Consequences of Compulsion

Today the Deseret News is reporting that BYU basketball star Richard Harward’s alleged knee injury last week is not a knee injury after all, but rather a “cardiovascular issue.”  The 6’11” Orem High recruit is a key player on BYU’s team.  Source

The article states:

Coach Mark Pope said the 6-foot-11, 256-pounder from Orem could be sidelined for an indefinite period of time due to a cardiovascular issue.

Doctors are monitoring Harward closely.

“It’s super tough for us. It’s a huge blow to our team. Rich has a cardiovascular issue right now that he’s going to be out for at least a little while,” Pope said. “It’s kind of going to be like every week seeing how he does. Super devastating for him.

“He’s in the best shape of his life, he’s playing the best basketball of his life. He is the emotional leader of this entire team over the last two years. His emotional leadership is even a bigger loss than his body on the floor. We miss him. We’re hoping he gets back as soon as possible. But we just don’t know. It could be days, weeks or months. We’re just not sure.”

Could this be a season-ending situation?

“I hope not. The doctors haven’t given us any definitive end date,” Pope said. “We’re super hopeful that it will be soon but we just don’t know.”

What the Church-owned Deseret News is not reporting is that the perfectly healthy young Harward was coerced by the LDS Church into getting the CoVid vaccine and had just received an injection 8 days before the incident.  Make no mistake, this is yet another vaccine casualty that is not being reported on.

Are these vaccines really safe and effective as our Church leaders have promised?  Will the Church be honest about this devastating situation?  Or will it double down on their position?  Will the Church now change its position on mandatory vaccines for BYU students and for missionaries?  Will they now allow for religious exemptions?  Will this young man and his family sue the Church?  (Not that any amount of money can ever make him whole.)  Does this news mean that the Brethren are not inspired?  Not receiving revelation on this issue?  Could they be leading people astray?

Well, you heard it here first.  Let’s see how long it takes for the Church to publish what it knows right now.  Every second that ticks by is evidence of dishonesty and coverup.  And tragically, lives are literally hanging in the balance.  As I write this, the Church (and the state of Utah) is supporting children getting vaccinated who are zero percent at risk of dying from CoVid.  How many members of the Church will lose their faith in these men and possibly their lives because they were compelled to do as they were told?

Their temptation is to cover up and control what people see, hear, and know.  Just like how YouTube makes this video below “age restricted” to discourage people from seeing it.  As Church leaders have said in the past, “Not all Church history is faith promoting” and so they’ve made a deliberate decision to control the narrative and not be transparent or honest about their history.  Will they follow the same course on this issue also?  At the cost of peoples’ lives?

This one is also a must watch:

https://rumble.com/vos2i1-vaccine-trial-participant-speaks-out.html

 

Musings of a Fool

TheParable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

Wise and Foolish Virgins (Source)

I’ve spent a fair amount of time on this blog highlighting things that have contributed to my loss of faith in the direction of the LDS Church.  I began in 2014 shortly after having been released as a bishop.  However, my concerns actually began many years earlier at least regarding certain issues and topics.  I tried to address many of these concerns as a bishop and made honest attempts to be bold, persuasive, and thoughtful as I did.  I discovered that the scriptures are the best way to make a case.  But, I came to realize that even the scriptures or words of Joseph Smith are very often ignored in favor of today’s so called prophets.  “The living oracles” doctrine is the new “stare decisis” of Mormonism.  Sadly.  No one can argue against this statement while being honest, because this is what the Brethren themselves teach.

In fact, the Apostle who preaches this sermon the most is Elder Neal Andersen.  Elder Andersen is a man I happen to like very much.  I find him to be very kind, capable, and sincere.  I think in his mind, not only is NOT sustaining the prophets “the high road to apostasy,” BUT I think he also believes sincerely that sustaining the prophet is the MOST important thing we can do.  That it’s the BEST way we can truly follow Christ.  He leads the Brethren in referring to President Nelson the most in his talks, having named him 98 times in conference since Nelson became president and 23 times in his last Conference talk alone.  (Source)

President Nelson, despite being perhaps the least interesting and least revered president in Church history, “continues to be referenced more than any Latter-day Saint prophet with 133 mentions — whether named, quoted or footnoted” — in this last month’s General Conference.  This clearly demonstrates the idea that this practice of prophet preeminence is becoming more and more prevalent.

Let’s be honest — and intending no disrespect — but, Elder Nelson was never a Church leader most people ever enjoyed listening to in Conference.  His talks were and still are unnotable from a doctrinal or even “interesting” standpoint.  I found myself even as a bishop cringing over his style and his rather creepy, seemingly staged, smiles into the camera.  For me, he’s never been someone I’ve been very inspired by.

Most telling of all as to what perhaps his own peers have thought of him for the last 50 years comes from the very telling comment his wife Wendy made shortly after being installed as Church president, when she said that the new prophet is finally “unleashed to follow through on all the things he’s wanted to do.”  (Source)   Think about the implication of that statement!  The Brethren claim they collaborate and vigorously debate endlessly together over important issues and that they always vote on those issues and obtain unanimity.  So, apparently, ALL the ideas Elder Nelson ever had for nearly 50 years, even while President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, were rarely or never embraced unanimously by his 14 other colleagues.  Not a sign of one whose ideas were well loved and accepted.

Now think of the converse of that implication–All the ideas Elder Nelson advocated for for nearly 50 years, which the Brethren were largely against, are now magically being put into action.  Translation?  If the Brethren really did ever debate anything, they don’t anymore.  They now blindly do what the prophet wants to do.  What the prophet says IS what they ALL agree on unanimously.

Of course, when it comes time to finally put into place all the changes of President Nelson that everyone was once against, we get statements like this one from Elder Holland:

“I bear my own witness that these adjustments are examples of the revelation that has guided this Church from its beginning. They are yet more evidence that the Lord is hastening His work in its time.”   (Source)

Here’s a list of some of the “adjustments” that have been made since Nelson became prophet:

2018

March 26, 2018 — The First Presidency updates guidelines on preventing and responding to abuse.

March 31, 2018 — Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares are sustained as Apostles; priesthood quorums are restructured as high priests and elders combined into one elders quorum.

April 1, 2018 — Ministering replaces home and visiting teaching.

May 9, 2018 — The Church will end relationship with Boy Scouts of America, announces new activity program for children and youth.

June 18, 2018 — Hymnbook and Children’s Songbook will be revised to create new, unified editions for the worldwide Church.

June 20, 2018 — A First Presidency letter announces new guidelines for youth interviews.

June 22, 2018 — A new and improved version of “Preach My Gospel” is released.

Aug. 16, 2018 — President Nelson issues a statement on using the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (He later addresses this topic in general conference, and changes are made to Church websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, etc.)

Sept. 4, 2018 — The first volume of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

Sept. 5, 2018 — Missionary candidates will receive assignments online instead of in the mail.

Oct. 6, 2018 — Home-centered, Church-supported gospel study and adjustments to the Sunday meeting schedule are announced.

Oct. 30, 2018 — Some Church-produced pageants are discontinued.

Nov. 16, 2018 — All young missionary candidates — including prospective service missionaries ‚ will use the missionary online recommendation process.

Dec. 14, 2018 — Changes announced for Primary progression, young men priesthood ordination and youth temple recommends.

Dec. 20, 2018 — Sister missionaries have the option to wear dress pants.

2019

Jan. 2, 2019 — The First Presidency releases statement on temples.

Feb. 15, 2019 — Missionaries are authorized to communicate with their families each week on preparation day by text, online messaging, phone calls and video chats.

March 22, 2019 — Seminary curriculum will align with “Come, Follow Me.”

April 4, 2019 — Children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may now be blessed as infants and baptized without First Presidency approval.

May 6, 2019 — One-year waiting period for temple sealings after civil marriage is discontinued.

July 19, 2019 — The Church announces stakes in the U.S. and Canada will sponsor biennial For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conferences modeled after BYU’s Especially for Youth program.

Aug. 16, 2019 — The Church announces new training course to help adults know how to prevent and respond to child abuse.

Sept. 5, 2019 — Book of Mormon Videos series release dates are announced.

Oct. 2, 2019 — Women, youth and children may now serve as witnesses of sealing and baptismal ordinances.

Oct. 5, 2019 — Ward Young Men presidencies are discontinuednew Young Women theme, class name and structure changes are announced.

Oct. 6, 2019 — President Nelson announces revised temple recommend questions2020 will be “bicentennial year” with April conference “different from any previous conference.”

Nov. 15, 2019 — The Church releases new missionary handbook.

Nov. 17, 2019 — New Aaronic Priesthood quorum theme announced.

Dec. 17, 2019 — The First Presidency releases statement on Church finances.

2020

Jan. 17, 2020 — Adjustments are made to ceremonial temple clothing.

Jan 30, 2020 — The Church announces new administrative handbook for all Church leaders and members to replace Handbook 1 and Handbook 2.

April 4, 2020 — A new Church symbol is introduced.

April 5, 2020 — President Nelson issues “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World.”

April 17, 2020 — The First Presidency releases administrative principles for the Church during challenging times.

June 12, 2020 — Blue dress shirts, no ties are approved as missionary attire exceptions.

Aug. 14, 2020 — The First Presidency announces three global Church magazines will replace the current four; Ensign title is retired and New Era renamed.

Aug. 25, 2020 — Church members can now submit names to temple prayer rolls online.

Nov. 20, 2020 — President Nelson gives his worldwide message on healing power of gratitude.

(Source for the above)

It’s ironic that the least popular prophet, ignored by his peers largely for 50 years, now makes the MOST changes to Church policy (and doctrine) and funny enough, becomes “popular” among the people (in a way) for having made so many changes.  (Examples above such as shorter Church!  No more home teaching!  Home church for a bit!  Shorter temple times with less effort!  No more dresses for girl missionaries!  More casual dress requirements for boy missionaries!  More temples in cool places!  Civil marriage today and sealed tomorrow!  Missionaries able to call home every week!  No more Boy Scouts!!!  Kids with gay parents can be baptized! Etc.)  I think anyone would be more popular if they enacted these kinds of changes.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let’s be very honest again.  Some of my closest very active Mormon friends have told me discreetly they strongly disagree with and even dislike President Nelson despite all the exciting changes he’s made. And why would that be?  Here are just a few of the reasons:

  1. “While home church is AMAZING and BETTER in every way than Church-church, why did the Church NOT fight for our religious freedoms and rights of assembly during CoVid like other Churches did?”
  2. “Why did the Church make me wear a mask once it began opening its doors, and why couldn’t we sing, and why were we forced to sit 6 feet apart, and attend only every other week, etc?”
  3. “Why did the Church not let us come every week and yet told Priesthood holders they could not do Sacrament in their homes for many of those weeks and why can’t people who still feel vulnerable to CoVid and are still not attending, do Sacrament in their homes in most cases?”
  4. “Why do I need permission from the Church to do Sacrament in my home anyway?”
  5. “Why has the Church been so friendly with the world and why are they pushing that we need to be good global citizens, by wearing a mask as a ‘sign of Christlike love,’ and by forcing vaccinations on its members?”
  6. “Why in the hell (direct quote) does my 18-year old son or daughter have to get a vaccine to go on a mission or to attend a Church college, especially when they’ve already had CoVid?”
  7. “Why won’t the Church grant religious exemptions for people who a) don’t believe the vaccine is right for them and b) don’t want to inject themselves with anything that comes from aborted fetuses?”
  8. “Why is the Church NOT preaching in favor of our Constitution and the liberties it ought to want to safeguard that are GOD GIVEN?!”
  9. “Why is the Church saying we should trust science and medical people, when those same “scientists” are in favor of gender surgeries, abortion, etc?!”
  10. “How can the Church say vaccines are safe and effective when there have been almost 1 million adverse effects “reported” on VAERS, many of which have been deaths of young people, mothers, teens, children etc. AND tens of thousands of permanent disabilities!?”
  11. “How on earth can the Church sit back while elections are stolen and the Constitution is being destroyed?”
  12. “How can the Church be okay with one of its own Apostles contributing to political campaigns?”
  13. “How come the Church congratulated Joe Biden while the election was still being legally contested?”
  14. “Why does the Church seem to hate President Trump so much and yet seems to give folks like Joe Biden, Jeff Flake, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, et al, a free pass?”
  15. “Why is the Church so pro-illegal immigration?”
  16. “Why is the Church investing in Facebook, Pfeizer, the UN, and a million other entities it should disagree with?”
  17. “Why not invest in sports betting, porn, strip clubs, pay day loans, and pawn shops, if the whole goal is to just make money?”

I could add many of my own concerns, many of which I’ve spoken about on this blog.  But, the point is that many, many LDS people are very upset with President Nelson about one or more of these above issues, hence the reason we are seeing historically low Church attendance/activity and growth rates.  Another irony.

One faithful LDS mom took to the internet and read an open letter to President Nelson.  I strongly recommend you listen to it.  Her plea is incredibly sincere and needs to be shared and heard by the Brethren.

One friend who was a bishop recently told me, “Hey I will deny this in public, but I can’t stand this man leading the Church.”  Another two friends confided in me that for the first time in their lives they believe the prophet can and IS leading people astray.

Add to the above list of concerns many have over a billionaire apostle being granted a “special dispensation” to be able to keep his company interests alive.  So much for no purse or scrip and setting aside fish nets to become fishers of men.

AND secret accounts that only 7 people know about in the world where 126 billion tithing dollars are being gambled on the stock market…

AND the Church becoming more and more progressive on social issues including all things LGBTQ… meanwhile my gay friends have never felt less welcome or interested in Church…  (In other words the Church has a credibility problem).

I think for the first time in my life we are seeing the beginning of the end of the Church’s ability to keep things from falling apart.  I predict we are about to see a mass exodus from the Church.

Interestingly, the Church, for all its postering and unsupported policy impositions, is very sensitive to negative news and to member protests.  Look at what happened recently with the Manti temple when members finally began to protest the Church for its decision to remove original pioneer murals.  The Church went from “Pound sand!” to “Oh so sorry, we’ve heard you!  And we’ve prayed again and good news!  Jesus changed his mind!  He wants us to keep the murals after all!”

The important thing to remember in all this is, DON’T just sit back and trust your leaders blindly!  I know Mormons hate that word “blindly” (along with the word Mormon) and always contend that they don’t follow the prophet blindly…  However… I have family members who literally have told me that they are getting the vaccine because the prophet told them to!  And even if they DIE, they will not regret following the prophet NO MATTER WHAT!  How is this not blind obedience?

Well, I rant.  And I don’t mean to.  Readers will notice that I don’t post much anymore.  This has been largely for two reasons.  1) I really don’t find any enjoyment at this late point in the game to be critical of the Church.  Things are getting too serious and I have too many people I love too dearly who are still faithful members of the Church.  My hope for sharing my concerns has ALWAYS been with the desire to help people simply be willing to think for themselves and to focus on the Lord, not on men.  2) I am not a prophet or one who has words yet that can help produce faith.  I am not one of His servants.  For this reason, I am always reluctant to say anything at all.

And hence why I call these the musings of a fool, which I implore you NOT to give any heed to unless they turn you to the Lord, to the scriptures, or to those He calls.  I am truly a fool before God and man, but I also truly hope He can redeem me and I pray I can learn how to serve Him and love Him better.

I will say this, however.  I have absolutely found a new home in the Restoration movement.  For any reading this blog who may be unaware of what that even means, I would refer you to these resources:

TheTenTalks.com

Scriptures.info

Here you can find a treasure trove of what I believe is God’s word as shared by at least one He has called to continue the work started through Joseph Smith.

The Church cannot save you, does not appear concerned with building Zion (i.e. a safe place to flee to during the troubles fast approaching) or saving the Constitution and will damn the people that follow them and hearken to their teachings if they have not been in the presence of God and His Angels.

The words you will hear in the Ten Talks above will better describe the work now underway AND will show you where you and your loved ones can land when you realize the dire and awful situation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“They Will Never Lead Us Astray”

I’ve spoken about this topic many times on this blog.  The idea that the Brethren and the Prophet cannot lead us astray has become a very controversial topic even among active LDS.

Elder Oaks’ daughter Jenny Oaks Baker struck a chord on Facebook a few days before Conference with this post on the subject:

I woke up this morning feeling with a deep desire to publicly declare my testimony that the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by a true prophet who communes with God and who will never lead us astray! I also know that the Apostles and other members of the First Presidency are also prophets, seers and revelators who are called of God and who will lead us back to Him if we follow their counsel. My heart has been so saddened as I have seen so many members of The Church doubting and publicly disagreeing with these good and righteous leaders, thinking that they themselves know better. Wearing masks at church and in the temple as President Nelson has asked us to do, is our way of looking at Moses’ staff to be healed. It really doesn’t matter if masks work or not! That is not the point! This is an obedience test! And the same goes for vaccinations! The Prophet has encouraged us all to be vaccinated unless we have a medical reason to refrain from doing so, and if we do get the vaccine, we will be blessed! It’s that simple! I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s true Church on this earth! I know it! And I feel so blessed to have the Gospel in my life as it brings my life so much peace and joy. Please don’t let your distrust of vaccinations and hatred for masks be the mists of darkness that shake your hold upon the iron rod and prevent you from partaking of the sweet fruits of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! I know that following the Prophet in all things, will bring healing, peace and safety to us all!  Facebook Post September 28, 2021 4:55 am #JennyOaksBaker

When I last checked there were 425 comments.  The comments are quite interesting to read and range from completely in favor to accusations that this post is evidence that the Church is a cult.

I would simply point to the words published as said by Joseph Smith, a true prophet of God, forwarded to me by a good friend recently.  This statement reflects quotes from early Church leaders, even Brigham Young, but which the likes of today are considered as grounds for apostasy by the Church.

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; and 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 the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When the 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.

Joseph Smith, Millennial Star, vol.14 #38, pp. 593-95

The religion restored through Joseph Smith has turned into something I think he would mourn.  I don’t think the Church can continue pushing this “last doctrine” and not lose the vast majority of its members.

Insurrection of the Just

I have already written about a phone call I made to the First Presidency last year, sharing my concerns that they were already congratulating Joe Biden on his “victory,” while the election was still being legally contested and was yet uncertified.  The response from their spokesperson was not a reassuring one.  His focus was on the Church keeping their 501c3 status and on making sure they were friendly with the potentially new administration, rather than defending election integrity in an election that will be proven to have been stolen.  (One source of many)

The Church, led by the Brethren, have continued in a trend that seems afraid of accidentally offending the current powers that be.  Or worse, they’ve simply become woke.  A recent recording of Elder Rasband highlights this concern.

There are some concerning statements Elder Rasband makes in the above recording.  On one hand he notes that “most members” are obeying the prophet’s “request” to wear a mask and to get vaccinated, and that it’s a small minority that they are disappointed with for not complying.  He states he would not hesitate for a second to call such people to repentance.

My questions to Elder Rasband are:

  1. If it’s just a “request” then why are you upset that some are choosing to not obey the request?
  2. If vaccinations work so well, then why be concerned about the small minority who decide not to get them?
  3. If most LDS are getting vaccinated, then why still wear masks and social distance?
  4. Do you really believe in a person’s right to choose?
  5. If it’s just a “request” then why are you NOT allowing unvaccinated young adults into BYU Hawaii or the MTC?
  6. If it’s just a “request” then why are you telling missionary applicants they will NOT be able to serve a foreign mission without the vaccine?
  7. If it’s just a “request” then why are you shaming members who don’t wish to wear a mask anymore at Church?  Vaccinated or not?

Elder Rasband suggests that “among his Brethren” they have discussed how sad it is that those who refuse to comply with their counsel are failing in such a small thing–that this represents us failing a test of some sort in their minds, he says.  Imagine if they asked us to do some great thing!  he adds.

I am personally troubled by Elder Rasband’s tone and disagree with what seems to be the Brethren’s approach.  My 18-year old son’s friends, for example, who are opposed to the vaccine, are now all relenting because they want a chance to serve a foreign mission and don’t want to do “home MTC.”  What happens if they don’t get called to serve a foreign mission even after getting vaccinated?  Will they feel betrayed?  Or if they have medical complications caused by the vaccine?  Abandoning their strong feelings and concerns over the untested and unproven vaccine is the end result of the Brethren’s coercion.  The vaccine, they say, is just a request.  Most of these friends of my son have had CoVid already and many medical professionals and scientists are warning that getting the vaccine if you’ve already had the virus, and are young, is an unnecessary risk.  (one source here of many)

We’ve heard much from the Brethren of late of following the “wise counsel of world leaders and of scientists,” by complying.  “Be good Christians.”  “Good global citizens.”  (Source)  The implication of course is obvious and their clumsy attempt of pretending like everyone’s agency is actually being respected rings hallow.

I find myself far more inspired by the reaction of indignant citizens like the ones in the videos below.  Lest we forget, their responses, as intense as they may be at times, represent a far more normal reaction to having your freedoms stolen from you than the current response of the Brethren, who, in my view, are yet again on the wrong side of this debate.

Many of these people being labeled as crazy, insurrectionists are on the right side of liberty and will be on the right side of history.  It is people like them who are actually showing courage.  It is many of these so called “insurrectionists” who are JUST, in my view.  May there be many more of them, rather than more blind followers.  There is no virtue in blindly following men who are trusting in the arm of the flesh.  It is not their title that matters at this point, it is their fruits.  We must discern and choose for ourselves what is right.

A friend reminded me today of the account of a young LDS man who the Church excommunicated for standing up for truth.  It was only decades later after his death that he was vindicated.  16-year-old Helmuth Hubener was tortured and killed for standing up against Hitler and the Nazis while the Church did nothing to save him.  (See the story of Helmuth Hubener)

Today these same types of forces are overtaking our freedoms yet again.  History does not always repeat itself, but it always seems to rhyme.  We will see one day who was on the right sides and wrong sides of this battle for human liberty.  Will we be valiant or will we simply follow the seemingly wise counsel of our leaders?  I say be valiant.

And here’s a normal reaction from an honest citizen regarding the recent election coup.  I wish the LDS Church leaders were still encouraging its members to do as this man.  It seems like the days of American Patriotism and the encouragement of civic duty are no longer being emphasized by the Brethren.

The Lord’s Strange Act

After Joseph and Hyrum were killed, the Church was confronted with a veritable succession crisis.  We don’t appreciate this dilemma well today and the Church never discusses it, but it was the quandary of a lifetime for the newly forming Church.  Could you imagine leaving your home country to join the Church, leaving all you possess, potentially being disowned by your family and loved ones, making the long and dangerous journey to Nauvoo… only to find that the Church’s beloved founding Prophet and his successor had just been killed and no one knew what to do?  For three and a half years!

Brigham and Sidney were among those putting their names in the hat for who would be the Church’s custodian until Joseph’s son, Joseph III (only 11 years old at the time) was old enough to be the Church’s leader.

Most, if not all, factions proposing succession solutions, believed the Smith family had some lineal right to lead the Church.  I know this idea doesn’t resonate for most LDS people today.  I recall many times in my Church experience the idea being conveyed that this was one of the things “wrong” with the Smiths and with the RLDS.  “They simply didn’t understand that authority doesn’t just follow some family line… That’s just not right — they’re not entitled to anything.  That’s nepotism and the Lord doesn’t work that way.”  Of course, this disagreement is what truly distinguished the LDS and RLDS churches. This and polygamy, which were the main points of contention between Brigham and Emma / Joseph.

When Joseph died, Brigham’s first words were, “We’ve lost the keys.”  Emma went on to say shortly thereafter, “If there is no Joseph, there is no Church.”  Both of these comments from two of the most important remaining Church leaders (The president of the Quorum of the Twelve and the president of the Relief Society), point to the fear that in losing Joseph and Hyrum, they had potentially lost the ability to continue as a Church.

After 3 1/2 years of the Church not having a leader, Brigham persuaded a large enough portion of the Church that he, as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, should be entrusted to lead the Church… until Joseph III was old enough.  That group eventually migrated West with Brigham and the Utah LDS Church was born, while Emma and Joseph III and many others stayed back or went elsewhere.

But before getting to that point, Brigham’s dilemma would be satisfying the concerns of those loyal to Joseph and sympathetic to Emma.  Emma and many others did not trust Brigham and Brigham despised Emma as the “most damnable liar.”  Eventually the RLDS Church would be formed where Joseph III would became its leader, but in the meantime, while the Church was still in full succession crisis, and perhaps in order to appease the Josephites, in May of 1845 Brigham, as Senior Apostle, ordained William Smith (Joseph’s and Hyrum’s brother) as Presiding Church Patriarch, thus replacing Hyrum.

Brigham would later excommunicate William for apostasy who then went on to become the Presiding Patriarch for the James Strang LDS branch. Brigham replaced William Smith with “Uncle John” Smith, Joseph Smith Sr’s brother — all of which corroborates the belief at the time that “a Smith” needed to be had in this position, whether in the LDS, RLDS, or Strangite branch of Mormonism.  William went even further and claimed that as a Smith, he had some sort of right to preside due to the “doctrine of lineal succession.”  (Source)

“Smith’s relationship with Young remained strained until Young’s death in 1877. Smith believed that Young had arranged for William’s older brother Samuel to be poisoned in 1844 to prevent his accession to the presidency of the church.”  (Source)

Hyrum had been the Church Patriarch when he was killed and he was given a “lineal ordination” by his father Joseph Smith Sr. who at the time was literally on his own deathbed.  Hyrum, as Church Patriarch, was the rightful successor to the Prophet Joseph when he died. 

So, Brigham and the LDS Church, it would seem, “honored” the Smith family by giving this High Office of Church Patriarch to a Smith descendent in 1845 and 1849 and thereafter.  This person would eventually ordain the next prophets and on the Church’s hierarchy charts would be shown as equal to the First Presidency, although he would no longer be next in line for succession.

Photo from here

But, in 1979, the LDS Church decided to discontinue the calling of Presiding Patriarch.  Can you imagine?  Discontinue the office of the man they believed held the keys to ordain the new President of the Church?  And they did so without consulting the Office of the Patriarch.  Eldred G. Smith was the Patriarch at that time and it’s been reported that he was livid.

I had a friend who in 1979 was just beginning his new career as a full time seminary teacher. He said that Eldred Smith was scheduled to speak to a group of seminary teachers at Timp View High School, when he received the news of his office being made emeritus.  My friend confirmed that Smith was very upset and told this group that “the Church has no idea what it’s done.  They can’t take away my authority even if they kill me!” Smith reportedly said.  My friend also said that after Eldred Smith’s remarks, there was a lot of frantic damage control to reassure these seminary and institute teachers that the Church was still true.

Nonetheless, for the next 36 years, Eldred Smith was given a small office and was allowed to give blessings and to travel around the Church with Smith family relics that his family owned, independent of the Church.  The box the Gold Plates were kept in.  Emma Smith’s footstool.  Hyrum’s clothes he wore when he was killed.  His pocket watch that was hit by a bullet, etc.  (Source)

Image from KSL.com

Image from KSL.com

Smith died at age 106 on April 4, 2013 and he was not replaced with any member of the Smith family line.  As a result, the Lineal office of Presiding Patriarch that had been established by the Lord was no longer being honored by the LDS Church in any way, shape, or form.  The Smith family and the “keys” or authority it held, were now officially being set aside and disregarded, without a revelation from the Lord in 1979 and now in 2013, the Church had effectively snuffed out its Patriarchal connection to Joseph and Hyrum Smith, completely.

Is it possible that the death of Eldred G. Smith at the age of 106 on April 4, 2013, was some sort of sign regarding the LDS Church’s authority?  Or perhaps a sign regarding the condemnation the Church was / is under for its role in the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum?

The best interpretation I’ve read for what Eldred Smith’s passing could signify is given by a man who happened to be excommunicated shortly after Eldred Smith’s passing.  He had been a member of the LDS Church for 40 years to the day.  You can read more about this here. 

This man, Denver Snuffer, wrote a letter of appeal to the First Presidency, which was denied.  Snuffer did not want to be excommunicated and pleaded with the LDS Church to not commit the offense of cutting him off.  I was there when this all took place and I can testify that Joseph and Hyrum have no greater mortal advocate than Denver Snuffer.  The Church was wrong by cutting such a man off.  Denver’s writings on Joseph and on the Restoration are remarkable.

As we commemorate 177 years this week since Joseph’s and Hyrum’s martyrdom, I’m incredibly grateful that there is some person and some group that is trying to honor the work of the Restoration which began with Joseph Smith in the Spring of 1820.  Praise God for His Strange Act now again under way.

To Be Seen Of Men

And it came to pass as Jesus taught his disciples, he said unto them, Take heed that you do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise, you have no reward of your Father who is in Heaven. Therefore, when you do alms, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Truly I say unto you, they have their reward. But when you do alms, let it be unto you as your left hand not knowing what your right hand does, that your alms may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret himself shall reward you openly. (Matthew 3:27 RE)

And after this, Jesus sat opposite the treasury and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. And Jesus called his disciples and said unto them, Truly I say unto you that this poor widow has cast more in than all they who have cast into the treasury; for all the rich did cast in of their abundance, but she — notwithstanding her lack — did cast in all that she had; yea, even all her possessions. (Mark 5:48 RE)

Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?  (Temple recommend questions)

Courage

July 22, 2015 file photo, Capt. Matthew Lohmeier

As of today, Matt Lohmeier’s brand new book Irresistible Revolution is the best seller on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Matt has spent much of his life in service to our country and I know firsthand that he is a man of tremendous faith and character.  Friday, he was fired from his position in the military for comments he made regarding the influence of Marxism in the Armed Forces in an interview speaking about his new book.  Now, in large part because Matt has been fired for standing up for his beliefs, the news of this important book has reached nearly every media outlet in the world.

This is what courage looks like. We would all do well to remember that courage is what people are longing for.  Many of us shy away from controversy, because we don’t want to lose our jobs or become a target.  It’s understandable, of course, especially now when there’s a real threat of being canceled, harassed, or even worse.

I’m grateful for courageous people like Matt and his family who stand with him.  I pray for them.  I’ve bought two copies of his book so far and plan to buy many more to send to people I think would benefit from reading it.  I also stand with many of you, ready to help Matt and his family, in any way we can as things progress.  That’s a promise.

About 7 years ago, I found myself driving to a presentation being made by a friend.  The venue was Boise and as I was making the drive, another friend called me to warn me that the person I was going to listen to had just been excommunicated.  My friend was calling me from the East coast and seemed to almost have his information in real time.  He was very concerned for my welfare.  I was a bishop, he reminded me, and “I had a family I needed to take care of.”  My East coast friend was well-intentioned and was only trying to help.

As a result, I became fearful and wondered what I was doing.  I had read some books from this person speaking in Boise.  In fact, his books were changing my life.  My eyes seemed to be opening and my heart swelled within me as he expounded the scriptures in those books.  This man, who by this time I had known for several years, testified that he had seen the Lord.  Somehow, I knew he was telling the truth and I believed him.

BUT, I was a respected bishop.  I was in a position to make a difference in my ward and community.  In fact, up until then, I had been sharing this man’s books with ward members and was witnessing the positive effect his words were having on the people I was serving.  Was I now risking all that by attending the speech of a person the Church now called an apostate?  My East coast friend knew I was heading to Boise… would he tell on me?  In fact, my friend was good friends with one of the Twelve (soon to be two).  And let’s not forget, a high ranking church leader or two were in my own ward!  One of them already knew I was friends with this new enemy of the Church.

I reluctantly and sheepishly found a place to sit in this venue in Boise surrounded by people I did not know.  The group seemed a little informal and in my state of mind, I saw them generally as strange.  What on earth was I doing there!?  To make matters worse, my wife, at that time, did not approve in the least.

As this man began his speech, I was filled with anger, fear, angst, and regret… when suddenly something amazing happened.  The Lord spoke to me through this newest excommunicated obscure man.  He said:

Cowardice is largely predicated upon fear.  Don’t be cowardly.  Don’t be fearful.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  For goodness sake, you’re already in the battle!  You’re already going to be overtaken.  The fact of the matter is that no one gets out of here alive.  Live this life nobly, fearlessly.  When you take the wounds that come your way, you make sure that they come to your front!  Don’t let them shoot you in the back. Go about your life boldly, nobly, valiantly.  Because it is only through valiance in the testimony of Jesus Christ that you can hope to secure anything–not valiance in your fidelity to anything other than Jesus Christ.  The fact of the matter is that faith must be based in Him, and Him alone. (Be of Good Cheer, Boise, Idaho September 10, 2013, my emphasis added.)

The timeliness of these words struck me with such power and my heart immediately rejoiced!  Fear, doubt and anger all left me! Instead I wanted to stand valiantly and boldly and I wanted to shout Hallelujah!

Here was a man who had just been excommunicated, literally only a couple hours earlier.  I knew this man was a good man and that his actions did not merit being kicked out of the church.  Here was a man now about to be shunned by his community and forsaken by “friends.”  And yet, there he stood, unafraid, filled with God’s Spirit, and speaking words that brought power to my heart and mind.  I now knew this man was telling the truth and he may not know it, but those words have carried me through many dark moments.

This too is what courage looks like. Thanks in large part to this man, I know that fear is the opposite of faith.  I also pray for this man and his family and stand ready to defend his honor and character before the earthly and heavenly councils.  I know I do not stand alone and I praise God for it.

This man’s name is Denver Snuffer.

Brazen Servants

Brazen Servants

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, brazen supporter of liberal causes. AP Images – Rick Bowmer

In light of Dieter Uchtdorf’s recent financial support for political candidates and causes that promote the killing of innocent children, the Church felt like it was a good idea to lead with him at this weekend’s conference–as if to say, “We still have confidence in our Apostle… and you can too.”

Sadly, the Church was complicit if not responsible for Uchtdorf’s official, less than forthright response.  They should have just told the truth.  Instead they now continue to seek to cover up their sins.

The saddest truth emerging from this experience is that we can now know, by the fruits of this alleged prophet, seer, and revelator, that he is not any of these things.  He can’t be, even by the Church’s own definition, which would prevent him from holding a temple recommend.

Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  

As a bishop, I interviewed an Area Seventy for his Temple Recommend.  His reply to this question was, “Yes.  Boy Scouts.”  I laughed, and agreed with him.  His answer was truthful.  But, he went on to say that this was not the real intent of the question.  It was targeted towards polygamy and “apostasy,” he said.  Ironically, Biden is considered apostate by many leaders of his own church.  (Read here)

Elder Uchtdorf and likely other members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve financially support and agree with individuals and groups whose teachings and practices are contrary to and oppose those accepted by the Church and as taught in the Scriptures.  These individuals and groups support abortion, gay marriage, deviant lifestyles, and they teach propaganda and lies to our children.  Even if Uchtdorf does not agree with some of the leftist communist agenda, his financial support to these groups and people is funding the above mentioned evils.

In President Benson’s day such members who openly supported socialism and communism and abortion and the agenda of Sodom, would have been dealt with if not excommunicated.  They would have been fired from BYU or other Church employment.  Released as a Church leader.  But today, it is these woke “prophets” who are financially supporting such wickedness, with no apologies.

As I watched Elder Uchtdorf today, I was both sad and offended.  I am not so easily persuaded by flowery words with no mention of his “deep regret” for breaking Church law and lying about it.  Don’t have him speak first and pretend like nothing happened.  They would have us look to him and his apostle colleagues and to President Nelson as a brazen serpent to be saved rather than be honest about their public sins and point us to Christ.  In their minds, it is only through them that we are saved.  On Easter Sunday weekend, that idea is deeply offensive.

They are indeed brazen.

Dieter F. Dupdorf

Latter-day Saint leader says oversight led to campaign donations made in his name to Biden, others

Elder Uchdorf gave financial contributions to fraudulently elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this last year as well as to other democratic candidates and organizations.  He also gave money to the two liberal Senatorial candidates in Georgia, which gave complete, dangerous control of power to the liberal left.

I find a few things very troubling about this information.

First of all, Elder Uchdorf knowingly went against Church policy by supporting political candidates.

Secondly, he and the Church are now being dishonest about it.  The official statement is:  “Elder Uchdorf regrets the oversight of political contributions made in his name using a family account online.”  In the words of Elder Uchdorf’s new fake president I’d have to say: “Come on maaaaan!” Do you really think ANYONE believes that?  Be honest.  Own it.  You supported him and you know it.

Thirdly, I simply cannot believe that a man who calls himself a prophet, seer, and revelator, would support abortion, gay marriage and all other liberal causes AND cannot see that these recent events that he supported may lead to the end of religious freedom and to the end of our Nation.  This is most disappointing of all—especially coming from a man whose family escaped Naziism and was able to become an American citizen.

The Separation of Church and Estate

Vice President Joe Biden Receives Special Gift from Elders ...

The problem with doing business and real estate deals in various States and Countries, is one of compliance and compromise.  The entity wishing to have a legal and physically recognized presence in any domestic or foreign jurisdiction is required to comply with rules, laws, whims, bribes, and extortions of the sponsoring state.

The Church, for example, is literally required to make and keep covenants with Communists, in order to have a Church and Temple presence in China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and elsewhere.  One of the reasons the Church took so long to build a temple in France was because it was unwilling to keep the “covenants” of the Socialist French government that required access to its properties as a precondition, among other things.  And then the City of Versailles of course had a lot to say about what the temple had to look like.  It was an arduous process that was both a negotiation and series of compromises.  And it took more than 150 years.

The Church finds itself today in a very difficult position. The more it expands, the more it thinks it must appear neutral.  Unoffensive.  “Kind.”  “Good Global Citizens.”  The more it builds, the more it must compromise and the less it is able to say or teach about important issues, especially as the world falls apart around us.  People are craving guidance while the Church is trying to avoid being canceled and is attempting to navigate very turbulent political waters.

If the Church had been critical of the recently stolen election for example, it not only offends some of its members, it also offends all the mainstream media outlets, most world leaders, Antifa and BLM, Hollywood, Pro Sports, most major retailers and Big Tech companies, Congress, the new administration, members of the Supreme Court, local governments… and especially China, who helped orchestrate “the steal” and it invites the wrath of power structures that would seek to destroy it.

The Church would definitely never get its temple in China if it spoke the truth on many issues, especially human rights in China.  It would never get its meetinghouses.  And if it had those structures, they would be at risk of retaliation, violence, confiscation, and destruction.

We could cite many scenarios highlighting where the Church is vulnerable if it stands up and speaks truth.  In the US, it could lose its 501c3 status.  This is effectively what Wilford Woodruff “saw” in vision (envisioned may be a more accurate way to say it) when the Church was literally losing its freedoms over its stance on polygamy.  The Church was forced to eventually comply.  Otherwise prison and confiscation of properties was the alternative.

So the Church has chosen to remain neutral.  Which sounds fine on its face.  “Be diplomatic and kind and don’t talk politics…”  We all know the drill.  But what about when it comes to abortion or other moral issues?  What about when it comes to election integrity and Constitutional issues?  Right to bear arms?  Freedom of speech?  Freedom of assembly (see CoVid)?  Right to not be vaccinated?  The right to pray in public and private squares?  The right to petition and protest?  The right to not wear a mask?  Especially when you’ve already been vaccinated or had CoVid already…

Let’s take the issue of private property rights.  Think of the couple who are literally being prosecuted and crucified in the media for standing with unloaded guns (brandished but not pointing) in front of their own home as a mob ran towards them… on their own property.  Does the Church not believe in being able to enforce trespassing laws?  Castle laws?  Does it not want to defend those freedoms to protect oneself and one’s family?

Remember when the protestors used to roam through Temple Square with pickets and pamphlets?  They are all gone now, because the Church was far from “neutral” in that political matter.  It stood up for its rights to prevent people it deemed unsavory from standing on their private property.

So what does the Church do?  It’s damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t speak up.  I recognize and I sympathize with their dilemma.  Sadly at some point in the near future they may face being forced to perform gay marriages or get vaccinations that were created using aborted fetal tissue if they want to send missionaries out to foreign countries, or even just to remain a non-profit.  Why?  Because we are so tied to Babylon and to the State.

Here’s a crazy thought.  What if the Church had no property?  Or maybe just one temple and one big piece of land?  We are accustomed to feeling like we need churches, but do we?  We’re proving right now that we can do Church at home or over Zoom…  What if instead of going towards properties, tithing actually went to care for the poor among us?  Did Christ build churches?  Did He build a temple?  Why didn’t He?    

Did Joseph Smith build meetinghouses in the 14 years he was prophet?  Not a single one.  They built the Kirtland temple and tried to build the Nauvoo temple with the goal being to build and keep one temple that would be the center point of Zion that the Lord could come to and dwell in.  But, Joseph did not build or have plans to build a single church house I am aware of and he had no vision to dot the earth with temples.

Members during Christ’s day and Joseph’s, met in members’ homes and outside when weather permitted and rented halls as needed.  They did not enter into agreements with governments to the extent we do now, especially as we seek to establish abroad, largely because its mission was not property expansion driven as it seems to be today.  Yes, we wanted to bring the gospel to the corners of the earth, but at that point, members would immigrate to “Zion” or continue to meet locally in fellowships in homes and halls.

Imagine if our Church leaders could speak unrestrained like the prophets of old.  Sure, they would become targets and would likely be threatened with violence, if not killed.  Many of us would.  But there would be no temptation to enter into covenants with the Great Whore or temptation to compromise as we do now as a result of billions of dollars and thousands of properties and hundreds of thousands of jobs all being at stake.  We would be less tempted to feel the need to protect those worldly things.  Perhaps we would speak our minds more freely.  We’d be much more able and willing to flee.  The Church clearly spoke its mind more freely and taught truth more openly in days when it was not a global church.

Here’s an idea.  What if the Church sold almost everything?  “Sell all that thou hast and give to the poor.”  And separated the Church from the world and took care of its own.  Preached more boldly.  Built a place of refuge in the mountaintops, away from the madness of this world.  Built a place for a people to flee to.  Then perhaps we could teach truth and not cower because of who we are subject to.  This seems like the pattern of Scripture does it not?  Flee Egypt?  Flee Babylon?  Flee Sodom?  Flee Jerusalem?  Flee Missouri?  Find our waters of Mormon and our secluded Jordan River and our Promised Land… Our Zion.  Care not what man can do or how we will live.  Look at the lilies of the field and how they are adorned and cared for.  Travel without purse or scrip.  All flesh is grass.  Oh I know it’s idyllic.  But, maybe not…

One thing feels sure:  The Great Whore sits upon the many waters and has dominion over the whole earth and we have contracts and obligations to her and all institutions seem to be failing right before our eyes.  It’s comply or be cancelled.  Very few are not complying.  Very few are standing up.  The only way to eventually escape will be if we are able to flee to Zion, which will not be a “stake” but will be a City and NOT Salt Lake City.  A Holy City at the tops of the Mountains.  In order to do so, we must find truth and we must repent and we must prepare.  Cities in Florida and Malls in Salt Lake City and Philadelphia will soon serve no purpose, as Babylon falls and as the Whore loses her kingdom.  They will provide no milk and no shelter from the storm that is coming.

I can’t speak for you, but this last election has taught me one very important lesson that the flesh cannot be relied upon and that the truth is all that matters now.  I will not be lied to or dragged about any longer by the false and vain leaders of this world.  I repent of my political idolatry and seek to adopt the counsel of a very wise friend who recently said:

“Politics makes a poor religion.”