IDA SMITH'S PERSONAL STORY
MY JOURNEY TOWARDS THE LIGHT
By Ida Smith
The request to submit our "stories" regarding our experience with The Sealed Portion (TSP) has sent me on a long look back over my life. Why was I so quick to accept it? I was born and raised in the LDS Church. My father came through eldest sons back to Joseph Smith, Sr. I was brought up to believe that Joseph Smith, Jr. was called by God to translate the first third of an ancient Nephite record and to restore the true word of God on the earth. I have never doubted Joseph's calling. My great-great-grandfather (Hyrum Smith) supported Joseph in life and was later murdered with him.
Several times in the last year, members of my family have asked if I still believe in Christ and Joseph Smith. The answer is, "YES!" I believe Christ when he said he was the Son ofGod. And I believe him when he said he had completed his mission before he was crucified. I believe that Joseph was visited by the Father and the Son, was taught by Moroni and the Brother of Jared, among others (all beings from another planet),and was tutored by a few men who have been here for over two thousand years (John the Beloved and the Three Nephites). I really believe that. The first thing I thought when I was told The Sealed Portion was available was not, "Why did it not come through the President of the LDS Church!?" If the Lord could call Joseph—an unschooled fourteen-year old boy from rural upstate New York—He could jolly-well call anyone He chose! There is no way I could have refused to read TSP because, "I did not approve of who the Lord called to translate it!" The arrogance of such a thought is truly staggering.
So—how did I get to where I am now in my seventies? When I was eight years old, my mother put me on a train in Salt Lake City to travel by myself to go visit my Aunt in Chicago—a three-day, two-night trip. If a parent should try doing that today, they well might find themselves in jail! There were porters on the trains in those days, and a wonderful big black porter took verygood care of me. I had no reason to be afraid, and I was not. But I do remember how anxious my Aunt and Grandmother looked when I got off the train! On the return trip I was sent home with a friend of my Aunt's, who thought she had to 'take care of me' and 'tell me what to do.' I deeply resented her trying to control me! I had done this trip once all by myself,thank you very much—and I did NOT need her to take care of me! I don't believe since then that I ever felt I needed to ask permission of anyone else to do what I wanted to do, go where I wanted to go—or read what I wanted to read.
In 1941 (my tenth year), my family moved to 'the country' (Centerville, Utah). We lived on three and a half acres of land. We had 120 peach trees, 90 apricot trees, cherry trees, apple trees, and pear trees. We also had two very large vegetable areas, plus grapes, berries, etc., also a horse, a cow, chickens, and for a time, a dog. We never ran out of work to be done. Since mysister Ruth and I were the two oldest, we got to do the irrigating once a week. (We especially liked the midnight to eight shift, as we got to sleep in the next day!) My Mother put up 1000 quarts of fruit every summer. They were WWII years and we were grateful to have such a food supply. The years on the farm were good for us. We learned to work and to be independent.
In 1947, my family moved to Hawaii. This was definitely a change of pace! We were now living in a Territory, not a State. Ruth and I were sent to Punahou School (K through 12), one of only two English-standard high schools on the Island. It had been founded by Christian Missionaries in 1841 and was an excellent college preparatory school. We were very fortunate to have this opportunity. After two years at Punahou, I left for the Mainland to attend the University of Utah. I had no idea what I would major in, except I knew I did not want to be a teacher (both parents were), and Sociology and Political Science sounded really boring. Registering for classes was a pain. Since my name started with an "S," as an undergraduate I was always among the last to get to register. Most of the classes were filled already. Winter Quarter, the only class I could get to fill a requirement was Poly Sci I, a five-hour class at 1:00 p.m. G. Homer Durham was the teacher, and I had the most electrifying learning experience of my life so far. After taking Poly Sci II from Francis Warmuth in the Spring Quarter (Constitutional Law), I was hooked. My last two years at the U, I lived very much in a male world. I was one of just two women who graduated in Poly Sci in 1953.
My work history has been varied. I mentioned living on the farm. The first summer in Hawaii, I had two jobs: the first in a tailor shop, sewing buttons on men's pants, and the second (changing jobs because my salary went up to 65 cents an hour!) in the pineapple factory grading the pine and putting it into cans. I was taller than 98% of the women who worked there, and it was backbreaking work for me. It was the best salary for teens on the island, but I knew I would not work at it for long. I worked at the Library at the U of Ufor nearly four years and at various jobs in the summers. After graduation, I went with a friend to Palo Alto, California to find work and earn enough money to fly home. I worked in the business office of a medical building for four months and then flew home to Hawaii, where I got a job with an insurance company. About a year later, the President of Punahou came to my office and asked me to come teach in the academy at Punahou. I had not wanted to be a teacher, but several employees had left my office, which meant I had a heavy workload and was in a vulnerable state of mind. In a weak moment, I signed a two-year contract. I was giventhree sections of American History for seniors as well as classes in Hawaiian Economics for sophomores. Through a mistake in the office, I was assigned the Honors History section, which should have been given to the well-established teacher I had had five years previous! These kids were the best and the brightest kids on the Island. They were headed to large and demanding schools on the East and West coasts. This class was being taught as a college course, and I was lucky to stay half a step ahead of them. After the mistake was realized, Dr. Potter and I planned to switch classes in January. When my kids found out about the switch, they rebelled and refused to leave my class. They promised they would be angels if I stuck with them; and I made it through the year. That summer, I learned that I was the only first-year teacher that had been given a two-year contract. (While a student there, I had bumped heads with the President while I was on the Student Court, and I guess he figured I would not take any guff and would last!)
During my second year teaching, my sister Ruth went on a mission to England. Wetentatively planned that I would meet her in England and we would come home together via Asia; but as time passed, she felt she wanted to come home via the States. England and Hawaii are on opposite sides of the earth, and I did not want to go and come the same way. So I did not sign a new teaching contract, and instead made plans to spend two months traveling in Asia and the near East by myself, before going on to England to meet Ruth. I had a fellow teacher who had spent 18 months in those areas who outlined where I should go and how long I should stay, and another friend in the travel business who made all the reservations and got all the necessary visas. My parents did not try to dissuade me. I reminded my Mother often that if she thought I was 'too independent,' that it was all her fault! So a few days after school was out, I set foot on a nine-month tour around the world, and soon came to know that "he who travels alone" really does travel fastest—no jets, no credit cards, and no job at the end of the trip. It was easy to meet people and do things with friends along the way when a companion was appropriate. After two months of travel in Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Egypt, the Holy Land, and Greece, I flew to London to meet Ruth in Birmingham. We spent several weeks in London and Scotland before heading to Europe where we rented a car for a month.We put dots on a map, drew lines to connect them, and took off. It was fabulous! We ultimately saw Christmas in Paris, London, and New York.
It was spring before I got back to Palo Alto, where I got a job with Houghton Mifflin Company books. I thought I would be in California for only a short time—and ended up staying 21 years. I was a year and a half with HMC and then went to the National Association of Manufactures as Executive Secretary and Office Manager. For those of you who remember the sixties, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, you know these were volatile times. My boss was the smartest man I had ever met. When he told me that the 60's were the decade of the Civil Rights Movement and that the 70's would be the decade for Women's Rights, I joked, "Why would I need to be equal with a man, when I felt I was in a superior position already!?" I wish I had been a better student, because he was dead right. My ox had never been gored because of gender stuff. My parents had a totally equal relationship. I was an adult before I knew that there was such a thing as, "men's and women's work," and that there was a difference. I did not know that in the eyes of many men, women's work was beneath them, and that (therefore) so were they. I was tutored for the 70's while I worked for Jim Hammond at NAM.
After I had been fifteen years at NAM, my boss retired and I left as well. I took a year off and then worked for five years for a company of Landscape Architects. One day in the spring of 1978, while reading a copy of The Church News, I saw an article about the search for a "Director for the Women's Research Institute," which was to be formed at BYU. After reading it, I heard a very distinct voice in my head which said, "That's your job." I mentally answered back, "That's crazy. I don't have a PhD and would never get that job." I finished the paper and then went back and read the article again. Again the voice,"That's your job." Again, I dismissed it; but tossed the paper in my bottom drawer. In the third week of May, I got a long-distance call at work from Utah. The operator said, "Please hold for President Dallin Oaks." I knew instantly what the call was about. His assistant came on the phone, and after a few pleasantries, she told me about the new Women's Institute, and would I be interested in becoming the founding Director. I had worked for many years in Stake and Regional leadership positions for "Special Interest," an organization for single LDS church members.
In that capacity, I had been involved in starting a program we called "Breakfast with the Brethren," where we invited speakers who came for the "Know Your Religion" series to join the Special Interest group for breakfast on Saturday morning. I became acquaintedwith many BYU professors through this program, and President Dallin Oaks had been one of them. After my "Special Interest" co-chair took Pres. Oaks back to the airport, he called me and said, "I am making a prophecy: 'he [Pres. Oaks] will have you at BYU.'" I said, "No way." He then reported that Dallin had told him, "I now know why I was to speak in Palo Alto this weekend: one, to meet a young man who was getting his PhD at Stanford, and the other, to meet Ida!" That is why I knew what the call was about. Long story short, I flew to Salt Lake over Memorial Day and met with four people: the Assistant to President Oaks,a BYU Vice-President, the Relief Society President, and Jeff Holland, the Commissioner of Education for the Church. (Pres. Oaks was out of the State, but said he "didn't need to talk to me again.") On the flight home, I knew that I would be making a move to Utah. The following week, I got a call from the Assistant saying that I "was everybody's first choice" and when could I start? At the end of August, Ruth came to drive back with me, and I pulled out of 21 years in California and headed for Utah.
The next five years were very interesting indeed. To say times were volatile and women were in crises does not even come close. For those who remember the 70's—the National and International Women's conferences—you know. No one really knew what should happen in the Institute. The official title of the organization was the "Women's Research Institute," but I was not allowed (nor did I have the staff or money) to do any empirical research. That presented challenges. There was one sentence in the founding document that I latched on to; it said that the Institute should"be visibly evident that the Church cared about women." I had no idea what a maelstrom I was walking into, but I found myself "in the middle" of it. Some women thought that since I came from California, that I must be way too liberal (which I was not). I found I could reach women from both extremes; and I listened. Hardly a day went by that someone was not in my office bleeding all over my carpet. Women in the Church, just as women in the nation, were in crises. They felt undervalued, not listened to,confined to limited life roles, etc. They felt desperate for someone to acknowledge and understand their pain. This I tried to do. Over the next five years, I spoke at hundreds of Women's Conferences all over the country—from Washington D.C. to Hawaii and Oregon to Texas. I was often asked how I "dared to say what I was saying?" I said, "Because I am telling the truth." I was never told I could not say or do what I was doing. NEVER. Even when a group organized a national letter-writing campaign to get me fired, Dallin Oaks, and later Jeff Holland, were totally supportive.
Early on, there was a "radical feminist" in the Church in the East, who was creating many waves. I was meeting regularly with the staff of the Church Public Affairs committee, and on a Friday in the fall, several of us met with the four General Authorities over this committee: Elders Hinckley, Haight, Maxwell, and Faust. We (the women) felt we were not getting through. In frustration, I hit the table and said, "There is a bomb out there that is about to go off and you are not hearing what we are trying to tell you!" They tried to reassure us that they did understand, but on the way home, we felt just the opposite was true. On the drive home and the next two weekend days, I felt the most discouraged and depressed I have ever felt in my life. We were devastated. We all felt that it was the worst meeting we had ever been in. But we made a pact with each other that we would not leave the Church or make potshots at it from the outside—but would instead do whatever we could on the inside to make things better for our sisters. By Monday, we thought we needed to call "our" GA's (General Authorities) and salvage what we could. We made the calls, and were all amazed! Each one of our GA's felt it had been a wonderful meeting; they had heard us; and it had all been very helpful! We were stunned. As the situation in the East progressed, another in our support group counseled "the Brethren" not to excommunicate the woman in question. Benign neglect, it could be called—leave her alone. Apparently, the brethren felt all they needed to do was to eliminate this one vocal woman and everything would calm down. But a few weeks later, when she was excommunicated, rather than calm, all hell broke loose. (Sometime later, the Secretary to the Twelve told me that the Church came closer to 'patriarchal panic' then, than at any other time he had ever seen before.)
Under very capable mentoring, the Women's Office at BYU was reorganizing annual Women's Conferences. A lot of anger was running over and animosity ruled. Working mothers were looked down upon as being disobedient; many women who had married young and had children were feeling cheated and betrayed by the system. For those who don't remember the seventies, the following might be helpful: women were told not to put anything ahead of marriage and motherhood. Anyone outside of the Church who might have tuned in to General Conference on TV would have assumed that this church was only for 'old white men.' No one else sat in the center section of the Tabernacle. No woman was ever allowed to speak in Conference. If a woman married a non-member, she would not be allowed to get her endowments in the Temple without her husband's permission (not easy to get and not encouraged). A single woman had far more control over her destiny. She could go to the temple and get her endowments without having to get a man's permission. (I had a friend with six children. The father of the family, a Bishop, counseled his youngest daughter not to go to the Temple until she was married. So she missed attending all of her siblings' weddings. When she was nearly 30 and still single, he said it was now okay to go. By this time, going to the Temple became a"consolation prize" for "old maids," and she refused to go.)
Women in Utah County between the ages of 35 and 55 had the highest prescription abuse rates in the State—on antidepressants; pills to get them "up" and pills to put them "to sleep." These were women who were full-time homemakers. (And if you think this has changed in thirty years, you have not seen the documentary "HAPPY VALLEY.") I did extensive research on the lives of women: percent married, single, working, single mothers, divorced, widowed, etc. When I went to other states, I contacted their capitals to get stats for that particular state. I would also ask the Stake Relief SocietyPresidents for all of those stats in each of their Stakes and Wards. When I talked to their women, I could meet them where they were. Considering the national climate, I was very careful when using the word "feminist" to define it for my usage: "A feminist is anyone (male or female) who is concerned about the status of women." And in that regard,Jesus Christ is the greatest feminist who has ever lived, and Joseph Smith is number two. The New Testament is full of examples of how Jesus treated women: He used them as witnesses (unheard of in His time and place), i.e., woman at the well, first at the resurrection, etc;He spoke to non-family women in public (a no-no); and women were his close and loyal disciples. Joseph turned the key "to" (not "for") women when the Relief Society was formed, saying that the Church was not fully formed until the women were organized as a companion to the priesthood.
In 1980, Dr. Bergin called and asked me to prepare a paper on "The Psycho-Social Needs of LDS Women" to be given at the next AMCAP (Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists) Conference. I suggested he get someone who was a psychologist or did clinical work. He said, "No; I want you to do it." I had several months to prepare and started doing scores of interviews: Bishops, Stake Presidents, Relief Society Presidents, single women, married women, widows, divorced women, single mothers, old and young women. I also did extensive library research on women's studies, gender roles, status of women, etc. I wrote, re-wrote, tested it on friends (who were brutal!) and re-wrote again. I knew that the paper needed to be ready for publication at time of presentation, and I felt a lot of pressure. It was ready a week before deadline and I put it aside. The night before I was to present it, I read it again—and felt total panic. I thought, "Smith, if you read this to a room full of male clinicians, they will have you for lunch!" But it was too late. I had to go with what I had. I read it fast, in order to finish in the allotted time. It felt like the audience wasn't breathing. At the end, there was a second of (stunned) silence and then the audience erupted in an incredible ovation. Someone ran up and grabbed the paper out of my hands saying that they had a client who needed to read it NOW and couldn't wait for it to be printed. Dozens of copies were made that day. (The paper was published in the AMCAP Journal and later in SUNSTONE Magazine. It can be found here [or download if it's not there anymore].)
Over the five years I chaired the Institute, I sent many reports to Salt Lake headquarters regarding what was happening with women in the Church, and received letters of appreciation from Elder Hinckley and other members of the Public Affairs Committee. In 1983, changes were made with several Institutes at BYU. I was released from the Institute and spent the last fifteen years at BYU with the Alumni Association.
All of my life I had been 'active' in the Church. My testimony was such that I wasnever afraid to delve into material about early LDS Church history, which was sometimes not in tune with current preaching. In the fifties, I bought Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible (JST) from the RLDS Church and compared every single verse with my King James Version. There were over 3000 changes and additions. President McKay did NOT want members of the Church to use it. It took the LDS Church nearly a century and a half (and Brother Matthews friendship with the RLDS church) before members were finally allowed to read it. Brother Matthews was given permission to see the changes Joseph made in the Bible in his own hand, and proved that the RLDS church had not messed with it as McKay had feared. The Church finally allowed that reading the JST was a good idea, and I heard Dallin Oaks give a talk at BYU stating that we were under condemnation if we didn't. I was a Gospel Doctrine teacher several times over the years and always used the JST to teach the Old and New Testaments.
My father had been a General Authority, and growing up, I was exposed to many church leaders. I respected most of them, but was not awed by them. They were just human beings like the rest of us. I was always uncomfortable hearing testimonies that said, "I know the Church is true!" (Particularly when said by very young children!) I would repeat in my own mind,"No; the Gospel is true, the Church is trying—sometimes VERY trying!" Many years ago, in a semi-annual conference, Ron Poelman spoke about the importance of separating "the Church" from "The Gospel." I wanted to shout "hallelujah!" But Ron was forced to re-write and then repeat his sermon in the Tabernacle—with a cough track—for the permanent video record. During my twenty years at Brigham Young University, it was not uncommon to hear remarks from colleagues that they were grateful to be at BYU and removed from Salt Lake and The High-rise; because working there would be a real trial of the faith! If you couldn't separate the 'Church' from the 'Gospel,' then you wouldn't make it!
Many years ago during a visit with Cleon Skousen, I learned that he had made a recording of the Book of Mormon with Wendell Noble reading the text, and he (Cleon) making comments about the text. I purchased a set of those 36 tapes that very day and have listened to them over and over ever since. Throughout his commentary, he urges his listeners, over and over, to be aware of how important the Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon is to us, and how diligently we should be in preparing to be worthy to receive it.
Over the years, receiving the Sealed Portion became a major goal in my life. In late summer of 2005, when President Hinckley asked all members of the LDS Church to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year to honor the 200th Birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith, I was thrilled. I felt that maybe, if enough of us would do that, we would be considered worthy to get the other two-thirds! I was part-way through the tapes at that time, but after the request was made, I decided to start over; and this time I read and listened at the same time. It was an amazing experience. I always got something "new" with each listen, but this time it was incredible. I prayed every day that everyone would read the book as asked, and that as a Church, we might be worthy to receive The Sealed Portion.
I looked forward to April Conference in April 2006 with GREAT anticipation! No suchannouncement was made, and I was very disappointed. I rationalized that it might take time to get the plates translated and the book printed, and that I should be patient until October Conference. Again, I was glued to the TV, waiting for the word. Nothing. This time I was really devastated. (Obviously at this time, I had no idea that it had already been published two years before in 2004!)
A year ago (February 2007), at the request of my sister, I attended a lecture in the Salt Lake City Library on the subject of Mary Magdalene. It was an interesting meeting, but offered little 'new' information. What happened after the meeting, however, has changed my life forever. My friend, Julie (who was divorced from my cousin and whom I had not seen for many years), was on the other end of the long row on which I was sitting. We got together after the meeting andbegan to 'catch up' on the intervening years; in the course of which she said she was not "active in the church right now." I asked, "Why," and she said, "I have something better." I said "What?" And she said, "The Sealed Portion!" I felt like I had been struck by a bolt of lightning! I wanted to know immediately how I could get a copy of it and she said it was on the Internet!! I was horrified, and said I was not an internet fan and would not read it on a screen(!) and asked how I could get a hard copy. She told me; and said she would in fact call and have one sent to me. She must have done this immediately, as I had it in two days. It did not occur to me that this might be a fraud.
I did not start reading it immediately, as I had several obligations the next week or so, and I did not want to be interrupted once I began. The six weeks after I began reading were wrenching. I shed more tears than I had in my entire life before; emptied two red ball-point pens in starring and underlining passages (many times entire pages); used up a large box of Kleenex; was horrified as I came to realize that hardly anything I had been taught was true; and realized what Christ was really teaching us when he talked about the impossibility of putting old wine in new bottles, and WHY we had to become as little children in order to be taught Real Truth. I felt like my heart had been broken into a thousand pieces. Moroni's voice was unmistakable. He pulled NO punches; and his chastisements, which are meant for us in this day, had absolutely no sugarcoating. Gone from this scripture were parables that could not be understood; passages like in Isaiah, which were written so that we could NOT see with our eyes or hear with our ears, and therefore understand. Moroni was giving it to us straight. However hard it was,I never thought that it was not the real deal. By the time I finished the Book, my entire worldview had been forever changed. There is NO way I could ever go back—or deny what I now know.
We have been told in the Book of Mormon that God wants ALL of His children to receive ALL of the mysteries of God. Eating and digesting The Sealed Portion is the first test, to be followed by the book ofJohn's Revelations (see Ether 4). If we cannot handle those two pieces of work, how can we possibly become eligible to receive "all the mysteries of God"?
(After consuming TSP, I read the Book of John's Revelation, and it was another amazing read!)
I wanted to meet the Translator of TSP and to get more copies of it, which I did. In my enthusiasm for what I had found and was learning, I called my youngest brother, Hyrum, to share it with him. I really thought he was a truth-seeker! He was in a state of shock; but after our conversation, agreed I should send him a copy, which I did. Some days later, he called and was very upset and concerned about me—and the Book. One, he said he would not read it, and ended up sending it back to me. (I wanted him to meet Christopher and get his own measure of the man, but he was not interested in doing so.) And two, he said he had spoken with our friend Jeff Holland (who he had learnedwas in charge of "the crazies" for the Church), and was told TSPauthor was basically a forger and a fraud. He then counseled me to run away from it as far and as fast as I could. He also asked me to call and talk to Jeff myself. I knew very well the Church was aware of The Sealed Portion, that it had been offered to the Church for them to distribute it,and the Church had not only refused the offer, but had refused to meet or talk with the Translator. By then, I had also learnedthat there were other individuals who "had dared to read the Book" and had been excommunicated from the LDS Church. I felt Hyrum's call to Jeff was a huge betrayal!
By now, I had read both books,heard many things that had been said or written about the Translator, and had determined he was the real deal. The proof was in his works. I knew and loved Jeff, and in the previous Church conference (April 2007), he had given a fabulous talk entitled The Tongue of Angels (May 2007 ENSIGN, page 16), in which he counseled us to speak the truth and to be very careful what we had to say about others. Surely, anyone who could write that great advice would give me only truth! But I was presented with a serious dilemma. As I said before, I have never felt that I had to get anyone else's permission to read, see, or do anything I wanted. On the other hand, I knew Jeff well, having worked with him in the past and under him at BYU, and thought he might be able to enlighten me about some things that maybe I should know. It was many days before I called him, and was feeling some concerns. I was aware by then that the Translator was involved in several court cases because he had been told to clear his name of slanderous accusations. I was concerned that if Jeff were to tell me what he had told Hyrum, and I told anyone else, and if this should ever come up in a court, with both Jeff and I put on the stand, who would be believed? I finally felt that, for my own protection, I should tape any conversation we had. The conversation with Jeff finally took place. I learned then that Jeff, himself, had never seen or talked with Christopher personally, and that much of the information he gave me was not true.
In short, what happened after that, the garbage hit the fan. At bottom, what Christopher needed was for the Church (its leaders) to stop repeating lies about him. The work that he has been called to perform is way too important. Therefore, he sued the Church to stop the defamation. It never needed to come to this! Twice Chris sent letters to the Church, asking for a meeting to discuss the situation. But the response was the same as it had been when Chris offered TSP to the Church several years before: NOTHING. No response. My brother was made part of the suit only to be a witness as to what Jeff had told him. All he would have had to do was tell the truth! Because he refused to find out for himself, and felt he needed legal protection, he hired lawyers, which ended up costing him many thousands of dollars. (For which I will never be forgiven! And the Church never offered to pay his legal fees.) In the course of the one hour trial, the Revelator (who served as his own lawyer) stated: "I translated the plates the same way Joseph did (the Book of Mormon) and I can prove it!" No one asked (or allowed) him to "prove it," and the Judge quickly brought the trial to a close after reading his pre-prepared decision dismissing all charges. If you are really interested in the details of the trial and want to know the truth, they can be found at this site: (Click here or download here.)
The trial really never needed to take place. It happened because the Leaders of the LDS Church refused to meet or talk with the man who had translated The Sealed Portion. I wonder how many of them have read any of it? And I wonder if they have, what they are preparing to say to the Savior when they meet him on the other side?
Meanwhile,I am denied the companionship of my baby brother, whom I have dearly loved since the day he was born. I miss talking to and sharing with him. Christ warned us in Matthew that He "came not with peace but a sword" (which John tells us always means "truth"), and that anyone who loves mother, father, brother, or sister more than Him—is not worthy of Him. There was a price to pay.
In June of 2007, I broke my femur at a Family Reunion, ended up having to have surgery, and spent three weeks in a re-hab. While there, I got a call from Senator Robert Bennett's office that they had something they wanted to deliver to me. It was some time before we connected and I received a letter from Bob with a manuscript he had written on his journey, to prove (to himself if not to others) that Joseph Smith really did translate the Book of Mormon. He asked me to read and critique it for him. It was long, but an interesting read. Obviously, I wondered why he asked ME to do this, and why NOW?
When I had finished reading his work, a friend and I met him at Aspen Grove during his vacation. I asked him, "Why me and why now??" (I believe Hyrum must have spoken to himand this was a way to hopefully "set me straight.") I told him about The Sealed Portion and the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon (the Book of Lehi), which were lost, and now re-translated; and suggested he read that. He said he would look at the 116 pages and let me know what he thought. Not much, as it turned out; as he found it clumsy and fraudulent. He never answered my question, "Why me and why now?" (Interesting to note about those 116 pages: they were kept by evil men in 1829, who hopedJoseph would re-translate them so that they could change the original and 'prove' Joseph was a fraud. Well, now those original pages will not be brought forth because they would prove the new translation is correct.)
Because of my broken leg in June, and a badly sprained foot in December, I spent a lot of time housebound last year, which gave me much time to read. I now have four 8 ½ by 11 two- and three-inch three-ring binders full of"the mysteries of God." I have nearly 700 books in my house, and none of them can hold a candle to the value of The Sealed Portion, John's Revelation, and those binders to me! My reading has come with a price. My family has isolated me and think I have been either deluded, deceived, or have lost my mind. Some are sorry that this should be happening to me in my "declining" years! Thanks to two of my anti-TSP brothers, all my nieces and nephews know it exists, but none have read it. I have spoken of its existence to few close friends, and only those who labeled THEMSELVES as "truth-seekers"; and so far, I know of none of them who have taken the time or effort to read it.
If you are reading this now, it probably means that you went to this site to learn more of how others have reacted to reading about TSP. If that is true, I encourage you not to blow your opportunity, because now you can never claim (when you have passed through the veil to the other side) that if you "had known that REAL TRUTH was available on the earth when you were alive you would have accepted it"—if you don't. I may have lost family and friends here, but at least when I meet Him on the other side, I will not have to feel embarrassed and say, "Sorry. I valued praise and opinions of others more than I did Yours, and Irefused to even look!"
Ask yourself this: If you had lived in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, were a member of the Sanhedrin (if male, or married to him, if female), were wealthy, important and looked-up to in your community (wards and stakes),and you heard of this itinerant preacher going about the countryside telling people that they did not need to follow the many laws and practices of their Church any more, and you knew that if you did follow Him you could lose everything—family, friends, position, power, wealth, prestige, EVERYTHING—would you have listened to Him and followed Him? Christ fed the five thousand who came to hear Him speak, and then on the Day of Pentecost after the Crucifixion, only one-hundred fifty followersremained. We are told over and over in the scriptures that the path is strait and narrow, and that those who elect to look for it, get on it, and follow it, will be very few. Ask yourselves if you have the will and the courage to go after Real Truth. If you have to go to a Bishop, Pastor, Stake President, Apostle, Pope, or whatever, to get permission, you probably don't. If you can't trust the Holy Ghost to be your teacher, you won't find Truth.
On the other hand, if you can swallow your pride and admit to yourself you know NOTHING about Real Truth, and are not afraid to become as a little child and basically start all over again in the learning process, you may come to learn that the New Wine is one hell of a lot better than The Old Stuff!!
For those ofyou who are LDS, do you remember ever hearing a Bishop, Stake President, or Apostle give a talk about how important it is that we prepare to be worthy to receive The Sealed Portion, and how under condemnation we are, if we don't? This is the year to study the Book of Mormon in Sunday School (2008). It is instructive to note that in the small Sunday School guide, we are not directed to read any of the powerful scriptures looking to TSP (2 Nephi 27, 3 Nephi 26, or Ether 4, for example). Rather, it seems the manual writers are deliberately guiding us away from them. Does this give you pause? You have to find Real Truth for yourself. Being able to eat and digest The Sealed Portion is the Lord's way of determining whether you are ready/worthy to receive ALL the mysteries of God. I have chosen not to settle for anything less, and am willing to pay the price—loss of family, friends, status, whatever.
You may be familiar with a Dr. Seuss book for children entitled ONBEYOND ZEBRA. Well, I now have four two- and three-inch three-ring binders full (and growing) of the Mysteries of God, which go way 'beyond zebra.' And there is not ANYTHING I would not have been willing to give to have that knowledge—including my life. At any rate, the quest is a personal one, and you are on your own. This trip will help you find out who you reallyare—at your core. Bon voyage.
WHAT IS THE VOICE OF THE 'ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS' TELLING US? Ask Him Yourself!
© 2005 A Marvelous Work and a Wonder Purpose Trust