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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Monday, November 6, 2017

Call for Vote

There is a call for a vote by the body of believers concerning a new proposal to complete the Statement of Principles. I support this effort, which is summarized in the following graphic:




I believe this proposal has many strengths:
  • It breaks the deadlock created by numerous competing proposals and documents
  • It respects and incorporates all prior efforts and documents
  • It invites participation from all who are called of God
  • It lets the Lord choose who will complete the assignment
  • It provides a clear path to completion
  • It honors the Lord's requirement that the statement, when complete, be adopted by mutual agreement
Before this proposal can proceed, the voice of the people must speak in its favor. A vote is currently underway to determine whether the voice of the people will support this procedure. I intend to vote in favor of this approach, and I encourage everyone to do likewise.

Here's the link where you can vote.  Please note voting closes Wednesday, November 8.

I pray this proposal will succeed, that the seven selected will hear and heed the Lord's voice, and that we all will unite in supporting a statement of true principles. 

This is a re-post of what is on To the Remnant

Monday, October 30, 2017

A STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

A PROPOSED PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING A
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

How you proceed must be as noble as the cause you seek.” 
(Answer & Covenant, p. 2) 10/26/2017


Background

We, the people, have been given an assignment to write a “statement of principles” to be “added as a guide and standard for my people to follow to be included in the scriptures.” However, there is no central body nor process for “proceeding” with this assignment or making decisions as a people. We have no king, ruler, chief, elder, captain, or prophet/authorized servant (whose hands are not tied) in this particular situation to assist. We are distributed geographically. Our numbers are not known precisely. There is mistrust, hurt feelings, and great differences of opinion as to the best way forward. There are concerns about setting up a strong man to accomplish this work and there are concerns about propping up a committee with power that could jeopardize equality. Some affirm that they have been called of God to accomplish this work, while others have concerns about the non-verifiability of such statements, and still others believe that “if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work” (Teachings & Commandments, JSH, Feb 1829, para. 3). Thus, there is deadlock over the various proposals and positions put forward. Even though there are several proposals on the table with the potential for helping us to resolve our current impasse, there is no universally accepted way to implement them and complete our assignment.


Synopsis

A process is described for using the scripturally supported method of drawing lots to assemble a small, limited, and provisional body of individuals to compose a Statement of Principles. A brief overview is first presented to provide an understanding of the overall process, followed by a more detailed background and explanation of the steps involved to carry out the proposed process, which closely follows the principles included in the Oct. 7th, 2017 “United Proposal” as well as the added light given in the talk in Dallas, TX on Oct. 19th, 2017.


Brief Overview of Proposed Process

  1. Names of individuals meeting basic criteria are submitted to the Central Recorder.
  2. Following the practice of drawing lots, the Central Recorder draws 7 names to compose a Statement of Principles during a publicly broadcasted meeting.
  3. The Central Recorder verifies their qualifications, and ensures willingness and ability to participate.
  4. The Central Recorder will collect any and all documents produced by those who have felt called to this work for consideration of the newly formed body of 7 to help inform and inspire their efforts.
  5. The group begins their work, seeking the inspiration of the Spirit to compose a Statement of Principles based on those principles that we have already mutually agreed upon, found primarily in the Answer & Covenant, and supported by the words of Christ, as found in the holy scriptures that we have accepted as ours (which includes the Doctrine of Christ and the Law of Christ, as well as the teachings of the Lord’s current authorized servant) and staying as close to verbatim as possible to the Lord’s words (see United Proposal, Oct. 7th, 2017).
  6. After the Statement of Principles is finalized, it is published for the entire body of believers and following a brief period of comment, it is presented to the Lord for His revision and approval.
  7. When the Lord’s approval has been received, the Statement of Principles is presented for a sustaining vote and inclusion in the RE Scriptures.

Proposed Process

Beginning with the End in Mind
How do we get from where we are now to where we want to go? Let’s fast forward in time and consider a hypothetical scenario in which we have successfully adopted a Statement of Principles and are now ready to present it to the Lord. A prayer we might offer to Him at that point might look something like this:

Our Most Gracious God and King,

We, the people who have entered into a covenant with you to keep your commandments, have labored diligently to fulfill the assignment you have required at our hands to 1) provide a suitable replacement for LE Section 20 and 2) write a statement of principles as a guide and standard of our faith. Although this process has exposed our many weaknesses as a people, we are thankful for the opportunity afforded to us to work together and learn how to love one another, that we may lay hold upon forgiveness and mercy. While we humbly admit that in our weakness we have not always been able to align our minds enough to find mutually agreeable words, we have indeed been able to unite our hearts enough to find 100% mutual agreement in faith and purpose as contained in the Holy Scriptures, which we use to correct our daily walk. Therefore, we proclaim to you this day, as a standard of our faith, that we both believe and accept the Doctrine of Jesus Christ as set forth in the Book of Mormon (RE 3rd Nephi 5:9) as well as His Law which was set forth on two continents (RE Matthew Ch.3, RE 3rd Nephi 5:10 – 3rd Nephi 6:6). Because there are others who are not yet acquainted with your word in our generation, we also present to you a statement of principles that is intended to bless, benefit, and inform our brothers and sisters who know nothing, as yet, of your work underway, which will guide them in their worship in fellowships. We now mutually agree to present this, the fruit of our labors, to you with the understanding that it may yet contain many errors and omissions and ask that you correct the document as needed to be worthy of canonization.

The intent of this proposal is to work backwards from the position of unity, as illustrated above, to where we currently find ourselves, in a state of disorder, contention, and confusion. So, assuming we have submitted a Statement of Principles to the Lord, how might we have arrived there? What process was followed to allow the body of believers to come together, united in heart, around a mutually agreeable set of principles, although we may not have completely agreed on the exact words used?

Let’s look back (hypothetically) in time together…

How the Process Worked
  1. For a limited period of time (1 week), each covenant holder submitted the names of adults (with phone numbers and email addresses) to the central recorder for potential service on this body. Although there was no limit to the number of names submitted by a given person, much thought and prayer went into the nominations, so that individuals nominated would be covenant holders who were guided by the Spirit and capable of completing this assignment with integrity, and in a cooperative, equitable, and humble manner. Some individuals also submitted their own names because they felt a particular desire to volunteer to serve in this capacity.
  2. These recommended individuals had all met the following criteria:
    1. At least 18 years old;
    2. Baptized and baptism recorded with the Central Recorder;
    3. Had entered into the covenant originally offered on September 3rd, 2017.
    4. Had a willingness to agree to perform their labors according to the criteria of composing the Statement of Principles using primarily the words of Christ directly or through an authorized servant.
  1. The Central Recorder collated the submitted information into a spreadsheet, verified baptism (verifying whether someone had taken the covenant was not possible), removed duplicate submissions (to engender equality, each had 1 “lot”), and assigned everyone a unique number. Numbers were printed on pieces of paper of the same size and deposited into a vessel of the Central Recorder’s choosing;
  2. The Central Recorder collected any and all documents produced by those who had felt called to this work for consideration of the newly formed body of 7 to help inform and inspire their efforts to complete the assignment.
  3. On a day shortly following the closing of the submission period, the Central Recorder arranged a date, time, and location for drawing lots and appointed a scribe. The event was open to the public and livestreamed/recorded. After prayer, the numbers were drawn. Because there was a chance that individual circumstances or minds may have changed, or people may have been nominated who did not wish to participate, the Central Recorder also drew another set of 7 numbers for individuals to serve as alternates. Others were invited to pray for the process to be pleasing to and guided by the Lord;
  4. The Central Recorder contacted the first 7 names drawn to verify that they met the above criteria and that they were willing to serve, giving them 24 hours to reply. If any of the first 7 did not meet the criteria or declined participation, alternates were added to the group accordingly.
  5. Once the 7 were determined, the Central Recorder posted a list of their names on the Recorder’s Clearinghouse website and sent an email to the 7, putting them in touch with one another;
  6. The body of 7 held a day of fasting and prayer and then began their labor with the understanding that if they could not unanimously approve the document within two weeks, they would disband and allow the selected alternates to undertake the same process. Once the initial Statement of Principles was completed, it was posted for the entire body of believers, followed by a brief period of time
    (3 days), for email submission of any errors or omissions to be considered by the body of 7.
  7. The body of 7 then made arrangements for the final Statement of Principles to be presented to the Lord through His servant for His revision and approval.
  8. Once approved by the Lord, the Statement of Principles was submitted back to the body of believers for a sustaining vote and then submitted to the scripture committee for inclusion in the scriptures and the body of 7 was disbanded.

The body of 7 were servants of all and exercised no authority over others. They determined how to divide their labors among themselves, with some doing the primary work of composing the Statement of Principles, while others served as independent reviewers (ensuring the words of Christ or His servant were used accurately, and that the language and formatting were consistent), and still others served to communicate progress to the body of believers, etc. If technical skills beyond those available on the body of 7 were required, they were permitted to seek a minimal level of outside assistance, but those individuals (as well as spouses) had no role or influence on the body of 7.

How Did the Body of Believers Overcome the Hurdle of Voting?

Having recently participated in a separate project involving what to include/exclude in the RE Scriptures, where some measures passed by slim margins, the body of believers had confidence that a simple voting process had worked and would work again to obtain the voice of the people on this matter. This understanding became the basis for obtaining the voice of the people through which the consent to move forward with the plan (i.e., this proposed process) was secured. Furthermore, upon agreement on narrowly defined criteria for the compiling of the Statement of Principles (i.e. the “United Proposal”), as well as the resolution to accept the document produced as sufficient to present to the Lord for His revision, it was determined that a sustaining vote was only necessary after an approval from the Lord was obtained.

One in Faith, One in Purpose, Not Necessarily One in Word

Before any words could be written to create a document that would be mutually agreeable to all, the entire body of believers needed to come to a unity of faith and belief in the Doctrine of Jesus Christ with a determination to live His Law. With that in place, the people had sufficiently satisfied the requirement to find “mutual agreement” and all that remained to be done was to draft a basic Statement of Principles on the structure and function of fellowships for those who were new to this work. While different words were preferred to describe what was already being done in various home fellowships, the people decided that one description was as good as the next so long as it stated clearly the principles the Lord had given them through an authorized servant in their day and all the necessary ordinances were stated accurately. This further light and knowledge came on Oct. 7th, 2017 in the form of a “United Proposal” and then again in Dallas, TX on Oct. 19th, 2017 through an authorized servant of the Lord, in terms of the mutually agreeable principles to include.
  • Doctrine and Law of Christ (brief statement affirming our belief in these teachings as found in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at Bountiful)
  • Tithing (collection and administration)
  • Baptism (obtaining authority to perform the ordinance and the words to use, etc.)
  • Sacrament (the use of wine and the words to use for the ordinance)
  • Priesthood (private vs. public), ordaining, sustaining, and suspending, etc.
  • Marriage between one man and one woman
  • Obligation to teach our children the gospel
It was understood by all that a brief summary of these topics using the Lord’s own words or the words of His authorized servant in our day would be sufficient. Using the spirit and the scriptures to govern and correct themselves, the minutia of fellowshipping was determined by each fellowship. Additionally, the people realized that this additional information was a gift from God and pertinent to the content of the Statement of Principles, which caused many to realize that perhaps the original and August 5th documents may have had some previously unknown limitations or omissions. But how did they get to the point where they could come together in love and understanding with so many different ideas and initiatives of how to get the assignment accomplished? For that, it took a great deal of humility to try an old, yet familiar practice found in the scriptures.

A Proposed Solution: Drawing or Casting Lots

This method has been used since ancient times to arbitrate in situations in which there was no authority or other method to determine the outcome. This practice is mentioned 70 times in the Old Testament, 7 times in the New Testament, once in the Book of Mormon, and twice in the Doctrine & Covenants. Anciently, lots were sticks, stones, paper, or anything that allowed God’s will to influence the outcome in a way that was fair and equitable to all involved by not requiring someone else to do the choosing. For example, lots were used to divide and assign lands (Num. 26:52-56; Josh 14-21 KJV), make assignments in temple service (1 Chr 24:5,31; 25:8-9; 26:13-14; Luke 1:9 KJV), and make other decisions regarding the governance of a people (e.g., Neh. 11:1 KJV). The sailors on Jonah’s ship cast lots to determine who had attracted God’s wrath (Jonah 1:7 KJV). Even the important decision of deciding on an Apostle (Matthias) to replace Judas was determined by lots (Acts 1:21-26 KJV). In speaking of using lots to make decisions regarding church leadership, Denver Snuffer has stated: “It was a recognized way to choose someone (see, e.g., 1 Ne. 3:11)…Such a system was uncontrolled by man, done by lot, completely random, but produced the right person. Left to God, it obtained God’s answer. Did with the sons of Lehi, and with the vacancy in the Twelve in the Book of Acts, too. There is no reason why such a system wouldn’t generate the Lord’s choice today. (Prophet, Seer, Revelator, May 21, 2010). Of course, like most everything used for good, the practice of lots also has a Babylonian counterpart where people engage in games of chance for money (as the Roman soldiers did to divide Christ’s garments). However, if approached with humility, relying on God for the outcome, knowing that God desires that we fulfill the task He has required of us, we can have confidence that this method will work to allow God to guide the process and serve as a way to make God’s will manifest. Proverbs 16:33 says “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof of the Lord.” (KJV), meaning that the outcome or arranging of the lots is determined by the Lord. Additionally, Proverbs 18:18 says “The cast lot puts an end to strife. And decides between the mighty ones.” (NAS), meaning that using lots can help in situations to resolve contention and strong differences of opinion.

Summary
Imperfect as this proposal may be, we have attempted to demonstrate a possible future sequence of events that could lead to a final Statement of Principles. We believe that using the simple, scripturally-based approach of lots permitting God to guide the process, coupled with a fresh understanding of mutual agreement on the Doctrine and Law of Christ, and the use of Christ’s words to compose a Statement of Principles, offers a potential solution for the dilemma we now face. We believe that such a process will result in increased equality (e.g., all qualified individuals are invited to participate; all submitted documents can be considered; the body to perform this work is selected fairly in a manner that allows God to guide the process), allows Denver to remain uninvolved, and helps us move from the deadlock we now face. Additionally, since we already have de facto mutual agreement around the content of the Statement of Principles, the outcome should be somewhat predictable if the body of 7 confines the content of their efforts to what the Lord has stated in the Answer & Covenant as well as the scriptures/words of His servants, as verbatim as possible.

We do not wish to impose this particular proposal upon anyone. We are aware of and sensitive to the wide-ranging views and proposals that have been put forward, all of which have merit and come from valid places of concern and differing perspectives on the nature of the task at hand. Although all the labor, time, and resources spent on this endeavor has not yet resulted in an acceptance by the Lord, these noble and earnest efforts have been by no means a waste or a failure. All involved have learned much, drawn closer to the Lord, and cultivated new relationships. Although our individual experiences during the last few months have differed considerably, we all labor for the same Master. We desire to be united as a community of equals, seeking to be of one heart and mind. Our hope is that this process could serve as an acceptable option that will allow us to work together in greater harmony to fulfill the Lord’s assignments and commandments to us as a people. We believe that the Lord desires our success and will assist us as this process is approached with humility and love for one another.

The initial version of this proposed process was first drafted and submitted to the Guide and Standard website on 10/3/2017 under the title “Proposal on How to Move Forward” with the following contributors and supporters:

Contributors:

Matt Lohmeier
Jim O’Rullian
Angela O’Rullian
James (Jamison) Fargo
Heidi Fargo
Kirk Strong
McKay
Supporters:
Sara Lohmeier
John Webster
Kay Webster
Elizabeth Cramer
Jennifer Willis
Alan Van Leer
Janette Van Leer
John Willis
Jeannie Willis
Karen Strong
Brandon Johnson
McKaye Johnson
Glenna Burdick
Keith Henderson
Elaine Henderson
Vern Horning
Whitney Horning
Micah Burnett
Garth Turley
Mike Wojockowski
Ashlin Wojockowski
Mary Jane Cella
Glen Cella
Steve Van Leer
Gary Williams
Cyndi Williams
Jennifer Lohmeier
Susie Aagard
Blain Saunders
Christina Saunders
Jeff Savage
Emily Savage
Sarah Write
Gary Barlow
Robyn Peterson
Ken Jensen
Jeanene Custer
Lynn McKinley
Janson Fish
Sandra Howells
Tyler Kelly

This subsequent revision of the “Proposal on How to Move Forward” has been drafted by Jim O’Rullian and James Fargo with the help of many, many others and now replaces the first version. All involved only desire to see a resolution to our current predicament and to help move us forward as a people to fulfill our assignment from the Lord. We (Jim and James) will not submit our own names for the body of 7, but remain willing to serve in any capacity to see this assignment through. If you wish to have your name either added or removed from this revised proposal, please contact Jim O’Rullian at: jimorullian@gmail.com.


After one week of review and updating of supporting names, we would like to request that the scripture committee put this proposal up for a simple yes/no vote by the people from Nov. 1-4, 2017 before it is acted upon. No matter the voting margin, we would humbly ask that the body of believers put aside their differences and stand behind the outcome of such a vote. If a majority is in favor, we propose moving forward as described; if not, this proposal would be abandoned or revised as suggested by the people.

Suggested Further Reading

Denver Snuffer on Disputations about Ordinances:
Christ is saying to keep the ordinances unchanged. And further, don’t even begin to dispute them. They are off limits for argument, dispute and discussion. When you open the opportunity to dispute over the ordinances, you are allowing the devil an opportunity to influence the discussion and change the ordinances. Disputes lead to contention, contention leads to anger, and anger is the devil’s tool. So don’t start down that road…The purpose of discussion is not to dispute, which leads to contention, which leads to anger. When the Gospel and its ordinances turn into something angry and contentious, then the Spirit has fled, and souls are lost. It is the devil’s objective to prevent you from practicing the ordinances in the correct manner. But, more importantly, it is his objective to prevent you from becoming one. When he uses arguments over ordinances to cause disunity, he is playing with two tools at the same time. First, changing the ordinances brings about cursings, and second, encouraging contention and anger grieves the Spirit, and prevents the Saints from becoming one. As a result, disputes or discussions over ordinances, which could lead to changing them, should not be entertained. As soon as the ordinances are open to dispute, reconsideration, alteration or to being changed, then you are opening the door to this whole process. It culminates in the souls of men being lost through apostasy. Once the ordinances are changed, the earth is cursed (Isa. 24: 5) and Israel is scattered rather than gathered (Jere. 31: 36).” (3 Nephi 11:28-30, September 27, 2010)

Denver Snuffer on Correlating the Chaos:
Doctrinal differences sort themselves out by persuasion, pure knowledge and love. Eventually, when the problem or confusion becomes acute and we need an answer, then we can all unite and go to the Lord in prayer, seeking mercy from Him for the dispute we cannot ourselves solve. Then, through revelation, we can come to a consensus as we hear from Him. We don’t use that model very often.” (Correlating the Chaos, May 8, 2010)

Denver Snuffer on Disputations:

It is hard for those whose hearts have been broken by abuse from an institution to begin to trust others in fellowship when they encounter yet another round of abuse, accusation, frustration and imposition at the hands of those claiming to be their brothers and sisters. I try to be a peacemaker. I try to avoid participation in conflict and to do my best to take abuse but never return it. I probably fail in this, but it is my honest objective and deepest intent. We are facing the same kinds of conflicts that drove the saints to incur God’s condemnation early in the restoration. I now rejoice only in the fact that we have made no effort to gather. The lesson I draw from this conflict is that everyone on both sides, as well as those who choose a side and work to amplify the conflict,–every participant would be a dangerous neighbor to have living alongside others in any New Jerusalem. If we are not wise enough to avoid conflicts, then we should bear abuses and insults with grace, kindness and charity when they force themselves upon us. I do not know how we can be gathered if we are quarrelsome, accusing and insulting of one another. How can that please God?If it is possible for you to take the role of the peacemaker, please do. If you can help restore harmony, please make the effort. It will be worth the effort to try, even if you fail. Thanks to each of you for all you have done and all you do to help bring this work along according to God’s desire for us all. Let us go on to defeat the jarrings, contentions, strifes and envyings among us. We have a perfect opportunity with this challenge to at least make the attempt. Do not let it pass you by without the effort to address it in a godly and meek way.” (Disputations, June 22, 2015)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Generating the Lord's Choice - Obtaining the Voice of the People

Recently a proposal was forwarded to me, and I like it! I am reminded of an excerpt from a blog post written by Denver Snuffer back in 2010. The thought of generating the Lord's choice by casting lots, might be too unpredictable for some, but this process is recognized in scripture.

There is another method that we haven’t tried, so far as I know.  That would be to use “lots” to choose from every male in the church.  This method was used to fill Judas’ vacancy in the original Twelve in Jerusalem.  (Acts 1: 21-26.)  The description there is ambiguous, but was intended to be random, unpredictable and not just a vote.  It was a recognized way to choose someone.  (See, e.g., 1 Ne. 3: 11.)  It has been used to sort through the entire nation of Israel when all twelve tribes were assembled.  Someone had stolen an idol, resulting in the withdrawal of the Lord’s Spirit from them in battle.  The result was defeat for Israel and the death of many men.  They needed to find the one who committed the offense.  So they had to choose from the entire gathering of all twelve tribes.   Beginning at the tribe level, they sorted through to find the right tribe (Judah).  Then proceeded to sort through the tribe to locate the larger family involved (Zarhites).  Then went through the family to find the individual involved (Achan).  The whole thing is in the scriptures.  (Joshua 7: 13-23.)  

Such a system was uncontrolled by man, done by lot, completely random, but produced the right person.  Left to God, it obtained God’s answer.  Did with the sons of Lehi, and with the vacancy in the Twelve in the Book of Acts, too.  There is no reason why such a system wouldn’t generate the Lord’s choice today.  (Denver Snuffer Blog May 21, 2010) [emphasis added]

The inheritances in Zion will be arranged by lot.

And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; D&C 85:7

I see intelligence in what is being proposed. The one modification I would make is: When the lots are chosen, it is done in a public meeting. Also, it doesn't matter if a name is suggested twenty times or one time, every suggested name is only represented once. The list of names in the drawing are open for all to see, then the list is cut apart, put into a bowl, and drawn out while those interested in the process are allowed to observe. This keeps the entire process transparent. Alternates are drawn because some might respectfully decline the invitation after being chosen: first alternate, second alternate, and third alternate, etc. Here is the proposal. If you like it you can add your name to the list of those who endorse this proposal by emailing Jim O’Rullian (jimorullian@gmail.com).

PROPOSAL

A COMMITTEE FOR OBTAINING THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

10.3.2017

SYNOPSIS
A mechanism is needed in situations where the Lord requires that something be accomplished by the mutual agreement, collective voice, common consent, or majority of His people. Such a mechanism must be transparent, inclusive, and ensure that all have an equal voice in the process, thus permitting all to be accountable for their decisions in such matters. This proposal outlines a process for creating a temporary or provisional committee to oversee such a mechanism and discusses their responsibilities as well as the extremely limited scope and duration of their stewardship. Depending on the specific nature of what is requested or required by the Lord, the primary function of this committee would be to facilitate a process for 1) obtaining the voice of the people and 2) adopting or otherwise implementing the outcome according to the Lord’s command.
BACKGROUND AND PROPOSAL
During this past year, the scripture committee has served as a single point of contact enabling the work required to complete the scripture project. This has included managing the flow of information to geographically-separated fellowships and individuals, and allowed the voice of the people to be gathered on occasion, counted, reported, and honored with respect to the scriptures. As the scriptures are published and the primary work of that committee is now drawing to a close, we believe it appropriate and timely to come together to establish a new committee, by the voice of the people, to act as facilitators for the body of Christ in situations where the Lord requests or requires something be accomplished by us all, whether it be by mutual agreement, collective voice, common consent, majority vote, 100% agreement, or some other criteria.

The overarching purpose of the proposed committee would be to serve as a central body that helps us to work together to fulfill assignments and commandments from the Lord when He requires that the voice of His people be involved. The proposed committee would be responsible for organizing the means by which proposals and differing perspectives would be collected and facilitate a means by which deliberations about such proposals or perspectives, as well as the nature of the assignments or commandments given by the Lord, could occur in an equitable, transparent, and fair manner so that all would have the opportunity to critically review, comment, and respectfully discuss the issues before us. The proposed committee would also develop a fair and transparent system for assessing the voice of the people on various proposals or perspectives. The proposed committee would then report the outcome to the general body in a timely, clear, and efficient manner. In some cases, the proposed committee may need to present the outcome to an authorized servant of God who can then present it to the Lord, or this committee may need to help facilitate the adoption or implementation of an outcome in a setting such as a general conference or through another mechanism. Part of the responsibility of the new committee may be to request that an authorized servant inquire of the Lord for clarification surrounding what is being asked or intended in certain assignments or commandments, or for help in developing a process (eg, what is meant by “mutual agreement”?). Additionally, an authorized servant would also be able to call upon this committee as needed in situations where the Lord has requested or required that the voice of the people be sought.

In essence, any time an assignment or commandment from the Lord is given to His covenant people, which includes ascertaining the voice of the people, the proposed committee would be activated and responsible for suitably informing the people of the assignment or commandment that requires resolution, for soliciting and receiving votes or input, and for disseminating the results. Thus, the proposed committee would only be activated on occasions where the Lord has assigned or commanded something be accomplished by the voice of His people and requires us to work together to develop a solution or outcome. Therefore, the purview of the proposed committee would not include the promotion or facilitating of proposals by individuals or fellowships acting on personal or collective revelation to complete a commandment to them or their interpretation of a commandment to the larger body. Nor would the purview of the proposed committee include serving as a mechanism to resolve issues among individuals or to approve or correlate beliefs. Individuals or fellowships wishing to put something up for consideration for the larger body of believers would need to develop their own mechanisms for doing so and for obtaining common consent.

Thus, the scope of responsibility of the proposed committee would be extremely limited as would their term of service. The proposed committee would not be part of or form any sort of hierarchy, or be in a position of authority above any other individual or fellowship. The proposed committee would have no power or ability to impose anything upon any individual, fellowship, or an authorized servant. On the contrary, the individuals who serve on the proposed committee would function as servants of all. The proposed committee would have no decision-making power aside from their primary responsibility of facilitating and managing a transparent and inclusive decision-making process that will accurately and honestly gather the voice of the people on specific matters as requested or required by the Lord, thus safeguarding and protecting equality among us. (LE D&C 26:2; Mosiah 29:26). Any who join in such an effort would have to set aside any preferences or biases they have for any given proposal and focus instead on the mechanism to obtain the voice of the people on matters required by the Lord. In order to prevent institutionalism and promote equality among us, we propose that the members of this committee serve for no more than one consecutive year. As a result, there may be entire years in which the services of this committee are not activated or needed. Thus, we view the proposed committee as having a very limited role on very limited occasions.

WE PROPOSE that this new committee be constituted by the vote and voice of the people according to the following guidelines:
  1. Each covenant holder would have the opportunity to recommend the names of no more than three adults, excluding themselves, with one coming from their home fellowship, if possible.
  2. Recommendations should be based on character and disposition, rather than personal representation (bias). Thus, consider the following list of attributes for those who would serve on this committee:
  • Peacemaker
  • Meek disposition
  • Temperate and dispassionate
  • Firm mind, godly walk
  • Dependable and full of integrity
  • Reasoned, logical, and principled intellect
  • Unassuming and not easily provoked
  1. From the list of those recommended for service, lots will be cast and 7 people chosen to serve for a period of one year. Other than those who have accepted the invitation to serve, the names of individuals recommended will not be made public at any time. Individuals drawn for inclusion on the proposed committee would have the option to decline participation.
  2. Once selected, the committee would self-organize and determine the best way to move forward in situations where an assignment or commandment from the Lord has been given that requires the voice of the people to be determined.
  3. At the conclusion of the committee’s one-year term of service, the process for selecting a new committee would be repeated. There would be no carry-over of any individuals or requirement to adhere to any precedents or practices set by prior committees (other than those agreed to by the body of believers in the establishment of this committee).
  4. In order to initiate this process, we suggest that the scripture committee use the above guidelines to bring together the first committee, given their already established connection to the body of believers as well as their experience in collecting information online. The scripture committee can then step aside and allow the selected committee to move forward.
By utilizing the above suggested process for establishing a committee to obtain the voice of the people, we believe individuals and families who have entered into the covenant of the Lord may have a greater degree of trust and confidence in those willing to serve in this capacity because selection is not based on notoriety, popularity, or manipulation. It is our belief that the proposed committee will become a trusted and respected source to which we can look for an accurate, reliable, and timely flow of information on matters that pertain to the entire body of Christ.

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS 
In some cases, the specific process by which a decision should be made by the voice of the people may be clearly made known, either by the Lord or as instructed through an authorized servant, but in other cases it may not be made known or it may be subject to differing interpretations. Although the noble efforts of many individuals have led to the development of several proposed versions of a Guide & Standard, adopting a final version has remained elusive, primarily due to disagreements about what the Lord’s criteria are for mutual agreement. There is no resolution on the horizon that will satisfy all. We believe that the Lord will provide further light and knowledge on what is meant by “mutual agreement” if we humbly present our dispute to Him. Since March 2017, our understanding about what has been commanded and the process by which we should accomplish this task has evolved. It is perhaps time to put the past behind us, learn from it, and move forward as best we can. Therefore, it is our belief that the committee described in this proposal could serve as a solution to the situation in which we find ourselves.

Therefore, if enacted, the first order of business for this committee would be to develop a mechanism by which the voice of the people can be obtained to determine how we will conduct our business on this assignment by “mutual agreement”. For example, do the people desire to adhere to a 51% majority, or a more stringent 75% majority requirement as modeled in the amending of the Constitution, or even 100% complete agreement? If it is decided by the voice of the people that it requires, say, a two-thirds majority to be considered “the voice of the people” or “mutual agreement”, then we would be looking for a two-thirds majority of the people to be in agreement on this issue. Then, the committee can apply the determined approach to obtain the voice of the people on several of the options and versions of the Guide & Standard in order to adopt a final version by mutual agreement. This could even include allowing the body of believers to choose which version they will use as a base version and how they will go about revising it to reach a final Guide & Standard, which would then be submitted to the people for their voice before adoption; various inclusive and transparent means of developing such a document have already been developed. This would only be a starting point for final acceptance and adoption of the document. Once the voice of the people has been determined on the matter, it can be presented to the Lord and/or He could be further petitioned for His counsel and instruction to fully settle the matter.

CONCLUSION
We have outlined a proposed process, via a temporary committee that is limited in their stewardship, which can assist us in working together to fulfill the commandments and assignments of the Lord, when the voice of the people is to be included. The proposed committee will only be established by the voice of the people. It will not exist independent of the voice of God's people. We believe it wisdom that this committee be established at this time for the purposes of moving forward the work of the Lord in these last days. We also believe that this committee can help facilitate a limited yet necessary degree of order and efficiency now and in the future as we strive to fulfil the covenants and responsibilities placed upon us by the Lord.

Those few individuals who have written this proposal for the establishment of a new committee have no expectation to participate as members of that committee and have no self-interest in its establishment other than to ensure an orderly mechanism is established among the people of God to continue His work.

We fully support the scripture committee’s ongoing efforts to finalize and publish scriptures for this people. We anticipate they will continue to act in their sphere, fulfilling all obligations they have to this people and to the Lord with regards to the scripture project. We are grateful for their work, but think it would be unfair to impose upon them the ongoing obligation to act in this capacity for future projects and proposals.

HOW TO MOVE FORWARD
We would like to determine how many individuals are in favor of this proposal. You can request to have your name added to this proposal by emailing Jim O’Rullian (jimorullian@gmail.com) with your name. You can also choose to endorse this proposal anonymously. Please submit your name by 10/10/2017. If you have better ideas or suggestions for improving this proposal, please also let us know.

If there is sufficient support for this proposal, we will ask the scripture committee to consider putting this proposal up for voting. For lack of a better process at this point, and to move forward, we suggest that the outcome of this voting be determined by simple majority as described in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 29:26). If the proposal garners majority support at that point, we propose moving forward with the scripture committee facilitating the process of collecting nominations to establish this new committee by 10/17/2017, with the intention that the new committee would begin service by 11/1/2017.

We desire to be united as a community of equals, seeking to be of one heart and one mind. We want to work together and get as many individuals as possible on board with a process that will help us move forward in situations where the voice of the people is required by the Lord. Our sincerest desire is that we can work together in greater harmony, becoming one in the process, and fulfill the Lord’s commandments to us as a people.
Very respectfully yours,

Matt Lohmeier
Jim O'Rullian
James (Jamison) Fargo
Kirk Strong
McKay
Alan Van Leer
Keith Henderson
Angela O’Rullian
Sara Lohmeier
Heidi Fargo
John and Kay Webster
Elizabeth Cramer
John Willis
Jennifer Willis


Monday, September 4, 2017

Forgiveness and Trust

 I have thought about forgiveness and what it means to forgive. Our Lord said, 
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

I believe forgiveness is more for the offended than the offender. When I choose to harbor ill will, resentment, and retaliation; it poisons my heart. Instead of enjoying the peace and beauty that surround me every day, my time is spent focusing on others distressing actions. I really do believe everyone is doing the best they can at any one moment. It might look kind of crazy and even criminal, but if I were in their shoes, with their intelligence, and life experience, I might be doing some of the very same things.

We are each in the process of learning and growing. I believe we will have many experiences over the eternities until we reach maturity and are like Jesus. Trust is gained over a long period of time as we gain knowledge and wisely implement that knowledge. We are gaining experience. I don't know why some learn faster than others, but it looks like everyone is learning one way or the other.

Currently I am in a place that I believe it is healthy to forgive everyone no matter what. I also believe that it is not healthy to trust everyone. Forgiveness is freely given; trust is earned. As I watch, observe, and interact with myself and others, I learn where I can trust myself, my loved ones, and those who are new in my life.

To be trusted by the Lord is one of the greatest compliments one could receive, “And again, verily I say unto you, my servant George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart; and for the love which he has to my testimony I, the Lord, love him.”

I believe there is always an open door with God to grow and become someone He can trust. I believe it wise to keep that same door open for others. Trust is not something that can be forced or rushed. It takes a consistent effort over a long period of time to know I can trust myself. As it is with myself, so it is with others.

As your friend I forgive you and give you the opportunity to gain trust.   







Sunday, August 20, 2017

Women's Council July 31, 2017

I am responsible for starting the investigation that led to a women's council on July 31, 2017, for a man. Because of gossip, rumors, and false reports, I feel imposed upon to tell the story from my perspective.

In the Doctrine of Christ 2016 Boise Conference, Denver said,

“In the tenth talk, given in Phoenix two years ago, you were warned about false spirits, as happened in Kirtland, which you were warned would come among us. That warning has proven true. False spirits have mislead some into foolish errors. I am astonished at vain, foolish and prideful ideas that are anti-Christ, degrading and dark, but have been welcomed by some. Remember Pharaoh’s magicians also enchanted their rods to become snakes (Exo. 7:11-12), and conjured frogs to mimic the sign given by God through Moses and Aaron (Exo. 8:7.) Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by these imitations. Do not let yours become so likewise.

“For two years I have watched, attended some of your meetings, gathered reports, and tried to let you stand and display your strength and understanding. Even God left Adam and Eve in the Garden, and allowed Lucifer the common enemy to tempt and try them, promising to return again to visit them. They transgressed His commandment, and He provided the means to cover their shame, repent and return. He also promised to later send messengers. But God did not “babysit” Adam and Eve, informing them that it was given unto them to choose, even when He forbids something. God is the same now as in the beginning. We are all required to display our understanding, obedience and prove our strength.

“People have come among you preaching falsehoods, and inviting others to follow false spirits: Adulterers and adulteresses who justify sins, and mock the commandment “thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exo. 20:14.) False claimants are pretending to seal others up to eternal life, changing the ordinances and introducing foolish and vain ideas borrowed from pagans and heathen, who do not know Christ nor His righteousness. I do not oppose them directly by debate or counter-argument. I declare the truth and leave it for everyone to decide between clearly opposing teachings. If people cannot discern, then they will need to learn from sad experience to choose between good and evil, perhaps only coming to understand after their destruction in this world.

“There are those who use well-reasoned arguments to expound their understanding of scripture who have declared with certainty it is impossible for what I say to be true. These voices come from both the fearful anonymous and proud academics. I do not respond to either.

“In a letter on August 24, 1834, Joseph Smith described the only way falsehoods could be avoided. The responsibility rests—then and now—on believers. He wrote, “If the Saints are very humble, very watchful and very prayerful, that few will not be deceived by those who have not authority to teach, or who have not the Spirit to teach according to the power of the Holy Ghost, in the scriptures.” (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 4, p. 117.)

“Only the truth is at issue. Individuals other than Christ do not matter. The message I have and do preach is from the Lord. His sheep hear His voice. If they accept it as His, then deceivers, false spirits and men’s learning are powerless to destroy faith in Him. He promised He “will take care of our flocks” (D&C 88:72) and therefore it will be Him, and not me, who will keep His flock shepherded.” (Denver Snuffer – Doctrine of Christ Conference Boise 2016)

A man's worthiness to function in performing priesthood ordinances was called into question, and so a council of women was called to deal with the question. It says in Preserving the Restoration page 511-512, “If a man's worthiness to function is called into question, then a conference can be convened to deal with the question. In removing authority, at least two witnesses should speak against the accused, and he should be allowed to speak on his behalf and call such witnesses as he chooses. Men can be witnesses, but only women are allowed to vote. Removal should be by unanimous vote of the women present, with at least 12 votes against a man to end his authority to act in the fellowship community. As for his family, he is free to do as he chooses, but he cannot act in the community until restored by the vote of a conference of that community.”

As a council we voted to keep the man's identity confidential as we feel repentance and forgiveness is a private matter. After hearing testimonies of witnesses, it was made clear that we needed to act that we may know the truth, that we may chase darkness from among us.

It was on May 11, 2017 I learned about teachings and practices that are alarming. I have spent the last three months talking to witnesses and gathering information. There are more witnesses than the ones who spoke before the council. It has taken time for the witnesses who have testified to gather the courage to share their story before a women's council. When we had a sufficient number of witnesses, two primary witnesses and five secondary witnesses testified before the council of their involvement with this man.

I do not feel the necessity to rehearse all the details presented to the council. But after hearing testimonies for almost six hours and deliberating for many more hours, a council of fifteen women reached a unanimous decision to remove the sustaining vote for a man to perform public priesthood ordinances. This is the letter written by the women's council sent from my email July 31, 2017, 11:56 p.m.

Dear ____,

After prayerful consideration of all the facts and testimonies from the witnesses and yourself, the council of fifteen women has voted unanimously to rescind your authority to use priesthood outside your family on the grounds of priestcraft. Further details will be provided.

When you desire reinstatement of your authority, it must be considered by the same council of at least twelve of the fifteen women, and requires seven of the twelve to agree upon your reinstatement, which can occur at any time. We pray for your reinstatement.

During this period of suspension, nothing affects your duties and responsibilities within your own family.

With wisdom and love,

. . .

To all those who are tempted to judge and point an accusing finger, I ask you to look at your own weakness and know that all of our weakness should and will come into the light. Treat others as you want to be treated in your weakness.

In the Book of Mormon we see an example of true repentance.

And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward, to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them: travelling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them; but notwithstanding all this, they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long suffering and much travail, to keep the commandments of God. And four of them were the sons of Mosiah; and their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni; these were the names of the sons of Mosiah. And they travelled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church: confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them; and thus they were instruments in the hands of God, in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer. And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.

Alma and the Sons of Mosiah were not afraid of confessing all their sins throughout all the land. We do not think less of them because they made mistakes. We all make mistakes, but Jesus tells us to become as a little child. Little children are open and transparent, but as they grow older, they are taught by satan, “Quick! Hide!” Alma and the Sons of Mosiah repentance was real, and they have become some of our greatest Book of Mormon heroes.

With Love and Concern,

Jennifer Willis