NATALEE LANCE'S PERSONAL STORY
Something Better-The Journey of a Staunch LDS Woman’s Mind Becoming Unsealed-
We grew up struggling for money, but I thought it was our lot to bear, since my father was inactive- and as the LDS taught we were blessed by our righteousness in keeping the commandments (not going to church, tithing, etc must result in a lack of worldly things). It didn’t always make sense to me, because I knew that some of the poorer members were the most loving and humble, and then I’d hear of a rich member using his position in the church to deal dishonestly with others…and yet the material blessings kept rolling in for the rich member and not for the other. Whenever we received some unexpected money it was often called “a blessing from God”, which made my young mind wonder why God didn’t just bless ALL his children. Or as my parents reminded me to finish my plate because other little children were starving…I couldn’t understand how God let all those poor Ethiopian children go hungry when He could bless them as He pleases…what commandment were they breaking?
I decided at that young age that sure it would be nice to have lots of things, but I didn’t want to aspire to be rich. As long as I had love and others who valued me I could be happy. I never felt comfortable in super nice cars and homes. Or the discord of seeing the money lust of those who have it and those who want it- (I could always feel their continual disappointment.) I figured I wanted just enough to get by comfortably in this life and I wasn’t afraid to work for the things I wanted. I strived to be independent and financially responsible at a young age, trying to find the right balance of not depending on others (including God) while striving to be worthy of those blessings if the need ever arose. Perhaps thinking God blessed us by his grace after all we can do.
So the whole idea of God blessing us with material possessions never sat right, because of what it said about my family, especially my mother who sacrificed to support our family while often going without. She was the closest thing I could relate to one acting Christ like and yet she continued to have financial stress over the years. It just didn’t add up, yet after hearing the same phrases so many times you tend to believe them….especially when those “blessings” do start to manifest, then it felt like a just reward.
Along with not being forced to keep the commandments of the LDS church, my parents didn’t keep me overprotected from the world, allowing me to be friends with some wonderful people, who were rarely LDS. I thought it was silly that some parents wouldn’t let their children play with those of other faiths. I had several friends of different religious backgrounds, and still managed to keep the commandments of the church and build strong faith. I learned that the worth of souls is great, no matter what you believe or do in this life. I figured out that our worth was NOT measured by our obedience to laws or commandments, but by the intent of our hearts. God loves all his children, even the prodigal sons.
I loved going to Young Womens, Seminary, EFY and reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. When I was a teenager I read it from front to back a couple times wishing I could have been a part of it. I even made my dream man out of the description of Moroni in Alma 48: 17-18, a man with a heart towards God instead of the world. My greatest desire was to go on a mission, then to go through the temple. Something my mother and grandmother never got to do, being married to inactive husbands (until recently when my parents were finally sealed after 46 years of marriage).
I was fascinated with the temple. I figured it must be something wonderful we learn within those magnificent walls, because everyone stresses so badly how important it is to work towards being worthy to enter. “What mysteries would I learn? When would we receive more knowledge and scripture (the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon)?” I was anxiously waiting to grow line upon line in wisdom as I followed the path of life, stamped and approved by the church.
Then at the age of 15, I met a compassionate man with a pure heart. The moment I saw Mikey across the field, I was drawn to him. I ran up and introduced myself, claiming “I like you” with a hand held out. He smiled and gave me a hug instead. I couldn’t explain the feeling at the time, but my soul knew him instantly. Over the next five years, I went on a heart wrenching journey. My heart knew we were supposed to be together and yet he was inactive and rebellious to the tenants and standards of the church. It threatened my “eternal family plan” that I had laid out since I was in Primary. Everyone did, and many still do, judge Mikey by his lack of obedience to the church, looking past his TRUE character, but I saw him for who he was…and yet my internal struggle was there. I realized I may have to give up my dream of the priesthood bearing husband and my temple marriage. He respected my love of the church and would torture himself trying to make me happy by going to church with me. I wanted so badly for him to share in the joy I found in the church, but knew I could not change him.
I put a lot of prayer and thought into my decision to choose to be with him (sometimes running away from it, only to return to him). My end result was truly feeling that I would be the happiest with him and it was where I need to be in this life. We decided to get married, and then go through the temple one year later… both knowing it wasn’t a very strong promise. I thank God I didn’t listen to the judgmental people who frowned upon our marriage. Twelve plus years later, I still feel the same confirmation of spirit within me that I made the right decision to follow my heart and the Holy Ghost.
It was hard at times and I all but gave up on our one year promise as each year passed, but I found some peace after 6 years and 3 kids later that I could be happy being active in the church and stop pressuring him (at least consciously) to live up to MY dream. Yet the reaction from family and members to his inactivity built up some resentment inside me regardless, by the way others viewed me.
I noticed, as I was growing up watching my mother, that you are treated differently when you don’t have a priesthood holder in the home to “guide” you. Sometimes I felt I wasn’t valued for my intellect and insight, or invited to speak or have any “special” callings for this reason. I always felt at ease in Relief Society among the sisters, but in gospel doctrine, I always felt lacking, especially without any temple knowledge, that I figured everyone else had.
Six year into my marriage, my husband had a spiritual experience that led him to desire to take us to the temple to be sealed as a family. What joy! I would no longer be in darkness, wondering what would happen in the afterlife if we were NOT sealed. “What would keep us apart in heaven if we ended up in the same kingdom anyways?” The whole Celestial idea of heaven sounded great to me, but complicated in obtaining the “highest glory” on my own merits. “What does it really mean to be sealed and NOT to be sealed?” My answers would finally be answered in the temple!
The temple prep classes shed no light on the subject. It mostly just made sure we were worthy to enter…so maybe (I thought) they couldn’t tell me much about the mysteries of God until I was inside the temple. It was like an elite membership that I was excited and a little scared to join (due to the false rumors of the temple many claimed).
The Endowment Ceremony was different, but I was expecting that. The signs and tokens confused me. “Would we really have to remember this stuff to get into heaven?” I was excited for it to be over so they could explain all the symbolism. By the time I passed through the veil into the elaborate Celestial room where I could hear a pin drop on the plush white carpet, my head was spinning. Instead of receiving some explanation among the many hugs and tears of those accompanying us, someone asked if I had any questions… but I had no idea where to start or what to ask. It was like a 4th grader going to a Calculus class watching all the formulas, then being asked by the instructor if they have any questions. I felt stupid and figured I’d have to just keep going until I understood why we did what we did. I felt peaceful in the temple and it brought me joy to serve the dead and do genealogy work, but I was frustrated that I was no closer to finding out the mysteries of God.
I would think up tons of questions after leaving, but was told not to discuss anything outside of the temple. I understand not to cast my pearls before swine, but why would something this significant to the LDS faith and our salvation, not be something active temple going members could discuss amongst themselves? I thought maybe they were afraid Satan could hear us outside the temple…but doesn’t he pretty much know everything too? It never occurred to me that the leaders didn’t have a clue either on what it all meant.
It also bugged me that the ceremony was changed and parts deleted before I went in. I felt cheated from the FULL endowment that Joseph Smith revealed, thinking that maybe I wasn’t understanding because I wasn’t getting the full story… I didn’t want an abridgement!
I continued to serve in the temple whenever I could, excited that I finally made it to my dream life, and to prove a lot of people wrong. It was also good to meditate and pray away from the world. The only stress it caused me was when my recommend was expiring and as hard as I tried, I had a hard time paying my tithing (you must pay 10% of your gross income to be worthy of a recommend). I felt like I wasn’t righteous enough, despite the desires of my heart, because of my bank account. So many stories told at church about those who were miraculously able to pay their bills after paying their tithing, only added to my guilt. “My faith must not be very strong” I often thought. When I paid tithing instead of buying diapers or food, then I would end up having to rely on my family or beg assistance from the bishop. It was degrading to my sense of work ethic, but necessary. So I guess you could say I was always provided for when I paid my tithing, but it cut my self esteem and value down in the process. Yet it was worth it to me to be able to provide for my family and to remain temple worthy. A sacrifice I was willing to make…when I could.
Within a couple years after the temple, my husband became inactive again, which at first made me upset at God (something I had never experienced). I had come to terms with being married to an inactive husband, then God gives him an experience leading to the temple, only for him to fall back again. I thought it was poor humor on God’s part to get my hopes up only to dash them down. I eventually got over that and continued being active, raising our kids in the church. I enjoyed the relationships I had in Relief Society and Enrichment, and was delighted to do what I love- teach the Sr. Primary. I love the youth and their untainted perception of simple truth.
On the other end, Mikey was still caught up on the usual issues people have with the church. Such as:
The list goes on, but my faith in the church was stronger than my doubts. I didn’t have any of the answers for these things, but I held onto my testimony that if this was the ONLY true church that the prophet must know what he was doing. I figured perhaps revelation had to adapt to each age (although that contradicts that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Mormon 9:9). Unlike my husband, it was enough to calm my doubts knowing I’d find all the answers in heaven.
And when I saw the times the members were judging, offending or treating others poorly, I would excuse their unsaintly behavior with the saying “the church is perfect, not the people in it”. I have now come to see that I (and many in the church) have blurred the lines between “the church” and “the gospel” to mean one and the same thing. There is a saying that the GOSPEL will never be taken from the earth again. Members have misquoted this to be “the church will never go astray” which caused me to never doubt in my prophet and leaders.
It is the same arrogance that the Jews had during the time of Christ (that they were the chosen ones of God and could never become corrupted). They refused to listen to Jesus, the radical man who preached love instead of following the Law of Moses (the commandments of the church). How could they go wrong when they blindly followed the leaders and lived the laws of man (the Law of Moses)? Their pride was their downfall.
They believed that ALL instruction from the Lord would be given through the proper lines of authority, much like I did when I first heard of Christopher Nemelka translating the sealed portion. I failed to realize that history always repeats itself - that God has never called one while in the church to preach repentance to the church. The prophets we revere in the scriptures were all called of God to come out from the church of their time, or were never in it to begin with (Samuel the Lamanite, Moses, Samuel the Prophet, Lehi, Alma, Abinidi, the Brother of Jared, Jesus, etc.). God can call whom he pleases.
No wonder the Jewish leaders didn’t accept the simple and plain words of Jesus Christ to Love God and One Another, because it threatened their positions over the members. The Jews went way beyond the mark of his good news wanting instead their heavy mysticism …and ended up killing the messenger in the process. I can’t believe I didn’t see the many similarities of the LDS mentality today with the Jews of the days of Jesus before.
Sometime in 2008-2009 “The Sealed Portion” of the Book of Mormon was placed into my husband’s possession. (He had also heard a radio plug announcing it was released and had dabbled with it online but the reading was slow in that format for him). Mikey was fed up with 9-11, the government’s corruption, inequality in the world and the hypocrisy of the LDS church- although he still respected my beliefs as I raised our kids in the church. His non-LDS friend knew he was reading it and offered to give him a copy that his uncle had received. The uncle had only read a portion of it and didn’t think much of Christopher, so a big chunk of the middle section was torn out.
I have been anxiously awaiting the sealed portion to be revealed my whole life. I thought for sure that when President Hinckley gave the challenge for all the members to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the 2005, that it was finally going to be presented. Big letdown, but when I saw what Mikey was claiming to read it made a pit in my stomach. “How could it be the real thing if it didn’t come from Hinckley” I wondered. I refused to believe it, and yet couldn’t completely discount it. I figured he’d find the flaw and I wouldn’t even have to pick the book up myself. For some reason Mikey didn’t share much of it with me. I hadn’t even known he had read it all the way through, let alone three times over the year.
Around the spring of 2010, he started to say The Sealed Portion says this or that. It began to rock my world with things I had never considered, but after contemplating made perfect sense. Many things he had told me years ago were being confirmed with what he was learning.
I wondered how it could be true when it claimed we have lived many lives (something the LDS never taught). My first reaction was rejection, but common sense won over. “How could God be fair and loving, if we only get one shot at this chance on earth? How can we prove that we would do any different if placed in another situation, than to actually be placed in another situation? What of those who die in their childhood, how could they learn and prove all they needed in such a short span of time?” It started to become clear to me how logical it was and helped me be less judgmental of others. I felt love for my fellowmen, not just my own family.
I came to see how merciful of an idea that God would provide for us many lifetimes and experiences rather than just the one (to experience being both poor and rich, black and white, abased and exalted, etc). Any other way would be unfair, making God a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) to send one of his children to live a life of 3rd world poverty and another to a rich American home, expecting them to both gain the same mortal experience. It would be like attending only one class in college, but having to take the final exam for all the other classes you never attended. Simply unfair and unjust.
Mikey also pointed out little things here and there, such as our tithing SHOULD be going to the poor, the widows, etc. And yet the majority goes to building the temples, church houses, missionaries, businesses, etc while the “scraps” (we call fast offerings) is what feeds the poor. If anything it should be the opposite. That is how we are robbing God in our tithing by the way it is distributed (Malachi 3:8). What would Jesus do if he was running the coffers of the church, feed the hungry or build a new downtown mall in Salt Lake City? How is it, that we even have any homeless in the LDS capital? We could use the money that it takes to run the many churches and temples to house and feed the homeless. Isn’t that religion undefiled to feed the homeless, take care of the widows and visit those in prison? (James 1:27)
Although his arguments made perfect sense to me, I still was reluctant. When he started quoting Christopher, I knew something was different. My husband hates authority and listens to no man- and now he claims to have found a TRUE messenger of the Father? That alone spoke volumes to me. I knew right then he was serious and I needed to look into The Sealed Portion to understand him, and to either see if he was being deceived or if this was the real thing.
I decided to not tell Mikey about my decision to read The Sealed Portion because I didn’t want him to persuade me or be disappointed if I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to go into it with a negative attitude either, trying to find fault, but I also didn’t want to go into it blindly to be deceived. So I prepared myself for a week before reading. I knew to be humble I would have to become like a little child leaving behind all my preconceived notions. What other way than to sacrifice my pride and have a broken heart and contrite spirit could I see the truth if it was there? (3rd Nephi 9:20)
First I went to the website and read every one of the Personal Stories to see if this following was a bunch of anti-Mormon nut jobs, or if there were some “sane” people accepting this. (I have since met them and found them to be some of the most warm, caring, non-judgmental, inviting and sane people I have ever met.) I related to Kristin Davis’s story, so I emailed her with some of my concerns and to have someone to correspond with while reading The Sealed Portion.
Truthfully, I was also a little unsure of Christopher, as I perceived him online through the Q&A section. He seemed rather rude and arrogant- not the soothsaying lulling “all is well” prophet I was used to. Not to mention all the bad press he has, but I didn’t discount his character over what the “controlled” media reported.
Imagine what the Jews would have published about Jesus in their daily paper. Or what the mobs did to smear Joseph Smith’s name. Is Christopher’s story such a stretch to believe when the LDS claim to sustain Joseph Smith saw an angel and was slandered and persecuted all his days? I see the many similarities in the MWAW® as I do to the early saints, yet I stayed on my guard and decided to look to the fruit, not the messenger for the time being.
(For what it’s worth…I was able to meet Christopher at Murray Park as he spoke on behalf of the WUF a week after I started reading. He was unlike what I thought he would be but invigorating. I better understood the manner of man he was in person, and felt he was who he claims to be- a true messenger. I saw his intent and demeanor, even as he attempted to offend and separate the wheat from the tares in the group. He managed to offend a couple people dear to me by portraying how human he is and how he does not want any credit or acclamation for being the bringer of good news. “Don’t kill the messenger” …and don’t kiss him either! He only wants to do his job, not start up any religion or organization. I have seen him on other occasions and found him to be a sane, intelligent, compassionate, humorous man, with all the flaws of being human. There is no shroud of superiority that he tries to cast about himself to win people over. Although his knowledge on reality is far beyond any others because of what he has been called to do, he never puts himself above another. To me, Christopher is just a dear brother who will tease and play, but also isn’t afraid to show his true self around others. He has no illusionary image of perfection to hide behind, but acts the same in public as he does amongst his friends.)
Anyways….To have the Book of Mormon fresh in my mind, I also started listening to it on CD as I drove to and from work with the idea that perhaps the LDS church could possibly be polluted with pride and corruption. It was opened up to me like never before. I felt like the words were smacking me in the face, especially when Isaiah is quoted again and again (something I never paid attention to before). How could I have missed the message, when it was right there in my face all these years of studying? When I actually applied the scriptures to MY life I came to the realization that we (the LDS church) are the modern day Jews. It is calling US to repentance. It all fell into place. I was dumbfounded and enlightened because the words of the prophets were opened up unto my mind. This was a major turning point in convincing me of the truth of The Sealed Portion.
There are so many scriptures that come to my mind that have aided me in my journey to accept REAL truth (the truth that is universal and accepted by God and His angels, not men’s truth that is ever changing.) I also went to the temple a couple times to look for wisdom before and while reading, but didn’t find more than silence to contemplate the ramifications in my life if the Sealed Portion was true (and fully realizing that it may be my last time to go). And if I am to be excommunicated, I decided it didn’t matter, for it was better to fear God more than Man no matter the consequence (D&C 3:7).
I also found out Mikey had sent the books to his sister, so I asked why he didn’t let me read it first. His response only fueled my fire saying “I wasn’t ready for it”. What? I delighted in scripture and he said I wasn’t ready for it? That got my vain and foolish imagination running wild. What was it that he thought I couldn’t handle? Maybe that there is no loving God…
After a week of being in tune with the Spirit, I felt ready to read. So I got the books back, and decided to clue Mikey in on what I was up to since I had already felt good feelings towards what I had researched so far. Part of me already believed it just by listening to the Book of Mormon (with ears that could hear), but I made a decision not to completely declare myself until reading all of The Sealed Portion. My husband was a little worried as he heard of my intent to read, but left me to it.
Into the first couple chapters I was so overcome with emotion and joy that I called Mikey up and said “Why the hell didn’t you share this with me sooner!?!” I was relieved to find that there is a loving Father who loves ALL of his children! That there are none chosen over another, causing misery and inequality. That the Plan of Salvation is so much more merciful and loving that I had thought it was. I couldn’t get enough of the words. It was like a delicious fruit to me and I wanted to share it, thinking that everyone with a desire for good would see it for what it was, when in fact they would not even look. I thought of the serpent of brass Moses placed on the staff to heal the people if they would only look, and because of the easiness of it, many perished. I never understood how that could be, but I saw it applied as I tried to share it with others who refuse to even touch the book.
The single most convincing thing to me was that the Endowment was explained in The Sealed Portion in such a simple, logical way that a child could understand all the signs and tokens. It wasn’t some complex mystical ceremony, just a symbolic explanation of the Plan of Salvation from Premortal Life to Mortality and on to the Eternities. It’s funny that I never made the connection of the purpose of the Endowment before then; that it is just a beautiful learning tool to remind us of the details of the Father’s Plan. Upon reading “Sacred Not Secret”, the whole of it was unfolded in detail even more than the Sealed Portion had given.
Things were revealed to me, that I hadn’t even considered, such as why we remove our shoes, why we touch the knuckle, what our new name really means, the structure of the True Order of Prayer, why ALL are wearing the robes of the priesthood, what the penalties really mean (I now see why they removed the penalties from the ceremony, since they were way off in their interpretation and unknowingly deleted an important gem of knowledge of the afterlife), etc. These and many other things are explained so plain, simple and clear I knew it wasn’t made up in the mind of a delusional man, but had to have been given by divine intervention from the one who introduced the Endowment in the first place- the resurrected Joseph Smith.
I figured that if no LDS prophet, leader or member could explain the Endowment to me as simply as was presented in Sacred Not Secret, then Christopher had to be a true messenger with REAL contact with God and His angels. The fruit was undeniable to me in my life long quest of going to and partaking of the temple ordinances. I had tasted of what the LDS authorities have offered and found it lacking to the exquisite taste of what I had now found. I could hardly contain my joy!
If only every temple going member of the LDS faith would curb their fear to “look and be saved”… to overcome their fear of reading “The Sealed Portion” or “Sacred Not Secret”, they too would find further light and knowledge from a true messenger of God. Joseph Smith put in the Endowment, not to “reveal” these things, causing many to interpret his intentions as to not talk about it. (What a great stumbling that was for well over a century of temple going member who are fumbling in the dark trying to understand temple ordinances). When Joseph warned us to not reveal these things, he was referring to breaking these laws and principles, or betraying them by not living them…it wasn’t a gag order. How ashamed many will be to know they have revealed (or broken) the signs and tokens of their true humanity for money or power, not by their words but by their actions in simply not following the Golden Rule- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I have come to know what it feels like to humble myself before God and realize that I do not KNOW everything. I have felt a broken heart and contrite spirit as I have read The Sealed Portion (and the other books associated with the Marvelous Work and a Wonder). I have realized that although I had strived to live all the commandments of the LDS church and do what pleases God thinking I was on the right hand of God, that I was really standing on the left hand (Matthew 25: 31-45) and what it means to have your left hand not know what your right hand does. I have become a new and shiny person almost overnight. I have felt the baptism of fire rush over me while reading, testifying to my soul of the truth of these things. I have felt my mind turn from the mark of the beast in my forehead towards being centered on Christ (as I no longer am consumed with the stress of money) and to feel peace when I read what will really happen in the second coming after reading ”666, The Mark of America—Seat of the Beast: The Apostle John's New Testament Revelation Unfolded. I try to no longer judge people, but strive to respect and allow them to live and worship as they please without forcing my beliefs upon them. My CHARITY (love of God) for ALL mankind has multiplied like a flood from heaven pouring out of my heart.
With an eternal perspective (clearer than I have ever known) I have HOPE again in this life, in why we are here and what really awaits us after mortality (“Human Reality—Who We Are & Why We Exist!”). It makes sense that God wants ALL his children to be happy forever, and that one man’s heaven is not the same as another’s. Lucifer’s plan was to have us all receive the same glory (Celestial) and he teaches that anything else is wrong. Jesus has prepared many mansions (kingdoms of heaven) to make a place where each child of God will be happy and content according to their individual desires….and no one kingdom is greater than another. A loving Father would not wish any one of his children to suffer forever and forever.
This Marvelous Work and a Wonder® points to the words of Christ as given in Matthew 5-7 & 3rd Nephi 12-14, when Jesus taught the people the plain and simple gospel. I have found that the yoke of Christ is light and joyous. That my life is full of peace and happiness more than I have felt before. (I shed many tears of joy in reading The Sealed Portion.) My heart rejoiced to finally get to read the FULL account of many parts of the Book of Mormon. The most significant to me was to read of the event in 3rd Nephi 17, when Jesus knelt and prayed for the people when he visited the Americas as the Resurrected Lord (my emphasis added):
My soul has never been as full of light as when I read in The Sealed Portion what really happened that day…at the point of becoming speechless, in tears and unable to read for the power of the Spirit was so overwhelming.
I testify that I have felt and heard many great and marvelous things while reading all the books of this work. I no longer feel the fear, guilt and shame of not being enough, of always being one step away from perfection trying to live the commandments of men. I no longer rely on the arm of flesh for my salvation, but turn to the Father and the Spirit of Christ within me, for I have found the kingdom of God truly is within. My mind is free and I have stopped denying the Holy Ghost (by not being true to myself). So many mysteries have been revealed, even things I had never considered to even wonder about. All the LDS issues I have ever been asked are now answered. I could go on forever, with all the wonderful discoveries and enlightenment I have experienced.
I never thought I would say I could find something better than the LDS church, always thinking that I had the most truth of any religion on the earth, but I have. Loved ones may not understand my decision to be done with the LDS church that I loved so fiercely (and I expect to find them to judge me or think me insane for believing in a book they are unwilling to read), but I can no longer hide the light of Christ within me behind the closed walls of the temple. I send my love to all and invite any to email me with sincerity in their own journey for REAL truth.
------(A Letter to my Loved Ones)----
Dear Family, [Sept 2010]
I would like to get some things out in the open, since some people have been tip toeing around it and others have no knowledge of it. I hesitate for a couple reasons… being judged, being treated differently, being misunderstood (as I can guarantee I am) and not wanting to affect the lives or peace to those I love so dearly with my news. The other part of me wants to be able to openly speak of the joy and peace I have found. Some may have noticed the change in me over the last 5 months, that I am happier and not as depressed or stressed over money (even though I am struggling more now than ever in need of it) or life in general. That I smile more than usual or have tried to be less judgmental of others in our world. I know I was already a happy person while never showing my deeper feelings much before (I’m used to biting my tongue- as no one has a clue that I dislike Bush for instance or the war). I would rather keep everyone happy and comfortable in my presence, but I feel the time is right to share.
I have read The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon: The Final Testament of Jesus Christ. As unreal of a story as Joseph Smith being visited by the resurrected angel Moroni, I believe the translator of the sealed portion was also visited by an angel while working in the Salt Lake Temple- specifically the resurrected Joseph Smith. And he too was given the plates to finish the translation of the Book of Mormon that was left sealed.
I believe that we, as a church, have become polluted with pride. I believe that when the Lord wishes to call the churches throughout history to repentance, he does so by calling that individual out from the church or calling one who never was in the church. (Samuel the Lamanite, Lehi, Alma, Moses, Jesus Christ, etc). It is usually one who is of the least (born in a manger, slow of speech, hated by others) that is called. Sometimes they try to rebel and fight against their calling when it is too much to bear (Jonah), but the Lord strengthens them to do the Will of the Father. And that person will be the object of hate (mobs) and their name will be had for good and bad (smeared through the mud).
I know many have blurred the line between “the church” and “the gospel” to mean one and the same thing. Somehow the quote that the GOSPEL will never be taken from the earth, has been misquoted to say the CHURCH will never go astray… big difference. I know that kind of arrogance brought down many nations who have been given the truth (Jews, Nephites, Lamanites, Jaredites, etc) by thinking they could not be misled. I know the church is full of wonderful people and I love them all dearly, just as I love all mankind… even the “sinners” of the world.
I believe there is a reason that the visit of Jesus to the Americas mirrors the Sermon on the Mount, because those words of Christ are the GOSPEL and we have added upon many commandments of the church that are not found there. We are very similar to the Jews. They (as did the Israelites and Nephites) didn’t get the fact that they were being given a Higher Law (the words of Christ in Matthew 5-7) and later asked Jesus which commandment was the most important commandment. They had the Law of Moses- which Jesus just explained was done away or fulfilled in him….but they wanted their heavy yoke instead….so Jesus gave it to them because they wanted it (or were not ready for the Higher Law)… but He made sure they knew what ALL things must hang upon- the gospel to Love God and One Another. (Matthew 22 or 3rd Nephi 15) How heavy is our yoke in the church today with all our meetings, lessons, duties, jobs, etc? Did Jesus tell us to keep ourselves busy with these things, or was it to love one another by feeding the poor, helping the widows, etc. I believe that we have gone beyond the mark and need to only live the words of Christ mentioned above. I believe Joseph Smith tried to teach the people to live the simple gospel but many (like the Jews) wanted their heavy yoke and priesthoods and authority….so he gave it to them. He used the Endowment ceremony to hide all the truth that they refused…then when he tried to tell them God’s truth… he was killed. I believe Brigham Young loved Joseph, but was sorely misguided and power hungry as he created his empire from the remains of Joseph’s teachings, and added MANY things never taught by the one who spoke with God and His angels.
I may be the little sister to most of you, but I am a very strong spiritual person. I may have not walked the same path as you have (or married one you approve of) but I have always been close to the Lord in my life. Please do not judge me to be anything other than that, for what I believe. It is my heart that should concern you. It is full of Faith in the Father, Hope in Christ, and Charity for all mankind.
Do not be discouraged by my decision. Do not feel you need to act different around me or choose your words carefully. I am still the same person and I have been that person over the past 5 months without you needing to tip toe around me. I’m not bitter in the least against the church or the people. I see all things as line upon line, precept upon precept. I have been given the chance to see REAL truth and I acknowledge it for what it is, despite the consequences you may fear.
I am done with the LDS church, I have found something better. The kingdom of God is within me and I have been empowered by the Spirit of Christ within myself. I could no less deny it now than to deny the Holy Ghost and be damned. I still believe many things, but I have a different interpretation of the things of god now. If you would like to read my story, then I would love to share. I love my family dearly and wish to be accepted and not judged. If that is not possible, then I will understand too. I know where you are coming from but you do not have any clue where I am until you too pick up the book that changed my life. I know many will not look at it because it is so easy (much like the serpent of brass Moses held up onto the staff) and that is okay too. I do not wish to “convert” or force my beliefs on anyone. I will share anything you want but you must ask me your questions in love.
I know you will have many questions and it is a lot to take in, but know that I am at peace and happy. All the answers of life, the gospel, and our reality in our existence are being unfolded to me as I humble myself to receive them. There is a time and a season for all things; and now is the time for truth to be revealed like never before.
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