Wednesday, November 25, 2015

From the Foundation of the World

I grew up believing that the sacrament was instituted by Christ among his apostles just prior to His death.  It was similarly instituted among the Nephites after his resurrection, as described in 3rd Nephi.  Indeed, the web site makes the following statement:

On the night before His Crucifixion, Jesus Christ met with His Apostles and instituted the sacrament (see Luke 22:19–20).

Imagine, then, my surprise as I read from the Inspired Version of Genesis 14:17-18:

And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine; and he break bread and blest it; and he blest the wine, he being the priest of the most high God,  And he gave to Abram, and he blessed him, and said, Blessed Abram, thou art a man of the most high God, possessor of heaven and of earth;

I find this information to be very interesting.  For me, several questions arise.  Why is this concept not taught in LDS study manuals?  If the sacrament existed prior to Christ administering it to the apostles, where did it originate?  Why is there no other specific mention of it in the scriptures?  When did the practice die out, that it had to be restored?

Based on this discovery, I believe the sacrament is something that would have been practiced beginning with Adam.  Although current LDS leaders now deny it is true, early LDS leaders believed that Melchizedek and Shem are the same person (  I find the argument that Melchizedek and Shem are one and the same to be persuasive, and therefore I will assume that they are indeed the same person.  If that is the case, then based on the chronology outlined Lectures on Faith and in the Old Testament, there was an uninterrupted line of high priests (those who actually saw into heaven) going back from Shem to Adam, and that is the likely source of Shem's knowledge of the ordinance.  Further, if Adam engaged in this practice, it was probably revealed to him by an angel.  In other words, it is pretty important.  I suppose you could say that the sacrament is one of the ordinances that has existed from the foundation of the world.

This calls to mind the quote by Joseph Smith - "Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed."  If that is true, what should we make of the changes to the ordinances?  What changes, you ask?  How about:
     *  Water instead of wine (3rd Nephi 18:19)
     *  Blessed by young boys instead of the presiding authority (D&C 20:50)
     *  Kneeling is forbidden (Moroni 4:2, D&C 20:76)
     *  Tiny amounts of bread and wine/water (3rd Nephi 18:4)

When we read historical accounts of the administration of the sacrament in Joseph Smith's time, they look markedly different than what we do today.  It has only been 171 years since Joseph died and we have seen many changes.  Small wonder, then, that the ordinance was corrupted from the time of Abraham to the time of Christ.  Or from the time of Christ to the time of Joseph Smith.  It makes you wonder, at what point does the Lord look at our changes and say, this is no longer valid and I no longer recognize what you are doing.  Fortunately, that can never happen today because we live in the last dispensation where we can never be led astray.  Aren't we lucky!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Real Problem

Facebook, bloggers, and the rest of the internet have been abuzz lately with talk of the recent changes to the LDS church's policy on same sex marriage and the children of such parents.  In a nutshell, the church's Handbook of Instructions has been updated to define same sex marriage as apostasy, and also disallows children under 18 who live in same sex households from receiving any church ordinances.

Here is a link to a discussion about the changes --

This whole debate illustrates several problems that need to be addressed.

First, the church has long since lost sight of the fact that baptism and church membership are not co-equal.  Baptism is not done to join a church.  Baptism is done to fulfill the commandment of God that we repent and then witness before heaven and earth that we have repented.  The method of the witness is baptism by water.  Joining a church is completely separate. John the Baptist wasn't out baptizing people into the New Testament version of the Mormon church.  He was baptizing for the remission of sins.  If the LDS church were to separate baptism from church membership, many of the problems they claim to be solving could be avoided altogether.

Second, policies are a tool of compulsion used by corporations to force employees to behave in a certain way.  The Lord does not deal in policies.  He deals in commandments and agency, and men are always free to obey or not, and to receive or not.  Policies inherently restrict agency and the Holy Spirit and are not of God.  They are just another form of idolatry because they supplant God as a source of truth and direction.  No policy is needed.  Just empower people to act according to what they believe the Holy Spirit is telling them.

Third, in his "interview" (I use quotes because it is staged, this is not a disinterested third party interviewing Elder Christofferson), Elder Christofferson gives a number of reasons for the new policy.  These reasons include:
     -- Same sex marriage is sinful and participants need to be disciplined.
     -- The new policy comes because of changes to the laws of the US and other countries.
     -- The policy leaves no room for questions or doubt.
     -- The new policy is family friendly because it frees children from learning one thing at home and another at church.
     -- The new policy for same sex marriage is consistent with the church's approach to polygamy.

Conspicuously absent from the list of reasons given by Elder Christofferson is REVELATION.  There is no claim that church leaders saw a problem and asked God what they should do.  Instead, a list of practical reasons is given.  Personally, if I saw a difficulty in my life that was caused by an outside factor, I would ask God what He would have me do to resolve it.  This is yet another example of how the LDS church is led by corporate leaders and not by revelation.

Finally, the church is acting in a schizophrenic manner.  They state that the primary reason for the policy is to free children from having to learn one thing at home and another at church, and yet if this logic were applied consistently, any situation other than a two-parent, fully active family should result in denial of ordinances.  This is intellectual dishonesty.  If the church is going to make an intellectual case for their position, then they should be consistent in its application

This policy change only serves to distract people from Jesus Christ and His atonement.  The Lord came to this earth to redeem all those who would be redeemed.  He came to offer salvation to those who would receive it.  Policies, procedures, and unsanctioned requirements for baptism interfere with the ability of people to connect with God to receive His salvation.

The bottom line is that I believe the church's new policy to be a step away from Christ and toward chaos, confusion, and darkness.  Baptism should be offered to all who desire it, not just those wanting membership in an institution.  This policy is an affront to the Holy Spirit.  We should compare the behavior of the church and its leaders to the standard of the scriptures.  Where we find a divergence, we should ask ourselves who is out of the way, the scriptures or the church?  You may be surprised at the answer.


For those who desire baptism according to the doctrine of Christ (2nd Nephi 31), without man-made restrictions and without judgment, I encourage you to find someone with authority from God to perform the baptism.  You can find someone here:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Doing What God Wants You To Do

It is not always easy to do what God asks of you.  God asks one thing of me and another of you, and although those two things are not the same, if we do what God asks we are on the path of eternal life.  In this way we are all on different paths but on the same journey.  Nephi had to kill Laban, steal a book, kidnap a servant, and run away into the wilderness.  Abraham had to sacrifice his son on an altar.  Peter had to suffer crucifixion like the Savior.  All did what Christ wanted of them to fulfill the purposes of God.

In my own life, I was recently asked to do something I didn't want to do.  I was asked by God to resign as a member of the LDS Church.  I have been a member my whole life, and this was hard.  I expect that few will believe that the commandment I received came from God.  I expect that few will understand how I could throw away salvation or lose my eternal family.  But I must do as God asks, and so as of October 13, 2015 I am no longer a member of the church.

God asked me to do this for a number of reasons, but I think the most important reason is to testify of the idolatry and false teachings that are ever growing within the doctrines of the church.  I want to be clear that I did not do this because I wanted to.  I am not angry or disillusioned.  This was not an act of rebellion but an act of obedience.  Below is a copy of the resignation letter I gave my bishop:


October 13, 2015


Dear Bishop XXXXX,

I have been asked by the Lord to do something that I do not want to do.  I expect that I will be misunderstood and judged to have been led astray, but I sincerely believe that what I am doing is what Christ wants me to do.  And so, with great regret, I hereby resign as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, effective immediately.  I understand that the church handbook states that such an action will nullify my baptism, priesthood, and temple blessings.  I believe that this is in error, but I understand and acknowledge the church’s teaching on this matter, and want you to know that I appreciate the seriousness of such an action.  I ask that my resignation would be processed immediately.

There are several reasons for this action, and I hope that by listing them it will not be seen as a list of complaints or grievances.  I have listed my reasons so that you can understand my action better and to state that I have not done this because of sin, anger, or hatred.  I appreciate my membership in the LDS church and am thankful for the good and truth that is in it.  Through the church I have been introduced to the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith.  I have a sincere testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet and seer and that he restored much truth to the world, including the Book of Mormon.  Most importantly, through the church and through the Book of Mormon I have been introduced to Jesus Christ, my savior.  I have a deep and abiding testimony that He lives.  I have been baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost by Him and been cleansed of my sins by His grace and kindness.  This was a specific event, a testimony from heaven to me about my standing before the Lord.  I am unworthy of such blessings and do not consider myself to be righteous.  I am just a fallen man who loves Christ and relies completely upon Him for my salvation and growth.

Despite the good that has come from the LDS church, there are a number of reasons why I must resign.  First and foremost, the Lord has commanded it and I want to be obedient to Him.  I would not do this if it were not for the commandment I received.  Again, I list these things as an explanation.  Please don’t take it as a list of grievances.  I believe that the Lord wishes me to testify of truth, and the truth is that the church is filled with idolatry and doctrinal errors, and the current course of the church is taking it ever further from Joseph Smith and the truth.

The most grievous form of idol worship in the church is the tradition of “Follow the Prophet” that has sprung up in the last 50 years.  Teaching men to follow other men fosters spiritual laziness and points away from Jesus Christ.  Problems with this teaching include the following:

- We are taught that the prophet talks to God, and that because he does, somehow that is great for us.  Supposedly each successive church leader speaks for God by virtue of their office.  What if by “my servants” Christ meant anyone who is given a message from God, regardless of their church position?  We are taught that the prophet speaks for God because we are to heed his words (D&C 21).  But this scripture is about Joseph Smith.  How can other men claim this same right simply because they have inherited an office?  Because of our preoccupation with prophets, we are not taught to approach Christ to know him personally.  Lip service is paid to this principle, but in practice the focus of the church is programs, ordinances, and leaders.  When you do seek for a personal relationship with Christ, curiously it no longer seems to matter whether we have a prophet or not because you have your own connection with heaven.  Church leaders no longer teach that men should seek to enter into Christ’s presence while in the flesh or to make their calling and election sure.  Instead, we are counseled to rejoice because we have a man who talks to God for us so we don’t have to.  This denies the Christ.  It is hard for me to see how we are any different than the Israelites.  They had a Moses to talk to God for them, and they were cursed for doing so.  We are not different at all.  We have a Gordon, a Thomas, a Joseph, or a Russell to talk to God for us.  We have the scriptures right in front of us and don’t understand how they apply to us.

- We are taught that the prophet somehow has “keys” that men need in order to be saved.  We are taught that without such keys, even the dead who have repented are kept from salvation because we have not done certain ordinances for them.  This is a false teaching and denies the Christ, and is also form of idol worship.  This idea puts men in between us and God.  Jesus is the way of salvation.  We are repent and come to Him.  Outward ordinances do not save.  Baptism is required by the Lord for all who live on the earth, but other ordinances are meant to teach.  Our ordinances are only types and symbols of the real thing, but this concept is not taught.  We are taught that somehow the temple endowment and the marriage sealing magically seal in heaven as on earth.  There seems to be no focus on the fact that every “temple blessing” is offered as a condition, and that we must obtain the real thing from God Himself.  It does not happen by virtue of the “keys” of men.  God does not wait on the keys of men before acting to save the souls of the repentant.  Nephi condemned the latter-day church for teaching that God has given his power to men, and yet we completely overlook this scripture and cannot see that Nephi was talking about us.

- We are taught that the prophet cannot lead us astray.  We deny that he is infallible, yet every word that comes from the church leaders is considered doctrine.  How many times have we heard that General Conference talks are scripture?  If the prophet cannot lead us astray, what need do we have for the Holy Ghost?  The scriptures are the measuring stick for truth, not the words of the current church leader.  The teaching that living prophets trump dead prophets is at odds with the scriptures.  I cannot understand how it is that we accept a teaching that allows the leaders freedom to change doctrines simply because of their church office.  Also, how is it that a leadership position qualifies a man to be a prophet?  Prophets have fruits.  The current leaders claim to be prophets, seers, and revelators, but they do not prophesy, reveal, or see.  Joseph Smith did all of those things and produced evidence.  I’m afraid that what we have in our church are men with church offices and not real prophets or apostles.

Temples have also become an idol.  Members think that because they have “taken out their endowment” that somehow they are all set for the celestial kingdom.  They have no understanding that the endowment teaches them to walk back to the presence of God in mortality, and that one of the first steps is to seek “true messengers.”  Those true messengers are angels, not church leaders.  Before the endowment changes in 1990, the ceremony taught about how preachers were false messengers and should be ignored.  We now believe that the only way to find true messengers is to look at their church office.

The church itself is an idol.  Supposedly the “good ship Zion” will transport us to the presence of God because it can never go astray.  Yet, where are the scriptural accounts of such things?  Nephi found God alone.  So did Lehi.  So did Abraham.  So did Enos.  Adam found the Lord’s presence with just a few family members.  They did not have a church hierarchy or system to bring them back into the presence of Christ.   Our journey is likewise solitary.
The church programs are idols.

There are other idols.  The handbook is an idol.  Church leaders at every level are idols.  The church is filled with idols.  We talk of Christ but preach a gospel that frequently points away from him and turns the pathway to God into a rigid program that has little room for the Holy Ghost.  We have a changeable system that is subject to the whims of the current leadership.

Aside from the idolatry and the follow the prophet culture, I am also resigning because those who do seek the face of Jesus Christ in the flesh and teach others about this are cast out.  I can give you several accounts of people who were excommunicated because they would not confess that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, never mind that they have a deep and abiding testimony of Christ.  Some even testify that they have seen Him, but they are dismissed because they don’t have leadership credentials.  I think it is foolish to believe that one needs to be an LDS church leader to see Christ and publicly testify that He lives.  Sadly, the apostles of the church who are charged with such a responsibility do not bear such witness.  They openly claim that their “apostolic” witness is one from the Holy Ghost, and put down those who say that an apostle should be an actual eyewitness of Christ.  I humbly submit that the church leaders who are called as apostles are not actually apostles until they complete their calling and become an eyewitness.  If they claim to be apostles before then, they are false witnesses.

Finally, I am resigning because I am a hypocrite.  I would not qualify for baptism given my current set of beliefs.  If I don’t qualify for baptism, why should I be a member?  By the current church handbook definition, I am an apostate.  I associate with and agree with many who have been excommunicated.  Given the new, expansive definition of “sustain” given by Russell Nelson in conference last year, I do not sustain the current authorities of the church.  I do not pay tithing to the church anymore because they church uses the funds to….well, I don’t know what they use them for because they won’t tell me.  But I sure see a lot of spacious buildings and nice malls.  I have chosen instead to contribute my tithing funds to a small group where we support single mothers and assist with the financial needs of the poor among us.  I have performed and will continue to perform ordinances that are not sanctioned by the presiding authorities of the church, such as baptism and the sacrament.  I have not sought an LDS baptism for my children because I they are required to confess Thomas Monson as a prophet as condition for baptism.  In 3rd Nephi and also in the D&C, Christ stated that all who desire to witness their repentance by being baptized should be baptized, and that this was his gospel, and that anything that is added or subtracted is not of his gospel.  We have adulterated baptism as a result.  We have also changed all of the other ordinances.  Since they were revealed by Joseph, the sacrament, the style of priesthood ordination, and now baptism have all been changed, despite Joseph’s clear statement that ordinances revealed from heaven are not to be altered or changed.  The temple endowment has undergone numerous changes, none of which have been done by revelation.  It is my opinion that these changes and the fact that true messengers have been cast out (Denver Snuffer), the Lord does not recognize LDS baptisms as legitimate any longer.

Bishop, I love you and appreciate all you have done for me, my family, and our ward.  I know that my actions will probably not be understood.  I am just trying to do what is right.  I think that what I am doing is right, but if I ever found that I was in error, I would repent immediately, in sackcloth and ashes, begging the Lord’s pardon.  I hope that despite my status as a non-member, I will still be able to love and serve my friends and neighbors.  I love the people of this ward and the church leaders.  I consider you and President XXXX to be men who love the Lord.  Thank you again for all you have done.


Jake Mahan

One interesting but discouraging thing I have noted - as I expected, my bishop shared the news of my resignation with the ward council, who in turn have shared the news with other members of their family.  Of those who have talked with me since the resignation, including the bishop, none have been willing to discuss any of the doctrinal items I have discussed.  I am afraid that they are scared of being corrupted by my apostasy.  Why are people afraid to discuss doctrine?  God is a God of truth.  There is nothing to fear from a thorough, critical review of doctrine.