Monday, November 14, 2016

The Orem “Area 70” Has Ordered That My Candle Be Placed Under a Bushel

Last week I bore my testimony of Jesus Christ in an Orem college housing single’s ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I was very hesitant and nervous to show my face in a church, but it was the will of the Lord that I do, so I did according to his will.  In my testimony I did not “scripture bash” or talk about how the LDS church has strayed from the Book of Mormon and the teachings of Joseph Smith.  I simply spoke of Jesus. I spoke about what I have come to know for myself about Him concerning His character, attributes, and perfections.  I bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Lectures on Faith and how those books have brought me closer to Christ.  I shared my experience of how and when I decided to give myself to God and to trust wholly in Jesus Christ. I testified of the fruits that have shown forth in my life since I have turned to Him.  I taught in parable for those who had eyes to see and ears to hear as I expounded upon the scriptures.   I spoke the words of Christ to that congregation and invited all to seek to know the Lord and place their full faith and trust in Him.   

Since last week I have had several people approach me and thank me for bearing that testimony.  Many said they loved and appreciated it.  Two young men even went out of their way to chase me down to express their gratitude of what I shared and told me that in my testimony I had said everything they had been thinking their whole life. 

Yesterday afternoon I was not too busy so I decided to attend the 2nd block of church for the gospel doctrine class because I love talking about Jesus and studying the scriptures.  I had no intent or desire to “scripture bash” or talk about the apostasy of the LDS Church Corporation.   I simply desired to hear others talk about Jesus and study from the scriptures.  Perhaps we could edify one another through the words of Christ and each leave that class with a greater personal conviction to know Jesus Christ.  We were having a good lesson when part way through the class I was asked to come into the bishop’s office. 

I was excited to meet the bishop.  He was a very friendly man who constantly expressed his desire to be obedient, specifically to his church leaders.  We spoke for good 20 minutes or so about the gospel, but he was very interested in talking about me.  He said that after I bore my testimony that Sunday he looked me up and noticed that my name was not on the records of the church, but it showed that my name had been removed.  He spoke to the stake president about me who then spoke to the “Area 70”.  By direct order of the “Area 70”  I am forbidden to pray, share my testimony, ask questions, or speak about the gospel and scriptures.  The Bishop then told me that if I attend church and I am directed by the Spirit to speak, not to do so. 

So I then asked, “So if the Lord is telling me to speak, you want me to deny the power of God?”
He answered, “yes.”

“…and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel”(2 Nephi 28:4–5)

He told me that the testimony I had bore the previous week felt “dark” to him.  I then proceeded to ask him what about my testimony made him feel dark?  He told me he could not remember.  I then asked if I had said anything that was doctrinally incorrect.  He could not answer.  

I find it interesting how several people appreciated what I had to share and the God in whom I testified of.  They received light and truth from what I spoke from the pulpit, yet this religious leader perceived it to be full of darkness.  How can one person listening to a testimony, full of the words of Christ and scripture, receive light while the other person, listening to the exact same thing, receive darkness?

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”(Matthew 6:22–23)

This is why the religious leaders in the meridian of time, who because of traditions and religious pride, were trapped in their paradigm of thought and could not recognize the Light of the world.  They received the teachings of Jesus Christ as darkness.   

“Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I Am, even Jesus Christ—The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not; The same which came in the meridian of time unto mine own, and mine own received me not”(Doctrine and Covenants 39:1–3)

 Because I am not a member of their institution and no longer have any say in their policies and rules, (do actual members really do?) and because their church buildings are their property, I respect the fear-based rules established by the “Area 70”.  However, I did not leave that bishop’s office without first giving him a warning in a very calm yet direct manner. I opened my mouth and it was given unto me in that moment what I should say:  

“There are people here who are seeking and who can benefit and come closer unto Christ from what I can share with them.  By shutting me up you are denying them that opportunity.  Wo unto you Pharisees, wo unto you scribes, wo unto you lawyers, for ye have hedged up the way, ye have taken away the key of knowledge, ye enter in not yourself and those that were entering in ye hindered.”  (see Luke 11:52)

I then shook the bishop’s hand, clasping it with both of my own, looked him in the eyes, and said, “May God bless you.” 
I meant it. 

I am very saddened by this experience. I really wanted to start attending a gospel doctrine class.  I am passionate about the word of God, especially the Book of Mormon.  I love Jesus Christ.  He is my greatest Love and His gospel is my favorite topic of discussion.   I was looking forward to hearing others talk about Jesus, to study the scriptures together, and enjoy their association.   It may sound from my posts that I am bitter towards the members of the LDS church and that I have been “offended” by them.  That is not the case!  I have no reason to be angry with anyone.  I am grateful to LDS Church for introducing me to Mormonism and the restoration.  I love the Mormons which is why I take the time to write the things I do.  The church is under condemnation and it needs to repent.  (see D&C 84:54-58)

The world is being consumed by darkness all ye who have light share what little is left.

“Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”(3 Nephi 12:15–16)

If you are still able to attend church and have been awakened to the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ and have light and truth to share, do not hide it under a bushel of fear.  Let it shine before the world.  The Light of Jesus is meant to be enjoyed by all that are in the house.  If you have a testimony, share it.

It was by human testimony and human testimony alone which excited the inquiry and diligent search of the ancient saints to seek after and obtain a knowledge of the glory of God, The inquiry frequently terminated, indeed, always terminated when rightly pursued, in the most glorious discoveries and eternal certainty. (see Lectures on Faith 2:56)  That is still true today.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (or one sent to tell them?) Romans 10:14

Despite the idolatry, wickedness, and unbelief of this generation, there many people who are seeking for a relationship with Christ but are struggling in their corrupt church system to find it.  If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work. (D&C 4:3) It hath become every man who hath been warn to warn his neighbor. (D&C88:81) Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word. (D&C 11:21)  If it is your desire, and you have sought diligently to obtain the words of Christ, then He will direct your paths, He will loosen your tongue and lead you to those who are hungry for the truth so that you might be an instrument in the hands of God. (Alma17:9)

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