Monday, December 11, 2017

Mutual Agreement and Dispute


In the ongoing Guide and Standard effort, I realize people have been offended, disappointed, angered, and hurt, in some cases by me, though this has never been my intent. If you fall into this category, I acknowledge my contribution to your pain, even if unintended, and ask your forgiveness. I also pray you’ll indulge me a more personal story to begin today’s post:

To be honest, I never expected to get involved in the Guide and Standard issue at all. Though I observed everything that happened from the beginning, and heard many points of view, I avoided taking a side or expressing an opinion. When I inquired of the Lord, I obtained no answer, so I concluded I had no more obligation to act than anyone else. 

That’s why I was so surprised, when the voting began, to hear the Lord request that I get more involved than merely casting my vote. So I wrote an explanatory statement regarding the importance of this effort, and encouraged all to vote. I cast my vote in the initial runoff and thought that was enough. 

I found myself surprised again when the August vote came and the Lord again urged me to do more. I carefully studied the document then up for vote, formed an opinion about it, took it to the Lord, and with a great deal of trepidation, both voted against it and wrote a 6-page, 17-point statement of my concerns with it, which I submitted privately, and with great trepidation, to the scripture committee.

My trepidation came because I’m generally an advocate and promoter of all efforts to obey the Lord’s direction. I’ve publicly promoted a number of initiatives and groups on this blog, attempting to offer encouragement, support, and even defense. I was shocked and heartbroken to find myself now opposing what many hoped would be the conclusion of the G&S effort. I wanted to second guess my motives, to back down, or to at least remain silent, and I agonized over the direction the Lord gave me.

As I struggled with the situation, I studied the Answer and Covenant, looking for direction, or at least solace, in the Lord’s words. The more I read, the more disheartened I became, fearing that I had gotten it wrong, and had offended God, that I had become an accuser. I struggled continuously with anxiety about my own standing before Him, and the efforts I was then making to promote a different approach to the Guide and Standard.

In the midst of this very real anguish, I was led to ponder the phrasing from the Lord’s command:

“You are not excused from writing a statement of principles that I have required at your hands…But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people”

That specific wording, “mutual agreement” struck my interest, so I studied the definitions of these words, still quite doubtful that true mutual agreement would even be possible among so many independent personalities. I wore myself out in prayer, thought, study and anguished discussion with my wife. I asked the Lord to help me understand His requirement, while I felt truly lost and mostly hopeless as others began to attack me personally for my opinions.

That particular night, I lay in bed a long time, seeking sleep that refused to come. At some point in the early hours of the morning, I finally drifted off, and that was when the Lord spoke to me in a dream. I did not see Him, but rather heard Him. He spoke in a voice that pierced my very being, consuming and surmounting every part of my body and spirit, and the message He shared filled me with such indescribable comfort, that even now, months later, I can’t reflect upon it without weeping. 

As He spoke, He showed me a picture I did not understand, and can only describe with difficulty. It involved geometric arrangements that moved, came together, and ultimately culminated, in part, with this:




I didn’t understand, at the time, what the arrangements themselves meant, but He did speak to me about the final version of the picture, and that it pleased Him. The dream was brief, powerful, and caused me to awaken with a jolt. After a prayer of gratitude, I lay in bed and wept as all the fear, anxiety, doubt and sorrow left—having been immediately swept away by His words. From that point until now, I’ve labored, attempted to persuade, suffered personal attacks, scorn, and accusation—and have only been able to bear it all because of what He told me that night. His word alone has been enough to get me through what has easily been the most difficult period I’ve faced in my life. 

Mutual Agreement

Not long after this happened, I needed to explain my understating of mutual agreement, which task I didn’t find easy. As I prayed for the words to write, the pictures from the dream immediately came to mind, along with a flash of sudden, particular understanding of what they meant, and how to explain them.

I’ve written at length about mutual agreement, and that it involves every person being in agreement with every other person, and not merely rule by a majority. I stand by that definition; it is accurate, and it is a high standard indeed. More on that in a moment—after we talk about the Nephites.

Nephite Zion

When you study the period of Nephite peace that followed the Lord’s ministry, you encounter three statements regarding the level of unity among the people, as follows:

  1. And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them and every man did deal justly one with another and they had all things common among them. Therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free and partakers of the heavenly gift.
  2. And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people in all the land, but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus.
  3. And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people, and there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness, and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. 
These statements represent three increasing levels of unity among the followers of Christ. In the first, they dropped their contentions and disputations—which is to say, having been converted to the Lord, they stopped trying to kill each other, both literally and figuratively. As followers of Christ, they dwelt in righteousness and took care of their poor.

In the second, the level of unity among all the people was such that mighty miracles became possible as they received an increasing measure of faith and connection to the Holy Ghost. They became one in mind, connected to the mind of God.

In the third, the love of God knit their very hearts together, such that envying, strife, tumults, and all sin had no place among them. They became one in heart, filled with the pure love of Christ. 

These three progressive levels of unity form a pathway—a ladder, if you will—to becoming Zion. It appears to have taken the people about two years after Christ’s ministry to reach the first level of unity—at which point they dropped their disputations. 

Now consider this statement regarding Enoch’s Zion:
And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness, and there were no poor among them. (Genesis 4:10 RE)
There they are—all the elements, shown as a progression, but in reverse order, because the statement is retrospective, looking backward from the state of being Zion, along the path that led to that point. We see the same progression in this path:
  • First, they dwelt in righteousness and took care of their poor.
  • Second, they had one mind.
  • Third, they had one heart.
And thus, they became Zion.

In reflection, it seems much like three degrees of glory, doesn’t it? And the highest degree of unity—a Celestial unity—is required for Zion to exist:
But behold they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I require at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them, and are not united according to the union required by the law of the Celestial kingdom, and Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the Celestial kingdom, otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be by the things which they suffer. (D&C 40:1 RE)
As always, it begins with caring for the poor, and ultimately leads to a Celestial unity of hearts, minds, and righteousness.

Disputations

Given these increasing levels of unity leading to Zion, let us now consider the issue of mutual agreement. Ideally, and in its fullest sense, at its highest, Celestial level, mutual agreement means we’re all of the same mind and heart in embracing the same truths. Being only of the same mind, without our hearts in it, is still a form of mutual agreement, though inferior to the highest. And at its lowest level, even in disagreement, when we make the choice not to dispute, we yet have a level of mutual agreement. 

I’ve written in favor of the highest level. But it’s clear we’re not there yet. The Lord, in His wisdom and mercy, has offered to meet us where we currently are, by providing the level of mutual agreement He requires at this time:


“As between one another, you choose to not dispute.”

It appears this is the lowest standard He can offer His covenant people—with the expectation that we’ll yet improve and rise to higher levels of unity. On the other hand, if we can’t meet even this low standard, all that remains is for the Lord to take away the covenant and give us a lower law—as He did with ancient Israel, as He did with the saints of Joseph Smith’s day. 

Hopefully, we can learn from the past, and choose not to dispute.

The Current Document

So, with that in mind, let’s discuss the current situation, starting with the document written by the seven chosen by lots. Among all the proposed documents, this one is unique in the following ways:


  • The process to create it was established by the voice of the Lord’s covenant people, as the Lord required in the Answer and Covenant. He laid this responsibility on us all, and this effort started with the voice of the people. 
  • The entire process and the path to completion were explained PRIOR to ANY action being taken. The plan was presented to the covenant body as a complete beginning-to-end idea on how to move forward. 
  • The process was voted on and overwhelmingly accepted by the Lord’s covenant people, based on the presented plan
  • The rules never changed, and the plan, as approved by the people, was followed exactly.
  • ALL covenant holders were invited to contribute their names to be drawn
  • ALL covenant holders were invited to submit documents and ideas for consideration, including the Aug 5 document, and any other documents anyone wished to submit.
  • The Lot drawing was done publicly and in complete equality. 
  • The Lord’s hand was undeniably involved in the drawing process. Other signs followed as the process continued.
  • The document consists ENTIRELY of the Lord’s words from scripture and His recognized servants, using the ideas submitted by the people as the foundational basis for the principles expressed. It demonstrates our understanding and acceptance of the Lord’s word as a covenant people.
  • The document is free of doctrinal error.
  • The document doesn’t contain opinion, advice, cultural overlay, or ambiguity. It teaches principles, as the Lord requires.
  • Every statement is footnoted and traceable to scripture or direct revelation. This is a kindness to those who will follow later and seek deeper understanding.
  • Every principle is rooted in the covenant we have already agreed to. We have mutual agreement by virtue of that fact alone. Every covenant holder agrees that the principles it teaches are true. 
  • The document was presented to the Lord on behalf of the people, by those the Lord selected and the people sustained.
  • The document was approved by the Lord by direct revelation to the group.
  • The Lord said “At this point, you have a unity with the body. They agree with these words, and this document will suffice.” He said this PRIOR TO THE VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. We agree with the words because they are HIS words.
  • The document was presented to the covenant people for acceptance AFTER the Lord accepted it and said “It is enough”. 
  • The document received 93% approval initially, and has since received more as people have changed their “no” votes to “yes.” 
  • To fulfill their final obligation, the Lots committee presented the completed, written, accepted document to the scripture committee to format and publish, per the Lord’s instructions that this statement be added as a guide and standard.

That’s quite a list. I’m not aware of any other document or effort that rises to this level or that matches this rather impressive list of ways it complies with the requirements set by the Lord. In fact, to me the difference is quite stark. This is not to disparage other documents, all of which I believe were necessary precursors to this one; rather it is to point out exactly how strong a case can be made for this Guide and Standard. If this is not a strong enough case, I don’t know what is. 

And yet, we’re not in the clear. We have not met the Lord’s standard, even though the document does. Disputes yet continue—and that’s what I’d like to address. 

What Do You Dispute?

I realize people have strong opinions, hurt feelings, disappointment, even anger. I also realize people prefer other documents. Heck, to be honest, this document, as good as it is, wouldn’t have been my first choice either. I’ve heard the objections based on people, process, and prior efforts, and I honor the valid feelings people have about these things. I don’t feel to call anyone wrong, nor do I feel to criticize the very real struggles people have. 

But I want to look at this from a slightly different perspective—by looking at the document itself. 

If you object to this document being adopted as our guide and standard, I would simply ask the following, in all seriousness and humility, hoping to understand:

Please point to the part of the document you dispute. 

Again, I realize people dispute the process, prior documents, the actions of other people, etc. I get that. But none of that has anything to do with the document in front of us. Regardless of what has already happened in the past, we have in front of us a document consisting of the Lord’s words, and blessed with the Lord’s approval. Regardless of how we ultimately got it, it is here, it is offered, and you either dispute it or you don’t. 

Preferring another document does not mean you dispute this one. Preferring another process to get here does not mean you dispute the things written in this document. I hope we can all see that, regardless of circumstances, the Lord has asked us to adopt a statement. That means words on paper. So, if you dispute these words, please help us understand which ones are the problem.

If You Voted No

I invite anyone who voted against this document to carefully read through it again, and consider whether there is anything within the document itself you dispute. If so, please make your dispute known to the seven so they can consider your persuasion. You can email them at thesevenlotsters@gmail.com.

If you don’t actually dispute anything in the document, even if you don’t like it, we still have at least the lowest level of mutual agreement—and the Lord has stated that’s good enough for now. But again, the seven need to know. So even if your vote remains “no,” but you choose not to dispute, I would invite you to make that known to the seven. Because in the end, if there’s nobody who chooses to dispute, we have mutual agreement, according to the Lord, and we can fulfill His commandment. Until the “no” votes are clarified, there’s no way to tell if such a vote only signifies disagreement, or stands for an actual dispute.

By the way, The Lord said we can respectfully disagree. We don’t all have to be on the same page yet. It’s OK to prefer another document or another approach. That’s all just fine, and doesn’t prevent mutual agreement. All that prevents mutual agreement is disputation.

Therefore, the real question only has to do with anyone who disputes this document. And you can’t dispute this document unless you can point to the words you dispute. 

So, to the handful of “no” votes that remain, please know you are valued, loved, and important to the covenant body. Your insight and opinion are needed. If there is fault with the words in this statement, please make it known so it can be corrected. If you choose not to dispute, please also make that known. The Lord has laid this burden on us all—including you. Each one of us has just as much obligation as all others to come to mutual agreement. If you voted “no” please, please help your covenant brothers and sisters. We need you the most.

Do you still choose to dispute? If so, what would it take to solve your dispute? Please make it known. I believe the Lord is serious in His requirement that we eliminate disputations to have mutual agreement. 

The Lord’s mercy in only requiring the lowest level of mutual agreement of us at this stage in our development, fills me with hope and gratitude. It provides me with another dimension of understanding for the images the Lord showed me in my hour of desperation. Though we may not precisely agree, such is not required. Let us choose not to dispute.

19 comments:

  1. I think people on the general level can and will embrace the idea of "mutual agreement" however when comes down to the brass tacks of this mutual agreement no one can agree with everyone else! It is because we all have the preconceived idea of what this is but we all lack the ability (due to our human-ness) to construct the concept in actuality! This may be something we will never achieve!

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    1. I hope your assessment proves pessimistic and that we do manage it. In principle, we all agree with the things the document says. The Lord even said so. Therefore all other disputes seem to be about other issues, rather than the things the document actually says.

      This is why I have hope our hearts will be soft enough to unite in the words of our Lord.

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    2. Adrian, I'm not so much a pessimist but rather a realist. I spent too many years as an accountant to be anything but realistic. I voiced my opinion as to the formatting and the citing of the documents used with the document. However I did vote yes for the wording. I found nothing wrong or out of line as to my take on the gospel and the documents I have read. I just don't see everyone doing the same. Maybe it is through not reading enough of what is out there for use to read. Having no testimony of the Book of Mormon even in the flawed LDS edition should be in place. Without the knowledge and understanding the individual cannot have a full understanding of what this newer addendum to Christ's teachings beings to us as followers.

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  2. I didn't vote no, but is it possible that we would have fewer dissenters if the G&S was confined to the DoC and Sermon?

    While the words of the current G&S aren't objectionable by themselves, some object to putting them in this particular document. There are, after all, many scriptures and Snuffer sayings that aren't included in this document. And there may be other collections of scriptures that, while true, wouldn't fit in this document (e.g. Alma's sermons).

    So even if all the words in the document are true, they may not be what God or log wants in the G&S.

    But I have no revelation in this matter.

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  3. Oh, Yes, TBM! Log's stance. I have told HIM that in my opinion he is exercising unrighteous dominion in seeking to elevate his opinion above everyone else - effectively holding the entire community hostage to his way of thinking by refusing to compromise.

    I am actually sympathetic to the case for just the DoC and SoM. It is indeed the absolute core of everything we are about. Do we actually have the responsibility to accommodate to the lowest common denominator? Is Log's statement (or the functional equivalent) the thing that we can ALL agree on? Is it actually appropriate for us to start there, since that is the thing which no one disputes. I despise (yes, despise) Log's tactics here. I hate the use of manipulation and control and unrighteous dominion. But as I consider His position, is it possible that he is right? He has very thoroughly and eloquently stated the reasons behind his position - perhaps too thoroughly and eloquently, because few people want to wade through it all. I've seen the effects of a no-compromise approach in other situations, and in my opinion it is evil. But, again, how do we over come evil? And if his approach is motivated by fear, how do we overcome fear?

    Do we just ignore his disputation because he has, by his no-compromise approach, effectively removed himself from the group?

    If you think about it, everything else that's in this statement - since it is the words of the Lord OR His recognized servant (which is one of Log's objections - words of the recognized servant) - then all the other details are available in the scriptures or in the words of the recognized servant. They don't go away just because they're not in the SP (or G&S). They're just less condensed and less readily accessible in one appendix.

    The larger question - how do we as a community accommodate people who are "outliers" - whose opinions and communication style often tend to alienate the majority in the group? Is there a place for them? Can we be charitable enough - with enough of the pure love of Christ - for them to be comfortable and feel loved among us? Does that fall into the second level of Zion where miracles are being performed? (I'm only half kidding).

    I have pondered this deal with Log a lot. I want to love. I want to empathize. I want to accommodate and be compassionate and understanding. I REALLY do. The question - does this include all of us who ARE willing to compromise, being humble enough to accommodate the few who are unwilling to compromise? I'm not being rhetorical. This is a serious question that we will eventually need to answer - unless the miracle happens. But even then, how will the miracle be brought about? Only by love.

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    1. I've followed this only as a passive observer. I don't get a say in the outcome, but I very much hope for a successful one. If you care for an outsider's perspective, I can provide that.

      A parable:
      A man was digging in his garden one day and found a pearl. Upon finding it, he heard the voice of the Lord declare that it was a pearl of great price. The man goes to his neighbor to show his neighbor the pearl, and tells his neighbor about the voice he heard. The neighbor says, "I don't know, it looks like just a normal" and before the neighbor can even finish the sentence, the man punches his neighbor in the face.

      What does the neighbor do next? Does the neighbor rail against the man? Does the neighbor slam the door shut? Or does the neighbor turn the other cheek?

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  4. So, this post is about the Lot document, which is the one that has been presented to the people, by the people, and publicly approved of the Lord. It is THIS document that is now in question for submission into the scripture appendix. What in THIS document, specifically, is to be disputed? I think that is Adrian’s whole point here. Let’s talk about THIS proposal. Because discussion, disputes, promotion of other proposals, at this point, have nothing to do with this one. It is THIS proposal that we have now been asked to accept. Failure to dispute the CONTENT of THIS proposal, by default, means mutual agreement on it, as per the Lord’s recent clarification. I think it is emcumbant upon us, as a people, to keep the discussion on the Lot document.

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  5. If there is a specific part of the document being disputed, what is it? Is that list published? Is it fair enough to ask to see the points of disputation?

    If the document is to be a living document, which will be updated over time, then perhaps accepting a lowest denominator draft makes sense?

    But if accepting future drafts also requires mutual agreement with a person who demands "my way or the highway", then accepting a lowest common denominator approach now doesn't make sense.

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    1. Throughout this process, I've heard the "living document" proposal from time to time, even suggesting, in some cases, that it's ok to adopt a statement that is inadequate or inaccurate now, with the intent of changing it later. But I'm not aware of any direction from the Lord indicating this is to be a "living document," to be changed later. In fact, later changes to the scriptures are what sparked this whole scripture project with the intent of recovering the originals and removing the later changes. Who's to say some future generation won't have a scripture project of their own, attempting to recover the original G&S if we change it?

      The term "principles" implies statements of fundamental, unchanging truth.

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  6. if the mail man bring a letter, and i accept it. does it therefore mean that i recieved a message from the mail man or from the sender of the message? it would then seem that the mail man had nothing to do with the message, and was only the deliverer of the message, therefore why is it important to include the mail man in the guide and standard, and not just focus on the sender(Christ). the simpler the better, even Christ boiled it down to Love God and your fellow men as your self. in my opinion more than the Doctrine of Christ and the Sermon on the Mountain, just becomes fodder for scribes and pharises.
    don shumway taylor az

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    1. Even “mailmen” brought us the words of the sermons. If “mailmen” weren’t important, we wouldn’t have any scriptures, at all. In fact, Christ wrote nothing! “Mailmen” today can bring us his important words just as did the mailmen of old. And His words do matter. All of them.

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    2. even true prophets of God will, have, and do speak contrary to the commandments of God. take 1Kings 13 where the prophet of isreal tells the prophet of judah to come to his home for dinner. take for instance Jeremiah 35 where the prophet asked the Rechibites to drink wine in the temple contrary to Gods commandment to them. lastly consider 1Nephi 16: 20 where lehi murmured against the Lord. the messenger (mailman) is inconsequential no matter who he/she is, no matter degrees, looks, affluence, or influence, all just a messenger, the Holy Spirit will testifies of truth. idolatry of men is so very difficult to overcome, i continue to find myself doing it again and again, but it dams us in progression with our relationship with Christ. true messengers always say they are nothing, seek the giver of the message (Christ).
      don shumway taylor az

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  7. I think some people prefer the USPS over FedEx. And won't take any mail from FedEx because FedEx is doing the delivering.

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  8. This is my very first blog post, ever. I guess it has to be in two parts. I hope I do this correctly.

    “How you proceed must be as noble as the cause you seek.”
    Quote from the Answer & Covenant, words to us, from Our Lord.

    Miracle Max: Hey! Hello in there. Hey! What's so important? What you got here that's worth living for?
    Westley: Truuuuueee.... looooooovvveee.....
    Inigo Montoya: True love! You heard him! You could not ask for a more noble cause than that.
    From the classic movie, “The Princess Bride”

    Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men should have for one another. It is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul (see 1 Nephi 11:23).

    Charity is “the pure love of Christ,” or “everlasting love” (Moroni 7:47; 8:17). The prophet Mormon taught: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (Moroni 7:45; see also 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

    Jesus Christ is the perfect example of charity. In His mortal ministry, He always “went about doing good,” teaching the gospel and showing tender compassion for the poor, afflicted, and distressed (see Matthew 4:23; Mark 6:6; Acts 10:38). His crowning expression of charity was His infinite Atonement. He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This was the greatest act of long-suffering, kindness, and selflessness that we will ever know. (Lifted from the LDS site, still good for some things.)

    I am not a novice at Internet things, searches, and such. I have tried to follow the major bloggers as they seem to be the ones that hold the torch for the wider group. But it has been difficult to know when events were happening, when new proposals were submitted, etc. Just a few days ago I ran across a completely new, to me, proposal.

    Since the 7 went into their secret councils, I have learned that many others have not agreed to this process, nor are very many fully aware of all the happenings. I am fairly certain that I don’t even know all the proposals that were submitted.

    This whole process feels wrong. I don’t see sacrificial love as the operating principle in this. I do see a corporate “Franklin-Covey” approach of goal setting, voting, committees, “let’s get this thing done, damn the torpedoes!”. Now it seems to have developed into the very human trait of us vs them. Those that agree with us, and those that don’t. Where is the noble approach in this?

    I think at this point, it feels very much like the corporate LDS thing that I never did like. Agree with us or you are apostate. I guess I am apostate, for the second time in my life!!

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  9. I can’t agree to something that was done without sacrificial love being shown to all our brothers and sisters, to a process that felt so rushed and helmed by a few self-appointed, perhaps by default, persons that have a way of accomplishing things, tasks, jobs, goals, what have you.

    Zion will be created and built by persons who act very different from this world’s ways. By people who have the time, patience, and love motivation to do all they can to include in unity, unity based in love that requires sacrifice.

    In the past dealings with humanity, God has given a people what they want, when they ignore, or reject what He offers. I don’t want that, again. He counseled us, “How you proceed must be as noble as the cause you seek.” To me, that one single sentence should be, must be, the entire over-riding principle in this endeavor. I think therein lay how He wanted us to learn and grow through the struggle and sacrifice to bring all together in unity. I haven’t seen nor felt that happening. What it seems to me has been a frantic frustrating chaotic forced endeavor to get to “a” document. Perhaps like rushing to the pass. (Reference to Denver’s parable) Why the hurry? If we really expect to receive future scriptures, revelations, etc, than our scriptures will never be “done”. Why not take the time and love and patience, and gentle-persuasion, both directions, to be more sure of unity born of sacrificial love?

    Where is the town square? Where is one place that I can express my thoughts and feelings, and also hear from all my brothers and sisters, where we can all feel an equal voice? Where can I read all other proposals? Why is Jared Livesy not getting much, or any respect as an equal? Are there others out there that feel unimportant to the cause? Who feel like their voice doesn’t matter? Are there our brothers and sisters out there that don’t even know all this drama has occurred? I barely found out myself.

    I don’t want to hear how much our Lord is “grateful”, I want to hear Him tell us all that He is “pleased”, or maybe even “well pleased” with the growth and noble effort, with the sacrifices in love, for each other. I don’t see that here. I believe The Lord would be very accommodating if we asked him for a do-over, with this noble principle guiding us, and take the time, set up one place where all can be invited, heard, speak, and gently persuade. That can be so very easy if done with sacrificial love. I know because my wife and I agree quickly and easily on everything because there is that kind of love between us. It’s not hard.

    You guys can all discount me, and my words here, charge ahead with the waving banner of truth. I won’t say anything more. I feel sad. I had hope for Zion but there is a long way to go for us, as a group, to learn sacrificial love, and unity, which is a very major theme in the Answer and Covenant given to us. I believe we can do much better.

    Carry on.

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    1. I have been quiet on comment threads for awhile. I just want to say something in kindness to those who still feel inclined to find fault, or have frustration with this process and the people involved.

      It is disheartening that there is an assumption made by some that people involved in this United + Lots proposal effort are NOT motivated by love or pure intent; assuming they lacked inspiration and guidance form the Lord, assuming that they have not reached out, nor have labored unselfishly and with sacrifice for their brothers and sisters.

      I am sure that without a real knowledge of what has occurred, it can appear that way. Yet, often, when an explanation is given by those involved, it can appear to be "defensive," so sometimes people choose to remain silent to avoid the appearance of contention.

      It is important to remember the challenges under which we all labor at this point in the movement. There is no real "central" method wherein all can communicate effectively. Many are uncomfortable with commenting on the internet, as it is devoid of the real intimate association required to know and hear one another (this is why the seven lotsters have given a private email so that they can talk one-on-one and even make phone calls if people are willing to give their numbers). Not all fellowships or individuals are registered on the fellowship locator, and not everyone has Facebook or is part of a movement associated chat group. Thus, it is near impossible to know when you have reached out to "everyone," if "everyone" is informed, and how every individual feels, etc. You can only try every avenue you know of, and hope the communication effort succeeds and word of mouth efforts spread to every nook and cranny. I can tell you that each and every attempt has been made to get the word out, and invite participation. No "secret" meetings or counsels were held. The initial impetus for this latest effort came as a result of someone taking the care to see division among this covenant body and inviting those that they personally knew that represented the different "schools of thought" on the GS were brought together. This individual did so only after feeling the Lord inspired them with an idea that could heal and unite. It was like a seed that must be planted first in a very small spot, but that grows. The small group meeting was nothing secret; it was just to plant an idea into the minds of those opposing each other, and see if the fruit of it tasted good to those who first heard of it. It was good. So immediately, it was more widely shared and publicly published; And it grew.

      That one idea grew to inspire another group with the Lots idea. The lots idea was inspired by two different people than the one who was inspired with the first idea (the United). The Lord moved upon others who heard the idea of the Lots Proposal, to see the wisdom and inspiration behind it. Nothing was done to be secretive, exclusive, selfish, or to impose something upon others. In fact, the very premise was to NOT do anything without FIRST going to the people and ASKING if they agreed and permitted the idea to be acted upon. This is not a manifestation of hunger for power; and not power can be exerted upon one in how they vote. There was no ability of those who were inspired with the idea to control the outcome of the vote, or of the drawing of lots; and they excused themselves from eligibility.

      to be continued....

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    2. part 2 continued....

      There was no control to pick who was chosen by the lots. All were invited. All were asked permission. Nothing was secret, all was public. It was an act of faith by all who agreed, and a willingness of all to submit to the will of God being manifest.

      I can testify that the seven were not influenced by outsiders, as has been suggested. Those who proposed the United and Lots proposals had no influence upon the seven, other than to initially instruct them as to the very specific guidelines that had been accepted by the voice of the people, that had been publicly published in the proposal outline. In other words, they made sure that what the people had agreed to by vote, was understood by the seven before they began their work.

      The fact that there exists disagreement over the lots method, or disagreement as to if this is a person's favored document; does not mean the people who do favor this document have not heard what others are saying, nor cared about others. It means people see things differently; that's it.

      For me, I see "informing those who know nothing as of yet," as requiring more than just the doctrine of Christ and the Sermon on the Mount. But that does not mean I have not heard, nor loved anyone who takes that position. There are others who feel that using only Christ's, Joseph's or Denver's words shows we don't value the revelations that individuals in the movement receive, or the importance for others to receive revelations and rise up to be prophets. I've heard their views and appreciate their perspective (as have the seven and most of the 95% who agree to this document). I (we) just have additional thoughts on the matter that do not put me in agreement with their position. But I love these people. I know and have discussed this matter extensively with many of them. I appreciate why they feel as they do; but I do not draw the same conclusions.

      At some point, it is time to say that this is okay, and that we can respectfully, and in genuine love, agree to disagree and choose not to contend or dispute. I believe most in the movement have reached that point. And it's not a sign that they don't love, or don't care, or don't respect others. It is just that we don't see it the same and are not persuaded by another's view, nor is the Lord requiring us to see it the same. The new definition tells us that for now, this is okay! Loving someone is does not always mean you have to agree.

      to be continued....

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    3. part 3 continued....

      One other thing I'd like to mention is concerning the motives and intents of people who have supported this effort. The people I know who have labored on the United Proposal, the Lots proposal, and the seven who compiled it based upon being chosen by lot; have NOT had selfish motives, Babylonian tactics, or other motives that have been attributed to them. (is this even a kind assumption to make of them?) There is not a person that I have talked to, who once they have taken the time to hear ALL the back-story of everything involved, that has not softened in those type of assumptions (in fact, most are stunned at the detail of events that have taken place to get us to this point, and the hand of the Lord that has been manifest, if they learn all the details, they typically say, "I had no idea all of that happened")...this is true, even if they still oppose the document. And their personal opposition to the document is truly not the issue, it is the ability for us to communicate in kindness, despite a difference of perspective.

      As for the statements that sacrificial love has not been manifest by those involved in this Lots document effort; I will tell you that I have intimate knowledge of the personal sacrifice experienced by MANY for the last 9 months over this. As for my own family, with many children still at home, I can tell you that they feel they have not had a mother or father for months because of the efforts and time required as sacrifice to work on this. All effort and intent toward this last lots effort, was ALWAYS motivated as an expression of love and obedience to God, by asking Him to lead us to a way, inspired by Him, in which to treat everyone equally, and include everyone in the covenant on individual/personal and equal footing, while also honoring individual revelations people had that prompted their own efforts to write a GS (thus, the invitation to allow everyone who desired to submit their own documents). Hours upon hours upon hours have been spent listening and talking to people on the phone, writing emails, reaching out to anyone that we had access to that was willing to talk.

      I am sorry if some do not see these sacrifices. I believe it is just because they are unaware. I am happy to talk to anyone that really wants to know the backstory of all of this. I know it intimately. I can tell you of the four movement-wide efforts of inviting the entire body to participate in petitioning the Lord through united prayer, and fasting to help us do as He has asked. I have witnessed His hand manifest in the unfolding of all of this. I believe He has answered those petitions, and that He gradually unfolded to us the United and Lots Proposals as a direct consequence to and in direct relation to these four movement-wide opportunities for us to "know His part" in our dispute.

      I hope this helps answer some questions, without sounding defensive. I am attempting to only answer what I see as genuine misunderstanding and people asking for more clarification.

      Sincerely and with Warm Regard,

      Karen Strong

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  10. 93% is definitely better than just about anything in the Restoration Movement I vote yes on the G&S we have a lot of work to do on building Zion And not much time ����❤️♥️❣️����☘️��

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