The Truman Show

Truman

Truman is going about his happy, uneventful life when out of a clear blue sky a stage light falls onto the street.  This peculiar event is the beginning of Truman discovering the truth about his false reality.

Truman’s “creator” Christof (a suitable name) sees himself as a messiah figure, having saved Truman from what “might have been” a sad, painful life as an unwanted child.  Christof works day and night to keep Truman believing in this false narrative.  His success, after all, depends upon it as millions of viewers, thousands of actors, and countless other commercial entities all have an interest in Truman remaining faithful to this great deception as well.

At the end of the movie, Truman stands in front of a dark unknown doorway at the top of the stage set above the “ocean.”  Christof, now entirely desperate, speaks from his hidden lunar command center, makes one last attempt to keep Truman from leaving the “Show.”  (You can watch the clip by clicking below.  It’s classic.)

The story of Truman is really the story of every man.

We are each born into this world with certain traditions that inform our reality and our perceptions.  Because we are born into a fallen world, no one’s reality is devoid of lies, false traditions, and darkness.

The goal of every man is to become a “True Man” — a Man or Woman in Christ, reborn to Him, enlightened, passing through the doorway (the veil) of unbelief and into a new spiritual world that will eventually endow us appropriately to successfully enter into His presence — in this life — as well as in the life to come.

We are warned, however, that in the last days we will be especially vulnerable to being misled and deceived as Truman was.  As members of the church we mustn’t assume we are exempt.  Anyone who teaches otherwise is a false messenger, leading astray and perpetuating a false reality that eventually destroys souls.

They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.  (2 Nephi 28:14, my emphasis added)

I recall an experience as a bishop in one of my first priesthood stewardship interviews with my stake president.  He had served in that calling for many years and as a new bishop I looked to him for counsel and advice.

During the interview my stake president spoke of a recent private lunch he had with one of the 12 Apostles.  He was actually good friends with this particular apostle and had known him for forty years or more.  My stake president was also friends with another apostle, who he had spoken of getting together with regularly.  His very close relationships with two apostles prompted my question:

“President, how do they become special witnesses?”

He seemed perplexed.  “What do you mean by that bishop?”

“Well, I know they have stood in Christ’s presence and that’s why we call them special witnesses, right?”  (I was trying to clue him in that I was in the know about such things) “How do they spiritually get to that point?”  I asked in all sincerity.

A very concerned look came across the stake president’s face as he gravely responded.

“Bishop, I need to warn you to never pray for or seek to be in the presence of God or Christ!”

My stake president’s comment was as much a scolding as a warning.  It was as if he could not believe I would ever be so foolish and careless to think that this was what these men had actually accomplished.

“But, I thought we were commanded to seek to make our callings and elections sure and to each become special witnesses of Christ in this life?  As the Prophets and Apostles have done?  Right?”  I now questioned somewhat desperately.

That question seemed to further aggravate my stake president’s sensibilities.  Now determined to correct the record and make sure I never taught such foolishness as a bishop, he replied:

“Bishop, NEVER, EVER pray for such things because almost every man who has seen Christ or angels has fallen away from the church!  And if for any reason you do see Christ and then turn away from Him, you will become a son of perdition!”

This man was in my ward.  He was a very educated and dedicated individual.  He enjoyed a very long pioneer genealogy in the church.  And yet the first thought that came to my mind was that as his bishop, it was ironically my priesthood responsibility to try to correct him.

Without trying to make him feel badly, I referred to Paul and Joseph and others who taught this doctrine openly.  I pointed out that every man who became a prophet in the Book of Mormon, had witnessed angels and had entered into the presence of God.

He was not deterred by my arguments and continued to warn me of the dangers of seeking Jesus in this way and warned me to never discuss these ideas with anyone, ever again.  My experienced file leader then proceeded to instruct me how the Brethren held the keys and how they lived by the Spirit.  “Our job was to obey them” he said “as if their words came directly from God” and was not to seek heavenly visitations.  I left feeling rebuked, dazed, and confused.

The stake president’s words became for me, the proverbial stage light falling out of my clear blue sky onto the street of my church reality.

This new “idea” challenged everything I believed and had been taught.  Why would someone who knew these men so well, who joined with me in calling them “special witnesses,” actually try to dissuade me from doing what they had themselves done?  UNLESS of course, they were not witnesses the way I had believed them to be.  Was that even possible?

This was something I had never before considered or had ever allowed myself to consider.

In my mind, Jesus’ admonition and warning to the pharisees and scribes of old applied to Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis and Muslim mullahs, BUT NOT TO OUR church leaders!

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.   (Matthew 23:13)

I became physically ill in my contemplations.  Could the church actually be keeping people from seeking true messengers?  Why would they do that?  Was it possible that they were not seeking these experiences for themselves either, out of fear that “almost all men who had ever seen angels or the Lord had left the church?”  My belief system was being turned upside down.

I was born into the church to good parents who are both converts.  At a very young age they instilled in me a strong love for the restored gospel.  By the age of 14 I began to feel very much drawn to the invitation I found in scripture to literally come unto Christ.  I truly believed D&C 93:1 and read it often.  I believed the words of Moroni found in the book of Ether and took his invitation very seriously:

And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things;  And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing.  And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.  (Ether 12:39-41, my emphasis added)

Like perhaps many of you, I had been led to believe that The First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with the Savior often in their sacred weekly meetings in the Upper Rooms of the Temple.

I relied upon the final testimony of Bruce R. McKonkie and believed his witness to be literal.

I began at a young age to look for and listen carefully to the “key words” the brethren used to refer to sacred experiences they often only alluded to, that apparently, despite being “special witnesses,” they could not specifically discuss publicly.

I took Religion 333 after my mission at BYU and was led to believe that the leaders of the church were of a special and more elevated status than the average member of the church.  I was taught the Brethren were to be “reverenced, sustained, emulated, and honored.”

These men were spiritual giants for me.  I believed they could lead me to the Savior.  Logically if they were Special Witnesses, and yet were once just like me, then maybe they could show me how to get there too!  This was my most fervent desire.

I watched them ever so closely.  I studied their words as much if not more than the scriptures.  I was taught and believed that the “living oracles” were more important than the dead ones, that they could not lead us astray.  I took that to mean that Elder Neal A. Maxwell was more relevant and important than Isaiah.  So I read and listened to Elder Maxwell, and President Hinckley and any living Prophet in priority over even the Book of Mormon.

When the Brethren came to speak, I made sure to never miss them.  In some cases, I drove hours to be in their presence.  When they walked into the room, I stood out of reverence for them.  Out of reverence and respect, I only sat down when they were finally seated.  I once witnessed the rushing silence that overtook the entire Marriott Center when President Benson entered from an obscure portal near the stage.  I was sure this was a spiritual confirmation of his very real witness of the Savior.

I was with Elder Bednar when he boldly told us bishops and stake presidents — “I AM A TRUE MESSENGER!”  I took that statement literally.  I believed him to be a special witness who stood in God’s presence as did Peter, James, and John, with a message of life and salvation for God’s children lost in the lone and dreary world.  I had no reason to believe Elder Bednar would seek to mislead me.

On a different occasion Elder Bednar said, “I know God lives beyond the five senses.”  Again I believed him and logically could only assume what this meant — that he knew God greater than touch, greater than sight, greater than smell or taste or sound.

But, then my stake president dropped the stage light.

What if Elder Bednar was simply stating that he knew God “by the feelings of the Holy Ghost?”  Maybe he’s suggesting the Holy Ghost is not considered one of the five senses?  Was this just a clever way of saying that he had a testimony just like me?  That he had never actually “touched, seen, or heard” the Lord?  That thought had never crossed my mind before.

Up until then, these men were holy, anointed, special, and above all, they knew God, literally!  I sought to touch the hem of their garment, so to speak, to shake their hands, to be hugged by them, to be taught by them.  Again, because I believed it was their mission to teach me how to do what they had done.  For this is life eternal, that we all might know Him and His Son whom He hath sent (John 17:3) with the help of those who are true messengers.

And so perhaps strangely, as a bishop, I began a prayerful and at times painful study to know whether or not these men were truly witnesses of God, in the literal sense.  This time I began with a different set of questions than those I had ever allowed myself to consider:  “What if, these men have never seen God or been taught by Angels?  What if they are just like me?  Is it possible?  If so, what would that mean?  What would that change for the church and for me personally?”

I studied.  I pondered.  I fasted for many days, on countless occasions.  I went to the Temple zealously.  I served as faithfully as I knew how as a bishop.  I tried to be a good husband and father.  I feasted upon the scriptures and I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.

I studied the journals and other accounts of these men.  I scrutinized all the stories of prophets such as President Snow, where he allegedly met the Savior in the Temple.  I now questioned these stories and sought to discover whether they were real or not.  Were these just contrived “stories” invented or exaggerated to encourage me to believe?  Was I being played?

You see, for me, everything I believed the church to be, rested upon the idea that its leaders were simply a continuation of Joseph Smith.  That every leader from Joseph forward was a veritable witness of God, Angels, and of Christ JUST as Joseph was.

For me this principle was too important to dismiss or set aside.  Now I needed to know the truth.  I could no longer be led on by fables and endless genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4).  Was my “faith” in these men’s witness real or was it some fantastic illusion?

Joseph Smith taught:

Now I will give you my testimony.  I care not for man.  I speak boldly and faithfully and with authority.  How is it with the kingdom of God?  Where did the kingdom of God begin?  Where there is no kingdom of God there is no salvation.  What constitutes the kingdom of God?  Where there is a prophet, a priest, or a righteous man unto whom God gives His oracles, there is the kingdom of God; and where the oracles of God are not, there the kingdom of God is not…The plea of many in this day is, that we have no right to receive revelations; but if we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God; and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God.  But say you, What will become of the world, or the various professors of religion who do not believe in revelation and the oracles of God as continued to His Church in all ages of the world, when He has a people on the earth?  I tell you, in the name of Jesus Christ, they will be damned; and when you get into the eternal world, you will find it will be so, they cannot escape the damnation of hell.  (TPJS, pp. 271-272, my emphasis added)

If these men were not receiving revelations, were not acting as prophets and as living oracles of God, and had not in fact seen the Lord and been anointed and ordained by God Himself (TPJS), then I could not, at a minimum, simply continue to trust in their words as I had.

In my research that continued on for some time, I became quite surprised to find so few reliable post-martyrdom church accounts of a man or woman entering into God’s presence, as Joseph and Hyrum and Sidney had.  This despite the charge made by Apostles Oliver Cowdery in 1835 to the Twelve which was later abandoned because apparently at some point church leaders saw it unnecessary.

It is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God.’  Then he continued: ‘That is more than the testimony of an angel … Never cease striving until you have seen God, face to face.’  (Read more on this subject here)

I was saddened and quite surprised to find that many of the stories that were close encounters with the other side of the veil such as President Snow with Christ at the staircase and Brigham transforming into Joseph over the pulpit, the Founding Fathers appearing in the Saint George Temple, etc. appeared to be nothing more than exaggerated folklore-ish stories, no different than ones we share today.

Sometimes these stories are seemingly harmless such as the tale of Nephite hitchhikers warning people to get food storage (here and here) before the big Utah earthquake or the rumor that Lionel Ritchie finally joined the church.  Other times it’s everyday stories like “When Elder Bednar spoke in Gabon, the rain stopped, and the sun appeared only on his face as he spoke.”  I even heard such a legend repeated the other day in church, one I had not heard for a long time:  “Did you know there is a chair in the Salt Lake Temple that is reserved just for the Savior?  And that it’s worn out from use?”

In my study, I found few, to none of what would be called revelations by the standard of Scripture or Joseph Smith.  In fact, I was discouraged to find the example of an aged “prophet” who testified under oath before Congress that he had never had “real” revelations.

I will not include here all the details of my personal study that support my new conclusions about the Brethren and their “witness.”

But I will say that my study has led me to conclusions that have changed my life and have led me to a dark doorway on the church’s stage, that I did not know was ever there.  Entering that doorway has led to some of the most rewarding and difficult experiences of my life.

I have keenly and literally felt the pressure from the show’s producers — the lightning, the waves, and the storms from people very “high up.”  I have come to see the truth and irony of Christ’s words to those seeking to truly be His disciples:

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  (Matthew 10:34-38)

I have come to believe we must all seek truth and not fear the unknown world beyond the doorway.  I believe that as we find and embrace truth, we will be led by Him to more and more light, until that perfect day.

Joseph taught:

A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God.

If we fear to contemplate the darkest abyss, the deepest contradictions and the most awkward ironies, or to consider the depths and the effects of our traditions that form our false realities, we will never commune with God.

The stake president who chastened me for wanting an audience with the Savior was eventually called to serve as a mission president and is destined for the red, chief seats, so I’m told by those who would know.

One might ask, but don’t the Brethren teach truth?  What does it hurt to follow their counsel if it’s “good?”  Just because they have not been in Christ’s presence doesn’t make them evil or any less capable of teaching the gospel like anyone else…Right?

Sherem, one of several anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon, sought to confront Jacob the prophet who had been in Christ’s presence, in order that he might “overthrow the Doctrine of Christ.”

And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.  (Jacob 7:2)

The Doctrine of Christ is at the core of this very important question.  It is in fact at the very core of what we say we believe as Mormons.  And yet it is the most neglected and most misunderstood of all doctrines, in my experience.  So much so that even in Nephi’s day he lamented after speaking on this topic for three chapters:

And now 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)

I have no problem with the Brethren or anyone trying to teach truth.  But the precepts of men (my own included), no matter how well-intentioned, will mislead us, especially when we treat them as the words of God delivered by special servants (which I do not profess to be).  They will entrap us in a false bubble of reality, a bubble that may even seem peaceful and safe and that for a time may be calm and happy.

If and when the Brethren diligently share scripture and seek the spirit in expounding it, while I believe this to be a better result than what we usually see in General Conference, it is not to be a substitute for the Doctrine of Christ, which Jacob and all True Prophets in the history of the world have attained unto.  Only one speaking with the Tongue of an Angel, following the pattern of the Doctrine of Christ, can deliver a message that brings about a complete change of heart.  (2 Nephi 33:1, Mosiah 5:2).

As children of God, it is our duty to discern between true and false messengers, who come in the Lord’s name.

I have looked past the lighting, the tremendous stage, the make up, the rehearsed one liners and teleprompters, the emotion, and the stories and I have sought to know whether these men stand in the presence of God or not.  For me, this matters a great deal.

Is it possible that these men now unwittingly promote a deception regarding what they know and who they know because they feel the pressure to keep the show going?  Do their lives, their fortunes, their jobs, their traditions, and their identities not depend upon it?

If it’s not the Doctrine of Christ shared by the power of the Holy Ghost by true messengers who have been in His presence, then we each must decide whether we shall remain deceived or whether we will look to cross the stormy sea to find the stairway that leads to the door of our escape into a new awakened state of reality, wherein then and only then we can find the True Messiah, our True Creator, even Jesus Christ.  We must listen closely and we must choose.  Our very salvation depends upon it.

P.S.  For those of you wondering why I am including the above clip, I invite you to watch it juxtapose to the other Truman Show clips.  Are we relying too heavily on drama, lighting, emotion and music?  I am especially troubled about Elder Holland’s praise of President Monson, suggesting he knows NO other man who has done more for the poor than this man who shuffles through the airport in his slippers publishing peace.  Just maybe that’s a confession worth contemplating. 

 

 

 

40 thoughts on “The Truman Show

  1. rockwaterman1

    Talk about being shocked to learn the modern leaders haven’t really been in the presence of Christ, I was floored when I read that Heber J. Grant didn’t even WANT that experience.

    “I have never prayed to see the Savior,” he wrote, “I know of men—Apostles—who have seen the Savior more than once. I have prayed to the Lord for the inspiration of his Spirit to guide me, and I have told him that I have seen so many men fall because of some great manifestation to them, they felt their importance, their greatness.”

    What a weird statement to come from a putative prophet of God! That he is afraid the experience would give him a swelled head, and lead to his subsequent downfall!

    Well, I’ve got news for old Heber. These days we have leaders in our midst like David Bednar who have never seen God, but whose personal sense of self importance and greatness would likely far surpass anything Heber saw in his day.

    Reply
  2. Ben

    Thank you for this post. I especially like seeing the scene where Truman unites with his father in juxtaposition with Jeff Holland’s talk.

    I can relate with your assumption of these leaders. I reached the same conclusion on my mission when I was filled with the spirit learning about returning to Christ’s presence in the Book of Mormon and D&C 93:1. As the truth of this passage began to work its way into my heart, I created the assumption inside myself that these leaders *must* have had that experience, and therefore they were even more worth following than I originally thought.

    What a shallow prospect that proved for me. I wish to God I had instead resolved “that’s excellent. I want that experience myself.”

    I think some — not all — of these leaders do lead the congregation on about that experience. Bednar is a prime example of it. Monson, ironically, doesn’t at all. He never alludes to any experience, understanding or authority in the slightest.

    As it happens, I was just studying the story of Sherem last night. The church currently teaches nobody will go to hell (except apparently if you meet the savior in the flesh), everything is fine and dandy, and — above all else — you can relax because we got everything under control. These are flattering words when we feel crushed by the shitpile the world is turning out to be. It turns out flattery is a great way to earn and keep an audience.

    Reply
  3. Dan

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I find it interesting how a persons spirit tends to filter through their writings. Your style of writing is one that i am able to relate to quite well. I am from a younger generation where the term second comforter was never even mentioned let alone discussed. I had never even contemplated the idea that one could actualy see Christ while in this life and that it was something that we must seek for until i came across a book called “The second comforter, conversing with the Lord through the veil”. That book put me on a new path and one which i will never turn away from. A path to see my Lord and Redeemer while in this life. And for any adrenaline junky who loves an amazing roller coaster ride i would very strongly encourage getting on this path because it will take you to depths and heights that you never knew existed. It is an amazingly beautiful journey. I will not say that it isnt for the faint of heart either because on this path is where one will find where their heart truly is and what it may become with the Lord’s help. It is only with the Lord’s help that we begin to walk and not faint and run and not be weary. These are amazing times in which we live right now. I beleive we are witnessing the beginnings of the most prophesied time in the hystory of this world. Shall we not go on in so great a cause

    Reply
    1. Bishop Anon Post author

      Thanks for your comments Dan. I too came across Denver’s first book years back and it confirmed everything I felt and believed. I’m so grateful he shared his witness. Look at how many people it has reached! The greatest personal sign I have his words are from God, is that they have changed my heart. I’m glad to be on this path with people like yourself. God bless you Dan.

      Reply
  4. Gloria

    My wife and I had an interesting chat with our bishop a couple of months ago. He felt some of our actions disqualified us from some aspects of full-fledged church membership. We told him we’d done what we’d done and said what we’d said because the Lord made clear that’s what we were supposed to do. His response was to compare us to Dan Lafferty, who felt he’d received a revelation to kill his sister-in-law and her baby. Apparently in our ward, if you’re receiving revelation, it’s a bad thing. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that happens in other wards and stakes

    Reply
    1. Bishop Anon Post author

      Gloria,

      I’m sorry to hear of your troubles with your bishop. Sadly I think we are now seeing the fruits of over zealous, pretended keys combined with an absence the Spirit of the Lord. It’s a recipe for disaster.

      May the Lord bless you as you try to follow Him.

      Reply
  5. Rob

    AB,
    Thank you very much for writing this. It completely conveys my own experience, though my camera drop moment was different than yours. I’m glad you wrote it. I tried to write something like this some time ago, but I couldn’t quite get the words right.

    Reply
    1. Toni Bate

      Ian McCormack also is worth listening to. This video on broken vessels was particularly powerful to me.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJFtRLdHn80

      God seems to be raising up men all over who have seen Him and preach His gospel. (Ian and Ian are both from Australia – the 2nd Ian had a near death experience – but used that to build a relationship with Christ.)

      Reply
      1. Lilli

        Christ warned us about falling for those who will say they have been visited by God or Christ. He said to watch for his ‘return’ not his ‘visitation’.

        And Christ also warned that just because a person may ‘preach’ his Gospel, doesn’t mean they are true followers of him.

        Christ said to watch what they ‘do’ not what they ‘say or claim’. Only those who actually keep ‘all’ of Christ’s commandments can and should be considered true followers of Christ.

        If people would be as concerned about ‘actually keeping Christ’s commandments’ as they are about trying to get an ‘appearance’ from him, there would be far less people deceived by false Christ’s.

        No mortal could tell the true Christ from a false one anyway, even if Christ appeared to them, for mortals don’t have anything to judge by to tell the difference.

        For false Christ’s can seem very loving and wonderful too, and teach lots of remarkable truths to impress and convince people by.

        What people think is the Holy Spirit revealing things to them, often is just the opposite. No one can know for sure. The only thing we can do is compare the ‘ideas’ revealed to what Christ taught, to know if what that ‘spirit’ revealed is right or not. It really doesn’t matter what spirit it is, what matters more is what it ‘says to do’.

        If even all prophets can easily fall for false revelation, (as they all have), why do people not think they can’t also? Pride.

        Reply
  6. Robert

    Thank you Bishop for your posts and work.

    It has taken me a long time to figure out that the Book of Mormon contains the Fullness of the Gospel and that through it we can get closer to God and His Son than by any other book. I’m glad to know there is others out there that are searching for the same experiences as I am.

    This might sound harsh but when those men (General Authority, Stake President, Bishop) who are saying do not seek for a personal and physical relationship with Christ they are in that moment being an anti-Christ. I wonder what the Church would be like if everyone you met was striving for such a relationship with Christ, instead of being told to not knock at the veil.

    Reply
    1. Lilli

      People should be more concerned with ‘keeping Christ’s commandments’ then having a ‘relationship’ or visitation’ with Christ, for no one can have a relationship with Christ unless they 1st keep all his commandments, or he will just tell them ‘he never knew them’.

      And if people kept Christ’s commandments then they wouldn’t fall for men like Joseph Smith, who claim visions of Christ, and preach and practice contrary to Christ and who claim that their words and books will get us closer to Christ then Christ’s own words.

      Christ warned us about falling for men who claim to have seen him or who claim to have teachings/scriptures ‘better’, ‘more correct’ or ‘will get us farther’ then His.

      We can’t follow more then 1, for they all preach contrary to each other, so one must decide if they are going to follow Joseph or Brigham or Monson or Christ or someone else.

      Reply
  7. Bryan

    I have a sincere question: Does believing that the 12 are perhaps all dirty cockroaches (for arguments sake), true or not, does that justify one from leaving the Church?

    I personally believe that Denver Snuffer did a great work in awaking many, but I believe his work is finished; not only that, but that he apostatized. There are also others who have seen Christ and died faithfully in the Church (John Pontius who passed away, and Elder Packer with his recent claim). They don’t all leave. I am one that believes that this Church, in whatever manner, will be set in order; just not by Denver Snuffer. Perhaps the 12 will lead the Church to the brink of hell and sift many, but this is not it’s final stop. Denver is only speeding up the sifting, whether you believe him as a current living or fallen prophet. It’s also noteworthy to point out that it did not always end well for those who left the Church.

    Forgive me if I’m off topic, but I think that this is an important note to make.

    Reply
    1. Svendevil

      Bryan-

      Your inquiry is flawed from the outset because it conflates the church and the Church, rather than asking the tougher questions. This is a common mistake for those members who are fearful they will be doomed to outer darkness if the worldly records of a grossly misguided entity somehow do not categorize them as members in good standing. That fear paralyzes them into inaction/silence.

      To properly frame (and answer) the initial question, it is worth pondering Rock Waterman’s observations on the critical distinction between the church and “the Church.” As he commented in his March 21, 2015 blog post:

      “As I documented [in my June 22, 2014 post], last May I was called in by my bishop, who asked the question, “Rock, why are you a member of this church?”

      I was asked the same question several months later by my stake president. The answer I gave to both men was that I’m a member of the church because I qualify under the Lord’s definition where He says whosoever repents and comes unto Him, the same is His church. (D&C 10:67)

      That was the true answer. But it wasn’t the “right” one. At least it was not the answer either man was looking for. In thinking about those conversations later I realized that the problem those good men had was that they saw the church of Jesus Christ in vastly different terms than I did; indeed, quite differently than the way Jesus Christ himself defined His church. They thought of “The Church” as somehow embodying the leaders in Salt Lake City, a group who are now viewed as “owning the brand” we call The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because I sometimes differed with statements and actions of those leaders, they were honestly curious as to why I would want to remain a part of the organization.

      I suppose that’s to be expected after the last six decades of this Church operating under a corporate mindset. What my bishop and stake president really wanted to know was “Why would you want to remain employed with a company when you have problems with the Board of Directors?”

      Sadly, a great many members of the Church share that mindset, which is why a great many others are suddenly awakening from their slumber and realizing they would prefer to identify with the church of Jesus Christ, and not The Church Of Those Guys Socking Money Into Malls And Condos. But when these good saints awaken to their awful situation, they frequently find themselves suddenly at odds with family, friends, and fellow members who remain in the dwindle stage.” See also June 22, 2014 blog post.

      Reply
    2. Robert

      Bryan,

      Maybe you believe as I do that the Lord will send one to set in order the house of God and that staying in the Church is for the best. However maybe, after you’ve received the fullness of the gospel you’ll be invited to leave the Church and perform work for the Kingdom (which we should be seeking for in the first place).

      It’s hard to say if seeing the Lord will always cause that person that sees to leave the Church, because so few people make this claim, including current Church leaders. There are a handful of people whom I believe have seen the Savior and all of those stayed with the Church.

      Reply
  8. Cindy

    Who is this Stake President that is on the fast track for a General authoritydom? This is creepy at a whole new level. I want to know so I can be aware of the Sherem among us.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I just learned from a researcher that the Stake President is always the highest tithe payer in the stake.

      And that each of the Apostles – including Mr. “Self-righteous Bednar – reveive a million dollar “signing bonus” when they are “called.”

      Reply
  9. scootd28

    Bishop, This is so well done! Only 8 months ago, I was searching, seeking, trying desperately to find a way to reconcile the things I was learning with the things I had learned; the gospel with the church. Now, I can’t see how anyone can “drink the Kool-aid” anymore. You point out the statement that anyone who has had an experience with the Savior has left the church. Well, duh! So, if anyone who has had a direct experience with the Savior has left the church, what does that say about the church. The only way such logic can lead one to conclude that one should go against scripture and NOT seek an audience with the Savior is of one actually set the church above the scriptures and the Savior! I’m sitting here just shaking with incredible consternation as I write this!

    Again – this is masterfully constructed, written, and testified. God bless you as you navigate the challenges that lie ahead of you. If you would like to reach out to me at ——@yahoo.com, I would very much like to share some things with you. I think you will not be disappointed.

    Reply
  10. Tyson

    In my studies I ran across this quote.

    “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. … No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy [see Revelation 19:10]. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. 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.”7

    Do we believe Joseph smith? Apparently most dont.

    Reply
  11. Brent Crash Allen

    I would offer one question to Latter-day Saints:

    Who should you follow in order to return to the Father?

    If the answer is a prophet or apostle then you’re betting the wrong horse. Christ is.

    Reply
    1. Lilli

      Brent,

      Excellent question & answer. I believe you are right. We can’t follow Christ and a prophet or apostle, for they always preach contrary to each other.

      Even Christ’s apostles in his day preached some of their own false opinions mixed in with Christ’s teachings. Thus Christ told them to only preach ‘His words’ not their own thinking.

      Christ warned us about falling for false prophets or false apostles, like those in the LDS Church, who may preach some true things along with their falsehoods, but reveal themselves by how they don’t really all of keep Christ’s commandments.

      Reply
    2. Bob

      Thanks Brent! Makes life soooo much easier for me! I can now cut out 98% of my New Testament and just focus on the few words spoken by Jesus. B’bye Paul!! Hasta John!! Later Peter!! And hey, if Jesus didn’t address a concept, then it’s fair game for me to live it however I wish! But wait? Even the words that Jesus spoke in the Bible were recorded by a man, and mostly by people not even pretending to be apostles or prophets. (I don’t recall any apostolic references to Luke or Mark.) Yippeee! I can live my life however I want and still claim that it is keeping with Christ’s teachings!! Thanks Brent! Makes my life so much easier!!

      Reply
  12. Bryan

    Svendevil,

    I completely understand your position, and I agree we should be members of the Church of the Firstborn. I get that whole side of it.

    My side is if there is any value to stay in the Church that Joseph Smith restored and make good with the covenants we made while still members of the Church. Joseph Smith suggested we stay with the Church:

    “from that time they begin to be enemies like many of the apostates of the Church of J. C. of L.D.S. – when a man begins to be an enemy he hunts him – for he has the same Sp. that they had who crucd. the Lord of life – the same Sp. that Sin agt. the H. G. I advise all to be careful what you do – stay – do not give way – you may find that some one has laid a snare for you be cautious – await”

    It is what Christ’s Church will be called in the last days (D&C 115:4). What good does it do us all in abandoning its goal of building Zion, however corrupt it has become? What good does it do if those who follow Denver through re-baptism abandon the Church? There is still much work to be done.

    “when a man goes about prophesying and commands men to obey his teachings, he must be either a true or false prophet; false prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets, and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones”

    I’m just saying that maybe we should just stay and wait like Joseph Smith suggested, even if it’s just to wait for the one mighty and strong. It’s obviously not Denver Snuffer. You can try my blog for getting more of what I am contending for.

    Reply
    1. Toni

      But the Church is not the same as the one Joseph knew. He not only would not recognize it, it would kick him out.

      Reply
  13. Toni

    Thanks for the post, Anonymous Bishop.

    I was made aware of that show not long ago. I watched it, skimming parts. I realized how valuable it was and watched it again all the way through (twice). I knew it applied to us in a very real and serious way – and that it represents our spiritual journeys and the lies/false traditions we have been taught and believe.

    I didn’t catch the meaning of the names, though. Thank you for that.

    Reply
  14. Andrew T

    Your SP’s observation that people who see (or seek) an audience with the Savior end up leaving the Church may be instructive. It seems that people who claim to see him don’t last long in the Church. I used to worry about those people; now I worry for the Church. If the Church doesn’t like people in it who claim to have seen the Savior, isn’t that a teensy weensy problem?

    Reply
  15. Anon

    AB,

    I agree that the LDS Church is just a false stage with false directors & actors, and always has been, but I believe you have just walked from one false stage to another, one with even more convincing actors, lines and props.

    For the problem is. we shouldn’t be listening to Monson, Joseph, Denver or Paul but to Jesus and only Jesus. But that’s too simple and too hard. All the others preach a much more flattering & alluring gospel then Jesus did.

    Jesus warned us over and over about falling for the many false Christs who might appear to us, and he warned of the many false prophets & teachers who would claim such visitations and how many would easily fall for them.

    I believe Joseph was one of the false prophets Christ warned about, who fell for just such a false Christ, if anyone even appeared to him at all. For Joseph did not pass Christ’s test & teachings to ever be considered a true prophet. And it appears that even Paul may have fallen for just such a false Christ also, for he doesn’t seem to have the understanding and righteousness either, that a true follower of Christ would.

    The true test of righteousness is not who is able to get an ‘appearance’ with a so-called ‘Christ’, for we know even the wicked often claim such visitations from Christ and promises of eternal life.

    While the real Christ said we will know his ‘true followers’ by just 1 thing, by whether they keep ‘all’ his commandments or not. By their walk, not their talk.

    Countless people think they have seen the real Christ, true or false such visitations seem very easy to get by most anyone, but who is there that can claim to really keep all of Christ’s commandments, which Christ said is the only proof & test that we should trust, in ourselves or others.

    Reply
  16. hagoth

    Bishop Anon,

    love your work, thank you for putting this down, it has helped me reconcile my thoughts as well, and i echo your words… they are my testimony as well, the spirit has bore that to me. The Jeff Holland video was powerful for me…i was thinking about the poor on my way to the City Creek Mall to buy some $300 shoes at the Gucci store there, i made sure not to give any money to the poor as i walked by temple square, heeding the signage about not giving money to panhandlers… as i entered the Mall i felt a sense of pride as i thought, ” our church is so smart, look at what they built” ” hey can someone tell the homeless guy to get out of here, he’s cramping my style” so hearing Hollands words really made me proud that we are all beggars and that he’s never been poor…. and that Monson is the only one that gives anything and we should be like him… i bought some $200 slippers just to be like Monson. i’m sure he’ll like that …

    Reply
    1. Dan

      King Noah’s court bears such a striking resemblance to the City Creek Mall that it is almost as if we were to liken the scriptures to ourselves and heed the warnings given in them. As for me and my house we actually refer to City Creek Mall as King Noahs court. Needles to say this has not set very well with some people while assisting as one of the adults in taking the youth of our local LDS ward to see the new mall. Its fascinating to see how the scriptures warn time and time again and show that once churchs are built up to get gain and the people begin wearing costly apparel that their destruction is always looming close by.

      Reply
  17. Bob

    Hey peeps–

    Seeing a lot of snark and a lot of “holier than thou” in some of the comments here. The irony just kills me.

    Peace out. Live well. Build others.

    -Bob

    Reply
  18. holdingtomorrow

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Anonymous Bishop. I feel I know the Savior best when I am reading about his mortal ministry, and striving to rely on revelation to conduct myself the way He would have me do. I feel close to Him when I’m focused on this, and less so when I’m not. I have never felt the need to see Him face-to-face in this life, but I love that we each have our own journey, and individual desires and He is aware of them. All the best to you, as you seek to know Him.

    Reply
  19. Pingback: Zion Postponed | ANONYMOUS BISHOP

  20. Catherine

    I’ve had very similar experiences, thoughts and discussions. Thank you for sharing this in such a plain way. I’ve heard some variant of the below statement many a time myself:

    “Bishop, NEVER, EVER pray for such things because almost every man who has seen Christ or angels has fallen away from the church! And if for any reason you do see Christ and then turn away from Him, you will become a son of perdition!”

    I’m sure the same false judgements were made of those who seemed to leave Judaism to follow Christ. Jehovah wouldn’t ask someone to leave the true church!

    Reply
  21. katzcradul

    I have looked around your blog with great interest. I saw Rock Waterman reference it today. I seems as though you are still in the boat to me. The storm has past for me. I’ve ascended the stairs and walked through the door 2 years ago. It was the best thing I ever did. My life is so much richer and I’m at peace in a way I never was in the 56 years I was an active, all-in member. (2x RS president, etc.) Have your read the ‘Letter to the CES Director’? If you are up for even more questions, I highly encourage it. Mormon Stories Podcast is also another excellent resource. I hope you find peace, no matter which way you turn.

    Reply

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