I’ve been tempted to write this message to you, my friends, many times before, but it never seemed like the right time. Now, obviously, it is. It’s the right time because now I can write it without judgment, without rancor, and in profound peace.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has changed – a lot. It changed while Joseph was alive, taking on the form of a New Testament church. It changed during the presidencies of Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff under the burden of polygamy. It changed during the post-polygamy era as its presidents changed their focus from survival in the face of government take-over to survival in the face of financial insolvency. It has continued to change in the last half of the 20th Century with the introduction of correlation and an emphasis on following the Brethren – hopefully in preparation for the trials and tribulations of the last days. Through these years, changes have occurred in doctrines and/or practices on marriage, tithing, priesthood, observance of the Word of Wisdom, temple worthiness, temple ordinances, missionary work, and many other areas. Comparisons between the church of the early days in Kirtland and the correlated, corporate church of today are striking, to say the least.
There are many who believe, as the Church currently teaches, that these changes are effected by the Lord’s own hand, through Christ-appointed prophets, seers, and revelators; that they are necessary in order for the church to adapt to the world around us – that it might continue to fulfill its 4-fold mission. These people see these changes as the manifestation of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 2:45) of a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, rolling forth unto all the world. There are others who mourn the loss of the church (or gospel?) that Joseph sought to restore, going so far as to say that the restoration initiated by the great prophet of our dispensation was hijacked by conspiring men and that, as a result, today’s church is a church of man, the very embodiment of “the philosophies of men…mingled with scripture”, and that it actually wields little of the priesthood authority it claims to have. In between these extremes lies a broad spectrum of beliefs and interpretations, all of which probably portray some degree of truth.
It is not my purpose in this post to judge who among these seekers of truth are most correct. I leave it to each of you to personally determine that for yourself, and I bring these things up only as an essential context for what is to follow. I do desire, however, to explain to you as fully as possible – in a short essay – what has happened in my life as I have sought diligently, even passionately, to receive a fulfillment of the promise the Lord made in D&C 93:1:
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
IS THIS REALLY APOSTASY?
As I have learned more and more about the gospel – about the nature of Christ and His relationship with man (especially with me) – I have found myself increasingly at odds with the doctrines, policies, traditions and culture of the 21st century Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At first, as I began to learn these things, I wanted to share them with everyone, but my motives were selfish. I sought to say, “Look at me! Look what I know!” I was prideful, even foolish, and I was in great need of repentance. Although my repentance was imperfect, even naïve, it was sincere, and it continues to this day as I seek to fully align myself with His will and His nature. Fortunately, because I was consistently repentant of my weakness as I kept searching for more truth, aka “Further light and knowledge”, the Lord continued to provide it. As I diligently sought His face, He slowly, carefully nurtured me such that I might actually be able to receive this supernal gift. For the past 3 years, I have been blessed with profound personal revelation about what I need to be doing in order to prepare to meet my Savior; about the church and its future and my place in (or out) of it; and about the need for drastic changes in our (Diana’s and mine) living circumstances moving forward. I have even been graced with occasional visions and visitations to guide and prepare me for the mission that lies ahead of us.
As a result of this process, I have found that I no longer have a place in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For various reasons, the work that I am called to perform cannot be tolerated within today’s church. I’m ok with that. I understand to some extent why it has to be that way. I know my Savior more intimately than I ever have, and I have been given knowledge concerning this mission that is at various times frightening, inspiring, sustaining, exciting, and, by the standards of the world (babylon, if you will), quite crazy. I am forever grateful for the time I spent as a member of the church. I was nurtured, challenged, and loved. I grew tremendously. The church itself does so much good in the world. It enriches lives. I believe it teaches more true doctrine than any other church in the world today. I have learned so many things, made so many wonderful friends, and become an entirely different person than I was prior to my association with the Church. It was an absolutely necessary preparation and proving ground for what I must now do. There are many, many good, faithful, loving, generous people in the church, especially in my home ward and stake. I am often in awe of their beauty before the Lord. I know that He loves them and will continue to watch over them.
I also know it is very difficult, given most Latter-day Saints’ beliefs concerning the church, for my dear friends to understand that I could be called by the Lord to perform a mission outside the church. I am sorry for that, but I can’t change it. It truly grieves me that there are those who are hurt by our resignation; those who are convinced that we are making a grave mistake with eternal implications. Well, the decisions we are making most certainly do have eternal implications, but they are not as many believe. I described these eternal implications recently to my mother; “Mother, what would you do if you knew the Lord was telling you to do something, and you were afraid, or too prideful, or too blind to do it?” She said, “I’d be scared.”
Please understand. If we (Diana and me) were to turn away from what we have been called directly by the Lord Himself to do…then that would be to our eternal damnation.
We have been told by some who love us that we are deceived; that we are listening to a lying spirit; even that we are being prideful and arrogant. We have been labeled apostate, and told that the blessings bestowed upon us by the Lord, as a result of our faithfulness, are forfeit. I think I understand why these friends think this way. I think it is because they believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only authorized vehicle through which the Lord will work to bring about His purposes in these last days, and thus that anything that takes one away from the church must be a deceiving, lying spirit or force. I counter this belief by quoting two things. First, this from Moroni 7:11-18:
For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every good thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
Second, I quote from the mouth of the Lord Himself. He said to me:
You are not being deceived. Moroni (Moroni 7:11-19) made it clear indeed that all voices that encourage the worship of Christ, all voices which encourage charity, humility, and the power that grows from them – together as one package – are from me. You have no desire for control, compulsion, or dominion. This is the sign by which you may know that you are being led by my word. If you or anyone ever begins to demonstrate that desire – they are not of me. This is a great key –one by which you may be sure. This is a glorious truth that will give you much peace concerning what is happening with you. You can be sure of this – I give you my promise – the promise of Heaven. Yes – the relief that you feel is very real, and it is very appropriate. Do not doubt. As long as you can observe this key, you will be safe from the adversary. I repeat – this is the grand key by which you may judge between my voice and the voice of others. Peace, my son. All is well between us. Treasure your wife and your family – even your new family of brothers and sisters. Glory awaits – my glory. I love you.
EXTRAORDINARY TIMES – EXTRAORDINARY FAITH
My friends, these are extraordinary times. These are the last days that have been prophesied of for millenia. They approach rapidly, and many are being called to prepare places of refuge, to prepare to be strong when others are in need and to actually live the principles of Zion. This is according to the Lord’s love and mercy. In order to do this, these saints must divorce themselves from babylon so that, when the tribulations come, they are prepared – not with guns and ammo and whiskey – but with the shelter and sustenance of the everlasting gospel. They must prepare themselves to encounter the forces of the adversary in very real battle. They must become so pure in heart as to be able to perform miracles that are rarely heard of except in the scriptures. Such miracles must become commonplace among us, or we will never survive.
These faithful saints are indeed being prepared, and we have found ourselves to be among them. We rejoice in being asked to fulfill this mission. It will be beyond difficult. It can only be carried out if we can strip ourselves of pride and humble ourselves before God, making ourselves willing to do all that He commands us. Nevertheless, the Lord has promised that He will prepare us, even in our advancing age. Such has been done before (3 Nephi 28), and it will be done again; whether to us or not is yet to be determined. We, however, must simply believe. It is indeed an extraordinary promise, but we must believe and we must act in faith.
Yes, we must believe. We must believe in the literal gifts of the spirit and that all men may receive revelation and visions – even the vision of Christ Himself. We must believe in miracles to be performed in accordance with the will of the Lord (Mormon 8). We must believe in the promised fullness of the priesthood, even unto the renewing of our bodies. We must believe in the reality and immediacy of all the promises and prophecies that have been made since the dawn of man. Furthermore, the only safety that will be afforded us is safety in Him. Babylon will fall and great will be the fall thereof. If we are dependent upon her and all her trappings, we will fall with her.
Although I have written this in the first person, please know that Diana and I have never been more united. We have found, both individually and together, stores of faith and courage that we never knew existed. Together, we ask for your prayers. We ask that you pray to know that we are in the Lord’s hands. We ask that you pray to know His will for you. We ask that you pray that we all might truly humble ourselves before Him and be willing to do all that he asks of us. We ask you to pray for our very survival, as we will pray for yours. In this – our prayers, our faith, and our obedience to His voice – is our only refuge. Please understand – we are not falling away. We are following Him. We are following Him with great love and great passion – love and passion that we never knew we were capable of. He has lifted us. He has shown us the way. He has called. We have answered. It is that simple. Please do not condemn us for doing that which the scriptures repeatedly command us to do. Please believe…in us…in yourselves…in Him.
With all our love…in Jesus Christ, our Savior…
Scott and Diana