|August 17, 2019
Dear Copper Hills 8th Ward Members,
Joseph Smith taught that the Lord’s house is a house of order. However, when I prayed about it, my mind was illuminated to see the Lord’s house, not as a house of order, but as a house of love.
Joseph Smith taught that “all” blessings come from obedience to the laws they’re predicated upon. But, when I prayed about it, my mind was illuminated to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ, isn’t about seeking to get blessings. Rather, it’s about seeking to bless the lives of others.
Greetings! This is my 20th 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 Because my mailing list is outdated, you might be receiving this, and yet, not be a member of the LDS church.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.
For so many years, I simply “trusted” these teachings of Joseph Smith. I heard these ideas over and over again. And, I believed these concepts, even though it’s so obvious, that the Lord’s house is based, not on order, but on love, where people aren’t to seek to get blessings, but are to love and bless others.
I’ve noticed that those who “trust” church leaders, who obey their directives, who have, what I like to call, a “trustimony” of the church and its leaders, they generally seek to “get” blessings through obedience, and they see the Lord’s house, not as a house of love, but as a house of order.
I’ve noticed that those who don’t need to trust church leaders, because they have a “testimony” of the truth, who know God is love, they don’t seek to get blessings, but rather, they only seek to love and bless others, and they perceive the Lord’s house, not as a house of order, but as a house of love.
I’ve noticed that most members bear “trustimonies” of the church, its books, and its leaders, where they speak of “getting” blessings, and express gratitude for those blessings. I can’t ever remember hearing anyone testify that God is love, that their heart was filled with love, that they only wanted to bless others, like Christ did.
Years ago, when I decided to live by my “testimony,” being guided by the Spirit of love, not seeking to “get” blessed through obedience, it offended church leaders, because I no longer had a “trustimony.”
And, because of this, it was determined that I was “unworthy” of all church blessings, I was judged to be an apostate, I was excommunicated, but this judgment didn’t bother me much, for I wasn’t thinking so much about wanting to “get” church blessings, for my mind, because of the Holy Ghost inside of me, was oriented toward, only wanting to “give” to others, only wanting to love and bless them.
Often, people have said to me, “you don’t have the Holy Ghost any longer, because it was removed from you, when you were excommunicated.” Well, if it’s not the Holy Ghost inside of me, that’s leading me to only think of loving and blessing others, then what is it?
Does the Holy Ghost inspire us to obey church leaders, in order to “get” the blessings they promise us, or does God inspire us, only to love and bless others, where we’re not thinking, “what’s in it for me?”
Often times, people will say, that a person who was excommunicated, or who left the church, lost their “testimony,” but I would argue, that maybe, it’s not a testimony that they lost, but that they lost their “trustimony,” or in other words, they lost their selfish desire to “get” blessings, like I did.
If you were hiking through a forest toward a lake, would you rather that you could see the lake in the distance, or that you couldn’t see the lake, where instead, you blindly trusted those who told you to keep going, who promised that you’d eventually arrive at the lake?
Well, think about it. The church tells you to “trust” them, to obey, that “all blessings” come by obeying the laws they’re predicated upon. And, church leaders promise, that if you’ll continue to obey, you’ll eventually qualify for the blessing of the highest heaven. You’re taught to follow, that the prophet “knows the way,” and so, perhaps, you don’t even try to see heaven in the distance, for yourself.
Now, open your eyes, and see heaven for yourself, by considering the fact that heaven isn’t obtained through orderly conduct and selfishly seeking to get blessings. Rather, it’s seen and experienced by knowing God is love, that his house is a house of love, and by selflessly loving and blessing others.
In the church, it’s all about being governed by law, with blessings attached. In one of the chief articles of the church’s “blessing seeking” faith, it’s stated that “through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
Yet, when we read what Jesus wanted us to be governed by, there’s no mention of commandments with blessings attached, only that we would seek to bless others. Jesus simply taught, “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.”
Notice, that Jesus didn’t say, “trust and obey prophets who know the way.” He didn’t seek to empower leadership, that we would depend on them. Rather, he said, “you know the way, by doing unto others as you would have done unto you.” He considered everyone as equal with him, in ability to know the path for themselves, to see heaven for themselves, like he saw for himself.
And, Jesus attempted to further bolster our independent spiritual confidence, through letting us know that we actually have the ability to love, as he does. He said, “a new commandment I give unto you, that as I have loved you, love one another, and by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.”
Now, I’m not sure what you think about these instructions from Christ, but in my mind, there’s a huge difference between the idea of trusting and obeying church leaders, in order to “get” blessings, and seeking to love and bless others, as Jesus did.
How many of you are on the path of seeking to bless others, having a heart filled with love, where you can see God and heaven in the distance, because you’re selflessly minded, where with each day, you know you’re getting closer and closer?
Or, are you on the path of seeking to be blessed, where you “trust” what Joseph Smith taught, that “all blessings” come from obedience, where you also “trust” Joseph Smith, that the Lord’s house is a house of order, rather than seeing it as a house of love, where you refuse to see God and heaven for yourself, because you have a “trustimony” that church leaders know the way?
Are you familiar with the church’s teaching from the Book of Mormon, that we’re saved by grace, only “after all we can do?” Isn’t this saying, that we’ll deserve God’s grace, or in other words, that we’ll be “worthy” of God’s grace, only if we’ve done all we can do?
Think about it. Won’t everyone, except Christ, fall short of doing all they can do? Won’t all, except Christ, need God’s grace because of falling short? But, if everyone falls short, from not doing all they can do, then won’t everyone be disqualified from receiving this grace, if it’s only given to those who’ve done “all they can do?”
Still, even though this scripture doesn’t make sense, it does illustrate a concept that the church has adopted as its primary governing principle, which is the idea of being “worthy” of God’s blessings, through obedience.
The church emphasizes and focuses on “worthiness” all the time. Worthiness is required to partake of the sacrament, to hold callings, to hold the priesthood, and to attend the temple in order to hope for the blessings promised there.
In the church, it’s about doing “all you can do” to obey, in order to be “worthy” of God’s blessings, in order to deserve God’s blessings. But, have you ever stopped to think about the consequential ramifications associated with this way of thinking?
Basically, in the church, since it’s almost always about seeking to be blessed, rather than about seeking to love and bless others, doesn’t this lead to being selfishly minded, rather than selflessly minded like Christ?
Even in the church’s sacrament prayers, the Holy Ghost is portrayed as a blessing that members are to seek to “get” by keeping commandments. It’s promised that if members will keep commandments, they’ll always have the Spirit to be with them.
But, does it really work this way?
If we think of the Spirit as a blessing we “get” by keeping the commandments, then the Holy Ghost will not be with us, for by thinking this way, it contributes to a mindset of “getting,” which prevents us from having a Godly mindset of giving. In other words, if we’re not thinking of giving, we won’t be led by Holy Ghost, for it leads people, only to give, only to love and bless others.
Also, consider the last temple recommend question. In order to be judged worthy to enter the temple, you’re asked, and must answer in the affirmative, “do you consider yourself worthy in every way to enter the temple?”
When you say “yes” to this question, when you think you’re worthy, you’re not thinking about giving, you’re not thinking about blessing others, but are only thinking about the temple blessings you’re qualified for and deserve to “get,” because of your worthiness, which causes the Holy Ghost to withdraw from you.
At this point in my life, If I were asked this question, my answer would be, “I consider myself unworthy and undeserving in every way,” that I may stay away from thinking about getting blessings, that I may always be led by the Spirit of love, that I may always be selflessly minded to think of giving to others.
It used to baffle me, where Jesus taught that those who seek to save their life, shall lose it, and who seek to lose their life, shall save it. But now it makes sense that those who seek to be blessed, who seek to get, will lose their life, and who seek to love and bless others, who seek to give, will save their life.
Paul taught, in the New Testament, “that we’re saved by grace, through faith, that it’s not of ourselves, that it’s not of works, lest any should boast.” He was conveying the idea that saving grace is a gift, received by faith, that it’s not earned by doing works, that it’s not given “after all we can do.”
Paul received this “gift” of grace. It didn’t come to him, after all he could do. He didn’t deserve it. He wasn’t worthy of it. It came to him, at a time when he was responsible for murdering people. It was when he exercised faith, that he experienced saving grace, and it changed his heart, where his only desire after that experience, was to love and bless others.
Read Romans 13:8, “… love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Read Romans 13:10, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Read Galatians 5:14, “… all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t about obedience to law in order to get blessings, as taught by the church. Rather, it’s about fulfilling the law through exercising faith in the principle of love, which is to seek, only to bless others.
And, think about it. There’s no requirement of worthiness, before a person can love. In fact, in order to love, one must consider him or herself unworthy, and undeserving, for those who think they’re worthy, aren’t thinking about loving and blessing to others, but are only selfishly thinking about what blessing they deserve to get, from their obedience.
Now, I know the church says, that “it’s impossible for a prophet to lead the church astray,” but hasn’t the church, actually been led astray from the path that Christ walked, of seeking only to bless others?
Now, I know the principle of love is taught by the church, but hasn’t its importance been downplayed and diminished so much, that worthiness through obedience, to qualify for getting blessings, is the church’s, actual, main focus?
Why, in the church, isn’t love mentioned in worthiness interviews? Why isn’t love mentioned in the sacrament prayers? Why isn’t love mentioned in temple recommend interviews? Why isn’t love mentioned in the temple?
Didn’t Jesus teach, that His disciples would be known by their love?
Why, then, is the church so focused on being worthy to get blessings?
It’s obvious, yet this idea is amazingly denied by most people, that love, is only extended by those who aren’t thinking they’re worthy and deserving of blessings, whose minds are only focused on blessing others.
I’ve written letters to church leaders, without response back from them, every ten days, for a total of 142 requests, asking the church to please clarify, does the church believe 2 Nephi 32:5 to be true, or not? In essence, I’m asking, are we supposed to be led by the Spirit of love in all things, or not?
2 Nephi 32:5 states, “if you will enter in by the way and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do,” which if practiced by the church, would cause all to be led, not to seek for blessings, but only to bless others.
What do you think? Does this passage teach truth, or not? Is the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of love, meant to show unto us “all things” we should do? Or, are we meant to obey church leaders, with the idea that we’ll be worthy to “get” blessings, if we do?
For those who think this passage is true, I dare you to tell your leaders, that you’re no longer interested in the concept being worthy to get blessings, that you only want to bless others, that you only want to be led by the Holy Ghost, that you’ll no longer obey, with the selfish expectation of getting blessings.
I’ve sent hundreds of letters to church leaders since my excommunication years ago, but I’ve received only a few responses, which have all ignored my questions and concerns, and rather simply stated, “if you want to enjoy church blessings, you must hearken to the counsel of your leaders,” which counsel has never been, that I should focus on seeking to bless others.
In my letters to them, I’ve never mentioned wanting to “get” blessings. It must be cemented in their minds, that anyone and everyone, only wants to “get” blessings. They seem blind to the idea, that maybe, someone would want, only to love and bless others.
With the church so focused on “worthiness” to get blessings, and so blind to the idea that no worthiness is required to love and bless others, I can’t help but think that it’s a false church of Jesus Christ. Can it be a true church of Jesus Christ, if its main focus is getting blessings, rather than focusing on loving, which is to only think of blessing others?
Now, I know the blessings offered by the church are so amazing, that it’s nearly impossible to let go of wanting to “get” those blessings, but I also believe, and know, that experiencing the Holy Ghost, by giving up on seeking to get blessings, by seeking only to give, is brighter, better, and completely heavenly. And, I know it’s the path that Jesus walked.
It’s my testimony, that the Lord’s house is a house of love, that his disciples are known by their love, and by the grace of God, my heart has been filled with love. It’s my testimony, that the church has been led astray from the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s my hope, that the church will reconsider the path they’re on.
Finally, let’s consider this question. What’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Isn’t it a person who appears to be loving and giving, but who inwardly, seeks to get? Isn’t this, what the church is doing and teaching?