I am a Mormon. I am not a member of the LDS Church. There is a difference between the two – a big difference. The LDS Church does not define Mormonism. The LDS Church has changed dramatically from what God revealed through Joseph Smith. That memory has been lost, altered, redefined, added unto, retracted from and otherwise transformed by leaders of the LDS Church.
For the most part, I believe the change was unintentional. In fact, it was well-intentioned. The leaders were, and I believe continue to be, fundamentally interested in the greater good the LDS Church can do in the absence of direct revelation. The desire is commendable. The outcome is tragic. The death of Joseph Smith was more than tragic. It marked the beginning of forgetting.
In some cases change was done on purpose. It was intentional. The narrative was altered to fit more in line with then-current political expediency. It continues to change today. I have watched it change gradually in my lifetime. The LDS Church has redefined itself in an effort to appeal to a larger audience. In doing so, it has lost the foundational authority and endorsement of the Lord.
Absence of Direct Revelation
The majority of revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants were received in a ten-year period from 1828 to 1838. Many of the revelations were received in the presence of others who witnessed the physical effects upon Joseph as he dictated the words flowing into his soul. This was a prophet, one through whom the Lord spoke. He received revelations even as did Moses.
With the death of Joseph, his followers were lost. They did not know what to do. Joseph had appointed a successor, but his brother Hyrum was killed seconds before he was. The church wanted a replacement leader like Joseph. For a season the quorum of the twelve led but soon Brigham took the reins and was voted in as the new president. Joseph was still “The Prophet.”
Every time we sing Praise to the Man, I wonder if the congregation singing the hymn thinks about these lines: “Great is his glory and endless his priesthood. Ever and ever the keys he will hold. Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.” Joseph was revered by his followers, but nobody could replace him, no matter how they tried.
Authority and Endorsement of Christ
At one time the LDS Church was authorized by Jesus Christ as the only true and living church upon the face of the earth today. This is no longer true. There are two types of authority. One is to perform preparatory ordinances. The LDS Church had that authority until recently. The other is to perform the higher or sealing ordinances, authority lost upon the death of Joseph Smith.
In a recent correspondence with a humble and sincere seeker of Jesus Christ, who had left the LDS Church, joined the AUB, then came back, I was deeply impressed with his lament about the loss of the keys. I know what the official LDS narrative says about Brigham proclaiming he had the keys, but some keys cannot be passed on from man to man. This has been made clear to me.
“I am really looking for someone to whom the Lord is giving revelations and is a true successor of Joseph Smith. I am really hoping and praying that the keys as described in Section 132:7,18 & 19 are still on the earth and that there is one anointed and appointed with the ‘power and the keys of this priesthood’ to seal by the Holy Spirit of promise. As verse 8 says, His house is not one of confusion, so there must be only one. If the keys have been lost then I fear the earth will be wasted at the Lord’s coming.”
Verse seven notes “… there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of the priesthood are conferred …” My friend says he is looking for a true successor to Joseph Smith, one who holds the sealing power. Is that man Thomas Monson? Did he receive it in an unbroken line going back to Joseph Smith? You’ll have to decide that question for yourself.
Follow the Savior, not the Prophet
“Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. I honor prophets. I have seen inspiration flow through men upon whom the LDS people have placed the title of prophet. But I do not and will not accept the modern false doctrine espoused that a prophet cannot lead the Church astray.
By tradition, the President of the LDS Church carries the title of prophet, seer and revelator as do each of the members of the quorum of the twelve apostles. I accept them as being some of the best men in the LDS Church, each blessed with gifts and talents used by the Lord to bless and inspire members of the LDS Church. But they cannot claim to secure my salvation in eternity.
I am confident they would agree were I to ask them this question directly – “Can you save me?” Their answer would have to be, “No, I am a man like unto you. Only Christ can save you.” It is to Christ I offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That is not something I offer to any man. I confess my sins only to Christ, not to any man, no matter what his position in the LDS Church.
Remembering The Work Of Joseph Smith
I am on a mission to re-evaluate everything I learned growing up in the LDS Church about the history of the restoration, and especially the significance of the revelations received by Joseph. For a man with limited formal education, he certainly was prolific. Not much of a speller or even composer of succinct sentences, he employed scribes to record and edit the revelations received.
The process of revelation is an interesting one. I am familiar with how it works. While closely tied to inspiration, it is a step higher in the idea of placing one’s mind and spirit in tune with the infinite. It requires faith, practice, discipline, effort and a disposition to place the will of the Lord above all that the natural man within us desires. It does not lend itself to purposes of contention.
Joseph recognized this, shared his experience in being unable to translate because of a quarrel with Emma, and taught us how important it is to have a spirit of peace about us as we strive to be in tune with the will of the Lord. Revelation is sacred. It is a gift as is prophecy. Joseph had these gifts in abundance, given him by the Lord to communicate His commands to man upon the earth.
Modifying the History of Mormonism
Understanding the history of Mormonism is important if we are to understand what the Lord was trying to accomplish through Joseph Smith. I submit categorically that Joseph did not complete the work he was sent to accomplish. He was cut short. He was rejected by the members of his own church. The doctrines he tried to teach were too radical for their then limited understanding.
We have come a long ways in understanding since the days of Joseph Smith. We have the luxury of one hundred and seventy years of analysis, review, criticism and discussion about what was the real intent of Joseph in sharing some of the things he was allowed to teach. We have forgotten much of what he tried to accomplish. Even the official history was not authored by Joseph Smith.
I hope the efforts of many good people and groups will continue to sort through the deliberate efforts of the LDS Church to conceal the truth and modify the record. Keeping accurate historical records were not as important to the early leaders of the LDS Church as it was to provide to the members a faith-promoting history. Some things were significantly altered, others covered-up.
Restoration Not Meant to Be Institutionalized
I have long been on a journey to reconcile what I have discovered over the years of studying the history of the LDS Church with what I found in documents, journals and diaries that have been coming to light in recent years. I applaud the Church’s efforts to be forthcoming with faithful reproductions of the original source material. I look forward to the ongoing publication efforts.
The restoration of the Lord’s work in these later-days does not belong to a single institution. It is the Lord’s work. He opened the heavens to show that each of us could have a direct relationship with our God. Woe be unto the man or woman who says they are content to receive the word of God from the leaders of the LDS Church. This is wrong. This is not what God intended for us.
I reject the new order of things perpetuated by the LDS Church in which leaders claim the right to issue commandments and direction, followers fall in line, and nobody is encouraged to go to the source to get revelation beyond the rudimentary testimony of the Book of Mormon. Leading a worldwide church through public relations is a fiasco in the making. This is not God’s doing.
LDS Church Has Morphed Mormonism
I have watched as many of the unique aspects of our religion have been denigrated or completely removed from the acceptable orthodoxy in the modern LDS Church. Orthodoxy is a strange thing. What is considered an acceptable view or practice in one generation is completely wiped out in the next simply by the leader’s general conference addresses and key curriculum changes.
I remember prayer circles outside the temple. Today you will be excommunicated for apostasy if you dare engage in such practices. Partaking of the Sacrament is tightly controlled by the church to the point where it is used as a weapon to enforce dogmatic beliefs and views. It is anti-Christ. This last straw broke the camel’s back for me, compelling me to resign from the LDS church.
It amazes me to realize early leaders of the LDS Church encouraged members to be re-baptized as a sign of their willingness to re-commit and more fully live their religion. Today, participating in such a baptism will get you excommunicated for apostasy. Tolerance for anything outside of the secret handbook of instructions is unthinkable. Independent worship is highly discouraged.
Mormonism NOT controlled by the LDS Church
Mormonism requires study and contemplation. Deep thought, pondering and prayer are a must if we are to come close to what the Lord intended in the work commenced through the Prophet Joseph Smith. That work included preparing a people for Zion. No institution can bring about Zion. It must be done in small groups of like-minded saints which have no poor among them.
Truth is Mormonism. All truth, wherever located and from whatever source, in whatever form it is currently practiced, belongs to the Mormon religion. Mormonism is not what the LDS Church says it is. Mormonism is what the Lord revealed through the prophet Joseph, much of which has been rejected by the LDS Church, while trying to dominate and control it through correlation.
I am a Mormon because I accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, an instrument in bringing forth scripture I receive as the word of God, including the Book of Mormon and the inspired books in the Pearl of Great Price. I accept the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants with the recognition that many have been changed, edited, added to or reduced by unauthorized men.
Mormonism Is A Powerful Religion
The beauty of Mormonism is that it can free our souls from dependence upon man or a group of men to turn our hearts to God in strengthening our relationship with Jesus Christ. My baptism and subsequent receipt of the Holy Ghost to an even greater degree in my life are marvelous to me. My sense of personal responsibility has increased and empowered me in tremendous ways.
Mormonism is a dynamic, truth-filled, confident and powerful religion. It reunites our souls with heaven. The Holy Ghost helps us to recognize truth from unorthodox sources, adapt it to our own needs in drawing us to feeling closer to our God and Christ. It is an exciting religion, as long as it is not restricted and controlled by those who feel it is their duty to limit what people can believe.
In Mormonism, true Mormonism, not the limited and restricted version found in the current LDS Church, all are equal before God. We are free to worship according to the dictates of our own conscious. I can participate in the Sacrament in my home. I can worship in the robes of the Holy Priesthood at a dedicated altar in my home. Priesthood is not to preside over but to serve others.
Zion Will Not Come Through An Institution
I am a Mormon. I am not a member of the LDS Church. I am one of many thousands who have come to realize the Lord has set His hand a second time to open the heavens to those who will take the time and trouble to seek the face of the Lord. He can and will reveal Himself to you and me. We do not have to receive the word of the Lord through another man, but direct from Christ.
I invite you to join with me in investigating this movement away from the control of the LDS institution and toward the Lord’s intended way of building Zion – in small groups who serve, teach and encourage one another as the spirit directs, not as the controlled correlated process from secret handbooks dictates. The rejection of the fullness by the institution was foretold.
The Lord has sent his servant with this message to remember the restoration. It was given as a gift to man in our day. The heavens are open again for business. Let every man know the Lord. We do not have to rely on the word of our neighbor. He will guide and direct our lives. He will walk with us. He will direct our paths. I am a witness of these things, one of many thousands.
To find communities for fellowship, visit: http://fellowshipwith.us/
To find someone to baptize you, visit: http://returntotherestoration.com