To all the newly formed covenant family of God on the earth,
We feel to rejoice and are grateful to the Lord! We are filled with His Love for all our fellow brothers and sisters. We have covenanted with the Lord to “assist all others who covenant…“ To that end we write—by way of testimony and by way of invitation. The Lord God Almighty has made us FREE and we are all equal as partakers of the covenant. Let us be free and equal brothers and sisters indeed!
With great hopes to fulfill the commandment of the Lord (for a Guide and Standard to be
adopted by the mutual agreement of His people) a plan has been laid out most recently by several members of our newly formed family. We see that this has caused rejoicings, but unfortunately, also mournings. It is our hope to demonstrate that we are all free to rejoicein that work the Lord desires of us. We choose not to contend nor accuse. We choose to INVITE and we choose to aid and assist our family. How better might we aid our family than by declaring light and truth to make their burdens ‘light,’ to remind them of their equality together and their freedom granted by God! We are grateful to see the zeal and desires of our brothers and sisters in seeking to fulfill the Lord’s commands. We do not want to destroy their work, their plans, or their HOPE. We want all to recognize and hope all will seek to uphold the freedom before God to act according to the dictates of each their own conscience.
This invitation comes with hopes to add to, and inform, all our brothers and sisters. This
information comes by way of our respectful disagreement concerning several aspects of the newly presented ‘path forward’ laid out in the recent posts on totheremnant.com. We think it a noble thing to lay out a bold plan for mutual agreement that has the prospect of including agreement among 100% of the family (we will revisit this concept in a moment). Our disagreement arises when that plan is presented in a way that inadvertently captures everyone and compels them to respond to the Lord’s commands through what may be perceived as only this new method. There are many who had already chosen to fulfill the Lord’s command by means of the vote ‘expressing [their] understanding of His will’ (scriptures committee update 6.18.2017) and they are perhaps led to believe the new ‘path forward’ is the only way to fulfill the Lord’s commands. This is simply not true and is an unfortunate side effect of our current situation. We are here to declare (remind) that all are free to choose how to fulfill the Lord’s commands (be that the new plan, this reminder you are now reading, or any other plan)!
So how did we get here in this situation? We believe that history is a gift to us, if we can learn from it. So perhaps we should stir [ourselves] up in remembrance http://scriptures.info/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/4.1#1) and recall this history in as objective a manner as we are able— according to our knowledge (being composed by several family members who participated in every aspect of the process from the beginning, including contributions from individuals at all levels of participation).
The July 2, 2017 meeting - the same level of diligence and preparation went into this meeting though it was determined we would start anew. (36 were present equal men and women and a few online)
The August 5, 2017 meeting -
This suggests to our minds that the failure the Lord addresses is correct in not mentioning a document for reproach, but only mentioned the heart. Is He referring to the hearts of those who would not be persuaded of the actual unity achieved and sought to divide and destroy that work seeking only for items to declare as erroneous? How do we discern it? It seemed that while considering their genuine pleas the majority were not persuaded by any of the new plans or alternate documents or by any of the declarations of errors. We were not. The only thing left to do for those who disagreed was to stop the process altogether and redefine the terms the Lord laid out. All are free to do that. But in like manner we are free to persist in the labor we are convinced fulfills the commands of the Lord according to His requirements.
We have been counseled, “We cannot allow ourselves to be drawn in to inequality when the result of this labor is to make us one body, equal with one another.” (Boise Conference Address - Opening Remarks - page 6, emphasis added). We wonder… if one “little person” unknown, unattractive personality) had expressed similar concerns about the document, would that have been enough to halt the process of petitioning the Lord regarding the August 5th G&S? Is this inequality? Is it happening to us now? One hallmark of prophetic statements is we are counseled against something precisely because we are about to do that thing. So we don’t ask IF we are doing this thing, we ask ourselves HOW are we doing this thing? Then we repent of it. This paper is part of that repentance.
So after the silence on scriptures.info (historically the source of all scripture related information for the body of believers) since the conference, has come a new ‘path forward’ from totheremnant.com. However, a big problem with this is that it does not address those who are not persuaded the new proposed ‘path forward’ will fulfill the Lord’s commands any better than the work already accomplished. In fact, we are of the belief that it has a very real possibility (in spite of allowing all to participate and be ’heard’) of removing and/or drastically reducing the required elements that will stand “to bless, benefit and inform them” [the lost sheep remnants].
We are of the belief and testify to the same that the August 5th document, in spite of its many weaknesses, is acceptable to Him to fulfill His commandments to us and His purposes.
It is part of a living, beautiful chiasmus and a demonstration of the scripture, “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”
It has and does meet the standard of mutual agreement as set by our Lord. Everyone has been afforded every opportunity to express their sentiments and participate and be heard, even if not every suggestion was implemented. The light thing then is to actually mutually agree, but we have no fear presenting it to Him. The Lord has no problem offering corrections (as demonstrated with His acceptance of the restored scriptures). Do we trust the Lord to make some corrections? Though we desire with all of our heart to have mutual agreement with all of our brothers and sisters in His newly formed family we recognize this may not be likely, or even possible, at this stage of His people’s journey. We do not believe He requires and can only accept a statement containing principles that are only retrieved from 100% of all His people to create mutual agreement. We believe the required mutual agreement exists between all who mutually agree with the Lord. If mutual agreement must include only things that all men and women agree on then every individual is bound to the will of men and women alone. This curtails agency and destroys equality by forcing an individual to be restricted from accepting something they see as His mind and will if even one other individual disagrees. Must we then be forced to submit to the will of another when God speaks through one of His servants and one brother or one sister rejects it? This feels like dangerous ground. All must be free to seek the Lord’s will so as to agree to it. No one is then curtailed in their individual choice. Agency is preserved and it is then left to God alone to gather out from those who actually do hear his voice all those who are faithful to Him and are not deceived. When the term mutual agreement is redefined so as to only accept a compelled agreement where every man and woman is given effective veto power over any true principle or word of God then inequality is subtly introduced, even unconsciously. We must not be drawn into inequality. The scriptures call it being brought down into captivity by a flaxen cord. All under the guise of freedom and the banner of agency. When the new document is completed and everyone is left without many of the Lord’s most precious principles it will result in captivity indeed. The blessing might instead be cursing, wrath and indignation by our own follies and our vain ambitions. We will be unable to hear the voice of God precisely because we will have rejected it in trade for the opinion poll of men and women.
“Businessmen cannot remedy a spiritual illness. [His people do] not need good
marketing. Indeed [His people should grow] the most as an overall percentage of
growth, when it boldly proclaim[s] a new doctrine, a new revelation from heaven, and
[they will suffer] the indignity and criticism of the entire world…That was how the
truth should always be spread. Not by aligning with the world and employing its
methods, but by proclaiming the truth and rejecting the world.
We’ve been using more and more of the same failed business marketing approach to
try and smooth out the message and deliver it more agreeably to the [body of believers].
That will NOT attract those seeking the truth. We must not blend in, but must stick
out. Doing more of this marketing and social-science driven management will lead to
less: Less activity. Less retention. Less tithing. Less membership. Less success. It needs to
reverse.” (DS blog - submission to church - January 20,2012 - Emphasis added)
There is only one way for this new ‘path forward’ to succeed that we can see, and that is that every single man and woman of the covenant all declare with the same voice the words of God. If any individual rejects one of these things under this plan then we have demonstrated that our will is more important than His. That can only result in loss. Only God can decide how much of a loss will be experienced to bring us to repentance.
Defining terms is tricky because if I define a term and declare it to be true and the reality is I am in error then I am a liar and I have now covenanted to repent from all my lyings…so I hesitate to define for anyone else what ‘mutual agreement’ must mean, what a statement of principles must mean. We like to use the scriptures in hopes the Lord will define things for us. For example “May those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, viz. the constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established for ever.” (T&C 123:16) Here we see the Lord equate principles to the constitution of our land. Does the constitution of our land bless, benefit and inform us (and others who come to it from locations near and far)? Did every state agree on every word in this lengthy document? Did He still accept and defend what they wrote as inspired of Him? What would that document have resulted in if it were simply the least common denominator that 100% (not just 100% of the delegates, but 100% of the entire nation!) could agree upon? Are the principles in the constitution so eternal that the way they are written can never change? We feel to be more careful about narrowly defining terms such as principles and mutual agreement. The constitution itself may not have brought about Zion, but it did lay a foundation for it by opening the door to the Restoration. We should learn from its lessons and go forward, not backward.
How do we know that the Lord doesn't define mutual agreement as those who agree with Him? And if so and a document is ‘inspired’ (as almost all have claimed the original GP to be as well as the other documents with their labors to be also inspired) then to mutually agree would be to accept what He inspired? Wouldn't we then be in agreement with Him? Why would I prefer to be in agreement with men? I desire to be free to choose agreement with Him! Allowing the veto power of any other man or woman to determine my personal agreement with God is nothing short of Satan’s method. The new method is nothing more than the mutual agreement of men and women, when instead we proclaim it should be the mutual agreement of men and women with God! All we have to do is ask God, “is this yours?” If so then choose to agree.
Much of this comes down to recognizing His voice. A skill we personally feel we need to greatly and continually increase in. One of the problems we see with the new ‘path forward’ is that it will completely eliminate the voice of God in the document. Even if the principle is preserved it is highly unlikely the revelations that were received in the composition of the original will be preserved enough to distinguish them. This creates a far more troubling problem than simply rewording the revelation so all can agree on it. It denies the gifts of God. It will stand to curse the lost sheep remnant of this land and of Israel because they will never see— not only what God has spoken but what He is now speaking and THAT he is now speaking. If we remove the voice of God we will end up with what the scriptures call the form of godliness (e.g., the information) but denies the power thereof (e.g., demonstration of His presence in the gifts). Is it possible and necessary that each of us can receive an assignment and be able to support another in an assignment without pride, jealousy, and fear?
The Lord has constantly declared that this journey is incremental. We cannot get to Zion in one step. Should we begin as a people to accept the gifts of God if we expect to take more steps toward Zion? Only then will we one day actually arrive at 100% mutual agreement of all His people because all will be like Him and know Him. This is the same in almost every principle. It must start small then be expanded upon. One cannot be expected to simply come and live consecration immediately. They are invited to practice (love that term) with tithing first. Every principle is obtained by ascending in degrees, most especially the path to God.
In revisiting mutual agreement, we believe the concept of total mutual agreement as described in the recent posts on totheremnant.com is a noble and true principle. However, it occurs to us that if it is a true principle that the only way for men and women to fully unite with one another is to unite with the Lord, then the diagram represented on the blog depicts a group of individuals who have entered the Lord’s presence and been ministered to by Him. Only He can set us all straight, then we will see eye to eye. Perhaps only inasmuch as a group of people are connected with the Holy Spirit (or the mind and will of God) can that group be united as one. We believe we are far too young as a people and have far too much to yet repent of to be that connected, else perhaps Zion would already exist. It occurs to us that though the idea of that kind of mutual agreement is a true and noble principle, it is upside down to expect that level of agreement on the first group assignment. We hope, though, for that to increase as we progress together.
Within the concept of obtaining mutual agreement by only accepting what is common among 100% is embedded the very real power of veto as mentioned before. It gives every member equal power (which is good). The problem arises then when a people are not aligned significantly with the mind and will of God (as has been demonstrated to be the case among His people today). What this power demonstrates is what is really in our heart. You see among a Zion (Christ-like!?) group given the power of veto for any true principle one thing that proves they are Zion-like is that they will refuse to use that power EVER to hold another hostage. An ungodly people will use it against one another every time. Do you trust this people to be significantly godly at this stage of our journey to not hold you hostage and force agreement to their will by rejecting anything you present that may be from God? You see its not the document produced that is the more important question here, it is the process of HOW the mutual agreement is obtained. The process is every bit, if not more, important than the product. This is a subtle tool of the devil to proclaim to us freedom and unity and every voice gets equal standing (all godly things) all while implementing those things by compulsion that is only discovered at the end of the process. After all the hopeful and godly submissions are entered in
by the group. Then by your voluntary participation which gives consent to the now mutually agreed upon ‘rules’ of the process, everything that does not meet the prescribed parameters will be pruned away until the bush is perfectly level (and about two inches tall). All the lofty principles of revelation that are necessary to bring in the lost sheep remnant will be reduced to a mere form of godliness but contain no power to redeem. It will be more insufficient that any weak offering given yet. This is what is now taking place all under the guise of it being a beautiful and godly thing for us all to unite under the Lord and to present such a gift when, in reality, we present a gift made by the cunning and ambitions of misguided men and women to overthrow anything that does not please them, because their plans were not accepted and their persuasions were not convincing they found a way to demand control all while believing no control at all, (%100 agreement). This is a type of the war in heaven and the subtleties of Satan. We only know this because we have seen Satan effecting his plan from the beginning of this process and watched Satan fight for it at all costs. Then he found a way through the redefining of mutual agreement to mean 100%. After that definition is given no other option was possible
and agency was curtailed just as Satan hoped it would be. This has nothing to do with labeling or accusing ANYONE in this movement. Just as Christ in His wisdom invites us to do His will. Satan in his cunning will take over and subvert any plan he can if we allow him to. We are all equally vulnerable to the same deceptions and weakness. This very reminder could be used the same way. We MUST approach God to know from Him the truth of the matter. And we plead with all our brothers and sisters to do the same.He (Satan) is the only opposition we all truly face together. Let us stand together. We do not perceive this conversation over this new effect as our side versus their side. It is ALL our family, equally one against the powers of darkness, against one another.
The Lord in His Answer never once mentions or offers any correction to documents already agreed upon. His only direction was at our hearts, to get them right. This, to us, has signified that the light thing that could have been done long ago was and is a CHOICE. The door to the whole plan of redemption and salvation turns on the hinge of choice. It is the lightest thing we personally can conceive of (though often we, personally, complicate it beyond belief). What could be lighter than to choose to agree? Does that mean all are forced to agree? Are we not all presented with truth and free to choose what we accept? Perhaps it could have been done long ago had we recognized the inspiration in the original document and all proclaimed, ‘we agree.’
We didn’t then (and we were free to do that). We personally have done our all to learn from this mistake and we offer our repentance to God by this plea to all and our final voice as to our agreement of His Guide and Standard of August 5th (again, in spite of all it lacks).
There is a notion circulating that we couldn’t have done this until after taking the covenant, until we could be called “His.” How can this be true if the Lord in late July (after two prior meetings, but before the last meeting, and before the covenant) said that this ‘was a light thing’ and ‘you could have finished this work long ago’—the statement and timing from the Lord negates the possibility that the above notion is the only interpretation. It in fact implies the contrary to us.
This effort may be labeled as bickering and complaining and backbiting. We get it. It may be labeled as divisive and fracturing. We understand. We have no desire to do anything other than invite repentance in the form of finishing what had been agreed upon by presenting the work of August 5th to the Lord. This was the first plan. It seems easy to turn and say, “This effort to stir us up unto remembrance is divisive’ when how can it be, it was the original plan! Wouldn't the division by definition be anything that did not seek to heal the process underway but to propose a total redo? We are confused by this but only seek to address truth as best we can and assure all our brothers and sisters we intend no division but we do intend to persuade them of the source of the implementation of the new ‘path forward.’ We will support them in their desire to proceed with that path even though we disagree with it and are broken hearted over it. Agency must be preserved.
We have heard the genuine concerns of our brothers and sisters. The avenue to express them has been continually open. This written declaration this is an attempt to reiterate answers to those concerns according to the best of our understanding.
Though not a perfect analogy for our situation, there was some mention early on that this
process was inspired to be modeled after the U.S. Constitutional Convention. As we have
watched our drama play out, we cannot help but see the outstanding types and shadows
patterned before us. This has continued to provide us a great resource for learning, and for discerning, that could be summarized in a few simple questions regarding the new ‘path forward’ presented:
The work of this ‘delegation’ represents a labor of love and devotion filled with assionate pleas and repentance. It represents the power of God to enlighten, instruct and to change our hearts that we became knit as one (to the best of our current ability, just like the three levels of unity described in 4 Nephi). It represents our understanding of the mind and will of God after receiving His Answer outlining His expectations of us. It has not yet been delivered over to Him for His approval or correction.
After prayerful consideration of all the options (including the new ‘path forward’) and
having participated in all the discussions and meetings*, we are prepared and desirous to petition the Lord on behalf of all those who have and do mutually agree on the August 5th document in precisely the same way the balance of scriptures were submitted to Him. That we might fulfill His commands to us and be faithful to Him and receive at His hands instruction and approval or chastisement and correction.(*Note: Signers represent varied levels of participation including full participation or not attending any meeting.)
In an effort to share this invitation with the body of believers in the same way the ‘new path’ has been shared (on totheremnant.com) and reportedly supported (by use of scriptures.info), we have asked the administrators of both sites for equal opportunity to share our differing view. Though we are grateful both have been willing to have friendly discussion with us, we admit we are disappointed that (at least as of the time of this writing) we have not been granted this opportunity. We are still requesting the use of scriptures.info (who, in a prior committee update regarding the G&S has said they would offer any reasonable help) to simply announce our desire for the consideration and mutual declaration of the people to decide which path and how they CHOOSE to fulfill His commandment to us.
It is our duty to stir [our family] up in remembrance of the oath which they had made regarding the Guide and Standard (Mosiah 4.1).
Therefore, the invitation is to all our covenant Brothers and Sisters to restore the
process unfinished with the August 5th Guide and Standard as an expression of our
understanding of His Will—That we may unitedly petition the Lord our God in the same way the balance of the scriptures were presented, that we may obtain His voice and acceptance or correction on this labor presented according to His commands. To accomplish this, if you desire to do so, please add your name onto the list provided at the site listed below.
Also, in the pattern of the ratification of the Constitution, the invitation is to all to write
their testimony and seek to persuade by pure knowledge to accept the work already
mutually agreed to from August 5 (please believe you are free to disagree and we support and will defend and protect your right to do so).
These testimonies are invited to be called the ‘Restorationist Papers’ (inspired by the Federalist Papers inviting the ratification of the U.S. Constitution). We are requesting that all who desire post their testimony to a site dedicated at this time for this purpose.
The site is preservingtherestoration.com
On this site will be posted any and all ‘Restorationist Papers’ (that includes all persuasions for or against that it may stand as a testimony we desire to be accountable to God alone for).
In this thing we acknowledge that we are okay with both the original agreement and the new ‘path forward’ being presented to the Lord (in order to preserve agency). We fear not His chastisement but expect to be corrected (if our heart is right!).
We do not fear to ascend that holy mountain and seek His face in this weak labor we offer. It is a mess, it is weak, it is wholly insufficient and it can only be made strong BY HIS POWER AND MIGHT. For He will make weak things strong unto the laying down of contention and strife. This is our choice and this is our testimony before God and we thank Him for it!
Concluding, we feel to remember these words from the Lord through his servant David:
“I am surprised at how often men and women who should know better depart from the path. When men get a little revelation, they think themselves wise. When they fail to discern between the vain and the true, they open themselves to prideful, vain and angry spiritual guidance. They contend for the attention of others—becoming upset when they are not respected, and falsely accusing others who remain true to the Lord. I spoke about this and compared what was coming to what happened in Kirtland. (D&C 50:2-8) They leave the association of fellow believers and hurl vindictive at the flock. It saddens me to see this happening, even though I told you beforehand that it would.
A false spirit is not difficult to identify. It stirs up fear, anger, resentment, envy, jealousy and false accusation. It makes a man spread false rumors, and make accusations that are untrue and unwarranted. Too many of those who should be lending their strength to this effort are now laboring to undermine it, claiming to have a better path to offer. They want to divide the Lord’s sheep, for each to “find Jesus” alone and apart—a plan which would prevent Zion and please the adversary who knows that if he can prevent Zion he can continue to falsely claim to be the god of this world.”
—(DS - Things that keep us awake at night - Page 18)
“…I realized how foolish it was to expect “natural fruit” worthy of preservation in an instant. The Lord works patiently, methodically and does not require any to run faster than they have strength. (Mosiah 4:27.)
"We cannot allow ourselves to be drawn in to inequality when the result of this labor is to make us one body, equal with one another. We cannot imitate the failures of the past by establishing an hierarchy, elevating one above another, and forgetting that we must be of one heart, one mind and with no poor among us.”
—(DS - Opening remarks of the covenant conference - end of second to last page)
Let us return to the work already completed according to His commands. Amen!
Signed - September 20, 2017 - 9pm:
Adrianne & Jacob Goetz - Alan & Bree Arrington - Andrew Selk - Gin & Nancy Genys -
Kelly & Troy Erickson - Rachel Selk - Ron & Bunnie Erickson - Tania Leavitt