And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham, vs 2)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Letter of Beliefs: A Brief Answer to Why?

The following is a short letter of my beliefs and my testimony. Because it has footnotes it is much easier to read in pdf form so I linked to that file. They are copied here as endnotes. 

This was written in reference to my resignation from the LDS church.

Letter of Beliefs: Letter of Belief.pdf

"If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way." TPJS 

All I have attempted to do is expound the scriptures. 

My Witness & Testimony:
I want to begin with a quote by Joseph. “Three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation[1]” one of which is “An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will[2]” that unless they have an “assurance that they were pursuing a course which was agreeable to the will of God… knowing, (not merely believing)… they will grow weary in their minds and faint[3]

I have fasted, prayed, studied, and pondered these things for over 2 years[4]. Yet people will say I am heeding another spirit when they won’t take a second thought[5] save it were to ask him if these things are true or not.[6] I plan to stand for truth for I have taken upon me the name of Christ. The Lord has shown me “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life[7]”. It is only through sacrifice of all earthly things that we can gain this knowledge. I don’t blame anyone for not believing me. I don’t understand His ways and the more I learn of him the bigger the fool I realize I am.

In a world of wickedness, my heart aches to see such violence, to see the poor go hungry, the children being abused while we enjoy the spoils of Babylon that we take as signs of our righteousness before him. We walk in the light and comprehendeth it not. Wherever we look in this world there is wide spread wickedness.  

The world proclaims “all is well.” The saints proclaim “all is well in Zion[8]” even though they are led by the precepts of men[9]. That Zion propereth but it is not! It is in Jeopardy! The very restoration is about to be completely abandoned!

It is time for me to come out from under the condemnation[10] and bondage[11] that rests upon all because we receive not the light[12]. Others may believe that one man can save them. Others may believe that one man cannot lead them astray[13]. And if he does lead them astray it is not their concern[14] for they will be blessed even if it’s wrong![15] In the Day of Judgment such actions will not be excused by Him[16]. Others may believe to follow man[17] or to trust men[18]. Others may be willing to give up their agency to another by making an oath to them[19] thus allowing that man have claim upon them. Finally they may believe it is enough to “see God” around us and not seek his face but by doing so we deny the power of godliness[20]. We are all free to worship who, what or how we may.

I believe only one Man is to be followed, Jesus Christ.[21] We are to “receive[22]” those who the Lords sends which means to “heed”, “hearken”, or “hear” their message[23]. We are to each stand for ourselves and that dependence upon the prophet will cause our minds to be darkened[24]. That God has no servant at the gate for only he cannot be deceived.[25] He invites all to come unto Him. I believe in the restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith and there is yet to be revealed many great and marvelous things[26]. I believe more than I ever have in the message of the Book of Mormon; that the fullness of the gospel[27] is to ascend back into His presence. That is the definition of redemption. It is to re-enter his presence while in the flesh.[28] Without “faith” and “angels appear[ing] and minister[ing] unto men” all is vain, as if there is no redemption[29]. Yet we still proclaim that they are not for us! We doubt, while living behind a veil of unbelief that we should rend and shred into pieces![30]

Like the Israelites, we have wandered long enough in the wilderness for “40 years” being driven to and fro while those around us cry “Lo here, Lo There”[31]. Moroni saw our day,[32] he testified of us, the book testifies AGAINST us. It is the final opportunity for the Gentiles to repent. Yet we think the message is to those who will never read the book even when the Lord proclaimed the baptized Latter Day Saints were “identified with the Gentiles”[33]. When we are offered everything and reject that which is decreed to happen[34], and we were through Joseph, we are given something less because He will give us what we are willing to receive[35] . Thus it will be a “terrible day of the Lord[36]” for his presence is terrible to the unprepared as their guilt will torment them.[37] He comes in Judgment.

If we will not accept what He is offering the Lord will find someone else to build Zion. It grieves me to think our day will be even “as the day of noah”[38]. But it is my witness the Lord has set his hand again a second time to redeem those who are willing to receive Him. The entire purpose of the temple was to teach us how to converse with the Lord through the veil. It is a symbol or type. It is not an end. We are meant to connect with the Fathers in immortal Glory thereby entering into a covenant that we may abide his coming.[39]

There is so much more I could say but that is not the purpose of this. It is to give a brief (ok I tried to make it brief :) ) overview of the “why”. I love the church, it is after all the “big net[40]” spoken of in the new testament. Or should I say I love the people. I hold no ill against any man, nor do I desire to try to change the church’s course. Its divine course is set.

Time is so short. Our very salvations are in jeopardy. Religion is intended to be between “you” and God, deeply personal and individually redemptive. Christ is as accessible to all as He was to Moses on the mount. And what was Moses' ambition? It was to bring everyone up on the mount to likewise see God[41] but they preferred another man to speak for them[42] or today believe only one should speak for him. Follow the Doctrine of Christ, no more no less, as seen in 2 Nephi 32:5 “receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” His spirit will lead us to eternal life, not man. Though, if we will not receive Christ's prophets and apostles, we will be condemned[43]. Those who claim you should "follow" them put themselves in the place of Christ. They are, in effect, a false Christ. We were promised they would come in the last days to deceive the "very elect" as false Messiahs.[44] An apostle of Jesus Christ is one who has a message of God, sent by him, and been in the presence of the Son and the Father.[45]

Joseph warned, “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it....Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.[46]"

It used to take a hundred years for changes to come about. Now those same changes in understanding take about 5 to 7 years. A whole new understanding of the history of the church is coming. Just wait. Do not LOSE faith in God as the events unfold! He Lives! Joseph did see what he said he did! Ask, Knock, Receive! If we don’t understand it’s because we ask not! We will not search, seek, nor understand.[47]

Joseph Smiths first vision is what religion is meant to be. It is what the Gospel is meant to be for each of us. To have communion with God and his angels, for in the garden Adam was cast out of his presence, and through the atonement we can be brought back into his presence while in the flesh[48].

Religion always follows the same pattern; man speaks with God which is called restoration, then other men come after and try to worship according to His latest visit which is called apostasy.[49]

I conclude with saying I am grateful for every moment I have spent involved with the church and the people. I would not be where I am without it. I would not trade those experiences for anything. The church contained the power to perform outward ordinances. The Lord has called me elsewhere.

If we want Zion the first thing we should do is go serve our neighbor abasing ourselves from the distractions and “things” of the world.

Despite what others have/will say I know I will retain my priesthood, my connection with God, the Holy Ghost, and that the ordinances that I performed in his behalf will still be valid in His eyes. This I know for He has declared it by his voice to me and God cannot lie.

Before social collapse in 3 Nephi, society broke down into tribes consisting of family and friends.[50] Perhaps there must be some preparations to prepare us for the social chaos that is soon to come independent of all institutions or organizations. Zion cannot be built by an organization or institution. It will be built by a “peculiar people” in the Lords “strange act”.

Now I speak by way of invitation only. To all those who wish to be a part of the Lords return. To those who have realized the restoration given through Joseph has been altered, changed, forgotten, or simply replaced by precepts of men. I invite us all to return to the restoration and take the words of Joseph Smith seriously.

It is no longer sufficient to be baptized by one being “commissioned” by Jesus Christ. The command is renewed again where we should be baptized by one having “authority”. Early saints called this rebaptism, it was part of the doctrine of Christ[51]. I was baptized by one having authority on December 24, 2014. It was the day following winter solstice for the world, when light triumphs darkness. The day before the symbol of Christ’s birth into the world. I have experimented upon the word and I can say the fruits are good. It has enlarged my soul. Therefore I know it’s of God. For I have experimented according to the pattern in Alma 32 and have knowledge that a greater portion of God’s spirit has rested upon me that day. Not because my first baptism was not valid but because the Lord has asked me to be “rebaptized” as a sign and token of the Lord’s hand moving once again. If He asks this of you than I invite you to heed that voice. It is a day of Salvation.

I don’t blame a soul for not believing me. I am a nobody. A Fool. There are so many voices in this world, it seems there are 1000 voices against every one voice of truth. This world is the perfect place for Gods children to learn to become like Him. His work, immortality and eternal life of man, continues “worlds without end.” My prayer is that we may receive grace and return to Him “added upon”.

My only hope is to persuade. I will not seek to compel a single man to believe as I do. For my only tools are by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned, by kindness, and pure knowledge.

We are currently being tested. Choose wisely.

Know Ye the Lord?

In the spirit of love and to my brothers and sisters in Christ,
Tyson Curtis Hunt

[1] Lectures on Faith (LOF): Lecture 3 verse 2
[2] LOF: Lecture 3 verse 5
[3] LOF: Lecture 6 verse 3-4
[4] “…Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation “which is in me.” (Alma 5:46)
[5] “When men open their lips against [the truth] they do not injure me, but injure themselves…When things that are of the greatest importance are passed over by weak-minded men without even a thought, I want to see truth in all its bearings and hug it to my bosom. I believe all that God ever revealed” (Teachings of Joseph Smith, “Gaining Knowledge of Eternal Truths”, Chapter 22, edits in original)
[6] “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.” (D&C 9:7, See also verse 8)
[7] LOF: Lecture 6 verse 7
[8] “they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls…25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!” (2 Nephi 28:21,25)
[9] they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:14)
[10] D&C 84:54-58. See Also “Cleansing the inner vessel” by President Benson in April 1986 General Conference where he reaffirmed this condemnation rested upon all.
[11] When Joseph was in liberty jail he complained about the oppression. The Lord told him, you think it’s bad when you’re oppressed by those in government over you, just wait Joseph, wait until someone gets a little priestly authority over you. We have seen this before and it’s called catholism. “to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves” (D&C 121:37) See D&C 121:39-42, D&C 101:76-79, Luke 22:25
[12]  “31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. 32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation ”.(D&C 93:31-32)
[13] “We will not and cannot lead [you] astray.” (Elder Ballard, “Stay in the Boat and Stay on!”, General Conference, October 2014). See also Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.
[14] “This means, among other things, that it is my province to teach to the Church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent. You do not have a divine commission to correct me or any of the Brethren. The Lord does not operate that way. If I lead the Church astray, that is my responsibility, but the fact still remains that I am the one appointed with all the rest involved so to do.” (Bruce R McConkie Letter to Eugene).
Also taught here, “”Which way do you face?” President Boyd K. Packer surprised me with this puzzling question while we were traveling together on my very first assignment as a new Seventy. Without an explanation to put the question in context, I was baffled. “A Seventy,” he continued, “does not represent the people to the prophet but the prophet to the people. Never forget which way you face!” It was a powerful lesson.” (Elder Lynn G. Robbins, “Which Way Do You Face?”, General Conference, October 2014)
[15] “I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’” (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)
[16]We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them—even if they knew it was wrong. But such obedience as this is worse than folly to us. It is slavery in the extreme. The man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise this idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary... When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves". (Brigham Young, Millenial Star, Archive Volume 14, Number 38, Pages 593-595) See also D&C 1:31 “31 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”
[17] When you follow the prophets, you will be in safe territory.” (President Monson, “Follow The Prophets”, January 2015). This talk was copied from an Sept. 7, 2003 CES youth devotional with the final two sentences being changed. (See Church News Archive)
[18] “Trust me! These 15 men—prophets, seers, and revelators—know what the will of the Lord is when unanimity is reached!” (Elder Nelson, “Sustaining the Prophets”,  General Conference, October 2014)
[19] “Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us.” (Elder Nelson, “Sustaining the Prophets”,  General Conference, October 2014)
[20] Power of godliness is the presence of God. For the ordinances are meant to bring us to see god in the flesh. When we reject that we only have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. “And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; 22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” (See D&C 84:19-22)
[21]  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27)
[24] “President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.” (Teachings Section Five 1842-43, p.237 or Joseph Smith Papers)
[25] “the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant…for he cannot be deceived” (2 Nephi 9:41)
[26] We have this to look forward to, a return of a people who “put on thy strength” (3 Nephi 20:22). A return of priesthood yet to be restored (Future Tense) “Elijah was the last prophet that held the keys of this priesthood, and who willbefore the last dispensation, restore the authority and delive[r] the Keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness…And I will send Elijah the Prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Joseph Smith, “Instruction on Priesthood”, pg 17, October 5, 1840, General Conference) Footnote reads “This discourse is apparently the only discourse for which the Prophet ever prepared a text.” Also read, in future tense, in 1841, Aug 13 1843, Aug. 27 1843, in 1844 and others. Dates are linked to sermons. Keep in mind the dictionary defines “last” can mean "latest".
[27] The Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (D&C 20:9; 27:5.)
[28] “the Lord showed himself unto him[Brother of Jared], and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence;” (Ether 3:13) So what did he “knowest”? What had he become that allowed him to receive these things?
[30] “when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—… 16… then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people.” (Ether 4:15-16)
[31] “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them, and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; 21 Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, Lo, there! For, behold, the kingdom of God has already come unto you. 22 And he said unto his disciples, The days will come, when they will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and they shall not see it. 23 And if they shall say to you, See here! or, See there! Go not after them, nor follow them.“ (JST Luke 17:20-23)
[32]  Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. 36 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. 37 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.” (Mormon 8:35-37)
[33] Dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland temple. “ 60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us[LDS], who are identified with the Gentiles.” (D&C 109:60)
[35] “they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.“ (D&C 88:32) See also “When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned.” (TJS, “Gaining Knowledge”, Chapter 22)
[38] “as it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man;” (JS-Matt 1:43, See also Matthew 24:37)
[39] “This is the spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven “(HC 6:22), “go and seal on earth … yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory “ (TPJS, 340) See quotes under Family on the LDS site
[42] “When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.” (TJS, “Gaining Knowledge of Eternal Truths”, Chapter 22)
[45] “The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren, now you are prepared to be the apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son and know that they exist and that they are two separate personages.” (Zebedee Coltrin, Minutes, Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 3, 1883) Joseph still called ones who had not done this to the twelve. This is why Oliver stated “Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you” (referenced below)
[46] TPJS 160. Today it is taught it’s not necessary to even seek him. “I have not beheld him...But it is not necessary. I have felt his presence.” (Chapter 2, “Our Savior”, TOJFS Manual) D&C 101:38, a section on the redemption of Zion, also warns us “seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.” For “in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower…shall be saved.” (vs 12) Joseph said “thou must commune with God” (TJS, Ch 22) Finally, D&C 93:1 says it’s for EVERY soul!
[47] “I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.” (2 Nephi 32:7)
[48]  And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will. 10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.” (Moses 5:9-10)
[49] Brigham young lamented during the 11th year as president, "that perhaps I then may hold communion with the Lord, as did Moses. I am not now in that position...If I am faithful… perhaps the Lord will appear to me and personally dictate me in the management of his Church and people." (JOD 7:243,  BY, September 1, 1859)”. Seventeen Years as president he stated “We have not seen the person of the Father, neither have we seen that of the Son;" (JOD 11:42. BY, January 8, 1865) President Grant went further stating “I never prayed to see the Savior.” We have ignored the Lords warning long enough and His wisdom that it’s the duty of the president to be “like unto moses” (D&C 107:91-92; See also Oliver Cowdery’s “General Charge to the twelve” “Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face… Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same.”.) To write the words of eternal life requires one who has the promise of eternal life.
[51] “At this time came a revelation, that the Saints could be baptized and re-baptized when they chose.” (Brigham Young J.D. 18:241) See also Moroni 6:1. Compare 3 Nephi 7:26 with 3 Nephi 19:11-13

Prototype of the saved man: Jesus Christ

12 And I, John, saw that [Christ] received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first. (D&C 93:12-14)
Christ was “called the Son of God,” because He “received not the fullness at first.” (See D&C 93) He was "called" to be the Son of God because that was not His status before achieving grace for grace. Therefore He had to first qualify to be "called" to be the Son of God. Therefore it is self- evident that He “received not the fullness at first.”

Long before the Lord assumed the role and responsibility of descending here and being the Redeemer of this world, He was qualified by acquiring grace, through doing things to prove Himself, while He was behind the veil, just as you presently find yourselves situated. This is not the place for an experiment to learn whether mankind will be rescued from the grave. It must be certain before there is a Fall, that there will be an adequate atonement to rescue mankind. If man were not rescued, they would be eternally subject to captivity in the same condition as the devil. (2 Nephi 9: 8-9)

This catastrophe could only be avoided by perfect foreknowledge. Only by first proving He had the grace to overcome all through His obedience to the commandments of God could He be “called the Son of God.” Even though it would be a great while before He, and now you, would rise up to that level, still He has lived His life with such grace that He qualified to receive more, and to develop and to move up. He became “the Word of God” (D&C 93: 8) because He followed “every word [or instruction] which proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mattew 4: 4)

When you think of Christ as “the prototype of the saved man” you should also remember Christ “attained to the resurrection” by “breaking the bonds of death.” (Mosiah 15: 8) Justice requires man to die. (Alma  42:15) When I die it will be deserved. The same is true for all mankind from Adam to the present. (1 Nephi 10: 6)

However, when Christ died it was unjust. The “wages of sin” is death, but He did not earn those wages. (Romans 6: 23) He never submitted to sin, therefore the law of justice was offended by His death. Because of this, He was able to take His body up again, and the law of justice could not prevent it. (2 Nephi 9:26) Christ’s death was not only unjust, but it was an eternal offense. When the life of a man who should have lived forever has been taken, what He gave up was infinite. (2 Nephi 9:7) Therefore the price He paid was infinite. (Alma 34:10) Whatever justice demanded had been satisfied, and He could then intercede for all mankind.

Christ’s resurrection, therefore, came as a matter of right to Him because the grave could make no just claim upon His life. In turn, this allows Him to make an infinite intercession and likewise bring us and together with all creation back into a restored state. He paid the price to reverse Adam’s fall. (1 Corinthians 15:22) All of His creation benefits.

This is what Joseph was referring to as “attaining the resurrection” in his last talk in General Conference (King Follet Discourse). This is the trek that every saved man must take to complete the process. Hence Joseph’s saying, “it will be a great while after the grave before” we will rise up to be gods ourselves. Do not sleep away this life. Awake and arise! There is a great deal to be done.

There is no magic to this process. There is only progression and refinement. It will be required for each of us, just as has been required of all who went before, that we “learn to be gods” by what we experience. Part of that learning must eventually include the ability to break the bonds of death, as Christ did.

But we develop during mortality, and receive from this life exactly what we develop into while mortal. God’s patience for us is infinite. It will require going “from exaltation to exaltation” before we ascent to the place of Christ, “the prototype of the saved man.” But we have all eternity to work out our salvation.

Those who think it is enough to merely “get into heaven” are really talking about “the deaths” (D&C 132: 25) and not what God offers His children. God offers eternal lives. Those who will endure to the end, worlds without end, will receive eternal life and obtain the resurrection. We must be exactly and precisely like Christ to receive all power in heaven and earth, including the power of the resurrection. It was only after His resurrection Christ claimed this power.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What does it mean to be Saved? What is Salvation

“Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put all enemies under our feet in this world, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved, as in the case of Jesus, who was to reign until He had put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy was death [see 1 Corinthians 15:25–26]. (TJS, The Great Plan of Salvation, Chapter 17)
There is a lot here. Salvation is to triumph over all our enemies. The last enemy we must overcome is death. However we cannot overcome all things in this life, only by grace to grace, exaltation to exaltation, line upon line. That is a blessing to celestial beings beyond the grave though, "And they shall overcome all things." (D&C 76:60).

Thus the atonement allows us to rely upon His power until we learn for ourselves to "overcome all things" death being the last enemy of all.

Not only are we to put all enemies under our feet in this world but it is required to do so. Why? For the purpose of gaining the knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come. THEN are we saved. The lectures on faith states
Where shall we find a saved being? for if we can find a saved being, we may ascertain, without much difficulty, what all others must be, in order to be saved - they must be like that individual or they cannot be saved: we think, that it will not be a matter of dispute, that two beings, who are unlike each other, cannot both be saved; for whatever constitutes the salvation of one, will constitute the salvation of every creature which will be saved: and if we find one saved being in all existence, we may see what all others must be, or else not be saved. We ask, then, where is the prototype? or where is the saved being? We conclude as to the answer of this question there will be no dispute among those who believe the bible, that it is Christ: all will agree in this that he is the prototype or standard of salvation, or in other words, that he is a saved being. And if we should continue our interogation, and ask how it is that he is saved, the answer would be, because he is a just and holy being; and if he were any thing different from what he is he would not be saved; for his salvation depends on his being precisely what he is and nothing else; for if it were possible for him to change in the least degree, so sure he would fail of salvation and lose all his dominion, power, authority and glory, which constitutes salvation; for salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses, and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him: (Lecture 7)
TWO beings unlike each other cannot both be saved. Christ is the prototype. And how did Christ gain the knowledge to triumph over all his enemies or should I say when did he have the knowledge to overcome all things?

Isaiah gave us a power imagery of the suffering of Christ and His atonement.
10 ¶Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
His suffering in Gethsemane. His atonement! It was through that travail of his soul that he was able to "by his knowledge" experience what each mortal could, can, or would face. It was there he knew what each of us would need to overcome the obstacle of sin placed before. Thus he could now "by his knowledge" which he learned and overcoming eventual death on the cross, succor all of us "by his knowledge." Because He gained the required knowledge, thus He knows what YOU need at any given moment to overcome, fix, repair what is broken, remove any discouragement, or burden placed upon you. The atonement can cleanse you every whit but it is up to you to rise up and accept the burden placed before you. Whatever that is, He can bestow the required knowledge along with the comfort you need to endure it well.

Lets go back to the original quote.
“Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put all enemies under our feet in this world, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved, as in the case of Jesus, who was to reign until He had put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy was death [see 1 Corinthians 15:25–26]. (TJS, The Great Plan of Salvation, Chapter 17)
Triumphing over our enemies here bestows knowledge on the other side or the "world to come" for "No person can have this salvation except through a tabernacle." (ibid) And Christ, being the prototype, suffered and was able to "by his knowledge" justify and sanctify many.

After we can triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved. Thus Joseph said,
“… A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.”15 (TJS, Ch 22)
And so the promise is to all who rise up here and now. And how do you rise up? How does one become at the level of Celestial? By ones knowledge. You cannot be saved in ignorance. And when you get knowledge sufficient to lay hold upon Eternal life, for the difference between an saved being and one that is not is the degree of their faith (See Lectures on Faith), you can also be in a position to overcome all things.  As similar language puts it "ask to know the mysteries" for D&C 19:8 shows the importance, "I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles." The Lords servants knows the mysteries of God.

Recent Events: Excommunications & Resignations

[Edited: A few no longer wanted theirs up so i removed them or felt it no longer represented their views correctly]

There have been a lot of recent events in the Church of Jesus Christ community. The NYTimes stated almost a year ago.
From California to Virginia and states in between, more than a dozen Mormons interviewed in the past week said they had recently been informed by their bishops that they faced excommunication or risked losing permission to enter a temple because of comments they had made online about their faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (NY Times, Critical Online Comments Put Church Status at Risk..., June 2014)
I was impressed to try to compile a short list of many of these proceedings. I know this is a sensitive matter for many, each side believing that they are in the "right."

Whether we agree or not I am sure we can learn from these stories on how we can have greater charity for our fellow brother and sisters.

This document has been compiled and the attached files have been stored into one file. You can download them below. I don't know how long the links will work. If you use/link to them please use your own links.

Excommunication List.pdf (This blog post in pdf form)

Excommunication List Files.Zip (All linked files in one location)

Criteria for Inclusion
Not part of the Ordain the Women Movement.
Not affiliated with the John Dehlin Movement.
Not part of the LGBT rights Movement.

Believes in the restoration given through Joseph
Believes in the Book of Mormon
Believes God still speaks to Man.

Attempted to only include stories related to ones "belief" not actions due to "sins."

I want to summarize some reasons to share these stories. 

1) You can have faith in the restoration through Joseph independent of the LDS Church.
2) No organization control's God's power.
3) You can have priesthood outside any organization.
4) You can be baptized as commanded but not join any "religion"
5) The Lord is once again moving his hand to redeem the House of Israel.
6) You can have a personal relationship with Heavenly Father and talk to him face to face.

I want to share the story below to introduce this.

Recent Excommunications:

Melvin Fish: 2010
Melvin was excommunicated for Priestcraft. He "obtain[ed] a PhD in counseling with the intent of helping people resolve emotional issues." Searching for better techniques centered on the Gospel where "Forgiveness of others is central." The technique included "practicing a technique of discovering and teaching unclean spirits to go to the light of Christ." Some religions call this casting out unclean spirits. "The belief that problems can be attributed to the influence of evil and unclean spirits is also essential." According to Tim Malone who interviewed him, this technique had great success where the people would typically no longer return for further help. This technique is why he was excommunicated.

Denver C Snuffer: September 8, 2013
In his letter Denver was asked to do 3 things to avoid excommunication.
1) To remove his book Passing the Heavenly Gift (PTHG) from publication.
2) Acknowledge to blog readers that PTHG contains content that needs to be withdrawn.
3) To cancel his planned speaking tour that the SP believes will promote PTHG.

Because Denver did not comply the leadership had to convene the disciplinary council. He stated "The issue raised in the notice I received from the stake president does not say the book is false, contains errors or makes mistakes in history. Rather, it "contains content which must be withdrawn."" Denver stated because it would violate his publishing contract he could not withdraw the book. He was "offered money to cease publication." Though he declined because, "offering money to help me violate agreements is not a satisfactory course of conduct." Also he said he stated because of PTHG "hundreds of readers whose faith was restored and whose activity in the church was renewed or resumed from reading Passing the Heavenly Gift." After the Stake President "received further "training," he asked me "what makes you think the church wants that kind of member?"" Later the Stake president clarified that statement "was not intended by him to mean they weren't welcome. Rather it was meant that their attitude, if it arose from Passing the Heavenly Gift, was an attitude that wasn't necessarily helpful." The book is considered to be a false history by the church. Denver believes its the most correct history written.

In his lecture series he wrote "I bear testimony that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. I bear testimony that our Lord lived and lives. I'm one of those who can say that I am a witness of that. I have seen His suffering. I have heard His voice. He doesn't intend that I be a solitary witness of Him, or Joseph be one. He intends for everyone of you to rise up and do as James bids you to do. If you lack wisdom, ask God. He gives to you, He gives to all of us liberally. He is real. It is His work to bring this stuff to pass. The only thing that we can do is to offer to be a servant. And I am confident that I am a poor one of those. But I am His servant. I serve Him however poorly, however offensively, however inadequately. He intends to call, in the plural, servants to fulfill what needs to be done in the last days. He does intend to bring again Zion. That will be his, and not a man's work." (40 Years in Mormonism talk, Lecture 4 on Covenants)

Disciplinary Council Letter & Appeal Letter: Appeal Letter
Decision of Council Letter: No Title

Brent Larsen: Feb 2, 2014
According to Brent Larsen he was excommunicated for stating on an online forum "I know there is a prophet on the earth again today, that it is Denver, and that he is the first I know of as of the death of Joseph. I know Denver is speaking the words given to him by my King." And also for believing that the marvelous work and wonder is a future event to be fulfilled. He appealed his decision and had an interview with an 70. The transcript is linked below.

Appeal Letter: pdf link
Interview with a 70 for Appeal: pdf link

Emily Prentice: March 30, 2014
She states "Joseph Smith was a true prophet. The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel and yet I see this evil in the church and everyone else thinks it’s correct and normal. So I came home and was still lost." After reading the Second Comforter by Denver Snuffer, she went from the person who never shared her testimony of Christ to one who "was up every fast and testimony meeting." because of "His long-suffering and mercy towards me."

Suffering from depression she was eventually told, "Yes! Praise [the Lord] every day and the depression will never return.” She said it was because "I knew that Denver Snuffer was a true messenger sent from Father I was able to be presented at the veil having been true and faithful in all things and desiring further light and knowledge from the Lord Himself.  I finally received the Holy Ghost! The comparison is huge! I read the scriptures for 18 years and didn't understand them, but line upon line I am understanding them now." After meeting with Stake president they asked about her last testimony "over the pulpit [which] I said that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and Nephi was a prophet and that they both cared about my salvation. So I was asked by these two men why I didn’t say anything about Thomas Monson. I replied "well because he is not a prophet, he is the president of the church, but not a prophet." She was excommunicated for not believing Thomas Monson is a prophet.

Will Carter: April 9, 2014
According to Will the Stake President had excommunicated him "without having read any of my words beforehand." He also writes "When it was over, I didn't even know what doctrinal points the council found me to be in disagreement with with the Church, so confusing were the proceedings!" Organized in a way to "prevent any effectual rebuttal." Though Will than goes on talking about how the Stake president started to reference his blog for 2 hours, showing he had read some items. He was asked to not respond the entire 2 hours though he attempted to as no one would remember the words. He states, "When the time came for me to “officially” respond, one member of the council said “I don’t want to be taught!”" Another gave him “five minutes” walking out when he took longer.

He states "It didn't seem to matter what I said. My words were regarded as disingenuous, nuanced or contrived, as if I didn't really mean it when I said "I support and sustain the Brethren", or "I recognize the leaders of the Church as 'prophets, seers, or revelators'", or "I believe the LDS Church to be the vehicle God is using to do His work today." Will states "Building and perpetuating an organization is not my focus. Coming unto Christ is."

Eight months later he received a notice "As a result [of some recent actions], you are no longer welcome to come onto any property owned or controlled by the Church, wherever located." In a earlier post he makes a confession that could have caused such an event. I linked to the post "Feelings and Inclinations" for more information. The reasons are unclear.

Will has shared his experience with seeing Jesus Christ in his post "My Testimony."

Letter of Appeal: "Exhaling" (pdf mirror)
Letter Outlawed From LDS Property: "Exiled into Egypt" (pdf mirror)

Adrian & Tausha Larsen: October 12, 2014(Not related to Brent Larsen)
Both Brother and Sister Larsen were excommunicated together as Adrian writes "My wife and I were tried together as one soul." though " halfway through the council, [the Stake president] did ask if I wanted to leave the room and let my wife sit alone to be tried for her membership."

He was excommunicated "based on the contents of this blog." When he first met with his Stake president, he was asked to resign. Adrian states after the "lengthy periods of counseling and encouragement to reconsider behavior" which lasted "three meetings, spanning about 4 hours total, over the course of a month, in which the scriptures were not opened." It "consisted of the Stake President giving me an ultimatum to either:

1) Take down my blog, give up my temple recommend and my calling, and retain my membership (if I kept my mouth shut); or
2) Voluntarily resign from the church; or
3) Face excommunication."

He also states " The only "scripture" [the stake president] was interested in referencing was the handbook." Because he did not take the blog down he "therefore [was] acting in deliberate, public opposition to a church leader." As far as Adrian can tell, the wife who had no blog, or words to recant but was "excommunicated for supporting me." The contents of the blog is linked below.

Brian Beckle: October 12, 2014
Brian states in a letter, "On Saturday October 4th at 10AM, after nearly two years of intensive study, prayer and nearly constant reflection and meditation I submitted to the Voice of the Lord urging me to make a solemn covenant with Him" and was "rebaptized." He stated "I have witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the gifts of the Spirit upon myself and my entire family " since that event.

The disciplinary council was held "against a charge that in the handbook is in seriousness next to murder and child abuse." According to Brian he "was excommunicated for "conduct and teachings contrary to the laws and order of the Church (that's church with a capital "C"...)." In the council the SP noted "unauthorized ordinances" (re-baptism and sacrament) and "false teachings, particularly within the home" as reasons for [his] discipline."

Sister Beckle was not excommunicated due to her council being under the bishop, not the stake president and was "recently taken off probation." Her beliefs and actions were identical to Brian Beckle.

Letter to Stake President: pdf link
Source: Brian Beckle

Angel Cicero: October 26, 2014
Angel is from Spain who's blog is in Spanish. The translated version is also linked. In his council he was told "Now you will feel lonely and abandoned, without being able to enjoy the Spirit." Although "I had been feeling the presence of the Lord next to me throughout the disciplinary council." The spirit told him "That is not true, neither the Spirit nor I will abandon you." He was excommunicated for sharing "abominations [performed by the church] that the Lord has commanded me to share include:
  • Change, modification, or suspension of eternal ordinances of the Gospel and of the Priesthood.
  • Priestcraft.
  • Misrepresentation of the doctrine of Christ, and the Gospel of Christ.
  • Unjust dominion, control and compulsion on others on the basis of a supposed authority.
  • Misrepresentation of the word of God, by calling the evil good, and good evil.
  • Limiting fundamental blessings of the Gospel.
  • Abominable use of tithes and offerings of the saints.
After the meeting he went to pray, with uplifted hands, with "full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation (JS-H 1:29)" and states "I asked the Lord for a manifestation, suddenly, in the sky above me, through the only little hole through which I could see the wonders of His heavenly creation, I saw a shooting star, as I had never seen before...Spirit whispered that I had done God's will in relationship to what I have expressed in this article, but also chastised me for not having fasted." The council told him he was excommunicated because he did not sustain "Thomas S. Monson as a prophet, seer, and revelator, and follow[ed] the teachings of Denver Snuffer."

Keith Henderson: November 2, 2014
In his letter to the leaders he wrote "The Church has, in my opinion, moved itself so far from the original idea of the Restoration, and the pure Doctrine of Christ, as restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith, as to be almost un-recognizable to me." The explanations can be seen in his letter linked below. In his appeal he "felt to have the right to be tried as pertaining to the instructions in the scriptures, and not by the instructions of men mingled with scripture as contained in the semi-secret Church Handbook of Instructions." Keith also bore testimony of Denver Snuffer, a man excommunicated for apostasy for writing Passing the Heavenly gift, at his last talk.

After his excommunication, Tim Malone (who wrote about Keiths appeal) says he shared the appeal because "it illustrates a point of disorder in the church – that of announcing excommunications from the pulpit. I thought that practice stopped years ago."

Letter of Appeal: pdf link
Testimony At Denvers Last Talk (page 40): pdf link

Ken Jensen: January 11, 2015
The church told him that he was doing things “unbecoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” His wife disagreed saying "we have the scriptures to guide us and to live by…which is exactly what we had been doing—but he has some other secret book (handbook) which he is using to judge us and rule by." The Stake President said he was "bound by what the handbook says." Ken told the council, having believed the message delivered by Denver Snuffer, Denver's "excommunication put me suddenly and immediately into the camp from being a completely faithful and “temple-worthy” member of the church to being unworthy of a temple recommend." Ken sent a letter to the first presidency to make sure it wasn't a mistake, receiving a stamped letter back "from Pres Monson’s secretary that the 1st Presidency had “personally” and “carefully” and “prayerfully” reviewed the matter surrounding “Brother Snuffer.”" Coming April conference Ken would not sustain the 15. In final remarks of the council Michelle, the wife, said of Ken, "“If anything,  Ken has been a better person, a more loving husband and father, and improved in most ways in the last year because of what you are saying is unbecoming a member." The Stake President ended the council saying there is “a living prophet on the earth today…..even, Thomas S Monson.” 

Letter to First Presidency: pdf  link
Letter from First Presidency: pdf link
Source: "Ken Jensen" (pdf mirror)

Duztin & Sarah Sorensen: Februrary 8th 2015
Duztin was excommunicated for one reason: "he doesn't blindly follow a man that is called a prophet". According to Brother Sorensen a year ago (November) a member of their ward went to the Bishop with concerns over a conversation where they stated they did not believe in "Follow the Prophet" and that they wouldn't be teaching that to their children. The Bishop took away their Temple recommends.

According to Brother Sorensen, the Stake President told the bishops in "other wards [to] warn members against us during tithing settlement meetings" and overtime the members begun to "shun them." Than in January the stake presidency dropped off the letter to be excommunicated.

The wife was excommunicated on March 8, 2015 for the same reasons.

Disciplinary Council Letter: pdf link
Source: Sarah Sorensen

Jon & Kari Durfee: March 6, 2015
This story really needs to be read in its entirety. The links are sorted in order of events, oldest to newest.

Jon Durfee, his wife, and his children are all being tried for excommunication. Jon stated "I don't mean that I just "really really believe" kind of know, what I mean is, I KNOW Joseph is Gods prophet because I too have done as James directs and asked God, and I have had my own first vision experience revealed to me. I know God lives because I have seen Him."

He stated what Mormonism should be, "I speak with God and His angels and so should you. We all should. This is what Mormonism is, or at least it should be." Reasons for bishops call was 1) meeting in groups every Tuesday to discuss gospel. He states he meets with only friends and family whenever they want to discuss the gospel. 2) For partaking the sacrament at home. 3) For reading the writings of Denver Snuffer. He could not withdraw stopping the sacrament because "I am currently in the middle of a 40-day sacrament fast, partaking of the sacrament every day for 40 days." He said "I don't believe anyone should just run out there and start doing ordinances. I discourage that. I prayed and fasted for months trying to know if I should bless and partake of the sacrament. The Lord kept encouraging me to proceed. I refused to do so until God told me He gave me authority and Power to perform the ordinance by His own voice out of Heaven to me."

Jon states "The Lord asked me, "are you going to obey men or Me?"" He states "I will give whatever The Lord requires, even if you cast people like me away, if I have to choose then I choose The Lord... If Joseph were here today I'm not even sure he would be welcome. Look, you think I'm crazy and hearing voices and talking with God and seeing angels, but isn't that what Joseph did too?"

Jon states "You see, the fruit is the test. How do you know the truth of things unless there is a test?" "The Lord told me to test the fruits of doing them according to Alma 32. (See Alma 32) And what's the test of Alma 32? It's to plant the seed or to do something, and then watch it to see if it grows, or expands the soul, and whatsoever expands the soul is good. ... I can tell you from first hand experience that my soul has expanded."

Bishop told him, "get in alignment with the current [church] doctrine...we don't go by what is in the scriptures, we go by what is in the current doctrine of the church...this isn't about your worthiness to hold a recommend [which the bishop said he was worthy]. It's about you doing things that are not in line with the current church doctrine." As to losing priesthood Jon stated "As to my priesthood, D&C 121 says, 'the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected to the Powers of Heaven.' As recent as right before this meeting The Lord told me, 'your connection to Heaven will not be affected in this meeting'" therefore the bishop could not take that away.

Jon received a text message from the stake president that was meant for the bishop, showing that the stake president has been communicating and seeking council with those in higher leadership positions. The text said "I did get some guidance from Salt Lake about children...I will be visiting with Elder Greer and Elder Corbridge this week. Until then , other than having to address the removal letter from the (name withheld), let's just stand still." Jon thoughts were (on blog not written to bishop) "I thought these excommunications were only from the local stakes and were local matters!? Are the leaders in Salt Lake lying to the public on this policy?" He is referring to the recent PR release that all excommunications are handled locally. He wrote to the leader  "Thanks for letting me know you are receiving instruction from above in direct violation of church public and official policy. This is a local matter and you do have the right "equal in authority to the twelve." You can choose, but it looks as though you've abdicated your responsibility. Apparently this isn't your choice though, as it appears to be in the hands of the 70's. I wonder who may be instructing them?" Finally Jon said to him "But when you seek to control, compel or dominate me, by using church discipline as a weapon to get me "in line with current doctrine," or deny me access to God by denying my right to do ordinances, then amen to your authority as it pertains to my private devotions and reaching out to God."

Recent Resignations

Jed & Elizabeth Jenson: May, 2014

"We were led by the Lord in the events that led up to our resignation and the events that followed. In the April 2014 General Conference I felt strongly that I should oppose sustaining the leaders because of the commandments of men they preached for doctrine and their insistence on member loyalty and adherence to leaders who entered not in themselves, and prevented others from entering into the presence of the Lord. It was a powerful moment and seemed that heaven took notice of my vote. Also in April, while teaching Gospel Doctrine, I met with my bishop who had received several comments from senior class members (many current and former auxiliary leaders) regarding the content of my lessons. In early May the Lord informed me one Sunday morning that this would be my last lesson. I ended it by stating that we should all become prophets like Moses espoused. The former Stake President in the audience said that he has never found the Church president to be out of line with Christ and that we all should just follow the prophet. The Lord told me that the message I was to deliver there through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost had been fully rejected. We met with our bishop to tell him we were resigning our membership. He sent in our letter without complaint. A couple months later the Lord urged me repeatedly to invite ward members to our home to study scriptures. I put the invite out on FB and in a FB message. I hoped it would build bridges and keep friendships and associations alive. The day of the planned study session, the Stake President had a letter read in all the auxillaries in our former ward that he had authored. It stated their love for our family but wanted to make it clear to the ward members that we had given up our eternal exaltation and were now apostates. It warned ward members to be careful of attending any activity in our home. As a result of this, almost everyone in the ward cut off contact with us. After Church that day, we received one long and nasty message from a ward member and former friend who railed against us, stating we were following Satan, starting our own Church, and had lost the gift of the Holy Ghost and could only receive darkness from this point forward.

We have not felt any loss of the spirit, gift of the Holy Ghost, or blessing from heaven since our resignation from the membership list. We have continued to bless and administer the sacrament in our home and perform baptisms and re-baptisms after my husband felt he had received power from heaven to continue using his priesthood. I have continued to receive dreams, visions, and communication from heaven and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

Source: Elizabeth Jenson

Frederick Volcansek: May, 2014
Frederick said "I explained carefully that our definition of faith today more closely resembles belief, and that when one has faith, one should expect to see the fruits of it in the form of conversing with angels and seeing various miracles, as well as receiving revelations and dreams, etc... " The first councilor rejected this doctrine, though new members seemed to understand it better than him. The councilor said "I taught nothing wrong, that I stuck to the scriptures, and that I didn't even offer personal interpretation. He also complemented me for being a great teacher. But, he said the material was too much. He said we only teach what the brethren teach and nothing more... the material is too much for church." He taught a missionary about the Second Comforter as taught by Joseph who became the highest baptizing missionary because he would teach converts that they too could "know the savior in this life." Mission president outlawed all teachings about the second comforter sending an email out to the mission.

He was bishop and was surprised released, the members were shocked and felt it should not have happened. The Stake Presidency kept trying to meet with him to find a reason to excommunicate him for teaching from the scriptures. He said instead of meeting the last few times he was led to resign.

Source: His Story

Mary Mahan Rogers: May 19, 2014
Mary "became aware there is far more to the true gospel than what I was learning at my meetings each Sunday. I learned that we can, and in fact should, receive the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh as the Second Comforter, and receive from His own mouth the promise of eternal life." She stated "Many truths are uncomfortable. It is a great error to believe the purpose of the Holy Ghost is only to make us feel good. The Holy Ghost is a REVELATOR. How we feel about that revelation is another matter altogether. It has no other purpose than to impart truth."

"I voted in opposition [in ward conference], and my vote was noted by angels from Heaven. This vote of consent by the majority of church members occurred at the same conference where the anti-Christ idea that we do not need to know our Lord was preached over the pulpit by one of the highest leaders in the church. The Heavens are paying attention. What we do matters. When we reject the Lord’s messenger, EVEN IF HE COMES FROM OUTSIDE THE HIERARCHY, the consequences are real. There is ample scriptural precedent for the Lord to send a messenger not recognized by the hierarchy."

Letter of Resignation: pdf link
Letter of Beliefs: pdf link

Tami Allman Harris: June 11, 2014
She states "I do not believe that the church today is anywhere close to what Joseph Smith had set up in the beginning of the restoration." "We as his people, should continually be working on seeing Christ, hearing Christ, communing with Christ and if we haven’t, then that is what we should be pursuing. THAT is what eternal life is, to know Him, to see him, to commune with him in THIS life." She mentions the brethren believe they have the "authority to give another of their choosing this second anointing... I feel it a little blasphemous. God is no respector of persons,He giveth to ALL men liberally." Has concern over having to "'pay' for our salvation" though she believes in the principle of tithing, is a full tithe payer, does not believe it should be required to receive eternal ordinances. There is no longer transparency. She quoted 2 Nephi 26:25, saying "Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price." She believes the church was a stepping stone and "There was a purpose, but now the purpose is done." Finally she states "I want to serve him and him alone."

Letter of Resignation: pdf link

Tim Malone: September 14, 2014
He resigned because "It was the honorable thing to do. It saved sixteen men many hours of time away from their families." being faced with a disciplinary hearing. Tim believes that the current LDS Church and its culture promote the mantra to “follow the prophet” to strictly and absolutely to the point of impeding the agency of individual members. He states "The LDS Church was divinely instituted but is not now what the Lord will use to establish Zion. Zion was never intended to be established by a large institution. Zion is to be established in small groups where there are no poor among them." He also said "I owe so much to the LDS Church." In response to those who said it was due to the writings of Denver Snuffer he stated "So am I now a follower of Denver Snuffer? No. I never was and never will be. I barely know the man. I know his writings and have been edified by them, but I am a disciple of Jesus Christ." though it seems the writings of Denver Snuffer had a major role in his decisions to resign.

Vaughn & Sara Schutz: October 11, 2014
They were asked by the Lord to write the post "A message to family and friends...." They sent it to their bishop, told by the Lord it would be their "last sacrifice," met with the bishop who said others may but he wouldn't excommunicate them. He was surprised that other people were being excommunicated for many of their beliefs. They decided to Resign because the Lord did "not need or want us to be members anymore." The story can be read here along with the blog posts below.

Their beliefs consists of believing the "temple endowment ceremony’s purpose is to show us how to return to the actual presence," how doctrines have changed since Joseph, that "”if Joseph Smith was a Prophet, then it is all true.” is a false notion (parts can be false while other parts can be true), and that "The Lord is offering again a chance for Zion" today to those living if they will accept it.

Events Leading to Resignation: "The Story"
Letter of Resignation: pdf link
Church Letter of Resignation: pdf link

Amanda Renee Schutz Clayton: Oct. 11th, 2014
She was never asked to leave the church. The Lord showed her the different reasons why she was staying included being fearful of man, what others would think, including her family. The Lord told her to learn to trust in Him instead of let fear drive her. "Even if my life was destroyed by the anticipated “broken hearts;” I would give it up for what the Lord said was best." "He never said I HAD to leave. He never took away my agency or forced me"

Source: "Her Story"

Jules Allred: November 28, 2014
She resigned because "this was my official declaration that I no longer desired to serve an institution or man." She stated "Two and a half years ago, the Lord told me: “The time will come, that your membership in the church will be lost if you stand for truth and righteousness”". She said it was her decision to resign as the Lord said it wouldn't affect her standing with God. Also "decided that my son doesn’t need to see me “prove” to him that I am “right” as I suppose; he needs to see me stand for the things I believe to be true, and live the things that I KNOW are true." The reasons given is that "I will no longer raise my hand and submit an “oath-like indication” to any institution of man – especially one that compels such an oath through unrighteous dominion, and at the threat of removing exaltation from individuals; essentially ensuring their spiritual death if they do not submit to such an oath."

In another post she mentions how God made her calling and election made sure, the promise of eternal life along with "experience speaking with the tongue of angels, and prophecy, and revelation, and visions, and visitations by heavenly beings, being taught by angels, and have been blessed with spiritual experiences that I've only read about in the scriptures." As quoted here (pdf mirror).

Letter of Dissent: "My dissent Blog Post", direct link (pdf mirror)
Bishop Exit Letter: "Exit Letter" (pdf mirror)
Source: "Resignation" (pdf mirror),

Sean Isaac & Sister May:  December 12, 2014
Resigned to avoid pending discipline. Sean was re-baptized as he states "I already knew re-baptism was His will. This was a formality set out in the Grand Councils of Heaven before this world was ever created. I promised God in that Council that I would do this. I have kept my promise." After being baptized by one having authority he felt the Holy Ghost "rest upon me." He states "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepted my re-baptism as an act of treason." They told him to either resign or face disciplinary action which would lead to excommunication. The Spirit told him and his wife to resign. He states "I would have remained a grateful member of the LDS Church for the rest of my life, had I not been given this ultimatum. We have not joined another church. We have not left the Gospel of Christ, nor have we left His doctrine, nor have we left Him, nor will we ever! It is exactly the opposite. We are working to preserve the Restoration as given by Joseph Smith."

Rob Corbray: December 18, 2014
He stated "I covenanted to build Zion, and instead the institution is seeking to further the cause of Babylon by investing in shopping centers with retractable roofs. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet, and they have edited his scripture and changed his ordinances. They justify torture and pre-emptive war when the Book of Mormon forbids Both. The institution has removed itself from the Restoration, and I will no longer be a part of that betrayal."

Source: Rob Corbray

Steven Retz: January 2015
He felt the Lord ask him to resign. He came across the writings of Rock Waterman and realized that the church has continuously changed its doctrines. He still believes in the restoration through Joseph and the Book of Mormon but feels the Lord leading him to serve elsewhere.

Letter of Resignation: pdf link

Bret Naylor: February 22nd, 2015
Bret wrote a fictional story of John the Baptists encounter in the ancient Jewish church. I won't ruin the account by summarizing it so I post it for others to read. He had first sent a contingency resignation letter to the bishop asking him if he could remain a member with those beliefs. "His Stake President told him that a disciplinary council would need to be held due to public posts made on facebook."

A Story: "Vignette"
Source: Bret Naylor

Tyson Hunt: March 2 2015

I (I'm the blog writer) want to add my witness that I also have retained my priesthood, my connection with God, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the Gifts of the Spirit, and all ordinances that were performed inside the LDS Church. I was first ordained there and retain that ordination by man today. I've written most of my thoughts in the Conclusion area and my beliefs in the letters but I will add a few things.

Moroni saw our day, he testified of us, the book testifies AGAINST us. It is the final opportunity for the Gentiles to repent. He meant what he said when he wrote "your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted", "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." Religion always follows the same pattern; man speaks with God which is called restoration, then other men come after and try to worship according to His latest visit which is called apostasy.

The Lord has set his hand again a second time to redeem those who are willing to receive Him.  Religion is intended to be between “you” and God, deeply personal and individually redemptive. Christ is as accessible to all as He was to Moses on the mount. And what was Moses' ambition? It was to bring everyone up on the mount to likewise see God (See D&C 84:23-25) but they preferred another man to speak for them or today believe only one should speak for him.  We must accept the gift that was offered through Joseph but we also have to take the burden of finding out what was really given by Joseph or later altered, changed, or taught to come from him that did not.

Source: "Letter of Beliefs"

Nancy Jones Genys
The following is what she wrote. "We were brought in under false pretense. It was just for a "talk." We hadn't had a visit since tithing settlement and we had no talks of doctrinal differences prior. We were caught unaware. This "talk" was a bishop's disciplinary counsel. They took our recommends, released us from callings, put us on probation and gave us 2 weeks to comply with the brethren and current doctrine. We told them we wouldn't comply in two weeks or ever unless the church allowed us to do ordinances properly [sacrament at home]. So, the stake presidency called us in for a "talk" (again, no previous conversations about any of this). This time we didn't believe them. It was the full stake presidency and another "informal court." We were told there was NO wiggle room. Either comply OR face a full court. We begged both groups of men to let us be - we would go inactive if they desired. We told them we would move... just leave us alone. They said they would hunt us down. They would NOT allow us to further offend them by using their priesthood without their permission. They said God wouldn't give it to us. I was specifically told that I was to disregard the visions I have had, the knowledge given and the instructions from the Lord (even though it is in alignment with what Joseph Smith taught [though I didn't know he taught this because I had never been taught it]). I was told that if I were supposed to know this stuff, the prophet would have told me. We prayed about it and were told to resign."

"The visions the Lord gave me were in alignment with what Joseph Smith taught. I didn't know at the time they were because we are not taught this in today's church. It was years later that I discovered the early saints were taught these same things. I testify that the Lord will teach you if you turn to Him. I testify that angels do minister to the children of men. My husband and I both resigned because of the threat of excommunication and after praying about what to do, were told by the Lord to resign. From start to finish it was 10 days. We had a bishop's court, a Stake Presidency court followed by resignation. We have felt the love of our Lord and Savior through all of this. What is our great sin? The ordinances. It all comes down to the fact that we are seeking the power of Godliness, and it comes through the ordinances. We are seeking to have Christ take up His abode with us. We believe that the Book of Mormon is the guide book on how to see angels, Christ and have your calling and election made sure. We said we would choose to live the gospel according to the scriptures as we covenanted. That was not okay. It is only okay to follow the handbook. The more I learn, the more I am grateful that the restoration Joseph started has begun anew. I have hope that maybe, just maybe, my husband and I can rise up and help our family truly be sealed to each other."

Source: Nancy Genys

Jolene Childers
The following is what she wrote. "There was a witch hunt going on here in Gilbert, AZ and I knew I was about to be named. So I felt inspired to just go in and let them know that I wasn't in line with the brethern and voluntarily give up my recommend. (Others in our circle were told that they had two weeks to get in line with the brethern by no longer partaking of the sacrament in our homes or performing and being baptized outside the church with the permission of those with the proper keys) When I went into my Bishop he was actually very nice, but wanted to convince me that I had been decieved. A couple weeks later I met with him and my Stake President. They tried to convince me once again that I had been deceived. I told them that they could not know that, since they were not present when I received my witness. A witness that I would never deny! They asked me what my intentions were and I said that I understood that I was not in line with the brethern and that I would not deny Christ and trust in the arm of flesh. If that meant that they would need to excommunicate me, well then I prefer to just to resign. So I gave them my letter of resignation. They warned me that I was breaking my covenants and that I would lose the blessings of the temple. I told them that I had not broken any of my covenants that I had made with God and that I felt closer to the Lord than ever. I reminded them that what goes on in the temple is only symbolic and is an invitation. I told them I was sure that God would not deny anyone those blessings if they were truly seeking him and living in accordance with his commandments."

Source: Jolene Childers

Other Events

Daniel Rogers
Daniel felt he was obligated to post a website with his testimony of Jesus Christ (linked as "My Testimony"). After sending the website the bishop released him from his calling. "The bishop stated that my testimony put me next to the 15" because he testified of his encounter of being brought into the presence of the God the Father and His Son and that each of us can receive those things. Eventually after further discussion, and the expiration of his recommend the bishop accepted that Daniel should have a recommend and allowed him to keep up his site. Part of that agreement was, though he was obligated to keep it up for 2 years, to temporary take down the site during the 3 hour block of Church.

In Daniels testimony he wrote "If you seek and accept His messengers to prepare the way, He will come suddenly to His temple and reveal to you His glorious body of burnings. He is talkative. He wants to know you more than you want to know Him. I know this because I have experienced this as a man speaks to another. Jesus Christ is the Second Comforter. He literally came to me and has comforted me. This is not a full statement of my witness. I share my testimony so that you may know that Christ lives and His work is to save imperfect people. I hope that this testimony will allow you to exercise faith enough to lay hold on these blessings." He ends with "Christ is the only one worthy of belief. Believe in Him. Seek after Him. He has promised that He will come to you. Please do not be satisfied with anything less than His literal presence...Christ has a work to do that no earthly man or program can provide. There is no servant at the gate. There is no substitute for conversing with the Lord through the veil."

Source: "Daniels Story", "My Testimony" (pdf mirror)

Jen Kindrick
She stated "I shared personal testimony about the importance of NOT making oaths to humans, outside of ordinances [in reference to Nelsons talk on sustaining]...To indicate that I recognize his counsel as "binding" upon me means that somehow I know the future, and can predict that whatever he says, I will follow.  I won't do it, because I can't predict the future.  If we fall back to sustaining, pre-October 2014, then we have another discussion at hand.  But we don't.  And we know – at least I do – that this new phraseology will be regurgitated over and over again in conferences to come."

She lost her recommend "Not because I don't have a testimony of God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, or of the Holy Ghost. Not because I don't have a testimony of the restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Not because I don't keep the law of chastity. Not because I don't keep my covenants. Not because I don't go to church every week. Not because I have a Word of Wisdom problem (although I do struggle with eating too much meat and sugar, and have lots of questions about why we don't use wine in our holy sacraments.) Not because I have a problem with any egregious sins. Not because I struggle to wear the garment.  I have no problem with it. Not because I beat or abuse my spouse or children, although surely there is a better way to raise them properly. I do not have a current recommend to attend the temple because I refuse to raise my arm to make an oath-like indication that I recognize the "prophet's" calling to be legitimate and binding upon me."

Source: "My Last Temple Recommend Interview" (pdf mirror)

J.J. Dewey: 1979
"Do the authorities today exercise authority over the disciples of Christ? Most people in the Church would say no, but they are not aware of the facts." JJ Dewey wrote an unpublished "article showing from the scriptures that there is progression from one kingdom to another after death." [If your not familiar with this it has been suggested by past presidents. See these quotes here.] Shared it with his nephew, who passed it around his ward. Nephew called saying "“They’re going to try me for my membership" in three days, asked JJ Dewey to be a witness, at the council the leaders were "aided by the advice of a general authority to the stake president that the “brethren” wanted to see an excommunication." They excommunicated him and JJ Dewey joked "to Curtis [the nephew] that he probably would have received better treatment and leniency if he had raped the Bishop’s wife."

Church headquarters received the results and started the process for JJ Dewey who said, "I was a full tithe payer, had seven church jobs, a temple recommend, attended all my meetings and was guilty of no sin outside of a few cuss words now and then." His own bishop "didn't want a trial for me but advised me that one was going to be held by the High Council." His beliefs that got him executed included"(1) One does not have to be a general authority to receive revelation on the mysteries of God. (2) The President of the Church is not infallible (3) There are inspired writings and people outside of the Church." Following they "announced the results of my trial to all of the wards" over the pulpit.

Source: "Infallible Authority, Chapter Seven" (pdf mirror)


These accounts show that many are experiencing the gifts of heaven. They are conversing with angels, being brought into the presence of God, receiving the Holy Ghost, being baptized again by those with authority, and many other marvelous things. They show that that priesthood is only controlled by God. That the gift Holy Ghost is only controlled by God and can be manifested outside a "religious organization." Despite a history that has been, buried, altered, changed, forgotten, or turned into fables, there is a truth hidden within that is worth knowing, worth finding out about, that is eternally true.

Like the Israelites who were in bondage for years before Moses led them out, could we not be in the same situation? A spiritual bondage? Do we allow authority to rule and reign over us? Many believe we allow this in our very governments. Yet what of our own very religions? Do we bow to it and stand up for it when it enters a room? Do we allow it (authority) to dictate what we, as sovereign beings, can do in our own homes, what we can say and even think? Do we cower if threatened with having a piece of paper taken away because of this supposed authority? Do we allow authority to dictate and interpret our standing before our God? If we allow these things we have given the only thing we own, our agency, over to that "authority," a man or woman, arm of flesh. This will condemn us before our God. If you don't believe this I invite you to open your own scriptures. Look up things like praise (i.e. Mosiah 2:20), fetters, chains of hell, unrighteous dominion, control, and compulsion for starters.

Institutional religions claim to be Gods, but there are two churches only. The ordinances are not meant to create an environment where men can "practice unrighteous" dominion over the souls of men. We are meant to be free. To worship how, what, or where we please. To partake of the sacrament in our own homes. To worship as a family if we desire or in a fellowship. To independently govern ourselves and dedicate ourselves unto God to do His bidding without some other coming "in the way" proclaiming salvation is through and by him because only he can speak to God for you. Christ is the servant at the gate and He employeth no servant there.

You can believe in the restoration given through Joseph Smith, in the Book of Mormon, that God speaks with man. As we recognize there are many problems that have arisen from "changes" that were unsanctioned by God in the early Restoration that others attribute to God instead of man, we can also begin to see Gods hand in what was given. As we begin to separate the traditions of men mingled with scripture from the truth we can begin to accept the gift that God offered through Joseph Smith, to be Zion.

Finally the Lord is acting today. He is giving us a chance to repent and turn unto Him. Do not look at religions as a heavenly pattern for they are not set upon His laws and His ways. They had their purpose but the Lord intends to establish Zion. Look Up. The signs in the heavens abound! You can know Jesus Christ personally. You don't need another to proclaim His name to you for in Zion "they shall all know me." (Jeremiah 32:34, Hebrews 8:11) Though we must heed the message's He sends through His servants. So I ask, Know Ye the Lord? He is real and waiting for you to "come unto me, that ye might feel and see" (3 Nephi 18:25) but to do so requires sacrifice. It requires you to heed that voice within, the Holy Ghost, bidding you to humble yourself before your God and offer up a broken heart and contrite spirit. You must offer up the "first fruits" of repentance if you have not. The gifts of the Spirit are increasing in the earth, but wickedness will increase also. Righteousness does not increase by adding more to the "numbers" but by the quality of the individual.

Call upon Him. Cry unto Him. Offer up your heart to Him. As it says in Helamen 5:41-42 "You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you. And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed."

This is not a complete list. I know there are many that didn't want their names public or others that are still in the process of their own proceedings. I do not plan on gathering any more names or accounts at this time. I only wished to testify of each of our abilities to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He Lives!

*You are free to use anything here without consent or linking back. For if the words are of man, they deserve to be cast aside and treated as dross, but if they are Gods, than no man owns them.