Just a Minute, Lord – I’ve Just Got a Few Treasures to Pack

TithingAs I’ve mentioned in a couple of other posts recently, I just completed a 30 day “Super-Vegan” fast.  I mention this only for context, because I absolutely KNOW that I wouldn’t have learned as much as I learned during those 30 days if I hadn’t been “fasting” in this manner.  One among many significant things I learned during this time was a new perspective on tithing.

A few months ago, my family (no kids – we’re all grown) read an article by Alan Rock Waterman called, “Are we paying too much tithing?”.  This article examines D&C Section 119, making the point that we are really only required to pay 10% of our interest over and above what we need to be comfortable.  Thus, those of us who need most of our income to be comfortable would pay very little tithing.  The argument is compelling enough, and the scripture seems pretty clear.  Some in my family began to discuss the idea of paying less tithing.  This just didn’t feel right to me.  It felt to me like we were looking for an “out” so that we didn’t have to give as much to the Lord – as if what we give to the Lord we are giving because we have to, and if we can find an excuse to pay less…well, you get the point.

A couple of weeks ago, I read another article, this one by Craig James Ostler, putting a different twist on Section 119, which says:

Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,

For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.

And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.

And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.

Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.

And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.

And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion.  Even so.  Amen

Professor Ostler emphasizes the first three verses of the commandment – that the beginning of the tithing of His people is the putting of all of our surplus property into the hands of the church, and then after that, we are to pay 10% of our interest annually.

Upon reading this article, I was impressed that, even though I do not actually give all my surplus property to the bishop – which was much more feasible at that time than it is now – I still MUST give all my property, not just my surplus property, to the Lord.  In other words, I must, in my heart, say to the Lord, “Father, this is yours.  I will no longer covet it, and it is yours to do with as you desire of me”.

Shortly before I was baptized in 1998 – when I was asking myself if I was truly ready to make the commitment I needed to make if I were going to be baptized – I was prompted to ask myself, “What do I own; and what, of all my possessions, is most precious to me; and would I be willing to give that to the Lord if He were to ask for it?”.  My thoughts immediately went to my 1976 Martin D-28 guitar, which I had bought brand new, and thus had owned and played for 22 years.  (It should be noted that I was recently divorced, and my possessions were pretty much limited to my clothes, my guitar, and an old Chevy S-10 pickup).  I knew I was prepared to make and keep my covenants with the Lord when I answered this question, “Yes”.  At this time, in one of those small, intimate moments by which the Lord so often brings about great things, I symbolically handed the Lord everything, and accepted His commission as a steward over all that He would bless me with in the future.  One could make the case that this was a more significant “ordinance” than my baptism itself.

This, then, was the consecration of my surplus property – the “beginning of the tithing” – my first step toward becoming a Zion person.  Since then, of course, my wife and I have accumulated more “things”, and I have, for a time, forgotten this humble beginning.  I have begun to covet things and to give less freely to those who need.  The article by Professor Ostler reminded me of that covenant I made with the Lord before I was baptized – a covenant that I was prompted to make despite my ignorance and innocence in the gospel, or perhaps because of my ignorance and innocence.

It was then that I realized that, unless one has made, at least in their heart, this initial consecration of their possessions, then tithing – the paying of 10% of one’s income – is a mere shell of what it is intended to be.  Tithing without first consecrating all to the Lord fails to promote the oneness and the perfection that we are commanded to seek, because it reserves 90% of what we are blessed with for our own use at our discretion.  Relinquishing ownership over worldly things is essential to stripping ourselves of “jealousies and fears” (D&C 67:10).  Understanding this, I ask myself why I would ever consider the thought, “Am I paying too much tithing?”

It was then, also, that I drew an interesting parallel between the sacrament and tithing.  Just as the sacrament is intended to be a symbolic reminder of our sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit (a willing consecration of our agency), so tithing should be seen as a symbolic reminder of our initial consecration of all that we have been blessed with temporally (a willing consecration of our stuff), and of our mere stewardship over our worldly possessions, which are, thus, not really “possessions” at all.

I suggest, then, that we must view tithing in this manner if we ever hope to become a Zion person, or ultimately a Zion people.  The goal of having “no poor among us” will never be realized as long as we continue to preserve in our hearts the concept of possessions and ownership.  Possessions come between us and the Lord.  Possessions bind us insidiously to Babylon, and prevent us from fully giving ourselves to our Savior.  Can you truly picture yourself standing before the Lord and, when He beckons, “Come follow me”, responding , “Just a minute Lord – I’ve just got a few treasures I need to pack”?

Brothers and Sisters, just as we are commanded to sacrifice a broken heart and a contrite spirit unto the Lord, we must also sacrifice all that we possess, and thus accept our righteous role as stewards unto the Lord over our worldly goods.  We must learn to be willing to use these goods in the way the Lord commands us, without hesitation and without regret.  This is difficult – the concept of “ownership” is deeply ingrained in us.  Most of us, including myself – especially myself, will likely need to call upon the full power of the atonement to be freed from this burden.  We will be tried again and again as we strive to observe and keep this commandment – the world will see to that.  However, if we do not do this, we can never be prepared to live in Zion.  The goal of having “no poor among us” will be just as doomed by our failure to consecrate our “possessions” as it would be by our failure to consecrate our hearts and spirits.

Let us re-examine verses 6-7 of Section 119:

And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.

And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion.  Even so.  Amen.

The Law of Tithing is not about giving the 10% any more than the Law of the Gospel is about taking the sacrament.  The Law of Tithing is about consecrating everything, giving ourselves “completely” to the Lord and becoming one with Him.  It is about breaking the cords by which we are bound to Babylon, that we might be welcomed, and that we might welcome others, to Zion.  This, like every other law the Lord has given us, is a spiritual law intended to prepare us, if not as a church then as individuals, to receive of His fullness.  In D&C Section 119, the Lord commands us to accept this law, and the penalty for failure to do so is to forfeit Zion.  We each have a choice to make.  If we each make the right choice, the Lord will use us to build Zion.  If we all make the right choice, we will become a Zion church.  I may struggle from time to time breaking the bonds of Babylon, but the Lord knows my choice is made…

I stand imperfect but sincere…longing for Zion.

20 comments on “Just a Minute, Lord – I’ve Just Got a Few Treasures to Pack

  1. Do you still have your guitar? Or s that the one used at Conference when we all sing along, CumBaYa?”

  2. Great Blog Scott! Im going to give you some of my thoughts. I agree with becoming one with the Lord and being in a position where were are not worshiping our earthly belongings. I have always tried to be in a position where if I am asked, I can give up even my most prized possession. Yes, even my Gibson Les Paul guitar…well… yeah, okay, even that.
    I recently had a discussion with a family member regarding higher ups in the Church (bishopric, stake pres.) and this person (who has served in the bishopric) explained to me that the Lord chooses people who are financially successful to serve in positions such as the Bishop or Stake Pres. Why? Because they have shown to be more educated, responsible, and yes… spiritual. This all leading to the Lord blessing them with temporal substance. Their temporal substance somehow qualifies them to be able to hold a position such as a bishop or SP. I was taken back trying to justify in my mind how my accumulation of money and things is linked to my spirituality and qualifications of leading or inspiring a group of people. I thought more about it… and yes.. MANY bishops and leaders I know are financially well off, with large homes and BMW’s. They must have passed the qualifications to achieve such a spiritual status! …But from what I remember…. Christ didn’t drive a BMW, or have an overkill home, fancy clothing, or any of that “stuff” that I recall. Neither did Mother Teresa. Well, lets ask ourselves a questions… What if these bishops and SPs with their abundance of “stuff” were to do exactly what you speak of in your blog? All of them! And all of us. I believe that to serve the Lord, we serve others. To give to the Lord, we give to others. Then, we may be one step closer to the concept of “no poor among us”. Until that happens, I don’t believe we as a Church are any closer to being a Zion people then we were at any given point in time since the restoration began.
    As being on of the family members who questioned the tithing issue… and I did so very delicately with much considerations. The resolve that I came to was that I must do exactly as you say in your blog… give all we have to the Lord. I don’t believe that stops at giving a solid 10% to the institution and claiming a full tithe payer. Especially and institution that builds something that I can only compare to as the great and spacious building seen in Lehi’s dream with the people in their fine dress who love their “stuff” and money. And for the people to collectively believe that financial gain, wealth, overkill homes, and BMW’s is even a portion of what qualifies us for a high calling in the Church was something that was very difficult for me to wrap my head around for a very long time. In the end, I think your blog is what should be taught in church. But… that would be too hard for people sink their greedy little teeth into, so instead the church teaches something that probably wont gain us salvation in the long haul… and I know a few bishops that it would take a massive amount of humility to actually TRULY consider doing what you speak of. So, instead we continue to mask spirituality with the accumulation of the riches of the world until people start listening to voices of reason from people who show they are living these concepts. Like Scott… and Jesus Christ.

    • Fascinating view on a church that is so different from the one in which I have lived since I was baptized in New Zealand 35 yrs ago. Perhaps this is a Utah experience to have leaders called who have money but I can assure you that is not the case automatically in other parts of the world outside of Utah. I have had many leaders in this time (I have moved often, 17 years in my first 17yrs of marriage and including a 4 yr stint in Paris, France) and they have come from a wide range of circumstances including one Bishop who was unemployed and on welfare, bus driver, tool and die maker, policeman etc. Many of these leaders had VERY modest incomes. I don’t agree with Jules below that you would never find “a poor dirty fisherman who owns no worldly possessions hanging out with the beggars, the thieves, the lepers, the widows, the sick, the needy, and the whores, teaching them the fullness of the Gospel in today’s church leadership, because their treasure is not in heaven, but of this earth.” (Actually, I believe one of my leaders was actually a modest fisherman incidentally) Unless she belongs to a different church than the one I know. I have seen examples of this many times in my life. I still remember visiting with one of my favorite stake presidents of all time in very humble circumstances that matched the incredible humility of this man whom I admired. While he and his family had very little in their home it was clear that they put out the best they had to welcome us.

      I think there is a tendency for members of the church in the USA and especially in Utah to think that there is no world in the church outside of their world. You could go anywhere in the world and find examples of church leaders in ALL walks of life and financial circumstances. Remember that there are now many more members OUTSIDE of the USA than inside. I know of a church leader who went through a period of being homeless and the family is still not fully on their feet even though the sister has served as Relief Society President a number of times, the brother on the Bishopric. Elder Christofferson as an apostle gave a brilliant talk to BYU students about the years he spent in severe financial difficulty, almost bankrupt and often not knowing how he would survive. He had prayed for a miracle to be saved from financial ruin but the Lord said “no” to him.

      In terms of the Church being a corporate church, I am never sure why it is looked so down on for the church to be a wise steward of the resources it has. We are taught the parable of the talents and yet somehow believe it to be abhorrent if it applies to the church. And rich leaders are nothing new in our whole history either. Abraham was a very wealthy prophet. I for one am grateful that the church has wise men who know how best to maintain what comes in so that the church is able to make the tithing money go further. As we reach into even more poor areas of the world then that stewardship will be infinitely valuable to be able to build chapels and temples in remote locations where they could not afford it in own right from the tithing paid from those areas alone. From what I understand, that day has already arrived. Ask yourself how it would be possible to build a temple in Tonga, Samoa, Guatemala, up the Amazon etc if there was no wise stewardship of the funding through corporate investments.

      In terms of they way you view wealth I have a view also. I was surprised when I lived in the poorest ward of my 35yr experience in the church (we are talking the majority of the ward membership living well below the poverty line) to find that pride was rampant, more than in any other ward of my experience or since. I discovered they wore their poverty as a badge, were somehow proud of their poverty and considered this gave them an “in” into the life hereafter. It is a falsehood to describe that just because people have riches that they are automatically not humble.

  3. I’m with my brother Librium on this one. To reiterate his and add a few of my own points – first, that family member in the bishopric has been utterly blinded by the scales over his eyes, and is immersed in the false traditions so rampant in the church and the world today. (Forbes top 500 and church leadership seem to have the same criteria nowadays…) I care about him too, but it is an utter disgrace to the Savior and the way He lived and all he taught by His example, to claim that the leadership in the church are richer because they are more righteous – or that the righteous are endowed with more riches. The Lord hung out with the beggars, the thieves, the lepers, the widows, the sick, the needy, the whores…. what society considered the lout. He certainly clung to no earthly riches, and taught to give ALL to the poor:

    “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

    I am sad to say, you will never find a poor dirty fisherman who owns no worldly possessions hanging out with the beggars, the thieves, the lepers, the widows, the sick, the needy, and the whores, teaching them the fullness of the Gospel in today’s church leadership, because their treasure is not in heaven, but of this earth.

    Second, the law of tithing is a “lower law” given to those who have rejected the fullness of the Gospel. Those living in the City of Enoch – who were translated after 365 years of living as Zion did not pay tithing. They simply ensured by their righteous and charitable nature – by the pure love of Christ, that there were no poor among them:

    “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18)

    Their concern wasn’t calculating 10% of the gross, or net, or their surplus. The concern of a Zion people is that ALL of their brothers and sisters have their needs and wants – yes wants met. Like the good parent that cares for their children enough to make sure they are more comfortable than they are – and sacrifices as parents do to ensure that comfort, a Zion-mided person cares the same for others – and sacrifices so that the needs and righteous desires of the community are met before their own. THAT is what ensures that not only does nobody go without, but everyone has an abundance.

    Unfortunately, the corporate church is not in the business of creating Zion, but rather ensuring the success of a financial institution. If this were not the case, we would BE a “Zion church”. There would be no poor among us – and there would also be no rich leadership.

    As the church is the entity responsible for collecting tithes at this time, if we have made a covenant to tithe to the Lord, then we are obligated to fulfill that covenant. If the church chooses to misuse the Lord’s funds, that is upon their heads, not the tithe payers. It is also not the responsibility or right of the church to change the instructions given by the Lord as to how much and how we should tithe, nor is it their right to micromanage how much and how individuals tithe. HOWEVER, this comes with a caveat: if God instructs an individual to pay differently than the standard established for the church, it is the responsibility of the individual to follow and obey that individual instruction from God. “Differently” could mean a different amount that what is considered “proper”; it could mean paying that money to an entity or individual in need instead of paying it to the church; it could mean giving in-kind, donating time and service, or offering other types of assistance outside of the established church tithing system.

    The bottom line, however, is this:

    “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (Mosiah 4:19)

    None of it is ours to begin with; we are selfish, greedy, covetous people who care less about our brothers and sisters than our “stuff” and our superficial, worldly popularity. We can choose whatever treasures are closest to our hearts: those here on earth, or those in heaven.

    • Jules, Librium – thank you both for reading and commenting. Librium, I think you give me too much credit. My blog is a blog of discovery – constantly pointing in the direction I NEED to go. I’m not a hypocrite – I truly believe what I write – but I never claim to have “arrived”, only discovered. I do not have the anger toward the church that both of you SEEM to have. Perhaps anger is too strong a word, and perhaps I SHOULD be angry. I’ve always figured the reason rich people were leaders was because they could afford to sacrifice their time more easily than, say, I could. Nevertheless, as Jules so eloquently pointed out, the judgment is on their head. I cannot control what they do. I can only seek the Lord in the way He has shown me. I am filled with sadness at the things you say, largely because they ring true. I don’t know how it’s going to work out with the church, and individually for its leaders. I do know how it’s going to work out for me – I have that promise. I also know that my future will be filled with love, and that gives me great peace. That is worth shouting about. Am I blessed because I will never be rich? Maybe. I know this was sort of rambling, but, well, I guess I’m just saying what’s in my heart – kind of like giving a blessing, only with a little more editing.

      • Scoot, I think your statement here (from my perspective anyway) is correct:

        ” Perhaps anger is too strong a word, and perhaps I SHOULD be angry. ”

        I believe that it’s somewhere in the middle for us both. Acknowledging something that is not right – and choosing not to participate, is not necessarily being critical or angry. If my friend who I love chooses to turn to drugs and become addicted to Meth, I would say: “My friend has become a drug addict and I will not associate myself with them as long as they are doing drugs. It is a danger to me and I want no part of it. And if it gets bad enough, I may confront them and tell them they are hurting others, and may end up dead themselves.” I may be sad, discouraged, frustrated, disgusted, baffled by their ridiculous choices, and may even feel some anger, but I still love the good I see in my friend and the good times we’ve had before they turned to drugs.

        Regarding your comment here:

        ” I’ve always figured the reason rich people were leaders was because they could afford to sacrifice their time more easily than, say, I could.”

        I could be wrong, but did the Lord ever do a financial evaluation on anyone before He asked them to sacrifice – or make sure it wasn’t going to “hurt” financially first?? LOL. 😉 We are ALL asked to sacrifice ALL we have, and rely upon the Lord for ALL our sustenance and livelihood. The problem is that we lack faith, and rely upon that arm of the flesh that signs our paychecks instead of Him…

        Regarding this:

        ” I don’t know how it’s going to work out with the church, and individually for its leaders.”

        They – like all of us, have a window of opportunity to repent. If they do, they will be blessed and saved. If they don’t, they will be swept-off. I pray they will choose to avoid the latter. But since we do have a choice individually, we can choose to follow Him – despite the bad choices of others, and the bad choices of the church as a whole. We can’t control the actions of others, but we can certainly pray that the scales will be removed from their eyes.

  4. I guess I have two things that I cannot shake, and I’m not sure I want to. Unlike many who were born in the church, the Lord LED me to this church. It proved to be my salvation – because it was the gateway through which I truly found the Savior. This church still functions as such. There are many souls yet who will be brought to Christ through the church. They are brought closer to Christ than they would be without the church. Now we are saying that the church is leading them astray. Which is it?

    Second – I cherish the temple. My love for the temple grows constantly. I made a covenant in the temple to consecrate all to the Church for the building up of the Kingdom of God. They are still doing that – even if you don’t agree with the way they are doing it. There may well be things that need to be done differently, and perhaps you are being told to judge the church, but I am not. I am being told to understand and sustain.

    Funny that we’re having this conversation over the internet, huh?

  5. You said “gateway”….. NOT the ultimate goal, just a stepping stone. 😉 And yes, the church – even in its condemned state, is a great net to gather those who are actually willing to embrace the fullness of the Gospel and be converted unto the Lord:

    “When the Lord hung on the cross, and the sun was darkened at noon, if you had looked up in the sky to see what was overhead, you would see the sacrificial sheep in the pattern of the stars; what we call Aries today. Proceeding forth from under the forefoot of Aries, we have renamed it “the bands of Pisces,” but it should be more appropriately rendered as the net of Pisces. Because from under the fore leg of the Lamb, was cast out a net. This is the New Testament pattern or church. That net gathers in at least two kinds of fish. The larger one that is gathered in the net is forever circumnavigating the ecliptic, and will do so eternally. The larger group in the star field, though caught in the net cast by the Lamb will never rise up to the North. The smaller group, the smaller star field of Pisces, which also is caught in that same net, is pointed to the sides of the North, where the Throne of the Father is to be found; that place around which all things revolve and where the Father presides and sustains all of His creations.” … “So if it’s going to be as it was in the days of Noah there is this net that has been cast out to gather together all manner of fish. (Matt. 13: 47-50.) But as the Lord tells the parable, the angels are going to come at the end of the world to pick through all manner of fish, they keep the good, and the wicked are cast away.” (Denver Snuffer, Centerville, UT lecture)

    But I think it is incorrect of anyone to assume that this church is the only means by which we can reach Him. There are souls being brought to Him all over the world and outside of the church. If someone is brought face to face with the Lord in this lifetime but is not LDS, are you saying they are not as close to Him as they would be if they were then brought into the church? As far as the church leading people astray – are they bringing people to the Lord to receive the Second Comforter in this life, or are they bringing people to the institution?

    You are one of the rare in the church who seek greater light and knowledge – where the majority are happy with the thinking having been done for them. It isn’t the church that brought you to where you are, it’s you acting on your inspired desires. The Lord could have used another church or another culture or another time in history to help you on this path, but this was the best one FOR YOU, so He led you in that direction.

    Regarding these two things you don’t want to let go of – that’s your choice. It’s always your choice, God isn’t going to force to let go of anything you don’t feel comfortable letting go of. I think the thing for you to decide is if He is inspiring you to remain close to the church so you can grow and understand more yourself and possibly be a teacher there to others, or if it’s your fear and traditions that are keeping you where you are. If it’s part of your “mission” to stay close to the church, then do it – no matter what others are doing. (For example, I know unequivocally that this country is utterly evil and I refuse to support or take part anything that isn’t necessary for the survival of my family as we wade in the cesspool and try not to drown, but I’m not being told to leave the US and move somewhere else at this time.) And it’s OK to be either in or out of the church and STILL recognize, accept the corruption in the church – and not condemn yourself by clinging to those things or justifying evils. Others are not necessarily going to have the same mission as you and may be told that they don’t need to remain with the church or may be kicked out when they are innocent – and called to witness against the church, and that’s OK too.

    You know which church is the one that matters, and that’s the Church of the Firstborn. If we are ready to live according to that sphere, we’ll be brought into it. It’s 100% our choice!

    Maybe this conversation is “safer” over the internet….. 😀

    • “safer”! Ha ha – that made me smile. Yes, perhaps, but we NEED to learn to have these conversations face to face. I struggle with that, I know, but I will overcome,and we will be a Zion family.

  6. I would like to clarify some things here…

    “I do not have the anger toward the church that both of you SEEM to have.”

    I would not say its anger. Im not mad at God. Im not mad at the Gospel. I would say, however, I am reacting as anyone would, when they are disappointed with the way we as a people have and continue to view things as a collective. I too am in a process of discovery. And when I discover that a way that I have been taught traditionally is not exactly accurate information, or even necessarily what I should be learning to gain true salvation… Yeah, It leads to feelings of disappointment. I have gone my whole life with unanswered questions and inaccurate views that are suddenly being answered and discovered. It has changed a lifetime of habit and going through the motions, into a constructive view of what I really need to be doing. Its a huge contrast. My biggest fear is that I cannot do what is required of me. It would be so much easier if I just stuck with the commonly taught notion that I go to church, pay my 10%, do my callings and home teaching to keep my numbers up, make sure Im wearing a white shirt and all the other things that support my traditional belief structure that tells me Im better then most because I am living the fullness of the Gospel. But, now that I see there is much more… I have to go with that. People mistake it as me wanting to do less.

    Two points that you made…

    “There may well be things that need to be done differently, and perhaps you are being told to judge the church, but I am not. I am being told to understand and sustain.”

    I dont feel I was told to judge the church, in fact quite the opposite. I feel that I am to forgive those who may have made mistakes along the way. And also to be grateful for our free agency.

    “I made a covenant in the temple to consecrate all to the Church for the building up of the Kingdom of God. They are still doing that – even if you don’t agree with the way they are doing it.”

    And thats what you should be doing. Now, what if.. just what if it was not the Church that was building the Kingdom of God… or Zion? I too support the “gateway”, but in my process of discovery, I am seeing that If I stay in the “gate” I will not enter the Kingdom of God. But I must go THROUGH the gate to get there. Elder Poleman gave a fantastic point in his talk (the pre-edited version)…

    “As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.”

    If I stay in the gateway and believe that is all I have to do, where will it get me? Now you said in your response.. They are still doing that (building the Kingdom of God). I believe they are to a certain point. Obviously there are elements in place that we need to know and learn, but If what the church is doing now is exactly what is going to build Zion, then why even have the discussion? We should just shut up and do exactly what we are doing.. in the church. Right? As a collective, and I think many will agree… society is becoming worse, not better. Even in the church. I see it all around me. I dont dare even mention the homosexual issue in church anymore, because I will be slammed for it. I already have been. And I dont mean harsh criticisms or anything like that.. just simply stating that its a sinful act. I am pointed to a direction of tolerance, acceptance… and silence. A high percentage of the youth in the church today are in favor of gay marriage. More then ever. Does that mean we are becoming a Zion people?

    “There may well be things that need to be done differently…”

    Now, if the Church is truly building the Kingdom of God.. why would we need to do anything differently? If you say that, you acknowledge that things are being done wrong. Let me ask you this… If the Church continues on its CURRENT coarse and everyone remains doing what they are CURRENTLY doing… will we build Zion? My answer is most certainly not. It will continue to adapt to the societal workings of man and we will never fulfill what the Lord originally restored to this earth. That means, we need people OUTSIDE of the collective traditional narrative to point out to us what we truly need to do, such as what you pointed out in this blog. I know that “doing” and “saying” are 2 different things… but it needs to be said first. You said something in your blog that we must now all strive to DO! And it certainly goes beyond the common taught narrative of the Church.

  7. I can’t keep passing this comment over:

    “I made a covenant in the temple to consecrate all to the Church for the building up of the Kingdom of God. They are still doing that – even if you don’t agree with the way they are doing it.”

    I made the same covenant, but I was told that they are NO LONGER doing that – it’s not that I don’t agree with the madness of their methods, it’s that the church has utterly broken their end of that 3-part covenant (between me, them and God). I have been told this (checking the items off as we read…):

    2 Nephi 28:3 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s [*CHECK*]; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—

    4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance [*CHECK*].

    5 And they deny the power of God [*CHECK*], the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men [*CHECK*];

    6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept [*CHECK*]; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.

    7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us [*CHECK*].

    8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God [*CHECK*].

    9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines [*CHECK*], and shall be puffed up in their hearts [*CHECK*], and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord [*CHECK*]; and their works shall be in the dark [*CHECK*].

    10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.

    11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.

    12 Because of pride [*CHECK*], and because of false teachers [*CHECK*], and false doctrine [*CHECK*], their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.

    13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries [*CHECK*]; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing [*CHECK*]; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.

    14 They wear stiff necks and high heads [*CHECK*]; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ [*CHECK*]; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. [*CHECK*]

    15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts [*CHECK*], and all those who preach false doctrines [*CHECK*], and all those who commit whoredoms [*CHECK*], and pervert the right way of the Lord [*CHECK*], wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

    THREE WOs is a pretty big deal.

    I understand that the church has broken their end of the covenant – as I said above. Therefore, the covenant is between God and me. I am to continue my covenant only with Him now and do the things HE asks me to, to build the Kingdom of God on earth and establish Zion.

    • Sheesh – you guys are ganging up on me! Librium asked me if the church will build Zion if it keeps going as it is. My heart and my brain say no. I’m really comfortable with the narrative from Visions of Glory – where it all breaks down, and we are left with the Holy Ghost, the Savior, and translated apostles who guide and direct the building of Zion. But I LOVE the temple – I LOVE working there, and frankly I LOVE the church. I really do. Yes – what Elder P. said has happened to me. I am no longer as dependent upon the church for my relationship with God. No man stands between me and the Lord – I can say that with confidence – but I LOVE the church. I love the people, I love President Monson (I have a unique opportunity to say that), I love the meetings, even when they get up and say, “I know this church is true”. It makes me want to help nurture them to discover the things that I have discovered. Plus, it’s a little presumptuous of me to assume that they haven’t discovered the same thing, and that they are just quietly working as much as they can to nurture others just as I am. I know that’s not true of all, of course. Jules – I’ve read the scriptures. I know what they say. I also know how Moroni rails on us about letting unbelief stand in the way of miracles. That truly pains me, and I want to overcome it so badly. I’ve struggled mightily with the role of the church. I’ve even been told something about the church VERY CLEARLY – something I cannot doubt – which I have not shared, and frankly am not ready to share. I know these things. It’s not about the information – it’s about the conclusions, and what we do with them. I am to love, sustain, and support, and work in the temple. I am not called to condemn or chastise, but to nurture and teach. I do that in the jail, I do it in my blogs, and I’m having great success doing it one-on-one through FB (I know – amazing). I am not so convinced that the church has broken their end of the covenant, but I know there are problems. I am moving in a good direction – an amazing direction. Some of that is shared in the blogs, some of it is shared only with my wife.

  8. I think its still good to love the Church. We are commanded to love everyone, and the people make up the Church. We have to love them and help everyone through. Again, I think that these things are all by design. Perhaps the Lord lets us run the Church according to dictates of our own consciences so that we can take the steps that man are capable of, and then we have to reach higher and make it a personal journey outside of the collective so we can become part of “the few”. I actually want to continue my coarse in the Church. I want to be able to go to the temple and other things. But I have a few dilemmas that I need to work through. If I was by myself, I would not concern myself so much with the false notions that are taught in church, or the culture. Because I feel I can see past all that and would be able to help people … not see the flaws in the Church… but simply see that we need to reach higher and do what is REALLY expected of us. It floors me that as I read the BOM, I see so clearly what we as a people are doing, and it is spelled out so clearly… what floors me even more, is the lack of attention it gets. Several weeks ago, I was listening to someone AGAIN teach that Nephi’s warnings are for the world… and how lucky we are as a church to be living in the fullness of the gospel and how everyone else is under condemnation.. but us. Yikes. My biggest dilemma as of now is that Im torn by two parents teaching their kids two different perspectives. Do I really want to subject my kids to my neighbor teaching them false traditional narratives? Not really. But I don’t have much of a choice in the matter. I guess I just need to teach them good principals and let them figure it out on their own if they so choose.

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