Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Things That Keep Me Awake at Night

Things That Keep Me Awake at Night
Forcing Mutual Agreement
3/20/2018

The day after I was excommunicated for “apostasy” from the church I had belonged to my entire life, I attended my son’s arrow of light ceremony for cub scouts, hosted by the same organization that had just severed me from it. In the course of the ceremony, the seven rays of the sun depicted on the arrow of light symbol were explained. The second represented “courage”. The scout master gave this as the explanation: “to stand for what is right, even when no one else will.” Seemed ironic just then.

For many months I was in the same place as many of the majority in this G&S process. I was fine with the first document, the 2 or 3 revisions of the first document, and even the lots document, and didn’t see anything materially wrong with many of the other proposals. I was asleep, just wanting to be done, wondering why people didn’t just go with the majority and complete the assignment. (I am NOT implying anyone else is asleep :) )

I was ready to move on to “seeking to recover the lost sheep.” So, I prayed about how to do that. I was directed to speak with a few individuals that had direct connections to those other sheep.

In the process of seeking  to understand someone else’s point of view (see Other Sheep Indeed) I was awakened to some issues regarding our principles and the precedent we are setting for “other works” the Lord will require of us, that we won’t be able to do if we can’t adopt a statement of principles by mutual agreement.

Since awaking, there have indeed been things that keep me awake at night. May I share some of the more “poignant” ones with you?

I believe that regardless of the statement we adopt, the first principle advanced is “how” we came to adopt that set of principles.

The meaning given by the Lord for “Mutual Agreement” is “as between one another, you choose not to dispute.” What exactly are we not to dispute? Does this mean we should not have concerns? Does this mean if we do have concerns we should not air them?

The upcoming vote reminds me of the process in one of the institutions many of us have fled, where to show “Common Consent” the people are expected to not raise a hand in opposition. If they do, they are taken aside and counseled until they either give their consent, or they are seen as “apostatizing” from the group.

What if “Mutual Agreement” was the same thing as “Common Consent”? The words used are synonymous, after all. We are told that the inhabitants of Zion will have “all things in common.” Does this included their consent as well?

In the blog post series entitled “All or Nothing”, Denver explains that “having all things in common” cannot be forced:

“Zion will have ‘all things in common’ but only as a by-product of a larger construct. Without the rest of the social structure, implementing ‘all things in common’ is only a curse, not a blessing.”

And:

“When a society acts on the notion of having ‘all things in common’ as an end, rather than a by-product of a new society, then any project, just like the Nauvoo Temple, becomes almost impossible to complete successfully. This principle cannot be separated from a reordered society. This is why the Lord must bring Zion, because mankind cannot.”

So, if having “all things in common” cannot be the goal, could it be that having “mutual agreement” cannot be the goal? Could it be that having “mutual agreement” is “only a by-product of a larger construct”? Has this “project” not been “almost impossible to complete successfully”?

Many have pointed out that the Lord said, “This was a light thing.” I have heard many of us ask why people cannot “just not dispute” so we can “just be done.” In the A&C, the “larger construct” of this “light thing” is “if your hearts were right.” Is it possible that our hearts are still not right?

Many look at those they believe are “disputing” and say “their hearts are not right.” What if the majority also doesn’t have their hearts right? Are our hearts right if we wish those who have concerns would just go away - self select?

What if the majority were also “disputing”, not just the minority? One of the definitions of the word “dispute” is:

verb “compete for; strive to win”

“Zion, however, is without ambition, competition and aggression.” (DS blog, Pax Americana, 19 April 2010, my emphasis)

What if to “choose not to dispute” meant “choose to work together”, to “not compete” instead of working on competing documents that have to be voted on, or “disputed”?

Read the Lord’s definition again, “As between one another, you choose to not dispute.” Can this be put in other words - “You choose not to dispute between one another”, or further “you choose not to compete against each other”?

As I have discussed these ideas with some fellow covenant brothers and sisters, some have said “we already tried that, and at the end of the night we had ‘mutual agreement’, only to have someone come up with a dispute the next day.’” What if “mutual agreement” can’t be reached in a night? Or a week? If you look at the time we’ve spent laboring together to come up with a set of principles, and compare it to the time we’ve all disputed amongst ourselves, campaigning and voting, what kind of a picture does that present? We’ve probably spent a month total working on the documents, and about 10 more disputing, making up acceptance criteria, and trying to force mutual agreement. What if, instead, we were to meet in council with each other (all who have desires to serve, or feel “called” to this work, in person or via teleconference), and labored on a single document until we had mutual agreement?

My wife grew up in Phoenix, outside what some of the older generation of “Utah Mormons” calls “Zion.” She has always had to stand against the majority - stand up for her beliefs in front of her classes at school - stand alone - even in her own church trial. Now, with this “vote” in Phoenix (actually Gilbert, which does fit in the Mormon “Zion”) she feels sympathy for those who will stand in opposition to a perceived “mutual agreement”, and has considered standing with them in solidarity, regardless of whether she agrees with the content of a particular document.

Joseph Smith said in a letter, “It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it.”

What if Adrian Larson was right in his comment last Fall? What if “majority rules” is not the way Zion conducts business? What if the example in the Book of Mormon IS illustrating how “majority rules” falls short of Zion? Mosiah said it would be “expedient” to have a king, rather than majority rule, if you could always have a just man to be your king. What if we chose Christ to be our king, and sought His part, His word?

About three and half years ago while at an incipient fellowship gathering, I heard a number floated by someone who would know, as to how many had been baptized into this movement within the first couple of months. It was around 2,000. It was just an estimate, and certainly there have been more added, and some have left the movement. What if that were an accurate number? In the initial votes regarding the G&S there were roughly 400 participants, and approximately 500 for the Lots vote. How many of those took the covenant? God knows. What if there isn’t truly a majority participating?

I have heard some say that those who voted in the Lots process represent “those who care enough” to vote. What if the other 1500 do care, a lot, but are demure because they were turned off by the boisterousness and the arguing of those who care enough to dispute on the websites? What if there are also those who may not be “internet savvy”, who rely on those who are more savvy to get information about the process and votes? What if we haven’t cared enough about them to find ways to involve them and get their input?

The examples given by those advocating a “majority rules” paradigm are the “Council in Heaven”, the children of Israel “voting” to accept Moses’ law, and the 1835 adoption of the D&C. However, each of these instances demonstrates an entirely different paradigm. In each case the decision was made by a higher source, and the people were just giving their “common consent”, or mutual agreement. No “vote” like we are proposing was taken.

Are we more willing to be “done” with this than to seriously consider what may be legitimate concerns by some of our brothers and sisters? Are we more afraid that our Lord is an austere and hard man that we want to hide our talent and be done with it, than to take it to the exchangers, and take time to work it out until we all reach mutual agreement? We’ve disputed, or competed, for nearly a year and are we any nearer to adding a statement of principles?

What if, instead of a vote at the conference we sat down together and began a new process - a new cooperative way of writing a statement of principles - and what if we labored on it, together, until we came to mutual agreement, even if it took a little time? What if, instead of forcing the minority to stand in front of the perceived majority we used the time to adopt a new plan to work on one united document and invite anyone to participate who felt called to participate, until completion?

That would be my vote.

What if a spirit of love and cooperation is what the Lord meant by having our hearts right? “And what is my spirit? It is to love one another.”

If we have a vote in Phoenix, should I vote with the majority in hopes of being “done with the assignment”? Or should I stand with the “minority” - not because I necessarily dispute the content of any document, but because I am not sure of setting a precedent of competition, the process of “dispute” that such a vote represents. I am not yet persuaded that “majority rules” in a society of equals like we are hoping to be. Nor do I dispute other’s revelations, but I have already posted my view on competing revelations.

Just before my wife’s and my church trials, the stake president met with us to give us one last chance to change our position. He went so far as to say we were right, but that we needed to stay with the “main stream”, with the “majority.” We needed to submit to the power structure and go along. He used some of the exact same arguments as I receive from friends in this movement as to why I should “vote” for this.

These are truly questions that keep me awake at night. I feel in large measure like Joseph Smith in 1820. How to act I do not know, and unless I get more knowledge than I now have I will never know. Are these valid questions, or am I just “up in the night”?


- Sam Vaughn, Sr

38 comments:

  1. Thank you for these thoughts.💞

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  2. "How to act I do not know, and unless I get more knowledge than I now have I will never know." Exactly. Thank you. I sincerely hope those in positions to alter what is going to happen at the conference are willing to hearken. I feel we are capable of so much more. Perhaps we all need a new vision? I'm still grateful to be here and wish to uplift, support, and participate.

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  3. Sam, Amen and Amen.
    You have expressed my sentiments exactly.

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  4. Jay, just what is it you are saying Amen to? Sam ask a long list of questions, and made very few statement. Seriously what is it you are agreeing to?

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  5. Sam

    If a single Guide and Standard is agreed upon by all of us, I see three and only three possibilities to mutual agree on a guide and Standard.
    1- Someone, some group or Committee, Denver or some angel decide the matter for you and I whether they impose their document on a willing flock or impose their will by compulsion. Nobody wants that nor is that the assignment from God.
    2-Some group submit willingly to the view of others in the group, whether the minority’s submit to the majority or vice verse.
    3-We can continue the process indefinitely until we all agree on a single document-100%, because if it’s only 99%, well that’s option #2.

    Your view appears to be that agreeing with the majority’s opinion is weak, or wrong-headed, better to stand and oppose the majority’s view rather than submit to the group. If I have correctly summarized your viewpoint I would ask you to consider this statement from Denver.

    “I would rather submit to the decision of the group than insist that my view be followed. For me, harmony between brethren is more important than getting what I think best to be followed. I believe harmony can lead to much greater things than can merely enforcement of even a correct view.....My experience with others leads me to conclude that if we can have one heart first, eventually we can likewise come to have one mind. But if we insist on having one mind at the outset, we may never obtain one heart together.”

    McKay

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    Replies
    1. McKay,

      Yes, I have read it and sincerely considered it. It has also been used a couple of times as a sort of test oath by friends in this movement to try to get me to simply “relinquish and submit” to the whole process.

      I think it is good council. I also think what Denver said in Clinton in the “That We Might become One” fireside is good council:

      “But peace should not be made at the cost of truth. Truth must be the only goal. Truth, however, belongs to God. Our desires, appetites, and passions are prone to make us stray well beyond the bounds set by God.

      “- Therefore, when our pride is gratified, we should question if what we are advancing is truth.

      “- When our ambition is served, we should question if we are in the Lord’s employ or our own.

      “- When we insist upon control we should question if we are like our Lord or instead His adversary.

      “- When we use any means for compelling others, we should wonder if we are mocking God who makes the sun to shine and rain to fall on all His fallen children without compulsion.

      “- When we display unrighteous dominion, we should question whether we are worthy of any dominion at all.” -page 6

      (Continued below)

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    2. What I propose above is written out of concern for the contention I see manifest by the process we’ve adopted. Who of us knows the truth of the matter, truly? I leave it to God, and propose approaching him as a people, without Moses, to try to find out the truth. I have faith enough to consider that if we were truly humble enough, He would manifest Himself to us, probably in a way we never expected. It would take true unity and sincere humility to do, which perhaps we are not capable of right now. But it would require everyone to “relinquish and submit” to the Lord, rather than only those with concerns submitting to the will of a majority. Those are not my words, but words that are being used at the grassroots level of the movement. I realize they don’t represent the sentiments of those organizing this vote, thanks to Gordon, but my concern is not unfounded.

      Since we are unlikely to come to the Lord to seek His part, at least at this conference, I don’t really have a choice but to submit to the voice of the majority, as my attempts to persuade have proven weak. My weakness is exposed, I am not an organizer, an advertiser, or campaigner, and as such, under the current system I must acquiesce. People who know me know I don’t have a lot of ambition and do not like the spot light to be on me at all. So, if I have spoken up in public, it must have something to do with “wild horses dragging ...” :)

      So, yes, I have read it, but I believe there are things that Denver has said that fit our situation better. :)

      My only ambition is to try and find an equitable way to settle the disputes I see with my good friends standing against my good friends. How can I choose between them?

      -Sam

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    3. McKay,

      Are these really the only options?

      Why set a limit on the options of what God can achieve with a people who choose to have faith in Him?

      What if "to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands" requires us to exercise faith?

      Do we have faith that Christ can tell us His part without resorting to another vote?

      It sounds like what Sam suggests involves a new cooperative way of writing a statement of principals that those who feel called to participate work on together as moved by the Holy Ghost without employing a process of voting.

      Some may argue that we've already tried that, why try again? Others may argue that we've already tried voting. I would argue that until we hear God's voice in it we should keep trying. I may be wrong, but I don't have faith in hearing God's voice in the voting process.

      Do we have faith in the gift of revelation? If we don't have the gift what does that say about our faith?

      “Because faith is wanting, the fruits are. No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it. The ancients quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, women received their dead, etc. By faith the worlds were made. A man who has none of the gifts has no faith; and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has. Faith has been wanting, not only among the heathen, but in professed Christendom also, so that tongues, healings, prophecy, and prophets and apostles, and all the gifts and blessings have been wanting” (Teaching of Prophet Joseph Smith, 270).

      "I will try the faith of my people" (3 Ne 12:1 RE)

      That we pose and entertain the type of questions from this following thread, to me gives evidence of the distrustful nature of the voting process that I feel is unbecoming a Zion people:

      https://guideandstandard.blogspot.com/2018/03/proposed-voting-timetable.html?showComment=1520478261161#c1858231929246567941

      My question to God is, "how can we resolve what you have required without us resorting to a vote that tends to divide us into groups of 'us' vs 'them'"?

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  6. Unfortunately the Lord has not seen fit that I attend the Conference. I really wanted to be there to participate in this wonderful moment. However, it is not to be. Whatever you decide to do, my prayers are with you. Whatever you choose, I will support wholeheartedly. I pray you can come to a unity with each other. That is the most important thing. Please remember your love for each other while working together in the process. Try to be flexible, and don’t draw a line in the sand, no matter which G&S you suppport. Be open to each other. But remember, there is a job at hand. What did Spock say, something like the needs of many out-weigh the needs of the one. It’s been a while since I saw that movie. I think Spock died, he sacrificed himself, but somehow he came back to life in the next movie. The principle is the same. We have to look after the many. We have much to do, if we take this long on everything, we will need an eternity to finish the rest. Just some thoughts to leave with you since I can’t be there in person to participate.
    God be with you! Zion is achieveable. Love, Lisa

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  7. Sam,

    I’ve felt the sting of a church court too. And I want no part in any system that uses authority to compel obedience, or that uses the power of the majority to shame. Those things are not being proposed in this vote.

    It is unfair to suggest that this vote is organized in a way that “expects” (your word) those opposed to the process or outcome to sit on their hands. We fully expect some to disagree and we have provided a way for them to make their opinion known. Beyond that, the wording and the tone of the vote will be respectful and inclusive. No one will be asked to, “just go away.” Nothing in the proposal or in the responses to questions on this blog about the vote has suggested anything of the kind. In fact those advocating for this vote have expressed the exact opposite of that sentiment, repeatedly.

    It is also unfair to suggest that those in opposition will be “counseled” (again, your word) until they get in step with the majority. Counseling forms no part of the plan by those who proposed this vote. The delegates are all in agreement on this specific point: their job is NOT to persuade. It is just to listen to the concerns of those that want to voice them, so that no one will be opposed to the majority’s choice simply because nobody was ever willing to hear them out.

    This vote does not force an artificial agreement, or focus on agreement for its own sake. After determining the majority’s preference, the second step in the vote is to ask (not demand, not compel) if those in the minority can find it in their hearts to accept the majority’s choice. Can we, out of love for our fellow believers, give up our own desires and agendas? Can we focus on someone else’s priorities? Or do we want what we want, and that’s the end of it. It’s true that most votes are competitive, but this vote doesn’t have to be. It is not designed to be competitive; its design is cooperative. We are asking for folks to voluntarily give up something they want (maybe even a superior G&S!) in order to achieve unity — the opposite of competition.
    I agree with your suggestion that most of the body of believers will NOT participate in this vote. It would be good if they could, but for the purposes of this vote, it probably doesn’t matter. The vote is largely about trying to build consensus. It is a primary vote, if you will: an attempt to build unity so that we can someday achieve unanimity. It does not force a G&S on anyone.

    And here perhaps is an important point. If we can achieve mutual agreement among those at the conference, then some might choose to go ahead and add the “agreed statement of principles” to their own set of scriptures. This would allow those who feel that there is an urgency to fulfill the Lord’s commandment to do so. And, it allows those who want to wait to adopt a G&S until we achieve unanimity to also pursue their goal. Does such an approach respect both agency and accountability?

    I don’t think it is a good idea to assume that the worst tendencies found in the LDS church are being repeated now. Many of us have been hurt by our association with the church. What a pity it would be if because of that hurt we choose not to trust anyone again. We are all in this movement because we have recognized the words of the Lord in the message Denver has delivered. Perhaps we should give each other the benefit of the doubt.

    Gordon

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comments on this Gordon. It brought me peace to read.

      For the most part, the phrases I’ve used are actual phrases I’ve heard in personal conversations in person, in emails, or on this site, from friends, and acquaintances in the movement, and anonymous strangers. Sometimes it seems impossible to get an accurate barometer of where we’re at in this thing. Sometimes it has been shocking to me to see.

      Thanks for addressing specific things, and not just asking if I have read the epigraph “Denver put into the scriptures” like so many others have (not my words :) ).

      I believe I will get some sleep tonight.

      Cheers!

      Sam

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    2. Uno

      Gordon,

      I appreciate all the time you have taken to respond and answer questions. I do see a bit more clearly what you are hoping to accomplish. If I may, I have some questions and thoughts further.

      "The delegates are all in agreement on this specific point: their job is NOT to persuade. It is just to listen to the concerns of those that want to voice them, so that no one will be opposed to the majority’s choice simply because nobody was ever willing to hear them out."

      Who are these delegates? Who decided?

      The only point for having delegates is so everyone can feel heard? There will not be discussion or "persuasion?" How will this be handled? Openly with all listening or watching? Why the need for delegates then? Wouldn't it be best for all "voters" to hear what is said by those who disagree, then no one has to become a “delegate” to the G&S Convention? Treat it like an open mike?

      When will the persuasion--the asking an individual to acquiesce, happen then? Is that embodied in the question, "Will you agree to accept the majority's decision regarding which G&S to sustain and publish in our scriptures?" And when will that be asked? I am attempting to picture what is going to happen.

      How are you planning to tally votes?

      "I agree with your suggestion that most of the body of believers will NOT participate in this vote. It would be good if they could, but for the purposes of this vote, it probably doesn’t matter."

      Why does it not matter if all are able to participate? I get that fewer voters means it is more likely there will be fewer "disputers," but it causes me to feel like there is a group who have appointed themselves (you guys, attendees, both?) to decide a G&S FINALLY. At least previous attempts seemed to try to include as many as possible. This time, however, lots of folks are being left out. Are you saying that there is already a plan to administer a body-wide vote to accept the conference majority’s choice? I assume so that a FINAL G&S will get published in the T&C?

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    3. Dos

      "The vote is largely about trying to build consensus. It is a primary vote, if you will: an attempt to build unity so that we can someday achieve unanimity. It does not force a G&S on anyone."

      Okay, I can understand this statement. You are hoping to narrow down the long list of potential G&S's to just one. Then what? Will the same forms of persuasion be used to get everyone else on board? What has been planned next after this vote? Who is determining that right now?

      I thought most believed unanimity is not going to happen? I thought it is felt we don't really need that since there is “opposition in all things?”

      Also, given that recently there was a body-wide vote to list all the G&S's in order of preference, why not invite the ones who did all that work to help out here and offer it again?

      It appears like there are all these individual teams of people who know each other, but no one is attempting to come together in a single, united team to make something happen. But I don’t have an all-seeing eye, so I could be mistaken and everyone is very cooperative behind the blog. I don’t know if one person/group has been responsible for all the voting that has happened previously.

      After your plan is finished, then what? Is that the point when you are okay with the body asking the Lord for His part? Or more discussion? Again, only those in attendance can participate?

      Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but it looks to me like anytime someone asks to either alter a step in this process or stop it entirely, the answer is always a no.

      "Can we, out of love for our fellow believers, give up our own desires and agendas? Can we focus on someone else’s priorities? Or do we want what we want, and that’s the end of it."

      Are we guilty of playing tug-o-war?

      If one or more folks are asking for a step change or just to take the opportunity to discuss face-to-face, would it not feel to them that they are being forced/required/mandated to participate in a vote they really do not want to have happen yet? Seems like there have always been some who have sacrificed at every point over the last several months.

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    4. Tres

      "And here perhaps is an important point. If we can achieve mutual agreement among those at the conference, then some might choose to go ahead and add the “agreed statement of principles” to their own set of scriptures. This would allow those who feel that there is an urgency to fulfill the Lord’s commandment to do so. And, it allows those who want to wait to adopt a G&S until we achieve unanimity to also pursue their goal. Does such an approach respect both agency and accountability?"

      I agree that voting is a way to ensure agency and accountability are honoured. I'm just left scratching my head because I don't see how it fulfills the task given to us. Are we or are we not to craft a single statement of principles and add it to our scriptures where everyone who accepts the scriptures then uses it as an additional guide and standard? Are we divided if we do anything more or less? Or take this step and then we have circled back to where we were before?

      It just seems to me each person will have grief at this point. Whose will is going to be strongest? Who is easily beaten down into submission? What is truly important here? How do we go about ensuring we are not continuing to rely upon incorrect traditions of our fathers, especially if we need greater light to guide us?

      Lastly, are you prepared to post here the questions you will use to administer the votes to allow people to prepare as they will? If I were going to be there, I would feel like I don’t know what to expect. One thing I really love about the Covenant, Christ laid it all out, every step. I knew the exact language and questions, and had sufficient time to ponder, study, and pray in preparation. There were no curve balls thrown at me, even though I had zero involvement in the conference itself.

      And the “vote” was a straight up yes, or don’t stand up at all. Which causes me to wonder why He did not plan to ask for any to oppose? Maybe that didn’t matter in that the Covenant is open to all who will receive it when they will receive it?

      I now wonder if we couldn’t/shouldn’t have accepted a G&S prior to the Covenant conference? I always feel like there are details of everything that has gone on I am not seeing or understanding, and it isn’t because Christ has not told me. It seems decisions get made by unseen hands.

      I wonder if He was trying to help us understand something in how He administered the Covenant. Sure wish I were a titch faster in seeing and understanding stuff. I must have a turtle as a spirit animal guide. hehe

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    5. Lux,

      Q-Who are these delegates? Who decided?
      A-The delegates are folks that volunteered to help with the vote.

      Q-How will this be handled? Openly with all listening or watching?
      A-We’re not going to exclude anyone, unless those voicing their opposition want some privacy. Then we should respect that.

      Q- When will the persuasion--the asking an individual to acquiesce, happen then?
      A- During the meeting on Saturday we will ask those who find themselves in the minority whether or not they can support the majority’s choice. Those who are opposed will be invited to meet together with a delegate of the group after the main meeting.

      A- How are you planning to tally votes?
      B- Two witnesses (as in Pauls’ injunction) have been asked to determine if there is a clear majority chosen by the assembly.

      A- Why does it not matter if all are able to participate?
      B- It would be nice if we could get everyone to vote. We don’t have a way to make that happen, however. Even if we could do real-time, on-line voting it would still be the case that not everyone would vote, and someone would complain that some don’t have access to a computer, so it isn’t fair. So, we are going to do what is possible and ask those at the conference to vote. We will use that vote as an effort to build toward consensus. The vote is not binding for anyone for anyone who doesn’t want it to be.

      A- What has been planned next after this vote?
      B- I don’t know. What are you planning? We’re not in charge of anything other than the vote we proposed.

      A- Given that recently there was a body-wide vote to list all the G&S's in order of preference, why not invite the ones who did all that work to help out here and offer it again?
      B- I believe they had about 80 people total vote (forgive me if I have that number wrong). We think that at the conference we can get around 400-500 involved in the vote. If the Nonmaancafs folks want to be involved, they are welcome. We accepted help from everyone that volunteered.

      A- It appears like there are all these individual teams of people who know each other, but no one is attempting to come together in a single, united team to make something happen.
      B-Coming together in a single, united group is precisely what we are trying to achieve with this vote.

      A- After your plan is finished, then what? Is that the point when you are okay with the body asking the Lord for His part?
      B- If we can achieve a resounding agreement on Saturday, then on Sunday the conference will be asked if they would like to go ahead and adopt the chosen G&S. We should all be asking the Lord for His direction right now.

      A- It looks to me like anytime someone asks to either alter a step in this process or stop it entirely, the answer is always a no.
      B-You are free to pursue any pathway you choose to try to help the body of believers come to unity. You can decide how best to do that. It isn’t my place to tell you how to organize that plan. Similarly, after we have carefully considered the pathway we think is the best way to proceed, why do you think it’s appropriate to alter our plan or to tell us to stop our plan? Nothing in our plan dictates to anyone, if you don’t what to participate you don’t have to. No one will force you to vote, and nothing we do is binding if you don’t want it to be.

      A- Are we or are we not to craft a single statement of principles and add it to our scriptures?
      B- Yes. The Lord told us to come to an agreed statement of principles and then to add it to our scriptures. This vote attempts to accomplish those two things.

      A- How do we go about ensuring we are not continuing to rely upon incorrect traditions of our fathers?
      B- Listen to the Spirit.

      A- Lastly, are you prepared to post here the questions you will use to administer the votes to allow people to prepare as they will?
      B- I think it’s a fair request. We will try to make that happen by tomorrow

      Gordon

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    6. Thank you for the thorough response, Gordon. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions as best you could. I know my writing can be trying at times, and I expect you all are feeling rather beat up by it all. I hope I have not pushed buttons or caused indigestion.

      “What are you planning?”

      Me: To be still. Psalm 46:10 It’s what I feel led to do at this point, and unfortunately it is not a popular idea right now.

      “Coming together in a single, united group is precisely what we are trying to achieve with this vote.”
      Me: I am wondering if oneness is a by-product of our hearts being right. As someone who expends too much energy trying to do things myself and/or the hard way, I am learning that if I will seek Christ’s input first, waiting for Him to say when to move life flows a lot more smoothly. I have less struggle, less suffering. It just seems like we are struggling, struggling, struggling here.

      Also, what I meant by teamwork was I hope everyone putting forward these various proposals are trying to pool together everyone else to use various resources, gifts, and experience. It just feels like one group proposes this and does it, then another group does something different, and so forth. Instead of smaller, we-know-each-other-and-agree committees of people, why not everyone join together to brainstorm and make a thing happen, like this vote? It seems there are some in the body who do know how to create and administer an online vote to add to what will happen at the conference, but I just wonder why it is not happening? I won’t keep beating a dead bush, however. It appears to be a reflection of our lack of unity.

      “If we can achieve a resounding agreement on Saturday, then on Sunday the conference will be asked if they would like to go ahead and adopt the chosen G&S. We should all be asking the Lord for His direction right now.”

      Me: Okay, so this vote is not about publishing anything beyond what each person/family/fellowship wants to “add” to their personal copies of the T&C? Then maybe it can be ‘Okay, we now have this number of a majority. Let’s see if we can achieve oneness in agreement based upon that?’ But there is currently no plan on how to move after the vote? And yeah, I believe we are each praying hard to understand what Christ wants us to do, individually and collectively. I think some, including myself, had been hoping for a group prayer at the conference. Perhaps it will spontaneously happen. That would be wonderful. I will be praying for all.

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    7. “You are free to pursue any pathway you choose to try to help the body of believers come to unity. You can decide how best to do that. It isn’t my place to tell you how to organize that plan.”

      Me: I appreciate you saying that. One of the more difficult aspects of this whole blog process for me has been that I feel like one or more individuals post a proposal but take action on it before seeking for input or help or ‘approval’ from the group. Maybe those things happened off-blog and I am just unaware of it. Or maybe anytime someone gets an idea they believe is inspired of God they should just ask who wants to join in and then go and do. I just feel like I am being told regularly this is what is happening, this is how we are doing it, this is when to show up, and this is what you are to do. That’s just how I am experiencing all this.

      “Similarly, after we have carefully considered the pathway we think is the best way to proceed, why do you think it’s appropriate to alter our plan or to tell us to stop our plan?”

      Me: It’s not about telling you what to do, saying an idea has not been well-thought out, or trying to stop anything. It is about offering suggestions and giving feedback on how to perhaps improve upon an idea. I don’t think you believe your plan is perfect, but maybe someone in the group is also inspired with a way to improve on something, or that it should not happen just yet? If we are all in this together, why is it felt the few who got “inspired” are the only ones who know how best to implement the idea? Maybe we can all learn to phrase things within a context of ‘Hey guys, I feel led to ____________________, and would like to know your thoughts, perspectives, and ideas? This is how I/we are thinking it best to do this thing. We would like to hear what you think?’

      Or maybe I just have no clue how to function as part of a family or group, much less how anyone accomplishes anything in Heaven without everyone being told what to do by God. I wonder if the Gods listened to ideas or opinions or concerns, and adjusted accordingly. Or if an Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God just knew what’s what and guided us to follow His Design. Interesting thoughts for me to ponder. But we tend to rebel down here when someone tells us what to do. 


      “Nothing in our plan dictates to anyone, if you don’t what to participate you don’t have to. No one will force you to vote, and nothing we do is binding if you don’t want it to be.”

      Me: Thank you for stating that, again. It is obvious we cannot force each other to do something, and it is hoped that all present will choose to support your effort to find a common document. It is sad to see we are not united in this, however.

      I thank you for posting, for the benefit of those who will be in attendance, the plan for administering the vote. I think it is well-thought out, and would only suggest that perhaps people be invited to simply stand and say yes when voting for a particular statement of principles. I think that will help the witnesses perform their duty best. Otherwise, it might be like rallying people at a live event where one side of the room shouts, then the other side, to see who is the most excited. This makes it seem like there are more responding on one side than the other. It could be confusing for the witnesses to discern. But I also expect all would be handling themselves with appropriate decorum.

      I wish you all well this weekend.

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  8. Gordon,

    Master, I don't think you thought this one through very well. The vote uses preempted guilt and fear to direct the perception of the minority to think that not submitting to the "group think" of the majority is not humble, it's disputing, and separating.

    You think that that your vote idea is an exception to voting. However, those who vote and obtain a majority consensus will place their G&S in their books, generating an unavoidable division of the people. The US's have the same G&S, while the THEM's have something else. How is this not a division? How is it not a separation? These are all man-made divisions and separations, and none of us truly has the ability to judge who is or isn't part of this movement. I wouldn't recommend casting judgment.

    You say that you're not casting anyone out, or excommunicating. Simply separating the US & THEMS produces the same outcome, without anyone being accountable for casting people out. The Junior high techniques of the silent treatment, avoiding each other in the halls, or grouping into cliques all produce the same result. How do you plan on negotiating that to prevent natural separation?

    I'm with Sam Vaughn and continuing to work. I believe that whatever you adopt you must live, and God will test you to see if you are just talking, or if you will live what you say. Those supporting this vote will be required to prove the document, by their fruits. I prefer continue working with Sam, until I am confident that the only thing the document can produce is sweet fruit. When the sweet fruit arrives, the pruning will begin.

    I do not support the vote. I will not submit to GROUP THINK. The repeated epigraph is constantly used to justify GROUP THINK and submitting to HARMONIZE WITH THE GROUP, when Denver did not justify it at all, in fact he has written that he despises it as the foundation of institutionalism. His emphasis was following a man and forcing an idea. This is a perfect example of regurgitating Denver's words, mixed up with a little stomach acid, and proverbial LDS corn.

    See you in Phoenix,
    Rob Adolpho

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    1. Just a thought to add to Rob's point of view. There is a good reason why voting, as used in the USA, is privately handled. No one "sees" what I vote and I don't see the votes of others, not even once the votes are tallied.

      No one is required to say why they voted for who or what either. Otherwise, wouldn't there be a great risk to unduly pressure or influence the outcome?

      Whoever will be at the conference this weekend, I wish you each whatever courage you require to vote your heart and conscience. But maybe it is all easy-peasy, nice n' cheesey. :)

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  9. Sam,
    As you know I have been re-thinking this whole challenge and asking myself.
    Are we so fixated on the G&S that we’ve failed to live the rest of A&C? As you say, I still don’t think this has much to do about the G&S. I think its about how we move forward “together” on this issue, so we’re capable to do so on the other challenges that wont be such a light thing.
    I’m persuaded now that our current ways and understanding of “group” governance is flawed to say the least. I supported and voted for both the original and then the Lots Group G&S as well as submitted my own version. In sports when you find yourself struggling you go back to the fundamentals.
    Peter and Paul had issues with each other, but they both Loved the Lord with all their hearts. The Lord could work with that.
    Have we as individuals come unto Christ as required in the A&C? Because if not we “as a people” will be continue to struggle in becoming “one in Him” as required. Are we worshiping Him with our lips only? Are our hearts far from Him as He says in the A&C? Have we obtained a new heart as required? He seems to be making it clear, this isn’t happening except by Him!
    I don’t recall ever seeing the Lord direct so much, so many times, to “HIMSELF”, as He does in the A&C.
    Carefully review pages 7-8 of the A&C and take note how may times He says ME and I.
    “You call me Lord and do well to regard me so, but to know your Lord is to love one another. Flee from the cares and longings that belong to Babylon, obtain a new heart, for you have all been wounded. In me you will find peace and through me will come Zion, a place of peace and safety.
    …Those who want to come where I am must be able to abide the conditions established for my Father’s Kingdom…Let not your hearts remain divided from one another and divided from me. Be of one heart, and regard one another with charity. Measure your words before giving voice to them, and consider the hearts of others.
    Although a man may err in understanding concerning many things, yet he can view his brother with charity, and come unto me and through me he can with patience overcome the world. I can bring him to understanding and knowledge. Therefore if you regard one another with charity then your brother’s error in understanding will not divide you. I lead to all truth. I will lead all who come to me to the truth of all things. The fullness is to receive the truth of all things, and this too from me, in power, by my word and in very deed. For I will come to you if you will come unto me.” (A-C pg. 7-8)

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  10. Also note Denver’s words in the opening remarks about the A&C.
    “What is to be created is something so foreign to this world, that there is nothing in the world to use to judge how we are doing. Even the scriptures do not give a blueprint to follow. If they contained the necessary information, Zion would've been established long ago. God alone will establish Zion; his instructions are vital and necessary for us. Once he instructs us, the Scriptures can then be used to confirm that his directions to us now is consistent with what he prophesied, covenanted and promised would happen. But the path to Zion is to be found only by following God’s immediate commands to us. That is how He will bring it. He will lead us there. There is no magic, there is no sprinkling fairy dust that will take you to where God is. It does not and cannot happen that way. He will lead us, teach us, command us, guide us, but we have to be the ones who become what He commands. We have to be the ones who do what he bids us do.
    The greatest instruction that I know out of, given by God at any time, to any generation, is a rule of community found in the Sermon on the Mount and in the Sermon at Bountiful. Now we have the answer to the prayer for covenant, that not only resonates with the message of those two sermons but applies it directly to us in our peculiar circumstances, to fix our peculiar defects and urges us to more like Him. The Lord revealed His plan for our day approximately 3000 years ago. We now begin fulfilling that ancient prophecy. Our current struggles were foreseen and foretold.” (Opening Remarks 2nd pg. Cov. Conf.)
    Are we doing this?
    “The time is now far spent, therefore labor with me and do not forsake my covenant to perform it; study my words and “let them be the standard for your faith” and I will add thereto many treasures. Love one another and you will be mine, and I will preserve you, and raise you up, and abide with you for ever. AMEN” (A-C pg. 12)
    To me this says the Answer and the Covenant is the way for solving our peculiar deficiencies. Maybe we haven’t been using it as a “standard” well enough to move much further, as a people?
    We’re obviously in the process of learning a new way. A new way founded in Christ and His laws of which the A&C is based. Are we as individuals living that law? If not will we be able to as a people? Isn’t this whole G&S challenge providing us with the opportunity to work this out now, so the we will be prepared for what is coming next?
    In my view until then, we as a “people” are stuck in limited progress. My guess is the Lord has given and is the answer to this dilemma. That begins by doing what He has asked us in our daily walk. And hey, it may not get in the ole Gentile way of hammering it out and DOING IT ASAP!

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  11. Meanwhile, back at the old farm, the barn is burning and our old 'adversaries' are getting pummeled with the news that one of their trusted leaders (an ex MTC President) admits to sexually assaulting sister missionaries while serving in Provo. (Google "Joseph L Bishop")

    So go ahead and keep fighting with each other about what Jesus would say and do while your 'adversaries' suffer. (And it will only get worse). THAT right there is the principle you follow and the statement you mutually agree upon.

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    1. I have been wondering who the rabble are in the barn, wanting to argue with Joseph. The LDS church leaders, or us?

      For those who care, I encourage looking over the work of a former LDS bishop still faithful member Sam Young. You can learn more through the link below. Warning: It is not for the faint of heart or those who could care less what is going on in the LDS church.

      http://protectldschildren.org/

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  12. Rob,

    Have you noticed that when I talk to you I never question your heart or your brain? But when you talk to me you do it regularly. I am on record as supporting your efforts to achieve unity through dialogue. But is it productive dialogue to question the motives and intellect of the one you are dialoging with?


    “The non-vote vote that you and your brother Gordon are proposing feels like you're waving your hand in my face, saying, "These are not the droids you're looking for... carry on!" However, Jedi mind tricks don't cut it with me.”

    “It's a fear tactic, and Gordo has already tried that on me an failed.”

    “Gordon Platt does something similar, sending mixed signals, claiming humility, while expecting me to sacrifice.”

    “One day, you’re going to re-read this and pound your head in wonder and amazement to how you could think to recommend someone else sacrifice, because you are too humble.”

    “But, your push here does not represent a beacon of truth, rather it represents a colonization tactic.”

    “You are requiring me to just do me, like you do you. That is a colonization mentality,”

    “Master, I don't think you thought this one through very well.”

    “Your push for a vote is turning to LDS vomit.”


    The proposed vote is a good faith effort to try to build unity. It is will not use fear, intimidation, or guilt to force agreement. We ask folks to voluntarily lay aside their own preference (even for a superior G&S!) in order that we can come to unity. This will NOT be unity based on groupthink. Everyone should continue to believe as they think best.

    All the G&Ss I have read are filled with light. They all lean heavily on scripture. Any of them will serve us in our current need. And yet they are all flawed, like our scriptures themselves, THE SAME SCRIPTURES WE ALL VOTED TO SUSTAIN. If we adopt a G&S now, in fulfillment of the lord’s command to quit hindering and delaying, we can over time and with the guidance of the Spirit improve our G&S, just as we will do with the scriptures themselves.

    There are some that feel an urgency to fulfill the Lord’s commandment. Others think that unanimity is required to act and so we must wait. This vote provides a pathway to give both groups what they want. But if you choose not to support this vote, I will not criticize you or call into question your heart or your brain. I can’t judge those things very well, so I won’t try.

    Gordon

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    1. 1 of 2

      Gordo,

      I have written and stand behind all of the things I have written, willing to be fully accountable to all I have said. I'll add more by identifying this as nothing more than smoke and mirrors, to push a result, by a movement of a herd.

      I have never judged your heart, except to call it pure. However, I don't see you quoting that. I truly believe it too, despite your opinion of what I think. Although, I have no idea what's going on in your head, as it represents total confusion to me, as you recommend a "no-vote-vote." You have provided more than enough words for me to address your words, or in other words, your fruits. And they are bitter to me. The heart of desiring peace and unity is pure just like your heart, but your heart seems to be filtered in an institutionalization mindset, relying upon your background in LDS. If you have escaped the physical institution, your words convey that they are still trapped within it. This idea to me IS just as bitter as regurgitated vomit, mixed with stomach acid, and LDS corn. I do not retract my sentiments. The colonizers initially started out making "Peace Treaties," before they broke them, using redefined words, and relabeling concepts, to justify taking our lands, and abolishing our language and culture. They didn't start by asking us to sign a treaty to take our land, abolish our language and culture, as you have made the assumption in the same post you quoted me. These are our experiences in the past with people who may have had good initial intentions, but were also trapped within an institutional mentality. You have asked the minority to sacrifice, and who ever does that? I will not sacrifice because you said to. I will sacrifice because I was instructed of God. I do not question your heart. I question the institutional filer you have used to produce your proposal.

      You have once again tried to embarrass me, which is a fear tactic, by quoting me, totally out of context, to support an argument of my misjudging your heart and mind. As I wrote before, I expect to wrestle this from God, I make no apologies for standing, starring into and contemplating the dark abyss of the things you are proposing. I do, however recognize that you are feeling bumped, bruised, injured, tread down, and torn to pieces by the quotes you have chosen to regurgitate. I do not wish to speak so boldly AT YOU. I would have preferred it be someone else that I didn't like, because I really think you are fantastic. However, the concepts you are forwarding cannot withstand and answer the questions tilted at it, and your fruits represent frustration, because you really, really, really want this non-vote-vote, predicting a positive outcome. You are unable to hear the truth in the words I have used, that you have quoted, and are left to indicate your position by your response. Feel free to do so.

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    2. 2 of 2

      I do not feel guilty for what I have said in the things you have quoted. I have noticed a few of my typing errors, so I know that you're cutting and pasting directly from my comments. I am grateful that you read my comments. But, I think that you have used your fears to judge me. I am not opposed for no reason. I have stated my reasons, and am more than willing to talk it through. And that should be easy for us to do in person, as we are near one another, but that hasn't happened, not on my part, and not on your part.

      So, if I know that you are misunderstanding me, by the way you have used my quotes out of context, and regurgitated it as an evil shadow cast over my heart towards you, ...and you know that that is the truth, and that your vote can produce peace, but I simply don't understand what I am doing because of my darkened state, ...then perhaps our digital communications have failed, and a face to face is necessary. I'm all for it. I don't mind my motives being questioned at all. I value being questioned because questioning has always produced more light to me. If I can't answer a question I typically study it out, search, ponder, and wait for the answers. And they seem to always come.

      How else do you think I am able to stand here, while you try to accuse me of being motivated by fear, quote me AT ME, out of context, and accuse me of thinking bad of you, when I think the best of you? I don't stand upon my own strength. I stand with the strength of God, knowing who's voice it is that I hear. I realize, you must do the same. That is fair. You do as God instructs you, and I will do as God instructs me. If that puts us on a collision course towards one another, then, ...it's a good day to die!

      Rob Adolpho

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  13. John Dutson,

    I don't know people by their names, as I typically can't see their faces in my minds eye, so please forgive me if I know you, but not your name. I cannot say that I know the way you think either, as I have had little personal interaction with you. I have seen your comments on posts before, and this one seems different.

    I agree with you that this is a test to see how we treat one another. It is probably an unveiling of our hearts, to expose the traditions of institutionalization, deeply rooted in our LDS culture. The stone cut without hands that rolls forth to grind to dust the kingdoms of the earth, ...that stone will not spare the remnants of the Kingdoms of earth within us. Those Kingdoms within us must also be ground to dust, so that it no longer exists in us first. If we will not allow those remnants to be ground out of us, then we will be ground to dust with the statue of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

    Currently, the proposal for a non-vote-vote represents the supplementation of a relationship with a vote. If Zion is to be the return of the family of God, then first and foremost our relationship with God should lead out. Fellowships can assist the development of a personal relationship with God, by talking, preaching, rejoicing, and prophesying of Christ, so that the individual can correct their unbelief, replace it with belief, preparatory to acting in faith. With a personal relationship with God, individuals can be gathered into fellowships by the mind and will of God, promoting opportunities to sacrifice in your unique personal circumstances, just as Denver has instructed. When there is a community of God minded individuals who live in peace and harmony, they will become the family of God on earth. The existence of the family of God on the earth will be a beacon to the family of God in heaven. They will see us, recognize our relationships reflect their own, and find themselves at home on earth with us.

    Such a concept cannot be acquired, no matter how many numbers vote. Voting cannot supplement the work of relationships. And relationships aren't easy, initially. Difficulties in marriage seem limitless at times. Voting never resolves and generates greater relationships in a marriage. It only creates a culture of "keeping score." LDS relationships are feigned. Home/visiting teachers confess their love, but as soon as boundaries change, or companionships shift, that relationship is severed permanently. Likewise, among us, some have gotten the silent treatment, simply because they have an opposing point of view. If a relationship were an instant meal, all the work was already done long before, and all we would have to do is order a number one relationship combo. However, it isn't. These relationships require counsel, consideration, and time. It requires engagement at times, and meditation in silence at other times. Sometimes reproof is required to correct a wrong belief. But our bonds must be stronger than the chords of death. That's the relationship I'm looking for.

    Thanks for your input on this matter,
    Rob Adolpho

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    1. Rob,
      I agree. In a way it’s like a the parable of the sower. We came here pure however since our birth the evil one has sown seeds of Babylon’s falsehoods into our souls. Now as we allow the spirit to awaken us we find many of those seeds have taken root, some with very deep and complex root systems. It seems eradicating them is done one at a time and its taking longer I think than we anticipated. Patience and mercy with ourselves and others is required with some of those Babylonian tares more difficult to rid ourselves than others.
      I’m pretty sure that’s why it will be so difficult for the Western, LDS Gentiles; we’ve been exposed to and had a great deal of Babylon promoted as THE way, even Gods way since our youth. And the men with the pressure to cultivate those falsehoods in our lives to prove we are a REAL man, worthy of wife, family and success. Not to mention higher status callings, “from god”…
      Taking Christ as our Guide and Master is our only hope for success as individuals and a people..

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  14. The way to fix problems starts with recognizing there is one. I think we’re just getting there.
    Filling ourselves with Charity goes hand in hand with Light and Truth.However Wisdom requires more that just a raw devotion to obtaining knowledge. Me thinks we’re in need of much more Wisdom and Charity filling our hearts demonstrated though our actions and words.

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    1. I like what you've said. I am honestly unsure what to do. It seems to not matter if I agree or not agree with anything. If I do agree, then I can be happy things are going my way, so to speak. If I disagree, then I best just be quiet and let people make the decisions of what to do and when. It seems tasks will be accomplished by those who naturally lead out and have connections? Or if I ever feel called to do something? Confusing. I think I'm better suited to life on a deserted island. Ha.

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    2. Lori, follow the voice of the Lord alone, and there will be no confusion.

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    3. Thank you, Dani. You are absolutely correct.

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  15. Beloved Enos.... pg 33-34

    "His relationship with the Lord resulted from his charity towards others, including his enemies. Doctrine is always less important than a person's character. Although you may have a deep understanding of doctrine, if you lack charity towards others your understanding will be of no benefit."

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  16. After reading Sam’s and Edwin’s posts I feel peace, because if I am reading it right it seems they are saying let’s unite in being one heart by individually having a broken heart and contrite spirit making room for Him to lead. I can rally around that, because this is what I believe the Lord means when he says, “if your hearts were right.”

    I believe we all too often look to external results versus the internal preparation (that comes from allowing Him to lead you), thus creating well-behaved and virtuous people imprisoned with fixed external norms. The Lord said, “if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves you could have finished this work long ago.” How do you prepare yourselves? To me, this means to have a broken heart and contrite sprit which prepares you to learn from Him, and be guided by Him, allowing Him to go before us (3 Nephi 21)

    Wait, listen and rely on Him. Once you do you begin to grow, you gain knowledge and understanding. The answer is within you, once you make a connection to the Power of Heaven. Go inward and upwards not outward than upward. Smudging in the American Indian culture represents taking in the Powers of Heaven, allowing the Powers to cleanse the spirit, making room for His teachings to guide our daily walk, our actions, without knowing the “why.” It is an outward symbolic expression of the inward individual letting go of oneself to take in the Creators power, signally to the Heavens the individuals desire to be connected to them.

    I appreciate Sam’s and Edwin’s suggestion as they align with my belief of seeking to cleanse the inner self to make room for the Lord to lead out.

    Q

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  17. Sorry Gordon. I was one who disagreed. Because I think the majority rule concept is flawed. Because the majority choice is in my opinion a document I could not support. Because I believe not everyone had read the proposals or even knew there was to be a vote. Because there are many (a large majority) who were not in the meeting. It was very unpleasant to stand in front of some 400 people and be one of a very few who were in disagreement, especially when someone in the back of the room made a loud statement to the effect that those who disagree should "just leave".
    As for having my concerns heard, I do not think meeting with McKay in the back of the room for 2 minutes was an adequate opportunity to air my concerns. I am not a good speaker, I do much better expressing my thoughts in writing. I have not been a party to the g&s.blogspot web site for a long time because quite frankly, the contention and the politicking and the incredible amount of needless arguing wore me out and I stopped reading, just as I long ago stopped reading the Snuffer Readers' Group for the same reasons.
    I submitted a proposal in Sep 2017, just after the Boise conf. which was given to me by the Spirit. I argued with the Lord that I was not worthy to make a proposal and I was told to submit the proposal, which I did. My proposal was very similar to Jared Livesey's proposal, which is the only one I could vote for.
    All the other proposals, in my view, include many words generated by men which are needless and distracting from the simple task of creating a Guide & Standard.
    When I sent in my follow up message to my proposal, one of the things I noted was that the Lord offered His covenant ONLY to those who have repented and received the Holy Ghost. If those were the only people voting and trying to create the G&S I do believe there would be much less arguing and contention and hard words. This is supposed to be a document to guide people in how to come to Christ! Why not use His words as found in Jared Livesey's proposal and dispense with all the other (needless in my view) verbiage?
    Thank you.
    James Russell Uhl

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  18. James,

    I think majority rule is flawed too. I don't like it. I don't think Zion is run that way. I think though that it would be fairer to say that this vote was "majority ask," not "majority rule." We asked folks to voluntarily give up their preferred document. No one was forced to do so. In fact just the opposite. If you feel that an "agreed statement" has been reached you can add the lots document to your scriptures. And if you don't, as McKay says, "no one is going to sneak into your home and paste a copy in your scriptures." And not only is there no mechanism to force a document on you, there is no desire to do so by anyone I talked to. I meant it sincerely when I said that I would support those who wanted to continue to talk, and continue to work toward unanimity/understanding.

    The fact that you felt uncomfortable is regrettable. I'm sorry that happened. I didn't hear anyone say anything like what you heard. But I don't doubt you, and I don't share any part of that sentiment. There are so few of us, I don't want any to leave.

    Let me suggest one hopeful thing. Denver commented on how he hoped that the fellowships in Uganda, the Philippines, and Spain would be diverse, and he said that during the part of his talk about the G&S. There is a clear implication. But even if he hadn't said it I already thought it was a good idea. And there are fellowships that are in fact adding their own choice of G&S to their scriptures.

    Don't like the "lots" document, no problem. Get your fellowship to adopt a document all of you prefer. The language in The Answer appears to allow it. And I don't see a dozen different G&Ss in the hands of an investigator as a problem. They will learn that folks that don't understand the doctrine exactly the same way nevertheless get along and even love each other.

    I personally find two minutes with McKay too much, but if you want to get together and talk about this let's do it.

    Gordon

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  19. Gordon,
    Is that to be the outcome? Each person free to adopt their own G&S?
    Does that meet the Lord's requirements? That must be the primary consideration.
    I started my previous message with an apology. I interrupted you while you were at the microphone starting the process of voting on Saturday. I did not mean to be rude to you, nor to derail the meeting, but I was surprised that there was to be a vote with no discussion of the proposals to be voted on.
    I am used to having discussion before voting on important matters. Perhaps the discussion has been ongoing on the blog, but, as I mentioned, I for one had not tuned in because of prior bad experiences with LDS blogs.
    If each is to be free to adopt their own G&S, there is no point in further discussion.
    If there is to be an ongoing effort to come to a G&S which can be mutually agreed upon, perhaps the first matter to decide is, what is a G&S guiding and what is being standardized?
    As I mentioned, I submitted a proposal in Sept 2017, shortly after the Boise conference. I am not sure where that proposal ended up or who read it. It contained a detailed explanation of why I chose to submit the proposal.
    Since Jared Livesey's proposal is essentially the same in content, I have stated publicly that I support his Rock of Jesus Christ proposal.
    In my opinion, it is the only one of the proposals which seems to meet the Lord's requirements without adding words of men which detract from the purity of the Lord's commandments in the Doctrine of Christ and the Sermon on the Mount (Bountiful).
    Please understand that there is no rancor or desire to be stubborn or "froward" in my proposal or in my choice to support the Rock of Jesus Christ or in my interruption of the voting on Saturday. However, I cannot support a standard which mingles scripture with the words of men, leaves out vital standards given by the Lord, and in some cases are long-winded documents not germane to a "simple" Guide and Standard at all.
    My original proposal contains very personal information. If you want a copy I will forward that to you personally rather that on this public forum. My reasoning for wishing to adopt the Doctrine of Christ and the Sermon are from Denver's own writings and were given to me by the Spirit before I discovered his writing on the topic. I did not want to submit a proposal. I was directed to do so on multiple occasions.
    Thank you for taking time to respond to my message.
    James Russell Uhl

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  20. James,

    I would like a copy. Please send it my way. gordoplat@gmail.com. I did not think you were being rude. I thought you were surprised at being confronted with a vote that you didn't know about. Absolutely no apology necessary. We did our best to spread the word about the vote, but unfortunately there is no central remnant site where everybody goes for news except Denver's blog, and for obvious reasons that was not available.

    I do NOT think it is O.K. for everyone to adopt their own G&S. I believe the requirement is to first agree upon a G&S and then to adopt it. The question is at what level must we agree? The fellowship? The entire body of believers? We make choices about how to allocate tithing funds at the fellowship level, and that's cool with everybody. No one suggests they have a right to dictate to other fellowships in this regard. So is it at least possible that this is what the Lord requires?

    I had reached the conclusion that it was acceptable to the Lord to agree at the fellowship level before Denver's comments on Sunday. I know he wasn't explicit, but sandwiched as they were between comments on a guide and standard, his desire to see diversity in fellowships in Uganda, the Philippines, and Spain, is convincing to me that he implying that agreement at the fellowship level is O.K.

    It's not ideal; movement-wide agreement would be better, but one step at a time.

    if your fellowship adopts Jared's G&S, you will have my support.

    Gordon

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