Showing posts with label testimony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label testimony. Show all posts

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I'm leaving the church...

The following is my attempt to put into context...a wider context than is currently available in the public debate...about what it means when a person joins the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I do not mean it as a trivialization of the struggles of those who choose to later leave the Church of Christ. I mean it only as a way of linking back to the principles taught in the Book of Mormon and to provide more sure footing for those who are thinking about running away from the faith they once embraced. The arms you're running into by fleeing the Church of Christ are not arms that will love you. They are not arms that will save you. Please stay. If you've left us, please come back.

I'm leaving the church...the church of the devil.

There. I've said it. I feel much better now. For years I've been suffering in silence, not knowing whether my stance on that church's definition of morality would put me in a bad light with its members. I knew their beliefs and they didn't know mine. But it's finally out in the open, and I feel better for saying it.

I will teach openly that the doctrines of that church are completely false. They were based on a lie by a person who sought to become God. He claimed to have authority and that he would save everyone, but that was also a lie. He had no such power, even though he claims to this very day, by twisting scripture, to be able to achieve a false form of collective salvation.

I know that I'll be excommunicated from the church of the devil for my belief that that church is in error. I'm 100% fine with that. The truth is, it always has been in error. I know that the high priests of that church will come after me and put me into disciplinary councils to shame and even force me into continuing to follow their perverse doctrines, but I will not comply.

I will shout from the rooftops how wrong it is to believe in gay marriage and its opening the door to purposely denying children the love of both a father and a mother in the bonds of eternal marriage. I will teach that the "fluidity of sex and gender" (as that church defines it) is a false doctrine. I will actively fight against the moral relativism its adherents seek to promulgate. I will not fall victim to its rites and ordinances of earth worship, committing murder to get gain, pornography, abortion on demand for purposes of convenience, gossip, drug use, and adoration of celebrity, among many, many other sins, none of which are new under the sun.

Many will tell me I'm a fool for leaving that church. I guess I can't blame them. That church offers many enticing things: sex without consequence, murder without reprimand, hate sanctioned by a politically correct ideology, disobedience to parents, maligning of good men and women, and enmity toward commandments of God and toward His Christ.

Indeed, the church of the devil has taught me many things against Christ. In my disciplinary council, which will go on and on and on for the rest of my life until that blessed day when I return to my Heavenly Father, I'll be told the following:

I make no apologies for my stance. It's been a long time coming and the world deserves to hear of an alternative lifestyle to what it has accepted all these centuries. The world deserves to know that the church of the devil will not be standing when Christ comes.

When that day comes, the existence of my God will no longer be denied. In the meantime, I will have a voice and my voice will be in service of my God, the one and only True God of Israel.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Learning with Our Hearts

One way to come unto Christ is by seeking to learn essential truths with our hearts.
What does it mean to learn something by heart? We hear that phrase used when describing the experience of memorizing something. There is another meaning. In the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, learning something by heart means that you make an effort to connect your heart and your mind, and not rely on the mind alone for answers.

This is a strange concept to those who believe that knowledge is obtained by reason alone. It is often met with contempt and derision. Yet, I would argue that such persons rob themselves of the true process of gaining the kind of knowledge that turns into wisdom and which brings us closer to God. Faith, whether it be in the idea that an answer exists (scientific hypothesis) or in Christ, is an essential part of every learning endeavor.

Elder Walter F. González of the Presidency of the Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about what it means to learn with our hearts.

Whenever someone comes to me and says, "Yes, well I've read all your books and attended all your meetings and I still am skeptical about such and such," I feel very sad for them. They hold onto doubt as if it were a security blanket. In reality, doubt is like an anchor held fast to the bottom of the ocean while a storm threatens to capsize the ship. Cut that anchor free and allow God to teach you truth, rejecting doubts that the adversary would have you listen to. God is not an author of confusion and skepticism. He is the God of Knowledge. Whatever you ask of Him, having faith, it will be given to you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Testimony excerpts

Dr. Richard Lyman Bushman's Testimony
American History, Columbia University and Claremont Graduate University
Why then am I always interrogating my own faith? I am always asking why I believe. What do my beliefs mean? How can they be explained and justified? I have sympathy for questioners because I am a questioner too. Settled as faith is in my own life, I understand why people doubt. I see in questioning something deeply religious as well as deeply human. A Doctrine and Covenants scripture speaks of “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” and then goes on to explain itself: “in the wilderness because you cannot see him.” That is the human plight. We live in a wilderness where we cannot see God. We must believe in him in his absence. The scripture goes on to further explicate itself by explaining “my voice, because my voice is Spirit” [88:66]. We live in a wilderness and listen for the voice of a person we cannot see, coming not by sound waves to our ears but as a spirit voice. If that is our situation, as it truly seems to be, how can we not sympathize with bewildered questioners? Under those circumstances, I too question God.
Read more »

Yediyd’s Testimony
I had my first visit in February 2004. God bless those missionaries! I sure gave them a run for their money! I knew we were in the “last days”, and the the Bible says,”Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). I did not trust them; I knew many false prophets would arise in the last days, but I gave them my word that I would not make any decisions until I had read the Book of Mormon.

A funny thing happened as I started reading the Book of Mormon-I recognized my beloved Bible on every page! It didn’t start in First Nephi,either…it started with the introduction to the Book of Mormon and then the testimonies of the witnesses. I recognized God’s numbers, His “set” way of organization; I started pulling out God’s numbers-3,8,12-from the very first pages and I knew that this book was lining up with my Bible. As I read on, I decided that the Book of Mormon was either written by God or by Satan, but it could not have been written by any man! The wisdom was too deep. It lined up too well with the Bible, on so many levels. I knew that it was just not possible for man to have written this book. As I realized this, at first, I feared in my heart that the Book of Mormon was a counterfeit. Was this the strong delusion sent by Satan in the last days that my Bible had warned me about? Were these missionaries the false prophets that I knew would arise in the last days? I was sure in my heart that the Book of Mormon was a supernatural book, but to which end? I also knew that “ol’ smutty face” was a master of imitation and forgery. If anybody could make a “copy” of the Bible, yet twist it, he could! But the missionaries kept telling me to pray about it, and ask God if it was the truth. Satan wouldn’t advise me to ask God about anything! The Bible says in Isaiah 55:11 that God’s word will not return void and it didn’t. I had not memorized all that scripture for naught.

Read more »

Dr. Lawrence L. Poulson
Biochemistry, University of Texas at Austin
As a youth I was always interested in chemistry and, after returning from my mission, I managed to get a position as a research assistant in a plant biochemistry laboratory at the Salinity Laboratory, a part of the United States Agricultural Research Service, where the third love of my life was born, the first being my wife, with Book of Mormon geography in second place. It was there that I began my career in biochemistry. Through the good help of the people at the Salinity Laboratory and the National Defense Education Act, I obtained a Ph.D. in plant biochemistry and went looking for a permanent position. Unfortunately, there were no jobs for plant biochemists, and I ended up at the University of Texas as a research scientist in drug metabolism and disposition. As I studied and did research in the biochemistry of living plants and animals, I became more and more convinced of the reality of God and Jesus Christ and the reality of a divine creation of this world and the creatures that abide here. Through the research in our laboratory we were able to establish and get acceptance for a theory that helps to explain how the delicate ecological balance between plants and animals is maintained. This theory, though based on evolutionary concepts, only strengthened my testimony of the hand of God in the creation process.
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Peter M. Johnson
At the start of the fall semester I was instructed by my academic advisor that I needed to take several religion courses to graduate from BYU–Hawaii. For my first semester I decided to take a New Testament course, and for the first time I began to understand in part the importance of a Savior. While living in New York I had been a converted Muslim. The Islamic faith regards Jesus Christ as a great man or prophet, similar to Moses or Abraham. I had not realized the importance of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice until I read about His life in the Gospel of Luke. I studied how the Savior healed the sick, raised the dead, and made the blind to see and the deaf to hear.

As the fall semester progressed, I was introduced to the missionaries. They visited my dorm room on a regular basis...The missionaries continued to teach me the remainder of the fall semester. It was fun and I learned a lot, but I had no desire to join the Church.

The next semester I again met with my college advisor and was again instructed to take a religion course. I decided to take the Book of Mormon course. I had no doubt about the possibility of additional scriptures because as a Muslim I had studied the Holy Koran.

It was near the end of winter semester. I completed my finals and was preparing to return home to the other side of the island. My scholarship did not cover the spring term, and I was prepared to work for the spring and summer to save some money for the fall semester. On the day I was prepared to leave campus, I received a note in my mailbox from Brother Gary Smith, my Book of Mormon teacher. He wanted to see me. I returned to my dorm room, where I received another note stating Brother Gary Smith wanted to see me. I thought to myself, “Why would he want to see me? Will Brother Smith give me an F grade for religion? No one ever fails religion.”

I dropped by his office, and the secretary mentioned that Brother Smith was at the Seasider, a mini-café on campus. I found him, and, as we talked, Brother Smith proceeded to tell me how I knew the Church was true and that it was time for me to join the Church. I looked at him amazed, and I wondered what he had been drinking.

He continued and said, “From what I’m about to tell you, either one of two things will happen. You will join the Church right away or it will take you awhile.” He quoted a scripture in Ether that states:

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. [Ether 12:6]

I thought, “What does this scripture have to do with me?”

Brother Smith explained that he believed I was waiting for some type of miracle or vision to take place before I would join the Church. He said, “You need to act upon what you already know to be true before you will receive a greater witness. ‘Wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial [or exercise] of your faith.’”

Read more »

Friday, October 16, 2009

Real, unrehearsed, and genuine...

I'm about to head to Africa for a 2 week trip to help out the orphanage where we are adopting a 6 year old boy. So, to tide you over until I get back and can post more, I thought I'd share this great resource of testimony for those questioning the validity of the Book of Mormon, or for those looking to add a bit of brightness to their day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Elder Holland's Powerful Witness of the Book of Mormon

The 179th Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a lot of wonderful talks by LDS general authorities. In the video above, Elder Holland bears a solemn testimony of the Book of Mormon. I especially love how he quotes 2 Nephi 33:10, which says, in part:
10 ...hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sharing the Book of Mormon

I've been experimenting with different ways of more effectively sharing the Book of Mormon with friends and acquaintances as well as complete strangers I sometimes meet in various settings. Here are a couple of ways that I've found to be effective, if not at least personally satisfying, in carrying out my goal to help flood the earth with the Book of Mormon.

Paste a typewritten welcome message into the book's front cover. This helps me when I'm in a mad dash to go on a trip somewhere and I want to share a Book of Mormon with someone, but a) I don't know who it will be and b) I don't have much time to thoughtfully write something by hand in the cover. You can download a copy of what I've done and use it as well. To add the personal touch, I sign my name on the bottom and write a note or two.

The other cool thing about doing it this way is that the recipient can fold the insert over to act as a "persistent page". It's a great study aid because you don't have to juggle a piece of paper and the book to look things up. It's all one unit. The study page stays put while you flip through the scripture references.

Leave behind "business cards". These are printed on my home inkjet printer on both sides of regular or cardstock paper. I then cut them out using an inexpensive paper cutter. They're meant to get people interested in the concept of the Book of Mormon when I only have a few moments, say, in an elevator or on the train, after having had a conversation that references a gospel theme. The back of the card has the Web addresses for
in case a person becomes interested enough to explore further. I also put the card in 3 Nephi 11 so that a book recipient can naturally turn to the focal point of the Book of Mormon...when Jesus Christ visited the American continent.

Here are pictures of the final result once you paste the insert into the front cover (minus my signature) and use the card as a bookmark.

Insert in front cover

Full layout of insert and card

Let us know how these ideas work for you (or don't) and what can be improved.

And, if you're visiting this site as a result of receiving a book and/or card, please let us know if you found them helpful in discovering the Book of Mormon. We'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Nephi Quotes Isaiah (1 Nephi 20)

Listen now!In chapters 20 and 21 of 1st Nephi, we find a peculiar thing. Nephi begins quoting Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet who lived over 150 years before Nephi and Nephi quotes him extensively here and later on in 2nd Nephi. When the Savior visits America in 3rd Nephi (a different "Nephi") He also quotes Isaiah. What was there in Isaiah's writings that intrigued Nephi and that was worthy of quotation by the Savior?

Something you'll find as you get into "the Isaiah chapters" of the Book of Mormon is that it breaks up the historical flow of the book, thus becoming a bit jarring to the reader. Ask any member of the Church how they feel about the Isaiah chapters and they'll readily admit that it feels like walking through peanut butter. They often state that it's because Isaiah uses names and concepts that seem foreign and out of context to what Nephi has been saying.

This is why it seems astounding that, in 2nd Nephi 25, after quoting Isaiah extensively, Nephi proclaims:
...for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn.
What can he mean by "plainness"? A closer inspection of verse 4 tells us.
Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the aspirit of bprophecy. But I give unto you a cprophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the dplainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in eplainness unto my people, that they may learn.

But behold, I proceed with mine own prophecy, according to my aplainness; in the which I bknow that no man can err; nevertheless, in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass.
The spirit of prophecy is defined by John the Divine in Revelation 19:10:
10 And I afell at his feet to bworship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy cfellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the dtestimony of Jesus is the spirit of eprophecy.
Isaiah, who was a man of no small status in Jerusalem and was a extremely educated scholar, used high-order Hebraic poetry, complex imagery, and symbolism to transmit the message to those who were faithful enough to discern its meaning. Like the Savior using parables, Isaiah "hid" the things of the Lord from those who would not be prepared to hear them in order to keep them from condemning themselves by reading it in plainer language and still rejecting it. In other words, wicked people who didn't have the spirit of prophecy, or a testimony of Jesus Christ, would never understand how plain these words were; nor should they for they would then trifle with sacred things.

As with all things of God, first comes a testimony that Jesus is the Christ, then comes understanding of prophecies about Him. Isaiah's mission was clearly to prophesy of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone did the Savior chose to quote Isaiah above all the prophets. Anyone who listens closely to the libretto of G.F. Handel's Messiah will detect that Isaiah was focused principally on the Savior's life.

With that in mind, let's proceed with a quick summary of what Nephi is trying to get across to his audience by quoting Isaiah 48.

The first key to understanding Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon and in the LDS King James Version of the Bible is to first look at the chapter heading. That will give you an idea of what you should seek to comprehend. While you should definitely read the entire chapter, there is not sufficient space in this ideally short blog post to cover it all. The critical verses are noted below along with the principal messages of this chapter.
  1. Verses 3 through 6 - The Lord reveals his purposes to Israel.
  2. Verses 10 and 20 through 21 - They have been chosen in the furnace of affliction and are to go forth from Babylon
Here's the breakdown:

Message 1
3 Behold, I have declared the aformer things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them. I did show them suddenly.
4 And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate [we are all in need of a Savior], and thy aneck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;
5 And I have even from the beginning declared to thee; before it came to pass I ashowed them thee; and I showed them for fear lest thou shouldst say—Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them [God is whom we should praise, not idols].
6 Thou hast seen and heard all this; and will ye anot declare them [missionary work that would accompany the Savior's ministry]? And that I have showed thee new things [new covenant between God and man] from this time, even hidden things [prophecy of His coming], and thou didst not know them.
Message 2
10 For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of aaffliction [a type or symbol of the suffering of the Savior].
20 aGo ye forth of Babylon, flee [Christ's refusal to commit sin, the imperative to follow His example] ye from the bChaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this [missionary work], utter to the end of the earth; say ye: The Lord hath redeemed his cservant Jacob [the Atonement].
21 And they athirsted not [Christ is the living water]; he led them through the deserts [Christ guides us through afflictions]; he caused the waters to flow out of the brock for them ; he clave the rock also and the waters gushed out [a type of Christ's side being pierced by a spear on the cross].
So, whenever you encounter the phrase "Compare Isaiah" in a chapter heading while reading the Book of Mormon, be sure to switch your frame of mind to thinking of how what Isaiah says relates to the Savior.