I have recently been informed that http://www.treeoflife221.com has created a buzz in social media, both good and bad. I am responsible for one of the two existing funding sites, requiring me to address some of the concerns. I know that many of you disagree with what I am doing, if you can put aside your defensive traditions for a moment, to hear the experience, there is truth to be had here to help you learn to “Exercise Faith.”
Some of the negative comments that have been expressed includes opinions matching Mom’s. “That’s crazy! Are we required to trust another man with our tithes and not be informed of how it is used, when it is used, or why it is used?” These sum up most of the negative responses. Some of the temple fund supporters, on social media, have ridiculed others who chose to withhold their support, in order to ask responsible questions regarding the use of the tithes, as having no faith. As I am not involved in social media, these are reports that have been expressed to me, by people who have called me directly, asking for clarity. The popular concern is, who gave you permission to do this in the first place?
My response is the same as I said to Mom, that I completely agree, it does sound crazy, but I was given my instruction by God. It sounds crazy to build an ark when there was no rain; to walk through the Red sea on dry ground; to build a ship and sail to a promised land, being guided by a curious ball as a compass; or to have God touch sixteen stones to produce light for a journey on the ocean, with only the winds and the currents to lead them. All of it sounds crazy because this has not been considered before, and we are unfamiliar with the hand of God. However, for those who had a foundational understanding, it was possible, although to most it seemed improbable. When God leads out by instruction, those who act on His instruction will be able to sacrifice all things and Exercise Faith unto life and salvation (Lectures on Faith). Mom, although she has taught us since we were kids that she would live to be twinkled and live in Zion, she has expressed the same impossibility and improbability reasoning, regarding my involvement in establishing Zion. I totally understand, but despite the opinions, we are all required to judge the matter. If it is not of God, you must KNOW IT, and not follow men. If it is of God, you must KNOW IT, and follow God. Your day of judgement is about KNOWING God, and not following another man.
I am responsible for one of the two existing funding sites, requiring me to address some of the concerns. In response to a recent caller, I relayed the story of the early saints failure in Nauvoo, and expressed that we may make mistakes, but rather than making the same mistakes, it would be wiser to learn from old mistakes, and make new ones.
The early saints in Nauvoo were given commandment to build a temple in sufficient time (D&C 124). However, they didn’t have financial means to pay for it, so rather than sacrificing money (which they had none), they placed on the altar their labor instead. A crew was sent North to cut and mill wood for construction (no Home Depot credit, with zero down, zero payment for 24 months, poor souls). They floated the pre-cut lumber down the river to the temple site, so the men building could construct the temple. It was a good plan, until human nature crept in.
What ended up happening was: Out of the crew in the North, who were cutting, milling, and sending the wood down river, there were only a few who would work hard, while the others drug their feet and consumed a heavy portion of the food rations. The work became unevenly distributed, and frustration broke out by those who worked hard, against those who burned through the resources without working much. To make things worse, when the lumber arrived for the temple, some men felt they deserved to use some of the lumber for their own home renovations, and helped themselves, stealing the materials for the temple for their personal use and gain. The temple was intended to have three stories, but after years of work, they only completed the first level, being distracted by their own money making efforts, before Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed.
So, rather then making the same mistake, we have chosen to implement a different approach to prepare to build a temple. As money is more available today then it was in Nauvoo, the option to send money was offered to all who felt impressed to do so. To avoid repeating the problem of theft, only two funds are currently set up to receive monies, and people can exercise agency to choose to give (or not give), but not have access to steal. When the funds are used, it will be done without notice, but a full accounting of every cent spent will be kept for future scrutiny, once the efforts are complete. Not only does that remove the immediate temptation for theft, it also addresses the abuse of land speculators to buy land, intending to profit from the increase of property values, and protects the temple from intrusion of outside parties seeking to thwart the effort.
I expressed to the caller that we have designed this method of funding so that the only question remains is, “Do you trust me?” I added, “To be honest, I don’t see how a total stranger could trust me at all, as you know nothing about me. And if you knew something about me, it may give you even more reason NOT to trust me, depending on your perception. As my Mom’s perception is negative towards my efforts, I can’t see how a total stranger could see me in a more positive light than my own mother.” I finished the conversation by saying, “As I am a complete stranger to you, you are required to ask the Lord if these things are true, with a sincere heart and real intent. You are in position to NOT be able to properly judge me, and must depend on wether or not you can recognize the voice of the Lord in what I offer. If you do recognize the Lord’s voice in what I have offered, then Exercise Faith and contribute. If you don’t, then Exercise Faith and refuse to contribute. You are only judged by your ability to hear the voice of the Lord and Exercise Faith.” I wished him good luck with his choice.
Conclusion: I know that many of you disagree with what I am doing. I remain true to my blog’s intentions, by emphasizing the absolute necessity for you to take scripture study seriously NOW, while the waters of Shiloh are gentle. Drinking from the waters of Shiloh is easy when it is gentle. When the waters of Shiloh are flooding, drinking then is equivalent to drowning!
Serious scripture study is intended to familiarize you with the voice of the Lord. When you are familiar with the voice of the Lord, only then can you properly Exercise Faith. However, failure to study will project your inability to know the voice of the Lord, and your failure to Exercise Faith unto life and salvation. You will not be able to endure to the end, and your sacrifices will not be accepted; meaning, it will not reflect the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son, as all acceptable sacrifices do. Have Faith, Be Believing, Study the Words of Christ.