January 20, 2015
Bishop just called me out of the blue, and asked me:
1. Are you meeting with people every Tuesday in some sort of group to study?
Me: "not really. There is no organized meeting or group. I am studying and seeking God all day every day. All I do in any if my spare time, is read and study and discuss Gods word. It is a constant part of my life. So, Yes, people call and ask to come over, and it always turns into a discussion of the gospel of Christ because that's what I'm all about: The Gospel of Christ. It's usually different people and there is no organized meeting or group or even any kind of set time. Many times I end up studying alone or with my family. Sometimes a group of people shows up. Sometimes it's me and one other. So am I meeting with others? Yes. Is it some organized meeting or 'every Tuesday' kind of meeting? No.
2. Bishop: How often would you say you meet?
Me: I'm seeking The Lord 24/7. It's an everyday, all the time kind of thing for me. There really isn't a spare moment when I'm not pursuing the gospel, meaning the voice of God and angels speaking to me, and studying the words of Joseph and the scriptures to learn more. I'd say I meet with people 4 or 5 days a week. But like I said, it's not organized. It's just my friends and family talking about the gospel and doctrine of Christ. Is that a problem?
3. Bishop: Have you ever in the past, or are you currently partaking of the sacrament at any of these meetings, or are you studying the writings of a man named Denver Snuffer?
Me: "I believe that the church still believes the statement of Joseph Smith, 'that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book, and a man will get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book.' Notice this does not say it's the most correct book, therefore we must read it, rather it says we must 'abide by its precepts.' Another statement by Joseph is, 'the nearer a man is to God, the clearer are his perceptions and the greater his understandings'. I take these statements seriously and I have acted in faith to attempt to obtain these blessings. 3 Nephi is clear: we are to follow the doctrine of Christ and to partake of the sacrament 'oft'. The reason to partake oft, is to get closer to God. (See 3 Nephi 18;Moroni 6:6) The reason to get closer to God is to have clearer perceptions. Most of my life I thought the "spirit" was the spirit, and that having it, secured for me clear and correct answers just because I had "the spirit". From Joseph's statement we can see that the "spirit" is completely dependent upon our proximity to God, and not our possession of it as some sort of guarantee. The closer we are, the clearer our views, the farther we are from God then, the cloudier our views. I don't want to be deceived, so I need to be as close to God as possible. So, yes, I take the sacrament oft, as commanded by Jesus Christ in the most correct book on the earth, so that I may be closer to God, so that my perceptions and views may be more clear, so that I can see things as they really are as I work my way back into the Presence of Christ.
As to Denver Snuffer, yes I read his writings. If you have ever read his writings, you know most of it is quoting scripture, primarily the Book if Mormon. I don't agree with everything he says, but I do know that his writing is filled with light and truth and I have come closer to God by reading his writings and doing as he suggests. But he is only quoting and pointing to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, so if you want to criticize him you would also be criticizing Christ's words, Joseph's words as well as Nephi, James, Moroni, Alma and a host of other prophets. Is there a problem with me reading his writings?
Bishop: "no, no, thank you for being candid and forthright."
Me: "sure. How else would I be? I have nothing to hide. I am simply following Christ's words in the most correct book, and I expect you to allow me to worship according to the dictates of my own conscience, as article of faith 11 directs. You know, we in the church may hear that and say, 'yeah, worship according to the dictates of your own conscience, but do it outside the Mormon church.' To which I would say, do you know the history of that idea to allow others to worship as they will by Joseph our founding prophet is all about us as Mormons having different doctrinal views? In Kirtland they were going to excommunicate some man and Joseph said they shouldn't be doing that, "that sounded too much like the Methodists", and we should "leave the old man alone". Joseph saw a Mormon church which accepted different views among its members, even saying Mormonism had no creeds. So, I ask you to let me worship according to the dictates of my own conscience, and I will do the same for you.
I mean, that's why I don't attend all my priesthood and Sunday school classes is because I don't believe I have the right to proselyte and get people all riled up at church. If someone asks me, I will tell them what I believe, but I don't want any trouble with the church and I don't believe everyone must believe as I do, and I don't go around pushing this on others, and in return, I ask to also be left alone to worship God privately and still remain a full member with all my rights. I'm worthy to enter the temple, and so I expect you to allow me to continue to attend. I sustain the prophet, I'm not causing trouble, so please let me be.
I'm not trying to convince you of my way of thinking Bishop. But I am asking you to let me pursue God as I will and remain a Mormon. The Mormon church is the only church I have ever belonged to and I do not see myself ever belonging to any other earthly church or institution. I know Joseph is a prophet of God. And I don't mean that I just "really really believe" kind of know, what I mean is, I KNOW Joseph is Gods prophet because I too have done as James directs and asked God, and I have had my own first vision experience revealed to me. I know God lives because I have seen Him. The Lord has spoken also to me and I now know for myself that Joseph is who he said he was and more. I speak with God and His angels and so should you. We all should. This is what Mormonism is, or at least it should be.
Bishop: "I'd like to meet with you soon, would you stop partaking of the sacrament until we can meet together?"
Me: "bishop, out of respect to you I would normally try to do what you requested of me, but I am currently in the middle of a 40-day sacrament fast, partaking of the sacrament every day for 40 days. Like I said, I need Christ's Spirit to allow my views and perceptions to be clearer, and in obedience to the precepts of the Book of Mormon; the way to do that is by partaking oft as commanded. I would be willing to not facilitate partaking with others in groups until we meet if you like, but I cannot stop partaking personally in private right now or I would be breaking a covenant I have with God.
Let me be clear: when it comes to determining how I judge what to believe or not believe, and what to do or not do, the scriptures, and specifically the book of Mormon is what I go by. So if it comes down to a person or God then I choose God and the scriptures over the precepts of men, just like the temple tells me to.
Bishop: how far along are you in this fast? When would you be finished with it?
Me: I am about in the middle, I have another 20 days or so.
(The Bishop never responded to my offer to abstain from group partaking, so I have proceeded to continue to meet and partake, as he never said anything else about it, therefore, I offered but he never acknowledged or accepted my offer)
Bishop: so are there any members of our ward who currently or who have ever in the past met with you or partaken of the sacrament?
Me: "I just couldn't say"
Bishop: well, like less than zero or between zero and a hundred?
Me: "I just couldn't say. You see, that is a private matter between each individual and God. I just couldn't say. If you want to interject yourself between God and someone else then go ahead, but I won't do that, so I just can't say. That is between God and them, and I guess you, if you decide to interject yourself between God and them.
See, I take this idea of performing ordinances seriously. I don't believe anyone should just run out there and start doing ordinances. I discourage that. I prayed and fasted for months trying to know if I should bless and partake of the sacrament. The Lord kept encouraging me to proceed. I refused to do so until God told me He gave me authority and Power to perform the ordinance by His own voice out of Heaven to me. Once He did that, then I began to partake in private. This is a private matter between God and me. I am answering your questions because you have asked nice, but do not mistake my good manners as that I believe I must answer any of this. I'm answering because you asked nice and I feel ok doing so. So many people came over, especially at first, who did not have authority from God. That is one reason I have met with so many others. Everyone wants a valid ordinance, and I could provide that in the interim. But anyone can get that from God themselves, so I simply helped people on their own path to getting their own witness from God, I can point to scripture, but they need to get it from God themselves.
Bishop: well thank you again for your forthrightness and I'd like to meet with you soon.
Me: sure! Anytime. I would love to sit down with you.