I was given a response to my blog by Mom, concerning my experience yesterday. I will share with you her advise, and my response. Each of you has to judge for yourselves what voice I responded to when choosing to bear testimony of Christ, against the restrictions of my bishop. You have plenty enough material of what I have said to you in the past, at your disposal, to make A Judgement Call.
Mom wrote me last night saying:
“This is a very interesting blog. I am not sure if you are reporting this to man or for what reason we “men” are to learn from this except for you to “expose” the bishop for what you believe was unrighteousness OR to announce to us that God speaks to you and not the bishop OR that you are just testing the bishop to see if he would carry out his written decision on the matter or not. Whatever your intent for letting everyone see you get escorted out and for announcing to everyone else who was not there to witness your public act of defiance, I believe God should not be blamed for what you did. I know Christ would never draw attention to himself in that manner nor would he have any of us do that either. Christ is perfect. He walks the walk and leaves the talk to wisdom and even silence. He is the supreme example of true forgiveness and gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned. Was your act of defiance in what you have called an imperfect church run by imperfect men – was that necessary? Please be accountable for your own actions for whatever reason you may convince yourself of – and not blame God for telling you what to do. Sorry, you, yourself proclaim agency. I believe this is a true example of you using your agency for a very different motive from God or Christ.
I love you very much, my son. You know I do. I also know you very much and want you to worship God in a way that you will draw others to Him and not draw their attention to you. I do not believe anyone – with or without your testimony- would have been drawn closer to God by your actions of defiance. Be accountable for what you do all by yourself. Understanding of the scriptures should bring others to Christ. That is the call. It should not bring others to you or to rally people to do what you say is right. That is your interpretation. We all have the same spiritual parameters in which we learn of Christ. Some, such as yourself, are more diligent than others. That does not mean God loves you more than others. If that were true, then the atonement would have been for naught.
This gospel of Jesus Christ is to lift one another. It is to leave the 99 and go out looking for the one. It is a gospel of love and not defiance. It is a gospel of obedience. It is a gospel of loving your neighbor as yourself and wanting for them what you want for yourself. The focus is having an eye single to the glory of God. If that is what we are to focus on, then we need to not focus on “ME”. Pray in secret. Do random acts of kindness anonymously. Love your fellow man. Respect.
I love God. I love Christ. The more I learn of them, the more I love them. I know that this is the message you have always brought home to us when you admonish us to read our scriptures. We are in awe at your understanding of the scriptures and the background you have learned about it through the records of man. You add a wonderful dimension to our understanding as well. Give us time to catch up to your understanding as we investigate the scriptures our selves. Allow us our agency – including the bishop- so that we may grow with Christ. He loves us. We love Him. We love you. Love, Mom.
I responded to her this way:
“Although I could see this as being kicked when I am down, I cannot, as I am not down. You have judged my actions as defiance. As a boy, you have taught me to seek the spirit. I have developed the skill of doing just that. But, since the spirit has instructed me to do differently than you understand, you claim I follow the wrong spirit. That is Haole: Being required to look, do, and act like you, or be wrong!
Christ was lifted up upon the cross, and persecuted as the most dramatic persecution available in His day. It was public. It was not private. It was meant for all who agreed with the persecutors to express who they chose to follow. The Facebook posts at his day would sound similar to your response to me today, knocking Him down for following the instructions of His father. I’ll take that.
Christ’s triumph was not public. Gethsemane was private. The resurrection of Christ was private. Only His humiliation was public. Christ could have stopped the condemnation of man, just as I did not have to bear testimony yesterday. But I will follow the example of Christ by doing the will of the father in all things.
Saying to me that you love me does little when compared to not reasoning with me. You tell me to be patient with you, as if I haven’t been working with you for the last ten years. I admit I have made mistakes. However, I have not lost one ounce of hope. Not for you, my family, or the bishop.
The actions that I have taken, that got me in trouble, are in cooperation with the bishop. I declared a full tithe (which I still am worthy of saying). I participated by sharing my testimony in class of Christ (not following in the arm of flesh, which they adamantly teach there). I have studied the scriptures and shared my testimony of Christ, without compulsion, at all opportunities. I have never threatened a soul that they’re salvation is destroyed if they don’t follow me, as the bishop did to me. I have used persuasion, even when I was reprimanded. Just as with Christ’s crucifixion, you must judge who it is being cast-out here: a thief, or a Son of God. I claim, like Christ, the latter. All acceptable sacrifices are only acceptable when they are a type and a shadow of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. I proclaim that my master is Christ alone!
Conclusion: Since my testimony yesterday, I was informed that the wolves are out of their sheep skin. No one will ever question the actions of the leaders wearing sheep’s clothing, but even Mom will cuddle up to their choices as a follower of a man, in the condemnation of her son, whom she confesses “knows the scriptures.” Keep in mind that I was accused of apostasy for:
- Paying tithes without taking credit (anonymously)
- Following Christ alone, and not the prophet/stake president/and bishop (arms of flesh)
Neither of these counts are acceptable accounts of apostasy. In fact, they are examples of the believers. Although I follow no man, I am well known, by all of you, to pay close attention to the words of the leaders. Many who have accused me of back talking the leaders choose to ignore them, fall asleep when they speak, and never take their advise themselves.
I have multiple reasons that they could have levied against me in the past, and be completely justifiable, like: spousal abuse, child abuse, and business fraud. But, on each count I have repented, paid the price to all necessary parties (including the government), and fully repaired those damages to the victims, the state, and my parents for the loss of their monies. I am an innocent man, and my accusers must exercise their agency to judge me as they see fit. It will serve to prove me, prove them, and prove you.
It is upon you to judge me. You have known me as a boy, and that was unimpressive. Mom seems to see me as that boy. But I am not that boy. So, you must judge me as the man you know now. Judge wisely, for your judgements will weigh heavily in your life’s balance because what I speak is the truth.