February 19, 2012
President Barker called me and said, "so we left it with some texts you sent me, do you still feel the same way as you did in the texts?"
I said, "well yes. You've put me a a tight spot. You have forced me to choose between The Lord who is telling me not only am I authorized, but that I am required to perform ordinances, because that's how we get the Power of Godliness, which is necessary to see His face and live. So I wish you wouldn't do this, but if I have to choose, I choose to do what God is asking me, because that's how I get salvation! If you're asking me to choose between salvation and submitting to "the current church doctrine, then I choose salvation."
"Well then we are going to have to convene a court for you. We can't do this as a family so this will be for you only. The Bishop will be doing this for Kari if she still believes the same way you do. Does she?"
Jonny: "yes, she does"
President Barker: "well he will call her in then. You can testify if you want and Kari can come if she wants, and she can testify if she wants, but no kids under 18... I don't think we will allow any kids under 18. You can also call others to come in and testify if you want too. We'll try to keep it simple though. So I was thinking May 5th, will that work for you?"
Jonny: "that's in 2 1/2 months! Why would we wait so long? Honestly, I have no idea where I'll be in 2 1/2 months!"
President: "no, in two weeks"
Jonny: "oh so like, March 5th?"
President: "yes. We also need to deliver a letter, do you still live with the (blanks)?
Jonny: "no we moved. Were in transition right now, so we really don't have a place...we're staying with some friends who took us in. But I was going to come to church on Sunday, so..."
President: "oh that's perfect! We can do it at church! It's no big deal, we'll just give you a letter, and it's confidential and won't be a big deal. Now, you're welcome at church, but you know you are not welcome to speak about your beliefs or how you think, right?"
Jonny: "yeah I get it. I told the Bishop that's why I don't go to priesthood meeting and Sunday school, because I don't want to alarm anyone or cause them unease or for them to have "bad feelings" or anything while they're at church."
President: "ok! Great! So, we'll see you then!" Thanks!
Jonny: uh, ok uh, thank you?
End telephone call
So this last Sunday was the day. I found it odd that they might choose to deliver the letter announcing my execution date in the meeting house but President Barker said it was "no big deal", so it must not mean anything. What's the "big deal"?
As we got there we realized it was ward conference; the sustaining of the officers would be taking place. I sat on the middle isle seat midway to the back and raised my arm in dissent. I felt a tremendous sadness as a witness against this departure from The Lord, the doctrine of Christ, and following scripture. It was not pleasant but although our hearts were heavy, our spirits were light.
The stake president approached us after the meeting with a brother Garn in tow. He looked at me, but could not meet my intense look of sorrow and compassion, and he averted his eyes from mine.
He spoke to my wife and daughter for a few minutes and asked if they believed as I did. They responded that they did. He told them the bishop would be contacting them to hold their courts.
He turned back to me, mumbled and hesitated, taking the letter out once or twice and then sliding it back into his pocket as if trying to decide how to proceed. He said, "we could go into the hall..." As he looked around nervously to see who was watching, then he said, "oh, it's no big deal, here you are", and he handed me the letter.
I said, "you don't have to do this", but he just looked away, and said, "I'll see you on March 5th at 7:30". He thanked us and they walked away.
I said under my breath, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do".
As we walked out of the building, the thought came to my mind with clarity, "so did they to Zacharias in the holy place". The account of Zacharias being murdered by the altar came to my mind, and I realized we had stood in the chapel near an altar where the emblems of our Lords body and blood were blessed, and where an offering to God is made.
49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
As this thought came to my mind I repeated aloud:
"So did they to Zacharias in the holy place", and I walked out the doors of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.