The Pudding Factory

General Musings

My apologies for the gap in my posts. Lots going on in our lives. I’ll update on some of those items shortly. Today I have something else on my mind.

I have a running correspondence with several friends and one has just discovered some issues with the church that bother him. This discovery has taken place over the past couple of years as his eyes open to a number of the incongruities presented to Latter-day Saints regarding changed ordinances, tithing use, historical presentations, special-witness testimonies that aren’t particularly special, etc.

He sent the following: 

“The wind went out of my sails when I started seeing how the church spends our tithing money. It wasn't just that. It's also that I believed for many years that the President of the Church was a true Prophet. Now, I am just not certain. Why? Because I see no revelations. In Joseph Smith's days there were many revelations. Now? None.

“The Heavens are not closed to everyone, but why did Brigham Young never have the Lord visit him? Why do the Apostles and church leaders who say they are witnesses of the lord never see the Lord person to person and yet they lead us along to believe a falsehood that they have, as Special Witnesses? Boyd K. Packer being one who was also stunned that his testimony was good enough, although he had not actually seen the Lord.

“Are we any better off than the Catholic Church? If so, not by much.

"I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. If I do not pay tithing to the COB [Church Office Building], I will not be allowed into the Temple. Then there's the question of whether or not the Lord honors what we're doing in the temple anymore, since ordinances have been changed so radically.

“Do I sound like an Apostate?”

Of course, I was saddened that the inspiration he had received regarding the current condition of the church had disturbed my friend. I have heard similar expressions from others as they awaken to their awful situation. But we are commanded to do so. At the same time, I don’t think the Lord means for that awakening to disturb or sadden us. In an effort to assuage his discomfort, I responded with the following:

“If you begin with verse 28 in Section 124 of the D&C, and read down to verse 52, noting the following verses especially: 28, 32, 40, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 52, you will see the problem. It's a problem of pride. We do not acknowledge that the Lord rejected His church to the third and fourth generation after Nauvoo. We are now in the fifth generation after Nauvoo.

"The heavens are again open and the Lord has given us a messenger in Denver Snuffer. But this is NOT about Denver Snuffer, at all. It's about what we are to do now. He is simply the messenger God has chosen to relay the message to us and cause our awakening. The focus is on the message and the message is from the scriptures. Always. (It’s just too bad the descendants of Nauvoo who make up the majority of the 15 highest leaders in the church are more interested in perpetuating myth than in telling the truth. Can you imagine the headline? “Mormon Church Admits Nauvoo Saints Kicked Out Because Of Disobedience In Temple Building.” I can hear Jack Nicolson now: “You can’t handle the truth!” Horsepucky. So the Lord had to find a messenger who wasn't run by focus groups.)

"We are to prepare ourselves to become a Zion people. No contentions, no disputations, no poor among us, etc. This will not be an easy task. For instance, if we are unsatisfied with the way the LDS Church uses our tithing funds, then to whom do we pay them? Good question. I have identified places to put my tithing that are a much more direct route to "no poor among them" since the LDS church seems to be more interested in subsidizing BYU students and general authorities, and building temples we don't need, etc. I need to pay tithing both to be obedient to the Lord and also to express my gratitude. So I pay it, gladly. I just don't pay it to the LDS church. I pay it to those who need it. The LDS church doesn't notice but the Lord does. About which do I care more?

"The matter has come to a head as we move closer in the Lord's plan to a literal gathering of Zion. Right now that gathering is in it's infancy but it is growing. The conferences that are happening more regularly and with larger attendance are evidence. No one is interested in a new church. We are all only interested in an introspective effort to become a Zion people so the Lord will have a people to gather. Will they be many? Certainly not considering the world's population but they will be well proven considering what is coming. No man will gather Zion. Only the Lord will do it. It is His work alone. Our work is readying ourselves for His gathering, whatever course that takes.

"The events leading up to the Lord's visit to the Nephites at Bountiful remind us of what we may be up against. Our new U.S. Prez has bought us some time but not much. The condition of our world will deteriorate drastically over the next years and those of us who profess to be of a Zion mindset will be sorely tested.

"That is what I am attempting to train myself to function through. I do not want to faint or give up when conditions would persuade me that all is lost. There is the legacy of our forefather Saints who did not give up when the mud got deep, the winters cold, or the mountains high. Their tenacity and faith is a wonder to behold. They may not have built the Nauvoo temple but they sure did a good job persevering across the plains and building Salt Lake City. I will happily give them that accomplishment even though it was mostly temporal with the tiniest bit of spiritual thrown in for good measure.

"Yes we are better than the Catholic church. Because we do have Priesthood. Even the LDS church has some authority--certainly Aaronic. The LDS church had its beginnings as the authorized and commissioned organization of the Lord on earth. Joseph Smith was, and is, in very fact the prophet of this dispensation. His job was to be the instrument of restoration. His task, that of being a "choice seer," was foretold by Joseph of Egypt. 

"The LDS church has a righteous heritage. There are remnants of that heritage left. On a ward level, I believe the church is a fantastic organization which receives constant and tender inspiration from the Lord. It was the highest church leadership to which the Lord gave the instruction contained in D&C 121:34-46, not the general church membership. At the ward level there are many kind and charitable acts performed every day that no one sees. Well, the Lord sees them. Some of those people are being prepared to be gathered to Zion and they don't even know it. Some are being prepared to burn.

"Why did the Lord allow Brigham to lead the church? Why did the Lord give the Children of Israel a king against the advise of Samuel? The answer to both questions is the same: The Lord gives His people what they really want. The people of Brigham wanted Brigham, they elected him, so the Lord gave him to them. He wanted wives and concubines so the Lord let those so inclined, to have them. Did He approve. No. But He also could have had the earth swallow them up on the way to Salt Lake. But He didn't. We have a very mixed heritage in the church. We have had, and have, racists in the church from Brigham on down. We also have Bishops who work tirelessly, and without a “living allowance,” to succor and bless their members. 

"Our heritage is very mixed. Some of it is wonderful. Some of it despicable. Doesn't matter. We are commissioned to move forward now. The curses and condemnations of Nauvoo are lifted. The Lord has again spoken through a messenger. There will be more of them. Denver is certainly not the last and, like John the Baptist, he will he not get in the way of the next one. He will celebrate the next messenger. And on and on until the Lord gathers Zion. How many messengers will there be? I don't have a clue but we'll know them. Denver is nothing special. He readily admits that. And that may be the perfect reason the Lord prepared and then selected him. When we think of ourselves as "nothing special" we ought to think again.

"No, my friend, you don't sound like an apostate. You sound like one coming out of a pudding factory and discovering a fine restaurant. The raw, uncorrelated Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most exquisite cuisine there is—satisfying, delicious, joyful, and healing. It's just a shame you don't find much of it among the Latter-day Saint leadership anymore.”

Then, as a conclusion, I began to type: "We are stardust, we are golden" from Joni Michell's song Woodstock as sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, one of my favorite rock groups, and also Joni herself. (Yeah, I'm old, so sue me.) Her version is much more intimate, of course. But then other words began to form and so, with your kind indulgence I altered things a bit:

Well I came upon a child of God,
He was walking along the road,
And I asked him tell me where are you going,
This he told me:
Said, I'm going down to Zion’s farm,
Going to join in a conference down there.
Got to get back to the Lord,
And set my soul free.

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are endless Spirits of the Lord,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I walk beside you?
I have come to lose the World.
And I feel myself a cog
In something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year,
Yes and maybe it's the time of Man.
And I’m beginning to know who I am,
'Cause life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are endless Spirits of the Lord, 
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Zion,
We were small in numbers but strong,
And everywhere was a song and a celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the Powers of Heaven
Riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning evil into butterflies
Above our nation.

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are endless Spirits of the Lord,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

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