There have been quite a few emails and comments about the notice I put up on the blog regarding a disciplinary council. Let me respond to some of the questions by clarifying a few things.
There are laws ordained before the foundation of the world. The church must act in accordance with one law, and I must act in accordance with another for the purposes of the Lord to be fulfilled. Don’t think you can foresee what the Lord has already ordained. It will follow His pattern, and there will be consequences. Be of good cheer. I am.
Second, I put the notice up so no one is misled about my status. I do not want anyone to think one thing of me when the truth is contrariwise. If someone would be disinclined to attend one of the talks had they known what the church was up to, I do not want them to attend thinking all is well between me and the powers in control of the church. There were two choices. Be criticized for hiding it because I’m not being forthright with people. Be criticized for putting it up because I’m divulging a private matter. I chose to err on the side of disclosure. Either way it is inevitable — those who want to criticize will do so.
Third, my former Stake President defended me against complaints from the Strengthening the Members Committee. His last Sunday as Stake President eighteen months ago he called me in and we talked for several hours about the events that began years before his release. He had defended me continually during his presidency, but he explained there was going to be a new Pharaoh in Egypt who would not know Joseph (so to speak) and he couldn’t vouch for what was coming. The new Stake President has investigated, delayed, discussed this with me, pushed back against downtown, been called in for “training,” and received input from the top leadership in the church. He told me a great deal at the start about what was going on behind the scenes, which matched what the former Stake President had been telling me during his tenure. Those details are unimportant, and I have no intention of making them public. Right now, I don’t think President Hunt thinks he has any other choice. He probably doesn’t. That is fine. I bear no ill will toward him or any other member of my stake. No one gets ahead in the institution by disregarding instruction from above. Actually, I do the same. However, for me, “above” has little to do with 47 East South Temple and the institution is not where I expect any future. I try to help the church regardless of its opinion of me. I simply have no axe to grind no matter the outcome on September 8th.
Fourth, I have no intention of complaining, or becoming an opponent to anyone. I will leave that to the Lord, and would recommend you do that also. There is so much that needs to happen in these last days that our time must be spent anxiously engaged in things that matter. There’s just no time to waste on trivial matters. Hopefully, the upcoming talks will allow you to see what the Lord would like done, and provide a framework and understanding for you to do something about it. Let’s look forward and up, not backward and down. There is sufficient evil to overcome every day. Let’s not waste time bickering or complaining.
Fifth, I wrote Passing the Heavenly Gift as a reconstruction of the events of this dispensation. The framework was primarily the description in the Book of Mormon of the latter-day Gentile behavior. This includes specifically, the prophecies of Christ in Third Nephi. I also used Joseph Smith’s prophecies in the Doctrine and Covenants, his sermons and history. Taking this scriptural framework, (not as an historian but as a believer in the prophetic insight about us) I then tracked through our history. I used a lot of primary sources, including journals and diaries of church leaders. What I found was that the events in our history could be viewed as an exact match for the prophetic warnings given us in scripture (Book of Mormon/D&C). The result was not history, but truth. If the book is true (and I am persuaded it is the most correct account of our dispensation written so far) then we need to awaken to our present peril and repent. If it is not true then we have nothing to worry about. The church is entirely intact, has the fullness, and all is entirely well in Zion. It would be very exciting if Passing the Heavenly Gift is wrong. The trouble is that I don’t believe it’s wrong. We have very serious issues confronting us, and a great deal of work to complete before we attain unto what the Lord expects of us. Joseph Smith was betrayed and killed as a result of steps taken by church members. True enough it was a mob of Carthage Greys who shot him. But he would not have been in a position to be shot if it had not been for the betrayal by church members. When we (meaning church members) caused or contributed to his death, we offended heaven in a way that required three and four generations to pass before we receive another opportunity from the Lord. With the recent passing of Eldred G. Smith, we have a milestone representing the end of those required generational passings. Now is the first time it is possible for the Lord to recommence the restoration. But it won’t commence again without us knowing what we lack. Conceit and arrogance will never redeem us from our fallen state. But contrition and repentance might. Passing the Heavenly Gift is intended to inspire those who are downfallen in their faith, and to help those who are prepared to hear it, that we (all of us, including me) are in a fallen state from which we must awake and arise.
Sixth, we can always repent.
Seventh, I have no concerns of my standing before the Lord. My situation allows me to do only one thing. I can try and persuade. I can compel no one. Therefore, I use the only tool allowed for someone who holds the Priesthood. I try to use knowledge and persuasion to bring others to understanding. The effort to control, exercise dominion and compulsion to force others to surrender to some pretended authority does not involve me as a perpetrator, because I preside over no one. I can’t abuse authority over anyone, because I haven’t any. If there is any coercion, compulsion, dominion or control involved it is not by me. No one need have any concerns for my standing before the Lord. I will be fine.
Eighth, the content of the talks was set long before the letter from the church threatening discipline. They won’t change. These talks do not involve either Passing the Heavenly Gift, nor any discussion about church discipline. There’s too much to be covered to take on new topics.
Finally, all of this is nothing so far as I am concerned. What matters is this dispensation and how great things remain to be accomplished. God has a work to complete. We are living now and must cooperate with His will to bring about His purposes. Forget about me. Look to the Lord, His scriptures, and this moment you have here in mortality. Learn more about the prophecies. Stop hoping someone “presiding” somewhere is going to lift you to heaven. No one can do that. There is only One who matters and “He employeth no servant” at His gate. (2 Ne. 9: 41.) When you focus on me, or some man as a leader, you are an idolater. (D&C 76: 98-105.) Put an end to your idolatry and look to Christ. Read James 1: 5-6 and Moroni 10: 5. That is where you should invest your time. Not in trivia involving me or some other man. The time is upon us. The heavens are open. Not for someone other than you. Not for some “special” leader. They are open for YOU. Stop looking around – look up. That is where you fill find not only a testimony of God, but God’s handiwork on display. (D&C 88: 42-47.)