmm… honestly, I had not considered that but I do now that you have pointed it out. I can’t speak for Denver as to pride being more and more evident in his lectures, but if that’s coming across in my writings then I have more need to make greater efforts to repent. Pride causes us to judge others, in spite of what we may think we are doing – simply sharing observations – if it comes across as pride, then it must be pride.

      After all, perception is reality, isn’t it? If my blog comes across as comparing myself to others, presumably in an arrogant manner, then I need to take steps to correct that. I am grateful for the compassion exhibited by my brothers and sisters in the gospel, or anyone who reads my posts, for their tolerant over-looking of the pride that has crept into what I write. I am saddened to learn that pride in my writings has become obvious to you, but then, that’s one of the gifts of being a bishop, isn’t it – to see what others don’t see and point it out to them? I will accept your counsel to explore the idea of pride – or eliminating it – in my writings and in my attitude toward life.

      And finally, in response to your accusations – yes, they are accusations – that I am somehow manufacturing a spiritual and familial crisis, all I can say is, wow. How is it you know me so well? Do you realize you are basically calling me a liar? You are denying my wife’s response to what I tried to share. I thought it was fairly obvious by her comment on this blog in a previous post, that my reading of and sharing what I am learning from the writings of Denver Snuffer is causing her distress, worry, concern, frustration and anger. So you’re saying she manufactured these feelings?

      I think you just stepped over the line and owe me an apology. You may be (or were) a bishop in your own ward, but you have no special insight here in my home. I know I have been open and sharing – perhaps to a fault – of my experience in coming to grips with what I have learned from the writings of a now excommunicated writer, and yes, I accept that I need to be more humble. I know a man in my ward who has seen the Savior. He has given me private counsel which is the source of my addendum to this post. I respond to his loving concern because I can sense it is genuine and heart-felt. I love him for it and take his suggestions to heart that I work harder.

      But not only do you accuse me, you threaten me by your statement that my local leaders will have “no choice” but to fulfill my “elitist and overly dramatic self-fulfilling prophecy.” I am simply blown away you had the guts to write that in an open forum. If you are still serving as a bishop, may I be clear, you are the problem. That displays so much intolerance it is pathetic. Because I choose to honor a promise to my local leaders whom I love, I will not discuss my ongoing conversations with them as I deal with what I openly acknowledge is a crisis of faith.

      I had to laugh at your penultimate paragraph because frankly, one revels himself best when one accuses others. If you’re not a professional writer somewhere you should be. Talk about a flair for the dramatic. Wow. “…adopted a cosmology with wild planetary oscillations and dramatic spiritual manifestations…” That is an exceptionally good line. I’ll have to share that with my friend Anthony Larson who received such slams on a daily basis when he was trying to share what he felt were lessons learned from the writings of another outcast – Immanuel Velikovsky.

      I seem to recall you are a learned man with a doctorate in something, I don’t recall what. It’s good to see the scientific method has not caused your heart to be hardened to the word of God that he will cause the heavens to shake, “a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous around him.” God will come with a vengeance, with a strong hand, his arm shall rule for him. He comes with ten thousands of His saints. The heavens shall be darkened, the heavens shall shake and also the earth. Things shall be again as they were in the day of Moses.

      All shall see the sign of the Son of man in heaven. He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet. Do you not believe in the return of the City of Enoch? It will be a great day of destruction, with great destructions awaiting us. When was the last time you read D&C 45:39-49? How can you read that and not see the return of the City of Enoch described? I readily admit I am a catastrophist and not a gradualist. You believe what you want. I suspect things are going to get pretty dramatic around here in the near future. God bless us all to endure the drama.

      1. Tim,

        If you would receive counsel, I would remove this comment of yours and let Rob’s stand alone. Brigham once said something to this effect – ‘He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.’

      2. Log: Your counsel is good. However, I have never deleted a post (except to update one back in 2008) and I will never delete a comment unless it is spam from trolls. My comment stands on the record. It can always be found on the Internet way-back machine anyway. I seem to recall another prophet who once advised us to stand for something. One of the virtues he encouraged is for us to embrace honesty.

        I’m not sure Rob intended to offend. Rob is not a troll and deserved an honest response. I believe Rob loves me and is concerned for me. I simply felt a desire to share more of the truth with him as he obviously did not have all the facts about the “manufactured crisis” I am dealing with at home. I want to make sure anyone who reads my blog knows my “crisis of faith” is real. I am genuinely troubled by learning of other bloggers being disciplined for writing about Denver Snuffer’s books.

        Rob could have called me or written privately. He wanted his comment to be read. It had wonderful points in it and deserved the attention it received. Rob had my full attention. I considered carefully everything he wrote. 95 percent of it is good counsel. In fact, it’s probably all good counsel. I truly appreciated Rob’s comment. I am not offended. I still think he owes me an apology – or more aptly stated – he owes my wife an apology. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about women, it’s this – don’t deny them the right to feel the way they do about anything.

      3. Tim, I’m sorry if my words caused offense. And no need to call me bishop since I’m not your bishop, and I’m clearly only speaking as an online friend. What I meant by “manufactured crisis” was only that you seem to have created this crisis through your actions, not that the crisis isn’t real. It seems very real from what you have written. Real enough to lead me to make one of my very infrequent comments here in case another perspective might be useful. So I am sorry there is a crisis in your family right now, and sorry if my words exacerbated that in any way.

        Note also my frequent use of the word “seem”. Since we do not know each other personally offline, I can only comment, as you rightly indicated, on my perceptions, how things seem. I do not know all the realities of your situation. I wish you only the best.

      4. Thank you Rob. as I said, I took no offense. I accept your observations, suggestions, counsel, criticism or whatever you want to call it. What you shared really is no different from what I have heard from others who love me, so I accept your words in that spirit. I know you’re a good man. I’ve read your comments here in the past. I know how you feel about Denver Snuffer and I’m just fine with that.

        There are very few people who feel the way I do – probably only a few thousand. I truly did learn some wonderful things from your comments, particularly the need to “suck it up” and be a man about it. If I’m going to go about declaring that Denver Snuffer is a prophet of God, then I had better be prepared to defend my words like a man, in spite of the fact his words scare most people to death.

        I appreciate that you came back and added your additional comments. I’ll say it once again – you hit the mark in almost everything you shared. I found everything helpful. In fact, I have a different outlook on life due to the pondering, prayer and soul-searching your words caused. So please accept my thanks for both your original thoughts and your graciousness in coming back to clarify. God bless you my friend.

  21. Tim,
    I know a woman who believes that the law of consecration in the Celestial Kingdom means the consecration of everything- including spouses… thus the doctrine of plural marriage… That the reason Joseph Smith practiced polyandry is because polyandry is as essential as polygyny for all things to be common… That in the Celestial Kingdom, and in Zion, every woman is a wife to every man. She believes Joseph Smith’s successors were too prejudice to accept this truth and sought to warp it into the Patriarchal marriage system that it became. She believes that the pure and full form of plural marriage will be restored to some people in the Church very soon. She believes that this will shake the leadership and membership to their bones and result in a great cleansing of the Church- dividing the wheat from the tares. She claims that God has revealed it to her and asked her to testify of it in order to help people understand the true nature of plural marriage and to prepare their hearts to receive it. She claimed this at least two years before the laws that criminalized cohabitation (the laws that prohibited Latter-day Saints from practicing polygamy and resulted in the Manifesto) were struck down in December by Federal Judge Waddoups.

    This woman was born into the Church and has a very strong testimony of the Gospel. She also believes that the Church is in a sorry state, leaders and members alike. Her bishop and Stake President told her that if she didn’t deny what she believed that they would take her temple recommend away, because she couldn’t receive revelation for the Church. She refused and they took away her temple recommend, released her from her leadership calling, prohibited her from speaking about it- even to her husband- told the auxiliary leaders in her ward that she could not work with any youth or children, but wouldn’t say why, and told her she in essence was going to burn in hell.

    She continued to assert that she believed it whenever anyone asked her. She never spoke about it publicly or over the pulpit or anything- only when people asked her. A year or so later she tried to have a conversation about it with a couple in her ward who knew what she believed- because the bishop told them!- and they were so mad and uncomfortable that they called the bishop again. The bishop called her in for a disciplinary council and they decided to excommunicate her for apostasy. She appealed it all the way to The First Presidency, but they condoned the excommunication and suggested she repent. (of what?)

    Her husband was so embarrassed by it all that he divorced her, leaving her custody of their kids, and the bishop called her and said her husband deserved better! The husband married a woman he met online a few months later.

    The woman has written letters to all the apostles and seventies and auxiliary leaders asking for justice as she had not committed apostasy at all, and didn’t meet any of the definitions of apostasy. She never claimed that her beliefs were Church doctrine or anything and she does not believe we should practice polygamy until the Lord restores it. All of her letters have been ignored.

    Also, she recently got a letter from The First Presidency claiming that they had cancelled her sealing to her husband- all without even informing her or asking her to write a letter about how she felt about it or anything (and I know she did not want her sealing cancelled- in fact she never even wanted a civil divorce- she wants to reconcile with her husband, but she won’t deny what she says the Lord revealed to her in order to get her husband to come back.

    I believe what she says about all of this- the Church is definitely in a state of apathy and needs to be cleansed, just take her personal example as a sampling of the corruption, superstition, blind obedience, and intolerance that pervades common Mormon circles. Anyway- it is true that the restoration of plural marriage would totally shake things up!

    1. Well, I guess if she’s right, all non-polygs are going to be damned. After all, as Joseph famously taught, “[A]ny person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.” (TPJS, p. 331) Therefore – no bishop can be exalted to the highest mansion, since they are scripturally bound to be the husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2) – but I suppose that leaves their wives “open” to polyandry.

      And I dunno, were the Lamanites more righteous than the Nephites? The Nephites, after all, were living the “whole law,” warn’t they?

      Jacob 3
      5 Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.

      6 And now, this commandment they observe to keep; wherefore, because of this observance, in keeping this commandment, the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day they shall become a blessed people.

      7 Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief and their hatred towards you is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?

    2. I believe that there are thousands of more “revelations” coming to members from evil sources, than divine ones. If you get a “revelation,” and it involves the whole church, then you keep it to yourself, otherwise you invite the necessary discipline. The Saints are such suckers for everything that purports to be a “revelation.”

  22. Tim,

    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.

    Polonius, Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82

  23. Tim,

    Are you an Empath? Although we have never met or talked on the phone, I see at least a few of the following traits in you. (I am about 90%).

    1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.

    2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.

    3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.

    4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

    5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.

    6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.

    7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

    8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.

    9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.

    10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.

    11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.

    12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.

    13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

    14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

    15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.

    16. Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.

    17. Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many empaths get labelled as being lazy.

    18. Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.

    19. Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.

    20. Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.

    21. Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.

    22. Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.

    23. Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an empath even poisoning.

    24. Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.

    25. Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.

    26. Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.

    27. The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.

    28. Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.

    29. Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.

    30. Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.

    If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath

    Empaths are having a particularly difficult time at the present time, picking up on all the negative emotions that are being emantated into the world from the populace.

        1. Many, many thanks Tom! Ask and ye shall receive – what a gift you just shared – you don’t even know! (Or maybe you do! 😉 haha!

        1. lol. Yes. 🙂 I’ve been “sensitive”, quite literally and figuratively, all of my life, but only recently am I connecting some dots. I’ve been looking for ways to deal with it, not even thinking there might be info out there online. This is pretty cool!

    1. Way cool, Tom. Thanks for sharing that list. I took the test. I scored 20 out of 30 as absolutely yes, with 5 to 7 of the rest a probably. Only 3 to 5 were a not likely. So based on those results, I would say I have an empathetic personality, but am either not fully developed or have learned to block and perhaps even forget some things on the list.

Comments are closed.