A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Why Do You Follow God?

Over the past month, I've asked many friends,”Why do you follow God?” This question brings up some of the best conversations.

Even when friends say, “I don't follow God and think the rest of you are crazy for following some fictitious character!” This still leads to interesting conversation.

Everyone has a different way of expressing their answer, but I found a common element among most. They follow God because it brings them happiness, joy, and fulfillment. They feel free and at peace when they follow God.

As I was coming out of the traditions of my fathers, I gave a lot of thought to how I had been deceived. I didn't want to make the same mistake.

I kept hearing the words, “Jennifer, follow your joy!” These wise words have been a compass to me over the last several years. I follow God because of the incredible joy I feel. If life never got better than it is today, I have not been cheated of living in heaven. Yet, every day life expands, becomes more adventurous, and is a delicious experience.

People talk of a god who condemns, accuses, judges, and has a scowl of his face for me and my weakness. I am not too interested in living with that kind of god. He can take his angels and others who think like him and go live in their own place. I want nothing of it. It would be hell for me to live with a god like that.

Lest you misunderstand, there is a great difference that I experience when living a dark life of drudgery and despair which is riddled with false perceptions, and the fear that is manifest when seeing my darkness brought into the light.

My God works with me by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned, by kindness, and pure knowledge. He does reprove and correct me. He shows me exactly where I've strayed and how to get back on course. When the course correction is made, there are no lingering guilt or unworthiness issues hanging over my head.

I used to berate myself over my mistakes, and this wasn't good for my progress. Jesus helped me with my false perceptions about my tripping and failings. Now, when I make “mistakes”.  Jesus asks, “Did you learn something?”

“Yes, I did. I learned this and this and this . . .” I find Jesus continually making lemonade out of all the lemons in my life. Stumbling and falling has lost its judgment; it is just part of my journey.

I also see Jesus as a rearing stallion. Only the bravest and most courageous dare ride Him. I have fallen many times, been bucked off, and sometimes drag along with one foot in the stirrup as my head bounces along the dirt path. I've also been covered with dirt and mud with my hair in a ratted mess. My God who treats me with such tender love also says, “If you get bucked off, get back on! I'm not slowing down so as to be transformed into a gentle mare! :-) Learn to ride and I'll give you the ride of your life! ;-)”

I've heard of another god. This god also requires those who worship him to sacrifice everything for him, but it is for a very different reason.

While I was living Haiti, I learned something about the Haitian culture. Christianity is a small minority there, and the majority of the people, when asked their religion, identify as voodoo. They explained to me that there are two gods. One is the Good God and one is the mean god. I asked why they worship the mean god. I found that they do so out of fear. If they don't worship the mean god, he makes their life more miserable than it already is. Obedience is required by both the Good God and mean god, but one is obeyed out of love and the other out of fear.

The God of Light and the god of darkness work under opposite governments. I recently learned a great lesson from a close friend. Actions performed under the government of Light have totally different results than those same actions performed under the government of darkness.

God of Light – Honoring Agency
god of darkness – violating agency

God of Light – Charity & Love
god of darkness – unrighteous dominion

God of Light – Being as a Little Child
god of darkness – deception

God of Light – Working in the Light – Transparency
god of darkness – doing things in secret

God of Light – Working in God's Divine Timing - Thy Will be Done
god of darkness – asking amiss, impatience, hastening the work

Example: I offer my friend a drink of water. She says “No thank you”. I offer again. She declines. I offer again, and she accepts. I just violated her agency. I wouldn't take no for an answer. I operated in the dark even though I was offering her a “good thing”.

Example: I want to get baptized and take the sacrament, but I know my husband won't approve, so I don't tell him. Baptism and taking the sacrament are good things, right? But I just did something in secret. Because we are married, I have an obligation to tell him. If God tells me to get baptized and take the sacrament, I should tell my husband and let the consequences follow. Then God can bless my path.

Example: Many times people tell “white lies” because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings. It's not good to hurt others feelings, right? No, because it is deception and is done under the government of darkness.

Example: The loss of the 116 pages was a violation of agency..

Example: Eve partook of the fruit in the Garden of Eden out of God's divine timing.

The September 2017 Covenant

There has been much conversation on this topic. If I take the covenant under the government of darkness, it will turn to my condemnation. If I take the covenant under the government of light, it will be a blessing in my life. Each person needs to make this decision for herself. For example: If I have anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and worry about what is being offered, STOP and DO NOT make the covenant. On the other hand, if I feel at peace, look forward to the offering, and am getting answers from God about my concerns, then by all means go forward with confidence and make the covenant. The confusion comes when we look at the action and not the government under which the action is performed. What is right for me may or may not be right for you. People are saying the covenant is good and others are saying it is bad. They are both right. Work under the government of God and all things will turn to your blessing. Work under the government of darkness, and you will be cursed. Baptism, sacrament, and covenants can be administered under each government. One can be doing it in darkness while the person sitting next to him can be doing it in the light. Your heart can discern the difference and what is right for you.  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Restoration Youth Conferences June 2017 - Please RSVP

Two youth conferences planned June 2017!

Restoration Youth Conference
June 19-21, 2017
Cache Valley, Utah

Please RSVP to restorationyouthconference@gmail.com. This conference is designed for youth ages 11-18. In order to provide enough food and preparations, please RSVP by
June 9th. When you register, please include your teenager's name, age, and fellowship. A chaperon or parent from each fellowship would be helpful but is not required. Chaperons should also register and include the names of the youth they are accompanying. Once registration is completed on June 9th, we will send out a packing list, an itinerary, and directions. A $35 donation for food and paper products for each registered child and adult would be great. We are excited to provide a great experience for the youth to bond, grow, and connect with each other and the Lord. If you have any questions, please direct them to restorationyouthconference@gmail.com


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A Day of Faith and Connection

June 10, 2017
Pleasant View, Utah 


Connect with Friends,  Connect with Purpose, Connect with Christ.
Dear Restoration Youth,
“…we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” 2 Nephi 25:26
What a wonderful time we live in! We have opportunities that other generations haven’t had. We have easy access to scriptures from past dispensations. With a simple Internet search, we can connect with people from all around the globe who share our same beliefs and goals. We feel blessed to have new friends who strengthen us and help make the journey light. Together we can offer a sweet sense of family and belonging.
You are invited to come and make some great connections this summer! Please join us in connecting with friends, connecting with purpose, and connecting with Christ. There will be games, canoeing, cooking out, and great testimonies! We hope you will be uplifted and energized by our speakers, which include Robert and Quintina Bear Chief Adolpho. We look forward to seeing you!
stacks-image-44f1c66-450x450 (1)When: Saturday, June 10, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Barker Family Private Park,  2900 N. 1000 W. Pleasant View, UT 84414
Who: All Restoration youth ages 11-18
Please RSVP and send questions to: zionyouthgathering@gmail.com
“Children are the means to preserve Zion”
17759977_1916227741941014_5893576982096975023_n
17991085_1312134198882366_3195234028830942894_n (1)Things to bring: sack lunch, notebook or journal, sunscreen/hat, bug repellent, camp chair, towel for drying off after water games, water bottle, picnic blanket (optional)               
We’ll provide dinner, snacks, drinks, and dessert!
(Bring your own sack lunch and water bottle)
Saturday, June 10, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Arrive early for check-in!
Any who are willing to contribute their talents and services on this day, please contact us at zionyouthgathering@gmail.com
17904402_1916227628607692_122201243757541321_n          DSC03169

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The First Offering – A Covenant For Zion

When the Lord offers a covenant, He offers the Higher Law first, if the people reject the first offering, they are left with a lesser law. His first offering is that of Zion. If as a group, the people refuse the Zion covenant, the offering to receive the Lord individually is still available.

We see this in the Old Testament. Even though the children of Israel rejected the invitation to receive a covenant for Zion, this didn't prevent Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Elijah from individually receiving the Lord.

We have eleven children. It is quite easy to obtain peace with each child individually. I don't steal their toys, fight over the best seat, tease, or make a mess of their stuff. Although the individual parent/child relationship takes work and effort, it is simple. When all of my children are together, things become more complicated. Not only do the children get to connect with me, but they get to love and connect with each other. Living with thirteen people, tests all of us in ways that are much more challenging than living in a household with only one child. Getting along with siblings is a greater challenge, but the blessings are also more rewarding. There is always a friend to talk to, someone to play with, and energy and excitement that fills the home. Greater growth is encouraged in the family as we work through our challenges together. A united home is supportive and synergistic for the entire family.

As Moroni knew, it can be lonely for a man to receive the Lord without a Zion covenant.

Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father Mormon. Behold, I have but few things to write, which things I have been commanded of my father. And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites until they were all destroyed, and my father also was killed by them. And I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfill the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not, therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth, and whither I go it mattereth not. Behold, my father hath made this record and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also, if I had room upon the plates, but I have not. And ore I have none, for I am alone, my father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolks, and I have not friends nor whither to go. And how long the Lord will suffer that I may live, I know not. Mormon 4:1-10 

Throughout the history of the world, it has been more common to receive an individual covenant with God than to receive a Zion covenant. Establishing Zion takes time and is not accomplished in haste. Achieving this perfect unity took 365 years for Enoch and his people. This process takes faith, great diligence, and patience looking forward to the fruit of Zion. Here is the pattern we can expect to find in the establishment of Zion.

God calls a messenger to preach to a wicked people.

And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people, and as he journeyed the Spirit of God descended out of heaven, and abode upon him, And he heard a voice from heaven, saying, Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them, Repent, for thus saith the Lord, I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them, for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off. And for these many generations, even since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark, and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments which I gave unto their father Adam. Wherefore, they have forsworn themselves, and by their oaths they have brought upon themselves death. And an hell I have prepared for them, if they repent not, And this is a decree which I have sent forth in the beginning of the world, from mine own mouth, from the foundation thereof, and by the mouths of my servants, thy fathers, have I decreed it, even as it shall be sent forth in the world, unto the end thereof.

The messenger accepts the call.

And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying, Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me, for I am slow of speech, wherefore am I thy servant? And the Lord said unto Enoch, Go forth, and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. Say unto this people, choose ye this day to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold, my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify, and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course, and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you, therefore walk with me.

And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him, Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see, and he did so. And he beheld the spirits that God had created, and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye, and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land, A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.

The messenger testifies against their wickedness and the people are offended.

And it came to pass, that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills, and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works. And all men were offended because of him,

Some begin to listen to the messenger who walks with God.

and they came forth to hear him upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers, Tarry ye here and keep the tents while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land, a wild man hath come among us. And it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him, for fear came on them all that heard him, for he walked with God.

And there came a man unto him, whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him, Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest. And he said unto them, I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day, and my father taught me in all the ways of God. And it came to pass, as I journeyed from the land of Cainan by the sea east, I beheld a vision, and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment, wherefore for this cause, to keep the commandment, I speak forth these words. And Enoch continued his speech, saying, The Lord which spake with me, the same is the God of heaven, and he is my God and your God, and ye are my brethren, and why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven? The heavens he made, the earth is his footstool, and the foundation thereof is his, behold, he laid it, and hosts of men hath he brought in upon the face thereof. And death hath come upon our fathers, nevertheless, we know them, and cannot deny, and even the first of all we know, even Adam, for a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God, and it is given in our own language.

And as Enoch spake forth the words of God, the people trembled and could not stand in his presence.

The messenger teaches the people to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. The people begin to be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost.

And he said unto them, Because that Adam fell, we are, and by his fall came death, and we are made partakers of misery and woe. Behold, Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him, and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God. But God hath made known unto our fathers, that all men must repent. And he called upon our father Adam, by his own voice, saying, I am God, I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. And he also said unto him, If thou wilt, turn unto me and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask it shall be given you. And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said, Why is it that men must repent, and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam, Behold, I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world. And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying, Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so, when they begin to grow up sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil, wherefore, they are agents unto themselves. And I have given unto you another law and commandment, wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God. For no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence, for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous judge, who shall come in the meridian of time. Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying, that by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so become of dust a living soul, Even so ye must be born again, into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten, that ye may be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory. For, by the water ye keep the commandment, by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified. Therefore it is given to abide in you, the record of heaven, the Comforter, the peaceable things of immortal glory, the truth of all things, that which quickeneth all things which maketh alive all things, that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice and judgment. And now, behold, I say unto you, This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time. And, behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual, things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath, all things bear record of me. And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water, and thus he was baptized. And the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man. And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying, Thou art baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, this is the record of the Father and the Son, from henceforth and forever, And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God, and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

And it came to pass, that Enoch continued his speech, saying, Behold, our father Adam taught these things, and many have believed, and become the sons of God, and many have believed not, and have perished in their sins, and are looking forth with fear, in torment, for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God to be poured out upon them.

The messenger prophecies of the things which the Lord has showed him. The people are warned of the destruction and the curse which awaits them if they don't repent and be baptized.

And from that time forth, Enoch began to prophesy, saying unto the people, that, as I was journeying, and stood in the place Mahujah, and cried unto the Lord, there came a voice out of heaven, saying, Turn ye and get ye upon the mount Simeon. And it came to pass, that I turned and went up on the mount, and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory. And I saw the Lord, and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face, and he said unto me, Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations. And it came to pass, that I beheld in the valley of Shum, and, lo! a great people which dwelt in tents, which were the people of Shum. And again the Lord said unto me, Look, and I looked towards the north, and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents. And the Lord said unto me, Prophesy, and I prophesied saying, Behold, the people of Cainan which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them, that they shall be utterly destroyed. And the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there, but the people of Canaan, for, behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever. And there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people. And it came to pass, that the Lord said unto me, Look, and I looked, and I beheld the land of Sharon, and the land of Enoch, and the land of Omner, and the land of Heni, and the land of Shem, and the land of Haner, and the land of Hanannihah, and all the inhabitants thereof. And the Lord said unto me, Go forth to this people, and say unto them, Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die. And he gave unto me a commandment, that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, who is full of grace and truth, and the Holy Ghost which beareth record of the Father and the Son.

The messenger continues to call upon all the people to repent. He leads the people of God, and they are protected by the power of God.

And it came to pass, that Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent. And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them, and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command. And the rivers of water were turned out of their course, and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness. And all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him. There also came up a land out of the depths of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off, and went upon the land which came up out of the depths of the sea. And the giants of the land also stood afar off, and there went forth a curse upon all the people which fought against God. And from that time forth, there were wars, and bloodshed among them, but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness. And the fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish.

The people are of one heart and one mind. They build a city.

And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness, and there were no poor among them. And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the city of Holiness, even Zion.

Zion is blessed. The Residue of the people are cursed. In process of time Zion is taken up into heaven. This is a process and is not to be achieved in one step or in haste.

And it came to pass, that Enoch talked with the Lord, and he said unto the Lord, Surely, Zion shall dwell in safety forever. But the Lord said unto Enoch, Zion have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed. And it came to pass, that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth, and he beheld, and lo! Zion in process of time was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Behold mine abode forever. And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam, and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam, save it were the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them. And after that Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him, and there came generation upon generation. And Enoch was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father and the Son of Man, and,

Satan veils the earth with darkness and deceit. Satan laughs at the confusion he creates.

behold, the powers of Satan were upon all the face of the earth, and he saw angels descending out of heaven, and he heard a loud voice, saying, Woe! woe! be unto the inhabitants of the earth! And he beheld Satan, and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness, and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced.

The people on the earth continue to be taught by those who have been caught up to heaven. They receive the Holy Ghost and are also caught up to heaven.

And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father, and of the Son. And the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

The heavens weep over those who refuse to repent and come.

And it came to pass, Enoch looked upon the residue of the people, and wept, and he beheld and lo, the heavens wept also, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains? And Enoch said unto the Lord, How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, and millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations, And thy curtains are stretched out still, and thou art there, and thy presence is there, and also, thou art just, thou art merciful and kind forever, Thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity, and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne, and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end. How is it that thou canst weep?

The wicked choose hate over love. They choose to serve Satan and are miserable. They will be in torment until they return unto God.

The Lord said unto Enoch, Behold, these thy brethren, they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their intelligence. And in the garden of Eden man had agency, and unto thy brethren have I said, and also gave commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should serve me, their God. But, behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood, and the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them, and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them. Behold, I am God, Man of Holiness is my name, Man of Counsel is my name, and Endless and Eternal is my name also. Wherefore I can stretch forth my hands and hold all the creations which I have made, and mine eye can pierce them also. And among all the workmanship of my hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren, but, behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers, Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom, and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of my hands. Wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer? But, behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods, and, behold, I will shut them up, a prison have I prepared for them, and he whom I have chosen hath pleaded before my face, Wherefore he suffereth for their sins, inasmuch as they will repent, in the day that my chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment. Wherefore for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of my hands. And it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men. Wherefore Enoch knew and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept, and stretched forth his arms, and he beheld eternity, and his bowels yearned, and all eternity shook.

The messenger sees the future of the world and weeps over its destruction.

And Enoch saw Noah also, and his family, that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation. Wherefore Enoch saw that Noah built an ark, and the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand, but upon the residue of the wicked came the floods and swallowed them up. And as Enoch saw thus, he had bitterness of soul, and wept over his brethren, and said unto the heavens, I will refuse to be comforted. But the Lord said unto Enoch, Lift up your heart and be glad, and look. And it came to pass, that Enoch looked, and from Noah he beheld all the families of the earth, and he cried unto the Lord, saying,

The messenger sees the coming of the Lord in the flesh.

When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified, and have eternal life? And the Lord said, It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance. And, behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh, and his soul rejoiced, saying, The righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world, and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me!

The messenger receives a covenant from the Lord.

And it came to pass, that Enoch looked upon the earth, and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying, Woe! woe! is me, the mother of men! I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children! When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which has gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying, O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? wilt thou not bless the children of Noah? And it came to pass, that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying, I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah, and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods. And the Lord could not withhold, and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods, that he would call upon the children of Noah, and he sent forth an unalterable decree, that a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations, while the earth should stand.

The Messiah is the King of Zion. Everything the messenger does is to glorify the King of Zion.

And the Lord said, Blessed is he through whose seed Messiah shall come, for he saith, I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of heaven, which is broad as eternity, and whoso cometh in at the gate, and climbeth up by me shall never fall. Wherefore blessed are they of whom I have spoken, for they shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy. And it came to pass, that Enoch cried unto the Lord, saying, When the Son of Man cometh in the flesh shall the earth rest? I pray thee show me these things. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Look, and he looked, and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men. And he heard a loud voice, and the heavens were veiled, and all the creations of God mourned, and the earth groaned, and the rocks were rent, and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory. And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth and stood on the right hand of God. And the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.

The messenger weeps for the return of Zion.

And again Enoch wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying, When shall the earth rest? And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father, and he called unto the Lord, saying, Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? for inasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten, thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace, and wherefore I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth?

The Lord fulfills His covenant to the messenger and His people are blessed.

And the Lord said unto Enoch, As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfill the oath which I made unto you concerning the children of Noah. And the day shall come that the earth shall rest. But before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth, and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth. And great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve, and righteousness will I send down out of heaven, and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten, his resurrection from the dead, yea, and also the resurrection of all men. And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming, for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us, and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other, And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made, and for the space of a thousand years shall the earth rest.

The messenger and all his people walk with God.

And it came to pass, that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth, in righteousness, for the space of a thousand years. But before that day, he saw great tribulation among the wicked, and he also saw the sea, that it was troubled, and men's hearts failing them, looking forth with fear for the judgment of the Almighty God, which should come upon the wicked. And the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world. And he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption, and received a fullness of joy. And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion. And it came to pass, that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom, and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled. And all the days of Enoch were four hundred and thirty years. Genesis 4 

The covenant offered by Jesus Christ in September 2017 is the Lord's first offering. He is offering a Zion covenant. No one need suppose that the beginning is to look like the end, or that we should have attained what we are are in process of achieving. Zion is to be accomplished in process of time. Be patient. Be diligent. Be faithful. Be loving. Follow the Lord's instructions to you each day. As you do so, His voice will become clearer and clearer to you. He leads you to do good, lift and share the burdens of those around you, and see yourself as an equal with others. Jesus has perfect intelligence to bring again Zion. September marks the beginning of the end of Satan's kingdom here on earth. The devil will be bound and peace will be restored once more on this earth. Do not be discouraged because of your weakness. Keep your eye on Jesus and trust in His power to perfectly deliver you from all that holds you bound.   

Monday, May 8, 2017

All Things Shall Be Done By Common Consent

And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things ye shall receive by faith.” D&C 111:2

...neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants, for all things must be done in order and by common consent in the church by the prayer of faith.” D&C 60:12

What does it mean to do all things by common consent? How does a group of people come to a unity of opinion? What does it mean to think with one another? Why does this require much prayer and faith?

Common: Belonging equally to more than one. 

Consent: Accord of minds; agreement; unity of opinion. Literally, to think with another. Hence, to agree or accord. 

How is common consent different than democratic rule? When the majority wins, is this common consent? Does voting have a place as common consent is being achieved?

Vote: That by which will or preference is expressed in elections or in deciding propositions; a ballot; a ticket, etc.; as a written vote; Expression of will be a majority;

How can God's people do all things by common consent? Can we have common consent without being one? This oneness with the Lord is not only for those who have received the Lord's presence but for those also who believe on Jesus through their words.

He [Jesus] had said, in another part of his prayer, that he desired of his Father, that those who believed on him should be one in him, as he, and the Father were one in each other: Neither pray I for these (the apostles) alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their words; that they all may be one: that is, they who believe on him through the apostles' words, as well as the apostles themselves: that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee: that they also may be one in us. Lecture on Faith 7:40

If one soul has the same mind with the Father and thousands do not, who has the ability to bring about common consent? How does possessing the same mind with the Father and the Son, make common consent in all things possible? If we each seek to become one with the Father and the Son, will we be one with each other?

And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fullness of the glory of the Father- possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one: The Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power and fullness: Filling all in all- the Son being filled with the fullness of the Mind, glory and power, or, in other words, the Spirit, glory and power of the Father-possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom: sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father- a Mediator for man- being filled with the fullness of the Mind of the Father, or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father: which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments: and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all: being filled with the fullness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. Lectures on Faith 5:7

Why must the people of Zion be of one heart and one mind?

And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness, and there were no poor among them.

Zion began by one man rising up to teach the people the truth. They were gathered by common consent because they found the word to be expanding, enlightening, and delicious. The people received teachings full of light and knowledge at the hand of Enoch as he taught them how to commune with and follow God. This is how common consent is achieved.

And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God.

This process takes time, labor, patience, and knowledge. To achieve common consent, I must be willing to consider my brother and sister and listen to what they have to say? When I work with others, these are the tools I have to work with . . .

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the Priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned, by kindness, by pure knowledge which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy and without guile, reproving betimes with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved lest he esteem thee to be his enemy, that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death; thy bowels also being full of charity towards all men and to the household of faith, and virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly. D&C 47:141

Fellowship is essential in this process of achieving Zion. 

 In Utah, we live in a culture where passive-aggressive behavior is abnormally high.

Michael Stevens, chairman of Weber State University’s department of business administration, has taught courses in organizational behavior and group psychology for 25 years. After coming to Utah in 2008, he saw his students score almost twice as high for having passive-aggressive conflict-resolution styles as his students in other regions. 

Neither of these behaviors will work in Zion. We must use our time to teach one another and work together. To build a city which Jesus will claim as His own takes communication, humility, revelation, knowledge, organization, labor, cooperation, forgiveness, charity, and love. It's easier to go off on our own, do our own thing, and forget about the welfare of believers in Christ and others who are in need. But we can choose another way. If you have knowledge to impart then do what you can to lift and serve.  If you lack wisdom, be teachable and willing to see a better way. We will all find ourselves in both situations. This blesses us both as a giver and a receiver.

We live in a society where texts, social media, and forums have replaced the human element in our communications. It is good to meet face to face where we can feel each others' hearts.

And now come, saith the Lord by the Spirit unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together that ye may understand; let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another, face to face. D&C 16:10 

It is a greater challenge to come to a oneness with God as a group than it is to come to God as an individual. Zion is supportive and synergistic. People have continued to come into God's presence throughout the course of history, but only the people of Enoch and Melchizedek have achieved Zion. This effort requires all who have desires to be part of Zion to not only rise up and come to their Lord but to labor for the welfare of others through their fellowship. Much prayer and faith is required as we reach out to lift and serve each other.

Zion is the result of common consent.  Who cannot see that the Lord called His people Zion because they were of one heart and one mind?

Sanctify them through your truth. Your words are truth. As you have sent me into the world, likewise I am sending them into the world. And for their sakes I sacrifice myself, that they might be sanctified through the truth. I pray not only for these followers, but also for all believers who learn our words from them. I ask that all followers and believers may be united as one, as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, that they also may be united as one in us. By them becoming one, the world will have reason to believe that you sent me. And the light which you gave to me I have given to them. This allows them to become united as one, even as we are one: my light in them, and your light in me. The light will lead them to be made perfect in one. That light I have given to them is evidence to the world that you have sent me. I have loved them, as you have loved me. Testimony of John 10:207-218

Monday, April 24, 2017

Excommunication of Karen Strong - Stake Disciplinary Council Defense

Karen Strong and her husband were recently excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on April 11, 2017. After reading her defense, I asked her if she would be willing to share her testimony with others on a public blog.

In sharing Karen's testimony, it is my hope that believers in Christ will be given strength and courage to face the persecution and challenges in their own world. It is also important to raise the warning voice to as many as possible.

Stake Disciplinary Council Defense
Karen Strong
April 11, 2017

You have brought us before this council on the charges of apostasy. The grounds for apostasy which President XXXXXX presented are derived from interpretation and application of the church’s Handbook of Instruction.

But the scriptural meaning of the original Greek word apostasy is DEFECTION FROM TRUTH, OR FALLING AWAY FROM TRUTH. Christ defines Himself as the Truth, as well as the words which He has declared in written scripture. Thus, apostasy is a revolt against Christ and the truth of the Lord’s word, as declared in the scriptural record.

The scriptures are binding upon us, and they contain the words by which we shall ALL be judged. They are the standard of truth, and the law upon which righteous judgment is based.

THESE (scriptures) should never be set aside in favor of Handbook rules established without divine revelation, kept secret from the membership, and then imposed upon the membership without the required vote of common consent. In Christ’s day, the Handbook of Instruction would be akin to the rigid commandments the Pharisees added to the scriptures, which they then used as a basis to falsely accuse the Savior of having committed sin. Christ rebuked the religious leaders for relying upon their additions to God’s word and said, “JUDGE NOT ACCORDING TO YOUR TRADITIONS, BUT JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT.”

Because you are accusing us of apostasy, or straying from the truth; and thus, falling away from Christ and His revealed word; THIS (scriptures hold up) is the RIGHTEOUS standard of truth that you should use to determine the legitimacy of your accusation against us.

Before I go further, I need to ask you a question.

Was Martin Luther guilty of apostasy when he pointed out the contradictions between the Catholic Church’s practices and teachings compared to what the scriptures actually taught? Or had the church wrongfully changed the ordinances and doctrines while relying upon their claim to authority as justification in making all the changes? Was Luther’s loyalty supposed to be to the Church, or to God and the truth found in God’s word? Whom will God vindicate in the matter? Christ and his followers were also cast out and charged with apostasy by the institutional church. It’s a recurring pattern that large institutional religion strays off course.

Those in power, then point to the individuals who notice the shift away from scripture and accuse them of apostasy claiming it is impossible for the institution to ever go off course because of their authority, or keys. The pattern has always been the same. The bottom line to all of this is that we believe that it is the institutional Church that has strayed from some significant foundational truths found within God’s word.

A few examples of the serious changes I am talking about are:

1. The extensive changes made in 1990 to the temple ordinances. Followed by additional significant changes in 2005 and 2016.

In addition to the temple ordinances being changed, the ordinance of the sacrament has been significantly modified contrary to Christ’s instructions and example clearly given in three books of scripture. Additions have been made to the doctrine of Christ recorded in scripture, concerning qualification for baptism. Any addition by anyone to the doctrine of Christ is contrary to Christ’s explicit instruction.

Both Isaiah and Joseph Smith specifically warned that God’s ordinances are not to be changed or altered by man. No provision is given because keys are held.

Joseph taught:

Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of man, ARE NOT TO BE ALTERED OR CHANGED (TPJS p. 308). (repeat underlined)

“…the ordinances must be kept IN THE VERY WAY God has appointed, otherwise their priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing.” (Joseph Smith, General Conference Tal, Oct. 5, 1840)

We teach as a church that the changing of the ordinances by the primitive church was a clear sign of their apostasy and was directly connected to their loss of authority.

The Lord confirms in Section 1 that this earlier changing of ordinances had caused them to break the everlasting covenant, thereby requiring the restoration through Joseph Smith.

But did you know that Isaiah specifically warned that when the Lord returns to burn the earth at His second coming, it will again be because the earth has been defiled because the ordinances have been changed and the everlasting covenant broken as a consequence of those changes? Isaiah’s prophecy is not about the change of the ordinances made by the Catholic Church mentioned in Section 1. Instead, it is directly related to the breaking of the covenant in the last days, by changing the ordinances preceding Christ’s Second return. This is no small matter.

God’s ordinances because we believe keys allow such changes to be made; this is no different than the logic and reasoning made by the historic church. If changing of ordinances defined their apostasy, why do we excuse ourselves in the same thing we use to condemn them?

Continuing with the list of changes made by the Church:

2. There have been changes in what is taught as doctrine.

First, Joseph Smith clearly taught that all who have repented, been baptized and received the Holy Ghost were to go on and seek to receive their calling and election made sure and receive the Second Comforter; Christ taught the same truth to His disciples in the Gospel of John, as did Peter.

This true doctrine is no longer taught and encouraged in the church. Quite the opposite. In 2015, Elder Oaks even went so far as to say that those who seek this are falling for a familiar tactic of the adversary. His teaching is a direct contradiction to the words of Christ, Peter, and Joseph Smith found in the scriptures. And a changing of saving doctrine.

Two additional examples of changed doctrine pertain to the Adam-God doctrine taught by Presidents Young, Taylor and Woodruff; and the doctrine on blacks and the priesthood taught by the Church all the way into my lifetime, and confirmed in modern scripture.

Pertaining to the Adam-God doctrine, President Kimball rightfully declared that this doctrine taught by earlier prophets was false doctrine and denounced it. But Bruce R. McConkie went further and called it a heresy and said any who believe it are not worthy to be saved. Yet, Brigham Young taught this doctrine in the St. George Temple as the lecture at the veil and condemned members who did not accept it as truth. Did McConkie mean Brigham and those who believed him as their leader do not deserve to be saved? Why would a living prophet need to denounce the teachings of a former prophet if prophets cannot lead us astray, in the first place?

The same conundrum manifested itself in the official church essay written to explain the former church presidents’ teachings on blacks and Priesthood. The church stated previous presidents of the church were LACKING REVELATION FROM GOD ON THE MATTER, disavowed their teachings, and excused them as being products of their time. Enoch and Abraham were likewise discredited by the essay, as the essay contradicted what is taught in the Pearl of Great Price by these prophets.

We were told through the official essay that previous prophets lacked revelation and that scripture is wrong. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be told to trust our current leaders because they can’t lead us astray; and yet justify them disparaging and contradicting former prophets of all ages, in an attempt to appease the public. This reveals inconsistency in teaching and contradiction in purported truth.

The church applies a standard of infallibility to the current leaders that they do not give to former leaders when the former leaders’ teachings are unpopular in today’s culture.

3. The original 1835 Doctrine and Covenants contained a series of Lectures on Faith that were included as the “doctrine” portion of that book of scripture. These were voted upon by common consent and accepted as scripture in Joseph’s day. In 1921, a committee of six apostles voted to remove this doctrine from our scripture, without a required vote of the members; again changing, or removing “doctrine” from the scriptures. This constituted an elimination of important truths about the process of how one attains to the faith required to literally know the Lord face to face.

4. Section 101 and 134 have very detailed teachings about the Constitution and the types of laws we should support. The Church has recently engaged in promoting and passing legislation that contradicts these revelations, but they exempted themselves from complying to the laws on moral grounds in the process; thereby compelling through legislation others to live laws that they find morally objectionable. When you advocate others doing something you refuse to do, this is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is one of the worst offenses named by Christ in the scriptures and it was always directed at the religious leaders. (LGBT)

5. The church has disregarded the scriptural teachings concerning wealth, riches, costly apparel, and seeking the fine things of the world. The decision to surround the Salt Lake Temple with the very image of Babylon in all its glory, namely the City Creek Mall, teaches loud and clear that it is perfectly fine for all of us to attempt to serve two masters. This is counter to everything taught in the scriptures by Christ.

6. The church changed the organizational structure of its’ highest quorums revealed in Section 107 without revelation to do so. The quorums of the First Presidency, the Twelve, the Seventy and the Stake High Councils were all established to be equal in authority for the very purpose of eliminating the possibility of centralized top-heavy control and power over the church. The Lord even made the Quorum of the Twelve subordinate to the Stake High Council when they were visiting and were only allowed to preside where there was no organized stake. We have completely altered and ignored the Lord’s design for how the church was to be governed and eliminated their equality.

More examples could be added. Everyone one of the above matters is rooted in a contradiction or change from what is given by the Lord in the scriptures.

Over the years these changes became a troubling matter to us because of our deep love for the Lord, His church, and His gospel. We have never been rebellious. But as we observed contradictions and serious changes that countered the scriptures, we also began to wonder if this is exactly what Nephi and Moroni were witnessing when they saw our day.

Nephi saw that ALL the churches in the last days have gone out of the way and become corrupted. (2 Ne 28:11)

And Moroni lamentingly asked when he saw us, “Why have ye polluted the holy church of God?”

After years of pondering and wondering how such changes could be occurring within the Lord’s church; we found our answer in Section 124.

In 1841, after a decade of failed attempts to establish Zion, the Lord gave Section 124 and commanded the Saints to build the required temple in Nauvoo. In verse 28, He reveals exactly WHY that temple was required.

For there is not a place found on earth that he [the Lord] may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”

Did you get that?

The Lord told the Saints in 1841 that they did NOT actually have the required fulness of the Priesthood anymore. He confirms that they had previously had it restored, but that they had lost it through disobedience, and therefore, the Lord had taken it away from them and so He had to restore it again. Additionally, the Lord directly states that it is He that must personally come and return it to the Saints in a completed temple.

Had you ever realized that was the case? The point to take note of is that it’s not a question of whether they lost it. The Lord clearly states the church did NOT have the fulness of the priesthood in 1841.

The Lord then tells them that they only have a certain amount of time allotted for them to complete the temple. Whereupon, He then warns them that if they fail to complete it within the designated time, THEY WILL BE REJECTED AS A CHURCH WITH THEIR DEAD. He says:

I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me…
and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God” (v. 31-32)

The Lord promises them that if they succeed in building this temple in the time permitted, then they will not be moved out of their place. In other words, they would remain in Nauvoo as a cornerstone of Zion. But failure would mean cursing, wrath, indignation, judgement, and not receiving the blessings they expected at His hand.

So the question is, did they succeed within the allotted time to build the temple? Did the Lord ever come to the Nauvoo Temple, and did He restore to them again the fulness of the priesthood? Or did they fail and become rejected as a church, remain without the fulness and get moved out of their place?

Time does not permit a proper examination of the facts, but in short, Joseph and Hyrum, who was the revealed and appointed successor to lead the church, were killed 3 ½ years after this revelation. At the time of their death the temple was still only built up to the exterior walls of the second story.

But the Saints were fully aware of the requirements given in Section 124, as Joseph had admonished them repeatedly that they were in jeopardy of failing. So after the Quorum of the Twelve won the vote of the members to lead the church, they anxiously worked to try to complete the temple.

But God allowed the wrath of their enemies to be upon them, and they were forced out of Nauvoo in the dead of winter before the temple was complete. The endowments they performed were done in the attic of the unfinished temple. Two apostles and a handful of saints remained behind to finish and dedicate the temple months later. But there is no record of the Lord appearing in this temple and accepting it as He promised, or of the Lord bestowing again the fulness of the priesthood as stated was the very purpose for building it.

Instead, the temple was abandoned by the Saints due to their forced exodus, and it was left to eventually burn, be destroyed by a tornado, and remain with not one stone upon another. A complete loss, mirroring the pattern of Biblical temples that were destroyed.

We realized that what had happen to our early church, followed the same pattern that was exemplified by the children of Israel with Moses. The Saints in Joseph’s day had been given two opportunities to come into the presence of the Lord, Missouri and Nauvoo. But they failed to rise to the invitation. Their first failure resulted in the Lord removing the fulness of the priesthood, and their second failure left that priesthood still out of their possession.

Section 84 talks about the ramifications of what it means to a people when the Lord invites them into His presence, but they fail to receive the invitation. Such people are always left with a lesser portion of the priesthood than the fulness that is required to see Him face to face.

But a lesser priesthood does NOT mean the Lord isn’t still working with us. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us. It doesn’t mean we can’t obtain the spirit. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a work for the body of believers to accomplish. It doesn’t mean much truth isn’t possessed. It doesn’t mean God’s plan was thwarted or that it failed.

It merely means, that we, as a people do not have what we could have had had we risen up. It means that God has eternal laws that He obeys and when we fail, He is bound to enact certain consequences upon us. He calls those consequences a curse because the consequences prohibit us, as a people, from entering into His literal presence. For us, the latter-day saints, that consequence resulted in 4 generations, or 160 years, of operating with a lesser portion of priesthood that has made obtaining Zion impossible. But the cursing was never intended to be permanent. The Lord always intended to set His hand again the second time to make the offer to us again when sufficient time had passed to satisfy the blood spilt by Joseph and Hyrum’s death because of the Saint’s failure.

But it does not change the fact that during this condition of cursed probation since Joseph’s death, lacking the degree of priesthood Joseph possessed, we have slowly drifted further and further from what Joseph originally intended and restored as a religion. If you don’t like our saying so, then will you accept the words of Joseph Fielding Smith on the matter:

It is a VERY APPARENT fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years. What the future will bring I do not know. But if we drift as far afield from the fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith? It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the primitive church of Christ. ARE WE NOT TRAVELING DOWN THE SAME ROAD? (Joseph Fielding Smith Journal, entry for 28 December. 1938)

Joseph Fielding acknowledges that the church has traveled far and wide in just the 20 years he had observed while in leadership. He admits that the drift had been from fundamental things that were part of the foundation laid by Joseph Smith. He sees what has happened and admits he can see how the primitive apostasy occurred and then stunningly acknowledges we are traveling down the very same road. Did you notice that he began by admitting that it was very apparent to see this fact? That was 80 years ago. What would he say and observe today? You are asking us to not observe and acknowledge a very apparent fact that even a former prophet admitted. You are asking us to turn a blind eye to changing of ordinances, the elimination and changing of doctrine, and institutional disregard for teachings found in scripture as outlined previously.

I declare to you that we have not apostatized. We have not fallen away or defected from Christ or His truth. We have been faithful and loyal to Him. We serve Him and Him alone and fear no man, nor council of men who consider themselves beholden to a handbook of instructions over the word of God.

If you cast us out, you cast out innocent people and you cast out those whom God has approved. We admonish you to think seriously before you do so. Do not use the traditions of a religious culture and Handbook to judge us. With what judgment you mete against us, it will be meted unto you by the Lord in a coming day. Let us go in peace worshiping God according to the dictates of our conscience and according to His written word which the church has refused to keep intact. The scriptures inform our beliefs and they vindicate everything we think and everything we have done.

If I were Martin Luther, you would be asking me to deny the word of God to protect the church that has made clear changes to ordinances and changes in doctrine against the word of God written in scripture. Because of the obvious parallel, I close with the words of Luther when asked by the church in his trial if he would recant his statements to save himself.

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures and by plain reason and not by popes and councils alone, who have so often contradicted themselves---I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.” In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.