Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Testimony of Joseph Smith

I belong to a forum whose posts are open for anyone to read so I see no harm in quoting a post someone made there (they did not use their real name and I know nothing about who they really are). It was an opening post and included questions. I am quoting it and I am quoting my reply (which took two posts, then I added a postscript comment).

I view my reply as my testimony of truth. Because of that, I am making a blog post out of it.

1smartdog wrote:
From time to time I will hear or read about someone who claims to know all the dirty church history and yet believes. Frankly I do not know what to make of these people. Sometimes I think they really do not know everything, maybe some superficial stuff, but they have not explored it all. It is one thing to gloss over the BofA or polygamy, but when you dive deep you realize the very foundational stories you were taught all your life are suspect at best or more likely complete fabrications.

How does one stare so directly into the light and yet ignore it at the same time. For me and I think most people when they find the truth it takes but a short time to realize it is all a big lie. But there seems to be those few who can compartmentalize it enough to believe in spite of it all. What gives with this? Are they so vested in belief that nothing to the contrary can be contemplated? I just can not get my head around this approach.

I can accept that if you are ignorant of the facts you can believe. We all did at one point. But when faced with the evidence and you still choose to defend the church I wonder what scrambled thought processes you must endure.

My reply:
I can't say I know it all. I don't think anyone does. What I have seen, in my studies, is that people can lie about others even in the 1800s. I look at the evidence and make my own decisions. Some of what people on NOM accept as true witnesses, I do not.

However, I think one thing that is different about me is that my hopes and salvation are not hung up on Joseph Smith or any other leader of the Church. No one is perfect and it's the most damning lie we are taught - that Joseph and every president after him were perfect and that the Church is perfect. A lie equal to that is that it is ALL true or it is ALL false.

When one believes the leaders not only are perfect, but have to be perfect (except in very minor things), then they have to compartmentalize some of the things, say, Brigham, taught. In fact, for years, I denied he ever taught the Adam-God theory.

I read much of the CES letter. When I looked at the examples of the funerary pictures (facsimiles?) that were being compared with the one about Abraham we have in the Pearl of Great Price, I noticed that the funerary pictures had dead people who were acting like proper dead people, but the one of Abraham was the only dead person I'd seen or heard of who was kicking and hitting. Apparently, he didn't know how to act like a proper corpse.

As far as masonry and the temple, I see it this way: Joseph was a mason. He had seen into heaven. He knew he was going to die soon. The people weren't finishing the temple and he knew they'd receive the promised curses (being scattered, for one thing). He wanted to give them some clues to hold on to in regards to what he had been trying to get through their collective heads. (That they were each to see the Lord for themselves and not rely on him so much.)

I believe that he saw, in masonry, signs and tokens that could be used as clues if the people could figure it out. I'm not so sure he intended such an air of fear and secrecy to accompany the temple ordinances, though.

Here are some examples, and I hope I'm not telling too much. First sign. Casting out the devil so he cannot answer your prayers to God. (There is an example of this in the temple film.) Second sign. Keeping the devil at bay and coming to God as a beggar. Third sign. Even after Jesus has cast Satan/Lucifer under your feet (via the atonement and you accepting it), you are still a beggar before God. Fourth. You approach the throne of God, speaking to Him three times to signify that you are in the lowest realm (telestial, terrestrial, celestial).

Translating the Book of Mormon. I don't care that he used a hat and a stone. Sometimes I wonder why he didn't translate like I was taught, but perhaps his gift was not intended to be manifest in a typical way. What I do is look at the finished product.

Now, there is a lie, by inference, going around. That lie is that Joseph translated the book perfectly and it needed no editing. Not one stitch. Well, I've been reading the 1830 version of the book and sometimes his grammar makes me cringe. And, when they "fixed" it in later versions, they changed some things that I wonder if they ought to have - like changing "Mary the mother of God" to "Mary the mother of the Son of God."

Because of stuff like that, I figure I have a right to look at the book as if it was a typical book by a typical author. Errors in the first edition. It doesn't have to be perfect. Not really.

I find the book useful. I find that I get closer to God by studying it. I have stopped studying it with a Mormon paradigm. I search to see what the book, itself, is saying.

For example, it comes down hard on the Gentiles. Moroni says, "I've seen you." Then he says, "Why have you polluted the holy church of God?"

We are taught that these references are to the Catholic church. Why would he say that to a church that was polluted a thousand years before the people he saw and knew would read the book.

The book damns us, the followers of Joseph Smith's religions. Reading that book with the idea that most of the references to gentiles mean us is a real eye-opener and fits what we have been and what we have become. It even gave a special warning about polygamy.

Part Two -

I believe that Joseph didn't have sex with all of those women he was accused of having sex with. If he did sealings at all, I think it had nothing to do with marriage and marital relations. I think there are a lot of holes in the women's testimonies. They gave one witness while Joseph was alive and another witness after he was dead and they had something to lose by not lying for the Lord for Brigham.

I believe Bennet accused Joseph to cover up his own sins.

The precedent had already been set for altering scriptures when a committee embellished the Book of Commandments when they wrote the Doctrine and Covenants - and I believe that some of D&C 132 was altered by the man who claimed to have written it for Joseph originally, because he was loyal to Brigham - and they had to prove to Joseph's sons that Joseph had had lots of sex with lots of wives - and to keep polygamy, they had to convince the gov't that it had been practiced since Joseph's time so they could keep it under the clause of freedom of religion. (Apparently, if it was an innovation by BY, the courts would have rejected it. They did anyway, but that's beside the point.)

Now, I don't expect you guys to believe me or to accept my point of view. I'm not interested in debating your evidences against mine. I'm no scholar and I'm not into debate. I only replied because the op was wondering something and I thought I would give a reply because I fit somewhat into the paradigm he was addressing.

But I don't fit into the paradigm completely, because I hold the opinion that only Joseph was a prophet, that he didn't have to be anywhere near perfect to be so, that the books he translated did not have to be perfect. I hold that the reason Joseph came was to share the revelations and books, and to tell us that we, too, could connect directly with heaven. In fact, that it was vital for us to be able to bear the Lord's presence in the flesh. Otherwise, there could be no Zion. And without Zion, the whole earth would be utterly destroyed because no one would be able to stand in the Lord's presence without sizzling.

I believe that a formally organized church was not intended by God, but was pushed by Sidney Rigdon and others. I believe that one can be baptized and accept the Book of Mormon without ever becoming a member of one of the offshoots descending from Joseph Smith.

I think Baptists can stay Baptist. Catholics can stay Catholic. And so forth. They may have to change some of their thinking to accept the new stuff, but there is no need to leave their own formal religion. I think God wants no formal religion, with hierarchies and "holy men" who boss people around and tell them what underwear to wear.

I think religion is deeply personal and no person has a right to tell you what to believe, how to approach God, or make a set of rules (no tats, wear white shirts, pay money to attend temples, follow a man or be kicked out, and so forth).

I know that most everyone here disagrees with my beliefs. I also know that we share some beliefs. I don't have a problem with you not believing me. I'm fine with you choosing your own path and accepting what makes sense to you. That's the way it should be.

*steps down from soapbox*

I hold the opinion that only Joseph was a prophet,

This means that I don't think BY down to and including TSM are true prophets. These men may have held the title, but they were not and are not the real thing.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hymn - The Hope of Israel

This is a hymn I posted a while back. Today I put it to the music (soprano/melody and alto, only).

I have noticed that if a song is copyrighted in the hymnbook, it specifically says so. I intend to only write lyrics to the music that is freely available for anyone to sing and use.

Link to the PDF.

Hymn - Coming To Christ

I previously posted only the lyrics to this song.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Personal Articles of Belief

(Note: edited post - Written to someone I later found did not receive it. That's okay. Probably for the best, actually.)

I feel I should let you know what I have been doing and where I currently stand.

When President Hinckley did not react to 9/11 by warning us to repent lest we be destroyed, I cried to God, asking Him if He was going to let us (this nation) be destroyed without sending a prophet to warn us that if we did not repent we would be destroyed.

Over time, I forgot about my prayer, but God did not. In 2010, God began bringing a man to my awareness over and over again until I seriously began to pay attention to what he had to say. When I recognized the Lord's voice through this man's words, I talked to God about him. God reminded me of my fervent prayers after 9/11 and He told me, "This man is an answer to your prayers."

God miraculously opened the way for me to attend each of the 10 lectures this man gave over the course of a year (September 2013-September 2014). There seemed to be Light coming from every pore of his skin. I heard much that I recognized as coming from the Lord.

I have been baptized (by one authorized by God) as a witness of my willingness to follow Christ and to sacrifice all things to know Him personally, face to face.

When I can, I partake of the Lord's supper as suggested by the scriptures (bread and wine, kneeling, etc.). I began partaking of the sacrament in that manner near the end of September 2013. I do not believe any institution can give or withhold permission to partake of the Lord's supper, be baptized, or come unto Christ and behold Him in the flesh.

I believe the purpose of the restoration Joseph Smith began was to have a people who could not only withstand the Lord in the flesh, but could comfortably converse with Him and know Him as one knows a dear friend in this life.

I believe the times of the Gentiles (which includes us LDS people) is fulfilled and God is in the process of removing the gospel from us, collectively. We have screwed it up royally and we tell each other how awesome we are and that we will be saved if we give heed to men, even over the scriptures. We call men "prophets" who do not prophesy. We call men "seers" who do not see. We call men "revelators" who do not reveal.

I believe that when the 15 men that LDS Church members uphold as prophets, seers, and revelators could NOT recognize a man that our Lord, Himself, had sent to cry repentance to us, who excommunicated him through lots of "training" with his stake president, they lost the Lord's support and the Lord's willingness to help them run the LDS Church (unless they repent of this great evil). You see, when they cast out the Lord's servant, they -in effect- cast out the Lord, Himself.

I still cannot comprehend how men I thought were so holy and so close to God were so far from Him that not even one of them (in any part of their being, apparently) could recognize the voice of the Lord.

I have been blessed by the help of people who, tired of the LDS Church having no accountability to the people for how they spend tithing - as well as building malls, dedicating worldly businesses, and so forth, have been using their tithing to bless the poor, according to how the Lord directed and directs them.

I count among my many like-minded friends men such as ___ and ___ (both of Mesa, AZ) and ___ (of northern Utah) who have been cast out of the LDS Church for their beliefs. (These men did not influence my thinking. Meeting them was a product of how I was already thinking.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Erm ... Blogger. What?

At one point in time, I deleted my blog, but kept it on my computer in case I wanted to restore any of the posts (blogspot lets you do that). When I restored it, I thought all of the posts I wanted restored had been put on the blog so people could see.

Tonight, I discovered that that hadn't really happened. They were in my list of posts with the word "imported" by them, but apparently were not on the blog itself. Plus, there were a few doubles (not sure how that happened).

So, I'm hoping that "it's all good" now, that what I want restored has been restored, and that there are no double posts.

totally silly post - Alien Invasion

A story in pictures. Is it . . .

a) recovered and rescued self?
b) rescued by cat?
c) rescued by twin?
d) evil twin set up the whole thing?
d) cat set up the whole thing, using evil twin?

The End

Sunday, April 12, 2015

An Altered Hymn - to the Tune of Hymn 180

One day, I'd like to take the altered hymns and the new hymns I've written (and will write), and make them into a book. It would be fun to write lyrics to ten or twenty more hymns and bind them, share them.

Father in heaven, I do believe
The promise you have made
To come into thy holy place
And there to see my Lord.

I now repent with broken heart
And come to thee, my God.
I turn to face thee, Oh my Lord,
And leave my lies behind.

My heart you broke, my soul is bent.
I come before you now.
Wanting nothing except your love,
I give my life to thee. 

Edit: I don't want two posts with the exact same song (I only changed one word, which change I made to the above version), so I am deleting the later post.

(All of the altered lyrics and new lyrics set to familiar hymns that I've posted thus far on this blog have been written by me.)

The New Song - Oh Lord, My God - Set to Music

Some comments first: This is soprano voice only. The notes were connected in weird ways when I tried to add the alto, so I only did the soprano, and didn't attempt the tenor or bass.

God wrote the lyrics and wants to get this song out. Anyone can copy it. Anyone can sing it. It is not for sale. It is given away. Any copyright ought to say, "It is illegal to sell this song."

Also, I am working on an altered hymn. (Altered hymns have only been changed a little. When I change the lyrics a lot, as in the song below, I  consider it a new song in its own right.)

I had to upload them as photo files, so I hope they are clear enough to read, especially when printed.

Here is the pdf.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thinking About Thngs Again

So, I got an epiphany a while ago. The Lord doesn't want me to be miserable. He really does want me to be happy. When I said that to Him, it seemed like He replied, "You finally got it! Yes! I'm not your enemy. I want you to have enough food to eat, clothes to wear, a place to live. I want you to be genuinely happy, not pretend to be happy while you are miserable and wish you were dead."


I read a couple of posts lately, about Zion. They made me think. They were sobering to me. One was here. The other was here.

Right before or after I read that second link, I watched a movie called, "The Truman Show." It was like getting hit with a sledgehammer. The post and the movie sort of merged in my soul (that's why I don't remember which I was exposed to first). I watched the movie again today.

There's a line in the movie that the creator of The Truman Show says to a detractor (one who wants Truman to be able to live a real life). I can't quote it verbatim, but in essence, he says, "He can get out if he wants. If he wants it badly enough [to do anything to get out], he can leave. But he doesn't want to get out. He likes his cage."

As I watched the show, watched someone putting into Truman's head that he was in a "cage," watched Truman slowly waking up to the fact that some things didn't add up, then watched him fight, willing to sacrifice all, not even withholding his life, so that he could find a truth he didn't even understand - as I watched that, something pushed inside of me. It pushed me to crave getting out of my own illusions, to be willing to sacrifice anything and everything to find the Lord, to allow Him to work with me that I might be what, who, and where He wants me to be.


The first time I was rebaptized (before the general call to be baptized by "authority" instead of by "commission"), I was baptized in a river and three white wild horses grazed across the river the whole time. A call to courage, I think.

Fear. Worry. One or the other has been my constant companion since I was a preschooler. I am in the process of letting go of that. A couple of years ago, God began helping me with that in earnest. He is still working on it, and I am as willing a student as I know how to be. He's working on me trusting Him.

I fear my own sins. I fear my own failure. The other fears are fading into the background, even disappearing. I read the posts about how serious it is, what we are doing, what we are attempting. Can I do this? Can I sacrifice ALL that the Lord requires? How much have I already sacrificed? How much more is required? I feel so inadequate. I worry that I will come up against something I can't do, can't handle. I worry that because I've had more than enough hellish experiences in my life, things that I could barely survive. I pray God to lift me up and make it so that I don't notice how bad it really is. I've prayed that before. He has answered, done as I requested. There have been some times when I have been surprised, when I would look at my life objectively and see what I was going through and how much it did not hurt or scare me.

I pray God that darkness has no power over me, to drag me down, to cause me to fail. I am alive for a reason. I am alive because of what God wants me to do. He would not have sent His angels to show me the two paths I could choose if He knew I could not accomplish the one that required me to stay alive (as we call it). I must believe that the Lord can do this. I must believe that He has already atoned for my sins (and is only waiting for me to accept that). I must believe that He can create in me a new mind and a new heart. I must believe that I cannot understand all that the Lord comprehends. I must believe that trusting Him will cause me to break out of the illusions I live in.

I crave breaking out of this hell I was born into. I crave breaking into the reality, into the Light. But I cannot do it alone. I don't have the knowledge. I don't have the understanding. I still labor under too much fear and ineptitude.

God help me. God help us all.