Monthly Archives: July 2015
Let me give you my last update. It has been an entire month since we left Missouri. Now, I can tell you the sky is more blue, the sun is brighter, and grass is indeed greener. Don’t get me wrong, Missouri is wonderful. In fact, its natural beauty of rolling, lush, green hills and the towering stormy clouds are incomparable. The people there are wonderful as well. Southern hospitality does in fact exist. Our ward was just as hospitable. They welcomed us with open arms, when we moved to Missouri, in December of 2013. Even when we left, we felt the love of many of the members. What we were excited to leave behind in Missouri, was the threat of church discipline.
One week before we moved, we met with our stake president and area authority. They understood that this was going to be our last meeting, disciplinary action was still looming, and tension filled the room. Immediately after greeting each other, the area authority showed some disappointment that we shared our story with Gina Colvin and John Dehlin. We recognized how sharing our private meeting, publicly, could be disappointing and we apologized, yet we felt that it was an important story to tell, and we never regretted the decision. We then transitioned to the central issue. They felt that we weren’t following the keys of the priesthood. We weren’t addressing concerns with priesthood leaders, but rather expressing them publicly. That was the problem. They were concerned that readers of this blog might begin to have questions. They explained that they felt the proper way of addressing questions is to go to the Bishop and NOT express them publicly.
I had to ask myself, what good are questions if they can’t be discussed or published? What other branch of knowledge or study doesn’t allow you to ask questions and work through those questions publicly? Isn’t that part of learning and advancing? Questioning is what supposedly kicked off the restoration. Do we not believe that God will answer our questions? Why are we so afraid of public questioning?
And that’s exactly what we were doing, asking serious questions. Lindsay and I were reading scriptures daily, praying as individuals, a family, and a couple, my wife was going to church weekly, and I was going to church as often as my job would permit, we were having family home evening, I was going on exchanges with the elders, we were both working to fulfill our callings, all while taking care of a new baby, homeschooling, full-time work, and finishing my degree. Lindsay and I were committed to the gospel 100%. I don’t say this to be boastful, but to show that we were trying our very best. We told the stake president and area authority that we prayed one evening, until we were both crying, The answer came and it was simple. Polygamy was not of God. It was an invention of men. This was of course the beginnings of my initial post and a major faith journey.
I told the leaders that the point of Mormonverse was to highlight things critical and positive about the church, because no matter our opinions of the church, there are both negative and positive things about the LDS church. The problem for our local leaders was that we would be shedding light on the negative issues with the church. Their fear was that negative aspects of the church would cause investigators to reconsider joining the church. I told them that I had done nothing wrong. The concerns and questions investigators would have, needed to be asked of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. I did not have the multiple wives. I did not have the inconsistent revelations and practices.
Cordial arguments were exchanged about proper channels for asking questions, priesthood keys, and the importance of painting the church in a positive light. After 45 minutes of talking, the meeting was winding down and it seemed that we all agreed to disagree. We had mutual respect for each other, and it seemed we were just about to leave without a disciplinary council.
And then…..Lindsay opened up. She says she “word vomited”, and yes, it seemed much like that. What I thought was the end of the meeting, turned into a confession of all of our doubts and questions. I wanted to give her a nudge under the table, and mutter under my breath, “What are you doing?!” Luckily, she continued. In reality we hadn’t been just studying polygamy, but the church history in general. Lindsay started to share her devotion to our faith and the sense of betrayal she felt, when she learned the church had hidden key historical issues. She opened the flood gates and our local leaders were taken aback. She talked about how the Book of Abraham no longer being considered a literal translation. She expressed concern about the seer stone used to translate the Book of Mormon, the purpose of polygamy, racism in the church, and a myriad of other issues with the church. She expressed her frustration that the church published essays that gave us many concerns, and yet, gave no new revelation, no direction, and we were now being threatened for speaking publicly about these issues.
Then came the question from our Stake President, ” Do you have a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon?” Lindsay answered truthfully, ” I believe it has…..inspired parts.” The Stake President said that’s where she needed to start and get a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon. That if that book is true, than we should study it.
We agreed, if the book is true than we should study it. But how did we get the book? Is it honestly a ancient set of scriptures? Did the first vision occur, since there are conflicting accounts of the first vision? Just as we have been taught in the church, the foundation of the church is Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, so should we not discover the truth for ourselves? …….
Their answer was to read the Book of Mormon and follow the priesthood keys…………………
Our leaders expressed heartfelt love and concern for our doubts. What I thought was going to be a sure excommunication after our doubts were vented, turned into concern, and we left amicably. They prayed for us and wished us well. We walked out of the meeting feeling relieved that the threat of disciplinary council was over. We had spent countless hours, weeks, and months, searching for answers. As we left that meeting, we felt a huge burden lift. We realized that our path was not in traditional Mormonism. We felt the relief and peace that we had been searching for.
On this journey, we stumbled upon the lively, blossoming community of the online Mormon culture. With it’s rich debates, thoughtful discussions, critical questioning, and humble searching, it welcomes traditional Mormons, NOMs, and those that have stepped past Mormonism. It’s a world of the small bloggers asking powerful questions, the passionate, heartfelt newspaper editorials, the honest podcasts of the average Mormon members. I think we are looking at a critical time for the LDS church. Concerns are mounting, people are challenging the narrative, and many are seeking answers.
That’s why I’m bringing the next phase of Mormonverse to the online LDS community. I want to combine the tough questions and the positive perspectives of Mormons. Mormonverse will bring DAILY updated news and opinion sources to one convenient location. You’ll have access to more stories, more opinions, and hopefully, find more answers. But we need a little help to get this project off the ground. Please click on the picture below.