I continue to be blessed each week by participating with the members of my local ward and stake in worship and fellowship activities. Even though I am not a member of the LDS Church, I am welcomed and feel appreciative of the kindness shown to me and my family as we sing together, pray together and are uplifted by words of encouragement.
It’s been nearly six years since I resigned my membership and was baptized again. I think most people of my current ward do not know my story, don’t judge me or hold it against me. Those who know, continue to be kind and nice. My resignation did not cause them to withdraw the hand of fellowship or to prevent me from worshiping with them.
Doctrine and Fellowship
When I interviewed Denver in the spring of 2015, I asked him some very specific and pointed questions about what had caused him to declare, “… the Lord ended all claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to claim it is led by the priesthood. They have not practiced what He requires. The Lord has brought about His purposes.”
The answer to one of those questions was enlightening to me. Although I grew up in the LDS Church, I was never too interested in the fellowship activities offered there. Too often I thought to myself, “There’s not enough focus on the doctrine. There’s too much time and effort invested in social activities that really don’t matter in the long run.”
More Than Individual Salvation
And so I focused my worship and personal religious practices mainly in studying the doctrine and in doing all I could to experience the opening of the heavens unto me. Like many of you, I can testify the Lord does open the heavens unto us. He is very interested in revealing Himself unto us and bringing us back into the presence of the Father.
But knowing the doctrine and coming into the presence of the Lord is only a part of what He requires of us. I think that is something I have only learned since I resigned from the LDS Church in September of 2014. At that time I made a very public statement that I no longer believed the leaders of the LDS Church held or exercised the keys of the kingdom.
Fellowship Within the LDS Church
I had hoped to join with other like-minded individuals who felt the same and to continue my spiritual journey with them. The Lord had other things in mind for me. I have been blessed with a very strong-willed wife. I won’t say she is stubborn, because she is not. She had other ideas for me. She made it clear she still wanted me by her side each Sunday.
I have friends who, after having left the LDS Church, were forbidden to set foot back on property owned by the church. These were not idle words. Legal measures were taken against them to ensure the forbidding of their presence at LDS meetinghouses could be enforced. I am grateful such measures were not taken against me. Quite the opposite.
Mormon Moving Service
I was assigned a former bishop to be my home teacher. When the home teaching program was changed, he continued to watch over our family and visit our home. He has been most kind in continually reaching out, inviting, encouraging, patiently sharing and doing all he could to help my family through the normal challenges of mortal life.
For example, as the Elder’s Quorum President in our ward, he made sure there were plenty of brethren there to help us when we moved from one house to another within the ward boundaries. It was almost overwhelming to have so many assist with the manual labor. Their help made our moving day a short and enjoyable experience.
Mormon Social Activities
He knows my story, but doesn’t bring it up in our conversations. He invites us into their home, where we participate in fellowship activities with other families like us whose children have left the home. They call the group “empty-nesters.” We meet together to eat, sing, go to the movies, read together, discuss the gospel and pray for one another.
In many ways, this small group of fifteen couples, many of them former Bishops, Relief Society Presidents, High Counselors, Stake Presidency members are very much like us. At one time I served on a High Council. At one time I meet with the Stake Presidency each month to report on the financial activities of the stake, including audits of each ward.
Fellowships and Tithing
And, in a sense, this small group is like a fellowship that Denver discussed in answer to one of my questions back in 2015. Of course, a major difference is we don’t participate in the local collection and disbursement of tithing funds. That is tightly controlled by the much larger organization of the LDS Church, to which Carol still regularly pays tithing.
So while I am not experiencing firsthand fellowship with like-minded believers, nor am I able to see my tithing work directly with those in need in a small group, I still participate in fellowship, worship and learning activities that bless and enrich my life. It has been especially wonderful to be able to be united with Carol in these regular social events.
Spiritual Blindness in High Places
Of course, I am not truly united with Carol, am I? I no longer believe the leaders of the LDS Church are anything other than good men who are trying to teach us how to follow the Lord. I think they have a form of spiritual blindness and yes, I think they are very much deceived, but I don’t believe they are anywhere close to recognizing it themselves.
To even suggest the idea strikes at the very heart of modern LDS church membership. One MUST accept Russell M. Nelson as the “mouthpiece of the Lord” on the earth today to be a faithful member in good standing. I don’t, therefore I never can be an LDS Mormon. I still claim to be Mormon because I accept the Book of Mormon. I’m just not LDS Mormon.
Wisdom Blesses My Life
I love to listen to “Music and the Spoken Word” each week with Carol. I still love the choir at temple square (the Tabernacle Choir). I love to sing in our ward choir. We are going to Rob Gardner’s “Lamb of God” again this year. They are putting on a local performance right in in Camarillo this Saturday. Carol wanted to sing with them. Maybe next year.
My life continues to be richly blessed by Carol’s influence upon me. She has tempered me in so many ways. Wisdom prevails in our home because of this faithful woman who very much loves the Lord. While I was greatly appreciative of Denver’s work during the 40 years in Mormonism lecture series, it seemed to frighten Carol. She did not respond well.
I continue in my path of Independent Mormonism. I suppose I am about as independent as they come. I am free from any outside control and do not depend on authority from anyone else. My path to salvation is between me and the Lord. I received priesthood from my father. I do not depend on the LDS Church for any ordinances of salvation.
The LDS Church does not control priesthood power and certainty does not control the ministrations of the Holy Ghost. Nor does the LDS Church have anything to say about where the Lord chooses to minister personally. I do not believe the LDS Church can claim to be the Lord’s anymore, based on so many things coming to the light they seek to hide.
Learn What The Lord Is Doing Today
I invite you to learn more about what the Lord is doing in our day by visiting the site for the next conference to be held in the St. George area on March 20-22 of this year. I think you might be especially interested in the Saturday breakout sessions. They have proven to be very uplifting and edifying in previous conferences held over the past few years.
I wish I could be there, but am grateful I am able to contribute in a small way to getting the word out about the conference. I know my blog does not have the many thousands of readers it used to have, but I hope some who read this will find some help along the way with some of the things that will be shared at this upcoming conference in Hurricane.
Temples Done the Lord’s Way
I do not believe the LDS Temples are as pleasing to the Lord as they claim them to be. I do not think he is pleased with the expense of these edifices, as beautiful as they are. I am confident He would be much more pleased if the money were used to help the poor. Yes, there is a need for a temple in Zion, but the LDS Temples simply do not qualify.
There will be a temple built eventually that will be acceptable to the Lord. We know the LDS Nauvoo temple was rejected and the higher priesthood was lost from the earth. The Lord will come to his house and it will be built in Zion. You can contribute to the building of that temple at this site. Many have done so. I’ll leave you with this committee report:
STATEMENT ABOUT FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR DONATED TEMPLE FUNDS
All funds donated to the Temple Fund Committee have been and are held in their entirety without any disbursal for any reason, by the committee. Not one cent has been spent, or is expected to be spent, until construction commences.
Each person or party who has donated has received an acknowledgement from a member of the committee giving thanks for their contribution. Every donation is carefully recorded in two separate records maintained by two members of the committee.
We plan to provide full transparency of all gifts (with donor names withheld for privacy) as well as an accounting for all expenditures when the temple is complete.
The fund at this point has earned over $11,000.00 in interest, which also has not been spent, and which will continue to accumulate as part of the temple funds, until construction begins.
The Temple Fund Committee