Serving Where the Lord Calls You

EldersBookOfMormonI normally don’t share private email dialogs. They should remain private unless the Lord tells me otherwise. This is one of those cases where the Lord has asked me to share this publicly. The individual involved should not be reading my blog anyway. I had a missionary write me to ask if he should stay on his mission. I gave him an emphatic yes. Here is the dialog and a few thoughts:

He first wrote:

“…could you share your thoughts on the topic of missionary work for the church right now? I feel like I need to gain as much information as possible as I take this to the Lord. I respect all that you have done, and most important your humble search for the truth. I do not have the studies you have put into this, I just started right before the mission, but as I preach the church every day you can probably see that this it has come upon me more pressingly.

“Given your viewpoint and opinion, what does it mean to serve a full time mission now? How do you compare scriptures like D&C 4 (all are called to the work, field is white) with one like D&C 105:35 (…the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy)? What of the good and service that I can still give to people? I can do so much more giving my whole time to the service of others, and the church gives so much good to people’s lives…”

My response:

“I do not advocate anyone leave their mission. My mission was a defining point of my life. I recommend all missionaries in the field fulfill honorable missions. There are people who can benefit from the message of the restoration. The missionaries are doing a wonderful service in spreading the news that a prophet was sent to restore truths that had been lost.

“Joseph was and is a prophet. The Book of Mormon contains the word of God. It is true a man can get closer to the Lord by reading and supping from its pages than from any other book. The best thing a missionary can do is testify of Jesus Christ, that He lives and loves us and that He has spoken from the dust through the Book of Mormon. Love and serve. I hope this helps.”

He wrote back:

“With what you write on your [blog] it seems so out of place to then give that advice to me. I guess I didn’t know what I was expecting. As you can imagine I’m going through a lot with my family and this stuff [you write]. Thank you for your support. I will be taking a break from your site and what you are preaching for the duration of my mission.”

My thoughts:

Good choice Elder. You answered your own question. You made a commitment to the Lord. Honor it. I think I now understand a little of what Denver has expressed. I don’t want followers. I want readers. I want people who will study and learn the gospel of Jesus Christ and then share that. I want to engage with people who are willing to study LDS Church history, warts and all.

I would still be a member of the LDS Church if I hadn’t asked the Lord what to do about the promptings I felt to be baptized after Denver said in Phoenix, “This day is this commandment renewed in your ears.” I could not get that thought out of my mind all the way home. I knew I had to be baptized. I knew the Lord wanted me to make a public record of it. That’s my calling.

Serve Where the Lord Calls You

I am concerned by the phrase I have highlighted in the missionary’s response. He wrote he preaches the church every day. Maybe that was a typo or a slip of the thought process, but surely that can’t be what you believe the Lord sent you forth to do. Missionaries are to declare the message of the restoration and that includes the Book of Mormon and Joseph as a prophet.

There is nothing wrong with leading people unto Christ and into the waters of baptism, in spite of my personal view that the LDS Church no longer has the sanction of heaven in the ordinances performed. People need to get to the temple. The endowment needs to be taught and received. The true order of prayer needs to be practiced and memorized. Today, that’s in the LDS temples.

A Little Prophecy and Revelation

The day will come soon enough when a temple is constructed, ordinances are performed and a record of the names of those who have been baptized is presented to the Lord. There are now many hundreds who have been baptized as part of this movement. It is not a new church. It is a community of followers of Jesus Christ, preparing for Zion. There is so much work to be done.

The majority of those who have been baptized are still members of the LDS Church. They feel, and rightly so, they can do more good offering their service within the existing LDS hierarchical organization, even if it is difficult for those who are called to teach. Teach under inspiration. There are many who need the basics of the gospel and fellowship of a LDS local congregation.

Do What the Lord Directs

I know this sounds strange, given that I do advocate finding and participating with a fellowship outside of the controls of the LDS Church. Yes, I believe the LDS Church does not control either the priesthood or the Holy Ghost. No earthly organization can control those powers of God. You do what the Lord inspires and direct you to do. If he tells you to stay in the LDS Church, do so.

I meant what I said about my mission. It was and remains a foundation for my life. I learned work, discipline, perseverance, tolerance, kindness, work, patience, love and long-suffering. Oh, and did I mention work? We are here to work. It takes effort to read, study and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines of salvation. If nothing else, let us be engaged in that.

Preach the Gospel, not the Church

A man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge. Ignorance is the enemy of righteousness and truth. God will not distill the doctrine of the priesthood upon our souls as the dews from heaven unless we are full of charity to all men and fill ourselves with virtue. That takes time and effort. The promise is priesthood shall then flow unto us forever and ever without compulsory means.

I’ll say it again. In spite of what I have done in resigning from the LDS Church, I did so because it fit my circumstances. It was the right thing to do for me. I consulted with the Lord over and over. I did as He directed in being baptized. I felt the approbation of heaven. It is the Lord who saves us, not the Church. We are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring souls unto Him.

12 thoughts on “Serving Where the Lord Calls You”

  1. Tim
    Great post, my “mission” was a defining point in my life as well. The very fact that this elder asked YOU the question he did is interesting. The best advice to anyone who asks questions is to ASK GOD and receive revelation upon the subject, unless The Spirit tells us to do or say something differently.
    The church can still serve as a preparatory function (although it can also serve as a pit that is hard to get out of), as it has FOR A VERY LONG TIME…
    I enjoyed your other post as well, you have a great talent in writing…

  2. MeiliTurnblomTark

    I agree that this young man should not back pit of this commitment. He has an awesome opportunity to serve the Lord fully while having all his needs met. That said, if I were him, I would throw out the rulebook, the quotas, and all the expectations and ask the Lord what he wanted me to do with my time. That is the only way he would know how the Lord wants him to fulfill his mission.

  3. Lets assume that there are 10 spiritual levels that we need to pass through in order to get to the celestial kingdom.  It is my opinion that a diligent person can get from level 0 to 6 far quicker from within the LDS church that from without.  It seems to me that moving above the  level 6 is easier outside the LDS church. However, if the Lord lets you know that your mission is within the LDS church, you will probably not make much progress if you leave.

  4. I agree with you, Minority. That’s what I would have said but you beat me to it again.
    I myself wouldn’t be here without the help of the missionaries. But, I wouldn’t be here without the missionary who also gave me material from Denver Snuffer and many, many other gospel books. If I were to go on a mission for the LDS church now, I feel I would do just that, fearing no man.
    God will lead us down the path which is right for us.

  5. I don’t know precisely how it all started, but I happened across this website several months ago and through this blog discovered Denver’s lectures and books. I received a solid and powerful witness from the Spirit that his words are true and that he is a prophet, even before I’d read them. His books and lectures have encouraged me to seek pure and untainted proof and to more confidently and sincerely approach the Savior. The Lord used Denver’s books to spiritually transform me and I will never deny it. 

    I’m 18 years old and WILL be serving a mission once I am of age because the Lord has made it clear to me that this is what He wants me to do. Yes, I did read the Mesa lecture and yes, I worried for a while that my newly-shifted perspective on the Lord’s Church, prophets and priesthood would make those subjects difficult to teach. I know the Lord will provide a way, though, because He has commanded it.

      And as I’ve been learning the truth about the LDS Church (and becoming more and more aware that it is mortal and imperfect just like we are), I’ve come to love the Church and its leaders even more so than I did before. I have a greater respect and love for my Church leaders, especially my wonderful bishop (who I do believe is called of God even though he counseled me quite sternly to stay away from Denver Snuffer) as well as those called as presidents and apostles.
      If these things I’ve been learning are false, then why would I grow in love and respect for very things many would accuse me of being critical towards? Why would I feel closer to Christ than I have ever felt before? Love, humility, and a closer relationship with the Savior are fruits of the Spirit, and I know that if I was going down the wrong path by reading these things, such fruits would not be possible.

      Thank you, Tim (and Adrian Larsen, too, if you happen to read this), for sharing the things you’ve shared. You’ve helped me find the courage to seek the truth and accept it, even though the truth is often an uncomfortable and frightening wake-up call.

  6. _sand,
    You are to be commended for following the revelation you have received. Thank you for that. We need more people in the world like you. Continue to do that. Never, ever, let that habit slip away, save the Spirit be lost.
    To prepare you, I have some serious warnings for you, and encouragement. I would not be here if not for the missionaries of the LDS church. Yet, it is really because of one missionary who introduced me to the world beyond the manuals of that religion. I will be eternally grateful for him because he validated my feelings and gave me comfort. There was not another place on earth, I think, that I could have gotten to so easily as I did. He even introduced me to this blog.
    However, this is my warning I feel I should give you. My missionary had a companion who became a courageous and unfailing servant of The Lord, more so I think than the one who helped convert me. But because he obeyed the Spirit he was nearly excommunicated while on his mission, twice, being accused of apostasy. He was sent home twice under false charges…
    Joseph Smith and Christ were both martyred. Where much is given, much is required. Be prepared to give all if you need to. Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove. Be cautious and courageous. Do what is right, and let NO ONE get in your way!
    My girlfriend is a member of the church and was considering a mission this last weekend. The reason why is because she wants time to learn of and be with The Lord. She realized, though, that a lot of that time and power to study and preach as she feels to would be taken away by mission officers she hardly knew controlling her housing, her money, her roommate, her location, her time, her possessions, and so forth. I advised her that it’d be better to serve her own mission according to what she felt to do. And that is what we came to a decision on. We felt the power of the spirit and our call had begun. We are dropping out of college, working three well-paying and flexible jobs, and going wherever The Lord calls us. And getting married of course.
    (Here I’m using @kast’s system.) My advice is for anyone who has a spirituality level from 0 to 6 to go on a mission for the church. And for anyone 7 and above, which includes my girlfriend, it is to serve a mission for The Lord.
    PS. I’m with you in that I realize I am much more forgiving at heart of the general authorities and members of the LDS church than I even thought previously.

  7. Victor V
    Thank you very much for your counsel! I believe it was precisely what I needed to hear.
    I’ve had somewhat of an expectation (and even a childish hope) that my mission will be “normal” by typical LDS standards. That is, I will teach according to the handbooks and rules and thus my fellow saints will respect me as a Mormon woman in good standing during and after my mission.

    I’ve already accepted the fact that I will be accused of apostasy and likely excommunicated from my beloved Mormon community at some point in my life. I’ve heard of people being excommunicated for simply reading Denver’s books and testifying of the truthfulness of this man’s words. I believe Denver is a prophet, and I’ve been reading his materials in direct disobedience to my bishop’s counsel. So far, my future as having a standing as a saint in good repute isn’t looking so great. I guess it really doesn’t matter, though. I know what is right, and if I’m to give up my reputation among many of my fellow saints to prove that I will live according to the God’s will, so be it. 

    I realize now that my mission is not going to be what I expected it will be. In fact, the Lord has recently warned me that I “will be oppressed and hated from all sides” and that I will even be “betrayed.” Perhaps the expected accusations of apostasy will be sooner than I had previously thought. Your warning about the missionary who was sent home under false charges has further confirmed this. That could very well be me one year from now.
    Thank you again, Victor, for taking the time to give me this warning and encouragement.

  8. Victor V
    Also, when you advised me to be “wise as a servant and gentle as a dove,” I felt prompted to look it up in the scriptures and ended up in Matthew 10. I now see why you included it.

    16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
    17. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

    19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
    20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh to you.

    22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

    24. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

    …I feel no need to elaborate.

  9. MeiliTurnblomTark

    _sand Victor V My heart goes out to you. It is not easy to endure the persecution of the world. There will be those of your closest friends and family who will do all they can to show you that you are unacceptable. When it says “all sides” I would imagine that there are those who declare their belief in these higher truths who will persecute you, those who you thought you could trust. Go forward with faith in the Lord. Don’t doubt that you are doing his will. Lean on him and no other. The reward is worth the sacrifice.

  10. @_sand,
    No. Now I see why *I* included it. Those weren’t my words there… They aren’t the proper English words either, but it led you to the right place. I’m happy to have seen another sign here today. Thank you for finding that.
    I agree with you. I myself lost my dream job and way of life within a year of beginning to seek for God with real integrity. When the Lord called I was given less than a day to leave. I packed my belongings, paid off contracts, called to say goodbye to my friends and left for the US.
    If there is anything I have learned about the spirit of God it is that He is not controlled or known by any selfish man or institution. Expect that unless it’s God’s will that you finish your mission and pass by the Egyptians as Abraham did with his wife, you will be constrained by God to do things unacceptable to the handbook and manuals. This “orthodox” mission has been the fantasy of a few converted people I met. Tim has mentioned how the pressure to live the orthodox lifestyle drives away the Spirit. To be truly successful you MUST listen and obey the smallest of promptings, and this requires rooting out evil influences. People can not afford to ignore such.
    It’s by making myself available to the Lord through his spirit that I landed a job which will allow my future wife and I to subsist and have plenty to offer Him. My goal for a long time now has been to help gather Zion, even before the call was issued by Denver. That means spiritually and physically prepared communities for people to live. It may mean contributing to a temple in the future. My girlfriend and I hope to meet you and many of you there.
    Best of luck to you in your endeavors.

  11. MeiliTurnblomTark _sand Victor V
    Thank you so much! I really do appreciate your support. Your kind words and counsel mean a lot to me. c:

  12. I now need to be a missionary. My path is so clear and I will not share anything but about my path to God and His Holy Son. He was sent for a very holy and sacred reason and I need to stay on that path or risk losing everything that is so precious now to me. I am following Him now because I love Him and was told that He is the only Person I should follow and none else. What ever is not of Him, I am staying away from. I was warned to not step off this path for anything or for any reason. I cant wait to call the missionary sisters to someday become a missionary too, but I am not waiting to share my experience with Heavenly Father. He loves me and I had no idea how much.

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