Blind Men, Bathwater, and Cliffs

General Musings

It is the contention of LDS church leaders that they are not capable of leading the church astray. They say this believing that the Lord would not allow it in some way. They say this while ignoring the many scriptures opposing their viewpoint and the clear evidence that leaders have, in fact, led the church astray. (I have reference to these scriptures and evidence in other posts so I won’t detail them here.) They say this with complete disregard for the most basic of eternal principles—agency. They are blind. And the trouble with blindness is cliffs.

There are many, in the church, who were raised in it after the advent of correlation. The correlated Gospel and church history have been stripped of many truths, by design. In what Gospel Doctrine lesson, for instance, do we study the “promises made to the fathers” referred to by the angel who visited Joseph in his room. (Joseph called the angel  “Nephi” but later, after Joseph’s death, Oliver Cowdery changed it to “Moroni”—and we believe whom?) In what lesson do we study the most basic Gospel principles of the Second Comforter or Calling and Election? In what lesson do we analyze the two promises the Lord gave to the Nauvoo saints and decide which the Lord fulfilled? Why do we try to cover multiple chapters in the Book of Mormon in one lesson knowing that many valuable truths will go undiscovered. I could go on for pages.

Recently, on a whim, I watched a number of Mormon Stories podcasts hosted by John Dehlin. I wanted to hear the stories of members who have either left the church or been excommunicated within the past few years. A common thread exists: All who were interviewed were raised in the church after correlation and had something less than a firm hold on Gospel and church historical content. They were raised on filtered information and kept from the truth by those who contend they are not allowed by the Lord to lead members astray. Ironic, isn’t it?

The apparent difficulty for these people lies in the fact that they do not seem to recognize a difference between the church and the Gospel. As their eyes open to hidden truths, they come to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with a church that would hide such truths. Then, they conflate the church and the Gospel and decide to leave both behind. They, essentially, throw the baby out with the bathwater.

A large portion of their difficulty lies within the history of Joseph Smith. If you, for instance, were confronted with the previously unknown notion that Joseph Smith had multiple wives, you might be aghast. You might then discover stories about an incident in a barn where Emma caught Joseph red-handed with Fanny Alger. Your faith and confidence in Joseph Smith might be dashed on the rocks of this new perception of reality and you might turn on Joseph, in disgust. You might decide that with this new information you no longer believe Joseph was a prophet and leave the church. You are relieved that the pressures of the church are now gone and you might feel free. You will  have been lulled and pacified into carnal security, to paraphrase Nephi. The great cliff of ignorance has gained another victim.

Because these poor souls have no firm grounding in true church history they simply believe what they hear and go no further. In the case of Joseph, they never dig deeper and discover that Joseph never married any woman other than Emma for time and for purposes of procreation. They never discover that far from catching Joseph and Fanny in some compromising activity in the barn, that Emma was purposefully watching from the barn door as Joseph told Levi Hancock the words to say that would seal Fanny to Joseph for purposes of then sealing Fanny’s posterity to the Fathers in Heaven to which Joseph was already sealed.

This ordinance belongs to the fullness of the Priesthood which Joseph held. It was to be restored to the church as a whole upon the completion of the Nauvoo temple when the Lord promised to visit and restore such things. Their actions and similar actions of Joseph with the various women to whom he was sealed were holy and virtuous and had nothing to do with procreation. But if you were never taught anything about the “promises made to the Fathers” and other doctrines concerning Elijah and the Second Coming of the Lord to Zion, you would have no basis for even thinking that there were righteous answers for Joseph’s behavior. You would simply throw that baby out with the bathwater of failed leadership.

It is critically important that these poor ignorant souls find the safety net of true knowledge before their blind leaders guide them off the cliff of ignorance. They cannot find it in any LDS lesson manual. It must be gained by finding someone who can clear away the fog of darkness and ignorance and who speaks from experience. The Lord was clear with his promise of wrath and condemnation to the 3rd and 4th generation of the Nauvoo saints for their refusal to finish the temple. Now that the light of the 5th generation has shown forth we see those who desire truth are finding that it has been denied them. Their anger is understandable. However they give up too soon.

As in the days of Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and certainly Joseph Smith, the Lord has, again, made a messenger available to those who seek to be taught. The majority of Adam’s children ignored his message as did the people of Enoch, Melchizedek, and Abraham. The children of Israel rejected Moses’ message of welcome by the Lord and those of Jesus’ time crucified Him. Joseph Smith experienced massive persecution from the beginning and paid the price of fidelity to the Lord with his life with those he trusted most, acting as his betrayers.

Now today we have a messenger who will say little about himself because he, like Enoch, Moses, and others, didn’t really want the job. But the Lord will choose the most unlikely candidate for message delivery to test our willingness to hear His voice. We focus on the sociability of the messenger rather than the message. Denver Snuffer has written and recorded a massive catalog of true doctrine which dashes to smithereens all the ignorance the church offers. His writing and audio recordings lead anyone seeking truth to scripture and uncorrelated history that will testify of the truths in the Gospel and church history. The church hates this light because it is embarrassing to have it so well explained by a non-general authority. Oh, that any of them could.

One of the complaints of those who have left the church comes about after they have met with a general authority. Whether it be through a relative or friend with such connections the result is the same. Questions are asked and the only answer is “have faith.” There is no attempt at a definitive answer because the general authorities are just as ignorant as those asking the questions. They don’t have time to study the Gospel, they have a multi-billion dollar corporate conglomerate to run.

I love the church and would be a member all my life, if they would let me. (In my view, a local LDS ward is a wonderful environment of loving people. Most bishops are good and kind men and shepherd their flocks with love, forgiveness, and longsuffering. Oh that the Salt Lake crowd could be so described.) But the church will not have you point out the support role it plays to the Gospel. It would elevate the church to the same level as the Gospel. Hence those who testify of the “truthfulness of the church.” What does that mean, anyway? Are the building foundations square? Are the walls plumb? Or do they mean the modern LDS church is the current iteration of the organization formed by Joseph Smith at the commission of the Lord? While that is certainly true, it is decidedly and demonstrably not even close to the same organization in its structure or composition. So how, again, is it true?

The Gospel, on the other hand, is most decidedly and demonstrably true to its roots back to Adam, if you understand them correctly. You must study, though, to understand. You must seek out the truths the church has removed such as the Lectures on Faith. (A committee of men in 1921 removed the Lectures from the Doctrine and Covenants. A committee of men who had never seen the Lord, never stood in His presence, never had the kind of experiences Joseph had, thought they know better than Joseph. While I admire these men in many ways, in this they displayed a level of arrogance and ignorance that defies the very humility they lack in this regard but would have us believe they possess. The Lectures on Faith Website provides valuable further information as well as the full text.)

Those who seek truth must not give up until they find it. They have been led off a cliff by blind men and mistakenly think the ride down is freedom. It is not enough to find falsehood. The truth of this day is clear. The Lord’s coming is delayed only while enough people become worthy to live in a Zion environment: No poor among them, all are equal, treat all with justice, no contentions and disputations among them, and most of all complete and total fidelity to the Savior with a willingness to sacrifice everything to His will. When the Lord is satisfied that enough are worthy, (how many that constitutes is beyond my knowledge but it may be fewer than we think), He will gather them to Zion. It will not be an institutional gathering. It will not be in haste. It will be by individual.

It is up to us to grow and progress to that level of obedience and diligence. The 121st Section of the Doctrine and Covenants contains much truth and instruction to that end. Leaving the church to wallow in a new found supposed freedom is not success. But there are very many who hold onto the church as if it was a life preserver and refuse to see it as a Telestial organization suitable only for assisting in Gospel growth. The church is neither eternal or even Terrestrial. It is the Gospel which is eternal and contains saving principles. Finding the Gospel and living it—whether in the church or out of it—and then using those Gospel principles to prepare to be gathered by the Lord to Zion is the only success in our current world worth the effort.

There are many, even thousands, who understand this. We meet as an unorganized organization because we desire no leader other than Christ. We have had four conferences now and another scheduled this year. There is ample opportunity for service.  There are fellowships of believers who love the Lord and desire only to serve Him in most every part of the nation and many parts of the world. It is terrifying to church leadership because it means a loss of millions in tithing. Our tithing is paid directly to those who need it. Back off from the cliff and join us if you can no longer meet with the church (which is a fine alternative if choose—just serve, love, and forgive, and don't expect much more than their vanilla pudding Gospel). Truth is available to those who love the Lord and desire it more than anything else.

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