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Seeking Zion #1 – Thanksgiving, 2015

Thanksgiving cornucopiaI spent Thanksgiving this week with a group of people who, a year ago, I had barely heard of – and that only through Facebook connections – and had not ever met. My friend, Brian Beckle, blessed the feast and in doing so compared our gathering with that of the pilgrims at the feast that is commemorated by our 21st century holiday. He pointed out that the original pilgrims left their homes and occupations in the face of religious persecution and were seeking a land where they could worship according to their conscience.

Well, it’s obvious that any persecution our tiny group might have faced in our former life was benign compared to the threats faced by the Mayflower passengers to their life and liberty. There are few valid comparisons between our temporal experiences today and the life and death struggles they faced in crossing the Atlantic Ocean and after landing in what is now Massachusetts. Yeah, there were Native residents in17th century America, and there are Native Americans in Boundary County, Idaho, but the Kootenai tribe owns a casino and about 4000 acres of reservation land. Those who met the pilgrims owned nothing, yet they owned everything – at least for a short while. Our original pilgrim friends faced great hardship that year of 1620-1621, spending the winter on board the ship where more than half of them died. We are spending the winter “braving” 60 degrees inside and 20 degrees outside with plenty of food, warm clothing, and an excess of serviceable vehicles. We have Home Depot, Walmart, and Taco Bell within 40 miles and a Costco within 100 miles. Our greatest temporal concerns are centered around finalizing the sale of our homes and getting needed repairs made to our moving van named “Betsy”.

Clearly most comparisons end with the simple fact that both groups left many comforts and securities behind in their desire to serve the Lord in the way they felt compelled to do. Compared to those 17th century pioneers, we’ve got things easy because, while their most urgent challenges were largely temporal, ours are decidedly more spiritual as we try to leave behind the traditions of our fathers and seek after the Lord’s real truth and light – just as Abraham did as detailed in the first chapter of Abraham.

Oh, there is certainly much work to do – physical work; hard work when you’re 62 and only 2 months removed from a job where the greatest exertion in any given week was hurrying from the commuter terminal to the long term parking bus at the Salt Lake City Airport. This work is, frankly, overwhelming. I have no idea how we’re going to get it all done, although I’m sure it will be done in time. If it makes anyone feel better, I figure it’s going to take 20 years to do all the Lord needs us to do, so the Second Coming is at least that far off…(that’s a joke – folks).

This physical work, though, is not our biggest challenge – not even close. Our biggest challenge is becoming of one heart and one mind. The work is largely a vehicle to help us accomplish that. What, though, does it mean to be “of one heart and one mind”?

  • It means leaving behind the lessons of competitiveness and pride and jealousy that we’ve survived on our whole lives, and which are so embedded in our psyches that we are typically oblivious to them. In short – it means a new way of thinking – an entirely new way of social interaction.
  • It means worrying about your own contribution to the work load and not whether everyone else is working as hard as you are. (This is a tough one – a surprisingly tough one)
  • It means loving people even after the honeymoon period is over and you start seeing the inadequacies and weaknesses that pop up as we get tired or stressed and start falling back on the aforementioned pride and jealousy.
  • It means trusting in the Lord’s word when He tells us there will be enough, and that there’s nothing in the chronicle of the early saints that suggests they were going to starve to death in Zion; only that the cause of their failure was “jarrings and contentions and envyings and strifes”.
  • It means realizing that all that Christ said about loving your neighbor and the Golden Rule really is the only possible recipe if one hopes to build a Zion community.
  • Then there’s that whole consecration thing…you know – where you offer it all…idols, money, fears, stakes, desires, hopes, wishes. There can be no other way. As a matter of fact, part of the whole process of seeking to know the Lord is unearthing those things you’ve secretly been holding out on. These aren’t typically even things like money or stuff. It’s more like, for example, recognizing your own personal manipulation card – that very subtle, passive-aggressive type thing that slyly gets people to do what you want them to do without them realizing they’ve been played. You probably don’t even know you do it. The problem is – there’s not just one of them. You’ve got an entire Pinochle hand full of them! You’ve been using them all your life, and you don’t even know it! And the worst part is – no matter how hard you try – you’re incapable of cleaning it all up by yourself. You have to go to the Lord and say “Lord…I can’t do it. Fix me.” Furthermore, if you’re not living consecration, there’s just no way these things are going to forced out into the open. If you’re holding onto your own home, your own property – giving only part (doesn’t matter how much – 10%, 20%, 50% – anything less than 100%) to a tithing group or something – the refiner’s fire just isn’t going to be hot enough. The dross will never be burned out. It’s hard enough when you are in a consecrated community, but if you’re not…well, it’s just not going to work.

I recently shared the following with one of our families. What I wrote was as much of a discovery for me as it was for them, but I think it summarized many of the things I’ve personally learned since being here in our community…

  • With the exception of 2 families who were old friends, we all knew OF each other, and had respect for each other, but we didn’t know each other. We didn’t know each others’ eating habits, work habits, hygiene habits, etc. We didn’t know anything about family dynamics, strengths, weaknesses, shortcomings, fears, jealousies, etc.
  • The only thing we really knew was that each family is called of God and is supposed to be here, and that each family is “All-in”. This remains true (I know, I know – it’s only been 2 months), even though we now know a lot more about the things mentioned in the previous paragraph.
  • I personally have learned – and shared with everyone else – that I am not responsible for pointing out the faults of others. I am responsible for preparing myself and becoming pure in heart. I cannot be responsible for how pure others’ hearts are – only my own. My efforts, my contributions, are not conditional on what anyone else does, thinks, believes, etc. I can, however, be responsible to lift and enable others, but not to the point of exercising control, compulsion or unrighteous dominion.
  • Our consecration is not only of money, food storage, tools, etc – it is of our patience, kindness, trust, and faith. Each of us has different things we need to learn. I need to give others the time to learn those things and trust that they are doing their best in their own effort to align with the Lord’s will.
  • The only qualification for being here is that we are willing to consecrate. It’s not our perfection, work ethic, spiritual vision, or cleanliness. That is why have been gathered. The Lord has made that very clear to me.
  • We have a wide spectrum of people – especially when it comes to how we choose to spend our time. I simply must trust that, as things continue moving forward, the Lord will guide us to do the work that He needs to be done. If someone struggles with that, it is between Him and the individual. Again, it is not up to me to police what others do. I can only do what I can do – that I might have peace with my God and my “family” members.
  • We currently have 11 adults here. There are not 11 other adults in the entire world who have what it takes to be here at this time, in this place. I don’t say this to be prideful, but there are many who are looking for the right group, or want to buy a home for their family close to others of like mind. That’s great. It’s laudable, and it’s a powerful step in the right direction, but it’s not consecration. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not consecration. I was somewhat open minded about that approach before we actually came, but now I know. It is the consecration of ALL THINGS – including our heart, might, mind, and soul – that calls down the powers of heaven and enables us to do the things we have been called to do.
  • Finally – Zion is not, and never will be, about finding a group that I fit in with. It will always be about me fitting into the group that the Lord has chosen for me to be in. First comes the commitment, then comes the burning – the refiner’s fire. It cannot be the other way around.

So, by now you’ve got some idea of what this community is trying to do, although we are not “declaring” ourselves. The work must be done first, then labels will come about organically and will be applied by someone other than us. Be it “Zion”, a stake of Zion, a “place of refuge”, or just another in a long list of failures, we will have tried. I hope and pray we will have given our all – 100% – and nothing less. Going forward, having no poor among us will be easy. If we run out of money, we’ll all be poor together – no one will have more than anyone else. However, what about becoming pure in heart? What does it really mean to be pure in heart? I’m learning a lot more about that, although I still have much to learn. My idea so far is that it means that I’m more concerned about how I can serve others than I am about how others can serve me. It means that I have absolutely no desire to convince someone to act in the way I think they should act, but that I love them for who they are right now, today, in their own place or stage of progression, and not for where I think they should be, or where they are in comparison with me. It means that if I help them, I help them according to their desires, not what I think their needs are. Finally, I think being pure in heart is to treat everyone, no matter their age or status, with the kindness and patience that you would naturally show a sweet doe-eyed 6-year-old girl like the one who, with her 12-year-old cousin, just gave Diana and me beautiful hand-made Thanksgiving cards.

May the Lord bless each of us in our search for Zion. Whether you’re seeking it in your heart, your family, or in a community in a remote part of the country, I pray that you find it. It is the destiny – the measure of our creation – for all saints. Zion is real, and not just an ideal or a dream that someone else in some other place will bring about some day in the distant future. No, Zion will be built – the scriptures make that clear – and it will be built by hands that are willing to work, but mostly by hearts that are willing to love.


In the Master’s Hands

downloadI learned something this morning that has been 18 years coming. (Well, more like 62 years, but more intensely for the last 18 years) For most of my journey with Christ, I have sought to approach Him by doing things, improving things about myself that were within my control. There was always more I could learn, more I could sacrifice. I could give more, serve more, love more. Things in my life now have developed to the point that I don’t know that this is still the case. I’m no longer sure that I am capable of bringing about the changes that need to take place. In other words, I have no more stuff to give – it’s all given. I have no more time to give – it’s all given. I might even go so far as to say I have no more heart to give – it is given fully. The only reason I have more love to give is because love is infinite and can continue to grow as it is perfected in Him.

That’s the point of this post. It dawned on me just this morning that I’ve reached the point in my journey where I’ve given all that is within my control, and from here on it is truly up to Him. It is up to Him to make the most of what sacrifice I have been able to make. It is up to Him to sanctify the meager gift I have offered. I can certainly continue to be willing and to learn to be more humble, but it’s beyond my own understanding to be able to do that. I can and must continue to seek to know Him, but the low hanging fruit is all picked. I need Him to lift me up to the higher branches where the sweetest fruit grows.

I was sharing this with a friend this morning, and it further dawned on me that this experience is described by the story of the brother of Jared in Ether chapters 2 and 3. The brother of Jared and his people had done all they could. They had arrived at the great sea. They had built the barges in faith. They had recognized the problem of lighting. The brother of Jared went up on the mountain and extracted – I’m sure at great effort – the 16 stones. After that, though, he knew that only the Lord could provide the full solution. Only the Lord could sanctify their efforts and bring about the completeness of His will for them. It was at that point that his faith was complete enough that he could not be withheld from within the veil.

I know we all have different points at which we realize that we’ve given and consecrated all that we have; at which we’ve done all that we can and we have to turn the rest over to the Lord, because all of the low-hanging fruit is picked clean. At that point, perhaps the Lord will say, “Welcome, my child. You have done well! Now, we can really get to work!” At this point, we must continue to walk in faith, seeking His will for us and for His Zion. If we do this, the very heavens themselves will not hold the blessings that will shower upon us. We will become like the nondescript violin that came alive at the touch of the master’s hand.

May the Lord bless us in our efforts. May we each seek after our Lord’s Zion first in our hearts, then in our family, and then in the world. The heavens are open. Angels are rejoicing as we forsake the traditions of our fathers and approach the Lord seeking the true faith – the fullness of His righteousness. I know this is true, and I declare so in the name of Jesus Christ.


Now, Go do the Work

history-of-the-log-cabin0A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he has sensed a shift in the spirit of the movement that calls itself “The Remnant”. Something was happening, he could feel it, but he wasn’t sure what was causing it or how it would be manifested. This shift is real. In this post, I hope to share why I think it is real, and why, in my mind, this is happening. Toward this end, I quote Abraham 1:2-5:

And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.

It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.

I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.

My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice.

Prior to Abraham, the priesthood had been passed from generation to generation, father to son, from Adam through Shem (son of Noah).abraham This dispensation is known as the age of the patriarchs. These great patriarchs walked and talked with God, commanded the elements, lived for hundreds of years, and according to my understanding, held what we now call the patriarchal priesthood. Abraham’s fathers for some generations had broken that patriarchal line by adopting the worship of Egyptian gods. Abraham somehow became aware of the true gospel – the gospel of the fathers, and expressed his desire for their priesthood and righteousness to the Lord. The result:

Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. (D&C 132:29)

To be certain, the blessings that Abraham received as a result of his faithfulness were much more complicated than this, but this verse represents the sum total of it all – he “hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne”.

Many of us are in a similar position to Abraham. Our fathers departed from the fullness of the gospel, began to worship false idols (take your pick) and taught for truth the philosophies of men. By rejecting these teachings and seeking after the Lord’s true righteousness, I believe we become the seed of Abraham:

And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;

In other words, it is in the acceptance of the gospel – the gospel of the Patriarchs; the gospel of Jesus Christ; the gospel of the new and everlasting covenant…the gospel of the “true faith” (3 Nephi 6:14)…that we become the seed of Abraham, and therefore qualify for all the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant – even unto eternal life. It is in believing the word of God received through scripture and then, after being prompted by the scriptures to seek further light and knowledge, through personal revelation, that we qualify for all that the Father hath. Just as Abraham cast aside the traditions of his fathers and sought the true faith, so have many of us. We are, therefore, the seed of Abraham. The powers of heaven have taken notice. Things are happening that may not yet be apparent, but which are of eternal import.

Furthermore, we are the fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi, as quoted by the angel to Joseph Smith:

 He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. (Joseph Smith-History 1:39)

thIn turning our hearts to the true faith, the faith of our fathers the patriarchs, we are fulfilling this prophecy. If we do not do this, then literally the whole earth would be utterly wasted at His coming, because there would be none who could withstand His coming. If we do not seek to lay hold of the promises of the fathers, who walked and talked with Christ; if we do not literally seek His face, there will be none who are prepared to endure (even embrace) the burning that will precede His return.

So, what’s the shift that my friend mentioned? To set up the answer to this, let me share some experiences that I recently had. Please know that I do not share this to call attention to myself. (I know, you’re so tired of hearing that disclaimer – but it is necessary.) I’ve not had a waking vision of Christ in the flesh, and I make no such claim. That must be made clear. Nevertheless, He has visited me and taught me. On one of those occasions, He came to me, laid His hands on my head and then on my heart, and ordained me to His priesthood and to the work of these latter days. (Further clarification – His work still must be done with authority, and I do not feel like I have blanket authority to do anything I wish. I am not yet as the prophet Nephi.) Then, He introduced me to the Father. There was no fiery vision of the eternities, no concourses of angels. I was not left weak from the experience. The Father simply welcomed me and said “Now, go do the work.” It was very peaceful, very non-spectacular, but it was clear to me that I had work to do, and that the time of preparation was ended. There have been other teachings that have made the nature of that work more clear, but that is irrelevant to the point of this post.

On other occasions, as I have sought guidance and vision as to where my particular scope of work was going, and as to how I should proceed, He has begun telling me, “You know what to do. Go do it.” When I look inside myself, I realize that I do indeed know what to do. Thanks to the many who have been called to teach and open our eyes to the true faith (you can make your own list), the scriptures have been opened up to us in ways that we never thought possible. We are casting off the traditions of our earthly fathers and seeking the promises made to the spiritual, patriarchal fathers. These scriptures, coupled with the aforementioned personal revelation, once they are interpreted in the spirit of truth, do indeed teach the principles that we need to press forward.

This movement, this gathering of hearts, as well as the physical gathering (yes – it HAS begun), is, as I said previously, of eternal importance. It is a fulfillment of the prophecies of the latter days. If you do not yet have a testimony of this, I hope you can find it, or I invite you to begin looking.carl bloch

The shift? It is that the time of preparation is coming to a close. The time for action has arrived. Of course, I don’t mean to imply that there is a hard line in place; that if someone haven’t yet finished preparation (are we ever really finished?), they are damned. I most certainly do not believe that to be the case at all. I’m just saying that it’s been over a year since Denver Snuffer finished His 10 talks. It’s been almost 6 months since Adrian Larsen issued the call to action at the Grand Mesa Reunion. Many have been re-baptized, had their priesthood sustained by worthy and wise sisters, received their own testimony of their priesthood, and begun serving in great and marvelous ways. We have mourned for the LDS Church, but we have mourned enough, and it is time for action.

As I said, there are many who are taking action in wonderful ways. I know of some who minister miraculously and faithfully to the homeless locally. I know those who organize fellowships, or who travel at their own expense to provide baptisms and help strengthen communities. Tithing groups support those who have needs or desires but no means to provide for themselves. Some serve patiently in feeding the homelesstheir families and in their LDS wards and stakes, praying faithfully that the day will come when spouses will recognize the truth, and they can serve even more powerfully together. Many are selling out and relocating in search of community, while others have taken that concept a step further, seeking to consecrate in a covenant community where all things are held in common. All are, in their own way, seeking Zion – either in their hearts, in their families, or in the world as a whole…or all at the same time. However these actions are manifested, those who would remain true to the true faith of our fathers must keep the following principles in mind:

  • D&C 121:34-46 remains the standard of behavior in any Zion-like community. Unrighteous dominion, compulsion, or manipulation in any form cannot be part of a Zion relationship, whether it be between 2 individuals, a family, or a community. Such is the work of Satan, the standard of the world, and is, in my opinion, the definition of “the natural man”. Such behavior is indeed the enemy of God.
  • There can be no contention, either in general or concerning the points of Christ’s doctrine (3Nephi 11:28). Every individual has the right to learn of Christ’s doctrine and what it means in their life according to their own needs and abilities. If we indulge ourselves in contention, all attempts at Zion will fail. When the Lord chastised the saints in D&C 101:6 concerning the failure to establish Zion, He only mentioned “…jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires” as the cause of failure. Of all the possible pitfalls that could have developed, these are the things the Lord chose to point out.
  • We cannot continue to love our stuff. It’s all His, and we are only stewards. The love of stuff will destroy Zion – largely because it will foster contention. I am convinced – no, I have been promised – that if we focus on the first two items in this list, there will be enough and to spare in Zion.
  • We cannot be saved in ignorance. We must be constantly seeking further light and knowledge, even to know Him unto eternal life. We cannot become one with Christ if we do not know Him.building zion.
  • We cannot sell ourselves short. We must cast off unbelief. Prophets of the past had their role to play, and we have ours. Both are of great, eternal significance. Miracles are required of us. Prophecy is required of us. We are writing the scriptures of the millennium. 1000 years from now, there will be names that we know among us who will be revered alongside those of Abraham, Alma, Moroni, and Joseph.
  • We can never surrender our right to His presence. We can never surrender our claim to the promises He has made – as long as we are faithful and keep His commandments. He made them to us, not to some strong man or strong men (or women). We may think we have risen above such a mentality as a result of Denver Snuffer’s warnings, but if we do, then we underestimate the insidiousness of this concept and the hold it has on telestial man. We must be constantly vigilant.

I believe that a shift has indeed taken place among us. It certainly has in my life and in the lives of others I have spoken to. I reverently thank those who helped us to see, but the time for awakening is past. The time for gathering has come. The time for sacrifice has come. The time has come to forsake babylon and establish Zion. The work must be done. Zion must be built – in hearts, in families, in communities – even the New Jerusalem. The Heavens are open. Angels are watching, even rejoicing. Prophecies are being fulfilled as we speak. We are the literal fulfillment of those prophecies. Oh, what a time to be alive! I rejoice in the glory of these last days and in the opportunity to serve Him in this way, at this time. I so testify, as His imperfect servant, in the holy name of Jesus Christ.


Building Bridges – A Letter to Catherine

bridge 4There has been some discussion lately in the social media circles that I follow about building bridges.  These are bridges that would help bridge the gaps between “free range” Mormons (that’s such a great name, Charlotte) and traditional Mormons, and between Mormons and Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical Christians.  I don’t think it’s an accident that such discussions are taking place.  I think it’s a natural progression.  At first, there was mourning.  Now, perhaps, the time has come for healing.

Today was my last day of work.  I’m not sure how this is supposed to affect me.  I’m sure it will sink in as the days go by.  Will there be mourning?

At my last customer assignment, there was a lady (and I do mean “lady”) who was born in Ghana (West Africa) who just shines.  She’s very sweet and “bright”, and we made a connection right away.  When I told her about my impending “retirement” and subsequent adventure, she started asking questions.  Ultimately, she said she’d like to read my blog.  Well, I couldn’t just spring all that on her without at least some sort of an explanation as to the paradigm from which I write, so I felt to offer a more in-depth introduction.  The following letter was the result.  After I wrote it, I realized that this was my first attempt to put the afore-mentioned spirit of healing into action. Therefore I share it.  I hope and pray there will be many more letters like this – letters of explanation, understanding, and invitation that will flow between people who choose to love Christ and/or to love and respect each other in spite of their differences.



Thank you for your kindness and encouragement.  Everyone in the world wants to feel special, and you have a knack for making others feel special.  That’s a talent that I, also, seek to nurture.

Per your request, I’m going to share several of my blog posts below, but before you read them, I should provide a little context:

I’m very “Mormon” – even though I’ve left the LDS church.  Why do I say this? Because almost all of my writing, and the motivation behind what I’m doing after I retire, has to do with my religion – which boils down to a powerful belief in, and desire to become one with, Christ.Moyie River bridge

How are Mormons different from other “faiths”?  Well, besides the culture and jargon that are immediately recognizable to most Mormons, (but which will likely be misunderstood by most everybody else), theologically we believe that the world has been given scripture other than the Bible – namely the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.  I firmly believe that these writings are the word of God and therefore scriptural.  I give them the place of scripture in my life.  They witness mightily of Christ, but they are not just duplicates of the Bible. If they were a duplication of the Bible, there would be no need for them.  Some may say that they contradict the Bible.  I have not found that to be the case at all.  Since they’re not a duplication, and if they don’t contradict, that implies that they supplement the Bible, and that, in turn, implies that they teach things about God and Christ and their relationship with man that may not be readily discerned by reading the Bible alone.  In other words, they expound and expand on doctrines that are perhaps less clear in the Bible than they are in these other scriptures.

One of those doctrines has to do with Zion.  The bible talks about Zion a lot, but few understand what Zion really is.  Most people think that Zion refers to Jerusalem.  Although the Lord attempted many times to establish Zion “in the tops of the mountains”, mostly with the Israelites and later the Jews, they always rebelled and tried to do things their own way – so Zion was never established.  Well, actually, that’s not true.  These other scriptures – the Mormon canon – make it clear that Zion was established at least once – and that by a descendant of Adam named Enoch – who is mentioned fleetingly in the book of Genesis, chapter 5.  The “Zion”, or city, that he established was actually taken by the Lord into the heavens. “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Crazy, I know – but I believe that somehow this actually happened.

bridge1So – what IS Zion?  Zion is a society where all things are had in common, and the inhabitants are “pure in heart” (think about what that really means for a minute), with no guile, no jealousies, no fears.  I am including a talk I gave last spring that addresses this.  Utopia is probably a word that would give you an idea of what I mean by Zion, but Zion is really much more than that.  Furthermore – the post below about sacrifice suggests that anything we depend on other than Christ (consider the lilies) prevents us from becoming one with Him.  I personally believe that in Zion we will not be dependent upon anything but Him.

I further believe that Zion is at the heart of the entire history of the relationship between God and Man – from Adam and Eve to the present day.  If you read the Bible in this context, the doctrine fairly leaps from the pages.  The Lord has essentially kept saying, “This is what I created you for – try it, you’ll like it“, but we keep saying, “But it won’t work” and we turn our collective backs on Him.  This rebellion is the result of our unbelief – our lack of faith. The Bible calls this having “stiff necks”. Isaiah is especially good at describing how this dynamic affects, even to this day, the man-God relationship.

I believe Zion can work. I believe it MUST work, before Christ will return to this earth, because He must have a place to come to, and He cannot come to the world as it is.   It will take extraordinary effort – humility, charity, faith, trust, righteousness, purity, virtue – all the great virtues from 2 Peter 1:5-7.   I further believe that He will call people to build Zion in these last, final days before His return – people who are willing to try despite the chorus that is constantly shouting “It can’t be done”.  Well, I’m willing to try, and that’s what I’m going to go do – I’m going to try to be part of His glorious effort – the effort that has been millennia in the making, but which has been repeatedly frustrated by the hard-heartedness of men.bridge3

Utopian?  Yes, but, you know, I’m 62 years old and I’ve lived a pretty ordinary life – a very ordinary life.  I finally have the opportunity to do something extraordinary – truly extraordinary (even risky – if you measure by the standards of the world) – and if we’re successful, we will make history – eternal history!  If I were to turn away now….

Some might say this sounds prideful or elitist or – well, all kinds of things that suggest that I’m setting myself up above others.  That’s not the case.  I’m just grateful.  Grateful for the ability to hear His voice.  Grateful for good health.  Grateful for my precious wife whose desires are right in alignment with mine and those of the Lord.  Furthermore, I’m grateful that somewhere in this heart that was for so many years hardened against any such possibilities, was found (or placed) a reservoir of courage such that I am now willing to say, “Yes – I’ll go”.  Yes, I’m excited and joyful and fearful and humble and rejuvenated and crazy and peaceful all at the same time.  I’ve never felt so alive!  (Well, actually – I’m reminded of the hope and joy that accompanied my marriage to Diana.)

A couple of other things about Mormons…the scriptures, taken as a whole, make it clear that Christ wants a very personal, powerful, living relationship with us – even to the point of actual in-the-flesh visitation(s).  The LDS church has begun denying this, which is one of the reasons I am no longer a member.  The church has started saying we don’t need to seek that personal powerful, real relationship – that it’s dangerous.  I don’t buy that.  It actually might be dangerous, but it promises to be oh, so worth it.  There are no churches on the earth that teach this, but that is what I seek.  To seek after this – to ask, seek, knock – is to make Christ come alive in our lives.  He’s no longer just some spiritual, almost mythical, God in the heavens (wherever that is) who is mostly hands-off but who we think is going to judge us when we die.  No – He’s real…a real friend and confidant who loves me and wants me to become just like Him.  I know Him more intimately than I ever thought possible, even though what I know is miniscule compared to what He has promised I can learn.

Moyie River bridgeSo – off I go.  It’s an adventure that most of the world will call crazy, but that’s ok.  I’m finally going to truly live life – the life I was created to live.  I’m going to fulfill the measure of my creation (that’s some of the Mormon “jargon” I mentioned above).  By the grace of God I’m going to try to lay hold of all the spiritual gifts that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.  I’m going to seek to become one with Christ as He expounds in the great intercessory pray of John 17.  I’m going to seek to know Him, and receive the eternal life that He promises to those who truly believe. (John 17:3).

Before you choose to read any of my blog posts – you need to have this context.  Otherwise they will make no sense at all.  They may still not make any sense.  However, if they do, if they somehow strike a chord of familiarity, then I encourage you to approach Jesus Christ in prayer.  Ask Him what you need to do to truly know Him.  If you ask with a pure heart, truly desiring to know, I promise that He will answer you.  I do not promise in what manner He will answer – that differs from person to person and situation to situation.  However, if you believe, He will answer – I promise He will.

I would love to hear back from you.  If not – well, c’est la vie, and I hope you find great joy in your life.




D&C 132…Marriage, Polygamy, The Sealing Power, and the New and Everlasting Covenant

D&C ImageAnd he said unto his servant: When I will; go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you;

And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you—a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom. (D&C 101:60-61)

In D&C Section 101:43-62, the Lord gives Joseph Smith a parable of a nobleman in his vineyard, who commanded his servants to set up watchtowers that they might detect, from “afar off”, enemies coming to destroy His vineyard.  In the parable, the servants neglect to build the watchtowers and the vineyard is destroyed.  The nobleman then calls another servant and gives instructions that a place might be prepared for said lord to come.  When questioned as to when his coming might come to pass, the nobleman responds as quoted above, in essence: “Keep my commandments, and I promise you will be blessed”.  Repeating verse 61 with emphasis:

And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you—a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom.

In the Joseph Smith story, Joseph quotes the angel of the Lord as, in turn, quoting Malachi 4:5-6, but differently than what we have in the King James version of the Bible (emphasis mine):

Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers (clearly as a result of having the promises made to the fathers planted in their hearts). If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

This scripture is commonly interpreted as pointing to the sealing of families as family units for the eternities and is used as inspiration for genealogy work and doing temple work for the dead.  There is indeed justification for that in the words of Joseph (D&C 128:17).  It seems that, to some, this actually represents the sum total of their understanding of the sealing power.  In this post I hope to present an interpretation of the sealing power that will lead to a greater understanding of this particular gospel mystery.  In doing so, I intend to demonstrate that this sealing bond is not accomplished by sprinkling magical fairy dust upon families and thus declaring them sealed, but is actually the result of their common obedience to God’s law – the law of the new and everlasting covenant.

Sealing Authority – Sealing Power

I think most of us would agree that even if an ordinance seals blessings upon us, the realization of these blessings is conditional upon our faithfulness.  The wording of the LDS sealing ordinance of marriage itself makes that quite clear.  No matter how righteous the sealer might be, he does not bring about the sealing.  Only the Holy Spirit of Promise can do that, as made clear in D&C 132:7 (emphasis added):

And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

We cannot ignore the role of the “medium of mine anointed” – the sealer – in this process, but how is his role manifested?  What, actually, does the sealer have to do with it?  A clue may be found in D&C 68:8-12 (emphasis mine):

Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature, acting in the authority which I have given you, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.

 And he that believeth shall be blest with signs following, even as it is written.

And unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man;

And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen.

This seems to suggest that even for those to whom this power of sealing up unto eternal life is delegated, in this case Lyman Wight, Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, and William E. McClellin (D&C 68:7), the Father must bear record that the recipients are to be sealed before this delegated sealing power has any authority.

Denver Snuffer, in his priesthood talk given in Orem, UT on November 2, 2013, suggests that this sealing power – that mentioned in D&C 68:12 and pertaining to sealing unto eternal life or damnation – is of the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood, and that there are 2 other types of sealing power – 1) that given to a dispensational head and 2) that type, most rare, that carries with it the authority to control the elements.  You can read more of this discussion here on page 16 of the pdf version, and continuing in greater detail beginning on page 34.

The point to be made here is that I do not believe the sealing power, no matter the type, is something that is in the hands of men.  It is a blessing from God, and as with all blessings it is conditional upon obedience to the law upon which that blessing is predicated (D&C 130: 20-21).  I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that if the sealing power has the potential to seal up unto eternal life, or to control the elements, or to bestow “all that the Father hath” (D&C 84:38), then we’d probably better be prepared to keep ALL of His commandments.  That’s pretty much a “risk all to gain all” proposition if I’ve ever heard of one.  I also don’t think this is something we can just summarily surrender to “others”, assuming that someone else will come along with the authority to administer this great blessing.  Of course, we can’t “aspire” to it, because the Lord will choose whom He will choose, but I think we have an obligation to prepare ourselves to receive “all that the father hath” and, in doing so, make sure that, if the Lord chooses us, we are prepared to answer the callIn other words, “would that all my children would be sealers”.

Re-examining D&C 132

In order to illustrate that the sealing bond is a product of our obedience and of our obedience alone, I propose a different reading of D&C 132 – different from the way it is commonly interpreted – beginning with verses 1 through 5 (emphasis mine):

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—

Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.

Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.

The common interpretation of this section of scripture is that the Lord is speaking throughout on the topic of the principle and doctrine of having multiple wives and concubines.  However, what if, in verse 3 He has actually expanded His focus beyond the scope of Joseph’s specific question?  What if, in verse 3, the law he refers to is a law under which the doctrine of many wives and concubines may be justified and by which it might be governed, and not the law of having many wives and concubines?  What if this new law, the new and everlasting covenant, actually has little to do with marriage, but more to do with recognizing and receiving the over-arching law of the universe – the law of righteousness – to which law we must be obedient if we are to “have a blessing at my hands”.  What if this new and everlasting covenant is actually simply the law of the gospel, the law of Heaven, to which we must be obedient if we are to gain exaltation?  Let’s interpret further verses in this light – verses 6-8 (emphasis mine):

 And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

No mention of marriage here.  I love how He says this new and everlasting covenant was instituted for the “fullness of my glory”.  What is His glory?  How about, “That all His creations would be obedient and fulfill the measure of their creation?”  What is the manifestation for us of the fullness of His glory?  Is it perhaps that we might be one with Him?  If we are to be one with Him, we must be in harmony with His law…we must be obedient.

Then, He speaks of “covenants, etc”.  Are these legal terms –the “contracts, associations”, etc. – really referring to contracts between men, or are these associations with Him?  In other words, I can’t see how He could be talking about a corporate charter being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  Again, however, no specific mention of marriage here.  He does go on to say instead that His house is a house of order.  How is order established and measured?  I would suggest that this order derives from obedience to the law – the law of the new and everlasting covenant – and the resulting dissemination of blessings in accordance with obedience to that law.  This is His “order”: we obey, and He blesses us with all that He hath.  Pretty simple, but also pretty “all in” – pretty absolute. (Is that an oxymoron, as in “almost absolute”?)

I won’t quote the next few verses.  It is not until verse 15 that marriage comes up again…after all, this was the topic of the opening question.  In verse 15, the Lord makes it clear that marriage falls under the guideline outlined in verse 7 – “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, etc”.  Such a marriage, which was not by Him or His word, “which…” He declares in verse 18 “…is my law” (His word is His law), is to be of no effect after the resurrection.  Why of no effect?  Because the participants did not obey His law.  What is His law?  The law of the new and everlasting covenant.

What is the new and everlasting covenant?

In section 131:1-4, Joseph records:

In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

This statement clearly points to the “new and everlasting covenant” being a covenant of marriage, and is certainly the source of confusion as to the nature of this “new and everlasting covenant”.  I don’t know why this definition of this order of the priesthood is placed in parentheses, and it is so contradictory to all other definitions of the new and everlasting covenant that I find it highly suspect.  Furthermore, I found the following quotes which totally support this claim, derived from my own studies and prayers, that the doctrine of celestial marriage is simply a component of the new and everlasting covenant:

Joseph Fielding Smith (Quorum of the Twelve)

What is the new and everlasting covenant? I regret to say that there are some members of the Church who are misled and misinformed in regard to what the new and everlasting covenant really is. The new and everlasting covenant is the sum total of all gospel covenants and obligations. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:156)

Now there is a clear-cut definition in detail of the new and everlasting covenant. It is everything—the fulness of the gospel. So marriage properly performed, baptism, ordination to the priesthood, everything else—every contract, every obligation, every performance that pertains to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise according to his law here given, is a part of the new and everlasting covenant. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:158)

Bruce R. McConkie (Quorum of the Twelve)

“The new and everlasting covenant” is the fulness of the gospel, and the gospel is the covenant of salvation that the Lord makes with men. It is new because it has been revealed anew in our day; it is everlasting because it has always been had by faithful people, not only on this earth but on all the earths inhabited by the children of our Father. (Brigham Young University, 6 November 1977)

Todd Christofferson(Quorum of the Twelve)

The scriptures speak of the new and everlasting covenant. The new and everlasting covenant is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrines and commandments of the gospel constitute the substance of an everlasting covenant between God and man that is newly restored in each dispensation. If we were to state the new and everlasting covenant in one sentence it would be this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Jesus explained what it means to believe in Him: “Now this is the commandment [or in other words, this is the covenant]: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day” (3 Nephi 27:20). (Ensign, May 2009)

In verses 16-17, the written revelation states that, even though someone did not abide His law, they may be resurrected as “angels…without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not Gods…” Why?  Because they weren’t married?  Perhaps, but I maintain that it is more likely because they did not obey His law – the law of the new and everlasting covenant.  They did not obey the fullness of His law in order to receive the fullness of His blessings.  It seems clear to me that this “law” extends beyond marriage.

Serious Blessings

Next, in verse 18 – 25, we get to the meat of the matter.  I quote (emphasis mine):

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.

For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.

This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.

Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in there at, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.

Whoa!  These are some serious blessings!  …exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads…and some serious conditions!  Still, I don’t see any reference in this to the marriage itself being the law…only that if you are married and obey His law, then that marriage will be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and the participants in the marriage are sealed up unto eternal lives!

Role of the Lord’s Anointed

However, there remains this matter of the medium of the Lord’s anointed.  I quote again from verse 7:Joseph and Hyrum

(and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred)…

And then from verses 45-49 (emphasis and clarification mine):

 For I have conferred upon you (speaking of Joseph) the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.

And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven.

And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless, and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God.

And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth and in heaven.

For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father.

Let’s return now to D&C 68:12, which I quoted above (emphasis added):

And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen.

How is it, then, that the Father shall bear record to His anointed that this couple is to be sealed up unto eternal life?  It must be by revelation, right?  How else is His word – His law – received and understood?  Any of you who have been sealed in the LDS Temples – if you even knew the sealer, do you really think that he had any inkling of whether or not the Lord had born record that you should be sealed up unto eternal life?  Do you think He prayed beforehand to determine whether or not he had authority to perform this sealing?

It is very important to point out also at this point that there is no evidence that this sealing authority can be passed from man to man.  I believe this is a modern construct, is not of God, and qualifies as a philosophy of men.

It appears that the medium of the Lord’s anointed has been abused in our day, just as the authority to baptize, to lay hands on for the receiving of the Holy Ghost, and ordaining to the priesthood have been.  The sealer or ordinance administrator must, in my mind, receive a witness that this ordinance is authorized by the Lord.  This authority cannot be passed on by man. A nod must be given here to Denver’s assertion that the dispensational prophet’s sealing authority can be preserved and passed on through ordinances that have been perfectly preserved once establish by said dispensational head.  You can read of this in the same talk mentioned above.  I cannot see any evidence of this in the scriptures, but I cannot say he is wrong or that the evidence does not exist, only that I haven’t found such evidence in the scriptures.  Regardless, in our day, as Denver correctly points out, the ordinances have been changed.  Furthermore, this process of seeking the Father’s “bearing record” is no longer practiced.

Time for Some Clarity

Now, back on the topic of marriage.  Is this sealing up unto eternal life (re: back to verse 18 mentioned above…”if a man marry a wife…”) conditioned on the fact that couple was married, or on the fact that they were obedient to the law – obedient enough that they were sealed up together, as a couple unto eternal life by the Holy Spirit of Promise?  Is the new and everlasting covenant a covenant of marriage, or a covenant of obedience – of living in harmony with God’s law?  I think the Lord makes this very clear in verse 22 (emphasis mine):

For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

Let’s skip forward to verse 28, where the Lord says:

I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was.

This doesn’t sound like he’s talking about the law of marriage at all, let alone plural marriage!  Do we really think the “law of my Holy Priesthood” is limited to a doctrine of marriage?  Surely we can agree that the “law of my Holy Priesthood” may well include but is certainly not limited to marriage covenants.

Given that we have established that we are not talking solely about marriage here, but about obedience – if we have, in your mind, established this – the rest of D&C 132 takes on an entirely new tone.

Speaking of Abraham, David, Solomon (beginning in verse 29) – it’s not so much about them being married to multiple wives – it’s about them being obedient to the Lord’s commandments – given by revelation, either to them directly, or to Sarah, or to the Lord’s prophet (Nathan).  Their obedience to His law is not so much that they married multiple wives, it’s that He told them to marry multiple wives (for whatever reason) and they were obedient to His word – to His commandment.  Verses 29-32 (emphasis mine):

Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.

Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.

This promise is yours also (speaking of Joseph), because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.

Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.

Bear with me, now!  He has not in the least associated Abraham and his works with wives and concubines.  He has, however, associated him with receiving revelation, and commandments, and promises that are sealed unto the eternities.  Then he even declares that these promises are Joseph’s, but not conditioned upon any marriage – marriage is not even mentioned – but simply upon obedience to the law (“…by this law”) – the law of the new and everlasting covenant.

Finally, in verse 34, the Lord says that Abraham was commanded to take Hagar to wife?  Why?  To fulfill the promises?  What promises?  The promise that his seed would be as innumerable as the stars:

God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. (D&C 132:34)

It says “Because this was the law…”  What law?  The law of plural marriage? or the law of the new and everlasting covenant, which law (…all things) Abraham received by revelation and commandment…for him! (verse 29)  Then, just to make sure we’re not confused into thinking that this obedience is only to some law of plural wives, the Lord throws in a reference to Abraham sacrificing Isaac – also clearly an act of obedience to His law.  Boy, I’m sure glad that commandment wasn’t interpreted as a universal law being applied to all men everywhere and being required for exaltation as was the “doctrine” of plural marriage!  There goes the promise of the seed!

Plural Marriage Justified?

I must now address the verses that do seem to reference plural marriage, namely verses 61-64:

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

These scriptures certainly do seem to condone at least the possibility of plural marriage, but only “…as pertaining to the law of the priesthood”, which we have already established is not limited to marriage, but is totally about obedience to and support of the Lord’s word and His law.  In other words, if a man and women are commanded by His word to live plural marriage, it is allowed.  I still do not, however, see any indication that it is commanded except on an individual basis.  Neither do I see that such marriage is a requirement for exaltation.  Instead, it is the obedience to the commandment to “…multiple and replenish the earth, according to my commandment”, for which purpose they are “given him” that qualifies them for exaltation.


Based upon this analysis of the scriptures, I suggest that this section (D&C 132) has been sorely wrested in support of the doctrine of polygamy, and that any belief that the doctrine of polygamy was or is a general commandment and a requirement for exaltation is false!  I further suggest that the sealing doctrine itself is based wholly on compliance with and obedience to the law of God.  It is indeed effected by the power of the priesthood, which is, in turn, exercised solely based upon the principles of righteousness, but that righteousness must be inherent in both the sealer (whether a man or the Holy Spirit of Promise) and the recipient of the blessing.

Brethren and Sisters.  I’m sorry this is so long.  Thank you for bearing with me.  These things just unfolded before me, and I had to keep peeling back the layers. It began early on a Sunday morning when I started processing the idea that the real power of sealing was not held by designated men and delegated to other men, but it is held by us – the sealed – and it is based upon our obedience to the law – the law of the new and everlasting covenant – the law of God, the law of the universe, the law that governs all things.  An ordinance may indeed be involved.  A human may indeed be involved.  But the ordinance is only an invitation, and the human only has authority upon having the record born to him from the Father.  Record of what?  Record born by the Father of our obedience – our harmony – with the law.  What law?  The law of the new and everlasting covenant.

If I may summarize the results of this inquiry:

There are indeed been men who have been entrusted with the sealing power – the authority to bind in Heaven that which has been bound on earth.  Moses, Nephi (son of Helaman), and Joseph Smith are clear examples.  However, there is no evidence that such sealing authority can be passed from man to man.  It must come directly from God.  This sealing power may well exist among men on the earth at this time, but such must be revealed by the Lord at a time and in a manner to be determined by Him and Him alone.  It must exist, however, for without it, without the authority to bind each of us to Him, the earth must indeed be “utterly wasted at His coming”.

This sealing in Heaven as it is on earth may indeed be symbolized through an ordinance, but the sealing itself is based solely upon our faithfulness…our obedience to the law of the new and everlasting covenant.  This sealing can also be solemnized (sealed) directly by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  Man may initiate it, but it does not require a man.  IF man initiates it, and he was not previously prompted directly by the Lord, through His word, then it must yet be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  Such sealings are not limited to marriage.  The possibilities are as unlimited as the Lord’s will for us.

D&C section 132, which is commonly interpreted to command or at least justify the practice of plural marriage, (today it is limited to a doctrine of eternal monogamy) actually commands nothing more than obedience to the word of God…even the law of the new and everlasting covenant.

I now share the scripture – one of my favorites – of a conversation between the Lord and Nephi, son of Helaman, in Helaman 10:4-7 (emphasis mine):

 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.

Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.

Nephi was given power even over the elements.  Why?  Because the Lord knew that “thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will”.  So it must be with the exercise of any sealing power.  However, that sealing is ultimately conducted by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  The sealer is simply obedient enough himself that he can receive the testimony of the Holy Spirit of Promise, giving Him authority to exercise His power to bind in Heaven what is bound on earth.  Without that authority, any sealing he pronounces is ineffective.

I propose that we ultimately hold the sealing power, just as the brother of Jared held the power over the veil.  It is activated through our faith in and obedience to the law of the new and everlasting covenant, which obedience entails submission, humility, and charity – the absolutely sincere seeking of, and submission to, God’s will for us and for His children.  We must become as the dust of the earth in that these very elements submit to His will simply because they know of His perfection, and they have no desire to rebel.  So it must be with us.  Under these conditions, we cannot be denied, or God would cease to be God.  It is under these conditions that we can return to live with Him, to be one with Him.  It is under these conditions that we might partake of His glory and receive of His fullness – even all that the Father hath.  It is under these conditions that what is bound on earth shall be bound in heaven.


Preserving the Restoration

I did not write the following. I am thankful to have been asked to post it on this blog by the author, who has asked to remain anonymous, because this is not about him – it is about the message.

This is a very important letter to the world – as important as any proclamation that has preceeded it, regardless of the source. It will either be received as truth by the “…humble followers of Christ”, or it will be rejected at their peril. I personally implore you to respect what is said below, at least enough to investigate and seek the truth for yourself.

Now – the word of the Lord unto all who would truly seek Him…


TODAY a monumental choice faces every Latter Day Saint. At the heart of this decision is whether to stand with Jesus Christ and His Gospel, as taught in scripture, or to capitulate to the corruption of a lost and deceived world. (Revelations 12:9).

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED about how the LDS Church is responding to a host of doctrinal, social, moral, financial, and political issues, and if you are willing to seek out and live a true fullness of the gospel, (D&C 20:9), then please know the light of the original Restoration remains available through prophecy, scripture, revelation, and the tutoring of the Holy Spirit. (Moroni 10:5).

A CAREFUL REVIEW of doctrine and the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith reveals that many human errors have occurred during the past 185 years of church history. This spiritual tragedy highlights the essential need for every Latter Day Saint to now differentiate between eternal truth and religious tradition. (D&C 93:39).

THE BOOK OF MORMON specifically warns that when a culture becomes prideful, wealthy, and dependent on the arm of flesh, (2 Nephi 4:34), that the fall of that particular people will soon follow. (Ether 2: 8-12). Scripture also confirms that in the last days the word of God will be “transfigured,” (Mormon 8:33), and that the once “Holy church of God” will become polluted. (Mormon 8:38). Sadly, today is also the day when the tares again “choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness of apostasy.” (D&C 86:1-3). Those honest enough to apply scripture to themselves, the Mormon culture, and the world at large, understand that we as a Gentile people are in the process of rejecting the fullness of the Gospel. (D&C 45:28-30).

REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE WORLD, and the world of religion chooses, let it be said: The hand of the Lord remains outstretched still! (Isaiah 5:25). At this time every Latter Day Saint is invited to re-learn and re-claim all that has been lost, abandoned, and distorted, since the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith. (D&C 43:10). In response to these deficits, a growing Remnant now shouts HOLY! HOLY! HOLY! is our God! For He is the Great Messiah! The Master of the storm, and the sure Rock in whom we will trust! He is THE CHRIST, who even at this very moment beckons unto all, “Come Unto Me” that you might receive the same truths, powers, ordinances, and priesthood, once offered to the early Saints.          Thus, today is the day of choice:  God or man, Truth or tradition, Zion or Babylon?

UNDER THE HAND OF GOD a great and marvelous work is now spreading across the land. This movement involves a broken and flawed “few,” (2 Nephi 28:14), who are actively committed to Preserving the Restoration, that Jesus Christ and His angels may yet ”gather the elect” (D&C 33:6), and establish a literal Zion upon the earth. (Moses 7:60-62).

FOREMOST IN THIS SPIRITUAL CRUSADE is an unyielding commitment to the Holy One of Israel and the process of receiving salvation in Him. There is no church to join, and no leader to follow. This “strange act” (D&C 101:94-95), is not the “apostasy” some imagine it to be. For in reality, the truth is never apostasy, and all that God commands is law. (3 Nephi 15:9, Romans 10:4).

LET IT BE KNOWN that except for our impending destruction, “the times of the Gentiles” is fulfilled. (D&C 45:26-30). The opportunity for us to repent and receive a true fullness will soon be forfeited. What follows will include mass destruction and great sorrow. (Matthew 24:6-35). This prophesied cleansing will begin upon the Lord’s house, first among those who profess to know His name, but have not known Him. (D&C 112:23-26). Thus, every Latter Day Saint who seeks Zion upon the earth, (D&C 45:68) and Celestial Glory in the eternities to come, (D&C 133:12, D&C 76:50-70) is now required to repent by differentiating between eternal truth and the false philosophies of men mingled with scripture. (2 Nephi 28:9-32).

THE LORD’S INVITATION is specifically for you. For even now, in this very moment, if you will listen to His voice, He will speak directly to your soul. Listen to your Savior. Listen to your soul. Fear not, and go forward into the work of reclaiming the light of the Restoration. For now is the day of your salvation, and if you will follow Him, He will lead you into the fullness of Eternal Glory. (D&C 76:70). Come…come my friend, and through His grace, enter ye this day into the rest of the Lord. (Matthew 11:28, Moroni 7:3).


THE INVITATION AT:  ReclaimtheRestoration.com


Come Unto Me #6 – A Little Divine Trickery

Moyie River valleyIt was late February of 2015 when the Lord began preparing me to quit my job.  I’m 62 years old, I’m in no way, by conventional measures, financially prepared for retirement, and I had planned on working another 8 years before even considering retirement.  Gradually, though, over the following 2 months, the idea of retiring early became more palatable.  I was gently prepared.  My fears slowly dissipated.

On March 13, His word was:

“You are in my hands.  Do not fear.  Love your job while you have it – while it is the season.  It is not yet time.  You will know.  Do not even ask me.  You will know.”

On April 24:

“Fear not – I will guide you and care for you.  Consider the lilies of the field.  I do not make idle promises, and this is my promise unto you.  I told you you would know when it was time to quit your job.  That time is the end of September.”

Two days earlier he had prepped me with:

Know that I need you to help bring about my strange act.  You must figure out how to liquidate your assets on Labor Day.    It is good that you buy a mobile trailer to live in.

Further communications that went un-recorded in my journal (my bad) made it increasingly clear where we were going and what we were going to do.  Prayerful requests by both Diana and me brought multiple confirmations.  We were off to Idaho!  Within 3 weeks we had found a beautiful, white (no decals or paint) used 5th wheel RV that we bought for 65% of its blue book value, and a reliable truck with minor body damage that lowered its price.

This past week, we took our 5th wheel RV and truck to our new home in the rural Idaho panhandle.  We haven’t “moved” yet, but we took that time to at least get that part of the move accomplished.  After we arrived, got the RV leveled out, and felt a bit settled, I went for a walk.  It was about 7:00 in the evening.  The sun was starting to set.  I wandered through the wooded part of the property and found my way to a steep overlook.  475 feet below were a river and a railroad track with a train snaking its way noisily through the canyon.  Around me were multiple species of both deciduous and conifer trees.  The grass in many places testified clearly of wildlife, probably deer, having made their bed there on multiple nights.  The air smelled clean, crisp…invigorating.  I was suddenly filled with joy as the realization of what was happening swept over me.  My dreams, dreams of a home with forests and wildlife and canyons and rivers, were coming true.  I found a stump, knelt down, and vocalized a short but sincere prayer of gratitude.  It was just me, the trees, the fresh air…and my God. Moyie River dam

That night at about 3:00 a.m., I walked outside, looked up at the stars, and within 5 seconds saw a falling star.  If you’ve read my conversion story, you know that this (falling stars) is a personal sign between the Lord and me.  I took it again as His sign of approval and assurance – not only for me, but for Diana and me as a couple – that we were where He wanted us.

So, I sacrificed.  You betcha.  I sacrificed a bunch.  I sacrificed my job.  Diana sacrificed her participation in a local gallery.  We’re selling our home at a significant discount to our son.  We sacrificed our future financial security (now – don’t laugh!)  We’re leaving our neighbors, our kids, grandkids, etc. to go do what the Lord has asked us to do.  Pretty significant sacrifices, right?

Well, I actually wonder if we really sacrificed anything at all.  You see, we took our retirement funds and invested in property.  We’re taking the equity from our home and paying off the RV, truck and mortgage.  We’re moving to a part of the country that is as beautiful, in its own way, as any habitable place I’ve ever been to ( I don’t consider the Grand Canyon habitable – just beautiful).  We’re probably going to learn, along with several other wonderful families, to farm, build, hunt, prepare food for long term storage, etc. We’re going to try to live Zion. We’re going to start a new life.  In our early 60’s, we’re suddenly filled with optimism, energy, purpose, enthusiasm, peace, and…love.

So, how much did we really sacrifice afterall?  I’m beginning to think that the Lord allowed me to think I was sacrificing and being obedient because that was the only thing that would motivate me to take these extreme steps – to get up off my butt, break out of my comfort zone, and take a risk.   I’m beginning to see this whole experience in a different light.  Instead of, “My son, I need you to sacrifice all things for me so that you can do my work”, it’s playing out more like, “Look, my son – I love you so much!  If you will just do these things, if you will trust me, look what a wonderful life you can have!  The dreams you’ve kept under wraps all these years can come true!  Again – trust me, relax (He says that to me a lot).  Put yourself in my hands, follow my guidance, and I will bring you joy, joy, joy!”

Moyie River bridgeOh, sure – we’re committed to spending the rest of our lives doing our part to build the Lord’s Zion.  There really is no “plan B” as far as that goes.  We’re going to be financially limited for the rest of our lives.  Diana has yet to acknowledge that she may not get to see the next James Bond or Star Trek movies – at least until they come out on DVD.  On the positive side, we’re going to have to use our talents – music, art, etc. for a real purpose.  We’re going to have to work – hard – to survive.  We’ll probably lose weight and return to our former slim, trim younger selves!  Furthermore, the Lord said above, “I don’t make idle promises”, and He has made some pretty amazing promises, the fulfillment of which is solely based upon our faith and obedience.

My first promise to God – some 18 years ago – was that I would “seek to know” Him.  I think this past week He showed me a really sweet, loving – even slightly capricious side of Him – if God can be called “capricious”.  It was like he had played a lovely, gentle private joke on me.  He had tricked me into doing something that I’ve always dreamed of – making me think I would be sacrificing for Him, when in reality, He was just loving me – loving me in a way that only my Heavenly Father (and Mother? and Savior?) could do.  I think now I know Him just a little bit more intimately now than I did before.  I think, as a result, I’m a little bit in awe of His loving nature.

The scriptures often paint a picture of a vengeful God of judgment, one who calls for the destruction of entire cities; strikes individuals dead for dishonesty; unleashes famine and war on a disobedient people; or promises eternal hell-fire and damnation to individuals who willingly and knowingly rebel against Him.  I do not embrace that image of God.  I’m much more worshipful of a God who, simply because I make a sincere, if forever imperfect, effort to know Him, follow Him, and emulate Him; and strive daily to bring about His Zion, concocts this plan to entice me to follow a path that He knows is going to enrich my life beyond anything I ever really thought possible – and He tricks me into doing so.  With His plan, dreams would come true that I had given up on long ago.  Yep – this is the God I know.  This is the God I worship.  This is the God I choose to emulate and to share with others…a God of love, a God of patience, and maybe even a God who can be just a little bit sneaky.  Today, I share this image of my God with you, and I do it in the name of Jesus Christ.  Can I get an Amen??!!!


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