27 May 2015

Baptism Q&A

(I've gotten a lot of questions about our baptisms, so I thought I'd collect them, and their answers, in one place.)

Q: I thought this is why we partake of the Sacrament each week, to renew our baptismal convents? I still not understanding the WHY you did this when repentance and partaking the Sacrament has the same desired effect.

A: There is no support in scripture for the idea that sacrament is renewing of baptismal covenants. Baptism and the sacrament are separate ordinances. There are several instances in scripture, most notably in 3 Nephi and Acts 19, where faithful believers are baptized again to show their repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This is not taught currently in the LDS Church, which is really sad to me. It was a common practice in the early church. I don't know why rebaptism has been discouraged. Additionally, Jesus instructed us to eat and drink the emblems of His flesh and blood "in remembrance of Me". Baptism is to show we have repentant hearts and have begun a new phase in our lives.

Q:I'm confused. We're you baptized into a different church? Was this something you did on your own? The post was unclear to me.

A: The LDS Church does not consider someone a member of the church until confirmed, after baptism. An investigator could be baptized, and then walk out of the building before confirmation, and that person would not be put on the records of the church.

Baptism has never conferred membership, but is a sign of repentance and faith.

This was done on our own, in accordance with the 11th Article of Faith, which allows all the same privilege of worshipping God according to the dictates of our own conscience. We have been super-prayerful about this, the scriptures clearly show this is a pattern that goes back to before the time of Christ, and we have a deep confidence that this was pleasing to God, for we felt His approval.

Q: If you no longer believe in the principles and ordinances and priesthood authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, why do you care if you're excommunicated? Aren't your actions confirmation of your desire to leave the Church?

A: The LDS Church is MY church. I am a member. It has been the bedrock of my own personal community for my entire life. It taught me to live a good, clean, upright life, to love God, and gave me beautiful and powerful scripture.

The leadership's shifting policies and procedures, some of which I've watched change dramatically in the last six months, as well as over my own lifetime's memory, have changed things for the worse, and not in accordance to the teachings of Joseph Smith.

My baptism is proof that I fully believe in the principles and ordinances of the gospel (4th Article of Faith). I have full faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. Priesthood existed before the LDS Church was organized. The LDS Church does not own or control priesthood--quite the contrary. The church itself is dependent upon continuing priesthood authority from God in order to have any efficacy at all. (Remember Elder Packer's talk on priesthood a few years ago, where he lamented that we have done a great job at distributing the authority of the priesthood the world over, but lag far behind that in those so ordained actually receiving the *power* of the priesthood?)

A church isn't about worshipping and obeying the leadership. Contrary to modern idiom, a church ISN'T its leadership. We say "the church" the same way we say "the white house", meaning the leadership. But the rest of Christendom, when they say "church", they mean all believers in the Body of Christ. "Church" is used to denote buildings and denominations . . . but the word itself harks back to Greek, and to a word used to denote a group of people: ekklesia, meaning "the ones called out". The "church" is those who are believers in Jesus Christ.

I want this to be absolutely clear: I have NO DESIRE to NOT be a member the LDS Church. It is still MY church, and part of my community.

Q:Just curious, who performed the re baptisms. Vern? For himself? And where?
Like · Reply · May 24 at 9:22am

A: Vern was baptized by a good friend, and Vern baptized me, in a lovely creek local to us.

Q: We must be careful about innovating and deciding on new doctrine. I'm worried you're going astray . . . 

A:We aren't proclaiming new doctrine. Simply following the words of Christ in scripture. D&C 1:38 reminds us that God's words do not decay or die, but are eternal and permanent. His doctrine is that we repent and be baptized. So we are doing just that.

Q: Is this something you will continue too do often as a part of your repentance process?

A: Yes, as moved upon by the Holy Ghost. Repentance is turning to Christ because you see things differently, or you want to see things differently. It's not a five-step process for every item on a list of wrongdoing. It's a joyous, hope-filled way of life.

This rebaptism was prompted by a renewal & strengthening of our own relationships with Jesus Christ. I can see this happening many times throughout the rest of my life.

Q: So by what authority? And I'm guessing you skip the confirmation?

A: The authority comes through the voice of Jesus Christ, same as Nephi received it during Christ's visit to the Americas.

Q: First off I do love the family picture. And I'm glad your family is happy, but if you believe in Joseph Smith and the scriptures which talk about prophet's since the beginning of time do you not believe that president Monson is prophet? And if you do why aren't you heading his advice? I'm not trying to be rude just wondering.

The gospel and it leaders have taught me to love others as Jesus did no matter what, who or where you are in life. Church is a hospital for the sick and weary. And sometimes we do get excommunicated but it is for our own good and then we can come back and be baptized again. And I've been able to witness that as a youth and I will never forget. I trust the Lord and his leaders that guide and direct me and sometimes they may make mistakes for we are all human but we will be blessed for our obedience. And I testify of that.

Anyway I wish the best for you all and miss seeing you guys. Hopefully we will see you around this summer

A: I continue to pray for President Monson, and hope that he someday shows the same behavior and fruits as prophets in the scriptures . . . but knowing that Joseph Smith is a prophet, seer and revelator that brought forth a tremendous work for the benefit of a portion of God's people, does not automatically make Thomas Monson a prophet. I have watched and looked, and while I believe Pres. Monson is a good and decent man, often inspired of God and who has devoted his life to serving others within the organization of the LDS Church, his life does not bear the fruit of the gifts of prophecy (knowing God's will in a specific situation, or bringing a message from God), revelation (learning things which no one can know without God showing them), or seership (seeing things as they are, were, and are yet to come). Contrary to common believe, a prophet truly MUST say "Thus saith the Lord" to identify the words of God to the people. That's the pattern set out in scripture, and no matter how well-meaning any General Conference talks have been that say otherwise, God has always done that, and continues to do so now. He opens with identifying Himself, and closes in the same way, often entreating us to hear and receive what He says.

President Monson has given so much really wonderful advice. Be kind to others. Serve. Love. Give selflessly. Read your scriptures. Care for the needy. Love God. I'm following all of that to my best ability, because I'm following Jesus Christ.

If the church is a hospital for the sick and weary, then it's the strangest hospital I've ever seen. Some wards (pun intended) do really well at caring for those who are in desperate need, while others do not. Some leadership nurture along those with serious crises of faith, and others shun them. Some allow people to learn at their own pace and work through things as they need to, while others excommunicate people for questioning or teaching their children things the leadership doesn't agree with. (That happened to a good friend of mine from back east. He was excommunicated for "teaching false doctrine, primarily in the home".) There are SO MANY wonderful things about Mormonism, but there is an illness in the hospital staff and doctors themselves that must be cured.

Excommunication can be a good thing, but only if it's done in cases of serious sin. So many people I know have been excommunicated because they had the gall to do what the scriptures teach, instead of honoring a leader's contradictory instruction. Between the word of man and Word of God, they chose the Word of God, and were cast out. No sin involved-- most were worthy of temple recommends when they were excommunicated.

I love the members of the LDS Church. Dearly. That hasn't changed. It never will.

And lastly, the only obedience that brings blessings is obedience to the will of the Father, as Christ submitted Himself throughout His entire life. Obedience to men only brings positive feedback from the institution, which is powerful and heady stuff. But it won't bring salvation, because you're binding yourself to a mortal, instead of God.

Thanks so much for asking questions. I know you, and I only heard curiosity and earnest concern. Thank you so much.

Q:I have to be blunt. I worry about you. I worry that you are falling away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. So I have to ask, are you? Are you desiring other religions? What is it about the LDS faith you are scared or worried about? Have you gone to your leaders with your questions and concerns or better yet, God? Heavenly Father has all your answers, but have you listened for them? 
I really have no clue why I am writing this but maybe it's meant to be. 
I love the picture and love to see smiles on your families faces. 

A: Thank you so much for asking. That says more to me about the genuine concern of your heart than a courteous silence ever could.

The only religion I desire is what the Lord Jesus Christ has given us: to be in relationship with Him because of His Victory. The LDS church has made it increasingly clear that it expects its members to go through their leaders in order to have access to Christ. (Elder Oaks' talk on Priesthood, Elder Nelson's talk on sustaining leaders, and Sister McConkie's talk that followed Elder Nelson's all come to mind.) According to current practice, without church approval, you have no hope of salvation or exaltation. But that's not what God said. He said "Come unto Me".

I have most definitely asked my questions of both leadership and God. My leadership has been utterly unhelpful (my bishop going so far as to openly reject scripture, declaring that the handbook supersedes it when the two disagree). I have had so many answers given through personal revelation--all of which have been ratified by scripture, and many of which have come by reading scripture.

It wasn't until I began consciously choosing what God has said in scripture over what men now preach that my own faith began to grow . . . like the good seed in Alma 32. A lifetime of the most faithful of faithful Molly Mormon living didn't do that--it gave me tremendous discipline and character development, the Book of Mormon & associated scripture, and so much more. But the promised fruit (such as in D&C 21, where we're promised that darkness will flee before us and the heavens & earth will shake for our good and God's glory) never could be produced by faith in men.

Our words MATTER. Our praise must be for God alone, and we should not honor one man (or woman) above another. HIS name should be lifted high, His glory extolled, His righteousness and mercy to us shouted aloud every day, and especially on when we meet together to worship Him.

Mormonism has forgotten what it even means to worship...and even the precious and sweet meaning of the simple phrase "God is good".

Those smiles on our faces were put there by the incredible joy we all felt from our baptisms. We have had an increase of love & joy in our family, and a significant increase in the presence of the Holy Spirit in our home & our hearts.

We are not attacking the LDS church, or anyone in it. I've made a conscious choice to not be ashamed to own my God, to worship Him in truth (both scriptural accuracy and in agreement with His nature as the Way, the Truth and the Life), and to not fear what man might do, but follow the Lord God. And finally, scripture's promised blessings--God's own promised blessings--flow.

Q: In these last days, people will start to stray from the gospel and its teachings. I just worry that, that is what is happening.

A: I have a question for this person and any others here... how is being baptized according to the commandments of Christ in the Book of Mormon indicative of one "straying from the gospel and its teachings"? (Vern answered this one.)

Q: It's not just that... It's other comments that have been made that go against what the LDS church teaches. I'm not one to judge, but I am one to worry about my fellow members. I have met Annalea, and think she is a great person. But that doesn't mean that Satan won't work his damnedest on her either. He knows us so well that he knows what to plant into our minds or what to plant into others minds to stray people. It's his goal... To destroy us all!

A: I guess the best and really only way to know if one is not bring deceived is to ask the Father in the name of Christ. This IS the only way. The scriptures are full of people who trusted in men more than God for truth. We aren't exempt from this even though we've been taught we are. (This one a FB friend answered.)

Q: I hope the best for you and that you don't lose faith in God (I'm sure you won't) And that you will not diss the LDS faith or people that do believe and practice it... or preach that it's teachings are wrong. 
I feel that religion and politics are a very bad subjects to discuss with a lot of people. The debate can get ugly real fast. I don't like that. I was merely showing concern for you when reading these things you've been posting. I hope nothing but the best for you.

A:I don't ever want to diss anyone . . . that's not the heart of God, to attack His children.

I will continue to write about what God teaches me through scripture and the Holy Ghost, and some of that might shed light on issues that various churches have (not just the LDS). I've felt consistently led to point to Christ and write about the amazingly good news of His victory. This will still mostly happen at my blog, too. I don't like to bring up hot-button topics on facebook . . . this announcement was one I felt distinctly prompted to make, and I've been blessed for doing it.

I have so much gratitude for the LDS Church and what it gave me. It was my entire life for nearly all my life, and taught me so much. Things have changed drastically in the last two years, including a lot of things that openly flout the plain words of Jesus Christ. It's my testimony of the prophetic call and ministry of Joseph Smith and the beauty in the things he gave us that precipitated recent events. I'll never ridicule or mock, and will always honor another's choice to worship how, where and what they may, with only one caveat: that there is no abuse involved. I will always decry abuse, and the oppression of the children of God in the name of religion.

Thank you so much for your questions, and for caring. It means a lot to me. God bless you and your family!


9 comments:

  1. I am curious with the statement you made, “The authority comes through the voice of Jesus Christ, same as Nephi received it during Christ's visit to the Americas.” Are you taking about when the Lord gave His leader of His church (ie. His prophet at the head of His Church) a priesthood assignment to baptize people into the new covenant? And He also gave it to 12 other of His leaders of His Church? The same men He chose to administer the sacrament to His Church members? The same men He chose to set up His Church in His name? Isn’t this the same organization (corporation) structure you reject today?

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  2. In 3 Nephi 11, was it the Lord's own voice that empowered those men, or was it some men in an institution that "delegated" power to them? What about with Alma, the wicked, polygamist priest in the court of Noah (selected due to his wickedness) who was empowered to baptize directly by God Himself, not by virtue of some man's approval. ("And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him" in Mosiah 18:13) He was certainly no righteous "prophet" at the time. *That* prophet had just been slain. (which prophet had not been the "chosen leader of His Church", as you might suppose)

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  3. Vaughn that’s a great question. I hope we can agree that the Lord’s leadership before His earthly ministry and after are different in organization. That being said, we have other examples of less righteous men being called of God (Saul or Paul) because the Lord knew who they were and what they would do for Him. Let’s look a little deeper into Alma. What did he do after he was given authority? He set up the Lords Church again. Some might miss the parallels to today’s LDS church.

    Mosiah 18:19
    And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.

    Kind of like our Priesthood and Relief Society manuals don’t you think?

    Mosiah 25:21
    Therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches; every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma.

    Sounds like a President of the Church.

    Mosiah 23:16-17
    16 And now, Alma was their high priest, he being the founder of their church.
    17 And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers; and none were consecrated except they were just men.

    It sounds like no man could take this upon himself unless it went through Alma. Today with 15 million members (I’m guessing you have a problem with that number) that priesthood assignment is delegated to Bishops and Stake Presidents. Unless Mormon left it out, no one received this authority unless by the Lords line of authority. I haven’t read were some lone Nephite claimed to receive that authority and baptize a small group. The more you read about Alma the more you will see that not a lot was done in the Church unless he said so. I am one of 15 million that believe the Lord directed him in that way, just as today’s Prophet, Seers, and Revelators.

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  4. BrighamYoung65, here are some things to consider:

    If what you say is true, then the gifts and fruits of the Spirit should abound in our congregations.

    I have a lifetime of experience in many different church units in five western states that shows they do not abound . . . nor even appear sporadically.

    The hearts of the latter-day saints should be filled with charity, not fear and judgement. As my family has followed the Lord, and walked in the freedom He has given us, whether it's me having the "audacity" to wear slacks to church or for our family to heed the commandments of Jesus Christ and be baptized, the response from many ward members has been fear, anger, judgement, gossip and marked shunning. The number of direct hits to my blog from within the boundaries of my ward and stake has jumped tremendously . . . and yet I've only gotten a couple of additional comments. I labor under no delusion that word of this has not spread far and wide . . . and yet I've had only a small handful of people contact me. Maybe 10% of total traffic increase, if I'm being generous. That is not a confident, loving response. And I mourn that.

    The lives of LDS folk should be positively rife with healings, prophecies, dreams, visions, angelic visitation (which is one of the evidences of Aaronic Priesthood authority, btw), miracles, signs and wonders. We're taught that we shouldn't share those things, and that's the reason we don't hear about them . . . and yet they are given by God as signs to prove that the power of God is with those who perform them. Jesus gave the Seventy specific instructions in the beginning of Luke 10 to heal any who needed it, in the homes in which they stayed, with absolutely NO attendant "but keep it hushed up" instructions. We are living in a time when the pattern He gave the Seventy is directly applicable: He is not here, and has instructed us to go and make disciples of nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19).

    Our meetings should mirror those in the early years of the church, with members prophesying, having visions and speaking praise. We SHOULD hear the sound of the Spirit, rushing as a mighty wind. That has happened only once in my life, in an Easter Sacrament meeting that was truly beautiful and powerful, during a congregational hymn with Holy Spirit-filled accompaniment. We sang "I Believe in Christ", and amazing things happened as the congregation stood and poured out their hearts to Jesus Christ without restraint.

    And yet . . . we live in a time when, like in the days of the wicked high priest Eli, there is "no open vision".

    Your reference to Mosiah 23 is interesting, because who called Alma to start that church? Who gave him authority to baptize, to preach, or to lead that church?

    Jesus Christ.

    God has, and will continue, to work in the ways outlined in scripture. We cannot take one verse here, or one story there, and say all of the other examples in scripture that we have, showing the multitude of ways in which God reaches out to His people, no longer apply.

    They DO apply. And they will continue to, as the prophecies of these days continue to be fulfilled.

    I know so many people who are having visions and dreams, who are being called directly to the Lord to works He needs done. Joel 2 is being fulfilled before my eyes, and I rejoice in it. I'm watching people come together with more open love and living, powerful faith than I have ever seen before. Miracles are happening on every hand, and I love watching the hand of the Lord being revealed in my life, and the lives of others.

    I just wish that being shunned by LDS Church members and leadership didn't follow so closely on the heels of contact with Heaven. Why must we judge? Why must we condemn? Why must the church insist on carrying out what they believe to be a spiritual execution on those who are repenting, following Jesus Christ, and doing as He said?

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  5. I was not disputing where Alma received his authority. I was pointing out that the only way anyone else received it was through Alma, no one else received it the same way as Alma (Mosiah 23:16-17). I noticed you didn’t comment on the other verses I pointed out. Especially the ones that they could only preach what was delivered to them from him, Alma. It doesn’t say from the mouth of God, but from the mouth of Alma. Of course 15 million believe, just as the Nephites, that that word was from God through His prophet (D&C 1:38)

    Don’t forget that in 3 Nephi 15:12 “Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph.” The Lord called His leadership to be a light unto the people. Mortal, imperfect, fallible men. Just as He has done throughout the ages.

    I wasn’t picking a few scriptures out to make my case. I was pointing out that the Lord does follow order, and the people that do receive their authority from Him are called to lead His church and not just baptize a hand full of people. I would like to see your scriptural justification from what you claim. Alma and Nephi were leaders of the Lord’s church and didn’t baptize their families in a back yard stream.

    I’m sorry you feel wronged by your ward family. From reading some of your posts, I can tell it has hurt you deeply. I also know there are two sides to every story. I would be interested to hear the other side. Maybe they felt wronged by your actions but have not put it out on the internet.

    I’m sorry you don’t feel the current LDS church bears the fruits of the Spirit. I personally have witnessed all that you claim not to be part of the Church, in the Church.

    Hiram Page thought he found a stone that possessed the qualities that enabled him to be a revelator. The Lord told Joseph Smith, Jr. to warn Hiram it was of the Devil. Joseph went to Hiram, not the Lord, but a mortal man that was the Lord’s leader of His church, went and told Hiram that it was from Satan (D&C 28:11). The Lord also taught Joseph that things are done in order (v13). Hiram took this mortal man’s counsel (which really came from the Lord) and denounced the stone and ground it to dust.

    Would you do the same?

    You say you follow nothing but what Joseph Smith has taught. That reminded me of a scripture in Helaman 13:25

    “And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.”

    I would also point out this warning from the Lord in D&C 1.

    “14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the LORD, neither the voice of his SERVANTS, neither give heed to the words of the PROPHETS and APOSTLES, shall be CUT OFF from among the people;

    15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;”

    I hope the best to you and your family.

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  6. I thought I had addressed each scripture you brought up . . . if I didn't, please point out to me where I didn't, and I'll do so.

    The New Testament and Book of Mormon both clearly state that God is no respecter of persons, and Joseph Smith told the saints that God would show them every last thing that He had shown Joseph. (Galatians 3:28, Acts 10:34, 2 Nephi 26:33, History of the Church, 3:380) Even Oliver Cowdery, after being charged not to ask the Lord for things he ought not, was commanded to ask to know the mysteries of God. (D&C 8:10-11)

    If God has called one person to prophetic ministry, and that person receives and walks faithfully in that call, that call in no way excludes anyone else from receiving directly from God. The only limiting factor on authority from God is individual faithfulness and willingness. Another already carrying authority from God does not limit anyone else from receiving.

    I see no reason why or how 3 Nephi 15:12 could be interpreted the way you’ve stated. Jesus was stating things as they were, but there is nothing to lead me to believe that His statement meant that only those twelve could be His servants unto those people. Much to the contrary, we have Paul, called by Jesus Christ, wholly outside of the Twelve Apostles. They didn’t even meet up until years after Paul’s encounter with God. Paul was called *while the Twelve in Jerusalem were actively faithful, and working miracles*. There were more than twelve apostles (Paul was but one). God called whom He saw fit, when He saw fit, and from outside of the existing authority structure in Jerusalem. Paul started churches, which were recognized by Peter.

    You seem to care. Your blog and comments are staunchly Modern Mormonism and Follow The Prophet. You have nothing to fear from LDS leadership. Why hide behind a handle? My face and name are on this blog. I own these words, and am not hard to find. I am willing to build relationships, which is what the Kingdom of God is made of. Why do you insist on staying anonymous?

    I cannot prove to you that I speak the truth. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. And if you are convinced of your own rightness, then there’s little chance of that happening, either. I’ve shared what I’ve shared so that those whose hearts are soft, and seeking God, can have another witness that the heavens are indeed open.

    To answer your question, whether I would accept counsel from the Lord, through a mortal, I would answer with a wholehearted, “Yes!”. That happens when a mortal speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost carries the truth of it into my heart. I’m no stranger to that process, and I rejoice when the Lord uses another to make Himself manifest in my life.

    You citing Helaman 13:25 fails to take note that I have not slain or cast out anyone, and never will. :-)

    I would offer the same warning, from D&C 1:14-15, to you, as well. “Prophet” and “apostle” are callings from God, not institutional offices, gained by inheritance. The proof of those callings resting upon a man or woman are the fruits they produce; fruits which Jesus Christ laid out in the New Testament very clearly. These are public fruits, that God sends as proof of His authority resting upon an individual. The signs, wonders & miracles that followed the apostles in Jerusalem in 35 AD are the same that should be following ALL prophets & apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ in our day. Those signs follow many believers who are not members of the LDS Church . . . so why don’t those same signs and wonders follow the LDS leadership who allow their parishioners to follow them, worship them, and proclaim their infallibility?

    I pray the Lord will bless you, and yours, abundantly with His love. May your needs be filled to overflowing, your family protected and guided, and may the light and love and mercy of Jesus Christ break like the dawn into your hearts and minds every morning, in Jesus’ name.

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  7. I asked for your scriptural proof that when God bestows this authority, as in the case of Nephi and Alma which have been stated, that He does so to anyone without it being associated to the leadership of His church.

    As far as 3 Nephi 15:12, why did the Lord speak this just to the 12 and not the multitude?
    Why did the revelation that Joseph receive about Hiram Page’s stone come to him and not Oliver, or Hiram? Were they not entitled to the same revelation? There are a lot of voices out there and not all of them are from God as we suppose. It took a prophet to correct the incorrect revelation. Just as anyone preaching that

    You know my Helaman reference was not about you stoning or casting out anyone but about how you claim to follow the teachings of Joseph Smith, Jr. but reject the modern day prophets just as the people in Helaman.

    I have found it interesting how far people can get off track when no one is there to point out the truth. That’s what 2000 years has done to Christianity without a prophet, and that’s what will happen to anyone who does not give heed to the Lord through His prophet. Do you really think the Lord would restore His church and then take “the heavenly gift” from it just before He comes? Don’t you think prophets would have warned us about that?

    Doctrine and Covenants 1

    14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

    15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

    So who would I listen to if I found a peep stone, an excommunicated man or man that has served God his entire life?

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  8. Evidence that God bestows prophetic gifts upon others, outside the hierarchy: Samuel the Lamanite. He came to prophesy while Nephi still ran the church in that city, a righteous man and leader.

    As far as 3 Nephi 15:12: We know he spoke to the twelve because one of the twelve wrote it down. We don't have every word He said, nor do we have any records from those in the multitude. He didn't say that only the twelve disciples would be lights. He simply stated that they already were.

    Do we know about the relationship between Joseph Smith and Hiram Page? Between Oliver or Hyrum and Hiram? God honors relationship--He would naturally give revelation to the one who loved Hiram Page sincerely and was closest and most beloved by Hiram. Based on what I know of that time period, Joseph Smith would seem to be the most obvious choice, as the saints loved Him so much.

    When I find someone claiming to have found a modern day prophet, I listen to what that person has to say, weigh it against scripture and the Holy Ghost, and ask God if that person is a true messenger. (Bear in mind, Pres. Monson has never claimed to be a prophet. Others say he is: he has never, to my knowledge, borne witness of his prophetic calling and ministry.) Scripture also provides very clear tests of whether or not a prophet is true or false. It's not about believing the report of another; it's about receiving a witness for yourself, and not following blindly whenever someone (or 15 million someones) cry, "Lo, here!"

    It's interesting you talk about how far people can get off track. Have you read the Doctrine and Covenants lately? Compared the current church doctrine against the doctrine taught by Joseph Smith? It's sobering, concerning, and fails the test that the law of the harvest provides. One example: Children of active, tithe-paying LDS families in the third world are severely malnourished. Between 80,000-90,000. That number stays consistent from year to year, despite the fact that about 10% of those children starve to death annually. In the arms of their faithful, full tithe-paying parents.

    Meanwhile, the LDS Church builds malls and temples. "Ye rob the poor, because of your fine sanctuaries . . . " There is no excuse, no justification for that. Christ issued a wo unto those who offend one of His little ones, with a warning that they would be better off drowned in the sea via millstone necklace. Our God doesn't mess around with those who offend, or neglect, innocents. Or so many thousands of them.

    Regarding your final question:

    Excommunication is not the "marring" you infer it is:

    “The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves ‘in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,’ and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 206).

    And as for the badge of honor of serving God one's whole life:

    "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? ****and in thy name done many wonderful works****? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)

    You MUST receive your own witness from heaven, which is in **agreement** with what Jesus Christ gave us in scripture. No unending stretch of years in service to God will make up for a lack of the signs and miracles that He promised would naturally follow those who believe in Him.

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  9. I’m sorry if the questions I have asked have pieced the center of the false teachings of Denver. I understand the questions I asked cannot be answered in a way that does not put that person in direct opposition to the LDS church.

    I appreciate you bringing Samuel the Lamanite into the discussion. I would ask the question, who did the baptizing after he preached?

    Helaman 16:1

    “And now, it came to pass that there were many who heard the words of Samuel, the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city. And as many as believed on his word went forth and sought for Nephi; and when they had come forth and found him they confessed unto him their sins and denied not, desiring that they might be baptized unto the Lord.”

    Again another example of the Lord following His order that He set up, which is to go through His authorized servants. Samuel was not preaching anything different than Nephi.

    My point with Hiram Page was that the revelation came through a prophet and Hiram had to find out if it was true or not on his own. Just as we need to today.

    Pres. Henry B. Eyring April 1997

    “Looking for the path to safety in the counsel of prophets makes sense to those with strong faith. When a prophet speaks, those with little faith may think that they hear only a wise man giving good advice. Then if his counsel seems comfortable and reasonable, squaring with what they want to do, they take it. If it does not, they consider it either faulty advice or they see their circumstances as justifying their being an exception to the counsel. Those without faith may think that they hear only men seeking to exert influence for some selfish motive.

    Every time in my life when I have chosen to delay following inspired counsel or decided that I was an exception, I came to know that I had put myself in harm's way. Every time that I have listened to the counsel of prophets, felt it confirmed in prayer, and then followed it, I have found that I moved toward safety. Along the path, I have found that the way had been prepared for me and the rough places made smooth. God led me to safety along a path which was prepared with loving care, sometimes prepared long before.”

    I know these things to be true. If you don’t know them to be true than I am sorry. Looking for the answers from an excommunicated lawyer will not help you see they are true.

    I choose to stay anonymous because I seek no praise or honor from men. I choose not to put my identity out because I do not plan on writing books or holding lectures for personal gain. I simply have seen how far people can go off track without a voice of reason.
    I do study the D&C. I would ask how you this scripture fits into the Snuffer model.
    Doctrine and Covenants 65:2
    “The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.”

    To someone who cannot see the Lord is at the head of this Church might think we are wasting money on temples.

    Elder Anderson April 2015
    “The location of a temple is not a convenient geographical decision. It comes by REVELATION FROM THE LORD TO HIS PROPHET, signifying a great work to be done and acknowledging the righteousness of the Saints who will treasure and care for His house through generations.”

    I’m sorry you don’t have a testimony of these things, but it doesn’t mean 15 million can’t have a testimony of them.

    I appreciate your dialog with me and hope that at least I have planted a seed in you or anyone who reads these posts.

    Click on my name for my entire post.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!