When I was a Zone Leader on my mission (Central America 1976-1978), in addition to new member baptismal interviews, we were required to conduct stewardship interviews with the District Leaders. This was because the mission president, who was down in San Jose, Costa Rica, couldn’t make it to Managua, Nicaragua, or San Pedro Sula, Honduras very often and he required us to write weekly reports on how the missionaries in our zone were doing.
A few friends have recently pointed out I haven’t posted anything in awhile and asked how I am doing. Since I don’t get to see you very often, and, in fact, it has been years since I have seen some of you, I offer this stewardship report. I don’t pretend to have anything profound to share but appreciate the opportunity to respond to the messages sent my way. It’s always nice to be remembered by friends with whom I have shared so much in the past. So, thanks for asking.
It’s been ten years since you resigned your membership. You wrote you were talking to your bishop. Did you ever get rebaptized into the LDS Church?
No. We couldn’t come to an agreement on one of the baptismal questions.
The one that reads, “Will you share your testimony with me that the gospel and Church of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that President Russell M. Nelson is a prophet of God?”
Or, if you prefer the old format:
“Do you believe that the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Do you believe that [current Church President] is a prophet of God? What does this mean to you?”
What is your disagreement with the question?
It’s interesting how the question has changed. It follows a pattern that we were taught to use as missionaries long ago. If you express that you believe or have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God then the assumption is that logically, you must have a testimony that the current church president is also a prophet of God. There doesn’t seem to be any room for discussion about that leap of logic. No opportunity to question that conclusion or to discuss the differences between a prophet called of God and the president of an institution or church.
I have read many biographies of Joseph Smith. What the angel told him that night is so true, that his “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues …” I have read and studied enough of the history of the church to know that Brigham did not communicate with the Lord like Joseph did. Clearly, Brigham did not have the gifts or the mission that Joseph Smith had. I do not believe the narrative about the keys being passed from Joseph to Brigham.
Can you elaborate?
It goes back to the last few days of Joseph Smith’s life in Nauvoo. He discovered that some of the highest leaders in the church were secretly participating in plural marriage, which he had condemned from the pulpit several times. Joseph was a prophet. He was visited by God and many angels. He received revelation. He had the gifts of prophecy and revelation. We have canonized many of his recorded revelations. He translated the Book of Mormon with the gift and power of God. Brigham Young, on the other hand, was an adulterer. There’s no doubt about it.
A few days before his death, Emma told Joseph that some of the women of Nauvoo confided in her that Brigham Young was secretly practicing polygamy. Joseph told her that he would deal with Brigham as soon as he was done dealing with the Law brothers. There was plenty of polygamy going on before the expositor incident, just not with Joseph or Hyrum. Brigham, Heber, and Willard had each already taken plural wives, had kept it from Joseph, but had used Joseph’s name to convince their partners in adultery that Joseph sanctioned and approved it. I simply don’t believe the official doctored history of the LDS Church.
What does this have to do with President Nelson being a prophet?
I have continued to attend the LDS Church with Carol each and every Sunday for the past ten years, even though I am no longer a member. I’m grateful they allow me to participate in the discussion during Sunday School and Priesthood lessons. I listen carefully to the speakers in General Conference, especially President Nelson. I look carefully for the gifts of prophecy and revelation to be manifest. Instead, what I see are procedural items that one would expect from the head of a large institution. President Nelson is a good man, but he is not a prophet of God.
By reason of living a long life, he has inherited a large and unwieldy institution. The members want to be told how good they are, how well they are living the gospel and how their salvation is as close to a certain thing as possible, all because they have been sealed in the temple. This is one of the most difficult things to discuss when I am in priesthood meetings. I want so very much to share what I have studied and learned about the failure of the church to build the Nauvoo temple in the time allowed by the Lord, and the consequences of that failure.
It’s a hard thing for any member of the church to consider, especially if they have served in leadership positions over the years like I have. I pondered the things I had studied and prayed about for almost two years before I made up my mind that what I had been taught growing up was not exactly what happened in Nauvoo. What Joseph had, the sealing power, had been lost, and the Lord wanted to restore it, but only in a completed and dedicated temple. If you have never considered that the Lord rejected the church, this is a hard thing to discover.
I know you’ve written a lot about this on your blog over the years, especially about your journey to your resignation in 2014. Why don’t you write anymore?
It’s like my friend Will Carter wrote in a comment to me the other day. He said I’ve pretty much shared everything that I felt needed to be shared about my journey. My daily life is not important to what the Lord is doing and is about to bring about over the next few years. My life is full and busy. I am healthy. I enjoy my daily labor as a network engineer for a very prestigious networking company and hope to live out my life in peace here in my beautiful hometown of Camarillo near the beaches and the oceans of Southern California. The weather here is perfect.
However, I suspect we are in for some radical changes in society and culture, even more dramatic than we have seen over the past few years. I don’t have a lot of confidence that the political dialog will become civil. In fact, the signs all point to an escalation of intrigue, deceit, and sabotage of the great American experiment. It’s kind of pathetic to see the general lack of leadership and integrity in the heads of nations. We should not be surprised at the escalation of international tensions as U.S. hegemony draws to a close. It’s very much related to the passing of the day of the gentiles. We have been witnessing the beginnings of what is prophesied to conclude with genocide and fratricide right here in the United States. Think gangs, especially in the cites, and tribes in the suburbs and rural areas.
I’m not a prepper. I don’t own a gun. I don’t plan to buy one. I have money in the bank but wonder how long the financial systems in this world will remain intact. Although I believe I am witnessing the collapse of this nation, I hope and pray I do not live to see the day when the people are swept from the land. I continue to ponder these scriptures and have discussed them with others over the years:
If he go Through … None can Deliver
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (Micah 5:8)
Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver (3 Ne 20:16).
And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (3 Ne 21:12)
Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver. (Mormon 5:24)
Will you be Attending the Upcoming Conference in New York?
One of the most important things I learned after I withdrew from membership in the LDS Church is that the Lord expects me to do everything in my power to be one with my wife. While Carol shared part of my journey in discovering and learning about the remnant movement in 2012-2014, she did not join with me in my conclusions about what I learned. On the contrary, she immersed herself in a renewed study of the official curriculum of the church, Come Follow Me. I believe Carol listens to just about every podcast available from those who seek to add to or supplement what the church puts out for weekly guidelines of the program.
This pleases me. Carol and I are both returned missionaries, both taught seminary, have both served in leadership positions in the church and have attended the LDS church all our lives. For Carol, it provides a primary source of social interaction, fellowship, and friendship. I get it. I participate with her as much as possible as we go to church, firesides, sing in the choir, attend “empty nester” family home evenings and do just about everything your typical member of the LDS church does. About the only thing I can’t do with Carol is go to the temple. I’m glad she still goes. It’s sad to hear reports that attendance at the LA temple has declined.
No. I won’t be attending the upcoming conference in New York, although I will be watching the broadcast or recorded sessions. I wish I could be there. It’s not a matter of money. It’s a matter of keeping peace and harmony in the family. I love Carol with all my heart. I don’t want to do anything to cause her pain or to feel that she is wrong for not following in the path I chose. On the contrary, I want her to feel my love and support to the end of our days here on the earth. Carol is struggling with some health issues and I appreciate so much that my employer allows me to work from home three days a week. We are greatly blessed.
Do you Still Believe in and Support the Remnant Movement?
I do. If there is anything I can do to help people discover the truth about what the Lord is doing in these last days, I will do so. While I don’t have the thousands of readers that I used to have ten years ago, I still have hundreds of visitors each month who find and read some of my old posts through a Google search. I hope something I have written in the past points someone to search more into what the Lord is doing through the Remnant Movement. I dislike that phrase, but it seems to be what it is called online at least. I do not attend fellowship meetings of the movement nor do I attend the conferences anymore for reasons stated above.
I appreciate the many friendships I have made through this movement and miss visiting with these friends, although many still communicate via email, text messages or phone calls. One good brother calls me every few months to talk about things that are happening and keeps me in the loop about conferences and other events. Of course, you can read about these conference yourself online. I encourage you to attend the upcoming conference. I am confident there will be new things coming as the work unfolds, perhaps some major announcements.