Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Letter they Should have Written

I received the following letter from a friend, and found it very worthy of publication. This issue is personal for me, and I invite you to share this letter far and wide as an example of the type of response that is needed:

Sunday, March 25, 2018

To: Members of the Church

(To be read in sacrament meetings worldwide)

Dear Sisters and Brothers throughout the world:

It has come to our attention that a life-long Church leader named Joseph Layton Bishop, has confessed to immoral and inappropriate behavior with women who served under his direction in the Church over the years.

We do not yet have the full details of this man’s confession nor do we know the extent to which his actions have injured others, but because we are so concerned about those things he has already admitted, and because we take sexual abuse so seriously, we choose to share the information we have so that other victims, should there be any, will feel empowered to come forward.

In our continued effort to abolish all such abuses in the Lord’s Church, we invite all victims of church-related sexual abuse, regardless of age or gender, to contact Church Headquarters immediately at (801) 240-1000.

Let it be known that our only objective is to root out predators and their accomplices, find and identify victims, and expend every spiritual and earthly resource at our disposal to counsel, restore, nurture, and heal all those who have been injured.

To this end, we have decided to suspend all temple building projects worldwide until this matter has been fully resolved. It does no good to expend consecrated resources building temples when, at least in this instance, the very leader we believed we were inspired to call, has by his own admission, been defiling the sacred temples of the young women he was entrusted to protect. The sacred funds will be used to make reparations to whatever degree possible, recognizing fully that there is nothing we can do or say to restore that which has been lost.

On a related note, we now wish to address the obvious; we have a problem at the foundation of our Church. We, who have asked you to sustain us as prophets, seers, and revelators, have failed to righteously magnify those sacred titles and callings. This man passed numerous worthiness and temple recommend interviews; he was entrusted to be a mission president not once, but twice; he was allowed to be alone with vulnerable young women, all while having the heart and mind of a sexual predator. How this happened is a most haunting question, we, The First Presidency, must answer. At a minimum, since we cannot guarantee the safety of our youth, we can no longer allow them to be alone with Priesthood leaders, as we have heretofore permitted.

As imperfect men aspiring to be the Lord’s servants, we acknowledge that this unacceptable oversight demonstrates we were not inspired by God in calling this man, and have lacked discernment and revelation, as we have collectively interacted with him over the last 40 years or more. For this error, we are deeply sorry. We take full responsibility for our collective carelessness. We should have discovered this predator sooner, and we are ashamed that these women were placed in a position to be abused because they trusted their priesthood leaders, while ultimately serving the Lord under our care.

Any effort by anyone, especially by Church leaders, to downplay the seriousness of these charges is completely unacceptable. We refuse to focus on protecting ourselves or the Church when we have failed to protect these victims. Repentance requires that we act without hypocrisy and without guile in this matter, so that we may receive forgiveness, and the victims may receive healing from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We acknowledge we have lost your trust, and the only way to earn it back is by uncovering darkness and bringing truth to light. To you who are victims, we express our greatest sorrow and beg for your forgiveness. Please contact us. We promise to protect you this time, and to do everything in our power to assist in your healing.

Sincerely your servants,



The First Presidency

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spirit of Contention

Near the end of the meeting, my youngest son went outside to walk around. Then he came back in and told my other son to come quickly and see what was outside.

What they saw was a flock of fledgling doves on the lawn outside the auditorium. It was a large, tame flock of very young birds, at least 40 of them, separated into two groups. They let my sons walk right up to them and only flew off at the very last moment.

When the young flock flew off, they saw an old, wounded dove, sitting on the ground and unable to fly. Sick and struggling, the old dove seemed to be dying. Unable to flee, the old dove only had the power to look forlornly and turn its head.

As they looked at the stricken dove, my sons noticed, across the courtyard, another spectacle. Two large black crows fighting, pecking and rolling in the dirt, locked in a mortal battle, violently contending.

These three signs appeared in rapid succession, inside of a few moments, witnessed by many children.

When my sons came back into the auditorium, the vote had commenced, with two large flocks of people, very tame and docile, attempting to work together to find common ground in peace. Midway through the proceedings, however, the dove was stricken, and a spectacle of contention commenced, disturbing the peace of all. Sadly and unfortunately, many left the meeting shocked, dismayed, and disappointed that the spirit of contention took over and held sway. After the meeting I heard from two different people in other states who watched the proceedings on video feed. Both expressed shock and disappointment with the spirit that was manifest.
As people you lack the ability to respectfully disagree among one another. You are as Paul and Peter whose disagreements resulted in jarring and sharp contentions. Nevertheless they both loved me and I loved them. You must do better. (Answer and Covenant, p. 1) 
The Lord does not fault us for disagreeing, but he admonishes that we must disagree respectfully.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Reminder: Testimony of St. John

He that treasures my teachings, and stands ready, watching for every communication I send him, is he who shows love for me. To those who show love for me, my Father will show love to them, and I love all those, and I will personally minister to them.
—TSJ 10:12

It’s been a little over a year since the newly revealed Testimony of St. John became available. Our local fellowship has spent much of the last year studying this incredible record, and we’re still not close to finished with it. The depth of what can be gleaned from its careful study is truly astonishing. If you haven’t looked at it lately, or if you’d like additional resources to help you get the most from John’s testimony, the following website will prove helpful:

The fact that newly revealed scripture has come to us, and more will yet come, should cause us great rejoicing. It is a blessing to us, and a sign of God’s love and continuing marvelous work. Our attention to it is a sign of our Love for God.

Judas (not Iscariot), asked, Lord, how is it you will manifest yourself to us, but not to the world? Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves me, he will stand ready, watching for every communication I will send to him; and my Father will also love him, and we will come visit him, and continually abide by his side. Whoever claims to love me but does not stand ready, watching for every communication I will send, indeed does not love me. These teachings are not from me, but come from the Father who sent me. 
—TSJ 10:13-14