There are some that have asked about my background, where my beliefs originated and what important phases of my life contributed to the convictions, views, and beliefs I hold true today.
Doubting Mormon for 16 years
I was born to parent members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). My parents attended church rather infrequently, but tried very hard to make sure my sisters and I attended church on Sunday and when adolescents, encouraged us to participate in church sponsored programs.
I remember especially the once a month “testimony” meetings where all, including children barely able to talk, were encouraged to stand and “bear their testimonies” that they: “know the church and Book of Mormon are true, that God spoke to Joseph Smith telling him to reorganize his church, and that God continues to lead living prophets in directing that church to this day”.
I remember these “testimony meetings” quite vividly because I was perplexed at how anyone could say a church was true. What did it mean? Even at the age of 9 or 10, I thought a lot about what those testimonies meant. I was baffled and even irritated that: “I didn’t know it was true!” and often felt I would have liked to stand and said just so, but never got the courage even though I would often mentally rehearsed doing so when listening to the youngest of children parrot their peers and leaders.
Such was a common thought often as I attended these monthly. I recall reflecting: although I was told I would receive the Holy Ghost by having church leaders, men holding priesthood, lay their hands upon my head and bestow it upon me, I experience nothing when they did.
I reflected that even if the book of Mormon were true, a person’s interpretation of it could certainly be false as was obvious considering the hundreds or maybe thousands of individual historical tenants and concepts to misunderstand with varying degrees of inaccuracy. I knew I could NOT say I knew a church or book couldn’t be true considering how many varied interpretations abounded. I knew a book couldn’t be true or correct, only an interpretation could be true and certainly many of the various interpretations would have to be false? Truth exists to be know, one could NOT just have the truth because they were members of a church or had a book in their hand.
1971 Crisis brings decision to live the faith of my family
In early 1971, a couple friends of mine were arrested for possession of marijuana and I realized but for a trivial change in circumstances, I would have been arrested along with them. It was a wake up call. I reflected that I needed to change my ways. I made a quality decision and decided I would change my ways to serve the better way I believed God had provided in Mormonism.
As I contemplated changing, I had reflected that my father told me how he received a burning conviction of the presence of God, the authenticity of the church and trust worthiness of the Book of Mormon when he was in the Navy. He told how he prayed in earnest to know so and received a convincing response. I was ready to change and exercise a belief that God would answer my prayer and honor a request for help and guidance.
Incidentally, I didn’t asked if there was a man to follow or if the organization or the book were true; I felt I had already had it revealed that such questions were too ambiguous to have guiding relevance. Instead, as I prayed, I was impressed with a concept: if I wanted to change, I needed to find better friends. I felt convinced; I wanted to find new friends that would support my decision to change and begin to live righteously.
As I prayed, I simply asked for God to help me find better friends that would support my decision to change. I asked that he guide me to find friends that would help me keep my resolve to live the Mormon faith.
Within 3 or 4 days my grand mother died and my family traveled from California to Utah for her funeral. After we arrived in Utah, many things began to fall into place and I felt a strange strong conviction that my grand mother was near and that the timing of her death was orchestrated so that I would encounter the friends and fulfill the life choices I had prayed for.
In the short few days after arriving in Utah to attend to my grand mother Geneva’s funeral, I met Elaine Halling the sister of Dean Halling, a childhood friend. Discovering her strong convictions to live according to the principles taught by the Mormon church, I knew she was the answer to my prayer and felt I would one day marry her. This I did 3 years later. During the rest of 1971 until graduation from high school in June 1972, I would travel almost once a month to visit her. 4 years to the day of first realizing my love for her in 1971, my son Adam was born in 1975.
For the rest of 1971, until June of 1973, I studied the Bible new testament, Scattered parts of the old testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price (Mormon standard works). While God was true to honor my decision and request for help in finding better friends, I also found I had a strong desire to study and found it quite rewarding to discover the concepts and principles the scriptures revealed to enjoy a fulfilling life.
It was during this period of study, I developed an independent attitude that I wanted to discover my own interpretations of my faith. I investigated commentaries, but soon realized I abhorred reading what others thought the scriptures meant. I felt I was being lead and even inspired to find truth first hand and didn’t want my interpretations spoiled by the incorrect ideas and notions of others.
As I studied, I also built upon my earliest realization: a book couldn’t be true, only concepts and principles within a book could be truth; that a church or prophet couldn’t be true either, only the concepts and principles understood upon hearing from them could be true. Even if a man shared a truth, the perceived interpretation is what actually determines if what was heard was truth.
The difference is subtle but very important. The principle placed the burden of truth on the hearer and not the speaker. Truth had to be discerned. It was more important to interpret correctly than to just hear. One can not simple believe some idea is true just because a speaker was favored with a church position or favored to have his ideas recorded or favored to speak in a church building.
Soon all my study consisted of study into principles, concepts and the synergy of concepts I discovered in study. Study turned from a focus upon historical facts, superficial tenants and dogmas to discovering the self evident truths that could be found underlying the words of the Lord and prophets. With but a little thought and desire to know the underlying truths of an event, there was a whole lot more to know than just the words or surface of a text.
From mid 1973 till 1977, I was occupied working to pay for and attend college. In addition, I was now supporting a young family, which by 1977 had grown to two sons.
Learning to govern by principle
As I graduated College in 1977, I prayed asking God if I should take a job out of state. I didn’t get a yes or no answer. Instead, I was was given to understand a concept of value comparison and the guiding principle upon which I would decide all future choices involving life alternatives.
I felt inspired in deciding where to work after graduation: if I valued living the Mormon faith more than career opportunity, then it would be better to take one of the job opportunities in Salt Lake than in another state. With the principle using value comparisons upon which to decide, It was also obvious which was the better choice. I had received the principle upon which to make decisions that far exceeded the value of a one-time yes or no reply.
Feed a man that is hungry and he’ll be hungry again, but teach a man to fish and he’ll never be hungry again.
Teach a man the principles of value key in making choices between alternatives and he’ll be able to make choices for the rest of his life.
Teach a man the concept of truth and the principles for discerning truth, and a person has a basis upon which all truth can be discerned thereafter.
I took the job in Salt Lake and made a determined decision to devote the free time I gained upon completing college to passing my CPA exams and studying the foundations of my faith.
In my free time, my emphasis was on understanding my faith. In 1978, I was lead to discover a small group of fundamentalist Mormons bold enough to proclaim the law of consecration and United Order; “utopian” ideas of Momonism. I soon discovered there were fundamentalist concepts promising great benefits in the Mormon Faith ; concepts that had never heard growing up; concepts that had NOT been taught to me although they were considered fundamental to the Mormon faith in an earlier time.
The idea of having a part in creating a Zion society united in economic efforts as in the bible days of Acts 4:32 and the days of Enoch were extremely appealing. I felt the truth of such principles were self evident and it helped that founding church leaders so adamantly taught of its’ benefits and eternal importance and significance.
I thought it incredibly ironic that such eternal concepts, purportedly delivered by revelation from God to multiple prophets, began being rejected by main-stream Mormonism as early as the time of the seventh prophet in the 1870’s and even more ironically were openly and publicly taught against by the church leadership in 1890 and then completely abandoned by them by 1906. Yet there had been revelations leading up to 1890 telling of the approaching general church apostasy.
I was very happy to discover the 1890 manifesto was originally a deceptive ploy carefully crafted by church leadership to satisfy the federal government while no true mormon would be deceived. Meanwhile, the faithful few Mormons true to their principles were directed to continue the practice of their faith underground as many did and thousands still do to this day. By 1905 the church was taken to ex-communicating practicing members while the faithful understood the law of the kingdom had simply been removed as a tenant of the church.
The decision to leave main-stream mormonism seemed easy. It appeared intuitively obvious that with my beliefs and goals, I had no doubt I was doing what was right.
By 1980, I also knew the ideas of this small group were worthy and I had no doubt about leaving my job and making efforts to join the community trying to live the most holy principles of Mormonism in the desert of Nevada.
The Discernment of Truth is a Personal Responsibility
During the period that I formally took an independent stand from the church, I confirmed my conviction to the realizations of my early adolescent years.
Discernment of truth is personal.
Deciding how to apply a discerned truth to our own unique circumstances is personal.
As much as we might wish and prefer to trust and rely upon another, like a prophet, to discharge these two responsibilities for us, it is NOT possible.
Ultimately ONLY we ourselves can decide what we discern true and what we do about it.
Conceptually, this truth of is self evident!
No one else can decide for us what we believe is true!
No one can make up our mind for us as to what we will do with the truths we find.
These are actions of the mind. Only we control our mind. No one can make up the mind of another!
In actuality, all such is subject to our own unique perception. All such is subject to our own unique and personal interpretation.
Success in Life – We Live By Faith
For the first 29 years of my life, I had a pretty standard but ignorant belief about how God answered prayers. I believed that once I made my petition in the “name of Jesus Christ”, I was granted a reply or denied according to how God saw everything. Receiving an answer to prayer was pretty much in the same category as asking the bank for a car loan. Maybe I would get it, maybe not. It all depends upon our personal righteousness and God’s willingness to extend unmerited grace.
In September 1983, I attended a Word of Faith Praise and Worship service hosted by Robert and Marty Tilton. This was my first introduction to Success in Life through Faith in Jesus Christ.
I soon discovered that Success in Life was determined according to principles or laws that were much older than the teachers of my day. Although I had read much of the Bible, I had missed noticing that Success in Life was central theme to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I discovered the central theme:
Our Success in Life is solely determined by what we believe, It is not by obedience to laws and ordinances of the gospel.
With this discovery, I commenced an intense study to understand the concept of belief and the principle of acting in faith according to the Bible. I found the basic principles and laws for success in life were put into effect the day this universe was first conceived. Universal laws regarding faith and belief continue to apply today just as they did the first moment of creation. That the only work required of God to appropriate any promise was to believe we receive.
I also soon realized the key foundational concepts essential to Faith that promote an abundant life were not only missing from Mormonism’s key standard works (other than the bible), but that they actually contradicted the most important founding principles and central concepts essential for one to act in faith believing, nothing doubting.
The universal laws of success, central in “teachings” of Jesus Christ, today continue to be taught and clarified in the central themes of many new age teachers such as found in Rhonda Byrnes “Secret” and Ester Hicks “teachings of Abraham” where they are simply referred to as:
The Secret, The Law of Attraction, and The Art of Allowing
Christians who value the teachings of Jesus Christ will be delighted to recognize the clarity and power which the Secret and teachings of Abraham bring to their Christian beliefs and values. Christians can quickly benefit from understanding the Secret and Law of Attraction because as Christians, they already possess a personal basis for believing the power of belief and faith in their knowing:
- Their purpose is to have joy.
- Their purpose is to create or bear fruit
- When they ask, they receive.
- When they seek, they find.
- When they knock, the door is opened.
- There is power beyond themselves working to bring joy and freedom into their lives.
- When they seek the truth, the truth sets them free.
- They are not alone, but have a companion, a spirit of truth, leading them to all truth.
If you possess Christian beliefs, rest assured you will be blessed by the Secret and Teachings of Abraham as they:
- Reinforce these principles and explain them in ways that are easily understood and put into practice.
- Explain how these principles were central in the creation of the universe and how today the universe is still expanding to become better by our application of these principles.
- Clarify how our personal Holy Spirit has always been communicating wisdom, guidance and direction concerning everything that we hold personal and important to us.
- Provide the background and details that quickly resolve some of the most perplexing Christian questions and problems of faith.
- Give us a perspective beyond the physical dimension we can sense and act within.
Ideas and concepts found in the Seth materials go much deeper to explain how the christian principles operate in reality and that such actually work within our personal perspective of reality being a mental construction of our beliefs.
Best of all, the Secret, Teachings of Abraham and Seth Material bring almost immediate relief and freedom from pain, struggle and bondage so many associate with this life. We can receive relief as obstacles are overcome by understanding the underlying principles of reality, simple techniques and processes that aid in discovering joy and believing beyond the current self imposed limitations of our physically manifest environment.
After all, that’s what Jesus said was the purpose of his coming:
“I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Additional Fundamentalist Mormon Study:
- Polygamy Documents
- The Most Holy Principle – GEMS 4 Volumes
- Church Historical Records on Plural Marriage
Additional Study: Thoughts of Faith – Christian Era
Additional New Age Study: “The Secret”
Additional Study: Jerry and Ester Hicks “Law of Attraction” – Abraham Era
Key Concepts – Introduction to Abraham – Hicks
Additional Study – Seth Era: The nature of Personal Reality