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.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Equality is Necessary for Zion

He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. 2 Nephi 26:29

I think that priestcraft is the opposite of equality. We should not set ourselves up to be a light unto the world to get gain or praise. We should do it for the glory of God.

Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5: 15-16

Even when you have come into Christ’s presence you are still equal with everyone. You don't become better than another when you see him. You should not expect praise and worship for following Christ. You should probably expect persecution like the ones who have gone before you i.e. Joseph Smith, Nephi, Abinadi . . .

The greatest among us will serve as our Lord Jesus did. He was the Greatest and yet he served. God's kingdom is not of this world. Halleluiah!!!

And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

We should not be idolaters. If we esteem someone as higher and greater than us, there would be idolatry. If there is nobody that is higher than us then there would be no one to worship but God.

Lets look at an example of some people who were equal.

And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.

And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely. Alma 1:26-27

Here are some people who were not equal:

And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer. Mormon 8:36-41

As I look around at our society I see the second scenario. We are not equal and it ought not be so. There are only a few who do not lift up themselves in the pride of their hearts. Worshiping any man or women is wrong.

I feel this message comes from God. If you think I err please correct me (preferably use the scriptures as I don't believe the current LDS church authorities always speak the truth. If you feel that an authority made a inspired comment though, I would like here your thoughts about it)

When someone speaks the truth Glorify God and for goodness sake don't praise the one delivering the message. Have a great day. Raachel - age 16

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I am not LDS but I am a Mormon

Dear LDS Friends and Family,

I am choosing to tell you that I am not a Latter Day Saint. Although some of you already know this, most of you don't and I imagine it is a little bit of a shock. I am writing this letter as an apology for not being real with you for the last four years and also to reach out to you to let you know that I would really like to maintain a real, authentic friendship with you, however that looks.

What I mean when I say that I am not a Latter Day Saint:

1. At this moment, I do not support the LDS Church organization and where it is going. I know that most of you do. That is OK. I think the Church does many wonderful things but it is not something that I want to tie my allegiance to and this is why: In my mind, it is totally possible for a church to start out on the right path and fall away. It has happened in the past. The church restored by God through Moses fell into apostasy and its leaders condemned Christ as a heretic several hundred years later. The church restored through Jesus fell into apostasy and turned into the Catholic church. Why couldn't the LDS Church experience the same thing? You may believe what Joseph F. Smith taught, "If [the President of the Church] should become unfaithful, God would remove him out of his place. I testify in the name of Israel’s God that He will not suffer the head of the Church, him whom He has chosen to stand at the head, to transgress His Laws and apostatize; the moment he should take a course that would in time lead to it, God would take him away. Why? Because to suffer a wicked man to occupy that position, would be to allow, as it were, the fountain to become corrupted, which is something He will never permit." However, it seems to me that it is circular reasoning to assume that the President of the Church could never apostatize simply because the President of the Church said that such a thing could never happen. In addition to that, that idea is defied by history. The fact that Moses was a prophet does not make Caiaphas a prophet. The fact that Jesus was the Son of God and his 12 apostles were prophets, seers, and revelators does not make the current Pope and Cardinals prophets, seers, and revelators. In the same vein of reasoning, I would argue that just because Joseph Smith was a prophet of God does not necessarily mean Brigham Young, John Taylor and all the rest of the presidents down to Thomas S. Monson are prophets. Does that mean they are evil? No, of course not. Their fruits should determine that. However, I think it is very dangerous to assume they cannot fall when they are merely humans and God has never stopped a human from falling in the past and has often let them pull a lot of people down with them because those people chose to follow them. For that reason, I do not want to tie my allegiance to an organization. If you choose to do so, that is your prerogative.

2. I am not leaving the Church because I want to live a life of sin "eating, drinking, and making merry". I am leaving because it feels empty to me and I have found something that is more filling to me. A little over four years ago, my parents introduced me to the idea that the opportunity to "see my face and know that I am"(D&C 93:1) might be more important than following a church and its leadership.  I was hopping mad at them for suggesting such an idea. After I got over the shock of realizing that the checklist sold to me my whole life might not be worth a penny compared to a relationship with God, I realized that I am just not too interested in building a spiritual resume to show God how awesome I am. I am more interested in seeing how awesome He is and how He sees me, His Creation. Through His love and grace I have experienced a closer relationship with Him than I ever experienced while I was in the Church. Right now, I am content to continue building that relationship with Him without the Church. I know that most of you feel that a relationship with God is facilitated and increased by membership in the Church and that is OK. I don't feel that way and that is OK too.

3. I want to be friends with you, but I want to be real friends with you. I don't want to have to pretend that I am super excited for General Conference. When you assume I want to marry a returned missionary in the temple, I want to be able to say, "Actually that isn't what I want." instead of thinking, "Oh, if they only knew..." I want to be able to worship on Sunday the way I feel happiest worshiping without the fear of becoming a "to reactivate" case because I don't want to go to church. And I don't want you to feel awkward talking to me about religion. If a general authority quote really meant a lot to you, I want to hear it and how it made a difference in your life. I want to be able to discuss ideas with you and both of us feel uplifted by the exchange. I want to "claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of [my] own conscience and allow [you] the same privilege." The whole reason I am writing this is because I want our friendship to be open and honest and REAL. Now that you know this about me, I would rather not be treated like a "missionary case" but if that is what is real for you, then that is OK. I would love for you to think of me when someone asks you to think of someone that has positively influenced your life, but if you think of me when your bishop challenges you to think of someone you could invite to church, then I will be OK with that too. I still love you either way and I will choose to take your "reactivation" attempts as an act of love.

Lastly, I would like to say that I am a Mormon, and I am proud of it! I believe that God speaks to men on Earth! I find it very likely that the Book of Mormon is inspired scripture and Joseph Smith restored the Gospel that Jesus taught. I know that Jesus Christ loves me and I know He suffered the Atonement. I believe that sex should be saved for marriage and parents should be responsible for their children. I believe that people should love God and care for their neighbor (without government assistance). I believe that being financially responsible and living below your means is important and liberating. I love large families, powdered milk, primary songs, funeral potatoes, and making the date-asking a bigger event than the date and all the other wonderfully quirky things that Mormons do.  I love reading missionary letters and hearing about that spiritual RM you are dating. Most of all, I am thankful for the role that the Church has played in making me who I am today. I can honestly say I don't know where I would be if I had been raised outside the Church, and I am grateful for what I have learned there. My hat is off to all the good it does, and I wish good riddance to all the ungodly manipulation and deceit happening within it. For now, I am bidding it farewell, and that is OK.

Friends, I love you and I am grateful for your respect and interest in me...as evidenced by reading this far. I am sorry that it took me four years to trust you enough to share this part of me. I'm sorry I was not honest with you and I am sorry that I lost time I could have spent connecting with you because I believed you wouldn't find value in a relationship with me if you knew I didn't believe the same way that you do. Some of you might agree with my views and I think it is safe to say that most of you will not. And that is OK. I am not sorry for the way I believe because I know that it works for me. I am grateful that you let me share this part of me with you. May this be the beginning of a more honest and authentic friendship for the both of us. 

I love you!


Jaylee - Age 21

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Oh Henry - Studying and Teaching Iniquity

It saddens me that Henry Eyring would use the sacred teachings and the name of Jesus Christ to collect money for the wealthy corporation of the LDS church. I was outside the conference center before this talk was given, and I watched the broadcast from the north visitor center.

Before the meeting began, thousands of Mormons walked by the beggars on both sides of the street and heeded them not. In this large and spacious palace, people are being taught to deny the beggar and only give to the wealthy corporation. These donations may or may not be used to help the poor. We don't know. The financial books are not open to the public. On the bottom of the new tithing slip it says, "Though reasonable efforts will be made globally to use donations as designated, all donations become the Church's property and will be used at the Church's sole discretion to further the Church's overall mission."

While members think they are giving to the poor, the money is being used however and wherever the top leaders deem necessary to build their financial empire. This is big business. They can and have used these sacred funds for the the building of a multi-billion dollar mall. The evidence is there. You can look across the street and see it. Outside the mall and the unnecessary conference center, the beggars sit on the streets denied access to these beautiful “Christian” structures.

When we go down to Salt Lake City, we often see our friend Samantha at the North gate between the visitor center and the conference center. Her story is usually the same, and she talks of being on and off the streets. I can see her trying to explain why she is still on the streets begging. Does it matter why she is begging? Aren't we all beggars who depend upon God for our every breath? She is a child of God and is asking for help. She told us yesterday that she appreciates our friendship more than our money. Most people walk by and ignore her. I don't know why she begs or what her life story is, but I do know she is asking for love. When I beg God for help, he freely gives and doesn't bring up the fact that I'm taking advantage of him again.

So let's look at how Henry has studied and taught iniquity to the people Mosiah 13:11. When I heard the first part of the talk, my heart took courage. I thought he was going to teach the people to care for the poor. He used scriptures that have a powerful and true message.

“My dear brothers and sisters, it is a joy for me to extend my love to you in this general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That joy comes from the witness of the spirit that the love of the Savior reaches out to each of you and to all of Heavenly Father's children. Our Heavenly Father wishes to bless his children spiritually and temporally. He understands each of their needs, their pains, and their hopes. When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor him. He told us that was true when he described a future moment we all will have when we see him after our life in this world is complete. A picture in my mind of that day has grown more vivid in the days that I have prayed and fasted to know what to say this morning. The Lord's description of that future interview was given to his disciples, and it describes what we want with all our hearts to be true for us as well.”

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:34-40

Look at how the Lord's admonition is twisted into a money making venture for the church:

“You and I want that warm welcome from the Savior, but how can we deserve it. There are more hungry, homeless, and lonely children of Heavenly Father than we can possibly reach and the numbers grow ever farther from our reach. So, the Lord has given us something that we can each do. It is a commandment so simple that a child can understand it. It is a commandment with a wonderful promise for those in need and for us. It is the law of the fast. The words in the book of Isaiah are the Lord's description of the commandment and the blessing available to those of us in his church.”

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:6-11

“So the Lord has given us a simple commandment with a marvelous promise. In the church today we are offered the opportunity to fast once a month and give a generous fast offering through our bishop or branch president for the benefit of the poor and the needy. Some of what you give will be used to help those around you perhaps someone in your own family. The Lord's servants will pray and fast for the revelation to know whom to help and what help to give. That which is not needed to help people in your local church unit will become available to bless other church members across the world who are in need.”

It looks like Henry is saying, there is so much need in the world, and it is increasing. You don't need to worry about it, just give your charitable contributions to the church so we can use it to further our purposes. You don't need to pray and fast to learn how to bless those in need; we will do it for you. Isaiah is talking about a personal sacrifice where we administer to the poor with our own substance in our homes. Isaiah never said give your money to the church; Henry made that part up. Henry mingled his money making philosophy with the word of God. Don't go out and just give to the poor because we won't be able to get our hands on it.

“The commandment to fast for the poor has many blessings attached to it. President Spencer W. Kimball called failing to follow that law a sin of omission with a heavy cost. He wrote, 'Rich promises are made by the Lord to those who fast and assist the needy. Inspiration and spiritual guidance will come with righteousness and closeness to our Heavenly Father. To omit to do this righteousness act of fasting would deprive us of these blessings.'”

The church members are then led to believe that their blessings come from giving generous funds to the church.

Henry then goes on to relate a heart touching story of poverty, want, and distress. This appeals to the people's tender hearts.

“. . . Other storms and tragedies will come across the world to people the Lord loves and whose sorrows he feels. Part of your fast offerings and mine this month will be used to help someone somewhere whose relief the Lord will feel as if it were his own.”

Now he admits that only PART of the money is used for the poor. We don't know what percentage is used for the poor. That is not disclosed. Why couldn't Henry say something like: “ALL of your fast offerings and mine this month will be used to help someone somewhere whose relief the Lord will feel as if it were his own.”

We don't know if 1% or 99% is given to the poor. Henry then goes on to tell another heart warming story of an African woman.

If Henry understood the scriptures, he never would have used this story. “Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.” Doctrine andCovenants 119:5 Surplus property is tithed, not the family's income that is needed to take care of their basic necessities. This is what Isaiah has to say about this kind of talk:

“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 10:1-4

Watch where the strong emotion is interjected. This talk has been carefully crafted.

. . . (Eyring With emotion) “A visitor from the United States sat with Abi not long ago. During his time with her, he found his eyes drawn to a set of scriptures that were on a table. He could tell they were a treasure well marked with notes in the columns. The pages were worn, some were torn. The cover was detached from the scripture binding. He held the scriptures in his hand and gently turned the pages. As he did he found a yellow (with greater emotion) copy of a tithing donation slip. He could see that in a country where a dollar was worth its weight in gold. Abi Tory had paid $1 as her tithing $1 to the missionary fund and $1 as a fast offering for those who in her words were truly poor. The visitor closed Sister Tory's scriptures and thought as he stood with this faithful African mother that he was on sacred ground . . .”

Well, I won't quote the whole talk. You can listen to it yourself. The sad part is that I have bought into these teachings for most of my life and have donated way too much to the LDS church. I too am an iniquitous woman. The Lord has shown me my iniquity and is teaching me how to repent. I make no claims to be righteous. I am still in process of repenting and separating myself from this kind of thinking.