November 17, 2017
Dear Copper Hills 8th Ward Members,
Greetings once again my ward family! This is my 15th postcard. I’ve sent my postcards, three times each year. Because my mailing list is outdated, you might be receiving this, and yet, not be a member of the LDS church.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.
In the New Testament, it’s written that Jesus asked His leaders to refrain from exercising authority over those in their care. Over ten years ago, against the wishes of Jesus, church leaders exercised authority over me, where they excommunicated me, for promoting the idea that the Holy Ghost is meant to show people all things what they should do.
This astounded me, because in the church’s own unique teachings, in the Book of Mormon, considered the most correct of any book on earth, 2 Nephi 32:5 states, “if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show you all things what ye should do.”
Yet, church leaders deemed this way of thinking as apostasy, and church headquarters hasn’t responded to my, now, seventy-nine letters, sent every ten days over the past few years, where I’ve asked one simple question, does the church recognize 2 Nephi 32:5 as true, or not?
When we’re baptized, aren’t we told to “receive the Holy Ghost?” When I was a missionary in the Texas San Antonio Mission, it was most exciting, to watch people begin their spiritual walk, where they would be led, from then on, by the Holy Ghost. Or, so I thought this was the church program.
When I was assigned as a traveling trainer, my companion and I taught all the other missionaries to be led in all their missionary work, by the Holy Ghost, allowing it to show them all things what they should do, and wouldn’t you know it, the number of people who joined the church from their efforts, increased by three hundred percent.
My companion and I travelled to every area in the mission. We did this for six months. We worked with every missionary companionship. We weren’t there to tell them what to do. We were there to show them how to listen to the still small voice.
Back then, I read everything I could get my hands on, about being led by the Holy Ghost. To my surprise, there wasn’t much written on the subject. Still, I believed in the concept, and saw many miracles in my life, in the lives of other missionaries, and in the lives of those who were baptized, through exercising faith in 2 Nephi 32:5, through being led in all things by the Holy Ghost the best we knew how to be.
Since my mission, I’ve spent my entire life seeking to better understand how to be led in all things by the Holy Ghost, and in the last ten years, after being excommunicated, the most profound understandings on the subject have come to my mind.
But, before I get into explaining some of these understandings, please consider the following.
At her workplace, my wife found a post-it note above a light switch, which stated, “It is by obedience that we gather light into our souls – Dieter F. Uchtdorf.”
Is this true? Is this true because a member of the First Presidency spoke it? Do you ever think deeply about the teachings of general authorities, or do you simply believe their words are true, without question? Let’s analyze this statement.
This statement teaches that we’re in control of divine light distribution. This goes along with the church teaching, “I the Lord am bound when you do what I say, but when you do not what I say, ye have no promise.” Basically, President Uchtdorf is saying that we’re guaranteed to receive light, through obeying, because we bind the Lord to give us light, when we obey.
This goes along with another church teaching, that there was “an irrevocable law decreed in heaven, upon which all blessings are predicated, and that whenever we receive any blessing from God, it’s because of our obedience to the law upon which it was predicated.”
Well, let’s think about this. I’m not so sure this is accurate. There’s a contradiction to this, in scripture, where we read that “God sends both the sun and the rain on the just and the unjust.” In other words, God gives blessings to both the righteous and the unrighteous.
Also, it’s written, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in Him, would not perish, but would have ever lasting life.” We didn’t bind the Lord to atone for our sins because of our obedience. It wasn’t a blessing that was predicated on our obedience, but rather, it was a blessing given to the unrighteous, because of God’s love.
Thus, the idea that “all” blessings are predicated on our obedience is hereby proven false.
Also, Jesus taught us to “love our enemies.” Enemies aren’t obedient, yet, according to Jesus, they’re to be blessed by our love. If Jesus believed that all blessings came through obedience, He wouldn’t have asked us to bless our undeserving enemies, by loving them.
Let’s pause for a moment and think about this. Joseph Smith was wrong about this. In fact, his idea that all blessings are predicated on obedience to a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven, is actually dangerous, because it trains the mind to believe that Salvation must be earned, which is impossible for us to earn.
In the New Testament, we read that the blessing of salvation is a “gift” from God, given by the grace of God, through faith, and not of works, lest anyone should boast. We also read, that those who seek to deserve or earn salvation, will proudly say to the Lord, “did I not do many things in your name,” and He’ll say to them, “I never knew you, depart from me.”
The Holy Ghost is considered by the church to be a gift. It’s even referred to, by the church, as “the gift of the Holy Ghost,” but the church also teaches that all blessings come through obedience, which negates the concept that it’s a gift, which leads to confusion.
In order to be on solid ground, we must take a side, to either believe that the blessing of “the gift of the Holy Ghost” is a gift, or that it’s earned through our obedience, which President Uchtdorf believes, for he stated, “It is by obedience that we gather light into our souls.”
As for me, I believe the Holy Ghost is a gift. I believe salvation is a gift. And, I was even excommunicated from the church for believing this way, but I won’t deny these truths.
We read in the Book of Mormon, that “if men will come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness, that they may be humble. And, my grace is sufficient, that if men will come unto me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them.”
In other words, we gather saving light into our souls, not through obedience, but through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, through believing that God can make weak things strong unto us.
Love is the fruit of the Spirit. And, the Book of Mormon teaches, “pray with all energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which He has bestowed upon all who are true followers of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Notice, it doesn’t say we’re to obey to be filled with this love, but we’re to pray for it.
Okay, maybe there’s one commandment, that if obeyed, will fill our souls with light. I’m thinking of the commandment of the Golden Rule. Jesus said, “in all things, whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.”
In the passages leading up to where the Golden Rule was given, Jesus said, “don’t judge,” which is within the confines of the Golden Rule, because no one who judges another, is doing unto another as they would have reciprocated back unto them.
Also, later in the New Testament, when the Lord asked his apostles to not exercise authority over His people, He was teaching a concept that harmonized with the Golden Rule, for no one who exercises authority is doing unto others as they would have reciprocated.
So, why, then, are there general “authorities” in the LDS church?
Why do church leaders judge and exercise authority over members?
In all my experimenting with retaining the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, the most profound thing I’ve discovered, is that if I can refrain from judging others, which is to exercise authority over others, it’s only then that the Holy Ghost will remain with me.
Because of this, it makes me wonder if any church leader has experienced the Holy Ghost, for in the very moment they judge the worthiness of a member, in that same moment they’ll also sever their connection with the Holy Ghost.
In other words, when we add the idea of being “worthy” to the Holy Ghost, we destroy the concept that it’s a gift, because to be “worthy” implies that we’ve earned it, and when we believe we’ve earned or deserved it, or that we can earn it, in that same moment, we’re filled with pride, which severs our connection with the Holy Ghost.
It’s just not possible to earn or deserve the Holy Ghost through obeying, and even when we obey the Golden Rule, we don’t earn it, because in order to obey the Golden Rule, the Holy Ghost is needed, because it’s about doing unto others, not as we’re told by authority to do, but as we’re inspired of the Spirit of love, to do.
Here’s another way to look at it.
Those who obey, in order to deserve God’s blessings, are obedient, but they’re not loving. They appear loving, but their hearts are geared toward earning or deserving blessings for themselves, which is selfishness, rather than loving. Basically, these are they who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Only those who seek to be filled with love first, who then act on that love, who believe the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of love, is a “gift,” who aren’t seeking to earn or deserve blessings, are the ones who will actually enjoy the “gift” of the Holy Ghost.
And, you don’t need to take my word for it, try it out for yourself. Try to enjoy the Holy Ghost through earning it by obedience, and then try to enjoy it through simply believing that it’s an undeserved and unearned gift to be filled with love. Compare the two approaches.
According to the New Testament, according to the record of the church that Joseph Smith allegedly restored, there are two paths, one of walking in the Spirit, and the other of walking in the flesh.
Think about the times when you’ve walked in the Spirit, when you felt nothing but love in your heart toward others. Think about the times when this wasn’t the case, when you’ve walked in the flesh.
It’s all too common in the church, that a person will do everything required, and yet, not feel anything spiritually moving them. Such was the case with a co-worker of my wife, who went to her bishop, explaining that she obeyed everything, and yet, wasn’t feeling light gathering into her soul.
She was told, the same thing that everyone is told, “there must be something you’re not doing correctly, perhaps you need to pray a different way, or read your scriptures more often.” In every case, it seems that bishops will find fault with those they interview, leading them to believe that their obedience is lacking somehow.
Well, I’m here to tell you, that if you’re not feeling light in your souls, it’s not because of your lack of obedience. It’s because you’ve believed the church, where they’ve led you to believe that light comes from obedience, when in reality, light is a gift, which when received, then empowers us to live righteous lives, and not the other way around.
So, let’s analyze my wife’s co-worker, who walked in obedience to everything, paying tithing, doing her callings, reading scriptures and praying daily. I know this woman. She’s very precise. Yet, she didn’t experience the Spirit, but felt a lack of it. And, that’s because she was actually walking in the flesh, operating by the power of the flesh to obey, rather than being filled with the Spirit of love, first.
You see, the LDS church doesn’t recognize the primitive church’s declaration of the two paths of Spirit and flesh. Instead, the church has replaced these paths with either walking in obedience, or disobedience to dictated commandments.
But, obedience to law was the Old Testament way. The law was fulfilled in Christ. The New Covenant, introduced by Christ, was that we would walk in the Spirit. Our options now, are to either walk in the Spirit, or in the flesh.
Basically, because the concept of commandments and judgment have been drilled into the minds of LDS people, because they believe one must be judged worthy to deserve blessings, because they don’t perceive the Holy Ghost as a gift, members are actually walking in pride, which is of the flesh.
This is why, I believe, no one in the church, no leader, or member, has said, or will say, that 2 Nephi 32:5 is true. It’s because they’ve not yet enjoyed the “gift” of the Holy Ghost, but are denying it, because they believe it’s earned through obedience.
I’m telling you, if you want to enjoy the “gift” of the Holy Ghost, it’s as easy as believing that it’s a “gift.”
I’m telling you, it’s of the flesh, it’s of pride, it’s like a carrot dangled before us that we can never reach, to believe that we can save ourselves, to believe that we can deserve to be filled with the Spirit of love, to believe that we can earn the Holy Ghost through obedience.
Okay, to the skeptics, who can’t believe that the LDS church could be wrong about anything, who can’t believe that an excommunicated member could know anything, I would ask, can you prove me wrong?
Prove that there’s a better way to be led by the Holy Ghost in all things. We know that the fruit of the Spirit is love. And, I’ve said, in order to be filled with the Spirit, simply believe it’s a “gift,” and refrain from judging. Is there any other way? Can we be filled with love, through obedience? Or, is it a gift from God to be filled with love?
A “gift” is always given without strings attached. If strings are attached, it’s not a gift. The church says that when a person is excommunicated, the gift of the Holy Ghost is rescinded. But, if it’s a gift, then how can it be taken back? Well, when I was excommunicated, the Holy Ghost stayed with me, and because of this, I know it’s truly a gift without strings attached.
Finally, aren’t we commanded to “be perfect?” Is this even possible? One of the three missions of the LDS church is to perfect the saints, yet, we’re not commanded to become perfect, but to “be” perfect.
If we believe the Holy Ghost is a gift, and if we don’t judge, then we’ll possess the Holy Ghost, which is the same as possessing “perfect love,” hence, this is how, I believe, we’re able to keep the commandment, to “be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect.”
So, is 2 Nephi 32:5 true? Can the Holy Ghost show us all things what we should do? Yes, it can.
Do we gather light through obedience as President Uchtdorf has alleged? No, light is a gift.
I’m telling you, if you want the Holy Ghost to show you all things what you should do, then believe that the Holy Ghost is a gift, cease from trying to earn it, cease from trying to help others earn it through judging them, receive the gift by seeking to feel love for others, then act on that love, and cease from seeking to obey any rule or command in order to earn blessings, for this is selfishness.
Or, please explain to me, a better way?
Above, I explained that to retain the Holy Ghost, one must refrain from judging. This is very hard to do. It almost seems as though we’re hard wired to find fault with one another. Maybe if you can think outside the box, like I have, you can think in a way which will enable you to cease form judging.
Have you ever thought about the fact that judging is at the root of all bitterness and hatred?
In other words, if we were to cease from all judgment, then all hatred would disappear.
I know the church teaches that we’re to hate the sin and love the sinner, but I don’t believe we should even hate the sin, for hate is hate, period. Love and hate cannot exist in someone at the same time. Hence, if we hate, we will not carry the Holy Ghost in us.
Okay, please bear with me as I share another thought, which will seem wrong to you at first, or maybe not, depending on how open minded you are. I don’t think we should forgive. Now, I know the scriptures teach us to forgive, but I believe there’s a better way.
The only reason why we need to forgive, is because we’ve judged someone in the first place. If we don’t judge people in the first place, then we won’t need to forgive them later. So, I say, let’s cease from judging people in the first place.
Also, a person who lifts themselves up in pride, to judge another, will end up lifting themselves up again, even higher in pride, when they forgive the person they’ve judged. Essentially, it’s a matter of pride, to judge, and it’s another matter of pride, to forgive, for we think we’re so good for judging, and then we think we’re even more good for forgiving.
Also, people are actually tricked into thinking it’s good to judge, because they believe that it’s right to forgive, and so, they believe, it must be good to judge, because how else can we forgive, unless we judge in the first place?
Hence, people will continue to judge and forgive, judge and forgive, judge and forgive, lifting themselves up higher and higher and higher in pride, and they think they’re pleasing God, because they believe themselves to be so forgiving, which also requires them to be so judgmental in the first place.
So, because of this, the prideful sin of judging people in the first place is never dealt with, and this keeps most people from feeling the Holy Ghost always, for only a person who doesn’t judge in the first place, can retain that loving feeling.
So, I say, let’s cease from forgiving others, and instead, repent of judging them in the first place.