Monday, November 5, 2018

Getting Things Done

As I have said before, I say again, Love one another, labor willingly alongside each other. Learn what you ought, and when I ask you to labor, do so wisely even if you know not beforehand what you will find. I do not ask what you cannot do. Trust my words and proceed always in faith, believing that with me all things are possible. 
—Revelation in response to Statement of Principles

In the wake of the Statement of Principles adoption and the Lord’s acceptance and explanatory parable, many people have understandable concerns about how the covenant body should go about getting things done in the future. Some envision future group assignments or projects, and contemplate various mechanisms for coming to agreement and accomplishing them. As I’ve pondered such future possibilities, I’ve come up with a few thoughts I’d like to share.

First, it’s important to consider the issues in the guide and standard effort that complicated its completion. The Lord  consistently identified the problem as our hearts, both in the Answer to Prayer for Covenant, and in the Parable of the Master’s House.

In the Answer, the Lord said the following:
As a people you honor with your lips, but your hearts are corrupt, filled with envy and malice, returning evil for good, sparing none — even those with pure hearts among you — from your unjustified accusations and unkind backbiting.
But remember that without the fruit of repentance, and a broken heart and a contrite spirit, you cannot keep my covenant; for I, your Lord, am meek and lowly of heart. Be like me.
Do not murmur saying, Too much has been required at our hands in too short a time. If your hearts were right it was a light thing I have asked. You hinder and delay and then you say I require too much of you and do not allow you time, when, if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves, you could have finished this work long ago. Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required.
Notice how many times the Lord addresses the state of our hearts. Likewise, in His analysis of the early Saints’ failure in Missouri, our Lord speaks of matters of the heart:
Behold, I say unto you, There were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them, therefore, by these things they polluted their inheritances. (T&C 101:2)
Jarrings, contentions, envyings, strifes, lust, covetous desires…all these dwell in the heart of mankind, and they all prevent Zion. It’s always about the heart.

With that in mind, let’s consider the Parable of the Master’s House. Remember, three groups with three different approaches initially set out to obey the Master’s command.
  • The wood cutters quickly found their plan unworkable, gave up, and supported what they viewed as the next best option.
  • The stone haulers labored and struggled under ponderous loads in a work based on their assumptions, rather than the Master’s plans.
  • The brick group strictly obeyed the Master’s commands, neither adding to, nor taking away from what the Master had asked. When they arrived at the Master’s chosen spot and found no way to build a house, they didn’t immediately give up, but instead pondered the place and the command. They gained insight by doing so, and exercised faith by trusting their Master.
But even among this third group who had strictly kept the Master’s command, and who had exercised faith and received further light and knowledge, the solution did not readily appear. Only some of them had the idea to clear an area of brush and grass, and acted on this idea. By so doing, they discovered the Master’s plans and the clay at hand to use in making bricks.

What I take from this is that, even among the faithful whose eyes are open, in any given assignment, not all will immediately understand what must be done. The fact that it was only some, implying a rather small group, speaks volumes.

Now, consider this application to our current, and future, situation:

Everything I can think of that has been accomplished thus far in this movement, has started with a single person or small group directed by the Lord. Whether the task was to establish an archive, call a conference, build a website, start a podcast, recover more accurate scriptures, write a statement of principles, or even give the 10 talks themselves, in every case, the effort and action were undertaken by a single individual, or at most, a small group, consisting of those inspired and directed by the Lord. (And these are just a few examples of many other valuable works in this movement I could cite.)

From a practical standpoint, this makes a great deal of sense. Most things are accomplished by individuals or small groups for a simple reason: As the size of any group grows, the interpersonal complications multiply exponentially. Working through issues and coming to agreement in a small group is far more possible than attempting to do the same in a group of hundreds, particularly if every voice must give vent to every thought and opinion they may have.

Bad Solution 1: The World’s Way

The world deals with the group-size problem by making people unequal—that is, appointing hierarchies of leaders who make the decisions for the group, and more or less forcing the rest of the group, or organization, to submit. We do it in business, in education, in government, in religion; we establish hierarchies to govern larger groups. In the end, all worldly progress comes as a result of decisions and actions of very few, who rule or govern the masses.

But such cannot be the case in Zion.

Bad Solution 2: Everyone’s In Charge

Among us, it’s been proposed that in any group undertaking, the entire group of hundreds must all be heard, all have a voice, all value every opinion equally, and all somehow come to agreement on any action before it is taken, so the entire group can act unitedly. This is the only way to preserve equality, as the argument goes. But it is a practical impossibility to do such a thing in our current state, as we demonstrated by multiple efforts to do exactly that in the G&S effort. Attempts to make decisions or act as a united group of hundreds, without any leader or hierarchy to direct the group, fall flat when hearts are not right. Hence the worldly tendency to establish mechanisms and governments to make the decisions and take the responsibility.

I believe this is precisely why the Lord forbade his servant David from participating. We would have all expected him to tell us what to do, and had he done so, we would have complied. By eliminating a leader, the Lord forced us to confront the deficiencies in our own hearts, that could only be manifest when we had to act without a hierarchy.

Additionally, we should remember everybody has different gifts and abilities. Some are more qualified than others to accomplish certain tasks, and putting everyone in charge of everything simply means those who are most insistent will end up in control, though they may be utterly unqualified. Aren’t we better served to let those with the appropriate gifts and abilities exercise them on behalf of the group?

So what’s the solution?

Well, first, we have to define the actual problem.

Each of the fruitful efforts I listed when we started this discussion (like the temple fund, scriptures project, conferences, and more) have encountered opposition from those in the greater covenant body who see things differently. Likewise, each effort has enjoyed support from many quarters. In the end, worthy efforts have accomplished much good, even prepared the way for new revelations, the covenant, and the coming temple, all because individuals or small groups acted, often against opposition, criticism and even accusations from parts of the larger group. Ask the scripture committee, the temple fund representatives, conference organizers, or practically any other group that has acted to accomplish something good, how much opposition they had to deal with from fellow believers. I know first hand how this goes; the unfounded accusations are destructive and heart wrenching.

The Lord made several statements regarding this very issue in the Answer, but I’ll quote just one of them here:
Nor is it enough to say you love your fellow man while you, as Satan, divide, contend and dispute against any person who labors on an errand seeking to do my will.
So…this brings us to the heart of the matter, and a third way to accomplish things as a united group. Let’s turn back to the Parable of the Master’s House.

Recall that in the parable, the small group who discovered the way forward, had no trouble convincing their fellow laborers to join them (referring to the fellow laborers who were waiting and pondering at the place the Master had chosen.) But when they attempted to convince the stone haulers, who had different ideas, things didn’t go so well. Some were willing to support the brick effort, while others demanded that ALL labor stop (not just their own), so they could go complain to the Master. Some wanted to argue and dispute, while refusing to abandon their misguided stone-hauling effort, and wasted much time and effort in argument.

As you recall, after all the disputations, more lent their support to the construction project already underway, but in the end, some were never persuaded, and they completely missed the opportunity to labor on the Master’s house. Though their efforts were eventually salvaged for a lesser purpose, the exercise served to hopefully soften their hearts to prepare them for the future. The house reached completion, and their opportunity ended with them still opposed to any approach but their own failed effort.

The upshot of all this is quite practical.

First, the problem wasn’t that the people in the parable lacked a mechanism by which they could make and enforce group decisions. It’s not about a mechanism at all. A government, hierarchy or ruler was not the solution. Nor was it practical for all to gather and discuss, contemplate and contend until they at last all came to agreement before ever starting on the labor. When hundreds of people insist on being in charge, nothing gets accomplished. (This is, in effect, substituting a single ruler for many rulers.) The rest of the parable demonstrates there were some who would never be persuaded, regardless of what mechanism was tried, or how many joined the effort, even as the house reached completion.

No, in reality, the problem was hard hearts, as I discussed above. This is, of course, what the Lord told us all along, despite our unwillingness to believe Him. The three groups in the parable all tried their own ideas, but in the end, it was a small group, a subset of the whole, who found the solution. This seems to always be the case. The Lord inspires an individual or a small group to begin a labor, and the rest of the body is free to support or oppose.

In the parable, once the small group had found the solution and begun to build the house, all others were invited to support the effort, but also free to respond as they saw fit. Some readily joined and supported, some argued and opposed, and some refused to ever be persuaded. I believe there’s a great lesson there regarding our hearts.

The notion of coming to agreement requires that there’s something with which to agree. Had the three groups spent days, weeks, or months hashing out a plan, arguing, compromising, making sure “all voices were heard,” dealing with intractable opposition and stubbornness…well, you get the picture. They never would have even started the labor, much less discovered the hidden cache of clay.

No, what happened is that a small group, inspired by the Master, actually started the labor. They learned His will and did what He expected them to do. They invited others to support the effort, which clearly manifested the Master’s will, and some did. All were equal in the opportunity; all were equal in the invitation. Thus, equality was preserved.

Consider what might have happened if the entire body had decided they must all be united before any work could commence. They might have argued for months or years, and perhaps even settled on a plan. But what are the chances the plan on which they settled would have included the clay and the bricks? Zero. This is because the only way to discover the clay was to actually begin the work! It’s clear, therefore, that the key is being easily persuaded when someone has discovered a workable solution, rather than attempting to get the entire group on the same page before any work can start. When concurrent projects aim for the same goal, but one becomes clearly more effective, it’s time to abandon the competing efforts.

Now, speaking to the Statement of Principles effort: many individuals and groups attempted to obey the Lord and write the statement. EVERY individual and group effort encountered opposition from other covenant holders. Some opposition was based on legitimate questions about scriptural accuracy or truth, and some opposition was based on many other factors like emotion, participation, process, perceived intent, ego, inclusion, and so on. Many of these might well have met the Lord’s requirements, but continued opposition kept any of them from succeeding.

Ultimately, most of the larger group agreed to let the Lord choose whom He would, by lots, to do the work, on behalf of the larger covenant body. That small group of seven worked together in a miraculous manner to create a remarkable result, as is possible in a small group. Even then, that smaller group encountered unfounded accusation and opposition from fellow covenant holders.

The Third Way

And so, this brings us to the lessons of the parable and our actual experience. I expect there will be many more efforts and projects our Lord requires; there remains much work to be done. And I expect, in every case, He will speak to and guide individuals, or small groups to perform the labor He requires. If there happens to be an assignment to the whole body, we will, as a matter of practicality, need to allow a small group to actually perform or direct the labor. Of course, such a labor is temporary, limited only to the task at hand, and ends when the work is completed. (See the scripture committee and the lots group for good examples.)

A movement-wide governing body that must be obeyed, or official process that must be followed in every case, are both ill advised and fraught with danger. The Lord has plainly illustrated these are not effective.

In future projects, our hearts will be on trial, to see if we have yet learned what we should have learned from the Statement of Principles effort and the Parable.
Nor is it enough to say you love your fellow man while you, as Satan, divide, contend and dispute against any person who labors on an errand seeking to do my will.
Will we employ envy, malice, strife, and accusation against those who labor? Or will we have learned from this experience to trust those with an errand from the Lord and allow them to act according to His will? What if we believe we know the Lord’s will better than they do? Will we still uphold and support them, joining our hearts and prayers to their effort, or will we envy them because of the perceived importance of their temporary position as servants? Will we criticize, contend, or demand they stop? Will we insist it must be our way? Most of all, do we seriously believe the Lord will look kindly upon us if we continue to make the same mistakes, after His clear correction?

To summarize, lest there should be any misunderstanding, these are the points I hope we will remember in future efforts.
  • The entire group of hundreds cannot, and should not, directly participate in every decision or effort. Insisting on such leads to intractable gridlock.
  • The Lord has shown His pattern time and time again in calling an individual or small group to a labor, and directing them in that labor. The effort that succeeded with the Statement of Principles consisted of the larger body intentionally submitting to the Lord’s will by allowing Him to appoint whom He would to a small group. In the parable, a small group discovered the Master’s will and invited the Larger group to support it.
  • Anyone called to labor on behalf of the larger body should be very open to input and constructive suggestions from the larger body in their labor. Likewise, they should go to every length to ensure they understand and act on the Lord’s will.
  • Those who have different opinions about how to perform the labor must be free to express those opinions, but should also avoid intractable insistence on getting their own way. If you can’t persuade, digging in won’t help. 
  • In future labors, our hearts will be on trial to see what we have learned. Will we criticize, oppose, accuse, envy, or threaten? How much of this will the Lord tolerate, now that He has gone to such lengths to teach us?
In the parable, all those who laid down their own preferred approaches to join the brick effort, equally succeeded in accomplishing the commandment together, regardless of who actually discovered the clay and started the labor. When there is more work to be done, will we lay down our own wills to be united? Have our hearts changed from our experiences thus far?

What ought we to have learned?

But among these servants some began to prepare the ground, clearing a place to build the house. As they moved away the grass and brush, they found there was clay suitable to make bricks with which to build a house. They told their companions, See, there is clay here. Let us make bricks and build the master a house from what we have found here on his chosen spot. And so they made bricks, laboring, digging, shaping, and drying. 
—Revelation in response to Statement of Principles

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Master’s House, Part 2

Here’s the second half of the Parable of the Master’s House discussion:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Master’s House

I set out to discuss the parable of the Master’s House, but there’s just too much to write. So I’m doing it by video. Here’s part one:

Part Two Coming Soon

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Seven Hosannas

On the eighth day shall be a holy convocation unto you and you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. It is a solemn assembly and you shall do no servile work therein.
—Leviticus 11:9, RE

Today was the last day of the Jewish feast of tabernacles, also called the feast of Sukkot. Today was also the day the covenant people of God adopted a Statement of Principles to serve as a guide and standard, as He commanded nearly two years ago.

The seven-day Sukkot observance required the people to dwell in “tabernacles” or booths made of tree branches. This was to remind them of their ancestors dwelling in booths in the desert for 40 years, after incurring the Lord’s condemnation. I’ve certainly felt the Lord’s condemnation over the last several months as we’ve failed as a people to accomplish the “light thing” the Lord asked of us.

After the seven-day Sukkot observance, which includes a celebration of the harvest, the Sukkot temporary booths are taken down, symbolizing returning from exile, back to the Lord. This particular day, today, the seventh and last day, is known as Hoshana Rabbah, and it has special meaning.

It is known as the last of the Days of Judgment, which begin on Rosh Hashana, or the first day of the year. Tradition holds that while the judgment of God for the new year is sealed on Yom Kippur, (the day of Atonement) it is not "delivered" until the end of Sukkot, i.e., Hoshana Rabbah, the last day of Sukkot, which is today. During the intervening period between Rosh Hashana and Hoshana Rabbah, one can still alter the verdict and decree for the new year. One can still repent and find favor with God. Hence, the day is started with special prayers for forgiveness, as was the conference.

In other words, according to this tradition, today was the last day of the year in which the Lord’s judgement decree could be altered, before it became sealed and permanent at sunset.

The Statement of Principles document was adopted a little after 4 PM today. Sunset occurred at 7:11 PM. It appears we made it by about three hours, and that the Lord’s judgement of us as a people, as outlined in T&C 157 and noted by Gordon when he took the vote, could yet be changed until that point. I pray it was.

I thank God for what occurred, as well as the evidence of changed hearts, respectful disagreement, and widespread unity. Perhaps, as a people, we are showing some slight progress.

This day is traditionally celebrated by making seven circuits around the synagogue while reciting seven Hoshanas, or Hosannas, as we spell the word. (Hosanna comes from the Hebrew word for “save” and can literally be interpreted as a prayer for a savior or for salvation. “God Save Us!”)

This act brings to mind the seven circuits around Jericho, which brought down the wall, and is meant to symbolize removal of the wall between us and God. I pray the completion of this assignment will demonstrate our desire to obey our Lord and no longer be separated by our disobedience.

The day after Sukkot, which is tomorrow, Monday, October 1st, is called Shemini Atzeret. It is a day of holy convocation and solemn assembly and pause to contemplate the spiritual lessons of Sukkot, or separation from God. It is also a day for a special offering made to God by fire. (Leviticus 11:9 RE)

I pray the Lord will accept our offering, forged in the fires of our own refinement, not only of the document He requested, but also of a broken heart and contrite spirit. God Save Us!


Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Question of Process

Background: I've seen a number of communications from people who take no issue with the Lots Statement of Principles document, but who intend to dispute its adoption because they do not agree with the process by which it was created, selected, or adopted. The point of these various communications is to suggest that it is not the document, but the process, which is the higher objective of the Lord, and that we have still failed to create a process that  pleases the Lord.

Some offer various solutions that involve starting over, organizing a new effort, changing the approach to "include everyone", and going through another lengthy process to create a document in a way "everyone" approves. They cite the first 8 pages of the Answer and Covenant as justification for this view, by claiming the current process has mistreated and compelled, and trampled the agency of those who disagree. Claims of unrighteous dominion have been leveled. 

Karen Strong has written a response to these ideas, that I believe is worth sharing. She makes some excellent points regarding the process; and these are points we need to keep in mind as we choose whether to dispute or not dispute the adoption of the Lots statement. Here is what she wrote (slightly edited for grammar and clarity):

I don't argue the importance of us all needing to work on the things expressed in the first 8 pages of the Answer.  But the suggestion of the authors is that the process by which we have gotten the Lots document has been coercive in some manner, and judgment is made that hearts have been wrong, or the counsel of the Lord in the first 8 pages ignored. I disagree with the premise that the process of the lots was a failure on our part as a people, or in the eyes of the Lord.

Of all the efforts that have been attempted, this method was the most inclusive, the most "permission seeking," the most "counsel seeking," and the most unbiased of any and all methods suggested to date.

The covenant body had already spent an entire 7 months in discussion, including using fellowship reps at meetings all summer, and two movement-wide petitions to the Lord to "know His part," before the proposal was finally written up to use the method of lots.

After the proposal was written, weeks were spent informing people of its existence. This was followed by a movement-wide vote in which every individual was able to speak for themselves as to whether they felt it was a method worth using.  The voting showed 87% agreed with the proposed process.  That was not "forcing" a method or a document upon anyone, but was rather merely asking if the people were willing to give it a try.  No one else had even attempted to get permission from the body before proceeding. Not even the fellowship rep effort did that---we were just "told" that's what was happening.

After permission was granted, EVERY covenant holder had a both the right and the invitation to submit their name to be drawn. No other method has figured out a way for every person in the movement to be put on equal footing, to respect each person as having equal ability and qualification to be chosen. This method respected even the quiet and meek among us, and allowed God to choose, rather than simply handing control to those who are most vocal. This was one of the most important issues to me, because I knew certain voices who were dominating the issue, even among the fellowship rep meetings. This approach put even the most humble among us on equal footing with equal opportunity.

Remember, too, that the method honored those among us who felt they had been inspired or "told" to write a SofP, too.  All of those people were asked to submit their previously written documents as a means of giving "counsel" to the seven who were chosen by lot. (And the seven read all the submissions and used many of the ideas they expressed.)

No vying for position was possible with drawing lots. It was left to the Lord, and the Lord alone. Interestingly, He drew from all around the world to represent us. The seven literally became representatives of the covenant body to fulfill the assignment. From England, to Texas, to Washington state, and from northern to southern Utah, the Lord chose those whom He would. Is it somehow more noble or superior if we choose our own representatives, rather than allowing the Lord to choose?

After the rough draft was written, input from the entire body was also sought for 3 days. No other document has done that either. And almost every suggestion the body offered was heeded, unless it went contrary to scripture.

In addition to the above outline of how inclusive and objective this "process" has proven to be, it turns out to be almost a perfect reflection of what Denver suggested in his "Dances with Wolves" podcast, as a way to come to a decision when nothing else has worked (which nothing had---even the fellowship rep attempt had failed).

Various authors have written to promote a future system of having representatives for fellowships make decisions--and yet what we got with the Lots was representatives for the entire covenant body chosen, not by voting, but by the Lord, through lot. No favoritism or power could be exerted in who was chosen as representatives. 

The authors suggest moving forward with a system that entails having a fellowship rep who speaks for the rest of the fellowship. There are several problems with this--I will address just a couple.

First, we are not trying to come up with a governing body for fellowships. A means of communication may be worthwhile, but a governing body presents numerous challenges. (We should remain flexible for whatever future assignments may be in how they are resolved.)

Next, I see a major flaw in relying upon a fellowship rep. system as described. It is like having a Senate without a House of Representatives--which a student of US Government realizes is a real imbalance of power.

The Senate was created to ensure that small states had as much say as larger states. The House ensures that the actual numbers of people aren't swallowed up by small states either. There is balance.

In this movement, no two fellowships are the same. There are very large fellowships, and there are fellowships that consist of a single individual. (I know, I've been on the fellowship locator and found many such "single individual" or family fellowships.) Therefore, having one rep per fellowship necessarily creates an imbalance of representation.

Experience from the summer of 2017, where we sent fellowships reps, proved to be fatally flawed.

There were people who created fellowships just before the meeting, so as to be able to come as a rep and participate.  Such a system does nothing to prevent any person seeking more power and a stronger voice to create their own fellowship for the objective of "being heard." This is an imbalance of power, as opposed to those who may be in fellowships of 20-40 people (like mine).

There were also, reps who were told things by their fellowship, only for the fellowship to learn after the fact, that their rep did not actually represent what the fellowship had agreed upon, but came with their own agenda. We've had enough of this sort of thing in America. We do not need this in this movement, in my opinion.

And do not be fooled, sending reps did NOT prevent the meek and humble from being overrun by the vocal. The exact opposite occurred. There are always those voices who will dominate in a group. Also, the meek and humble are least likely to volunteer to represent the fellowship. Interestingly, in comparison, the lots method allowed all to have an equal chance of being chosen as the covenant body rep.

I was a witness to the complete opposite occurring with the seven chosen by lot.

In stark contrast to what occurred with the fellowship rep attempt in the summer of 2017, I was a fly on the wall to every discussion had by the seven. Never have I seen such respect between individuals. There was complete calm, everyone spoke in turn and had equal say, there was no vying for power, every decision made was done in unanimity, there was the presence of the spirit that was so strong it permeated our home the entire week. I FINALLY had hope for Zion from what I saw happen.  I think there must be something that occurs when individuals feel the Lord has asked them to do something, versus when we take it upon ourselves to do something---because the humility and unity of those seven during that week was palpable.

The final document was again presented to the people for their approval. 

So as not to infringe upon anyone's rights, opinions, or ability to mutually agree or not---the final document written by those whom the Lord had chosen to represent the covenant body in doing this work, was again submitted to the people for their examination and acceptance or rejection.

93.3% of over 500 people (more than had been involved in any other effort) gave their approval.

Yes, 6.7% did not agree.  Those individuals were reached out to and spoken with if they were willing.  Every attempt was made to answer questions, satisfy concerns, and gently persuade. (I have a $42 international phone bill to prove it!  LOL) In the end, NO document is EVER going to get 100% acceptance.  That is just the nature of working with a group of 500+ individuals.

These individuals represented by that 6.7% are important.  They are covenant holders of value.  But they are given the opportunity to still state they do not prefer the document, but choose to not dispute. We've all been given a way to accommodate our personal preferences and still be found agreeable--by a generous Lord.

Yet people keep accusing others of not having their hearts right. 

I keep hearing people say our hearts are not right.  Whose heart among those who participated in the effort to do this work by lots was not right? Are you really willing to make that judgment? None of those who proposed the idea of lots were even allowed to submit their names into the lottery. How could their heart be but filled with a desire to follow the inspiration they were given? There was nothing in it for them except to serve and follow the impressions they got.

I witnessed the hearts of the seven, and I give my witness their hearts were right, as the presence of the spirit bore witness to that.

Many of those who supported the lots had been supportive of every effort and attempt by other covenant holders to try to figure this out before. They were not stubborn. Many of those involved were individuals whose very concern was that the humble and meek among us were getting trammeled upon by the vocal and were asking the Lord how that could be rectified.

A word of caution.

I understand that we all wish that there was a perfect solution to this whole thing--something to happen that would suddenly allow us all to be on the same page and see this exactly the same way. I think we assume that this would be evidence that our hearts were finally right.

We have been asked to work on our hearts. This is going to be a long process that isn't achieved in a year, or two--and will never be achieved by some among us. We've been told this already (i.e. there are tares among us). I do not know whose hearts or right or whose are not; but I do see some evidence that suggests people are misjudging those involved in the lots and the process.

In the end, we have not been asked to mutually agree upon a process anyway, but to mutually agree upon a statement of principles. I believe it has been a manifestation of the hand of the Lord that He inspired the Lots method and all that it entailed--and that He bore witness of His approval of the process by the Dances with Wolves podcast--Perhaps just in the nick of time for everyone in this movement to reflect upon before this coming Sunday's vote to adopt. He is a God of miracles, after all, if we will have eyes to see it.

What shows more about our hearts? To continue to haggle over a dislike of this or that in a process that you may or may not be right about--in fact, you may even be fighting against the very thing God gave us to solve the dilemma we faced? Or to say, I accept the flaws and inadequacies of my brothers and sisters, but accept in good faith that their hearts were right and I can support this document that contains the words of the Lord and His servants. If the Lord rejects the work, He will let us know, but I can unite with my brothers and sisters, and lay my personal preferences aside, with the knowledge that even I may be operating off opinion, rather than truth, in what I think.

Which of those two is really what the Lord would have us do?

Sincerely, and with pleading in my heart that we cease the finger-pointing, and finding fault with those who seek to do the Lord's will and be on His errand, and prayerfully unite with one another--asking the Lord if that would please Him to see us do that.

Karen Strong

Monday, September 24, 2018

Two Announcements

Updated Statement of Principles Announcement

There's an update on the upcoming sustaining vote for the statement of principles posted on the Scriptures Project Blog. Please take a look:


Also, I was asked to post the following regarding Dr. John Pratt's sacred calendar discussions. I'm somewhat familiar with John and his writings, and I highly recommend learning from him if you're interested in the sacred calendars and the heavens.

John Pratt - Weekly Sunday Zoom Meeting - Sacred Calendars

We would like to invite everyone, in all fellowships, to a weekly online ZOOM meeting with John Pratt to discuss sacred calendars. These ZOOM meetings are intended to be a series of ongoing discussions to teach us about the sacred calendars and their relevance to our day. John has mentioned that these tutorials were designed and prepared to be presented sequentially as "later tutorials may depend on remembering what was taught earlier."

SUNDAYS at 8 PM, Mountain Time


Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:


US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 640 043 351

International phone numbers available:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

4th Address to Christians

The 4th Address to Christians has been posted on the Christian Reformation 500th Anniversary site. I’ve listened to this address and highly recommend it to all believers in Christ. Please share.