But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
—1 Timothy 4:7
Boy, do I hear some crazy things about myself!
I don’t consider myself important, and I prefer not to talk about myself. I find it very strange when others think I’m worthy of their time and attention spent in conjecture or sharing rumors. I would much rather talk about the gospel, but I feel concerned that some of the rumors might dissuade people from reading this blog or considering their role in the ongoing gospel restoration. I don’t want friends, neighbors, or even strangers to avoid gospel truth due to falsehoods they’ve heard about me, so it appears I must correct some myths.
Therefore, we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming, to set the record straight on a few rumors and set forth the truth about them. Personally, I find these rumors both unfortunate and laughable.
1. We “left the church.” This is, of course, not true. My wife and I were excommunicated from the LDS church. We did not leave, and we remained fully active right up until the end. Nevertheless, shortly after our excommunication, we heard from multiple members of our ward and stake that they heard we had “left the church.”
This rumor could have only come from church leaders; nobody else from our ward or stake knew about our situation, or our excommunication. One man told me a stake leader told him directly that we had “left.” This man refused, at first, to believe we had been excommunicated. When I assured him it was true, he wondered aloud why the church leader had misled him.
2. I started my own church. This one made the rounds far and wide for quite a while, even among my children’s friends, who confronted them at school with “I heard your dad started his own church!” This one also seems to have originated with church leadership, as it appeared the very week of our excommunication, before anyone besides church leaders knew anything about our situation.
To set the record straight: I have not started a church, and all such assertions are completely untrue. The only church I belong to is defined in D&C 10:67-68:
Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.3. I claim to be a prophet. Nope. Sorry, not true. I make no such claim, nor have I ever done so. Though I'll add that the word “prophet” has been so twisted and abused by the LDS church, that we lose sight of its true meaning. We all ought to seek to be prophets:
And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them! (Numbers 11:29)4. I’m bitter or angry at the church. Nope. Not at all. I’m certainly disappointed, to the point of mourning, but I’m not angry or bitter. There was only one portion of one post in which I was angry. It was in the Blood Moons series, when I wrote the following:
Why do the watchmen NOT raise the warning? Why do they tell us all is well? Why do they point to their life experience and reliance upon trained scholars, rather than their connection to heaven and understanding of scripture? Why do they tell us to keep our eyes on them, rather than on the Lord who can save us? Why do they insist we stay in the boat they blindly steer toward the rocks?
And why, oh why, must a nobody like me raise the warning? Are we really that blind? With the scriptures before us and the signs above us, why is the truth not in us? How have we so utterly failed to recognize our predicament? Why have we trusted the arm of flesh?
It breaks my heart—truly—to consider how many still trust their lives to ignorant, sleeping watchmen, rather than awakening and arising themselves. The flood is already upon us, the tempest is raging, and we perish.5. I’m a polygamist. Oh my! Nobody was more shocked than me to hear this one. The rumor seems to have started when our family took in a homeless, single mother and let her live in our guest room until her situation improved. I reject the notion and practice of polygamy, and I believe Joseph Smith did as well—as I’ve written repeatedly.
6. I’ve taken the office of bishop, and made my wife my first counselor. Are you kidding me? This one really makes me scratch my head. I have no title, office, or position, nor do I want one. The same goes for my wife. In our fellowship, I preside over nothing, and govern nobody.
It appears someone within the remnant movement started this rumor, and it keeps surfacing. It’s utterly false, and yet some who should know better have both believed it, and perpetuated this gossip without bothering to find out if it’s true.
Now, I don’t mind people saying stupid stuff about me—but really, with the work ahead of us, I’m baffled that anyone has time to waste on such an unimportant topic as myself, particularly when the truth is so easily obtained. Spreading this sort of nonsense is a waste of time and shows intentional disregard for truth.
On to Stuff that Matters
Now, having dealt with the embarrassment of talking about myself, I’d like to move on to something important.
I ran into a member of my former LDS ward, and he asked me what we do for worship and fellowship since we “left the church.” As usual, he had heard the rumors, but he asked the question in sincerity because he has doubts about the LDS church and leadership, and genuinely wants to know how it’s possible to honor Joseph Smith’s restoration and worship our Lord outside the LDS church.
I explained a bit about what we do, and it occurred to me, such an explanation might be useful here, as well. So, for the interested, the curious, or even for the opposed, here’s an overview of what a fellowship of believers looks like, without an organized church. I can’t speak for other fellowships, but here’s how it looks in Boise:
We gather on Sundays with like-minded friends in rather informal meetings as a fellowship of equals. I use “fellowship” here according to the common definition of “a friendly association of people who share the same interest.” These gatherings take place in homes, or at parks if the weather is nice. We sing, pray, discuss the gospel, and take the sacrament according to the pattern of scripture. We try to let the spirit guide us whether to preach, exhort, supplicate, sing, pray, or bless. (Moroni 6:9).
We gather our tithes as a group, and use them to bless the poor among us. We have no hierarchy, titles, positions, or leaders. Everything is voluntary and rotating in our fellowship, including who conducts the meetings, teaches, prays, blesses, or brings bread or wine for sacrament. All are welcome to speak, and there are no prepared talks. For that matter, there’s also no dress code. Women are equal with men in all things, the only exception being the ordinances of baptism and sacrament, which are only performed by men.
We perform baptisms in living water, using lakes or rivers, and conduct them strictly according to the pattern and wording laid out by Christ in scripture. Those who perform baptisms seek and obtain power from Christ to do so, much like Alma did at the Waters of Mormon:
And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart. And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him... (Mosiah 18:12-13)We often gather at other times to study scripture together or to discuss important issues pertaining to our fellowship and the Lord’s work in the last days. We also enjoy social activities and meals together from time to time.
Above all, we are devoted to Jesus Christ, and attempt to learn and do His will for us. We recognize the mission of the prophet Joseph Smith, and we do all we can to preserve and honor all the truth the Lord gave through him.
We are by no means perfect, and we make all sorts of mistakes. But through it all we attempt to love and forgive one another, learn and grow together, and make Christ our center, both individually and as a group.
If any of this sounds interesting, and you’re in the Boise area, please feel free to contact me through the contact form on this blog. You are welcome to worship with us.
If you’re not in the Boise area, you can perhaps find a fellowship close to you at this site:
And if you’d like to learn more about the movement to preserve the Restoration of the Gospel, there’s great information at this site:
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