“The Time Has Come,” the Walrus Said

Walrus-Carpenter

  • To talk of fewer things.
  • Not of consent or where our friends went.  
  • No voice…nor choice.  
  • Just cabbages and kings.

After a 2 1/2 year faith journey, I’m stepping away from the church.  This morning, with tears in her eyes, my wife said, “Honey, there are other ways to serve Jesus than advocating for his laws and a safe place to discuss them.”  In her wise and kind way, she was giving me permission and support to follow a different path.

It’s time.  It’s consumed me.

I have blogged…as an active, believing church member.  I’ll continue to blog…as a believing member who has stepped away.

Do I support my wife in the church?  Of course.  But, she has not been there much lately.

Do I support my kids and grand kids in the church?  Of course and absolutely.

Do I support my bishop and stake president?  Fine, fine men.  They are doing the best they can within the system they have been dealt.

Do I support my friends who remain active?  If it blesses their lives, that is exactly where they should be.  Good for them.  They have my full encouragement.

Do I support my friends and family who have left the church?  That’s pretty rhetorical at this point.  Whether atheist or Christian..believer of not…we understand and empathize with each other completely.

Acknowledge That People are Leaving

This has been a sticking point over the past 26 months.  It was that long ago, when I first reached out to the local leaders.  I was encouraging them to create a safe space for those with questions.  In that first meeting, I was told that I was the only person who was questioning.

Over the intervening 2 years, many members of our ward have left.  The leaders may be clueless as to who several of them are.  Except for one couple, I have had lengthy and deep communication with all those on the list below.

Family #1:  Two years ago, this bedrock couple was open to outreach.  Today, they are simply gone.

Family #2:  Super active and involved for decades.  Now, gone.  The one family I have not personal spoken to, yet.

Family #3:  Have since moved from the ward.  Few know of their disaffection.  They want it that way.

Family #4:  Struggled in gut wrenching pain and loneliness for months.  Finally, left the church without discussing anything with leadership.

Family #5:  Another family who moved on from the ward and on from the church.  Again, few know and they want to keep it that way.

Family #6:  They contacted me a few weeks ago.  Long discussion.  Not coming back.  Don’t want to discuss with anyone else.

Family #7:  If the ward doesn’t know they are gone, they are not paying attention.

Family #8:  That’s me….my wife would have to speak for herself.

Our ward and stake leadership is not aware of all the names behind these family #’s.  They seem to be in denial.  Never-the-less, they are real.  If this is happening in my own ward, imagine what is happening all around the world.

Hopeful Conversation?

Recently, I had the following conversation in a social channel.

Here are the feeling that I presented.

  1. Nobody cares that people are leaving.
  2. Nobody will discuss reasons why people are leaving. Our heads are deep in the sand.
  3. Nobody knows what the temple covenants mean. We are forbidden from discussing them in the open or in classes.
  4. It’s forbidden to discuss church history and doctrine at church… The essays are not to be brought up.
  5. Local leadership is going to follow whatever the church says… No suggestions from the congregation.

The response:

Perhaps this is the case in your ward or stake, but it’s important to realize that not everyone’s experience in the Church is the same. Where I live, our ward and stake is very concerned about those who are leaving, and is taking steps to try to better understand them, their needs, and how to better serve them.

No one is forbidden from speaking about temple covenants. In fact, it’s part of the temple preparation course. It’s in the manual. Some may feel uncomfortable speaking about it, but there’s no prohibition. Those who think there is one simply need to be better educated. 

I’ve had several discussions on difficult gospel topics at Church. In fact, the new Teaching in the Savior’s Way training is much more open about student questions and discussion.

Input from ward members is certainly a desire. A couple years ago, a seventy visited our stake conference and said that ward councils should be including as many people as we want to include. It isn’t just for leaders, it’s for the ward. If you want to hear anyone’s input on what needs to happen in the ward, invite them. 

This man’s ward and stake is going to be OK.  Their approach is badly needed everywhere.

What Would Bring Me Back?

A voice.  To be treated like a valued adult.  Not as a child.

Now, off to the great adventure of attempting to follow the teachings and example of the babe in the manger.

 

 

 

 

Suicide Vote

UtahAges12-21SuicideRatesPNG-1080x675

If I Don’t Dissent….I Consent

Well….I don’t consent.  No way am I going to dismiss the dreadful suicide rates documented by the CDC.  It’s a shame and a stain on my church.

The LGBT policies of the LDS church are, at best, purely temporary.  A modern apostle taught us this fact.  You can find his words detailed HERE.

These policies are not binding on the church until they are presented for a vote and sustained by the majority.  This is a restored principle of the restored church.  The prophet Joseph F. Smith testified before the U.S. Congress that this is the way the church functions.  His testimony is recorded HERE.

A Driving Force Behind Gay Suicides

I have a friend in Utah County who is an ardent advocate and protector of gay kids.  The Provo area can be particularly hard on LGBT as the density of the Mormon faith is so intense there.  He explained something I’d never heard before:

“Gay kids are taught that they have to endure this life in complete celibacy.  When they eventually die, they will be resurrected with the ‘normal and proper’ heterosexual feelings.  In the next world, they will be ‘fixed.’  But…in the meantime, they must endure the next 70 to 80 years with no expression of their gay inclinations.  No hand holding.  No hugging.  No dating.  No kissing.  No romance.  No romantic love.  No intimacy.  No marriage.  No hope for any of this.  The ideation then goes something like this.  ‘If I will be changed to a normal person after I die, why wait 80 years?  Why not end the suffering, the rejection, the hopelessness?  I’ve prayed to be changed.  It hasn’t worked.  But, I know how I can be changed.  I have to die.'”

It’s not the gay kids that need to change.  It’s the policies, teachings and attitudes of the institution that need to change.  They aren’t even real policies.  Only temporary!!!

Gay kids need sympathetic support.  Not suicidal support.  At April’s General Conference, I will exercise my right, privilege and responsibility to vote opposed.  If it saves one LBGT youth from suicide…the shunning & temple recommend loss that I endure, will all be well worth it.

Over 45 years ago, I witnessed the beating of a poor innocent mentally challenged kid.  Essentially, I consented to his beating by standing on the sidelines and uttering no protest.  I have deep, deep regrets, which are recoreded HERE.  I’m not going to make another dreadful blunder by standing on the sidelines as suicides soar.

To read a fuller analysis of Utah’s teen suicides and their link to the church’s LGBT policies, this is a great SITE.  The author put together the graph above from data provided by the CDC website.

322

Fortunately, I’m not alone.  There are now 322 of us living the law of common consent and voting opposed.

Join us.

You can start HERE.

Other Resources

  • Common Consent Scriptures & Doctrine, click HERE.
  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove, click, HERE.
  • Email notifications that can be sent to Bishops and Stake Presidents, click HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.
  • If I Don’t Dissent…I Consent, click HERE.

Is the Church Worth Saving?

Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-12.50.35-PM-300x228Gina Colvin

I’ve never done this before…highlight someone else’s podcast.

This one touched and encouraged me.  It’s from a group called A Thoughtful Faith.  They produce podcasts which appeal to Mormons who are active, want to stay active,  but may have concerns regarding the church.  I was particularly intrigued by the 64 dollar question at the end…”Is the church worth saving?”

The podcast features Gina Colvin interviewing Josh and Ron Madson.

In the comments below, I think you’ll see why I liked this so much.

Links

For the actual podcast click HERE.

For the website click HERE.  It gives details about the participants and about A Thoughtful Faith.

My Comments

Gina, Josh & Ron…Thanks for this wonderful podcast. I listened to it 3 times over!!! It was informative and insightful. Highly validating of what I’ve been thinking. I also found it full of opportunity. The opportunity to step up to the plate of Common Consent. Here’s what I heard. Sorry if I get some of your names wrong.

Josh: “I don’t know if we can change? Moving everything from local to general. Most of the things local members used to have to make changes have been wrested from them.” Sam: They didn’t wrest all things. We are actually the ones who have ceded common consent. But, that we can easily take back. It just waiting for our action.

Ron: “Something must die so that something can live.” Sam: Something must first come to life…common consent, before something will die…our reliance on central control to dictate all policies and practices.

Josh: “Change will have to come from the margins. From the bottom up. It will involve people questioning authority. Until those things are challenged we will always be under the thumb of central rule and we’ll continue to have to take marching orders.” Sam: Doesn’t this just scream common consent? that is the bottom up method that Jesus himself established.

Gina: “It needs people to put on the brake and say, “Whoa…hold on. I didn’t sign up for this kind of corporatized Christianity.” Sam: That’s exactly what common consent expresses. By simply voting to sustain we are saying, “Whoa…hold on…you have my approval to continue to do anything you darn well please.”

Ron: “More than anything the church needs more and more Samuels, people from the margins challenging it. We need Samuels and others from the margins to keep us in check.” Sam: OK…I’m not a Lamanite. But, I am a Samuel. At present, I’m the only one on the wall calling for Common Consent. You are right. We need more & more Samuels on the wall. Come join me. What would happen if Gina, Josh and Ron climbed up on Samuel’s wall and encouraged compliance to the law of Jesus Christ…the law of common consent? Here’s what would happen…a few more Samuels would appear…and then a few more…then a lot more…

Gina: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have Samuel the Lamanite to give us some direction.” Sam: Ditto my comments above. Come be a Samuel on the wall. After all, during my faith transition, YOU, Gina, had a great influence on my decision to stay with the church.

Ron: “We need a wake up call.” Sam: Exactly right. A wake up to OUR responsibility. It’s OUR responsibility to exercise our god-given right, & privilege of common consent. But, who is going to make that wake up call? How about you 3 along with little ol’ me? At present there are 321 members who have put their names on the register of Common Consent as being opposed to various policies that have yet to be presented for the required vote. What is needed is more members at the forefront leading the charge.

Ron: “I’ve never had a faith crisis. The church has a truth crisis.” Sam: The entire membership is going through a responsibility crisis. No one is stepping up to their duty. “All things MUST be done in the church by common consent.” That’s us. Jesus is talking about our vital responsibility in church governance. We are shirking it very badly.

Finally, Gina posed the ultimate question which goes something like this: ‘Is the church, as it’s currently organized, worth saving?’ Here’s my answer—YES!!! There is so much good in and about the church. However, I would add another question, “Is the church, as it’s currently practiced, worth saving? Nope!!! At least not for me. And…not for the boatloads of members who have left and will continue to leave. The church is organized with common consent as a powerful principle. But, it’s practiced as an essential that has been eviscerated. We need to eviscerate our complacency to this essential law.

So there it is. We have tons of complaints. The solution is embedded in our founding, canonized documents. The key is hidden in plain sight. We all see it. A commandment calling out for our courageous embrace.

Thanks again for this wonderful podcast. Ya’ll are awesome.

Take Responsibility for Destroying the LDS Church

IMG_0177

You are destroying the Mormon church–my church.  That’s right.  I’m pointing a finger directly at you…all of you who continue to vote approval.  You are destroying my church…one member at a time…thousands every month…tens of thousands every year.

Your sustaining vote upholds the violation of Christ’s law of common consent.

Every vote of approval gives license to unrighteous dominion.  Our own scriptures warn us of the certainty of this colossal danger.

Every sustaining vote condemns Christ’s system of checks and balances, converting it into nothing more than a pointless practice.

Condemnation

Our current prophets have condemned 160 years of our racist past.  They have Condemned the racism of our policies, practices, doctrine and teachings.  I don’t blame the prophets for our condemned racist history.  Yeah…they do share big time blame.  But, I place the majority of the blame and shame on the members…you and me.  Our racist past is our fault.  All of our racist doctrine was implemented…without our consent.  We sat by and let it be implemented…without exercising the rights, privileges and responsibilities that Jesus had placed squarely on our shoulders.

Today, we are operating under a whole system of policies and teachings that have never been exposed to the light of common consent.  At best, that makes them temporary policies.  At worst, they are the misguided ideas of men.  According to scripture, doctrine and prophetic pronouncements, they all MUST be put up for a vote of the church body.

Three Hundred and Eighteen

318 brothers and sisters have now broken with the ranks of silence.  We have taken on the responsibility of saving the church.  Actually, we took on this burden when we were baptised and committed to follow the commandments of Jesus.  We further committed in the temple…where we made a covenant to obey the law of God.

On the other hand, those of you who choose to sustain MUST take responsibility for the dire effects that disobedience is wreaking on the church.  Five, ten, twenty years from now, we will condemn and disavow current tenets that were never presented for approval.  That will be on your heads, not on the heads of the 318.

We are taught that there is safety in keeping the commandments.  Well, the church must be in grave danger as it openly defies Christ.  No favors are done for the apostles by simply saluting everytime they ask for a vote.  Rather, we are putting them in danger of the corrupting influence of unfettered power.  Christ has provided the check.  We are dismissing it.

Twenty-four days from now, general conference will be upon us.  You can take the responsibility of contributing to the church’s destruction.  Your sustaining vote will sustain the subversion of common consent.  Or, you can stand on Christ’s side and vote to uphold His law.

For me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Follow Jesus by Voting Opposed

There is only one way that this beautiful part of the restoration will be restored to its rightful place.  It up to us to take it into our hands and to lift them in opposition to the continued disobedience of the Savior’s Law of Common Consent.

Go to conference, in your home, in your chapel, or in SLC, and vote to have our rights and privileges of consent restored.

You can start by registering with 318 other members on the Common Consent Register …HERE.

Other Resources

Common Consent Scriptures & Doctrine, click HERE.
Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove, click, HERE.
Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.
An Apostle Speaks Up for Common Consent, click HERE.

Would You Go To A Church?

IMG_0175Would you go to a church where your ideas and opinions are worthless?

Would you go to a church where you are told to keep your worthless ideas and opinions to yourself?

Is there a church that DEMANDS 10% of your income in order to meet God….and…. DOES value your ideas and opinions?

Have all Members Lost their Testimony?

voting-opposed

This post is addressed to:

Members of the LDS church.  The rank-and-file, along with all levels of leadership.

Over the past year, I’ve voted opposed at 5 voting conferences:  2 General, 2 Ward and 1 stake.  Of course, I was outvoted.  So, I sustain, recognize and accept the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles…until the next voting opportunity.  That comes up on April 1st at spring General Conference.

As a result of voting my true opinion this is what people say about me:

  • I’ve lost my faith.
  • I’ve lost my testimony of the restoration.
  • I’ve lost my testimony of Joseph Smith.
  • I don’t qualify to hold a temple recommend.

Well, I’m turning that sentiment on its head.  It’s not me who has lost faith or testimony. It’s you!!!       You have either lost or never had faith or a real testimony in the first place.

Jesus Christ

Where is your faith in Christ?  Why do you pick and choose which of His commandments to keep and which to completely disregard?  It’s you who condones the breaking of His law of consent.  Not me.  I have placed my faith in Jesus Christ.  I am certainly not perfect in following His commandments.  But, no way am I disrespecting, dismissing or discounting His commandment to actively participate in common consent.

The Restoration

I’ve lost my testimony of the restoration?  Nope.  I embrace the restoration.  Consent from the general membership is taught in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  This beautiful principle has now been restored in our glorious dispensation.  What happened to your belief in the restoration?

Joseph Smith & Revelation

Joseph Smith holds claim to many a revelation, several of them involving the Law of Common Consent.  He made sure that the church lived by this law during his lifetime.  A salary for him was even put up for a vote.  It was voted down by his fellow members.  What happened to your testimony of this prophet?  Mine hasn’t withered.

Modern Scripture

We have one book of scripture that contains modern revelation concerning the restoration and the organization of the current church…the Doctrine & Covenants.  What happened to your testimony in the scriptures?  Or are you a cafeteria Mormon, only picking what you like?  What’s the point of a modern canon if you ignore it?  Common Consent is referred to several times in the D&C.  It’s most clearly stated in sections 26 verse 2 and 28 verse 13.

Temple Recommend

Really, I don’t qualify for a recommend because I strive to life the Law of Common Consent?  Nope.  I question whether YOU qualify.  I sustain the apostles.  But, I will vote opposed at the next conference….  opposed that we are not following the law of consent.  One of the qualifying temple questions is this, “Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made?”  In the temple, I made a promise to obey the law of God.  Modern revelation and scripture mandate that common consent is the law of God.  What caused you to lose your resolve to keep your temple covenants?  Isn’t it you who should be forfeiting your recommend?

The Church is True

Today is testimony meeting.  Many of you will stand and bear witness of the truthfulness of the church.  Then why do you scorn its doctrine?  “Policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints” are to be presented for approval or disapproval.  This is taken directly from a doctrinal statement on LDS.ORG.  Why do you ignore this doctrine that was established by Christ?

Modern Prophets

Another witness we will hear over and over again is of Thomas S. Monson being a prophet.  Why don’t you have a testimony of that anymore?  Or do you believe it and just choose to ignore him when he speaks?  Here’s what he taught 5 months ago in October’s General Conference:  “Learn, search and pray.  We need to know God’s laws and live them.”  What new law of God did you learn about?  Not common consent.  What new law of God have you started to live at the direction of President Monson?  Not common consent.  Where is your testimony?

At the same conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, follow up with this:  “Every day that we keep our covenants and help others to do the same, joy will be ours.”  I am actively helping people keep their baptismal and temple covenants to obey the Law of Common Consent.  Oh joy!  Joy will be mine.  Where is your joy in shrugging off a command from Jesus to His restored church?

Rights and Privileges

An apostle, Hugh B. Brown, spoke of our role in common consent as a right and a privilege.  Today, my rights and privileges as a church member have been curtailed.  So have yours.  I care about that.  You should, too.  No longer is the sound doctrine of common consent being practiced.  However, there are 318 of us who want our rights and privileges back.  You should, too.  There are 318 of us who are voting to get our rights and privileges back.  You should, too.  There are 318 of us who desire to keep our covenants.  You should, too.  Start by joining the 318 HERE.

Follow Jesus by Voting Opposed

The only way that this beautiful part of the restoration will be restored to its rightful place is for us to take it into our own hands.  To lift our hands in opposition to the continued disobedience of the Savior’s Law of Common Consent.

You only have 27 days from today before the next vote is called for.  Now is the time to:

  • Get your house in order.
  • Get your testimony of the restoration in order.
  • Get you testimony of Joseph Smith and his revelations in order.
  • Get your testimony in the scriptures in order.
  • Get your testimony in your covenants in order.
  • Get your testimony in church doctrine in order.
  • Get you testimony of today’s prophets in order.
  • Most of all, Get your faith in Jesus Christ in order.

Then go to conference, in your home, in your chapel, or in SLC, and vote to have our rights and privileges restored.

Other Resources

  • Common Consent Scriptures & Doctrine, click HERE.
  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove, click, HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.

An Apostle Gets the Gay Policy Right

hugh-b-brown

I grew up in the era of Hugh B. Brown.  He served in the LDS church both as an apostle and as a member of the First Presidency.  From my childhood, I recall the specifics of very few talks by the apostles.  But…I remember one by Elder Brown.  It was the story of a currant bush growing on his farm in Canada.  I won’t detail it here.  The point is that he was an eloquent speaker who made a positive and lasting impression during my early years.

Hugh B. Brown was also a man ahead of his times.  For example, he favored lifting the priesthood ban on black Africans.  When President David O. McKay died, Brown was not retained as a counselor in the First Presidency.  This had never happened before in the history of the church.  It’s rumored that this unusual occurrence resulted from his support of blacks receiving the priesthood.  Unfortunately, he passed away just 3 years prior to the ban being lifted.

Elder Brown’s Wisdom Lives On

Today’s apostles now condemn our past racist policies, practices and teachings.  Elder Brown got it right…and years before the prophet and other apostles of his time.

So, what would he say about our current LGBT policy that was announced in November 2015.  This policy dictates that lawfully wed gay couples are apostates.  It further decrees that their children are to be banned from church ordinances until 3 things happen.  First, that the reach the age of 18.  Second, that they disavow the lifestyle of their parents.  Third, that the First Presidency formally gives approval for the ordinances to be performed.

Fortunately, we know where the Apostle Brown stood on this new policy:

“Official statements of the First Presidency that have not been submitted to the membership of the church for its approval are matters of temporary policy only. Under present conditions, for example, the First Presidency may say, ‘We recommend this or that.’ But conditions may subsequently change, and when they do the First Presidency may wish to make a statement which may not be in complete harmony with a former statement. We have to keep our theology up to date by submitting everything that is intended to become a permanent part of the gospel to those whose right and privilege it is to so interpret and then by having it sustained by the people as a definite rule of the church so that all things may be done by common consent.” (Hugh B. Brown, An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, ed. Edwin B. Firmage [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1999], 124-125).

What a great statement buttressing Christ’s mandate for common consent!!!  According to Brown:

  • The gay policy can only be a temporary policy since it has not been submitted to the membership of the church for approval.
  • The membership has the right and privilege to interpret what is being submitted for change.
  • The membership has the right and privilege to vote on whatever is intended to become a definite rule of the church.
  •  All this so that “all things may be done by common consent.”

I liked Elder Brown as a child.  I love Elder Brown as an adult.  He views the members of the church as adults not as children.  He views us as an indispensable part of church governance.  We have the right and privilege to interpret and form our own opinions about church policy.  Then everything must to be presented to us for an up or down vote.

According to this great apostle, the gay policy is at best temporary.  It must be presented to the us, the members, for approval or disapproval.

Rights and Privileges

Where is Hugh B. Brown when we need him to declare and defend our rights and privileges?

Well, he’s dead.  

What modern apostles are standing up to defend our rights and privileges as members?

So far…none are.

Then who IS going to stand up for our rights and privileges?

At this point it’s up to you and me, the rank and file members, to stand up for ourselves.

To stand up for the law that Jesus revealed as a vital part of the restored church.  

To stand up for our rights and privileges as members of Christ’s church.  

To stand up and for what we know to be right.  

Not to stand against the apostles.  

Rather, to stand with them in our quest to follow the commandments of Jesus Christ.

My fellow church members…Let’s live by the Law of God…the Law of Common Consent.

Other Resources

  • Common Consent Scriptures & Doctrine, click HERE.
  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove, click, HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.