Because of recent events I want to make ten points:
First, I disabled comments and then I stopped blogging as a sign of good faith to the stake president.
Second, I was and am able to a pass temple recommend interview. I can answer all the questions in the right way. I don’t pretend to “preside” over anyone. Even within my family, everyone is merely encouraged to believe and act consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But they must have their own testimony and are free to disbelieve or think freely. I hope my example persuades. Outside my family I have absolutely NO ambition to lead anyone, control anyone, or even be discussed (much less praised) by anyone. The presiding authorities are the only ones who are sustained by common consent and they are welcome to it. I don’t envy them, don’t want their positions, and don’t hope to be one of them.
Third, I have been expelled for writing a book. The book was not a “sin.” Therefore, what separated me from the church is not some shameful moral lapse, but writing history. It represents a good faith attempt to reconcile events with scripture. It was undertaken as an expression of faith, not rebellion. I feel no shame at having written it, and sincerely believe it to be a truthful account of how we wound up in our present condition. I do not believe I need to “repent” to be right with God. Throughout this whole ordeal, I have always been right with God.
Fourth, I am not trying to reform, revise or affect the church or management of the church. I don’t much care about that. What I’m interested in is exploring and finding truth. That requires openness and candor. I am not interested in threatening anyone or anything. If others feel threatened by that then I regret their reaction, but that is all it is: their reaction. Soon they will get over it and perhaps take some time to reflect on what I’m saying and maybe come to another view. If not, then perhaps they can support their view more persuasively and we can agree on things again.
Fifth, I am not and have never been a critic of the church. My focus is on history and doctrine. The church is irrelevant to the inquiry.
Sixth, I spent time with my stake president on Saturday, at his home. Delivered a copy of the Boise talk, which he said he would listen to. Last evening my wife and I talked with my bishop. Today I was with one of the stake counselors, then with another bishopric member. I have said to all of them that I would be willing to talk with anyone in my ward or stake who is troubled and help them get over any ill feelings. I have none. If someone locally is upset then they can talk with me and I will gladly help them realize they still belong in church. That’s where I’ll be – just not this Sunday, because I don’t attend Stake Conference anyway. But next Sacrament Meeting I’ll be there. All of these local leaders said they would refer upset folks to my blog so they can read about what they (local leaders) aren’t supposed to give details about. They thought the blog would be helpful.
Seventh, I’m an odd sort of “apostate” who entertains no ill will against the church. I’m not sure that what I’ve done can reasonably be called “apostasy.” In matters of doctrine, we are not supposed to have “faith” in anyone or anything other than Christ. I readily admit I don’t have, never have had, and have not advocated faith in the church. But I don’t think that matters. What matters is faith in Christ. Take a look at Christ’s doctrine at the end of 3 Ne. 11: 32-40. You’ll notice that “whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock.” I testify of Christ and seek to establish His doctrine. My book says nothing to contradict His doctrine. So when I’m accused of violating “the doctrine of the church” I have to say: So? That doesn’t matter anyway, or if it does it “cometh of evil.”
Eighth, you forfeit priesthood when you sin. You forfeit it when you exercise control or compulsion or dominion over others in unrighteousness. You forfeit it when you use it to gratify your pride or to serve your vain ambition, a proposition which is facilitated by having some office or standing which allows you to assert that “by virtue of the priesthood” you are entitled to be followed. You forfeit priesthood when you depart from His doctrine and seek to establish your own priestcraft, but do not seek to establish Zion. But you do not forfeit priesthood when you talk about Christ, testify of His doctrine, and follow the Spirit despite those who may abuse you. Nor do you forfeit priesthood when you look charitably on the mistakes of others. Nor do you do so when you have no office, nor any standing in a priestly office which is used to demand others follow you. When you testify of Christ and tell others to follow Him, there can be no force, order, panel, critic or organization that can affect your priesthood. Indeed, if they wrongly attempt to do so, then “amen to the priesthood or the authority” of those making the attempt.
Ninth, there have been changes in heaven and on earth recently. I’ve done all I have done in obedience to our Lord. Things will unfold and everybody will have a more fulsome understanding of things. Be patient. Be believing. Do not despair as God’s work unfolds.
Tenth, you don’t know me by reading what I write. I very much try to keep myself out of these discussions. I truly believe I am irrelevant, therefore I make an effort to remain outside the material. What little I disclose is to give context. At the beginning I wanted to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym. The problem with that is the message must be identifiable with someone who can be evaluated, known to exist, and can be tried. It was unavoidable. I must be known. For that reason alone I have let myself be identified. I wish it were otherwise. Privacy would be preferable.