Sunday, January 11, 2015

Prophets, Part 5:
Crying in the Wilderness

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
—Isaiah 53:1 

If you haven't yet read the prior 4 parts of this series, I recommend you read them first, in order, before reading this installment. 



We've come to the point in this series where it's time for some introspection. Let me outline the situation.

The church is prospering and succeeding. All the church’s efforts meet with success, the leaders are respected and loved, and the religion is popular and accepted. The people are faithfully living their leaders' teachings that tell them of their relationship with God, and the responsibilities they must live up to as His chosen people. They are busy doing all that is asked of them.


Your tithes are being put to good use; the building program has produced many beautiful and impressive buildings, including a new conference center, office tower, and a gorgeous temple. 


Prior attacks by those not of your faith have been put to rest, and you can live and practice your religion in peace, without fear of persecution. 


All is well in Zion. Yea, Zion prospereth.


Then in the midst of this comfortable prosperity, out of nowhere, a crazy man begins to publicly level accusations against your church. He says that you are not chosen, but are instead horribly wicked. He tells you your religion is an abomination, and claims that terrible destruction is coming if you don’t repent. What’s worse, he begins attacking your leaders as being corrupt, greedy, ignorant, and uninspired.


The man who makes such accusations has no authority, title or office. He’s a “nobody,” neither known nor respected in the church. He’s so deluded he actually claims God talks to him and tells him to say all these horrible, unkind, and hurtful things about your church and its leadership.


Of course, he is wrong. All the evidence shows that God is pleased with your church and pouring out His choicest blessings on the leadership. Anybody can see that.


Consequently, many are hurt and angered by this man. They feel threatened. They fear him and his message.


Oh, sure, he preaches about God, but he obviously has no idea that a loving God would never say such things and cause such pain. The God that you know delights to pour out blessings, not destruction. He rewards you for proper behavior, rather than punishing you for error. He raises up chosen leaders to show you the right way, and would never allow them to lead you astray. Why would God ever let his church fall into corruption?


The crazy man is deluded, and easily dismissed. Efforts to ignore him ensue, though he just won’t shut up. Ultimately, as one who may potentially mislead, and even eternally damage those who listen to him, he must be stopped in any way possible. He’s threatening the peace and stirring up unrest. Isn’t it better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief?


Unfortunately, efforts to arrest and punish him for his crimes fail, as he gets wind of what’s coming and leaves the country. He makes a clean getaway, and is safe. 


But happily, that dark episode seems to have passed—which is why it’s so shocking when, two years later, he comes back and tries it again, only this time—get this—wearing a disguise. The disguise even works for awhile, until he starts in preaching the same stuff as before, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed and telling all the church members how wicked they are.


But the people aren’t quite so patient this time around. Abinadi is caught, tried, and punished for his crimes, including treason and sedition. He dies an ignominious death, pathetic and screaming. So much for those who dare preach against God’s chosen leaders.


Except the crazy man was right, and destruction comes just as he said.

Now, for the introspection part. Here’s an incredibly important question: 


Would you have listened to the crazy man? 


In the face of overwhelming voices to the contrary, would you have believed God’s messenger who told you of God’s coming judgment? Despite the opinions of all your friends, family, society and church leaders, would you have recognized and believed God’s messenger? Or would you have stuck with King Noah and his priests, who taught you, after all, flattering things much easier to bear—in exchange for your idolatrous devotion to them.


Fortunately, one man did believe God’s messenger. And if you’re a Mormon, you owe everything to Abinadi and his one convert, Alma.


How so?


As you may recall, the Book of Mormon is the continuing record of apostasy and restoration. Time and again, people turn away from God’s true gospel, lapse into apostasy, and practice various forms of wickedness. Oddly, such people are always very religious and devoted to their falsehoods. And time and again, the Lord, ever merciful, sends messengers to call the people back to the truth. 


Let me reiterate: this doesn’t just happen once, but continually. There is NO group in the book that manages to maintain fidelity to truth. From the opening verses with Lehi preaching to apostate Jerusalem, through  Nephi, Jacob, Mosiah, Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma (both of them), Helaman, more Nephis, Christ Himself, Mormon and Moroni, the Lord gives us so many illustrations we cannot possibly miss the point. 


But then, just in case we did miss it, we have the Jaredite record inserted to show us yet again that when apostasy prevails, the Lord sends prophets to preach before destruction. 


There is not ONE single example of a group of believers that managed to hold onto truth. They ALL slipped into apostasy. 


The same is true of the Bible record, with the mysterious exceptions of Enoch and Melchizedek, who both managed to establish Zion societies that were taken away from Earth. These are certainly the exception, not the rule. And we're still here, aren't we?


Now, getting back to the example at hand, if there had been no Abinadi, there would have been no Alma, no Nephite restoration, and ultimately no Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith or Mormon church.


Of course, the Lord could have tried again with another messenger—but that’s exactly my point. It’s a pattern. The Lord ALWAYS sends prophetic messengers when there is apostasy.


And so, to the question again. If you had lived in those days, would you have recognized God’s messenger? 


If yes, why? And how?


What makes you think that you would have been among the very small number of believers who accept the Lord's messengers? Belief in the Lord's messengers is a very rare thing, after all.


John the Baptist preached outside the church, had no recognized authority, railed against the religious leaders of the true religion, and had strange personal habits. He was "the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." (Matthew 3:3)

Would you have submitted to John's baptism? According to Joseph Smith, John wrested the keys of the kingdom from the Jewish leaders, and they didn’t even know they had lost their authority (TPJS 276.) They still had the temple, the ordinances, the fine trappings of wealth and prestige that came with priesthood office. And they were rejected by God. Yet the multitudes still followed them and John was killed.


Jesus came out of obscurity, preached against the legitimate leaders of the true religion, broke the traditions and rules of His faith, and was ultimately killed for His message. Would you have recognized Him? Few did. His own disciples were so shocked when He died, they gave up and went back to fishing. They had thought He would redeem Israel, but now He was dead. 


Even after He rose, they were slow to understand that the most important event in the history of the world had just taken place before their eyes. Israel had been redeemed, and Israel didn’t even know it. His own disciples were slow to recognize God's marvelous work.


But God's work is seldom ever recognized until after it is complete. Obscure men and women labor against persecution and rejection to accomplish God's will, and the world rejects them while alive, and honors them when dead. These are the "weak things" spoken of:

The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—(D&C 1:19)
Would history have found you in the desert worshipping the golden calf, or on the mount with Moses, talking to God? The odds overwhelmingly favor the calf, not the climb. And so the people rejected the invitation offered through Moses, and both Moses and the fulness of the priesthood were taken out of their midst. They were left with something lesser.
Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;
And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; (D&C 84:25-26)
We sit in Sunday school, wagging the finger and clicking the tongue at those apostate Israelites who rejected and killed the prophets over and over. How could they have been so blind?

And yet our own scriptures tell us WE lost the Fulness of the Priesthood over 174 years ago. It has not returned.
For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood. (D&C 124:28)
We, like the Israelites of old, are left with something lesser. And like the Israelites of old, we insist we certainly would not fall into the same error as our predecessors. Said the Lord:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. (Matthew 23:29-32 emphasis mine)
And then, just to drive the point home, WHY, exactly, do you suppose Mormon chose to include the following warning in his book, and WHO, exactly, do you suppose he was attempting to warn? Those who would never read his book, or us, who the Lord showed to him in detail and who claim to believe the book he gave us? Read this carefully:
And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.  
Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil. 
But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet. 
Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him. 
O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light? (Helaman 13:25-29 emphasis mine)
More introspection: Suppose you had lived in the days of Joseph Smith. Would you have recognized him as a prophet? What makes you think so? He was an obscure and little-noted farm boy who eventually led the church for 14 years, mostly through persecution and hardship, and was ultimately killed because of the actions of current and former church members. Yet through it all, there were many more who considered him an impostor or worse, than there ever were that believed him.

We lost much when we lost Joseph (and Hyrum) and I’ve attempted to illustrate as much with this series on prophets. Four generations have passed without that same light, while we ignorantly declare to each other that nothing at all has changed, that we have not lost the fulness, and that it is impossible for us to be led astray.


Yet God always works in patterns. His house is a house of order.


When faced with “prophets” that do not, in any way, meet the scriptural definition or follow the scriptural pattern, and yet who preach to us that we must follow them because they are incapable of leading us astray…and tell us that our very salvation depends upon following them, what do we think? 


Let's review the prophetic pattern in history and scripture:

  • Prophets aren’t sent to the non-religious. The pattern is to send prophets when religion has become corrupt. The most religious people on earth killed the Savior.
  • Prophets come in times of apostasy to bring a restoration.
  • Prophets come before destruction.
  • Though there may be a legitimate priesthood hierarchy, God's messengers are almost never part of it. Instead, they are outsiders, without title, position or church authority.
  • True messengers fearlessly preach repentance.
  • They openly declare their witness of having met the Lord and received their commission from Him.
  • True prophets are not popular, widely recognized or generally accepted.
  • They are often cast out or killed. They are nearly always rejected.

And now to the point of today’s post.

What if the Lord repeated His pattern today? What if we indeed lost much light with Joseph, and what was left has continually dwindled since, to the point that the religion we practice now bears little resemblance to the one Joseph taught, and is left barren of any saving power? And what if God, seeing this condition and knowing of the coming destruction, sent another true messenger to warn us? 


Would you recognize God’s messenger? Would you have the courage to listen and believe? Would you have the fortitude to fearlessly evaluate your religious traditions against the light of scripture and consider the possibility you might be lacking something important?


Or would you speak, nay, shout your testimony that we follow a living “prophet” and we CANNOT ever be led astray? In the face of prophets who do not prophesy, seers who cannot see, and revelators who reveal nothing, would you be humble enough to go to the Lord and seek answers for yourself?



Every dispensation has been led astray. They’ve all lapsed into darkness. What on earth makes us think we are any different? Do we not have exhaustive records before us, attempting to inoculate us against this deadly lie told by the enemy of our souls—that we’re somehow different, special, better than those who went before? Though THEY were mistaken, WE cannot possibly be?


Suppose God sent a messenger today who had been in His presence, was empowered with a message, and sent to cry repentance. 


How would the church respond to such a messenger? History tells us such a messenger would be rejected.


But the more important question—the MOST important question is how will YOU respond? 


My next post will deal with how God is following His pattern in our day. 


(And for those who are determined to jump to the wrong conclusion, this has nothing to do with me. I am not a prophet, nor do I intend to proclaim anything about myself at all.)


I don't expect you to believe me, but I hope you will believe God. I hope you'll spend some time asking God if the things written here so far are true. Ask if He is indeed following His pattern in our day. Ask that your heart may be softened to recognize and accept God's works. There is no danger in asking God, and you have nothing to fear. 


Trust God, not me. Stop seeking to be "right" and instead seek to know where you may be wrong. Become as a little child as Christ counseled.

If you truly want to understand the role and meaning of prophets in the Lord's plan, I recommend you download and read this article. It's long, at 48 pages, but it's also the most cogent, well-researched and documented statement on prophets I've found. I realize few will want to put in the effort to read this article, but that's expected. Some will. I hope you will.

Until then, here's some food for thought:


It happens the same way EVERY TIME. Here's how it happened last time:
Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments; (D&C 1:17)
If it happens again; if the Lord does indeed call and empower another "voice crying in the wilderness" in our day, will you recognize him? How?

Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
—2 Nephi 28:27-29

53 comments:

  1. Thanks Adrian! Well stated. I hope this will help some to awake and arise.

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  2. quote--


    But you look at your own religious structure and you're entirely oblivious to it. Governmental paternalism is deeply offensive to some of you. Yet you see church paternalism as good, and right, and righteous, and holy, and wonderful! They dispense nonsense, children‟s fables, vacuous and insipid sermons and the response is: “I just thought it was so special - the things that they said.” You measure their dross with a micrometer seeking anything to praise, but disregard truth when it is give you in full measure, pressed down and flowing over. You always mistake a false prophet for a true one.“


    end quote--


    Why do we rejoice when we find undigested kernels of corn in the dirt when there is a whole buffet before us? Why can we not perceive the nonsense, the "vacuous and insipid sermons"? Or, why do we choose to ignore it and make excuses for it. I have smashed my micrometer and I am enjoying the buffet... and how sweet and delicious it is.

    The Lord is indeed at work again.

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  3. Wonderful post Adrien. Who is Robert Sonntag? I agree with you that he has written a very cogent piece, on prophets and the sealing power. Only on page 11, but clearly carries an authoritative spirit.

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  4. Hmm, I'm unable to download the link to the Prophet Article. I've tried different IE's but with no success.

    I enjoyed your piece today on Prophets.

    We need to be open to the Truth and not people or so called "authority" figures clamoring we submit to their rule. There is no safety in ANY man or women. There is only safety with God. We are only to 'follow' a prophets teachings when they are given by the power of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise, it would cult like and satanic to not. You ought to question everything and hold onto the good.

    We all can and should know independent from anything written or spoken by men what the truth is from God.

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    1. Hmmm. I'm not sure why it won't download. I just checked it again and it's working for me from a variety of browsers. It's a PDF, so you may have to right click it and choose to save the file, rather than opening it in your browser. See if that will save the file to your downloads.

      Sorry about the trouble. I'll check to see if I can make other download arrangements. Anybody else having trouble?

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    2. Adrian, I was able to download the full 48 pages. I read the whole thing and looked up many of the over 200 footnotes. I find it an interesting perspective and opinion. I certainly agree that salvation is an individual concern.

      One of the more interesting parts I found was on page28, where the point is pondered about Joseph sustaining the selected leaders “regardless of the lack of qualifying revelations”. It seems Joseph was following the council to allow God to be the judge of men’s hearts. Joseph helped chose and ordain to office unknown numbers of people to unknown numbers of positions. And he sustained those that were called to their positions and asked the body of the church to do the same.

      For a moment suppose that a current church leader, ordained to an office of prophet, has or has not met the qualifications laid out by Joseph (and I am not saying I can judge if he has or has not, even if he chooses to hold that sacred and not tell me). Should I not sustain the leaders like Joseph sustained the leaders and allow them to serve in their capacity?

      On page 48, Sonntag makes the point… “We should not let ourselves become preoccupied with judging anyone for a perceived lack of revelation, an absence of real authority, or for simply interpreting scripture differently than we do.” I think that is very wise indeed. I should not criticize/judge you for your position, and likewise you should not criticize me (or anyone, including leaders of a church) for theirs. If you do not agree with current church leadership wouldn’t it be best to leave it alone and focus on your own salvation?

      I appreciate your efforts to share, I have learned a lot in following your blog. I look forward to your conclusion on prophets.
      -Michael

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    3. Hi Michael,

      Thank you for reading and responding. I agree with Joseph Smith and as I've pointed out previously, I do sustain the 15 to be prophets, seers, and revelators. I sincerely hope they will seek, obtain and exercise the gifts the church so desperately needs.

      The problem I have is with the increasingly pervasive teaching that we are to "follow" the prophet, even in contradiction of prior prophets, Joseph Smith, or scripture. This is going too far.

      When a man teaches that I must "follow" him to receive salvation, and that he holds "keys" to save or damn me and is incapable of error, yes, I absolutely should and must make a judgment. When our current situation and teachings are so contrary to scripture; when the words of Christ oppose the words of men, we all must judge.

      Who you choose to follow is up to you, but it is increasingly a choice between Christ and men. I choose Christ.

      It is vitally important to make these things known to those who are unaware, and unwittingly jeopardizing their eternal salvation. And so I do my best to write these things.

      Michael, I do not judge you, and I appreciate your insights. I do think it is worth noting, however, that you have taken a 48-page paper and cherry-picked two quotes to make your point, but I fear you have intentionally or unintentionally missed the whole point of the paper.

      But, as I said, you are free to follow who you will. You are not ignorant in your choice, and I pray you will make the one that will lead you to salvation.

      Godspeed, brother.

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    4. Greg, I put up a new link to the article, hosted on a different server. Please let me know if you can download it now. Thanks!

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    5. Michael,
      I wholeheartedly sustain the brethren, and anyone else, as long as I get to set the definition of the word. My definition is that I pray that God forgives them of their wanton disregard of his commandments and gives them another chance to obtain redemption from the fall while in this life. This is the same that I ask for myself from God. I forgive as I wish to be forgiven.

      Unfortunately, the word was recently codified by one who has authority to do so. See Russell M. Nelson's definition provided in last conference. If they interpret "sustain" as an oath like promise to treat their words as God's, whether they are from God or not, than I cannot sustain them. Joseph once said that giving a bishop authority to define a consecration for a member was to give him more power than a king. I can't imagine what he'd say about church leaders who insist that you essentially treat them as God. I bet it would be colorful though.

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    6. Adrian,

      The link works for me now.

      Thank you!

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  5. Thank you, Adrian. To use Joseph Smith's metaphor, your series and Sonntag's essay 'taste good'.

    In teaching Gospel Doctrine last year it hit me like a ton of bricks that like the Book of Mormon, the Old Testament is more than a case study of failed societies-- it is a thousand pages of warning to US of what awaits us if we fail to choose a different path than they did. Apostasy? Started with the political and religious leaders and worked its way down. Prophets? Along with a handful of the real deal there were plenty of false prophets eager to say whatever their listeners wanted to hear.

    I'd agree that your questions are timely and deeply personal to us today. Do you have a sense of why any of us would choose the better path this time around? Grief and struggle await but surely God has foreordained some of us to choose it.

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    1. Patty, you ask a great question--

      Do you have a sense of why any of us would choose the better path this time around?

      Few will. Sadly, the nature and disposition of almost all men causes the pattern to continue.

      But some will. One advantage we have is the failure of those who went before. If we can learn from their experiences, then, as you point out, perhaps we can choose a different path.

      The other advantage we have is modern communication methods. Prior societies didn't have the advantages of the internet, where we can communicate and share ideas outside of institutional control. When the institution cannot control the ideas, it cannot control the destiny. If an Abinadi comes among us today, killing him will not end his teachings.

      Some few will rise up, study it out for themselves, learn from the past, believe the scriptures, and find the Lord. And they will share what they have learned. Some few others will believe them and pursue the same course.

      Let us try to be among those few.

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    2. My next Gospel Doctrine lesson focuses on John the Baptist, of whom Jesus noted, " . . . Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." (Luke 7:28) This could be a natural opening for exploring the nature of prophets and their calling with fresh eyes. Thank you again for your research and willingness to open your mouth.

      Jesus comparison in verse 32 of the men of his generation to children in the marketplace trying to get each other to dance or weep is telling and finds a place in our society as well.

      24 ¶And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

      25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.

      26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.

      27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

      28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

      29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

      30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

      31 ¶And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?

      32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

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    3. You make a great point, Patty. There's some good food for thought there. You might also want to check out TPJS 275-276.

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    4. You frequently refer to the "TPJS" and certain page numbers. I was wondering if you have a specific edition or publication that you would recommend we pick up (i.e. the 1972 edition, or some other printing). Which do you use?

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    5. Hi Anonymous,

      I'm not near my copy at the moment, but I believe all printings enjoy the same page numbering. Could be wrong, but I've not encountered an edition that is numbered differently. For convenience, I normally verify my quotes in an electronic version I keep on my computer. I verified that it is numbered the same as my print edition.

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  6. The pdf version that I downloaded from scriptures.byu matched the page numbers Adrian referenced. An excellent quote! Imagine John the Baptist wresting the kingdom and authority from the Jews and them not even knowing it.

    http://scriptures.byu.edu/tpjs/STPJS.pdf

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  7. Hi Adrian

    Thank you for this post. It has cause me to ponder whether I would have believed and accepted Abidadi, or Joseph Smith, who was teaching doctrine or ideas that were contrary to the accepted archetype of the day. I abhor change and that would have meant getting out of my comfort zone.

    On the other hand... For the last six months, I have been compelled to study the scriptures, TPJS, the Lectures on Faith and other commentary that tell me that the Church today is not the same as the Church that Joseph Smith organized and the restored gospel has been diluted or changed. I do not want it to be so.

    Perhaps, I would not have jumped on the bandwagon and accepted Abidadi or Joseph but there is a good possibility that I may have listen to Alma, or Amuleck or another messenger down the road.

    It is very disconcerting to have the “rug ripped out” from underneath ones paradigm and have to look at another alternative on an issue where your salvation is at stake. It has been a struggle for me.

    I yearn for the Lord’s confirmation that the direction I’m going is what He wants for me. I fear being deceived. The scriptures teach that in the last day there will be many “Faults Prophets” and I’m having a hard time deciphering which is which. However, your website commentary is very compelling. And, the “Cunning One” is working very hard at my house to keep me confused.

    Is there anyone else that is having this struggle and is straddling the fence? If not... what was your defining moment?

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    1. Kathryn!

      I can see myself in your experience. Have been a member all my life, served a mission, married in the temple, now serving in the bishopric and have a history of being very dogmatic in my approach to the gospel and gospel living.

      Earlier, when members have left the church because of history issues and so forth, I’ve had a feeling of uncertainty about my own standing and strength in these issues. The effect of all of this is not that I hold more firmly to the iron rod of the traditions of my fathers, but that I’ve, during the last year/18 months, become more open to this "new" information.

      My approach to it is that this will set me free, lead me closer to the Spritit, the Son and the Father and that my children will one day rise up and consider themselves blessed for my courage to go beyond the traditions and seeking the Lord directly. I feel a hope in all of this.

      I pray for help to not be deceived. And I believe that those prayers will be answered. It’s a truly fascinating time to be a Mormon.

      My practical focus is on my local ward. It’s fantastic to be able to serve, lift, love, and learn with my fellow Saints. I try to open their view of what the gospel means, and don’t feel (too) hindered by the COB and SLC in this endeavor.

      Good luck to you!

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    2. Kathryn,
      I can understand your position. I was pretty unsure myself when I first heard about some of these things. The moment that really put me over the fence was when I realized that learning about these things was more "delicious" than any gospel study I had done before in my life, and it made me want to study the gospel more and be more Christlike than ever before in my life. I took that to mean that this seed bears good fruit. It still seems to be bearing good fruit, even though I still struggle and still feel very ignorant and weak. The tasty fruit testifies to me that I am on the right path.

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    3. Kathryn, confusion is of the devil. Truth speaks peace to your soul. The church isn't the same as it was at the time of Joseph Smith. It has evolved. One of my ancestors, Anson Call, was there the day Brigham Young spoke with the voicenter of Joseph Smith and appeared as if he were Joseph Smith. It was a sure confirmation witnessed by many. We have a worldwide church today. It is easy to feel lost among the many. I can see that people are drawn to small groups where they can feel important and needed once again. But that is pride. God leads the church today. Ask Him to help you have that confirmation. Although my guess is that you've already received that confirmation before. Men can say anything. The can be very clever in their interpretations. But the Holy Spirit is our only true compass. I feel sick to my stomach as I read these posts. I do not feel peace or the spirit. I see pride going before the fall. We do prosper in the land. Prosperity leads to pride. Let us humbly maintain our stations, do our work and look for the coming day of the Lord.

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    4. Holly,

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your insights.

      I agree with you. The church has evolved, and that’s not a big deal. But the doctrine has also changed—radically. This IS a big deal because the Gospel never changes; God never changes. One modern prophet tells us we MUST do something to be saved, and later another prophet tells us we MUST NOT do it or we will be damned. God is not the author of this confusion. And so, your assertion that confusion is of the devil cuts against the church as well.

      I believe confusion is a necessary step to bring us to God. It brought Joseph Smith to the grove to seek an answer for himself. Working through the confusion and cognitive dissonance of finding out we may not know as much as we thought, brings us to humility and puts our hearts in the correct state to seek and receive answers.

      Ultimately, as you aptly said, the Holy Spirit is our only true compass.

      It’s vitally important, then, that we become familiar with the workings of the Spirit. Since you are seeming to confuse your feelings for the Spirit, I highly recommend you read the following post:

      http://www.totheremnant.com/2014/11/feeling-and-fooling-spirit.html

      One of the Devil’s most successful confusions has been to teach the Spirit has to do with how we feel. Don’t let him trap you in this lie.

      One other thought:

      The Brigham Young transfiguration myth was researched and dispelled years ago. (Incidentally, Anson Call recorded his account in 1871, 27 years after the event supposedly happened.) This is very significant, not to mention interesting, and you can get the whole story here:

      http://www.totheremnant.com/2014/08/history-hearsay-and-heresy-part-5-aint.html

      Holly, you clearly care a great deal about these things, and I really appreciate you joining the conversation. I think we all benefit from your point of view. Because you are not yet familiar with the background and foundation material for these posts, I highly recommend you read this blog from the beginning. Even if you don’t agree, you will be much better prepared to offer a different point of view.

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    5. Kathryn, your experience sounds like mine, I'm also struggling to make sure I'm not deceived, I prayed for truth then received a lot more than I bargained for but sometimes it's hard to know exactly what is true and what is not. I've come to the conclusion that you have to turn to the Lord and keep on going. I haven't got to the right place yet though.

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  8. Your responses are always so condescending as if you alone have knowledge of history. I am prepared. I read my scriptures. I know my history. Our family owns an actual copy of Anson Call's diary. Have you actually read it? I have, and he bears a powerful testimony of the events that took place that day. And I'm sorry, but the Saints have always paid homage to their prophets. They absolutely loved and adored Joseph Smith. You could say he was a celebrity among the early Saints, but that is human nature, not his fault. History is an interesting thing, isn't it? Anyone can say something, write it down and years later, it becomes history. Consider what people would think of Pres. Obama if they watched Fox News vs. CNN. I value history, but I value the Holy Spirit more. And yes, for me, the Holy Spirit is like a feeling. But it's more than that. I rebelled against the church as a teenager and had a dream not unlike Alma the Younger. I know this church is true. I don't gain that knowledge from the prophet or any other man. I have gained that knowledge through personal revelation which you don't get to define as merely a feeling for me.

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    1. Dear Holly,

      I sincerely apologize if I come across as condescending. I truly do not mean to, nor do I mean to anger you; I’m honestly just trying to help. I also don’t blame you for taking issue with my tone. It’s a common occurrence, particularly when someone finds it easier to attack my tone than deal with my message. This is another item I’ve covered extensively before. The truth is almost never embraced, and nobody likes the messengers.

      It’s a very hard thing to walk the line between informing and offending those I love. You are my sister, and I care about your soul. I’m pleased that you are taking the time to read and consider what I write, even if you disagree with me.

      My intent was to help you realize you were making statements about things I’ve already covered extensively, while apparently being unfamiliar with the history and scriptures involved. Rather than repeating the whole write up here, I referred you to what I have already written, assuming by your statements, you had not read it.

      I had no idea you were already familiar with these items, because you did not seem to be. I apologize for my assumption.

      If you already know enough history and scripture, there’s nothing I can add. The only person in the world who cannot learn something new is the one who is sure she already knows it. This is perhaps why Christ advised us to become as little children—eager to learn, and keenly aware of our own ignorance in so many things.

      As for defining the Spirit as a feeling, I was only responding to your statements that “I feel sick to my stomach as I read these posts. I do not feel peace or the spirit.” Again, I have written extensively on this topic, and I was not defining it for you, but rather responding to your statement.

      You make a great point about the Saints adoring Joseph Smith, and their current leaders. Then and now, Zion has not come. The continual failure may indicate we need a new approach. Food for thought.

      Thank you for mentioning your sacred dream. I honor it and rejoice that God granted it. I do not doubt it for a moment.

      God bless you Holly (and I mean that sincerely)

      Adrian

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  9. Thank you for your well wishes. I sincerely wish you well on your search for truth. I pray for all of us that we can all be humble and seek out the spirit. I would never claim to know everything and love to learn, but as I have read your words, Adrian, I am struck time and again with the stark contrast between your interpretation/experiences/view of the church, its leaders and its history to my own. And as far as your tone goes, yes, there is a bitter, mocking tone that is hard for me to understand. I'm sorry you feel the way you do about our prophet and apostles. My husband lived in Salt Lake City before we married (as it's a second marriage) and had apostles in his wards, along with extended family members. I had Elder Oaks' son for a teacher in college. My friend is very close to the prophet and loved him dearly long before he was a prophet, because of how he comforted and served her family when her sister died. Everything I know from firsthand experience is that these men are flawed and all too human, but they are also kind, humble,devoted disciples of Christ. It is hard to see you speak of them in such a condesending tone. It's hard for me to see you speak of my ancestor, Anson Call, in such a condescending way as his journal is a treasure to me and helped fortify my testimony of this church. I know we won't be able to come to an agreement, but i appreciate you allowing me to express my views here and again, I wish you all the best on your journey.

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  10. Thank you folks you replys to my question.

    Christian: I like what you said about gaining freedom by going beyond the traditions and seeking the Lord directly. I too enjoy serving in my ward, especially rubbing shoulders with the sisters and will continue to do so. Strangely enough, I hear bits and pieces of discontentment because of the milk that is being taught. People are beginning to wake up and want more. I too have been able to add additional understanding to conversations, and not trivialize basic beliefs. For now... this is where I will serve until I am told otherwise.

    Blair: You hit the nail on the head when you said, “I realized that learning about these things was more “delicious” than any gospel study." I have always been a doctrinal “seeker” but have been bored to tears the last few years with the constant flow of milk that has been taught in our lessons and from the pulpit.

    Early last summer, it came to me that I needed to take full responsibility for my own growth and learning and this is when I started researching for deeper insight. What I have found is “delicious” and I’m excited about this new path. My scripture study is more enlightened and I feel more motivated to “Follow Christ” and become like Him than ever before. It continues to bear good fruit.

    Holly: I don’t doubt that the LDS church is the Lord’s church and I want it to be successful in its mission. But, I am concerned. I can’t deny that I have had misgivings about recent decisions the Brethren have made. I first became uneasy with the Church’s position on the Boy Scout issue. I thought for sure they would say something like... “It’s been a great journey but no thanks. We will start our own program.” My son was scout leader at the time and resigned his position. He said, “The Church has no idea what they are opening themselves up for. We leaders have enough concerns, let along handle this one.”

    The second concerned came as a result of a billboard with two people holding wine glasses. It was an ad for the City Creek mall. I was shocked. The ad did not represent us well. When I found how much the condos cost... I had a stroke. Then I began to question many other things that seem to not be congruent with our principles.... like owning hunting reserves so wealthy people could pay big money to kill birds and other game. Why are we embracing Babylon?

    The approach to “Follow Christ” FIRST resonates with my soul. “Follow the Prophet” never set very well with me... and I never was one to overly adore Joseph Smith. I give deference to his mission, for which I will be for ever grateful, but I have never idolized the man. (Perhaps polygamy is the issue.ha ha.)

    All of your comments have been helpful. For the time being, like Christian, I will serve along side of my brothers and sisters in the ward and do my best to share in a positive way. Like Blair, I want to continue to taste this “delicious” fruit of new insights into scriptures and the depth of feeling I have for my Lord that I have never experience before. Like Holly, I want to be in tune to hear the Holy Ghost when he speaks, no matter the direction I am told to go.

    Bottom line: I must be “WILLING” to do what the Lord wants me to do. If my mind is closed or too ridged on one point of view or the other, He cannot move me in the direction He wants me to go. I must be open either way. Because my heart is open to hear HIS word, I must trust that I will not be deceived.

    And Adrian: Thank you...I love your posts... they give me much so think about and ponder. You and your family have sacrificed much for your sincere openness. God Bless.

    Thanks again.


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  11. One thing that I've become more aware of lately concerns the conflation of the Church and the Lord. From the pulpit in my ward I've heard people give wonderful testimonies of returning from not living in a way the Lord wants to "the Church" (i.e. a bishop having told a youth: "Isn't it time that you returned to the Church"). Why are we scared to talk about returning to the Lord? Because it minimizes the importance and salvational role of the Church?

    Others have said that they felt the Spirit in great abundance and now know that this Church is true. I would guess that the Spirit testified of the goodness and love of God, since stories to that effect caused the spiritual outburst.

    We teach our kids and youth as well as adults to draw, in my view, faulty conclusions of the workings of the Holy Ghost (I assume that the Holy Ghost is involved in these instances). As long as every encounter with the spirit is taken as evidence of the truthfulness of the Church, we won't get closer to neither the Lord nor the Spirit.

    Adrian, thank you for directing me to Sonntag's paper. Great stuff! Definitely a game-changer for me. But, who is this man? Or maybe that shouldn't matter, right?

    Yesterday, I hade four missionaries over. One of them mentioned the book "Visions of Glory" (http://www.amazon.com/Visions-Glory-Mans-Astonishing-Account/dp/1462111181). One of the other elders asked if it was written by a GA. I asked him - "Does it matter? Abinadi wasn't a GA?" The missionaries coming to my place gets some food for thought nowadays.

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  12. Adrian,
    Hi my name is Adele wood. My sister is Sheri Linnarz.
    I met some of your group at dinner when I was in Boise on the 29 of Dec. I have been reading your blog and I love it. You say things in a way that even I can understand. I am also reading Denver Snuffer'so book the second comforter and listening to his talks as well. I have been asking God if all of what both you and Denver are saying are true and I got anewer that they are. I believe it all. So thank you for doing this blog. I have a lot of questions to. I hope the next time I am in Boise that I can talk with you about some of my questions that I have. I am really wanting to know all I can so that I can get back to my father in heaven.

    Thanks again for writing this blog.
    Adele

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  13. Wow, great comments by everyone, thank you all for sharing. Perception is a funny thing isn't it? Holly, because I know Adrian, and have felt his goodness and know his intent, and soft spoken nature, I feel nothing contentious or condescending about his replies. In fact, I find his responses kind hearted yet instructive, soft yet resolute, we seldom receive things as they truly are, but as we truly are. Perception often confuses candor for condescension. Great article by.the way, I've deeply pondered each segment of this series, and stand as an additional witness to the truth shared in these messages. Thank you!

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  14. Apparently you don't like a voice of dissension any more than the church does as you won't publish my comments. That tells me a lot.

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  15. Holly,

    Huh? I'm bewildered by your comment and accusation. I've published everything I've received from you. If you've made a comment I have not published, it is because it never came through. Please make it again.

    In the light of all the dissenting comments I've published, do you really think you've reached a fair conclusion about me not liking dissenting voices?

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    1. I'll add this:

      To anyone else who has posted comments I have not published, there are two possible reasons:

      1. I didn't receive your comment. Some have told me the comment mechanism is finicky. Nothing I can do, it's google's deal. Wish I could fix it, but I can't. The best approach if you've written something is to copy and paste it somewhere before you hit "publish." That way, if it doesn't go through, you haven't lost it and you can try again.

      2. I received your comment but didn't publish it. There may be various reasons for this, but they do not include simply disagreeing with me. If you've tried to post something and it was never published, you can use the "Contact Me" tool on the right side of the blog to send me a private note. I'll let you know if it never came through, or if there's another reason you don't see it here.

      In all cases, there's no reason to be unkind. I've been amazed at the abuse some are willing to hurl simply because they made a comment that wasn't published. (Holly, that's not directed at you. Yours was quite mild.)

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  16. Hey Everyone,

    I just wanted to reiterate the point of this post. Suppose God followed His pattern again and sent a true messenger. Would you receive or reject?

    If receive, what makes you think so? Receiving is very rare.

    If reject, where might that path lead you?

    This is the proposition we ought to be considering, discussing, pondering and praying about. As for me, I'm irrelevant. This isn't about me at all.

    Every prior generation has been good at identifying their predecessors' mistakes, while claiming they would never make the same mistakes--all while making them! Can we break this cycle? Can we really learn from past failure? Or are we destined to repeat it?

    If we learn from past failure, how might WE be different? It's not the situation that's different. We can't simply assume God would never allow us to fail. He clearly has and does allow failure--over and over. The situation is the same. WE must be different.

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  17. I don't know what happened to my comments, but really, it doesn't matter. As you said, you are my brother, Adrian. I hope you are my brother in Christ as you say. It is my fear that you are following the path of Nehor more than that of Abinadi, but it is not for me to judge. It is for me to speak what I believe is truth and follow that truth in my own life. I voice my opinions here out of love and concern, not condemnation. I feel so much love and gratitude for the prophet and other servants of the Lord. I would never want to walk in their shoes. I hate seeing them condemned for not being perfect when none of us humans are, including Joseph Smith. I will continue to send love to you and those who choose to believe on your words, Adrien, but I won't continue to read this blog or comment. I pray for you to all have peace, a deep, abiding love of the Savior, humility, ears to listen for the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, eyes to see truth and protection from the adversary. I pray for me to have the same! In the words of Jacob, Adieu! :)

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    1. Holly,
      Thank you for respecting freedom to choose, but I do not think comparing Adrian to Nehor is fair. Adrian is showing us we need to repent of our idol worship and unbelief (like that President Monson is more than a man, or infallible). This isn't anything like Nehor. Nehor preached that repentance was unnecessary and executed Gideon.
      How is that comparison even viable?
      Adrian is teaching and trying to help everyone come to Christ and realize we should only follow truth that leads us to Him.

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  18. Holly, The scriptures do not allow members of the church to dictate doctrine or policy to the church leaders.

    But the scriptures do give members the right to NOT sustain the leaders and have a controversy over them.

    Why do I use the word controversy? Because that is the word the revelation uses in D&C 107:81-84 when it gives instructions for having a special trial over the President of the church or one of his counselors. Verse 83 says, "And their decision upon his head shall be an end of CONTROVERSY concerning him."

    This clearly allows LEGITIMATE controversies over the President of the church until, if it comes to such measures, such a trial settles the matter.

    But what has happened in the Lord's Gentile church is that the church leaders have pushed for the idea that the Prophet is above any controversy. The famous "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet" talk is one of many, many examples of this type of idolatrous teaching.

    Adrian Larsen had a God-given right to claim a controversy that even implicated the church president. D&C 107:81-84 and JST Mark 9:40-48 are two clear witnesses of this principle. He was cast out of the church because the majority of the church members support the leaders in their claim to be above any legitimate controversy.

    D&C 136:31 warns the church that they would be tried "in all things" before they were led back to establish Zion in Missouri. What could "all things" include? We know it could include having to live by "every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God".

    The D&C is full of instructions the church is not living. Why are you not terrified by this? Have you not covenanted to live "the law of the gospel as found in the Doctrine and Covenants"?

    You may feel "so much love and gratitude for the prophet", but that does not mean the Lord will not try the church with a situation where they will have to live by the instructions in D&C 107:81-84 to end a controversy over the prophet in the church.

    You should also quote this part from Jacob, "O be wise, what can I say more?"

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    1. If there was a "like" button for erichard's comment, I'd click on it ten times. Great point and references! Thank you!

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  19. Obviously, history repeats it’s, and we are no different... even though many members of the Church think, by the very nature of the Church umbrella, we are being protected because of a living prophet that cannot lead us astray.

    The problem seems to arise every time folks separate themselves from the masses and think they are different, special, chosen, and have a special entitlements. The Lord has told us that he is not a respecter of persons.

    Many of Peter's fellow Jews (Church) thought that God loved them more than the outsiders of the faith. When meeting with the gentile centurion Cornelius, the apostle Peter explained what God had revealed to him: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him."

    This tells me that anyone that has a Zion heart will be included, whether they are member of the LDS Church or not.

    Do I think we have a better chance of creating a Zion society than before? I say, “Yes.”

    Simple because we have the gift of immediate communication to make corrections to thinking and behavior. No other generation has had such opportunity for such checks and balances. It’s wonderful.

    On the other hand, there is so much communication and the sharing of ideas that one can become easily confused. There is so much “Lo here and Lo there.”

    For me, if the message does not drive me to search “Source”, (the scriptures) more diligently, believe them, and follow them, then I am suspect. Unfortunately, in some cases, the power of them has become diluted with inspirational messages, and spoon fed information that is often mixed with the precepts of men. Depending upon others for scripture interpretation, rather than going to the Lord, can be dangerous.

    I believe that Zion will be formed by individuals, plucked from the group. We must stand spiritually independent of all systems and men. The scripture: Matt 14:40-41 applies to those being selected for the establishment of Zion as well as those who will stand at the day of His coming.

    “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

    When the rubber meets the road, it will be individuals selected to establish Zion not a group, no matter the claim of any group.

    D&C 105:1-6 is the recipe for Zion. It is the individual recipe for being a Zion person. Each of us individually need to ask, “How am “I” doing? For instance, how am I doing in “imparting of my substance to the poor and afflicted.” Or, do I let someone else be the steward of this responsibility?

    Any of us can be messengers of truth... as long as we drive people to the scriptures for answers, and encourage them to believe, follow, and ask the LORD if the direction they are going is His will. Anyone else that suggests otherwise should be considered suspect indeed.

    Yes, I have great hope. I see many who are becoming independent thinkers which are finding and working hard to follow the Lord’s Zion recipe, with or without being attached to any one group.

    I think we live in a wonderful age and have much support by way of the blessing of immediate communication for checks and balances. In that process, it behooves us to be good messengers.

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    1. Kathryn, you wrote, "I believe that Zion will be formed by individuals, plucked from the group."

      What is your understanding of what you wrote, what does that "plucking" look like to you? How do you imagine that could occur?

      I only ask because I feel that I've been "plucked" already. Unfavorable circumstances in my life lead to questions. Questions led to more questions when the original ones couldn't be answered from those within the church. Then little by little I was led by a thin thread to meet people like Adrian.

      I would have never imagined in a million years this would have happened how it has.

      An I qualified to be part of Zion? No, probably not yet, but I'm working on it. In that process my testimony of the Restoration, Book of Mormon, and the Prophet Joseph Smith have increased ten fold.

      I'm not sure how the Lord is going to pluck people, but I do know that I am grateful for the path He has put me on. For the first time over 22 years I'm actually headed somewhere instead of going in circles like the children of Israel.

      I'd ask you this, is the church as a whole closer to becoming Zion today than it was 20 years ago, or is it further away?

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  20. Kathryn and anyone else that are concerned about the polygamy issue and Joseph Smith's connection see this link for more information. http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm

    As for the actual meat of Adrian's post please take Alma's charge from Alma 32:27 and exersize a particle of faith on these words. Open you hearts to belive ALL things and then pray to The Lord with very specific questions and then believe Him even if it is contrary to what you WANT to believe is true.

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    1. Kevin, have you read all of "Joseph fought polygamy"? The message is in total contradiction with many scholars (including the church itself, of course). How do you choose one scholarly text over another? Since the source documents aren't readily available to me, it's difficult to know what ous actually true. Any thoughts?

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    2. First to Adrian, I'm sorry for this tangent. I'm not wanting to deter anyone from the original blog message as it is very important to understand what a prophet is and what that role is meant to do. Although, I'm worried that people will continue to look to a strong man either in the church or out. No one is perfect and the teacher is no better than the learner.

      Christian, thanks for the reply. In my search for the truth of this matter I have also found it difficult to find accurate and non-tampered or altered information. Everything from poor memory recollection to blatant re-writing of history has been apparent. I find it important to note that people can be manipulated into believing something they witnessed happened differently than actual events as well as simple poor memory recollection. This phenomena gets worse when there is a lengthy time from the actual event to the recording of said event but is an issue even minutes after the event. There is a plethora of research on the subject. Here is a short video explaining one such event and tons more are out there if you are interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh6WTpD3Ytw

      I have taken the following stance when it comes to all early church history or any history for that matter. I don't know what to think...and I get quite frustrated by all the confusion. Without talking to the original person I feel doomed to never be 100% accurate.

      However, I try to evaluate each piece of evidence individually as well as look at the big picture and try to understand every point of view then make a choice based on my findings. Then I take it to The Lord for confirmation. Sometimes I get told I'm wrong or no answer at all but after continued research I find more evidence that proves my original theory wrong or supports it further. In the case of polygamy I believe the book(s) I linked too to be the most correct on the subject and have had that repeatedly confirmed to me. I do not believe JS every practice polygamy and we have ample scriptural references to align to that thought. Jacob 2: 27-30 for example. Some people interpret 30 differently than I do I guess. I take it as.... if God will raise up seed unto himself (meaning His Church, the ones that follow him) He will command them...which is what he just did in verse 27. So those who are His seed He will command to follow Him and have but one wife, otherwise they (non-followers) will hearken unto these words and enter into abomination of multiple wives and such. As for D&C 132 I'd point you to the before mentioned book and you can make the call of its truthfulness. I also have found the original D&C 101 1835 edition to be enlightening.

      I hope I am not coming across as confrontational or as a know it all. I have spend a lot of time researching this subject and when I started was actually on the other side of the fence only to have my mind changed over the years. I feel very strongly that we all need to do our own research and most importantly seek the confirmation from the Spirit on ALL subjects. JS never wanted us to blindly follow. Our personal relationship with the Holy Ghost is going to be invaluable in these last days.

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  21. One reason to believe that we are different is the doctrine "this dispensation will not go amiss". I believe this is true, but the interpretation that aimed: this dispensation = the LDS Church is incorrect. I think that this false belief creates a subconscious resistance among LDS people to the thought that the church might have gone apostate, the "prophets" are only administrators, we are taught false doctrine and a watered down gospel where we follow this Prophet instead of soaking with the Lord through the veil.

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  22. Hi Brent Hanson (I have to answer your question in two comment sections because of the comment character limitations.)

    Before I answer the questions you ask me, I would like to share this information.

    During the school years of 1972-1973, A lecture series was present at BYU on Zion. Over the course of 5 weeks, there were 5 LDS scholars who contributed to this sequence: Hugh Nibley, Rodney Turner, Hyrum L. Andrus, H, Verlan Andersen and Lael Woodbury.

    These quotes were in the lecture Zion-Ancient and Modern by Hyrum L. Andrus, BYU religion teacher and author of many LDS books.

    “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man conversed with another.” (TPJS, p.345)

    “Zion is the defined as the pure in heart,” but this statement needs to be placed in proper context. The “pure in heart” are those who are sanctified and who received the blessings of the sanctified--the blessings of the Second Comforter. Thus, Zion consists of a body of people who have embraced the gospel, have been regenerated by its divine spiritual powers, and have in this way become pure in heart to the degree that they can see God, that is, received the blessings that related to the Second Comforter.”

    “This means that we still have a distance to go to prepare a Zion-people for the Second Coming of Christ, for Zion is a group of people who are worthy to enjoy, personally, directly, and immediately, the presence and communion of Christ on the spiritual plane of the Second Comforter. That is one of the basic concepts of Zion taught in the scriptures.”

    “Sometimes we entertain the idea that if Christ were to come today, we would be caught up to meet him in the cloud. But there is not one in ten thousand members of the Church prepared to be caught up to meet Christ.”

    “Only Zion will be caught up, not a gentile-oriented church.” (Hyrum L Andrus, Zion--Ancient and Modern-What Is Zion lecture series)

    “Zion is the Pure in heart, The pure in heart not merely the pure in appearance. It is not a society or religion or forms of observance, of pious gestures and precious mannerisms: it is strictly a condition of the heart.” Hugh Nibley- What is Zion-What is Zion lecture series)

    You ask...”is the Church, as a whole, closer to becoming Zion today than it was 20 years ago, or is it further away?”

    This Zion lecture was given 43 years ago... and if there was not one in ten thousand members of the Church prepare to be caught up to meet Christ then... what does it look like today?

    As a child, I remember talks on Zion being given in Conference and from the pulpit. Discussions of receiving ones Calling and Election were quite common. Do we hear these subjects addressed in Conference, or from the pulpit today? (If it’s not in the Ensign, it doesn’t seem to make it’s way to the pulpit.)

    So, in answer to your question...”No”. As a Church body, I think we are further away from Zion than ever before, if one of the criteria is to be able to be in the presence of the Lord during this life time. The entire Second Comforter issue has not been taught in years and seems to be a subject which is off limits to the masses.

    To be continued:

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    1. Kathryn, duo you have transcripts from the "What is Zion" lectures? Would love to read. Could you email me: Christian.Hagglund@gmail.com

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  23. Brent Hansen (Continuation of comment)

    You ask...”is the Church, as a whole, closer to becoming Zion today than it was 20 years ago, or is it further away?”

    This Zion lecture was given 43 years ago... and if there was not one in ten thousand members of the Church prepare to be caught up to meet Christ then... what does it look like today?

    As a child, I remember talks on Zion being given in Conference and from the pulpit. Discussions of receiving ones Calling and Election were quite common. Do we hear these subjects addressed in Conference, or from the pulpit today? (If it’s not in the Ensign, it doesn’t seem to make it’s way to the pulpit.)

    So, in answer to your question...”No”. As a Church body, I think we are further away from Zion than ever before, if one of the criteria is to be able to be in the presence of the Lord during this lifetime. The entire Second Comforter issue has not been taught in years and seems to be a subject which is off limits to the masses.

    2. You ask how I imagine being candidates for Zion will be “plucked out.

    “... and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I shall bring you to Zion.” Jeremiah 3:14.

    “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.” (TPJS,p.328)

    If the above statement and scripture is true, and I believe they are, then being a Bishop, Stake President, Seventy, or RS president does not qualify you for being called to establish Zion. Only God knows our hearts and our preparation. Of course, that doesn’t mean that men or women holding these positions can not qualify by the standards required. But it’s comforting to know that any man or woman can qualify without being a member of the elite It gives me great hope.

    How will those who quality will be selected? I do not know but it will certainly be an individual calling. I personally believe it will come by way of personal revelation. However, when the time comes, what ever process is used, I’m sure the individual will know. In spite of what some believe, it will not come from Salt Lake because there is no way they can make and error-free summons since they cannot see into the hearts of men.

    Along with the D&C 105 recipe, and receiving the Second Comforter, there is a lot to be accomplished. From what I’m witnessing, there is a growing number of individuals who are anxiously engaged in preparing themselves for Zion and not depending upon a blanket “Call Out” from Salt Lake. What a wonderful time to be alive and rub shoulders with such a committed group of individuals. With the support and encouragement of these kindred spirits, we should have great hope!

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    1. Kathryn, thank you for the thought and time you put into your response. You've given me much to ponder.

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  24. Isn't it time we start referring to General Authorities as the Central Authorities?

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  25. Are you associated with the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

    The President/Prophet of that church is Frederick N. Larsen (any relation?)

    http://www.theremnantchurch.com

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    1. Nope, not associated with the Remnant Church at all. And no relation to Frederick N. Larsen. But funny coincidence! Thanks for checking.

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  26. We must receive our own personal witness that each and every doctrine, commandment, principle, and ordinance is true by the power of the Holy Ghost. It is our responsibility to live such that the Holy Ghost can confirm to our souls individually that these things are true. "Never assume anything about anything" is one of my axioms that I live by. Only by the power of the Holy Ghost can we know, from God and no one else, that anything is true.

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