Saturday, October 18, 2014

40 Days on Death Row

Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister;
3 Nephi 18:32

What would it be like if we had the death penalty in the LDS church?

What sins would cause us to take up stones and kill the sinner? How quickly would we convene a firing squad? How carefully would we consider? How dangerous would it be to our own souls if we got it wrong and killed an innocent?

Of course, these questions are only hypothetical because, despite extensive religious history, matters of life and death are now decided by the state.

Capital punishment is only dispensed by the civilized state in the most severe cases, for the most heinous crimes, and even then, it is never administered quickly. Trials extend for weeks or even months while every piece of evidence, every witness, every extenuating factor is considered, evaluated, argued, substantiated, and applied. Ultimately a verdict is rendered and a sentence handed down.

So begins the wait on "death row."

Then the appeals start. Lasting for many years, every facet of the trial is picked apart, appealed, and reconsidered by the courts. Ultimately there are appeals to government authorities for clemency, and those failing, the penalty is finally carried out, often decades after the crime. And even then, the killing is highly regulated, as humane as possible, and usually protested.

And yet, from the eternal perspective, what is being taken from the criminal is practically nothing--only the remaining years of mortal life that would otherwise be spent in prison. A mere blip in the timeless timeline of eternity. Though man may have government power, and even God's authorization to take mortal life, eternal things are always and only in the hands of God.

But, like I said, the original question is only hypothetical. The LDS church is not authorized by God or government to apply capital punishment to sinners.

What we claim instead is a far more terrible, powerful, and dangerous dominion. We claim not the right to destroy mortal life, but rather the power to destroy eternal life.

In our most severe cases, when there has been gross sin, our scriptures and practice require excommunication. This is the gospel equivalent of capital punishment, as we popularly claim the right to remove ordinances, priesthood, temple blessings, family relationships, the Holy Ghost, and repentance; to snatch the sinner from the clutches of mercy and apply eternal crushing justice; to make the Atonement of no effect; to prevent God's saving power from redeeming that sinful soul, who is now consigned to Hell and eternal damnation. This is no mere blip; this is destruction. This is forever.

We're not playing with knives. We're playing with nukes.

Fortunately, this eventuality is rare and limited in the church to certain situations like murder and adultery. But aside from those extreme situations, we also apply the eternal death penalty to cases of apostasy. And this is where it gets interesting.

Apostasy is defined on the LDS.org website as follows:
"When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy."
Since this definition clearly requires turning away from the gospel, it's important to know what that means.

The word "Gospel" derives directly from two Old English words meaning "Good News" or "Glad Tidings." And what are the glad tidings?

Here they are, as delivered to King Benjamin by an angel:
 3 And he said unto me: Awake, and hear the words which I shall tell thee; for behold, I am come to declare unto you the glad tidings of great joy. 
 4 For the Lord hath heard thy prayers, and hath judged of thy righteousness, and hath sent me to declare unto thee that thou mayest rejoice; and that thou mayest declare unto thy people, that they may also be filled with joy. 
 5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. 
 8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. 
 9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
 10 And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men. (Mosiah 3:2-10)
That's the Good News! That's the Gospel! King Benjamin, and you, and I, can rejoice in the glad tidings that Christ will come, atone for our sins, and open the way of salvation for all people. All of us fallen mortals, who have already had the death penalty passed upon our heads, can instead be snatched off death row, delivered from death and Hell, and redeemed by Christ's atoning blood! This is joyful news indeed!

And, lest there be any confusion about the subject, Christ Himself defined his gospel in 3 Nephi.
 13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
 15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. 
 16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. (3 Nephi 27:13-16)
Who would turn their back on such news? Who would reject that redeemer who stands waiting to receive them? Such an one, having once been enlightened, would be in apostasy. Such an one would be in a desperate situation indeed:
But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. (Mosiah 3:12)
And such an apostate, having already rejected the blessings of the Atonement and all it offers, may be righteously excommunicated from the church.

The Secret Definition of Apostasy

Now here's the catch. People who "turn away from the principles of the Gospel" are almost never disciplined by the church. Every ward has plenty of people who are members in record only, living lives of neglect toward Jesus Christ, and uninterested in the salvation He offers.

But we don't excommunicate such people. Unto such, we are obligated to continue to minister, often leaving the ninety and nine to go after the one lost sheep, as the Master requires. This is because in the most basic sense, we are all, in some way or another, not completely loyal to Jesus Christ and his gospel. We are all lost. That's why we need Him all the more.

But there IS another, secret definition of apostasy, and this one WILL get you excommunicated. The definition is secret because it appears only in the Church Handbook of Instructions Volume 1, which is tightly controlled and only made available to certain church leaders. The rest of us, who support the church with our time, money, efforts and devotion, are not allowed to see this handbook.

(Why the body of Christ would be run by a secret handbook is a disturbing question for a different day.)

So here's the secret definition, with my comments added in red:
As used here apostasy refers to members who:
  1. Repeatedly act in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders. (Notice this definition is not about the gospel; it's about the organization and those who run it.)
  2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority. (Not gospel doctrine, not Christ's doctrine, not scriptural doctrine, but church doctrine. Again, it's all about the church, not the Lord.)
  3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority. ("Apostate sect" is used in the definition of apostasy. But what defines an apostate sect? I mean, other than polygamy? We're back to #1 and #2.)
  4. Formally join another church and advocate its teachings. (Again, all about the church, not the gospel)
Now, lest there should be any confusion, let's review:

The church is not the gospel, just as the truck is not the cargo it carries. The church is charged to deliver the gospel to us; to teach and share the good news. But the church, with all its programs, is just the delivery vehicle. Home teaching is not the gospel. Trek is not the gospel. Sunday school, primary, girls camp, welfare, family history, general conference and the Boy Scouts are NOT the gospel.

The gospel is the good news of Christ and his Atonement. Period. (Though there have been deliberate and dishonest attempts by the church to blur this line and make the gospel and the church equivalent.)

Fortunately, Joseph Smith summarized it very well:
The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. (TPJS 121)
So to summarize:
  • The church's public definition of apostasy properly deals with rebelling against the gospel, but will NOT get you excommunicated.
  • The church's secret definition of apostasy has NOTHING to do with the gospel at all, but rather deals with loyalty to the church organization and unquestioning obedience to those in charge. This one WILL get you excommunicated.
Nevertheless, in such disciplinary cases, caution ought to be the watchword. According to an official press release by the church, "Actions to address a person’s membership and standing in their congregation are convened after lengthy periods of counseling and encouragement to reconsider behavior."

In other words, excommunication from the church is a last resort, to be applied only when persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge have failed to convince the person of truth. (D&C 121:41-42) This is as it should be when the eternal destruction of a human soul hangs in the balance.

But that's not how it is. I know this from experience.

I was excommunicated last Sunday night for apostasy, based on the contents of this blog.

As this situation developed, I made the assumption that we were dealing with the public definition of apostasy--you know, the one about turning away from the gospel?

I asked repeatedly to be shown how I had done such a thing while inviting and practically begging people to come unto Christ.

     --But it's not about coming unto Christ.

I asked what untrue words I had written so I could repent and change them.

     --But it's not about truth.

I showed from the scriptures how what I have written is valid.

     --But it's not about scripture.

I explained that I started this blog in obedience to the Lord.

     --But it's not even about Him.

No, it's about the secret definition. I refused to obey my priesthood leader when he sought to compel my behavior (something he's strictly forbidden to do.) My refusal to obey a man's dominion was in direct obedience to the Lord and His scriptures. And this, evidently, makes me an apostate.

The die was cast from the moment I first sat down with my Stake President and he invited me to resign from the church. Such an invitation implies I'm not worthy of church membership from the start. The decision was already made. Everything that happened thereafter in our "lengthy periods of counseling and encouragement to reconsider behavior" consisted of the Stake President giving me an ultimatum  to either:
  • Take down my blog, give up my temple recommend and my calling, and retain my membership (if I kept my mouth shut); or
  • Voluntarily resign from the church; or
  • Face excommunication.
The "lengthy periods of counseling and encouragement" consisted of three meetings, spanning about 4 hours total, over the course of a month, in which the scriptures were not opened. The Stake President did give me two articles to read from the Interpreter (a non-church scholarly journal), which I read and commented on.

And that was it.

At each meeting, my Stake President asked me to resign, and at each meeting I declined to do so. He even helpfully suggested another church I may wish to join. I kind of got the feeling he didn't want me around.

And you know, I wouldn't have minded opening scriptures, searching them together, discussing doctrine, and perhaps coming to understanding and unity by the Power of the Holy Ghost. I've experienced such an outcome many times before when teaching from the scriptures, and it's wonderful and edifying (D&C 50:22).

But the only "doctrine" he was interested in discussing was "follow the key holder." The only "scripture" he was interested in referencing was the handbook. And the only outcome he appeared interested in was making sure my membership came to an end. Quickly.

And so it did.

Now, I honestly believe my Stake President is a good man, doing his best in a difficult situation. He was under great pressure to excommunicate me, and told me he had no choice. He had to play the role of both accuser and impartial judge in my council, which is something I know I could never pull off and get right.

I understand why he did what he did, and I think I even understand why he did it the way he did it. I cannot claim to agree, but he acted within his authority. I have a public blog. He told me to take it down. I didn't do so, and this is therefore acting in deliberate, public opposition to a church leader.

Yet, according to the church's official public statements, I was OK:
"Church leaders are not asking members not to blog, and they are not attacking the rights of honest explorers of faith to have these conversations in the so-called Bloggernacle." (Church Spokeswoman Ally Isom on KUER radio, June 16th)
But according to my Stake President's interpretation of the handbook, I deserved the death penalty. And so it was administered last Sunday night. I understand. And I readily forgive. This is the Lord's issue now, not mine.

But here's the part I don't understand.

Why did my wife deserve to die? 

For reasons known only to my Stake President, he convened a 2-for-1 disciplinary council for both of us at once. My wife and I were tried together as one soul. Ever heard of such a thing?

In fairness, halfway through the council, he did ask if I wanted to leave the room and let my wife sit alone to be tried for her membership in front 15 high priests in dark suits so she could have "her own" council and verdict. She very much didn't want to do that, so we opted to remain together in the room.

And therefore the verdict was pronounced upon us both.

My wife doesn't have a blog. She doesn't publicly teach. She, like me, served faithfully in all her callings, always attended her meetings, paid tithes and offerings, sat on the front row every Sunday, and never made waves at church. Until I started blogging, nobody thought we were anything but the model Mormon family raising seven kids in suburbia.

My dear wife, in an act of supreme courage and obedience to God, did post a link to my blog on her Facebook page a few weeks back. She knew doing so would bring a crush of abuse, criticism, and even anger from those who claim to follow the Savior but have never made such a sacrifice as she was called upon to make. She counted the cost, posted the link, and suffered the abuse.

Our Stake President never asked anything of my wife. He never asked her to take down that Facebook link. She didn't have a blog to take down or words to recant. As far as I can tell, she was excommunicated for supporting me--in essence, a thought crime--which is contrary to both the manual and scripture:
For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds. (Alma 30:11)
And for this she got the Mormon death penalty.

Perhaps this action was designed to send a message. And it certainly did. All the way to heaven.

I could give you a list as long as my arm of statements from scripture and Joseph Smith roundly condemning and damning such despicable behavior on the part of those who "have a little authority, as they suppose." Knowing that the "nature and disposition of almost all men" is to abuse priesthood authority, the Lord gave pointed warnings to those who sit in the chief seats. We have learned by sad experience indeed. "Amen" to the priesthood or the authority of such men. (D&C 121:36-39.)

The Good News

And so now, we've come full circle to the good news of the gospel. I learned something by standing in front of that firing squad, and I'll let you in on the secret.

Their guns are loaded with blanks.

Oh, they can take your name off the membership rolls, that's for sure. But that's about it.

They didn't take my priesthood. I received it from my father, and from my Father--not from the church. If the church didn't give it, the church can't take it.

They didn't take my covenants. I made those covenants with God, not with the church. I still honor them and He does too.

They didn't take away the Holy Ghost. The mere idea that a man can command God would be laughable if it weren't so darn pathetic.
...and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; (2 Nephi 28:4-5)
And most of all, they didn't remove me from the power of Christ's atonement. No man can do that.
...the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; (2 Nephi 9:41) 
When we got home from the disciplinary council, the Lord in his mercy granted us a joint revelatory manifestation that despite the fears and apprehension of the incredibly hard sacrifice we had just completed, He was yet with us.


The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
(Hymn--How Firm a Foundation)

This brings to mind our family scripture:
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5:12)
I spent years building upon my Redeemer's rock in preparation for this test I never expected to face. Having awoken, arisen, and stood upon that foundation through the storm and shafts in the whirlwind, I can testify His rock is a firm foundation indeed, entirely able to support us through every trial and challenge, and the only foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

As I recorded the events of my excommunication in my journal, I realized it was 40 days from our first meeting with the Stake President to our excommunication. Exactly 40 days. Such things don't happen by coincidence. I thank God for the witnesses that come after the trials.

I believe my wife and I are just the tip of the spear. There will be many more excommunications in the coming purge. If you face such an eventuality, stand upon that rock with courage, face down those empty gun barrels, and remember the words of our Lord:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 
(John 16:33) 

132 comments:

  1. If an Abinadi and his wife were among us, how would we know it?

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    1. They would be burned at the stake by the wicked priests and the king.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. Our prayers are with you and your family

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  3. At least Abinadi was given over two years to ponder his upcoming torture and horrific death. And they, as far as we know, left his wife alone.

    Adrian and his wife had no such luck.

    How 15 men in Meridian would cringe at scourging and torching Adrian and his wife for their beliefs (I hope), yet willingly take upon themselves a role far worse than those who only killed Abinadi's body. ... and all in the name of Christ... is chilling to me.

    There are men and their wives such as Abinadi among us today.

    Will we awake and arise?

    Or scourge and burn them? Not their physical bodies, of course, because we're civilized, but willingly and eagerly take their eternal lives (or so we suppose) after just 40 days of farse trial?

    I invite each of us to awake to the truth of what's going on: Abinadis are being burned. Now. Today. In 2014.

    What is our response? Are Adrian and his wife an Abinadi, and how are we to know it? How can we identify any other modern Abinadis?

    If we believe in modern prophets then we also believe in modern Abinadis.

    God in Heaven, let us listen and believe as Alma did!

    Let us bow in mighty repentance before thee and turn from our false traditions, as Adrian has taught, and Come Unto Thee!

    Let us be convinced by this modern Abinadi's words and be believing, then have faith, then know Christ personally for ourselves.

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    1. Angelina,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Lest there be any misunderstanding, please let me reiterate that I do not claim to be a prophet, a messenger, or anything even remotely as good as Abinadi. I'm a flawed and fallen mortal, seeking redemption through Christ, and doing my best to invite others to seek the same. I'm not important at all.

      I do write about important things, and I hope people will consider them. Not because of who I am, but because of who He is.

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  4. Let me also reiterate that I bear no animosity toward my Stake President, his counselors or the members of the high council. I disagree with what they have done, but I believe, in some ways, they acted in ignorance. I do not judge any of them, and I would gladly shake hands with, associate with, or spend time with any of them.

    I think they found themselves in a very difficult situation and did the best they could with what they understood. They have my compassion.

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    1. Now, this is probably pure speculation on anyone's part (unless yourself or anyone you may know has sufficient evidence) but do you believe there may have been outside influence?

      I suppose my real question is: how was the issue even brought to the attention of your Bishop/Stake President?

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    2. the strengthening church members committee would be my guess.

      I find it increasingly disturbing that the church operates in such a cloak and dagger fashion. Slightly ironic when we read that the Lord worketh not in secret.

      My sympathies to brother Larsen and his family. Your blog has helped me get to grips with the discomfort I've been feeling toward the church for some time. I also appreciate your testimony of the gospel and of the Book of Mormon.

      Keep up the good work.

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    3. I don't know the whole story, but I do know several people called my bishop. My Stake President made it clear he had no choice in the matter.

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  5. Bro. Larsen, you ask why your wife had to "die"? It is a part of church protocol now. A good friend of mine talked with a previous bishop and that bishop said that the FP sent a letter saying if one is going to be called in and tried the spouse will be called in as well. He mentioned he felt this referred to apostasy hearings. Protocol was being followed here, even though your wife didn't really do anything as public as you did.

    Let's put it this way, I'd prefer this because I've heard the stories of bishops and stake presidents encouraging a person to DIVORCE their apostate spouse. And you were both wise to stay together for the hearings. Who knows what would've been said behind closed doors (obviously your wife would've said something to you.) So to anyone reading this: if you feel you are going to get called in, your spouse will too. STAY TOGETHER for all the hearings, interviews, etc. I feel bad for local leaders who are being put on the spot. It's sad. I pray for God's forgiveness and mercy on their behalf as well as those of the top tier. Also....just a shout out to Angelina. HI ANGELINA!

    God bless,
    Erin West

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    1. Knuckles back to you, Erin-- I'm so glad you read this blog, as well!

      I believe it is inspired and the truth here is delicious to me.

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    2. It's a great blog. There are a lot of inspired blogs out there. I think with the unfortunate turn being taken by the Church, more people need to seek the Lord and write and teach when He wants them to.

      This is all just so sad, my heart goes out to everyone.

      Erin West

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    3. Erin, thanks for the information. That would explain why Tim Malone was prompted to resign. Such an action by the church against his wife would have devastated her.

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    4. That makes sense. I feel Tim is trying as best he can to follow the Spirit and maintain unity with his wife who is really struggling with his decisions. God bless him and his wife.
      Erin West

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  6. Adrian, thank you for your blog. I appreciate it and have enjoyed what you have written for the truth shared. May the Lord bless you and your wife.

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  7. Adrian, you and I have never met but I feel as though I need to attest to something you said, odd as it may seem coming form someone unknown.

    You said: "When we got home from the disciplinary council, the Lord in his mercy granted us a joint revelatory manifestation that despite the fears and apprehension of the incredibly hard sacrifice we had just completed, He was yet with us."

    Your words resonate with the Spirit. I hear the confirming voice of God. You speak the truth. Your blog has been a blessing and helpful for what may lie ahead for myself and family.

    A fellow brother
    -Taylor

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  8. Brother and Sister Larsen is how I shall address you both, because in my eyes nothing has changed. I must admit this week was filled with anxiety for your welfare. The sadness weighed heavy on my mind and I'm sure it will be a week that both of you will never forget. After reading your post I felt a pouring out of the Holy Spirit. I have always appreciated the power and truth in your words.I might very well find myself walking in your path someday. I would use this post as my defense. I pray the spirit of peace and love will abide with your family. I also pray the spirit of forgiveness will take hold in our hearts for those who compelled you in a brazen show of force.

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  9. AussieOi says:. I truly feel for you. It must be heart wrenching.

    From an external observation you said something about40 days, and how they can't take your priesthood from you.

    Can I ask, are you into Snuffer?

    If so, then that's why you got exxed. The rest was just for show.

    Good luck. The Lds church is a fraud. You'll accept that one day. Denver is a nutter, no one is seeing Jesus. It's all in their head.

    You'll be fine. Maybe embarrassed once you step outside and see it. There's a few million of us out here who've been where you are. They tricked all of us. You weren't stupid to fall for it

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    1. Interesting question. Nobody ever asked what we thought of Denver Snuffer, though the SP did accuse my writings of sounding like Snuffer. So I think you are right about that being the reason.

      As for people not seeing the Lord, I'll have to disagree with you on that one.

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    2. Our minds are very funny things. People have seen fairies, goblins, little green men, little purple men, witches flying on their broomsticks. They've seen Shiva, and have been comforted in the loving arms of Vishnu. They've seen angels, and demons, and cherubs, and vampires. The lore on monsters is rich, and old. People have quirky brain wirings, and neurons fire at unexpected times. Illness, meditation, drugs (legal and otherwise) ALL affect our consciousness. What is reality? What isn't? YMMV

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    3. While I believe it's possible to see Christ, for Mary and the apostles did, but for most people we have to realize Christ warned people falling for false Christs who appear to them or others and convincing them they are the real deal, especially LDS who believe that if you can 'feel' them then they are true, which is not true doctrine but a way for false Spirits to more easily deceive LDS people.

      The fact is, no mortal would be able to tell God or Christ from a false 'angel of light', for we mortals would't have anything to compare it with and know how to tell the difference for sure.

      We can never be absolutely sure about God during this life, for there is always the possibility we have been deceived and don't know it yet.

      LDS and many other religions, are taught to believe that if a church, leader, revelation, confirmation, vision, visitation, personage, etc, 'feels' or 'sounds' right then it 'is right', not realizing how good, wonderful & spiritual the Adversary can make false things and false people seem, sound & feel.

      Christ taught completely opposite, he taught that we prove people, precepts, prophets, spirits, angels, revelation, visions, Christs, etc, by facts not feelings or impressions or visitations, but by what they say and do, not by how they make us feel or by if we 'can' feel them. By comparing what they teach or do by what Christ taught. That is the only way to start to have a clue and even then we can still be deceived.

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    4. Anonymous, you clearly aren't speaking from experience. You are hypothesizing what you think things you have not experienced may be like. You are referring to such as "fact." I believe this is a mistake.

      The scriptures teach us that Moses could plainly discern one from the other. (Moses 1:13-15)

      Also, Jesus warned about false Christs, but said nothing about them "appearing." I think it's just as valid to view false Christs as those who claim to hold the keys of salvation when they do not, and claim to control access to Christ's atonement when they do not.

      Yes, the LDS church teaches much error about how to recognize truth. I've written a fair bit about this. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to discern truth from error, once you learn the difference. Indeed, if we can't ever reliably tell the difference, then we are lost and have no hope whatsoever. I reject this notion.

      It is possible to tell with certainty. (Moroni 7:15) Learning to do this, and then act in truth at all costs, is our life's work.

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  10. A phony public interpretation while actually operating on a secret interpretation? Sounds like the church has more in common with the US government than we realize...

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/government-confirms-it-has-secret-interpretation-patriot-act-spy-powers

    Mike

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    1. Very much agreed, I have noticed the comparison between the Federal Government and the Church organization are very close in relation. This is probably a natural reaction of man to act in an authoritarian manner when the prospect of power is within their grasp. God help the leaders of the LDS Church, they are choosing the world and I pray they turn around.

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  11. I was only introduced to your blog today. My husband and I have been reading PureMormonism for some time. We have been grappling with our previously held beliefs. People have suggested we are having a faith crisis, but I don't feel like it's a crisis. I feel like I'm finally seeing things for what they really are. The scales are coming off my eyes. We feel like we are finally, truly coming to Christ. Today my husband and I felt discouraged. Our families think we are crazy and apostate. We are unsure of what to do with the information we have. We agreed to each pray today for answers and guidance. After I finally got all the kids settled, I was able to take some time to really pray and pour my heart out to God. Afterwards, as I meditated for a few minutes, the words "Be of good cheer" entered my mind. I told my husband. Tonight we read your blog post, for the first time. When you quoted John 16:33, my husband jumped up and pointed out the phrase "be of good cheer". I do not think it was a coincidence that we saw you post or that you posted that scripture. God speed on your journey, and thank you for strengthening our resolve to continue on this path. God truly moves in mysterious ways.

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    1. Lindsay, Thank you for letting me know this. As I was looking for a closing scripture, that one came by the spirit. So I put it in. But I didn't like it, and tried three times to come up with something I like better. Each time, I had an immediate impression to leave it there. Now I know why.

      Delete
    2. You'll find more answers here:
      https://www.scribd.com/doc/168908635/Boise-Transcript-Be-of-Good-Cheer-Be-of-Good-Courage

      You may have to create a scribd account to download the PDF.

      Delete
    3. Or just check this link:
      http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_1-Boise-Be-of-Good-Cheer.pdf

      Delete
  12. I will say this in the most public way possible - Brother & Sister Larsen, you have my support. I have affiliated with you in the past & will continue to affiliate with you in the future. I agree with what you have written in your blog. May God bless your souls. I love you both.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love this part:

    I believe my wife and I are just the tip of the spear. There will be many more excommunications in the coming purge. If you face such an eventuality, stand upon that rock with courage, face down those empty gun barrels, and remember the words of our Lord:
    These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

    Thank you for your great example of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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  14. Adrian,
    What a sad story. But why would you want to stay ? Did you want to be a reformator ? That didn't work too well for Luther. Or did you want to be a victim. I am not critical. It took me more than 20 years to draft a resignation letter, but when I read your story I feel encouraged that I have done the right thing. Supporting a two faced religion makes us guilty in the end as well and we become that way ourselves through association. I recon the LDS church will suffer a gradual decay of its vitality if it encourages hypocrisy, but it is here to stay !

    ReplyDelete
  15. I appreciate your blog and your scriptures are spot on. It disturbs me how more and more, people like Elder Holland are saying very clearly that the only way to God is through them and their keys. I find it very, very disturbing. How can they be so blind? They certainly do not know the scriptures they profess to teach from, rather would hold to man-made doctrine which is clearly false.

    I see more and more voices like yours. The men in suits are panicking.

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  16. I read this piece with mixed feelings. Sadness for the way that you were treated but happiness that you no longer have the shackles of mormonism around you. I stopped going to church just over 2 years ago now after a lifetime of diligent service including a mission and serving on the bishopric and the high council.

    I no longer go to church but still believe in the teachings of Jesus while I try to understand who God is again.

    Best wishes and good luck on your journey.

    http://cesletter.com/

    ReplyDelete
  17. Adrian, you are a better man than I. I'm pretty patient and forgiving (at least I think so and others have told me), but I don't think I could let the SP off so easy. He shirked his real duty and buckled under pressure. How all 15 of them could get it so wrong and bow to pressure and the secret workings of the church is unbelievable to me. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Groupthink is very powerful..and alive and well in the LDS church. Reference any of the classic studies of the social power of conformity on the individual. The old saying is that good people will do good things without religion, and bad people will do bad things without religion, but religion can make good people do bad things.

      While I absolutely empathize with Adrian and his wife, I think the duty the Stake President carried out was to the organization that gave him his office, not the God he claims to serve (most LDS confuse and conflate the two and the church prefers this as evidenced by the Poleman talk debacle ). Personally, I do not believe that the duty of the Stake President is to minister to or in any real way meet the needs of the individual, but rather the needs of the church. I have long thought that the office of Bishop is the leadership position wherein a person is best able to actually minister the will of Christ and truly help the faithful community. The office of Stake President, however, seems very much to be about ensuring that the needs of the church are prioritized over the needs of the individual when that choice is necessary. Sadly, I think he carried out his duty to the organization very well.

      Delete
  18. Adrian, I'm sorry that the wonderful messages on your blog has turned against you. From what I gather, your 4th post on "Never Led Astray" may have been the "straw that broke the camel's back."

    This morning, after the sacrament, I went to my car, sat in the warm sun and read the scriptures. I was reading King Benjamin's address and these verses stood out to me in relationship God's counsel, (along with many others) to Follow and honor Christ first.

    Mosiah 2:18-20
    18 - Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?

    19 - And behold, also, if I, who ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

    20 - I say unto your, my brethren, that if you should render ALL the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another----

    Now, there's a prophet that understands his role.

    Please continue to blog and share your wisdom and understanding.

    Blessings to you and your wife.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Which articles on the Interpreter site did your stake president ask you to read, Adrian?

    A curious reader

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/tag/letter-to-a-ces-director/

      and

      http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/dissenters-portraying-the-church-as-wrong-so-they-can-be-right-without-it/

      Delete
    2. Adrian, have you fully read both of these essays? They are excellent.

      Delete
    3. Yes, I've fully read them both.

      Delete
    4. I found the section about equations in the first article instructive. There was an effort to point fault at the equation by Runnells:

      Runnells (or anyone) + Questions + Facts = Inevitable Final Negative Conclusion

      With an equation that I observed to be missing a key element, the same one that Runnells missed.

      It should look like this:
      Questions + Facts(as best as we have them) + Revelation = Truth


      Delete
  20. Dude, your wife and you are not eternally dead. That's a fallacy that the Church perpetuates to retain membership. And it works well for them, because there is really no way to test it, without actually dying. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. k blog about it after you figure it out ;-0

      Delete
  21. Adrian, my heart goes out to you and your wife. I sincerely hope you will be able to bear the emotional burdens of the actions of you stake leaders. I agree 100% with your entire post. When I was excommunicated many years ago, I first met with my stake president (a very nice guy) and he said with compassion, "Brother Watts, the result of this court is that you might be excommunicated." I replied, "That's OK, President. I might be excommunicated from the Church, but I can never be excommunicated from the family of God." Since my excommunication, I have felt additional freedom to pursue TRUTH, which is what I now consider the "religion" I belong to. I want you to know that even if you and I and your wife end up in "hell" then we will do as Joseph Smith advised: "Kick the devil out and make a paradise of it." (or words to that effect.) I truly appreciate that there are people like you who will stand up for the TRUTH regardless of the consequences of mere men.

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    1. Amen Larry! I've always love that quote from Joseph...I don't care where I end up...I will go and build heaven out of it!!

      Today my stake president told me I will be receiving a letter to summon me to a disciplinary council. I won't let them get me on my back, but will face them and testify in front of them of the true doctrine of Christ, of His true Gospel, and of the scriptures.

      Thank you Adrian for your efforts in listening to the voice of the Lord. I'm glad I get to share this journey with people like you.

      God bless you and your family!!

      Delete
  22. I disagree with much of this. Two points stick out. First, your wife was given opportunity to have a trial and clear her name but didn't avail herself of that opportunity. How can you blame them when you not only didn't explain her position, but actively avoided the opportunity to simply explain it?

    Second, a fundamental misunderstanding of excommunication. Capital punishment is a ridiculous comparison. Capital punishment ends your opportunity to repent and change. Excommunication starts it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and point out some things I should have made more clear.

      First, my wife did testify, answer the charges, and answer their questions. She made every attempt to clear her name. She just did it with me sitting next to her. The issue was not that she refused to defend herself; rather it was that the charges were without merit. She did nothing that fits their definition of apostasy, and she pointed that out. Nevertheless, they excommunicated her anyway.

      The second point you make assumes there has been sin requiring repentance. I have not been charged with sin, only with not thinking or saying the right things. The only thing I've been asked to change is to take down this blog. But nobody has pointed out which words are untrue, what I've written that is wrong or how I can make this blog acceptable. So there has been no repentance offered. Just insistence upon submission.

      I stand ready and willing to repent as soon as I understand my offense toward God. As far as God has made me aware (and I've spent quite a bit of effort asking) I have done nothing to offend him with this blog.

      Delete
    2. Hi Jim,
      Are you a mormon? If so, you should know that D&C 138:58 (The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,) makes it clear that there is repentance after death. So your statement "Capital punishment ends your opportunity to repent and change." is clearly in disharmony with mormon scripture. IMO, Adrian's comparison of excommunication to capital punishment is a masterful one. It is YOUR statements that are ridiculous. Sorry.

      Delete
  23. I've not finished the post, but had to comment. It seems a new thing to ask people to resign, yet, more and more, leaders are requesting it. I wonder if it is so the church's hands will not be soiled by unjust excommunications.

    Not only are resignations ramping up, excommunications are also - and I am speaking of those who are ex'd for choosing to put Christ above the church leaders or current "doctrine".

    I wonder how many will ultimately be cast out for seeking Christ over the damnable doctrine of "[certain men] CANNOT lead you astray."

    ReplyDelete
  24. The LDS cult excommunicates more people in one year than the Catholic church has in 1700 years

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow, i havent been to your blog before, but it looks like you have had 18 posts since june of this year? And some of your posts have only a very few comments. And skimming the posts, i havent found any false doctrine yet. So this infant brand new blog is what they excommunicated you on? Blast, my husband and i are so angry to hear that. I found your blog through a link on a forum, which i wont name in case of trolling church apostles watching your blog and comments. We are mad that the church has clearly fallen into apostasy and recoils from light and truth. I'll be back to read the rest of your blog later. It seems being excommunicated is becoming a badge of honor, sadly, in this day. I have imagined it happening to me and what i would do. I got a tiny little taste of it when someone called me an apostate online and i got kicked off a facebook group. It really shook me and i dont even know those people in real life, so i can only imagine how you and your wife have been dealing. But you have truth on your side, and the Lord will continue to help you through. Prayers from us too. Rebecca C.

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  26. I'm not at all surprised you have been excommunicated from the church. Reading this blog for a while now I can see that it was appropriate.
    The good news is that you can now use this time to repent and re-align yourself with the Lord and his gospel. You would be wise to do so.
    I would also recommend you close this blog and simply concentrate on living the gospel in your life. This blog serves no purpose. Any fool can criticize and most fools do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Any fool can criticize and most fools do."

      You must be talking about yourself here, correct?

      Delete
    2. I agree, anonymous. People make very provocative and charged comments against church leaders and policies, and then wonder why they are excommunicated. I don't see the Lord himself intervening in the affairs of the church, why do these bloggers think it is their mandate to straighten things out? If you don't like the church, then leave, don't try to initiate a bottom-up reformation. It is never going to work. It is called a mutiny. Thomas Monson is the captain of the ship, like it or not.

      Delete
    3. You're assuming I'm trying to "straighten out" the church. I am not. This is no mutiny. Revolting against the captain is pointless.

      My purpose is to point people to Christ. Individually. One by one. Not to attempt to change the church or the church leadership.

      Salvation is always an individual endeavor between a person and God. It's time we remembered and acted on that truth.

      Delete
    4. Adrian is correct. He has no calling to attempt to reform the LDS Church. It is a man-made organization made up of human-beings. It is far better to lead people to God. And once they start following God again and stop following these men, then if the LDS Church is also reformed as a result - great.

      -- Tobin

      Delete
    5. Adrian,

      I will agree that there are things wrong with the church. However, the church is the repository of all the ordinances necessary for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. No one is going to go to hell for heeding the words of Thomas Monson. If anyone is going to hell it is people that lead others away in rebellion from the necessary ordinances of the true church. You are well-meaning, but I do not believe you entirely understand the Lord's purposes, and why he is allowing events to transpire in the manner that they are. From your limited perspective, you pass judgments, not seeing the entire picture. Your actions deny the fact that the Lord is in charge, and is capable of righting his own ship in his due time.

      Delete
    6. Things being 'wrong' in any mortal organization is a given. You are right, no one is going to hell for heeding the words of Thomas Monson, they are only going to the Telestial Kingdom. D&C 76:98-102 It doesn't really matter what man you want to follow, it really doesn't. The scripture even states you can claim to follow Christ but if you receive not the gospel it doesn't really matter. The Brethren are more than welcome to ride "Old ship Zion" but like all temporal ships, it will pass away. I believe Adrian would agree that his perspective is limited. Might I suggest that you entertain the same possibility about your own perspective?

      Adrian is not denying that the Lord is in charge. I think what you are implying is that the Lord is not going to let a mortal church sink. From my limited perspective I would count on the Lord's past behavior where every mortal church has fallen, and I would count on D&C 76:102 and search for the church of the Firstborn. I've always wondered if Firstborn has a dual meaning. Could it mean not only Christ, but the First fruits of the resurrection? Just a thought.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous,

      It would be impossible for the LDS Church to be 'Christ's Church or for any true church of Christ to have false prophets or false teachings in it or to have things done 'wrong' in the Church, for Christ himself said to not believe in such leaders, people or churches if they teach or do wrong things.

      In fact, Christ did not teach to go to any church at all, but to only belong to his 'spiritual' church that all true followers everywhere belong to. It was never a physical church for Christ did not want anyone trusting men to lead them or be a middle man to God for them.

      And it is only because you believe in the LDS Church that you believe in a 'Celestial Kingdom', and the temple and 'ordinances' necessary for Exaltation, which it appears that even Joseph Smith didn't believe in most of that but was rather falsely made up by Brigham Young and Co.

      Joseph's idea of temples, though wrong & contrary to Christ, did not include sealings, ordinances other then baptism and he did not believe in polygamy, etc. So it's best to learn of the origin of such ordinances before believing they are true and necessary.

      But the bottom line is, Christ did not teach anything about sealings or Celestial Kingdom or Exaltation, those are the teachings of men. Christ taught baptism and simple commandments to gain Eternal Life.

      And Christ did in fact teach that if we fall for or support false prophets like Monson or false teachings like those taught in the Church then we surely will lose out on Eternal Life. So it's very vital that we awake and don't continue to follow or support such leaders, prophets or churches who don't follow Christ and who promote things contrary to His teachings.

      Delete
    8. Jen, I appreciate what you're trying to convey, but I take issue with your assertion that "Joseph's idea of temples" was wrong and contrary to Christ.

      In fact, we do not know what Joseph's idea of temples even was, as he was killed before the Nauvoo temple was even half complete. The teachings, ordinances, even the construction plans for the upper floors, died with Joseph.

      What Brigham and company replaced them with was the best they could do with the limited information they had. I think it's a mistake to pin that on Joseph.

      Delete
  27. Adrian, I am sorry and shocked. What a stunning blow for you, and a loss to your ward. You're right that they can't take away those things that are most important, and frankly, I didn't see anything in your blogs that deserved censure. It seems that your posts embarrassed someone, and he wanted you to bow to his will. Since you wouldn't, he then decided to break you in the only way he could. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Adrian,

    I experienced my "firing squad" before 15 six months ago.

    See http://in200wordsorless.blogspot.com/2014/04/im-tryin-to-be-like-jesus-im-following.html

    Many blessings to you and yours for your faithfulness to Christ.

    --Will Carter

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  29. This is clearly a case of priestcraft, for which the members of this court will be individually accountable. I wish them happy days.
    We know the terrible warning in D&C 121: "We have learned by sad experience...etc... they will begin to excercise unrighteous dominion" , ..."Amen to the priesthood..."
    Joseph Smith is reported to have said: "You will live to see men arise in power in the Church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the wordly learning which they seem to be in possion of, and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty" (from the Mosiah Hancock Autobiography, BYU Special Collections).
    Anyway, The Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles were excommunicated also, so the Larsens are in good company.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I do not know you, but I have associated with your wife and children in the past. For various reasons, I do not feel comfortable sharing my name. My heart aches for you and your family. As someone who is experiencing a crisis of my own, I have some sincere questions for you (that I have been asking myself) and would appreciate your feedback. 1-Are you concerned with how your actions will affect your children? In your blog posts that I’ve read (not all), I assume that you still believe Joseph Smith to be a Prophet of the Restoration of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon to be a divine book of scripture. 2-How then do you reconcile not being able to participate in temple ordinances or partake of the sacrament (if you’re not going to church)? And 3-Have you considered your pride? That is, I often wonder how much of my problem is due to the fact that Satan has found where I am weak and has been chipping away at that spot in my armor. I believe he is pulling out all the stops these days and, much to his pleasure, we are doing exactly what he hopes we will do. Humbly...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anonymous:

      Thank you so much for your concern for my family. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and to ask these thoughtful questions. I want you to know I'm just as concerned about you in your current crisis (whatever form it may take) and hope that I can help. Here are some answers to your questions:

      Our children have been just fine from a spiritual/religious perspective. We’ve been very open with them about what’s been going on with us and the church, and we’ve been teaching them from the scriptures since they were very young. They are well grounded in the gospel and the scriptures, and they understand the situation with a surprising depth of understanding. Our main concern about our children now is how they are treated by others who are afraid. There has been some unpleasant treatment by those who claim to follow Christ and ought to know better. But that is to be expected, I suppose, and it gives us opportunities to forgive. Our family is united, happy, and at peace. 


      You are correct that we absolutely believe the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Much of the purpose of this blog is to remember the legacy Joseph left us and get out from under the condemnation we are under for taking the Book of Mormon lightly. (D&C 84:54-58).



      As for temple ordinances, we’re not concerned, as they are rehearsals to point us to the real thing, and we are seeking the real thing. We trust that the Lord will provide proper learning opportunities for our children when the time comes. 



      Regarding sacrament, we feel much better about observing the sacrament properly in our own home than we do about the convoluted, diluted, and unscriptural way it is observed in LDS worship. I hate to be negative about sacrament at church, but the LDS church really has cast aside and changed the sacrament the Lord outlined in scripture. We find meaning, beauty and closeness to the Savior by taking the sacrament at home or with friends. We have the Lord’s authorization to do so.


      Thank you for the warning about pride and possible deception. I’ve carefully considered both and taken extensive effort against both. This has been a long and arduous road, spanning years and much renovation of my personality. I have good reasons to believe I am not deceived, and though my writing style comes across sometimes as sharp or even arrogant, that’s more of a flaw in my writing style than in my heart. I’m by no means perfect, and I have to really heavily on the grace of Christ, but I believe my pride is in check when I am under the Holy Ghost’s influence.

      Since you know my family, you likely know how to contact us, and we would be glad to answer questions, discuss your faith crisis, or help in any other way. There are good answers in the gospel to whatever is troubling you. There are wonderful, exciting, and incredibly fulfilling parts of the gospel available to us all if we just know where to find them. Please let us know how we can help.



      Love, Adrian and Tausha


      Delete
  31. This is from a LDS Patriarchal Blessing given early last year:

    “You have a great intelligent mind, but, you will never become more intelligent
    than the Prophet of God. You will always raise your hand to sustain Him in
    knowing that He is God’s spokesman, and you will know that He receives
    revelation. Even though you might be great in your academics, you will always
    know that His wisdom and knowledge supersedes yours. You will always be
    obedient. You will always sustain the living Prophet."

    This is idolatry. It openly contradicts many scriptures. But this is where the church is today. Idolatry in the Old Testament is equated to adultery-- it being spiritual adultery.

    It is amazing that men can feel so righteous, exalting their leaders above the heavens as it were, and yet are openly promoting doctrines worse than adultery.

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    Replies
    1. Your comments bring to mind my Gospel Doctrine lesson yesterday, Anonymous. We were exploring Jeremiah and Lehi being sent to steer the Israelites back to Yahweh just ahead of them being conquered and subjugated by Babylon. The Israelites at the time of Jeremiah had apostatized from the top down. The king and the prophets were behaving badly which influenced the ordinary people to behave badly. Jeremiah chapter 23 enumerates Yahweh's charges against the prophets of adultery stealing money from the poor and idolatry.

      Aware that some in the Church™ don't study the scriptures and still more subconsciously buy into the glow of infallibility accorded the leadership, I approached the subject gingerly, noting that we typically think of our modern prophets as examples of righteousness, kindness and generosity. My goal was to just broach the possibility that prophets are actually still mortal, to poison the well of someone's complacency.

      We discussed modern false prophets such as the remarkable Jim Jones of cyanide Kool Aid fame. One of the class members proclaimed as truth Wilford Woodruff's assertion that God would never let the prophet lead us astray. As evidence of the perils of being deceived by false prophets, this person reported on a fellow in their old stake that had been excommunicated for following the 'false' prophet, Denver Snuffer. That lost soul was Adrian, although he didn't get the boot for following Denver. If this class member were to actually study Adrian's blog she'd find herself confused at her belief in his error in the face of the words of life that he is sharing. Do continue, Adrian, with the blessings of our Lord.

      A Gospel Doctrine class is usually a terrible place to have a meaningful discussion about important matters. It's like playing tennis with hand grenades. Just when I thought I'd made my point and had sown a few seeds of doubt about some of our false traditions, our bishop stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. He reminded us that for the people of Jesus' time, Jesus probably would have seemed like a false prophet. He taught against the popular traditions of the Jews. He didn't afford the Jewish leaders any of the deference they felt they deserved. And those miracles! Surely the work of evil spirits.

      And lest anyone conclude that talk of false prophets is merely the paranoia of religion, we discussed Matthew 24:23-25 in which Jesus warns us of not only false prophets in the last days but false Christs who will deceive the very elect with their miracles and wonders. Not to leave the moment on a sour note, we concluded with D&C 45:56-57 where we are enjoined to take the Holy Spirit as our guide in wisdom.

      I agree with you, Anonymous, that the Old Testament is as relevant and vital to us today as its warnings were in the days of Father Lehi. May we draw humbly to the spirit and be led where he will.

      Delete
  32. The coming purge Adrian mentioned is gaining a lot of momentum. I got my first taste of it yesterday when my bishop released me because I will not teach from the curriculum departments website. He asked me about the "thought process behind my lessons" and I replied that I did what Joseph Smith taught and asked God to reveal to me what topic I should teach each of the last 9 months. My bishop, a very good dude, could not comprehend that God would tell me to teach something different than the First Presidency, who were the only authorized men to approve lessons. My heart ached for this man who is so blind in his devotion and idolatry of men.

    Best to you and your wife. Joe.

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  33. I'm very sorry to hear the news. However, I am greatly confused as to why you did not resign from the church on your own. You seem to be against so many of it's teachings, and you obviously don't recognize the Latter-day prophet and the apostles as men called of God... why was is so important for you to stay? I am not trying to bash, I just don't understand why you never left in the first place. It is very clear to me as to why you were excommunicated, I'm surprised you are baffled by their reasons. Im afraid to say you do lose the priesthood when your excommunicated, and as much as you seem to think otherwise, that is just not the case. I do not say this with an malice or joy, I just think you've twisted so many precious truths to justify you actions and thoughts and THAT why your life has taken the course that it has. I don't think you're some wicked person (any more than I am) but I do believe you are headed in the wrong direction but it hard to see, especially if you've been fostering these ideas for years. The adversary is very tricky. I wish you the very best!

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    1. Hi Anonymous:

      Thanks for caring enough to comment. I think you raise some valid points.

      I didn’t resign from the church for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not an all-or-nothing issue. Just because there are problems and unbelief, it doesn’t mean all is lost and I should just walk away. What would that accomplish? The church teaches much wonderful truth; it publishes the scriptures; it keeps many of Joseph Smith’s teachings alive; it gives opportunities to serve, teach, love, and minister. Why walk away from that?

      And second, I specifically asked the Lord whether I should resign when my Stake President invited me to. The Lord’s answer was that I should not.

      I realize our popular teaching says that you lose priesthood with excommunication, but I’m curious where such an idea is found in scripture. D&C 121:36-38 talk about how priesthood is lost, and it is by abuse, not by excommunication. Can you shed any more light?

      Also, priesthood was restored before the church was organized. Therefore the church is dependent upon the priesthood, but the priesthood is not dependent upon the church. Those who are excommunicated are asked not to use priesthood, but not told they don’t have it. And after re-baptism, there is not a re-ordination to priesthood required.

      I do have a sincere question for you. You state that I have twisted many precious truths. I would appreciate it if you could point them out to me. The reason I ask is that truth is important above all and I want to correct my errors. This is the same question I asked my Stake President and the high council. I’m very serious, and I’m not afraid to admit my errors if I’ve made them. So please let me know what you’re referring to.

      I agree with you that the adversary is very tricky. I wish you the very best as well and hope to see you in Zion.

      Adrian

      Delete
  34. It is the church that is the apostate, brother Larsen, not you. As we are investigating the truth, like I did, over the years, we are all faced with this same terrible dilemma, excommunicated or not.
    D&C 85 vers 7 says that the Lord will send one mighty and strong to set in order the house of God; that day will come, and I live to see that day. There is a warning attached in vers 8, some people should take notice.

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    1. I don't see anything about the church being apostate in D&C 85...just people trying to claim an inheritance without consecration then claiming to try to steady the ark and being smitten down...

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  35. So you create a blog and post articles that your leaders are likely to have a problem with and are then surprised when they react and excommunicate you? Oh, and on top of that, let's not forget that you used your real name. Is that about right?

    Yes, I can see we have a real genius here.

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    1. How does teaching the truth make one worthy of excommunication?

      That sounds like a problem with the so-called "leadership" within the LDS Church, not a problem with Brother Larsen.

      I give credit to Adrian for using his full name. That indicates to me that he's more than willing to put his money where his mouth is and stand behind what he believes in. Are you willing to do the same thing, Anonymous?

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    2. Hi Michael,

      You can call me Tobin if that would make you feel better. I was actually following a discussion about Adrian's plight over on http://www.mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=36022 and thought I'd come over here and give him a dose of realism. Obviously he didn't take it very well and questioned whether I was a real Christian?!? But, the reason I mention that is if you ever wish to engage me at length, I'm always available on there using that name.

      Now in answer to your question "How does teaching the truth make one worthy of excommunication?", I'll start by stating I am highly dubious of anyone stating the have the T.R.U.T.H.(tm) It has been my experience that they are selling something and rarely is it what is being advertised. Now, he may have the T.R.U.T.H.(tm), but it is more likely he doesn't or only has bits and pieces glued together by his own opinions. In any event, I really could care less. It isn't a question of who has the T.R.U.T.H.(tm) on their side. Instead it is a question of who has the P.O.W.E.R.(tm). and there is no question that in this case his leaders have the P.O.W.E.R.(tm) to kick him out of the LDS Church. Now, if he didn't want that to happen, then he shouldn't have been as foolish as he's been. He has no-one to blame but himself.

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    3. Hi Tobin,

      I don't blame you for being skeptical of me or of my motives, or for considering me a fool. I can honestly understand why you might feel that way about me.

      When I opted to use my real name, I was perfectly aware that my actions would invite criticism and even contempt, and that there would be a price to be paid.

      I counted the cost and paid it. Some things are worth standing up for.

      I assure you I am not selling anything, though I am curious what you think my ulterior motives may be? It would be very helpful if you let me know because it will help me understand what many people may fear about me.

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    4. Tobin, I'll add that my initial, knee-jerk response to your original comment was written in haste and unkind and I therefore removed it. I'm certainly not in any position to judge you, no matter what you think of me. Please forgive my natural-man response.

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    5. Tobin, all Adrian is trying to do is what he feels is Gods work. I know he would invite you to have your opinions and that is great because most people just follow and don't share their opinions. But I would say that all opinions need to be shared in the spirit of uplifting each other or allowing kindness rather than accusations or ridicule. Adrian didn't ask and I hope he won't mind me asking, but please keep your comments to honest searching for answers and thought provoking while being kind at the same time. I look to Adrian's blog and others' comments as a source for knowledge seeking and not contention. Thanks and in all sincerity may God bless you in your efforts and journey in life.

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    6. Tobin,

      I came to the conclusion several years ago that something was wrong within the LDS Church - a church I've been a member of my whole life.

      Finding blogs such as Adrian's (along with others) have at least confirmed my belief that it isn't just me who feels this way.

      Certainly, you are entitled to your own opinions, and it's all well and good to share those. However, I don't get the feeling or the impression that Adrian is "selling" anything, other than his personal viewpoints, which he offers free-of-charge.

      I'd much rather lean in favor of truth over power. If all the LDS Church is doing is exercising POWER over it's followers, then I'd rather have less to do with it because it isn't the power of said church that'll get me back to the celestial kingdom.

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    7. Hi Adrian,

      I suspect there is a bit of glib revisionism to your statement that you were "perfectly aware" what the consequences might be. But that isn't really that important to me. The LDS Church is a man-made organization and so what if they kicked you out?!? Big deal. And yes, I know they teach they are the one and only true Church and are the kingdom of God here on Earth. But of course, if you believe the scriptures, you know that isn't true in the slightest. For the Lord states in Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      Now to address your question about "what I think your ulterior motives may be?" It isn't that I think you have ulterior motives. That isn't what I think the problem is here at all. Instead, it is my view that you are likely just gravely mistaken and misguided about a great many things and set yourself up as a prophet or teacher of what the real T.R.U.T.H.(tm) is. Now the reason I think that is for some rather simple reasons.

      1) It has been my experience that the way to tell the difference between a true prophet of God (or teacher if you'd like) and a false one is to watch what they say. Inevitably, a false prophet of God will state that they have the T.R.U.T.H.(tm) and ask you to do what they say. It is actually remarkable that they consistently do this, but it seems they can't help themselves. On the other-hand, a true prophet of God will instead invite you seek God and speak with him to learn the T.R.U.T.H.(tm) for yourself and ask you to do as God says. That is how you tell the difference.

      2) I think you have gone about doing things a bit backwards. If I were you, I'd first seek, actually SEE, SPEAK WITH and LEARN directly from the Lord and be called upon by him in person before I'd ever presume to teach what is the T.R.U.T.H.(tm) is from him. After all, that is how he operates. If you don't believe me, just read the scriptures and you'll see this pattern repeated again and again.

      3) And I know better. I left Mormonism after my mission. I was convinced it was made-up nonsense and became an atheist. It wasn't until about 10 years ago, when I actually encountered one of these beings that I came to the realization that religion might actually have a basis in fact. And despite the fact that I know these beings exist, I still wouldn't presume to state I know and have the T.R.U.T.H.(tm) about them. From what I encountered, it is clear to me that we understand so very little about them. I think of it much like an ant trying to understand what a human-being might be like. These beings (who Mormons like to call God) have advanced so far beyond us that it is impossible for us to fully comprehend or understand their nature and the full T.R.U.T.H.(tm) about them at this point in our development.

      So that is why I'm highly dubious of those that think they have a special insight on what the T.R.U.T.H.(tm) really is.

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    8. Hi Tobin,

      Thank you for this information. It helps me understand where you're coming from and what assumptions you are making about me. I really appreciate your taking the time to write this all up.

      I agree with you that we must all go to God ourselves, and I've tried to encourage that as much as possible in this blog. Thanks for the reminder that I need to make that more clear.

      As I've written elsewhere, I do not claim to be a prophet or anything special. I do claim to teach truth from scripture and from Joseph Smith. I'm not an original source.

      Thanks again for your insights. Godspeed on your journey.

      Adrian

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    9. Tobin,

      Good comments. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  36. 1 Nephi 13:37 "And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be."
    I started out just 7 weeks ago as a huge skeptic of this blog. I kept reading and kept having more hard questions come to my mind. I began to take them to God and ask for answers. The answers were not at all what I expected. I have come so far in just a short amount of time.
    Lies and deceit keep were keeping me from having a relationship with God. I did not trust Him in the way I needed to because there were too many unanswered questions that I had "stuffed" for way too long. Adrian's blog opened the door for me to start asking those hard questions and being open to any answers that came to me. I trust God more than ever before in my life. The shackles of unbelief are coming off and my eyes are being opened to truth.
    I had entertained notions about Joseph Smith for years that confused me and weakened my testimony. I have received answers that have made everything clear. I can now truly say that I believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and he was trying desperately to restore the gospel to the earth and build Zion. I have a new found respect for his teachings and his sacrifice.
    I have always been aware of the fruits of the Book of Mormon in my life. That is one piece of the gospel that has always been very clear to me. I did not, however "hunger and thirst" after it. I felt obligated and read daily with my family and always noticed more peace in my home when we did so. I have prayed to hunger and thirst after the scriptures, and I think my prayers have finally been answered. Now that I am reading the Book of Mormon and realizing it is actually talking about me and the present situation of the church, it is fascinating. I am receiving so many personal revelations through the scriptures now that the blinders are off. It is truly amazing.
    My life has been full of joy and peace these last several weeks, more so than ever before. My mind has been enlightened, which I now recognize as the true manifestation of the Holy Ghost. Everything is starting to make sense, and I no longer need to ignore anything that bothered me before. I have received explanations that have reconciled it all. It is so liberating!
    I now have a much clearer path of what I need to do next to come closer to Christ. I am receiving more clear instruction from God and recognizing it as such. I am seeking my Savior more diligently and understanding His gospel more fully. I am obsessed with the scriptures and the teachings of true prophets. I am so excited for this journey to continue!
    So, Adrian, I guess your blog has done some good after all. Thanks to you and your sweet wife for your patience in ministering to me. I appreciate your courage in pointing me in the right direction and helping me have the confidence to take the next step. All glory be to God as we all help each other become one in Christ!
    Tracy Tilby

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    1. Tracy,

      My first time visiting this blog. I smiled and resonated with everything you said. How delicious it is to gain light and knowledge that propels you through previous ceilings and mists!

      And then I read those who bear testimony that the Larsens are making a big mistake and will only get back on track by returning to the church.

      From my limited experience, when God takes you in hand places servants in your path who offer greater light and truth than you have encountered before, that's when your obedience and desire to seek Him really begin to be exercised.

      Yes! I, too, am more certain now that I am drawing nearer to God! Even though it will surely lead to conflict and condemnation by family and loved ones. But it is so delicious to be spoken to by the mind of God--the Holy Ghost!

      What could be more real--more dependable?

      The word of God is far superior to the precepts of men. Thank God for Joseph Smith! True prophet! True doctrine!

      Dave

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  37. Religion is a deeply personal and individual pursuit. Coming to know Christ and having a relationship with him is completely independent of any church or institution. The church cannot save us, a man cannot save us, no organization can save us, only Jesus Christ has power to save. Yes, I am no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint, but that does not change my relationship with the Lord. I can hear his voice more clearly, and know his will for me more perfectly now then ever before.

    The straight and narrow path leading to eternal life is straight and narrow because only one person may proceed at a time. Developing a relationship with Christ is not a group effort. This relationship is formed only as individuals realize their awful state, repent, and seek Him. Only then can any of us rise up and KNOW our Lord.

    I will always be truly grateful to the church, (which I've been a member of my entire life until now,) for opening the door and setting me on the path to developing a relationship with Christ. Since I was a little girl, the church taught me about the restoration, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I am saddened that the teachings of these things have now become so watered down. I am also saddened that the church now "denies the power of God, the Holy one of Israel, and they say unto their people: Hearken unto us; and hear ye our precept, for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men." 2 Ne 28:5 There are many good and virtuous principles and precepts taught at church, but the saving Doctrine of Christ, and the miracles of the restoration have been replaced by learning how to be good and virtuous and also of the absolute necessity of having a man and men be the intermediates between us and the Lord.

    We are not angry at the church. We are not angry with our leaders. We only desire to learn truth by the power of the Holy Ghost, and when directed, share these truths with others. I love my husband for following the commands of the Lord to him, and for writing this blog. It has helped many of my family and friends realize that all may not be well in Zion. It has brought them to Christ. We will continue to take the blows that come our way, but we are comforted knowing that the persecution that does come is persecution for the Lord's sake. We will be joyful in Him!

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    1. Adrian Larsen wrote, regarding his wife Tausha Larsen, “She did nothing that fits their definition of apostasy, and she pointed that out. Nevertheless, they excommunicated her anyway.”

      Brother Larsen, your wife, in the above post, indicated you are correct for…” following the commands of the Lord… to write your blogs”. She follows you as if you were a prophet- even though you claim you are not a prophet, and you see nothing wrong with that? Like you, she claims the living prophet who has been called to lead the Church is a false prophet.

      Did Christ tell you or in some way communicate to you that you should start a blog and teach things that belittle the Church?

      You go on and on, just like Allen Rock Waterman about how wonderful Joseph Smith was but now the leaders are false prophets. If you were alive in the 1830’s or 1840’s and you did what you are doing now, which is try to lead members away from the Lord’s chosen living prophet, you would have been excommunicated back then- just like dozens of men were for dong the exact same thing you are doing now- trying to give council to your priesthood leaders.

      I hope you wake up and let your wife and kids know that they should follow the living prophet.

      Our living prophet today does not try to get between us and our relationship with our Father in Heaven and neither did Joseph Smith. The prophet today is in the same leadership role as Joseph was.

      The LGBT movement, and the Kate Kelly movement have the same thing in common with your Denver Snuffer type movement- you all have an outright distain for the living prophet or you just think he is old and does not know what he is doing- he needs your council. I hope and pray you do not succeed in your quest to blog more members into your camp. Repent and rejoin the church next fall; inside the church is where you and your family belong. Everyone would welcome you back.

      Please use your God-given talents to strengthen his Church. Also, please don't bother trying to drag me into an argument. I wish nothing but the best for you guys and I hope this next year finds you guys back on the right path.

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    2. Amen amen aaaaaaamen! Adrian, I really hope you take this to heart. We love you and your family as well and really hope you guys get back on the right path. You claim to hunger after truth and you say you are willing to humble yourself if you are in the wrong but I really don't see any sort of humility especially when someone offers you real truth and honest answers. instead you find excuses to push away or you offer weak excuses and then twist the truths of the gospel as offered in the scriptures. The Lord would of never reestablished his church on this earth just to have it be taken off course by HIS PROPHETS! What kind of God is that? Not my God and certainly not yours. Joseph Smith was a prophet, Thomas S. Monson is the prophet now. He continues to lead and guide church under the direction of God. You cannot separate or take Christ away from his church. He is the head of it and He always will be. The body (the saints) are imperfect but that does not mean the Prophet is leading us astray, that would NEVER happen, especially in a world that so desperately needs guidance and direction from up above. Adrian you have so many talents that the Lord needs IN his church, I really hope and pray that you will recognize and realize that one day!

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    3. Hi,

      It is I, Tobin, again. Sorry to intrude on these heartfelt comments, but I tend to question the assertions being made here. How does one age into becoming the prophet exactly? And if that is a requirement, why did the Lord select the very young JS in the first place and not some old man? Also, when exactly was the last time that TSM saw God or spoke with him face-to-face exactly? When was the last time he even heard him and relayed words directly to us from the Lord? I can't think of a single instance of that happening. Can you? So I wonder, what kind of prophet of God is this that never sees, speaks with and hears the voice of the Lord? When you think about it, one has to wonder where people are putting their faith in fact. Certainly not in God, but in men.

      Let me offer these misguided posters above a different view. A prophet of God seeks the Lord diligently. They see him and speak with him regularly. The loudly proclaim the words he gives them to others. The men you sustain today do none of these things. They don't even claim to have ever seen the Lord in any Conference I've ever listened to. The truth is that the LDS Church is a man-made organization run by men pretending to be ordained of God. Yet God has neither ordained nor visited any of these men.

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    4. Hi tobin, in essence you and adrian are outrightly suggesting that you both think he is a prophet. That my friend is an idea of a poorly misguided poster. I'm really sorry but is just not the case.

      Delete
    5. Hi,

      I think if JS were a prophet of God, then it behooves us to seek the Lord and find out. Don't you? I think if JS, who was but a mere farm boy from the backwater of New York in the early United States, can see and speak with these beings, then so can each of us. And if that is true that each of us can speak with God face-to-face and hear his voice, then he has set a great example and enlightened all of us by his example. And I think that alone is worthy of calling him a prophet of God.

      Now, you can deny there is a God if you'd like, or that man can speak with God face-to-face and you may lead others astray to not follow such examples. But, I think that would tell us what you really are now wouldn't it?

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    6. I am not sure why my previous comment was deleted, did I say something that offended you or your doctrine?

      Delete
    7. I'm not sure what comment you're referring to. I have not deleted any of your comments. A couple of people have told me they've had problems with the comment function not working. Perhaps what you wrote didn't get submitted due to a glitch in the system? Feel free to try again.

      Delete
  38. D&C 20:60 teaches that the Power of the Holy Ghost must be IN the one who ordains a person to the Priesthood. Thus, only God can give true Priesthood, and so only God can take it away.

    The brethren in the Priesthood are to esteem each other as themselves. (D&C 38:24-25) Which means they are not to esteem the leadership as superiors. Priesthood keys were restored and given to the Priesthood body. All faithful members of the Priesthood HAVE those keys.

    But individuals are set apart to HOLD and use the keys as servants for the priesthood and church. Again, those that HOLD the keys are NOT to be esteemed as superiors. If they fail, the body still HAS the keys, and they are given to another faithful brother.

    For example, if I hand you a key and you take it with your hand, then your entire body HAS the key, but only your hand actually HOLDS the key. Likewise, every key and authority that was restored through the Prophet Joseph is HAD by all who were correctly ordained to the Priesthood (meaning the Power of the Holy Ghost was in the one who ordained them) and who have remained faithful. (JD 9:89 teaches this)

    The more fundamental issue is not "who has the keys", but who has revelation. Because without revelation even those who were set apart to HOLD the keys cannot use them correctly for very long.

    Was the gift of revelation that was restored through the Prophet Joseph taken from the earth after it was restored?

    Are the Word of the Lord oracles written by the Prophets Brigham, John and Wilford a continuation of the same gift of oracles that the Prophet Joseph had?

    Does that gift exist today?

    Only Priesthood members that are led by a true Prophet that has revelation from heaven can function correctly in the Priesthood.

    Joseph said,

    Salvation cannot come without revelation, it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. --8 August 1839

    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. -- 22 January 1843

    Jesus in his teaching says upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. What rock? Revelation. --22 January 1843

    We must have revelations then, and we can see that the doctrine of revelation as far transcends the doctrine of no revelation as knowledge is above ignorance; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in existence. --10 March 1844

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  39. Who am I to judge another? I believe that disciplinary councils are capable of making the wrong decisions, you would have to ignore most of what the Doctrine and Covenants says about them to assert otherwise. Since it is clear that you believe the wrong decision was made have you exercised your right to have the decision reviewed? If you so I hope you will comment on the results of the appeal.
    If you were in fact wrongfully excommunicated then it does seem rather blasphemous to assert that your priesthood would be removed or that you would loose the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Men cannot command God and they can't expect God to enforce their decisions if they are made against his will.
    Whatever the case, I will pray for you and your wife and ask the Lord to bless you and make this situation right.

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  40. Hey Adrian!

    I couldn't figure out how to e-mail via blogger but was wondering if you'd be open to having an online discussion regarding Mormonism and Christianity. We could post it on either your blog or mine and allow readers to view and comment. As a follower of Jesus, I greatly enjoy having conversation with Mormons!

    Rrend85@gmail.com

    Let me know!

    Nick

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    1. Nick,

      Thanks, but not my thing.

      Best regards,

      Adrian

      Delete
  41. i am sorry that you had to go through this, Adrian, and especially sorry that Tausha was hit as collateral damage. church courts are horribly gamed from the get go.

    with recent events, it becomes more apparent all the time that the thing church leaders will excommunicate most reliably over is non-submission to church leaders - whether there was any actual sin that warrants discipline factors in only weakly. the only reason i can see that Tausha received the same sentence was to demonstrate who the boss was. that you give the stake president the benefit of the doubt on this is more than i can do. he was the accuser, the prosecutor, and the judge in this travesty. where much is given, much is required.

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  42. Adrian, I was thinking about you recently and decided to check in with you on your latest thoughts on the blog! Wow! Well, here it is. You have reached where this was all leading to. Now you can live your life with less hypocrisy and more integrity as you clearly believe that the church is in error. What are you going to do now? I wish you both all the happiness in the world. Time and God will work things out in eternity. I'm not worried about you. Have a happy life, brother! I trust God and I know he will take care of you and Tausha as you are His. I hope that what you say is true and that you can leave this without bitterness in your soul for those that made the decision. Keep loving and learning and living. Things will get worked out. God in His kind and just and perfect way will help us all sort things out. We are here to grow and learn and make progress and be proven. Sometimes our mistakes and errors are our best teachers. All the best and God Bless you! (I tried to do a message before but I wasn't signed in. I think it timed out or something. Anyway, You may have gotten two messages from me...oops, anyway, just know you guys are warmly regarded and hoped for all the best from us)

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  43. Adrian, I sort of see where you are at and coming from in some small degree. You are after the truth. But, it appears to me you have no faith in the LDS church or its present day leaders. Do you believe them to be in a state of apostasy? I have my own blog and used to blog all the time about heaven and hell and how I believe the church has gotten it wrong. But, even though I question our doctrine, I have never been questioned or brought before any council regarding my actions. However, I do believe we are led by a living true prophet and apostles. That doesnt mean that I believe everything published by the church, just that I do believe we are led by men of God that, just like you or I, are capable of making mistakes, even grand ones that are overlooked. I have been in the process for years on gathering information to take to the leadership of the church for clarification. My hope is not to be excommunicated but rather to see corrections to our doctrine which the Brethren have the right (not me) to make. Is it thus in the approach you have taken? BTW, my blog is www.rockofsalvation.blogspot.com I havent posted in years but you see where we may differ in our approach to questioning doctrine.

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    1. Rob,
      What do you suppose will happen when you present your collection to the authorities? The experiences others have had in doing just that varies. Some only have their temple recommends taken away. Others have the TR taken and are told not to talk to anyone about what they've shown them at penalty of excommunication. Others are immediately excommunicated.

      You say only the brethren have the right to correct doctrine. What does D&C 107 give us normal members the right to do if they refuse? Even if only the brethren have the right to correct doctrine, do you think Jesus wants you to follow false doctrine, even if it is coming from the brethren?

      Delete
    2. I am confident that one of two things will happen. Either- 1. They will see the issue and implement changes to doctrine and manuals/instruction. or-2. They will not see the issue and resume teaching the way that it is currently taught.

      Of interest to me though is that my patriarchal blessing says that I will gather information and take it to my leaders and that they will confirm the truth and then I can seek the confirmation of the truth from the Holy Ghost. I am fully confident that the issues I am finding will be addressed because it does cause some serious issues with how our doctrine is taught. I got to where I cannot teach the issues anymore without explaining to others my own opinions because I feel it wrong for myself to be teaching contradictions. It basically comes down to finding faults, knowing they exist, but also having fortitude to stand by current teachings and leadership until the time is right to come forth with the dilemma and have it clarified. I have yet to receive a spiritual confirmation of these truths because I believe it is the right of the prophet and Church leadership to first make this change and then confirmation will come through the spirit.

      Delete
  44. This is such a shame. You seem like an amazingly intelligent and knowledgeable person. But you've chosen to fixate on things that, perhaps while true in their correct context, in the grand scheme of things, are not reasons to doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church and kingdom upon the earth and that Thomas S. Monson is His chosen prophet for this day. From what I've read, your "writing style" comes off quite sarcastic and cynical and signals a reflection of your true self.  Beware of pride, brother. The tragedy here is that you're also leading your wife, children and who knows who else away from what's really important and and as long as you are away, you will be missing out on many opportunities to grow in the Gospel that you can't find elsewhere.

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  45. I feel so sorry for you and your family. Everyone intuitively knows that way to understanding is to share your thoughts and feelings about what you believe in your heart, and in doing so you find another insight from another being that you meet along your path and both are strengthened in the process. To go against someone openly and honestly sharing their feelings with excommunication is antichrist. A soft word of their testimony or way of viewing the world should be the first line of defense. Too many people are plugged right into the cogs of LDS Inc. and their hearts have atrophied. They can't respond with understanding of their own hearts because they don't have them. LDS Inc. has become a mechanical juggernaut that is in a china shop of souls. It has almost completely destroyed the free exchange of ideas and yours is one of the first plates they have hammered on. It is sad that your particular pattern etched and baked into your heart is out of style with the white monochrome "true plate" People intuitively know that hammering against you was against what Christ would do. And the funny thing is your plate wasn't broken you just moved your plate out of the dimly lit china shop for all to see. I fear the juggernaut is going to destroy millions of plates before it realizes there is a problem. Hammer away you bullies painted on smiles will not hide these kind of blemishes to your complexion this behavior creates.

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    1. The LDS church is not a corporation as you seem to imply. Members are free to express ideas, question doctrine and even challenge doctrine. But it is in the approach that matters. Members who wish to remain members just cant go and make claims against the church as a whole in a confrontational manner and still expect full fellowship. Thats like my wife who works at Walmart to go and picket out in front telling people not to shop there and then when her shift starts to go in and expect to work, get paid, and receive benefits by Walmart. It sounds like to me that Adrian has done just that- picket to the world on the wrongs of the church and then expect full fellowship and protection with that very thing he pickets against. If one is a true member and wants to question leadership there is a means to do such and receive answers for by church leaders. If they receive answers that still disagree with their views no one is forcing them to remain any part of this church. They are thus free to leave. But, as in Adrians case, they refuse to leave and continue to picket against the church then the church has no other reason but to discontinue their membership. Its completely fair.

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    2. Rob Osborn,
      The church legally is a conglomeration of several corporations just so you know. Lets just say I have a problem with polygamy and I believe it is an abomination, and I believe God has given me that answer. How do I receive answers from church leaders. Do I send Monson a comment on his bog. Since Monson's official opinion on the matter has been no opinion that would make for some great discussion that I can feel a burning in my bosom. (Oh, maybe that's why he doesn't have a blog he can look inspired if only has to come out of his hole twice a year) If I look to the last prophet who said anything it would be Hinkley who said he didn't believe it (polygamy) to be doctrinal. That seems inconsistent with the traditional view. Should I bring it up in Elder's quorum that I would like more of a clarification of what Hinkley said. Oh no that gets you a label of trouble maker. Do I ask Rob Osborn who doesn't have a clue on the subject. I believe we haven't received more great revelations in the church because the mass of the members are like you latched on the dried out tit of a corporate organization rather that going to God and asking him yourself for answers. You get what you ask for and the majority of the church wants someone to tell them exactly what to do so they can be slothful servants, but this is not getting the church the return on investment as far as numbers go. The people not latched on to the tit have the answers to get back on the road of it's destiny not you. If anyone need to be kicked to the curb in the church it is guys like you who think inspiration is memorization without ownership.

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    3. While I don't mind discussion here, as blog proprietor, I often get blamed for the comments made (I know, I know.) So I'll ask that comments please be polite and civil. It's possible to discuss ideas without attacking those who have the ideas. Thanks!

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    4. Jonathan,

      We see through a dimly lit glass here on this earth and for the most part it is no different for the church. I dont think the church leadership believes it is perfect. They notice that corrections and changes occur along the way. I was raised in the church, then fell away for about 10 years, grew to hate the church, and then over several years and some miracles I came back with a resolve to find the truth and that through the teachings of the Book of Mormon I would find that truth. Even reading the Book of Mormon though shows an ancient people who wandered from precept to precept over time and made changes to their understanding of doctrine. It builds up to miracles and Christ teaching his gospel in pure form. I will say that I do think we do not spend enogh time studying the Book of Mormon as a whole in the church and that in large part we have missed the simple dichotomy of the gospel plan of salvation. But, I believe there is a means to address these things and do it in a productive and thoughtful manner. I see more and more people leaving the church over issues with doctrine, history, decisions, etc. I do believe that we have a duty to seek after the truth and to teach the truth as we feel prompted to by the Spirit.

      The church has become large but it is not however unapproachable in clarifying or even changing doctrine. If I believed they were not willing to change then I would not be hanging around. Yes, changes in some areas could be changed but it is all in due time of the Lord that works with peoples ability to listen and reason in light and truth. This is that period where the wheat and the tares are growing together and allowed to grow together until the harvest where doctrines will be set straight, ways of teaching will be better understood, etc. We do not claim to be a perfect church with perfect doctrine, but, we do claim to belong to the true church that eventually will have perfect doctrine.

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    5. What does the church have to combat what you can find in 10 seconds on google. Not much. Then some people try and fill that void, and are x'd for it. That behavior disgusts me. It just smells wrong to me. Lao Tzu said when the foolish man governs every day something is added, and when the master leads every day something is taken away. So much garbage has been added to the doctrine by foolish prophets, and no prophet is brave enough to strip our religion back to its purity. They think that by repenting for past stupidity of prophets of yore it will lessen the clout of their own standing. It is a downward spiral they are on and they seem to be accelerating. I just hope they will be able to pull up, but I have my doubts. Rob you seem to believe that the church is still approachable. Please enlighten everyone on techniques to clarify doctrine.

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    6. Attitude is everything. Then, you must have a humble and sincere approach. You can't be in attack mode or make statements that you are trying to show up the leadership of the church.

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  46. Adrian, thank you for sharing what is on your heart, I appreciate your honesty and your character.

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  47. President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--applied it to the  present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must  fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy." (TPJS p. 237-238.)

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  48. I’m shocked that the church is taking actions against people like yourself. For some reason they feel like you present a larger threat than those of us who no longer believe in the efficacy of religious rituals. I started my faith crisis about 16 months ago and have gone through a process of losing faith in the restoration narrative and correlated history. I sometimes even question the existence of God, but ultimately still want to believe in God at some level.

    I still attend the LDS church weekly, and believe that religion has a net positive on my life. I want to be the best person I can be, and I think God would want me to as well. I believe individuals have spiritual experiences that are difficult if not impossible to explain. I think people also have emotional experiences, and I believe it’s difficult to distinguish between the two. Part of me can accept that Joseph or other early church leaders had some communion with God, but I’m skeptical at times as well.

    I don’t understand the strong handed efforts by the church to root out people like you who have such strong testimony and convictions about spiritual things, where people like me who have lost a belief in the literal authority of priesthood seem to be dealt with less harshly. In some ways I feel like we’re brothers in that neither of us accept the infallibility arguments, but in other ways I’m very different from you in that I don’t accept revelation or manifestations of the Holy Ghost as unfailing guides, I rather think that there are more natural physiological explanations for interpreting these things.

    I feel for you, as I have all my close family, many generations back, and close friends are all traditional orthodox members of the church. I admire your courage, but for me the costs seem too high, and honestly I too was in a delusional state that all things harmonized not long ago, and I wouldn’t have appreciated someone telling me I was wrong, and I likely would have shunned and rejected any attempts to “lead me astray”. Place your focus on your family, that is your greatest responsibility now. Use your extra monetary means to do good in the world. Good luck!

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  49. Hi Cam,

    I really appreciate your frank report of your current belief model. I think you are more typical than you might think, as I've met many active members who nevertheless doubt many things about the faith, and even God himself.

    I hope I can be a voice of testimony that there really are good, solid, and satisfying answers to the questions you have. There really is a God and He is closer than you think. Christ really is our savior who died for us and rose again.

    One of Satan's greatest successes has been in destroying our ability to properly understand and recognize these things, instead conflating them with organizations, authority, keys, hierarchies, and control. In that setting we're taught a number of unfortunate falsehoods about the Holy Ghost and how to communicate with God.

    Then, when the organization, hierarchy, authority, keys, and control are found to make errors, many lose all faith in the divine, having never properly experienced it. This doesn't need to be the case. Even when men make mistakes, God is still real, is still there, and still loves us.

    I hope I can offer you some encouragement to seek God, despite what may or may not be wrong around you. It is yet possible and available to us all.

    I'll be writing another blog post on this topic soon. Meanwhile, please don't despair, and don't give up faith. You have my empathy and support.

    Your brother,

    Adrian

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  50. Adrian awesome post! One thing I started looking into as I've tried to learn about the spirit is to differentiate between an emotion and feeling. An emotion being intense, event driven and temporary. A feeling being a low key, stable, and sustainable over time.

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  51. Adrian, Your blog is very insightful. Thank you for your honesty and courage. Let me encourage you on a few points:

    1. You said that you were writing your blog on an admonition of the Lord, do I have that correct? I encourage you to tell your readers more about that as others have done; Snuffer and Daniel Rogers and the prophets of the BOM. I'm not calling you a prophet just interested in your spiritual journey.

    2. Even though I have only read your blog up to this point I would like to encourage you to study in depth the writings of Isaiah. The Lord tells us in 3 Nephi:

    1. And now behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things dilligently; for great are the word of Isaiah. 2. For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles. 3. And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.

    Isaiah is difficult so I encourage you to read the writings and translation from the Hebrew by a world class Hebrew scholar Avraham Gileadi. He has rendered a new translation from the Masoretic text. It is very enlightening and easier to understand. Yet he cautions to not jump to conclusions but rather to study in depth with patience. According to the Lord's word everything spoken of in Isaiah will recur in the latter days so it is a type of thing to come. You will find great comfort there. Go explore this website: isaiahexplained.com.

    One day while comparing the chapters of Isaiah in the KJV with the Book of Mormon I noticed a difference between Gileadi's translation of Isaiah 49:1 and 1 Nephi 21:1. I won't type those verses here but note carefully the difference. I wrote Avraham asking him to explain the difference and he responded that the additional portion in 1 Nephi 21:1 was not in the Masoretic text and he speculated that it was either added by Nephi or Joseph Smith. Importantly, it seems to address our day and specifically your situation as Isaiah 49 speaks to the gathering of Israel in the latter days.

    God bless you and your family!

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    1. George, thank you for your advice. I've actually been studying Gileadi's Isaiah translation for quite some time now. Of course, I still have a long way to go, but Isaiah is incredible, and Christ specifically commanded us to study his words. I believe this is because everything Isaiah prophesied is going to happen in these last days.

      As for sharing my experiences with the Lord, I am doing so, as appropriate. I have not yet met Him in the flesh, though I actively seek this gift. I have heard His voice, and He has spoken to me.

      But more important is the idea that the Lord desires to speak with all of us. I hope people reading this blog will seek their own experiences with the Lord. Mine don't matter, except to affirm I am on His errand, and imperfectly trying to point people to Him.

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  52. These posts and the comments below it, all confirm to me that the correct decision was made.

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  53. I am a convert to Mormonism. Joined the Church at 16 years old. Served a Mission to Indonesia. At 37 years old, I moved to Mani, UTAH and came to teach at Snow College. I loved the Church then as I do now. But in Manti, I fell among "scholars" who taught me the Fullness of the Gospel... those doctrines and teachings that are no longer extant in today's LDS Church. I found them electrifying and exhilerating.and could not get enough. I began to frequent the AUB (the Allred group) and even to embrace the Priesthood and Keys they claim to have. I had ALL of my ordinances re-done in that place, believing they have Priesthood. But such a "move" was my down-fall. The polygamist groups break-offs from the Church don't offer anything but drama and confusion. While professing to have "the Fullness", they don't do missionary work to the world, they have basically no Temples and they are just a little pipsqueak group of people that will have come and gone with no impact on the world. I am glad I joined that group. I am glad I was excommunicated. I learned what REAL apostasy is. Its a kind of mindset where you are convinced YOU have the Truth and the Church does not. That you somehow have found "the answers" in the Scriptures or in Mormon History or some such rot. But the KEY is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints KNOWS what doctrines and teachings must be emphasized and which must be pushed to the background. You can say what you will about the Church, but as far as the POWER to lead and to push out into the world to do good, the Church is unparalleled. And the Savior said, "By their fruits, ye shall know them.' While I appreciate what Adrian Peterson is trying to do, he will one day pass into the pages of the history of our time and won't even so much as be a footnote to that History. Like so many apostates who have come and gone (remember the Godbe-ites of Brigham Young's time or the Strangites?) what he has written here, why he was excommunicated, the things he has written and will continue to write will not even be remembered or referred to even a year after he passes beyond this scene of existence. Meantime, the Church of Jesus Christ will press on in its God-given calling and role to prepare a people for the Coming of Christ and the establishment of ZION. I would prefer to stay with "the winning team" and not wander off, even if I am "right". Sometimes, Brother Adrian, you can be SOOOO right that you are wrong. In this case, you are quite right.... but what good does that do ultimately for yourself or your family or this Generation of Latter-day Saints? I submit that if History shows us anything,the answer is nothing at all.
    Nephi Adam

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    1. Nephi Adam,

      It's too late for this reply to be very meaningful, so maybe I'm writing just for myself. I just read your comment a couple of times. It describes in many ways how I have felt learning what the fullness is and the realities of church history--what the restoration really is about. And I think you convincingly express that the church has always come out as a leader in the world in what it does. It's numbers continue to grow, although maybe not explosively; it is recognized widely as an organization that serves and does good and displays good family living. It is a winner, as I think you are pointing out.

      And then you describe what a meaningless footnote the people are who oppose or break off and how little they apparently matter in the larger scheme. All that makes sense. But I wonder what kind of a measure this kind of "success" is. Isn't it more important to be right, soooo right, that you know with surety that you hold God's approval. That kind of surety is described in the Lectures on Faith as the result of sacrificing all worldly things to do God's will. Surely you have studied this if you believe you gained a grasp of the fullness.

      What a pathetic little band Lehi's family was to Lamen and Lemuel and the Jews of that time. A laughing stock.

      I don't understand from what you have written what your final conclusion is PERSONALLY. Have you found the Lord? Or have you just nestled back into the winning church of the day? Are you judging the situation by the size and prosperity of the organization? What gifts and mysteries are involved?

      I read the Lectures and I believe they are saying that the kind of price in terms of persecution and mockery Joseph paid to claim a knowledge of God as an insignificant boy is ALWAYS required of those who prove themselves obedient to God. And were Lehi and his family missed in Jerusalem? Alma's group at the waters of Mormon? Following one man and bucking the predominant culture, religion and mindset?

      You claim real apostasy is claiming you have the truth and the church does not. Isn't it that the scriptures and teachings of Joseph Smith have the truth, but the church does not? How do I resolve THAT conflict. If I believe the Book of Mormon points squarely at the church and calls it to repentance, should I shrink from what that means because it will require confrontation?

      It sounds like you have lived through this kind of dilemma, so I would value your response. I respect where you are coming from, but I don't understand your current position. I don't see where it gets you other than fellowship with a very successful and productive church.

      David S.

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  54. Hi Nephi,

    I have to admit you gave me a good laugh. Thanks for the reminder of my own mortality and my utter insignificance in history. I couldn't agree more. I'm not the least bit important. I'm certainly not trying to be anything important. My only goal is to point myself, and anyone who will listen, to Christ. That effort is worthwhile. That effort matters to me, and I believe it matters to Him.

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  55. You are one strong person to speak so kindly of those involved. If I were you I would be at every meeting, everything activity, and testify in every fast Sunday meeting. I not let them so easily remove me. It is Christ's church and He does not turn people away.

    I was acused by coworks, those who I trusted, who know the true, of committing a violent crime. I felt betrayed. It was a long hard battle but I made it. All I could do was push through. The scars are deep but I am much stronger. I make it appoint to bring up my trail to those who trust in the same individuals. I laugh about it now at work.
    I feel for you. Hearing your experience makes me ache. It brings back the memory of the pains I had felt.
    I hope all works.

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  56. I am sorry for these unfortunate events, but when you try to lead people astray, the church responds to protect the flock. I feel the Holy Ghost testify to me that Pres. Monson is a prophet of God every time he speaks. I have been in the presence of prophets and, for me, the Spirit has been tangible. I'm sorry you havent felt that. I know we each have to follow our own hearts and find our own paths, but as Nephi learned, sometimes the Lord has to sacrifice one for the sake of the whole. I hope at some point you and your wife will return to the flock, because I know we will always want you back if you ever decide that following the mouthpiece of God is actually an okay thing to do. Until then, I know that many of us send our love and best wishes for happiness and peace in both your mortal and eternal life. I sincerely hope you find that in your chosen path, since I believe the plan of salvation is about mercy and grace. I believe God will always call after us to help us return to His presence, and there are countless paths to Him.

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    1. Hi Holly,

      Thank you for your response. I'm curious what I taught prior to my excommunication that was, as you put it, seeking "to lead people astray."

      Also, though you erroneously claim to know what I have and have not felt, I think it's much more important to ask yourself where you got the idea that your feelings are the appropriate measure of truth. Feelings are one of Satan's greatest tools to mislead you, as I covered in some of my other blog posts.

      It's curious--I just returned from watching a movie. The guy sitting next to me was deeply moved and crying because of what he saw. Was this the Holy Ghost testifying to him that Frodo Baggins is true?

      I sincerely thank you for your love and best wishes. I return the same to you, and pray you will look more deeply into the questions I raise by seeking truth in scripture and prayer.

      Kind regards,

      Adrian

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    2. Holly,

      It might behoove you to know that I have found many negative issues (and continue to do so) with the Church and its leaders very much on my own. Because of individuals like Adrian, I have been able to see that I'm not alone with these feelings and understand that the actions of leaders (including the Brethren) do not have to affect my love for Christ and the Gospel.

      You accuse Adrian of "[trying] to lead others astray" yet knowing people like Adrian Larsen and Rock Waterman are out there and willing to stand for truth is one of the biggest reasons I still wake up on Sunday mornings and attend my ward meetings.

      My being "led astray" was coming from my inability to divorce the Church and all of its problems that I've discovered from the pure Gospel of Christ that's found in our scriptures, not from Adrian or anybody else.

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  57. Kick yourself out of heaven because you find fault with others. Try looking inward instead of outward.

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  58. I will add to this dated post. I'll second Adrian's witness of their power.

    My wife and I were thrown overboard from the boat last night. I don't feel one whit different today than I did today. The Spirit is still with me. Indeed, the Stake President's magical pronouncements have no power.

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    1. Gary,

      The men behind the curtain, for all their pomp & circumstance, do not have any power to excommunicate anyone from Christ's Church, for they aren't even in Christ's Church themselves, which is a spiritual Church within each person, not a physical church that meets together in a building.

      Nor are they true disciples of Christ, for they obviously do not even keep his commandments. The proof is in the pudding.

      Unfortunately, church leaders actually excommunicate themselves from Christ's true 'spiritual' Church as they try to excommunicate anyone else with their prideful pretense of authority & false righteousness.

      The blind are leading the blind.

      Of course the Spirit is still with you and will continue to grow stronger as you continue to stand up for Christ and live his true Gospel and not let men deceive you to follow them instead.

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  59. Adrian,
    Obviously I'm posting this some time after the events described, but I've only just come across the article.

    Excommunicating your wife seems quite bizarre to me. Are you sure there wasn't any other justification given?
    Obviously, we are only getting your side of the story, as the other 15 (16 including the clerk) men present won't breath a word of what transpired in the council. That is why I am always cautious when I read stories such as yours. There are at least two sides to a story and in this case we only have, and will only ever have, one; yours.

    But in the case of your wife I find it very strange that she would even be considered for discipline by a Stake HC. The reason for this is that disciplinary matters concerning females are handled by Bishops. Stake councils are responsible for the discipline of Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
    Very odd.

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    1. I agree. Very odd.

      Since this happened I've seen a number of other couples handled in the same way--that is, husband and wife excommunicated in the same council. This is, apparently, the new practice. Of course, the handbook says otherwise, which leads us to conclude it is being centrally orchestrated from Salt Lake, and is not strictly a local matter.

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  60. I would be interested to know about these "other couples".

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    1. http://www.totheremnant.com/2015/04/abuse-and-favor-in-all-things.html

      The link talks about a few of them. There are more that are not talked about, as this is an ongoing trend.

      Oh, and no need to put "other couples" in quotes. They actually exist. I know them personally. For example, just in my city, there are three other couples who have been excommunicated in a dual, husband-wife council.

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  61. Kudos to you for your courage. I realized years ago the church had gone off the rails and that it effectively has no power over me. I even told my bishop face to face, "I don't sustain the church leaders, and that includes you. You have no authority over me other than what you assume to have because I live within this ward's boundaries."

    After cutting "the church" away and focusing on following Christ, I've found my life much less stressful.

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