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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

194: CONDITIONING AND INDOCTRINATION

Our daughter is now old enough to go into nursery during the 3 hour block at church. Childen can start going once they are 18 months old. These first couple of weeks I have been going in with her. It has been interesting to see what we teach our children from the very beginning before they can even talk.  During singing time, one of the songs they sing each week is “Follow the Prophet”. When they sing the song, the nursery teacher selects one of the children to hold a large photograph of Thomas S. Monson. She has the child hold up this photo, and then march around the room having all of the other children follow behind chanting the words “Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet, He knows the way.” Every week this song is sung a couple of times allowing more of the children to have the opportunity of being the “prophet” and having the other children follow behind them.

We teach at the very earliest of age, before our children can even talk, to follow the Prophet and that he will not lead us astray.

 This topic has been discussed extensively on many blogs and forums. The debate still continues.   It is a probably the most divisive and sensitive subjects to talk about in our LDS culture. One side accuses the other for being apostate for thinking that the Prophet is fallible.  The other side accuses the mainstream members for not being more awake and too leader dependent.

 I came across a blog written by a very faithtful member of the church that was interesting. I don’t know the author, but his mindset and analogy that he used probably very typical of 99% of active LDS members. 

I quote his words:

"...I was talking with a friend that has a hard time with our leader worship in our culture. I gave him this analogy: It feels like this, you want to go to the Louvre in Paris to see the Mona Lisa. To get to the museum you have to pay to get in. You get inside the museum and you immediately are met by the tour guides. And the tour guides are talking about how they know this is the only museum that has the Mona Lisa and they know without a shadow of a doubt that the curator of the museum has all the keys to the museum. And they know without a shadow of a doubt that no one can behold the Mona Lisa unless they come to this museum. It is the only museum on the face of the earth that has the Mona Lisa. - Well all of that is true with regard to the Mona Lisa, but in my view, completely irrelevant, because I came to the museum to behold the Mona Lisa; not the tour guide; not the keys that the tour guide has; not the keys that the curator has. I respect all of that and I recognize all of that as necessary. I recognize all of that as part of the function of the museum. I do recognize that the museum has the Mona Lisa. But in the scale on my mission, my purpose, why I'm there - am there for one reason and one reason only. I am there to behold the Mona Lisa. If you can just realized that is just the museum being the museum and that is just the tour guides being the tour guides. They are doing their best, however misguided or overbearing or what have you they might be. But you can still see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Of course the Mona Lisa in this metaphor is Christ and the tour guides may not be the most knowledgeable people on earth about the Mona Lisa. There may be people outside the Museum, in fact there are people outside the museum who know a whole lot more about the Mona Lisa than some of the tour guides. Some of the tour guides are great. I especially like the ones with the German accent; that is one of my favorite tour guides. I have been told that we are not supposed to have favorite and less-favorite tour guides, but there are definitely some that are more favorite than others when I go to the Louvre.”

Although he doesn’t specifically say this, but the analogy could continue by saying that the curator is the only one who can have access to Mona Lisa, who would have the key to open the glass and touch the painting.  As you know the Mona Lisa is in a sealed enclosure, behind 1.5 inch thick glass with security guards and cameras making sure that no one gets close or even touch the Mona Lisa.

How sad if this is our mindset and doctrine we teach? Is this the Christ we worship, untouchable to all except one man? What about those outside the museum? Are they ever allowed in, or banded from ever seeing the Mona Lisa?  What about those who actually enter into the museum and actually find the Mona Lisa? Are they not allowed to feel and touch the painting? Do we even believe that it is possible or even try? And if it is possible, and we then tell others that we have touched the Mona Lisa, will we be chastised, or thrown out of the museum?
A true curator after touching the Mona Lisa would want all to come and touch as well. To think that “Tour guides” and “curators” are the only ones that have more access is completely false doctrine and not the Gospel of Christ.



Sidenote:

A few weeks ago I needed to renew my temple recommend. Before the member of the Stake Presidency began asking me the questions, he told me that he felt by the Spirit that he wanted me to share my testimony about the prophet after he asked me if I sustain him as the prophet, seer and revelator and recognize him as the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys. I thought it was odd. Why not ask me to bear my testimony about Christ after he asked the question about if believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son Jesus Christ? I talked to a friend about my experience, and he said that this a way they receive more information without asking questions on our obedience to the leaders.

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38 comments:

  1. Good post. How did you respond?

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  2. Great post and I love the museum analogy. Okay...please tell us how you answered that question and if you made reference to the interviewer about your thought "Why not ask me to bear testimony of Christ?"

    Are they becoming suspect of you in your ward or stake? If they are -- you must be on the right path. :)

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    1. Absolutely! After my "awakening" thanks to Bro. Snuffer and others, I must've been throwing up red flags all over the place for my bishop and stake leaders. During one sort of "heated" moment in an interview, I tossed my reccommend across the table to the Stake Counselor. Beat him to the punch, so to speak.

      I feel no loss. They are stumbling blocks, nothing more.

      Delete
    2. Needed to clarify that the above comment 2:28 PM is not my response to your question. But here is my answer to 5:30 PM comment and to Elizabeth.

      As far as how I responded to the question from the SP. I didn't bear my testimony on President Monson like he wanted, but bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon and how is a warning for us, the Latter-Day Church and that all is not Well in Zion. I mentioned my concerns about City Creek and then concluded by bearing testimony about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and about Joseph Smith, the prophet and what he attempted to restore.

      As far as being "suspect", I am not sure. It is important to stand up and speak truth and but follow the Spirit in what you say and who you say it to. I think it is important allow others to worship as they want, and how they want and not violently try and wake up others or condemn them in their slumber when they might not be ready to hear these things.

      David

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    3. Just don't fall into the trap that tells you whoever does not agree with you is in a slumber or not evolved enough to hear you. That's simply pride and should be a red flag to the whole perspective. (See- Denver Snuffer's recent blog on his upcoming disciplinary council. I don't agree with Bro. Snuffer's teachings in his books. I believe he's a willing deceiver. I've read the books and read church history, so don't tell me I'm not "ready" for Bro. Snuffer. I'm ready, alright, I just know false doctrine when I hear it.)

      Delete
  3. I work in the Ward library, just down the hall from the nursery. Two wks ago I listened to the nursery sing "follow the prophet" for 17 straight minutes...over and over and over. I finally closed the library doors to block out the false doctrine. Thank heaven I do not have a child in the nursery now!
    If the SP asks for a testimony of "the prophet" next time I renew my TR...I plan to bear testimony of THE SAVIOR. If he can't accept that, my next question would be, "who does this church belong to?" This sillyness has gone far enough and it is time for members to take a stand. This the church of JESUS CHRIST, not the church of Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas or TSM!
    Since when are we REQUIRED to have a testimony of any man?
    Oh that we might exclaim with Nephi, "O, Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm" (2 Nephi 4:34)
    JR

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    Replies
    1. D,
      Excellent post.

      To the anonymous who posted at 7:18 p.m. The pendulum swings both directions. Of course this is Christ's work and it is He who we seek to serve and know. However, to totally swing to the other side of the pendulum and discount a member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve carries it's risks. When they teach by the Spirit, we should listen. If Denver teaches by the Spirit, I will listen. If the Sunday School teacher teaches by the Spirit, I will listen.

      As the author noted in the beginning of this post, the debate rages from both sides. I'm just saying...what about the people who were led by Moses? What if they took a hard line position against "trusting in the flesh?" What about those who (many were trusted followers) called Joseph a fallen prophet because they didn't agree with him anymore? What about those who looked to Peter to be taught and ultimately led to Christ?

      Just like in the past, we look to the Savior as the Redeemer and the SOLE person who can save. HOWEVER, there are certainly inspired men who can help lead us to Christ, some have callings and some don't. Angels are among us, some on this side of the veil and some on the other.

      Rob

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  4. Rob,
    I never said I would not listen to the Spirit. What I am troubled by is the notion that we need a man, any man, to "lead us to Christ". Most troubling is when a church official wants to impose upon us to "bear testimony" of a man or when the church attempts to elicit "testimonies" of church leaders. Church leaders are just men and should NEVER be worshipped or reverenced. They are simply our fellow beings who are fallible and mortal and full of error and sin, even when they are striving to do their best to serve. We are not expected nor required to develop a "testimony" of any mortal man. That level of reverence is reserved for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    JR

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  5. well, this is interesting--

    sometimes I feel that I am sitting on a fence, so as not to be torn to pieces by one side or the other--

    I believe in Jesus Christ. I don't know what to think about Thomas S. Monson, however. I don't 'believe in' him; he's a man. As to whether his calling is inspired or not, I sometimes am not sure. I feel that I need to leave that alone; it's not my 'place'--

    I listen to him; I do. I feel that the scriptures (sorry; don't have all the references at the moment) admonish *us* to listen and heed.

    But I haven't heard much that is very moving from him. Now and again, but not much.

    I was deeply troubled by his talk about 'love', where he laughed at the notion of 'all we need is love'--

    I couldn't figure that out, inasmuch as "God is love" (1 John 4:16)

    of course, that is not said directly in the Book of Mormon, not those exact words--

    then in a recent Ensign President Monson (I will accept that he IS the president; it's as to whether or not he is a prophet that I remain unsure, and I have prayed about it; all I have felt is that he is the president)--

    said that the world 'no longer' supports righteous living--

    I'm paraphrasing--

    and it struck me very oddly; when has the 'world' EVER supported righteous living?

    And I began to realize that TO President Monson there was a time when his paradigm felt safe (the 40s, the 50s, etc.)--

    his own social/political philosophies were in the mainstream, so that was a 'support' to 'righteousness'--

    but Babylon has always been there with its jaws of hell ready to capture anyone who truly wants to follow Jesus Christ.

    So I felt troubled by that--

    sometimes I have felt that there is a social 'gospel' that some of these good men (and I don't doubt they are good) preach--

    that gives wide berth to Babylon--

    I listen; I certainly listen. I listen very carefully.

    But Jesus Christ is my Savior, and, frankly, if these men don't bear witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ, I find it hard to keep my mind on what they are saying--

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  6. Last year the spirit began showing me all the fruits of true prophets. At the time I didn't really know where it was going, but the spirit would impress upon me each day new understandings and scriptures. After a few months of scriptures and prayer I realized that the list of a true prophet's fruits and the list of President Monson's fruits were quite different.

    Most members of the church don't even ask God whether we have true prophets. Are they too afraid to ask? Do they not think it possible that a president of the church could be led astray? Would God take away the agency of man if he were in a leadership position? If God took away agency wouldn't he cease to be God? What if a man didn't want to follow God?

    In the history of this world there has never been a religion that didn't become corrupt, even when God himself set it up. 400 years after Christ came to the Nephites they were torturing and eating each other. If leaders can't be led astray what happened there?

    God has never made that promise and he never would because he honors agency. If we are hearing that in our day it is because it is a precept of men.

    Moroni saw our day. What'd he think of us? Notice that he says that we have polluted "the holy church of God."

    Mormon 8:38
    O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

    Has the Lord removed this condemnation from us? I don't recall any prophet saying this condemnation has been removed?

    D&C84
    54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

    55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

    56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

    57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—

    And why would the Lord say this to us:

    D&C
    39 And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known.

    If there wasn't problems even at the highest levels.

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  7. I have a three year old in nursery. Last year he was singing this song all the time, too. Never saw if they were having him march around with a picture..but he certainly knew the son. It was the only tune he really knew the words to and could sing. I was frustrated with the false implications and decided to tell him that I thought there were some better words and that I wanted to t each him the real way to sing that song.

    "Follow the Savior, Follow the Savior, Follow the Savior
    Don't go Astray.
    Follow the Savior, Follow the Savior, Follow the Savior
    HE IS THE WAY!"

    He caught on really fast. And just think of the wonderful truth he sings every time...something that can be sung with absolute gusto all his life and with NO question whatsoever that it possesses all of the truth in its message!!! I highly recommend this word change to all you parents out there.

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    1. beautiful; I have replaced those words, too--

      makes perfectly good sense, and it's scripturally and doctrinally accurate!!!

      Delete
  8. The problem with people following the Savior is that so many are deceived. They THINK they are following the Savior but are often times deceived. This is getting more and more common with certain authors gaining in popularity that every Joe Schmoe can see God and Christ and we don't need a go-between, etc.

    If you follow the Prophet, you will be kept on the straight and narrow and it is a safe course. Personal "inspiration" could lead to you do any number of crazy things - David Koresh, Warren Jeffs. The Manti group. I mean, ALL these people believe they are inspired and ALL their followers and happy to follow them, in the Church, out of the Church, wherever.

    So yes, we need a testimony of the Church, as simple-minded and sheepish as that sounds to some of the enlightened types. We must stay without the organization, keep our temple covenants and stay on the path.

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    1. Why can't any Joe Schmoe see Christ? After all didn't a Joe Smith? Who was he to see Christ and the Father?

      Delete
    2. Ah, I see. Trust in the arm of flesh, and put a man between you and God. I believe this is what the children of Israel did when they refused to go up the mountain to see the Lord, and instead asked Moses to go for them. They were cursed for that.
      I believe our God is a jealous God, who is not pleased that men have set themselves up as a light, rather than declaring that Christ is the ONLY true light.

      Delete
    3. Joseph Smith was foreordained to open the final dispensation. Do you get that? He's the head of a dispensation. Snuffer is no Joe Smith.

      I'm familiar with all the Snuffer phrases about the arm of flesh and Moses, etc.... I've read his books. He is dangerous. After Snuffer posted his "letter" online he immediately posted about his upcoming talking tour - to make sure there was no doubt whatsoever that he will not be abiding the counsel of his leaders. Is that not telling? But those who are convinced that Snuffer is right can hear anything, anything at this point and they can make fit their perspective.

      When Snuffer leaves the church (oh, wait, he'll get kicked out - right?) what will you do? That's the question you need to ask yourself.

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    4. This is anon 5:35 about trusting in the arm of flesh. I was NOT talking about Snuffer. I was referring to the poster who said we need to trust our leaders because trusting in God alone may cause us to be deceived. This is the most dangerous idea I have ever heard, and the Lord Himself warns us that this is false doctrine. Joseph also warned us not to follow a man, but to only look to God for our salvation.
      Or maybe you want to follow (blindly) a man who says "1,2,3 -- Let's go shopping!"

      I will choose to follow Christ, and only Christ.

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    5. @anonymous--3:54

      You need to understand that not everyone who reads this blog is a 'follower' of Denver Snuffer.

      I have heard of him, yes. He's a latter day saint, a fellow member of the church to which I belong.

      I don't read anything I have to buy--LOL!

      I do read blog entries, but I won't read books written by LDS people; I'm wary of them.

      But I am as wary of books written by leaders of the church as I am by 'regular' members--

      I will read and consider conference reports.

      The idea that following Jesus Christ is dangerous.

      You mention people like Warren Jeffs and David Kokesh. I don't know much about David Kokesh or Jeffs, though I am aware that Jeffs is the leader of an 'offshoot' group of fundamentalists who believe in plural marriage--

      as they believe Joseph Smith did, which I don't accept.

      These people got into trouble by getting all upset over a supposed revelation John Taylor had--

      these people don't spend their time taking care of the poor or ministering to the sick and afflicted; they spend their time being polygamists.

      There is a vast difference. They are not, any of them, openly following Jesus Christ, but some men who became absorbed in plural marriage in the mid-1850s; they ARE following men, not the Savior--

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    6. Yeah, just 'follow the prophet', forget about all the constant warnings from Christ and ancient prophets and Joseph Smith about all the 'false' prophets that will arise in the Church and how everyone but a few will fall for them thinking they are 'true' prophets.

      Just pretend they never said all that, false prophets, wolves in sheep's clothing, craftiness of men....it will never happen in this Church.

      Just relax, all is well, go back to sleep, don't worry about the man behind the curtain, the thinking has been done for you, don't question, don't think, and definitely don't 'prove all things or persons', just follow and obey 'the prophet', no matter how contrary to Christ he preaches or practices.

      Delete
  9. It looks the the online missionary force has found this blog? Nice. It adds opposition that is, at least, polite. I like that.

    Bare Record, if you feel so inclined, will you make a post at some time about DS and the implications? At a time the Spirit moves you if, indeed, it does.

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    1. Hopefully the implications will not be too great, as in, many others leaving the Church as well. But that might be the "fruits" of his books. Sort of ironic, eh? When so "many" claim the books have kept them in the Church? I guess we can do the numbers when all is said and done.

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    2. Being on the "inside circle" of those who read his words and think he has something important to say, I can assure you that if he is cast out, there will Not be an outflux of members. We are not followers of Denver, but followers of Jesus Christ. We are needed in the church. We will stay as long as we are allowed to stay. We love this church. We love and care for the people of this church.
      Toni

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    3. @Toni, this is how I feel, too--

      I use the word 'follower' not to deprecate--

      it's never easy to know how to say it--

      listen to?

      I've been told by Father in Heaven to stay in the church; that's good enough for me.

      I am troubled, however, by the self-righteousness of those who seem to show satisfaction that Brother Snuffer is 'in trouble'.

      Scary people!!!

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  10. Interesting, some just can't wait to kick Denver Snuffer now that they think he's down. I have read every one of his books (yes I bought them), and listened to every talk he has given, and met him multiple times in person; and I have NEVER heard him tell anyone anything except to repent and follow Jesus Christ. Some of you weasels out there might give that some thought. Also, think about this: D&C 76:99-100 tells you where those who follow "prophets" like Paul, Apollos, Cephas, John, Moses, Elias, Esaias, Isaiah, and Enoch will end up.
    My children are also taught to sing, "follow the Savior, Follow the Savior, Follow the Savior, HE knows the way"!
    JR

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    1. Awesome, JR. I have never met him or even seen him, yet I agree with your assessment (I, also, have read all of his books, except the book based on his blog which I simply read on the blog).
      Toni

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  11. Don't call people weasels - it makes your position look weak.

    Do you have the integrity to follow Bro. Snuffer out of the Church? Because he will be out shortly.

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    1. @anonymous, 7:18--

      I made the point that I haven't 'followed' Brother Snuffer for a reason.

      You almost sound as though you are gloating over what is happening to him.

      As an unbiased observer, someone who doesn't know Brother Snuffer and who hasn't read his books, I can see that.

      You are rubbing your hands together with glee. Shameful!

      Why are you worried about someone's position looking 'weak', when you are so obviously triumphing in the possibility of something really difficult happening to a fellow human being/fellow LDS?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous 7:18, no one I know of who listens to Brother Snuffer who follows him. If he is ousted, that will have no effect on us, because we follow Christ, not a man.

      Delete
  12. "My position"? ALL men are mortal, sinful, and prone to error. If you don't believe that, read the scriptures. We are counseled throughout the scriptures to repent and COME UNTO CHRIST...end of story.
    That has been the message of DS ever since I first heard of him. I believe he is on the right course.
    I don't see anywhere in church history that leaders of the church counseled members to "follow" any man, before about 1955 that is. Before that, they repeatedly counseled members NOT to follow them because they recognized they were weak mortals, prone to error.
    As for my "position"...I admire DS because he has had the courage to state his opinions in print for the whole world to read, in spite of the obvious risk that someone at the COB might get their pantyhose in a knot. I happen to believe he is telling the truth.
    JR



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  13. @anyone who cares--

    I just realized that . . . if 7:18 is on here trying to stir things up--

    I responded in such a way that he can feel that he has succeeded.

    I'm sorry that I spoke with so much vehemence. I do believe the things I said, but I don't want to squabble with anyone, no matter what his/her convictions or motivations or weaknesses might be--

    JR, I keep thinking of the scriptures in the D&C about how (112:24,25, 26)--

    rough times are coming and will begin in "my house"--

    this could be the tip of the iceberg for some huge trials for those who are not reading their scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon) and are not praying intently.

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    1. Good points. The rough times are coming, that is for sure.

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  14. Or maybe... actually.. the Mona Lisa is a fake, and they are just telling you it's the real deal, for they know you wouldn't 'pay' to see a fake one, so they won't tell you that the 'true' Mona Lisa, the true Church, was stolen & lost over 150 years ago.

    And since you didn't live then and since you are so wonderful & trusting and follow so well without question, you believe whatever you've been told your whole life, without proving all things.

    Prove that the Mona Lisa is the real deal.

    Make them prove that they are true disciples of Christ, actually preaching & practicing his exact teachings, instead of changing them to their fancy every few years, til their 'Gospel' is completely opposite Christ's.

    Don't follow anyone just because they 'say' they have the keys and ownership to the 'real' Mona Lisa.

    Oh be wise.


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    1. That is incredibly wise. It is also incredibly offensive to those who would choose to take offense. Yet it is true. We are to find truth ourselves, not rely on someone else to tell us, "This is real."

      Delete
  15. Anyone who cares...
    I especially find this interesting in those verses: "First, among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord."

    Who do you suppose sits "in the midst of my house" in the church these days?
    JR

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  16. I don't think the LDS Church is 'the Lord's House', anymore than the RLDS or FLDS or Catholic Church is, for their founders had as much or far more right and authority to continue the true Church as did Brigham Young & Co.

    I believe the Lord's Church only exists 'spiritually' today, (for we lost it when Joseph Smith died) but it will be restored physically again in Zion.

    All those who truly believe in and follow Christ's teachings are automatically part of his Church, whatever religion they are or no religion at all.

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  17. Wow. You're away for a few days and the militants from the CoB move in on this blog to gloat over the unrighteous dominion they are finally able to exercise publicly! It saddens the heart. The restored church was never meant to include the office of Thought Police. Didn't we go through this once already with the original 19th-century advent of "home teaching"?

    Once again, the Book of Mormon is proving to be prophetic concerning the Church of the Latter-day Saints and the machinations of the "Strengthening the Members Committee": http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/35.3-6?lang=eng

    Perhaps stake presidencies will soon have one counselor assigned political commissar duty? Dossiers coming soon to a stake near you!

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  18. On a lighter note, my daughter like watching Blue's Clues. In church, she sang the song "Follow the Paw Print." I thought that version had a nice ring to it.

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