22 March 2016

Do you know Him?

How much time do you spend with Jesus, on any basis? Do you know how to spend time with Him?

We Mormon-trained folks have been brought up in a certain way (thinking of the proverb: "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it"). We're trained to be VERY principle and precept oriented; geared to learn a principle, apply it in action, and then get a desired result. That's very Greek/Western of us. But it's not how God works. Yes, there are things we do that definitely get a desired result . . . but there's only One thing that we need to pursue, only One Truth that will be the answer to everything: Jesus Christ. He's not "a" truth. He is THE Truth. All truth. The only truth. If there is anything true, it is in Him. Part of Him. And apart from Him, we miss the entire point of all truth.

The main shift that had to happen in me was to move from an "applied principle focused gospel" to a "relationship focused gospel". I had to get to know Jesus through the Holy Spirit. I had to get a revelation of His love for me, and His sacrifice for me. I had to know He had already paid the price to bring me back into His presence, and that I could step into that AT ANY TIME. 

My biggest obstacle was fear. Fear that the devil would answer me instead of God, grab me with his awful chains and drag me down to hell, as if prayer was like calling a huge customer service center staffed with angels and devils, where the source of the answer I got depended wholly on who picked up my call first. An along with that, fear that even if God was the one who answered, I had about even odds that He would sucker punch me when I reached for heaven instead of scooping me up into His arms and making everything all better the way a good parent does.

I can tell you, from my own personal experience, that those fears were lies of the enemy and completely groundless. The FINISHED work of Christ means we can turn and run to our Papa at any moment, and like the father of the prodigal son He WILL receive us with all the lavish joy and abounding love He possesses.

We are all called to speak the Truth. But it's not about defending Truth. Jesus needs no defense. Just speak life. Speak love. Speak the truth of the good news of Jesus' victory that has set us all free, every one of us. We've just been taught to remain in our cells, sitting amongst the broken chains before the wide-open door, wishing we were deserving of getting up and running out into the sunshine, when Jesus has already pled with us, "COME UNTO ME!"

Fill yourself with the goodness, joy, and light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But get outside of the Mormon Christian experience. Get outside of your comfort zone. Find those that speak the words of life because they're written in their hearts, and soak them up. The Truth can defend itself--and Jesus' defense isn't aggression, it's His glory. So fill yourself with the glory of God (light/truth/intelligence), and be ready to pour His love out into everyone who needs it. Seek to know Him, seek to gain His heart and His eyes, so you can obey His instruction to all believers: we are to bless everyone we meet, build relationships, heal the sick and only THEN declare the Kingdom of God has come near them.

If what you're doing now doesn't fill you with joy and light and love, then it's time to single-mindedly pursue Jesus and get filled with joy and light and love. :-) Love you, friends!

7 comments:

  1. Interesting your stats double when I make comments, but yet you claim no one who reads your blog will take me seriously.

    I don’t know what kind of lessons you heard in the Church, but this has not been my experience. I only comment when you paint an inaccurate picture of the Church. You need to stop generalizing that your experience is the norm or represents 15 million, because it is not so.

    I grew Mormon trained and year after year I was taught the following principle from Joseph smith, Jr.

    “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1938], 121).

    Every precept and principle is an appendage to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It has been taught since the restoration and continues to be taught by the current “Mormon” church that you no longer choose to be a member of. At what point does living precepts and principles take our focus away from the Savior?

    Elder Ballard October 2014
    “Sometimes faithful Latter-day Saints and sincere investigators begin to focus on the “appendages” instead of on the fundamental principles. That is, Satan tempts us to become distracted from the simple and clear message of the restored gospel. Those so distracted often give up partaking of the sacrament because they have become focused, even preoccupied, with less important practices or teachings.”

    It sounds like you might have been distracted when you were in the Church.

    You continue to imply that the relationship with the Savior cannot be found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I wish you would open your heart to what is taught at general conference.

    Elder Maynes October 2015
    “If our lives are centered in Jesus Christ, He can successfully mold us into who we need to be in order to return to His and Heavenly Father’s presence in the celestial kingdom. The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”

    Elder Oaks October 2015
    “Because of His atoning experience in mortality, our Savior is able to comfort, heal, and strengthen all men and women everywhere, but I believe He does so only for those who seek Him and ask for His help. The Apostle James taught, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). We qualify for that blessing when we believe in Him and pray for His help.”

    I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is my personal Redeemer. He is the Center of my life. That relationship exists because I follow Him (John 10:27). Following Him includes following those He calls to lead His church.

    Elder Ballard October 2015
    “And make no mistake about it: the Lord directs His Church through living prophets and apostles. This is the way He has always done His work. Indeed, the Savior taught, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me.” We cannot separate Christ from His servants…

    Exaltation is the goal of this mortal journey, and no one gets there without the means of the gospel of Jesus Christ: His Atonement, the ordinances, and the guiding doctrine and principles that are found in the Church.

    It is the Church wherein we learn the works of God and accept the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that saves us. It is within the Church that we form the commitments and covenants of eternal families that become our passport to exaltation. It is the Church that is powered by the priesthood to propel us through the unpredictable waters of mortality.”

    Trying to separate people from His church will not justify you leaving. The path you promote to having that relationship with Jesus Christ seems broad and the gate seems wide.

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  2. If you're ever interested in meeting in person, please let me know. If your only aim is to doggedly be my adversary, then you're welcome to it. I refuse to be yours, though. I want to offer the idea that you have made a tremendous number of judgements and assumptions that are completely off-base, simply because you're applying your box, your paradigm, to my life and experience.

    God bless you as you seek Him, and I will pray for you.

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  3. I am not trying to be your adversary and I don’t view you as mine. My only goal is to defend the Church that you continuously mischaracterize.

    You make assumptions about the Church without any quotes or scriptures. I defend it using quotes and scriptures. If you don’t like the law of gravity it still doesn’t change the fact you will fall when walking off a cliff.

    You can choose not to respond to my clarifications about the LDS church, but I cannot let you make false accusations. You put your thoughts about the LDS church out there, but I have seen no evidence of quotes or scriptures that back up those thoughts.

    I hope nothing but the best for you and your family.

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  4. I share my experience, based on the first 36 years of my life lived as a dedicated and fully active member of the LDS church. My experience is just that: mine. I don't have quotes or scriptures to back it up, as it's my own personal eye-witness. Culture, practice, and even the handbook, is often 180 degrees from the scriptures. I'm just not interested in spending hours offering rebuttals and contradictory quotes from general authorities.

    I'm writing to those who, for whatever reasons, are no longer welcome within the LDS church. I'm writing to those pursuing Jesus Christ, wherever they worship on Sundays. I'm not seeking to lead anyone anywhere. Just share what has brought me joy and life, in the hopes that someone might be blessed.

    Why do you feel such an unction to patrol my blog? Why are my words so important? I'm just one person, and a fairly unknown one, at that. I don't make any of the online lists that warn about LDS apostate blogs or whatever. My traffic here is pretty slow, especially when you compare it to many other bloggers whose content is far more inflammatory/controversial than mine. So I just don't get it. You say you don't know me personally, so why do you even care?

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  5. When you reference the Church through your experiences, you make generalizations and false conclusions of its teachings, practices, and doctrines. I cannot stand by and let you paint an inaccurate picture of the Church you left but cannot leave alone. You say you are not trying to lead people out of the Church, than why is every reference of the Church negative? That “us Mormons” got it wrong. If you notice I only comment when you reference the Church. I have not commented on your own personal beliefs and I never will unless you attempt to tie it to the Church.

    Everyone is welcome in the Church. Because of the Fall of Adam we have weaknesses, and some of those weaknesses might make some feel unwelcome.


    Elder Bednar October 2006
    “Several years ago a man said something in Sunday School that offended me, and I have not been back since.”

    “No one in this branch greeted or reached out to me. I felt like an outsider. I was hurt by the unfriendliness of this branch.”

    “I did not agree with the counsel the bishop gave me. I will not step foot in that building again as long as he is serving in that position.”

    Many other causes of offense were cited—from doctrinal differences among adults to taunting, teasing, and excluding by youth. But the recurring theme was: “I was offended by …”

    And then I would say something like this. “Let me make sure I understand what has happened to you. Because someone at church offended you, you have not been blessed by the ordinance of the sacrament. You have withdrawn yourself from the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Because someone at church offended you, you have cut yourself off from priesthood ordinances and the holy temple. You have discontinued your opportunity to serve others and to learn and grow. And you are leaving barriers that will impede the spiritual progress of your children, your children’s children, and the generations that will follow.” Many times people would think for a moment and then respond: “I have never thought about it that way.”

    When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false.

    To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”


    The Savior taught to leave the 99 and seek after the 1. I feel inspired to help you understand what is really taught by the LDS church in hopes that you and your family will one day come back.

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  6. What is an accurate picture of an organization? Is it what it actually does? Or what it says it does? Is it determined by what its leaders say, or by its track record? When there are bald conflicts between words and actions, which set do you set above the other? When one leader says one thing, and another says something contradictory, how do you reconcile the two, or determine which to reject and which to hold up as aligned with the Way, the Truth and the Life? When a leader says something that does not pass the test of agreement with the plainest of scripture passages, what is a person to do?

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  7. Joseph Smith, Jr.
    “I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 522)

    We are imperfect people trying to do the Lord’s perfect work. No organization is perfect. That’s the way the Lord designed it from the beginning. If you only look for the mistakes and weaknesses than that’s all you will see. If you look for God’s hand in the work it stands out that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s TRUE church upon the earth. What you do is help were you are, not run away because you see people’s imperfections and mortal weaknesses. The leaders teach the ideal, as in the quotes I have posted throughout your blog. It is up to us, and we will be judged on how we live those teachings.

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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!