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.