He WILL


Jesus didn't say, "Ask, and if I feel like it, I'll give", or "Seek, and if I'm in the mood, you'll find".

He spoke in the declarative. This is not about a fickle God, playing favorites. This is a powerful reassurance to those who petition Father God . . . assurance that when they pray, when they seek, when they knock, He responds. And responds with good things. Always.

It's me, with my expectations and limitations, that doesn't see, doesn't recognize, doesn't follow God's leading into the amazing things that He has planned for me. He gives. Good things.

Father God, help me believe You more, open my heart and show me any strongholds, any stakes, any areas where I'm not willing to simply believe what You have said, and trust You. I want to be Yours, to follow what You say, and to live in Your presence. In Jesus' name, amen.

Baptism Day


So much JOY.

So much.

Choosing to dig into and adhere to the words of Jesus Christ is the best decision I've ever made.

There is a movement, within the membership of the LDS Church (and increasingly outside of it, as members otherwise in full good standing are excommunicated for "apostasy"), to once again rely on the scriptures as the definitive Word of God. To trust the words of Jesus Christ over anything contradictory spoken by man. Thousands have been baptized according to the Doctrine of Christ, and it's not slowing down, despite heavy-handed disciplinary actions and top-down ordered excommunications by LDS leadership, in direct contradiction to their own press releases and scripture. (There's a whole rat's nest of plausible deniability, due to Area Authority 70's not necessarily being considered "general authorities", but I won't go into that here.)

This is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands . . . all believers, everywhere, seeking God on His terms, and seeking to do His will. It is happening in all denominations, all over the world. The LDS Church is no exception.

Yesterday was an incredible day . . . and I will treat it as the celebratory occasion it was. Hallelujah for Jesus Christ, our Lord, and His wonder, glory, and love for us!

I welcome questions, concerns, and freak-outs . . . once again, this blog is a platform for open discussion, and an earnest and simple offer to seek understanding, instead of take refuge in gossip and hearsay.

Peace be to you Reader, whoever you are, in Jesus' name, so be it.

Journey Forth!

25 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, Go in and slay them; let none escape. And they smote them with the sword; and the guards or runners [before the king] and the officers threw their bodies out and went into the inner dwelling of the house of Baal.
26 They brought out the pillars or obelisks of the house of Baal and burned them.
27 They broke down the pillars of Baal and the house of Baal, and made it [forever unclean] a privy to this day.
28 Thus Jehu rooted Baal out of Israel.
29 But Jehu did not give up the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he made Israel to sin, that is, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
30 And the Lord said to Jehu, Because you have executed well what is right in My eyes and have done to the house of Ahab as I willed, your sons to the fourth generation shall sit on Israel’s throne. [Fulfilled in II Kings 15:12.]
31 But Jehu paid no attention to walking in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not quit the sins with which Jeroboam made Israel to sin.
32 [So] in those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel.  ~2 Kings 10:25-32 AMP
Jehu, in a blaze of Old Testament fervor, carried out the Lord's word to Elijah, that all of Ahab's house would be destroyed.  He slew grandsons, friends, any who were connected to that house. Then he went and utterly ruined the house of Baal. For this exacting obedience, the Lord had a word for Jehu, in verse 30: the promise that Jehu's sons would be kings of Israel to the fourth generation.

But Jehu stopped short . . . while he pursued with zeal other words God had given, eradicating Ahab's house and ruining Baal's, he didn't give up what was apparently his "favorite" bit of idolatry. I can see him justifying, reasoning that the Golden Calf was worshipped by his fathers in the wilderness while Moses was on the mountain, and that surely something that old had to be good. Or I can see him thinking it was such a small thing, and he had done so much, that surely it was enough to please the Lord.

I'm standing on the edge of something marvelous and beautiful, new and glorious; a faith-filled walk with my God I have only dreamed of.

I'm not going to stop short.

God has opened the way before me, and I am stepping into it.

This is a Jewish story of parting the Red Sea that I really love:
Behind them was an army bristling for war. Before them was an ocean, deep and impassable. They could neither advance nor retreat. They were ambushed. What could they do? 
Moses tried an age-old tactic: he cried out to God. But God rebuked him: “Why do you cry to me? Tell the Children of Israel to journey forth.” 
Journey forth, but how? There was an ocean before them! God never addressed this question, and Moses never asked it. God said to journey forth, and journey they did. That was the entire point. Don’t ask questions. Don’t raise doubts. If God issues a command, He will provide the means to see it through. 
Yet the Children of Israel hesitated. They were prepared to plow into the ocean, but they needed to be led. A leader appeared in the person of Nachshon, son of Aminadav, tribal prince of Judah. Leading his tribal column, Nachshon strode into the sea. Wading through the rising tide, the waters first reached his waist, then his chest and shoulders.
At the very last moment, as the waters reached his nostrils, the Red Sea parted and the Children of Israel followed him into the sea.
How's that for radical obedience? God said, "Go forward!", as the Israelites stood trapped between the sea and mountains. This was deep water, folks. And Israelites were notorious for knowing absolutely nothing about water. I've heard there was a saying, similar to our American proverb, "When pigs fly", that meant, "When a Jew builds a ship". Nachshon led his column straight into something that, culturally, they were wholly unprepared for. Laden for their journey with all the things the Lord had them take out of Egypt, who knows if they could even swim?

And yet, they strode into the sea in radical obedience to what Yahweh had said:
"Journey forth." 
Yes, Lord.

What "sustaining" now means.

On September 23rd, Vern and I met with our bishop, at the bishop's request. This is the email we received two days before:


We met in the bishop's office, and he clarified that he wanted to discuss the fourth question in the temple recommend interview, because Vern had made a couple of comments in Gospel Doctrine just before that which weren't in agreement with the instructor's views. The question he wanted to discuss was this:
#4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church? 
I'll leave Vern's story for him to tell. Mine is simple. After he was done talking with Vern about this question, the bishop asked me if I sustained the leaders of the church as prophets, seers and revelators. I opened my mouth to answer that I sustained them with my prayers and faith, as the Doctrine and Covenants encourages, when he cut me off and asked:
"If you lived in the time of Brigham Young, and he said the saints were going west, would you have gone?"
 My answer was straightforward and simple:
"If God said "Go", I'd go. If He said "Stay", I'd stay.
I left that office without a recommend, because, according to my bishop, my answer did not satisfy the current requirements of sustaining leaders.

It has been strange, not being a "card carrying Mormon" for the first time in my life. It's even more strange, having run afoul of this strangely-morphed version of the faith I have loved my whole life. And yet, I'm grateful for the overt insanity of the last couple of years' interaction with my leadership, as it has revealed a great deal of the traditions of my fathers.

What Spirit are We of?

"When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." ] And they went on to another village." (Luke 9:51-56 NASB)
James and John loved Jesus. Tremendously. If you have a mother or father in the faith, someone who helped to lead you to the Baptism of Fire, you'll have the beginning of an idea of how they felt. Like good, loyal friends, they wanted an eye for an eye when the Lord they owed everything to was turned away, the Samaritans so blatantly breaking the laws of hospitality.

I love the Son of Man's reply, the reassertion of His purpose, and of the new law He gave to those that follow Him, in John 13:34-35:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
What are my responses, when I come across someone who does not make the same choices I would make? What is in my heart: a prayer for their well-being, or an avenging desire to right what I perceive as a wrong? (Does Heaven even see the offending thing as wrong? What does scripture actually say about it?) What spirit animates and motivates me? Is it the Spirit of Christ, that lifts and liberates, unstintingly generous in the outpouring of His love, or is it a different spirit, that entices me to demand conformity, or exact payment in kind for the perceived offense?

Father in Heaven, thank You for sending Your Son. Thank You for all He did, for all He offers. Thank You so much for the mercy and grace that supports me from moment to moment, and the absolutely free and open outpouring of Love, and forgiveness!, from You and from Him, that You offer constantly, all day, every day, to those who will open their hearts to receive it. Thank You for changing lives, for drawing all unto You, and for the beauty of Your work: to save lives. In Jesus' name, amen!