February 17, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Copper Hills 8th Ward,
This is my 10th postcard to you. You’ve been receiving my postcards, three times each year. Because my mailing list is outdated, you may be receiving this, and yet, not be a member of the LDS church. If this is the case, please pardon me, or feel free to read what I have to say.
I’ve inquired of the First Presidency, sixteen times, that they would please explain the church’s position regarding how 2 Nephi 32:5 should be understood. But, they won’t respond to me. And, neither has our local leaders been willing to respond to me. So, I invite you to respond to me.
We read in 2 Nephi 32:5, “for behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and received the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.”
The LDS church has contradicted itself. On the one hand, in this scripture and others, we’re told that we’re to be shown “all” things we should do by the Holy Ghost. On the other hand, we’re told that church leaders will show us what we should do.
So, which is it? Are we to govern ourselves, through direct guidance from the Holy Ghost, or are we to be governed by church leaders?
As I’ve discussed this passage with leaders and members, it’s occurred to me that those who desire to govern others, don’t like this scripture, and those who want to govern themselves, like this scripture.
Also, it’s been interesting to me, how those who seek to govern others, believe they’re guided by the Holy Ghost to do so, and those who seek to govern themselves, also believe they’re led by the Holy Ghost, but how can God be thus divided against himself?
The question is this, does the Holy Ghost lead people to govern others, to pull motes out of their eyes, or does the Holy Ghost lead us to govern ourselves, to cast beams from our own eyes? Please read Matthew 7:3-5 and 3 Nephi 14:3-5.
According to the scriptures, God wants us to be self-governed. Not only is this taught in 2 Nephi 32:5, where Nephi told his people, not to be led by him, but by the Holy Ghost, but it’s also emphasized in D&C 50:10-25, where it’s explained that in all cases, those who are led must be edified by the Holy Ghost to understand, that if they’re led in any other way, “it’s not of God.”
Basically, church leaders are not supposed to dominate us. They’re not supposed to exercise authority over us, where they order us to obey them, or else. Please read Matthew 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-44, Luke 22:24-27, 1 Peter 5:2-4, and D&C 121:41-42.
We’re to be led by the Holy Ghost in all things, and church leaders are supposed to assist us in receiving, not their counsel, but counsel from the Holy Ghost. After-all, when the Holy Ghost was bestowed on each of us, we weren’t told to obey church leaders, but we were told to “receive the Holy Ghost.”
Some would argue, that obeying church leaders and receiving the Holy Ghost are the same thing. But, this just isn’t true. When we’re led by the Holy Ghost, we’re not obeying church leaders. And, when we’re obeying church leaders, we’re not being led by the Holy Ghost.
Another way to look at it, is that we either have a “testimony,” or a “trustimony.”
Over eight years ago, I questioned the divine validity of a church position. I didn’t trust this position. And, because I wanted a “testimony,” and wasn’t satisfied with a “trustimony,” church leaders excommunicated me from the church.
For years, President Davies would always tell me that I must “trust” church leaders. He had a burning “trustimony” in his heart. He said that he would do anything asked of him by his leaders, without question.
In fact, President Davies and his high council wanted me to gain a “trustimony” so badly, that they felt to discipline me toward that end, by excommunicating me from the church, and church leaders have continued to insist that I obtain a “trustimony” in order to be a member of the church again.
Course, this means they reject 2 Nephi 32:5, D&C 50:10-25, and JST Mark 9:40-48, for these passages don’t teach us trust our leaders, or to have a “trustimony.” Rather, we’re admonished to be self-governed, shown all things we should do by the Holy Ghost, having a “testimony” of all things.
Also, it’s interesting how our Area Authority Seventy, when visiting in my home, said to me, “the church will not honor the teachings of 2 Nephi 32:5, D&C 50:10-25, or JST Mark 9:40-48,” for he also had a burning “trustimony,” and he wanted me to have one too, rather than he wanting me to have a “testimony” of all things.
He went on and on in my home, telling me story after story of men in church history who blindly trusted their leaders, who did what they were told to do, without question. President Bohne witnessed this exchange, in case you want to ask him about it, to verify.
Apparently, the First Presidency has instructed Area Authorities, and Area Authorities have instructed Stake Presidents, that we’re to have “trustimonies,” rather than “testimonies,” which explains their reluctance to respond to my request for clarification about how the church is to understand the teachings of 2 Nephi 32:5.
Pay special attention to what church leaders say and do. It’s easy to discern between those who have a “trustimony,” and those who have a “testimony.” Those with a trustimony, will always emphasize obedience to church leaders. Those with a testimony, will emphasize being led by the Spirit.
Also, think about this. In every case, where a wolf in sheep’s clothing seeks to lead people astray, they’ll emphasize “trusting,” encouraging others to gain a “trustimony” of their words, because every false teacher opposes the idea of seeking for a “testimony” of the truth of their words.
In my sixteen requests of the First Presidency for clarification, I’ve said the following:
“I’m reaching out to you directly, because I’ve tried, without success, for over thirteen years, to obtain clarification from local leaders. So far, none of them have been willing to acknowledge the divine validity of 2 Nephi 32:5, neither have they been willing to ask you for clarification regarding it.
I’m interested in this clarification, because I was excommunicated over eight years ago, for believing that the Holy Ghost would show me “all things” I should do, for refusing to blindly trust church leaders, for believing what the church states in 2 Nephi 32:5, “for behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and received the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.”
So, please clarify the church’s position in regards to these scriptural teachings, by circling the letter from the selection below which accurately represents the church’s position, and by providing your printed name and signature.
(a) If a man or woman will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto them “some things” they should do, but not all, for most things they should do will be shown unto them by church leaders, who will excommunicate them if their counsel is not obeyed.
(b) If a man or woman will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto them “most things” they should do, but not all, for some things they should do will be shown unto them by church leaders, who will excommunicate them if their counsel is not obeyed.
(c) If a man or woman will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto them “all things” they should do.
(d) If a man or woman will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto them “no things” they should do, for all things they should do will be shown unto them by church leaders, who will excommunicate them if their counsel is not obeyed.”
So, what do you think? Since the First Presidency hasn’t been willing to respond, would each of you be willing to respond to my question? Which statement represents how the church should think and understand 2 Nephi 32:5?
Is it (a), (b), (c), or (d)?
Also, think about this. Those with a “trustimony,” who obey their leaders, can’t claim that their actions are motivated by love, because their actions aren’t born of love for others, but are born of a desire to obey their leaders.
The scriptures teach that eternal life will be given, not to those who obey, but to those who know God, who is love, that anyone who claims to know God, who doesn’t love, is a liar, because God is love. Please read John 17:3, 1 John 3:15, 1 John 4:7-8, and 1 John 4:20.
We read in Moroni 7:48, “…pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God...”
In your mind, have you ever thought of the gift of the Holy Ghost, as the gift of a loving heart, or the gift of a “testimony” of love? Since we know that God is love, and that the Holy Ghost testifies of God, wouldn’t it stand to reason that to have a loving heart is a “testimony” of love, and of God?
Are gifts ever earned? If we do something to earn a gift, is it a gift? Isn’t the gift of the Holy Ghost freely given to those who don’t always feel love for others, who want to repent of this, who exercise faith in Christ’s atonement, asking for forgiveness of their hateful heart, and for God to please give them a loving heart?
Isn’t this what it means to have a “testimony” of God, which is to know him, who is love? Isn’t this what it means to receive the Holy Ghost? Is there any other way, than by receiving the “gift” of the Holy Ghost, that we can escape the bondage of our hateful hearts?
According to Galatians 5:22-23, those with a “testimony” of God, those who enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost, are filled with “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…”
Hence, those with “testimonies” are loving, for they’ve received the Holy Ghost, and they’ve been saved by God, where those with “trustimonies” aren’t loving, because they haven’t received the Holy Ghost, who are destined for hell, and even live now in the hell of their hateful hearts, even though they’re obedient to leaders and commandments.
Also, doesn’t it make sense that those with “testimonies” would be confident within themselves to be self-governed? If you always felt love in your heart for others, if you had that much self-control, wouldn’t you be confident in what you did, that it would always be the right thing to do?
“Temperance,” which is a fruit of the Spirit, is defined as “self-control.” After describing the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, Paul said, “against such, there is no law,” so those filled with the Spirit of love, have sufficient self-control that they need not be governed by leaders, law, and judgment.
On the other hand, those with “trustimonies” must rely on the direction of their leaders, because they’re not confident within themselves to be self-governed, because they lack self-control.
Also, since those with “trustimonies” don’t understand the concept of self-control, they can’t believe that anyone else can govern themselves either, so they seek to be governed by leaders, law, and judgment, and they seek to govern others in the same way.
The Old Covenant, as explained in the Old Testament, was about people having “trustimonies,” where they were to be governed by prophets who declared and judged them according to God’s law.
The New Covenant, as explained in the New Testament, was about people having “testimonies,” where they were to be self-governed through receiving empowerment from the Holy Ghost to be loving.
“A new commandment I give unto you,” the Lord said, “that you love one another as I have loved you, and by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.”
Jesus didn’t say, “obey commandments, trust church leaders, let yourself be judged by them, judge others by what they say, and by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.”
Also, it’s important to realize that the Jews had a very difficult time transitioning from being governed by law, to being led by the Holy Ghost. Paul explained in Galatians 5:4, to those who wouldn’t accept Christ’s fulfillment of the law, who continued to want to be governed by law, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
In Ephesians 2:8-9 we read, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Basically, it’s not by works, or by obedience to commandments that we’re saved, but it’s by the grace of God that we can know love, or in other words, it’s by the grace of God that we can be given a “testimony” of love, which will save us.
Again, we read in Moroni 7:48, “…pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God…”
And, we read in Romans 8:14, “those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
Thus, salvation doesn’t come from obeying God’s law, but from being endowed with a loving heart.
For more information, please consider reading the article, “Law vs. grace—why is there so much conflict among Christians on the issue?” It’s located at http://www.gotquestions.org/law-vs-grace.html.
So, do you have a “testimony,” or a “trustimony?”
Are you led by the Spirit of God, or are you led by church leaders?
Are you motivated by the Spirit of love, or are you motivated by a desire to obey church leaders?
Are you self-governed, and led by the Holy Ghost in all things, or do you lack a loving heart, and feel the need to be governed by church leaders?
Do you love others, having a “testimony” of love, or are you judgmental, having a “trustimony” of leaders, law, and judgment?
When Jesus interacted with the adulterous woman, did he show her love and compassion, or did he judge and condemn her? Please read John 8:11.
Should LDS members and leaders have a “testimony,” or a “trustimony?”
If you have any questions, please let me know.