Downloadable PDF of this paper
To all the newly formed covenant family of God on the earth,
We feel to rejoice and are grateful to the Lord! We are filled with His Love for all our fellow brothers and sisters. We have covenanted with the Lord to “assist all others who covenant…“ To that end we write—by way of testimony and by way of invitation. The Lord God Almighty has made us FREE and we are all equal as partakers of the covenant. Let us be free and equal brothers and sisters indeed!
With great hopes to fulfill the commandment of the Lord (for a Guide and Standard to be adopted by the mutual agreement of His people) a plan has been laid out most recently by several members of our newly formed family. We see that this has caused rejoicings, but unfortunately, also mournings. It is our hope to demonstrate that we are all free to rejoice in that work the Lord desires of us. We choose not to contend nor accuse. We choose to INVITE and we choose to aid and assist our family. How better might we aid our family than by declaring light and truth to make their burdens ‘light,’ to remind them of their equality together and their freedom granted by God! We are grateful to see the zeal and desires of our brothers and sisters in seeking to fulfill the Lord’s commands. We do not want to destroy their work, their plans, or their HOPE. We want all to recognize and hope all will seek to uphold the freedom before God to act according to the dictates of each their own conscience.
This invitation comes with hopes to add to, and inform, all our brothers and sisters. This information comes by way of our respectful disagreement concerning several aspects of the newly presented ‘path forward’ laid out in the recent posts on totheremnant.com. We think it a noble thing to lay out a bold plan for mutual agreement that has the prospect of including agreement among 100% of the family (we will revisit this concept in a moment). Our disagreement arises when that plan is presented in a way that inadvertently captures everyone and compels them to respond to the Lord’s commands through what may be perceived as only this new method. There are many who had already chosen to fulfill the Lord’s command by means of the vote ‘expressing [their] understanding of His will’ (scriptures committee update 6.18.2017) and they are perhaps led to believe the new ‘path forward’ is the only way to fulfill the Lord’s commands. This is simply not true and is an unfortunate side effect of our current situation. We are here to declare (remind) that all are free to choose how to fulfill the Lord’s commands (be that the new plan, this reminder you are now reading, or any other plan)!
So how did we get here in this situation? We believe that history is a gift to us, if we can learn from it. So perhaps we should stir [ourselves] up in remembrance (http://scriptures.info/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/4.1#1) and recall this history in as objective a manner as we are able—according to our knowledge (being composed by several family members who participated in every aspect of the process from the beginning, including contributions from individuals at all levels of participation).
- In the beginning (well the ‘GP’ beginning anyway)…The original concept of a GP (Governing Principles) document was made known to the body in March by a general publication prepared and presented by the Scriptures Committee and by the Lord’s servant David. It was placed into the draft version of the Restoration Edition of the scriptures and was apparently placed there because they thought the assignment was complete. Even David declared, “Then there was another problem that Jeff Savage was assigned to address. He and I spoke for about an hour and forty-five minutes to review the history, scriptures and solution. But it was his assignment, not mine. Therefore, he needed to compose the document for the project. It was clear in his mind, he wrote it, and he actually wrote it up in a way that was better than how I would have written it. If I write something, my wife edits it, and she cuts out words all the time to make what I write more compact and clear. The one who received an assignment from the committee has his name on “A Prophet’s Prerogative” because he wrote it. He did not just freelance. It was done with a lot of discussion and understanding preceding it. It is also the practice of the committee to reach unanimous agreement on any issue before a decision is made. Therefore although there is one name on the document, it has the unanimous support of those who are working on the project.” (Things that keep us awake at night – Page 21, emphasis added)
- Several people were distressed by this inclusion (some declaring ‘who the hell is Jeff Savage!?’).
- The discussion resulted in the GP being placed on Scripture Committee’s submissions list for greater discussion by the body of believers.
- On April 30, 2017 an invitation was extended to all the fellowships who felt impressed to send a representative for a meeting in early June. The invitation was clear and demonstrated from the beginning that, among other factors, “One purpose of this document is to assist new converts to get the basics right. These individuals will come from various ideologies and regions of the world, without a basis in the LDS tradition, and will therefore be greatly benefitted by a set of principles to assist them as they begin this journey.” (This is important because of statements made in the section called ‘Audience’ from Part 2 on totheremnant.com)
- Another important factor requested was, “the representative should have the fellowships’ confidence to make a decision and a heart willing to submit to the group’s decision rather than control the discussion or the outcome (2 Nephi 9:28-29).” This is also echoed in the Lord’s opening lines of His Answer, “For there are those who are humble, patient and easily persuaded.”
- The June 10th Meeting – there was intense preparation by many, with time and solemn and ponderous thoughts. (Started with about 38 present, 20 men and 18 women and some online. Ended with about 20 still present)
- As an introduction, by our understanding, Jeff Savage felt he received inspired instructions to pattern this process after the U.S. Constitutional Convention.
- An email chain was established and open to all for the easy exchange of information.
- Different new documents were addressed along side the original GP from March
- Many studied the Constitutional Apostasy talk from Denver Snuffer by invitation from Jeff Savage.
- There was a vote taken on a base document to use as a starting place, the choice was unanimous that the original GP be selected as the base document (note: only 16 voted, and at least some didn’t vote because they joined the discussion late).
- Some others offered additional new GP documents even after the vote was completed. The last document was shared about 12 hours before the meeting. Ironically one of these last documents was the only one that was requested to be put up along side the selected base document during the meeting and that without such representation the author would regretfully withdraw from the meeting. After discussion and persuasion the document was not put up but was suggested to be used as a reference to help with base document editing. The author expressed feeling ‘heard’ and agreed to proceed with the group. That same author then withdrew from the meeting shortly after anyway expressing prior commitments (the group was only halfway through the first page of editing). This was unfortunate as the history will bear out.
- At the meeting we began together by partaking of the sacrament and inviting the Lord’s spirit.
- Subsequently, there were several views expressed about this labor before the assembled ‘delegates’, even from a group who could not be present to be represented but sent a letter which was read during the first round of discussion and was considered along side the views of those present.
- The meeting went much longer than anyone foresaw (about 12 hours) and by the end only half of the ‘delegates’ remained.
- This remaining group labored with all diligence in the spirit to come to mutual agreement ending with a plea to the Lord for His correction and/or acceptance of this mutual labor. There were none who felt dis-ease over the end product. And no more inspiration came to correct or amend anything. The group broke with rejoicings and great relief for the unity achieved.
- After effects:
- Though many testimonies were born of the experience some who were not present did not either believe or accept the outcome and testimonies. Eventually the cry of it being unacceptable because, among other ideas, these are ‘not my words’ was often heard.
- It is noteworthy that all the disunity claimed only arose after the meeting and by those not present.
- Among those was the same author. This author later met with Jeff and from that meeting a new attempt at the document was deemed necessary so that all might have another opportunity at the unity found by the group June 10th.
- Much discussion ensued leading up to the new meeting.
- The July 2, 2017 meeting – the same level of diligence and preparation went into this meeting though it was determined we would start anew. (36 were present equal men and women and a few online)
- The day began with a group baptism service with the desire to cleanse us and our hearts and prepare us for the days labors. Many came and participated in this and were greatly united through it.
- The sacrament was administered and a lengthy prayer was experienced wherein many added their voice to plead for God’s divine guidance.
- The discussion ensued about what the document should or should not contain/look like. There were many passionate pleas throughout the day and the group assembled themselves by the voice of God to them into smaller sub groups to discuss specific areas of the document pertaining to their desires to contribute. The meeting lasted throughout the day, past the evening and into the wee morning hours.
- During this meeting many new and miraculous revelations were given to whole groups of delegates including the preamble, the standard for all fellowships, and the added section on reconciliation. Not all experienced the same thing and we were required to assemble the broken parts together.
- The meeting ended in a tired and tentative mutual agreement and acknowledgement was made that the labor then was still not finished. Assignments were made to finish and the group closed with as powerful a plea as we could muster together after almost 20 hours of continuous labor. No other corrections or alterations were inspired to be necessary at the time.
- After effects
- Almost immediately dissensions began among those present the day before as well as an increase among those who again were not present.
- This made the unity achieved the night before unlikely to have been as genuine as on June 10.
- Failure seemed imminent and resulted in a ‘Prayer for Covenant’ on July 23 that plead “Despite three attempts by representatives of twenty-three fellowships there remains disputes and no agreed statement of principles has been composed and accepted by the people, as you directed. Forgive those who have worked unsuccessfully. I ask that you look at the earnest desires of those involved and forgive this failure. I would ask that we not be required to provide a statement of principles, but the people be left to govern themselves according to their varying circumstances, needs and desires.” (Prayer for Covenant – page 5, emphasis added
Important sidenotes here:
- Three attempts? Is it possible after two meetings the three failed attempts is including the very first original GP document produced by Jeff Savage and declared by David to be ‘better than how I would have written it’? Perhaps this use of three attempts here is what has led some to believe all the meetings were failures the only problem is the August 5th meeting took place after both the Prayer and the Answer were given. So it cannot be considered to be one of the three ‘failures’ prayed about. In fact, regarding the draft scriptures which included the GP, the Lord’s Servant declared, “He approves the proposal to present this to an assembly of gentiles in September for approval as a law and covenant. If this work does not accomplish what is required, then others will need to accomplish it at some future date.”
- What does this mean? Would the Lord have accepted the work had it been written “lesser” by David? Does this mean the document is the problem? What does it mean the attempts were ‘worked unsuccessfully’? Was the problem more centered around the ‘disputes’ and lack of agreement ’accepted by the people’? When the Lord offered the covenant in four questions did we dispute over that? Are we disputing over what the Lord offered to the body through Jeff? Or what He offered through the inspired and directed mutual agreement of the delegates? Could any of the documents have been accepted by the Lord? Is it possible that the unsuccessful labors then are the groups failure to persuade the body to accept any of these documents by their own disputes and refusal to accept any of these documents? How might the delegates be best persuaded to accept a document? Would not their own example of unity have been the best sermon? Has not being one made the document not His or the people not His? How then do we get His approval? CAN WE CHOOSE TO BE ONE?
- Tensions were high and though the Lord’s servant David was petitioning for release from the labor no one wanted to let this stand as a failure.
- A third meeting was then deemed strongly desired. And discussions headed that way
- The email chain had now grown, not in size but volume of communications, to hundreds of emails and the process was becoming cumbersome and exhausting.
- July 29, 2017 The Answer is received from God.
- We are not excused as a people.
- We are condemned as a people for behaving like Satan.
- Alarmingly, while some are reduced to the dust over the rebuke, others while declaring desires to repent increase in abuses, accusations, hurtful and unkind communication.
- During this time an initial vote over selecting a GP to present to the Lord had resulted in the body selecting as its top two documents for the runoff vote as the original followed by the June 10th document.
- The August 5, 2017 meeting –
- The awful cycle of contention continues as the third meeting approaches and how to proceed is almost beyond reach.
- The email discussions continue. Just as all hope is about exhausted the group, perhaps with a fair amount of desperation, gives the assignment for producing a new document back to Jeff Savage determining that the assignment was always his and the delegates were just supposed to help. This was one of the most united (even unanimous) decisions we reached in this group.
- Only two days before the meeting and mere hours after the massive email discussion reaches this resolution, The original group of 30+ delegates are confusingly joined by more than 70 new participants (all said they were from a shared email group and none had participated in any of the prior efforts) with little to no explanation as to how or why.
- Jeff retreats to the mountains to petition the Lord on how to proceed and for guidance considering all viewpoints to date to compose a new base document to work with.
- Even more ‘new’ alternate GP documents (now called the Guide and Standard, or ‘G&S’ for short, according to the word of the Lord in The Answer) are produced as people never before involved demonstrate real concern over the potential loss of a covenant. There are at this point dozens of alternate ‘Guides and Standards.’
- One prominent guide offered is backed by many and is expressed as a desire for it to be used as the final G&S.
- As the meeting begins many of the original group of self selected and fellowship-elected delegates are uneasy and upset at the disruption and unbalanced collection caused by so many newly self selected representatives.
- About 33 or so were present, with another approximate 14 online, composed of mostly new people and missing several others from the original group of delegates.
- The meeting begins with the sacrament and with a lengthy speech that was not very well received and many felt it was unnecessary and unappreciated.
- Then a large prayer circle (hand in hand) was offered and voiced by several participants
- The newly created document was read all the way through followed by a quick listing of everyones points of concern so that we could revisit each in turn.
- Somewhere along these lines the press showed up though most of us had no idea they were coming.
- As the process of addressing concerns progressed there was powerful discussion and emotion on various sides of various issues. However, the Lord wrought a great change in our hearts to overcome all of these challenges and all animosity and frustration was dispelled by His power.
- The meeting ended with prayer and rejoicings (even a shout of Hallelujah three times)
- The meeting lasted 5 hours and the group was pressed to finish due to time restrictions on the room reservation.
- Many sacrifices were made by all for the sake of unity though the group gave every effort as in all prior attempts to make it doctrinally and principally sound.
- Mutual agreement was reached by all and discussion was consciously taken to recognize and accept this labor not only today but going forward as well.
- After the meeting, testimony was born to the body of believers via the Scriptures Committee update (August 7th).
- The body of believers who freely supported and upheld their brothers and sisters through their faith then took a vote; in other words a testimony was born from them in the form of a vote.
- During the week of voting opposition increased and the August 5th G&S was decried by some as full of errors.
- The Scriptures Committee offered a means to have the errors expressed and said in their August 9, 2017 update, “If it is demonstrated that there are indeed error(s)/false statement(s) in the Guide and Standard, not just differences of opinion or perspective, then they do need to be corrected. The voting on the problem document will then be halted and the problems fixed. The vote will be run over again, this time for the corrected document.”
- The vote was never halted, nor a new vote proposed or run.
- Does this verify that the scriptures committee had reviewed and responded that there were no doctrinal flaws in the document?
- Only after some persuasion were the expressed errors even identified. Yet even after that no one felt to make a single change or stop the vote.
- The vote, or in other words the testimony was born from the body of believers in the form of a vote that concluded with 91% of believers offering their acceptance (in spite of the weak and flawed document created and united over).
- Many thought the work complete and bore testimony of such to their fellowships; some even asking to be removed from the email chain and expressed that they felt their work was complete.
- On August 13, 2017 the Scriptures Committee posted the following: “Because the final meeting of the Guide and Standard group provided an open invitation to any and all people to participate, those not participating did so voluntarily and by default, accepted the work of those participating. That openness was done to meet the requirement given by the Lord that it be written by the people. It is not the place of the scriptures committee to govern. This general assembly is a body of equals. There are efforts underway to develop an alternate statement of principles. Our committee does not claim any authority to permit or deny any such effort. Just as anyone can call a conference, so any group can undertake an endeavor that impacts many fellowships. That endeavor owns the responsibility to persuade the general assembly to accept that effort. This committee is willing to offer any reasonable help. It is clear from feedback that the current version of the Guide and Standard is not perfect. It can probably be improved. The Governing Principles group gave Jeff Savage authority over wording in the document. Those who feel strongly that the Guide and Standard language should be reworked will be invited to meet in Boise for a discussion of that effort.” (Emphasis added)
- So that is where the progress stopped, even though many thought the labor was done and that the process would go forward to present the August 5th G&S to the Lord for His approval or correction before the Boise conference on September 2-3, 2017.
- To our understanding, it was never presented to the Lord.
- At Boise the Lord’s servant David lamented in his opening remarks, “I have been ashamed of us because of recent events. Subsequent to the Lord’s Answer, we have continued to be quarrelsome, bickering and unkind to one another to such a degree we certainly must offend the Lord. I thought God would be so disappointed with us that it was wrong to proceed and therefore I prayed to call this off. To my surprise Lord did not expect us to do things right at first. He expects us to learn how to do things right. Failure is part of learning.” (Emphasis added)
- To our knowledge, no general meeting occurred at the Boise conference and in the days that followed the conference it appeared that no one knew what else to do so they have waited on the new discussions already underway in a variety of mediums.
- Then a new ‘path forward’ was presented (see ‘Statements and Principles’ in 3 parts on totherremnant.com)
- It seems that most everyone now begins to file in line to prepare for the new work, trusting the source of this new path as the only option, praying to be actually able to complete the work.
- Now we are reminding everyone of their agency before God that they are free to plead for their testimony to be received and their work be presented to the Lord without further worry or need for hesitation.
Having considered all this history it is interesting to note: All the failures were not in or at the meetings nor with any of the documents divinely assisted (in spite of the various human flaws demonstrated). The perceived or real failure always only occurred after the meeting and after the document was done. Unfortunately it was most often through individuals who were never present or only partially participated, and apparently could not accept what was done.
This suggests to our minds that the failure the Lord addresses is correct in not mentioning a document for reproach, but only mentioned the heart. Is He referring to the hearts of those who would not be persuaded of the actual unity achieved and sought to divide and destroy that work seeking only for items to declare as erroneous? How do we discern it? It seemed that while considering their genuine pleas the majority were not persuaded by any of the new plans or alternate documents or by any of the declarations of errors. We were not. The only thing left to do for those who disagreed was to stop the process altogether and redefine the terms the Lord laid out. All are free to do that. But in like manner we are free to persist in the labor we are convinced fulfills the commands of the Lord according to His requirements.
We have been counseled, “We cannot allow ourselves to be drawn in to inequality when the result of this labor is to make us one body, equal with one another.” (Boise Conference Address – Opening Remarks – page 6, emphasis added). We wonder… if one “little person” (unknown, unattractive personality) had expressed similar concerns about the document, would that have been enough to halt the process of petitioning the Lord regarding the August 5th G&S? Is this inequality? Is it happening to us now? One hallmark of prophetic statements is we are counseled against something precisely because we are about to do that thing. So we don’t ask IF we are doing this thing, we ask ourselves HOW are we doing this thing? Then we repent of it. This paper is part of that repentance.
So after the silence on scriptures.info (historically the source of all scripture related information for the body of believers) since the conference, has come a new ‘path forward’ from totheremnant.com. However, a big problem with this is that it does not address those who are not persuaded the new proposed ‘path forward’ will fulfill the Lord’s commands any better than the work already accomplished. In fact, we are of the belief that it has a very real possibility (in spite of allowing all to participate and be ’heard’) of removing and/or drastically reducing the required elements that will stand “to bless, benefit and inform them” [the lost sheep remnants].
We are of the belief and testify to the same that the August 5th document, in spite of its many weaknesses, is acceptable to Him to fulfill His commandments to us and His purposes.
It is part of a living, beautiful chiasmus and a demonstration of the scripture, “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”
- It begins with a lament from Moroni, one of the lost sheep remnant prophets on this land, “And it is by faith that my fathers have obtained the promise that these things should come unto their brethren through the Gentiles. Therefore the Lord hath commanded me, yea, even Jesus Christ. And I said unto him, Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord, thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing. For thou hast made all this people that they could speak much because of the Holy Ghost, which thou hast given them. And thou hast made us that we could write but little because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty, even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them. Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them. Wherefore, when we write, we behold our weakness and stumble because of the placing of our words. And I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.”
- Answered by the Lord, “Fools mock, but they shall mourn. And my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness. And if men come unto me, I will shew unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble. And my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me. For if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will shew unto the Gentiles their weakness. And I will shew unto them that faith, hope, and charity bringeth unto me, the fountain of all righteousness.”
- Then continued in The Answer from the Lord, “You are not excused from writing a statement of principles that I have required at your hands. I forbade my servant David from participating, and again forbid him. But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, for if you cannot do so you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands. When you have an agreed statement of principles I require it to also be added as a guide and standard for my people to follow. Remember there are others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them—so I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you. Do not murmur saying, Too much has been required at our hands in too short a time. If your hearts were right it was a light thing I have asked. You hinder and delay and then you say I require too much of you and do not allow you time, when, if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves you could have finished this work long ago. Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required.”
- Ending with a gentile mourning to Him, Therefore the Lord has commanded us, yes, even Jesus Christ. And we cry unto him, Lord, the remnants of your people will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord, you have not yet made us mighty in word by faith, much less have you made us mighty in writing. For we tend to reject those that speak much by the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which you have given them. And you have made us that we write awkwardly because of the confounding of our fallen language. Behold, you have not made us mighty in writing as contained in the Book of Mormon, for you have made that the things which they wrote were mighty, even to the bringing of us unto you. Wherefore, when we write, we behold our awful weakness and stumble because of the placing of our words. And we fear lest the remnants of your people will mock at our words!…
We hunger to know the response of the Lord to us in this thing which He has commanded! His Answer (words to us) lies at the center of this simple chiasmus. Will He make our weak effort strong? How will we know if we never ask Him for His acceptance of the labors already completed? We must finish the work of getting our hearts right by offering our acceptance of it to Him! He has witnessed to us many times throughout the process that this work done with our hearts right before Him will be acceptable to Him. We desire to be faithful to Him and offer our labors completed as mutually agreed upon with as best an understanding of the Answer as we currently have. The August 5th G&S is kind. It contains wise words (and in the future hopefully much more will be restored/added to it). When the G&S has the Lord’s acceptance, it necessarily will be a blessing and a benefit to inform the lost sheep remnants of this land and of Israel.
It has and does meet the standard of mutual agreement as set by our Lord. Everyone has been afforded every opportunity to express their sentiments and participate and be heard, even if not every suggestion was implemented. The light thing then is to actually mutually agree, but we have no fear presenting it to Him. The Lord has no problem offering corrections (as demonstrated with His acceptance of the restored scriptures). Do we trust the Lord to make some corrections? Though we desire with all of our heart to have mutual agreement with all of our brothers and sisters in His newly formed family we recognize this may not be likely, or even possible, at this stage of His people’s journey. We do not believe He requires and can only accept a statement containing principles that are only retrieved from 100% of all His people to create mutual agreement. We believe the required mutual agreement exists between all who mutually agree with the Lord. If mutual agreement must include only things that all men and women agree on then every individual is bound to the will of men and women alone. This curtails agency and destroys equality by forcing an individual to be restricted from accepting something they see as His mind and will if even one other individual disagrees. Must we then be forced to submit to the will of another when God speaks through one of His servants and one brother or one sister rejects it? This feels like dangerous ground. All must be free to seek the Lord’s will so as to agree to it. No one is then curtailed in their individual choice. Agency is preserved and it is then left to God alone to gather out from those who actually do hear his voice all those who are faithful to Him and are not deceived. When the term mutual agreement is redefined so as to only accept a compelled agreement where every man and woman is given effective veto power over any true principle or word of God then inequality is subtly introduced, even unconsciously. We must not be drawn into inequality. The scriptures call it being brought down into captivity by a flaxen cord. All under the guise of freedom and the banner of agency. When the new document is completed and everyone is left without many of the Lord’s most precious principles it will result in captivity indeed. The blessing might instead be cursing, wrath and indignation by our own follies and our vain ambitions. We will be unable to hear the voice of God precisely because we will have rejected it in trade for the opinion poll of men and women.
“Businessmen cannot remedy a spiritual illness. [His people do] not need good marketing. Indeed [His people should grow] the most as an overall percentage of growth, when it boldly proclaim[s] a new doctrine, a new revelation from heaven, and [they will suffer] the indignity and criticism of the entire world…That was how the truth should always be spread. Not by aligning with the world and employing its methods, but by proclaiming the truth and rejecting the world.
We’ve been using more and more of the same failed business marketing approach to try and smooth out the message and deliver it more agreeably to the [body of believers]. That will NOT attract those seeking the truth. We must not blend in, but must stick out. Doing more of this marketing and social-science driven management will lead to less: Less activity. Less retention. Less tithing. Less membership. Less success. It needs to reverse.” (DS blog – submission to church – January 20,2012 – Emphasis added)
There is only one way for this new ‘path forward’ to succeed that we can see, and that is that every single man and woman of the covenant all declare with the same voice the words of God. If any individual rejects one of these things under this plan then we have demonstrated that our will is more important than His. That can only result in loss. Only God can decide how much of a loss will be experienced to bring us to repentance.
Defining terms is tricky because if I define a term and declare it to be true and the reality is I am in error then I am a liar and I have now covenanted to repent from all my lyings…so I hesitate to define for anyone else what ‘mutual agreement’ must mean, what a statement of principles must mean. We like to use the scriptures in hopes the Lord will define things for us. For example “May those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, viz. the constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established for ever.” (T&C 123:16) Here we see the Lord equate principles to the constitution of our land. Does the constitution of our land bless, benefit and inform us (and others who come to it from locations near and far)? Did every state agree on every word in this lengthy document? Did He still accept and defend what they wrote as inspired of Him? What would that document have resulted in if it were simply the least common denominator that 100% (not just 100% of the delegates, but 100% of the entire nation!) could agree upon? Are the principles in the constitution so eternal that the way they are written can never change? We feel to be more careful about narrowly defining terms such as principles and mutual agreement. The constitution itself may not have brought about Zion, but it did lay a foundation for it by opening the door to the Restoration. We should learn from its lessons and go forward, not backward.
How do we know that the Lord doesn’t define mutual agreement as those who agree with Him? And if so and a document is ‘inspired’ (as almost all have claimed the original GP to be as well as the other documents with their labors to be also inspired) then to mutually agree would be to accept what He inspired? Wouldn’t we then be in agreement with Him? Why would I prefer to be in agreement with men? I desire to be free to choose agreement with Him! Allowing the veto power of any other man or woman to determine my personal agreement with God is nothing short of Satan’s method. The new method is nothing more than the mutual agreement of men and women, when instead we proclaim it should be the mutual agreement of men and women with God! All we have to do is ask God, “is this yours?” If so then choose to agree.
Much of this comes down to recognizing His voice. A skill we personally feel we need to greatly and continually increase in. One of the problems we see with the new ‘path forward’ is that it will completely eliminate the voice of God in the document. Even if the principle is preserved it is highly unlikely the revelations that were received in the composition of the original will be preserved enough to distinguish them. This creates a far more troubling problem than simply rewording the revelation so all can agree on it. It denies the gifts of God. It will stand to curse the lost sheep remnant of this land and of Israel because they will never see— not only what God has spoken but what He is now speaking and THAT he is now speaking. If we remove the voice of God we will end up with what the scriptures call the form of godliness (e.g., the information) but denies the power thereof (e.g., demonstration of His presence in the gifts). Is it possible and necessary that each of us can receive an assignment and be able to support another in an assignment without pride, jealousy, and fear?
The Lord has constantly declared that this journey is incremental. We cannot get to Zion in one step. Should we begin as a people to accept the gifts of God if we expect to take more steps toward Zion? Only then will we one day actually arrive at 100% mutual agreement of all His people because all will be like Him and know Him. This is the same in almost every principle. It must start small then be expanded upon. One cannot be expected to simply come and live consecration immediately. They are invited to practice (love that term) with tithing first. Every principle is obtained by ascending in degrees, most especially the path to God.
In revisiting mutual agreement, we believe the concept of total mutual agreement as described in the recent posts on totheremnant.com is a noble and true principle. However, it occurs to us that if it is a true principle that the only way for men and women to fully unite with one another is to unite with the Lord, then the diagram represented on the blog depicts a group of individuals who have entered the Lord’s presence and been ministered to by Him. Only He can set us all straight, then we will see eye to eye. Perhaps only inasmuch as a group of people are connected with the Holy Spirit (or the mind and will of God) can that group be united as one. We believe we are far too young as a people and have far too much to yet repent of to be that connected, else perhaps Zion would already exist. It occurs to us that though the idea of that kind of mutual agreement is a true and noble principle, it is upside down to expect that level of agreement on the first group assignment. We hope, though, for that to increase as we progress together.
Within the concept of obtaining mutual agreement by only accepting what is common among 100% is embedded the very real power of veto as mentioned before. It gives every member equal power (which is good). The problem arises then when a people are not aligned significantly with the mind and will of God (as has been demonstrated to be the case among His people today). What this power demonstrates is what is really in our heart. You see among a Zion (Christ-like!?) group given the power of veto for any true principle one thing that proves they are Zion-like is that they will refuse to use that power EVER to hold another hostage. An ungodly people will use it against one another every time. Do you trust this people to be significantly godly at this stage of our journey to not hold you hostage and force agreement to their will by rejecting anything you present that may be from God? You see its not the document produced that is the more important question here, it is the process of HOW the mutual agreement is obtained. The process is every bit, if not more, important than the product. This is a subtle tool of the devil to proclaim to us freedom and unity and every voice gets equal standing (all godly things) all while implementing those things by compulsion that is only discovered at the end of the process. After all the hopeful and godly submissions are entered in by the group. Then by your voluntary participation which gives consent to the now mutually agreed upon ‘rules’ of the process, everything that does not meet the prescribed parameters will be pruned away until the bush is perfectly level (and about two inches tall). All the lofty principles of revelation that are necessary to bring in the lost sheep remnant will be reduced to a mere form of godliness but contain no power to redeem. It will be more insufficient that any weak offering given yet. This is what is now taking place all under the guise of it being a beautiful and godly thing for us all to unite under the Lord and to present such a gift when, in reality, we present a gift made by the cunning and ambitions of misguided men and women to overthrow anything that does not please them, because their plans were not accepted and their persuasions were not convincing they found a way to demand control all while believing no control at all, (%100 agreement). This is a type of the war in heaven and the subtleties of Satan. We only know this because we have seen Satan effecting his plan from the beginning of this process and watched Satan fight for it at all costs. Then he found a way through the redefining of mutual agreement to mean 100%. After that definition is given no other option was possible and agency was curtailed just as Satan hoped it would be. This has nothing to do with labeling or accusing ANYONE in this movement. Just as Christ in His wisdom invites us to do His will. Satan in his cunning will take over and subvert any plan he can if we allow him to. We are all equally vulnerable to the same deceptions and weakness. This very reminder could be used the same way. We MUST approach God to know from Him the truth of the matter. And we plead with all our brothers and sisters to do the same. He (Satan) is the only opposition we all truly face together. Let us stand together. We do not perceive this conversation over this new effect as our side versus their side. It is ALL our family, equally one against the powers of darkness, against one another.
The Lord in His Answer never once mentions or offers any correction to documents already agreed upon. His only direction was at our hearts, to get them right. This, to us, has signified that the light thing that could have been done long ago was and is a CHOICE. The door to the whole plan of redemption and salvation turns on the hinge of choice. It is the lightest thing we personally can conceive of (though often we, personally, complicate it beyond belief). What could be lighter than to choose to agree? Does that mean all are forced to agree? Are we not all presented with truth and free to choose what we accept? Perhaps it could have been done long ago had we recognized the inspiration in the original document and all proclaimed, ‘we agree.’ We didn’t then (and we were free to do that). We personally have done our all to learn from this mistake and we offer our repentance to God by this plea to all and our final voice as to our agreement of His Guide and Standard of August 5th (again, in spite of all it lacks).
There is a notion circulating that we couldn’t have done this until after taking the covenant, until we could be called “His.” How can this be true if the Lord in late July (after two prior meetings, but before the last meeting, and before the covenant) said that this ‘was a light thing’ and ‘you could have finished this work long ago’—the statement and timing from the Lord negates the possibility that the above notion is the only interpretation. It in fact implies the contrary to us.
This effort may be labeled as bickering and complaining and backbiting. We get it. It may be labeled as divisive and fracturing. We understand. We have no desire to do anything other than invite repentance in the form of finishing what had been agreed upon by presenting the work of August 5th to the Lord. This was the first plan. It seems easy to turn and say, “This effort to stir us up unto remembrance is divisive’ when how can it be, it was the original plan! Wouldn’t the division by definition be anything that did not seek to heal the process underway but to propose a total redo? We are confused by this but only seek to address truth as best we can and assure all our brothers and sisters we intend no division but we do intend to persuade them of the source of the implementation of the new ‘path forward.’ We will support them in their desire to proceed with that path even though we disagree with it and are broken hearted over it. Agency must be preserved.
We have heard the genuine concerns of our brothers and sisters. The avenue to express them has been continually open. This written declaration this is an attempt to reiterate answers to those concerns according to the best of our understanding.
Though not a perfect analogy for our situation, there was some mention early on that this process was inspired to be modeled after the U.S. Constitutional Convention. As we have watched our drama play out, we cannot help but see the outstanding types and shadows patterned before us. This has continued to provide us a great resource for learning, and for discerning, that could be summarized in a few simple questions regarding the new ‘path forward’ presented:
- What would the Constitution of the United States look like had this new ‘path forward’ (recently proposed for a new G&S) been used to compose it?
- What would have happened if the convention was overrun by one states entire legislation, or were overthrown by one states desires for something completely different? Would this represent equality? Is it an example of inequality?
- What would the path to the Restoration have been like with that resulting ‘constitution’ as the Guide and Standard? Could that document be considered (in the future looking back retrospectively) to be inspired? Would this new Guide and Standard be considered then to be inspired?
- Where would we be in the future with the new ‘path forward’s’ resulting document as our Guide and Standard?
- What would happen if one state, or one person had effective veto power for every decision?
- Can a group progress under this type of system?
A few more questions we have asked ourselves in considering the events along this journey and the totheremnant.com posts outlining the new path forward:
- Who has the power to ask a sacrifice of us? Is it wisdom to request anyone other than myself to offer a sacrifice? How can I judge the matter? Who is sacrificing? What are they sacrificing? Can we see their sacrifice? Should we?
- Does the new plan, unconsciously or otherwise, presume failure on August 5th? Why? Should it? Where is the revelation of that failure? Was David’s lament in his opening remarks preceding the covenant directed at the August 5th labors? Was it directed at our responses to those labors? What danger is there in presenting those labors to the Lord? Should we fear? Or does the Lord desire us to approach Him boldly in this thing, after all we can do and have done?
- Why did those who consistently opposed the work not show up or stay until the end having had an equal opportunity to do so. How is Satan making use of this now?
- Does the new ‘path forward’ remove our choice to proceed with the August 5th mutual agreement (without seeking mutual agreement to accept this new path as the voice of the people as even how to proceed)?
- What if the new ‘path forward’ only produces mutual agreement on 2 principles? Do we discard all others? Could that potentially change the doctrine of Christ? If it does, how do we remedy that?
- What if not everyone participates? Won’t that resulting document then be effectively equal to a vote of testimony by 91% over the August 5th document?
- Was the request sent out among all the fellowships in the initial call to ask for representatives inspired? Why, or why not? Was it inspired for the U.S. Constitutional Convention? Did they produce an inspired document? Is it possible that we did too already, and after the Answer was considered?
- This path is being presented as all voices being equal; how is this equality maintained through to the end of the process? Who makes final decisions in the new ‘path forward?’
- If we choose to accept this invitation to remember the former agreement, does that mean we oppose our brothers and sisters? Or does it instead mean we must also support them and uphold their right to disagree and persuade them if at all possible? Is it possible to stand for what we believe while also standing and defending another’s right to believe and act according to the dictates of their own conscience? Is it wise to preserve and promote that right to choose? Is it godly?
- Who then is responsible to unite the people when people disagree? Can we change another? What more righteous thing can anyone do than to be obedient to Him?
- Is there any scriptural precedent of the Lord requiring 100% mutual agreement as defined in the new ‘path forward’? Do the scriptures show the opposite? What is mutual agreement? How does the Lord define this?
- What if only 50 people participate in this new path forward? Is that sufficient? What happens if 99% of all covenant holders agree… but 1% does not? Is that mutual agreement according to the new definition and standard proposed? How then can anyone abide that standard?
- What is proposed then? How do we move forward, accepting the Lord’s will?
- What does it mean that several chose not to participate in the first labors, what if the same happens in the new ‘path forward’?
- Have people been in disagreement the entire time, even though they refused to labor with the delegates? Why change course now instead of persisting with persuasion? Why labor over a new ‘document’ when that labor could be used to persuade and testify of the current document?
- Are we embroiled in inequality right now?
- Was a wide net cast initially?
- Why did some not participate?
- Is this at all related to the principle of self-selection?
We received a calling from the Lord when the net was cast wide to all the new family (even before we were a new family). We know that any and all were given the same opportunity to hear His call and respond. We know that all those who felt to respond gathered in an attempt to represent all His people, including, the lost sheep remnants of Israel (as we later learned to call them). This all happened very much like it did in the U.S. Constitutional Convention that produced an eventually ratified document that the Lord called, ‘inspired.’
The work of this ‘delegation’ represents a labor of love and devotion filled with passionate pleas and repentance. It represents the power of God to enlighten, instruct and to change our hearts that we became knit as one (to the best of our current ability, just like the three levels of unity described in 4 Nephi). It represents our understanding of the mind and will of God after receiving His Answer outlining His expectations of us. It has not yet been delivered over to Him for His approval or correction.
After prayerful consideration of all the options (including the new ‘path forward’) and having participated in all the discussions and meetings*, we are prepared and desirous to petition the Lord on behalf of all those who have and do mutually agree on the August 5th document in precisely the same way the balance of scriptures were submitted to Him. That we might fulfill His commands to us and be faithful to Him and receive at His hands instruction and approval or chastisement and correction.
(*Note: Signers represent varied levels of participation including full participation or not attending any meeting.)
In an effort to share this invitation with the body of believers in the same way the ‘new path’ has been shared (on totheremnant.com) and reportedly supported (by use of scriptures.info), we have asked the administrators of both sites for equal opportunity to share our differing view. Though we are grateful both have been willing to have friendly discussion with us, we admit we are disappointed that (at least as of the time of this writing) we have not been granted this opportunity. We are still requesting the use of scriptures.info (who, in a prior committee update regarding the G&S has said they would offer any reasonable help) to simply announce our desire for the consideration and mutual declaration of the people to decide which path and how they CHOOSE to fulfill His commandment to us.
It is our duty to stir [our family] up in remembrance of the oath which they had made regarding the Guide and Standard (Mosiah 4.1).
Therefore, the invitation is to all our covenant Brothers and Sisters to restore the process unfinished with the August 5th Guide and Standard as an expression of our understanding of His Will—That we may unitedly petition the Lord our God in the same way the balance of the scriptures were presented, that we may obtain His voice and acceptance or correction on this labor presented according to His commands. To accomplish this, if you desire to do so, please add your name onto the list provided at the site listed below.
Also, in the pattern of the ratification of the Constitution, the invitation is to all to write their testimony and seek to persuade by pure knowledge to accept the work already mutually agreed to from August 5 (please believe you are free to disagree and we support and will defend and protect your right to do so).
These testimonies are invited to be called the ‘Restorationist Papers’ (inspired by the Federalist Papers inviting the ratification of the U.S. Constitution). We are requesting that all who desire post their testimony to a site dedicated at this time for this purpose.
The site is preservingtherestoration.com
On this site will be posted any and all ‘Restorationist Papers’ (that includes all persuasions for or against that it may stand as a testimony we desire to be accountable to God alone for).
In this thing we acknowledge that we are okay with both the original agreement and the new ‘path forward’ being presented to the Lord (in order to preserve agency). We fear not His chastisement but expect to be corrected (if our heart is right!).
We do not fear to ascend that holy mountain and seek His face in this weak labor we offer. It is a mess, it is weak, it is wholly insufficient and it can only be made strong BY HIS POWER AND MIGHT. For He will make weak things strong unto the laying down of contention and strife. This is our choice and this is our testimony before God and we thank Him for it!
Concluding, we feel to remember these words from the Lord through his servant David:
“I am surprised at how often men and women who should know better depart from the path. When men get a little revelation, they think themselves wise. When they fail to discern between the vain and the true, they open themselves to prideful, vain and angry spiritual guidance. They contend for the attention of others—becoming upset when they are not respected, and falsely accusing others who remain true to the Lord. I spoke about this and compared what was coming to what happened in Kirtland. (D&C 50:2-8) They leave the association of fellow believers and hurl vindictive at the flock. It saddens me to see this happening, even though I told you beforehand that it would.
A false spirit is not difficult to identify. It stirs up fear, anger, resentment, envy, jealousy and false accusation. It makes a man spread false rumors, and make accusations that are untrue and unwarranted. Too many of those who should be lending their strength to this effort are now laboring to undermine it, claiming to have a better path to offer. They want to divide the Lord’s sheep, for each to “find Jesus” alone and apart—a plan which would prevent Zion and please the adversary who knows that if he can prevent Zion he can continue to falsely claim to be the god of this world.”
—(DS – Things that keep us awake at night – Page 18)
“…I realized how foolish it was to expect “natural fruit” worthy of preservation in an instant. The Lord works patiently, methodically and does not require any to run faster than they have strength. (Mosiah 4:27.)
We cannot allow ourselves to be drawn in to inequality when the result of this labor is to make us one body, equal with one another. We cannot imitate the failures of the past by establishing an hierarchy, elevating one above another, and forgetting that we must be of one heart, one mind and with no poor among us.”
—(DS – Opening remarks of the covenant conference – end of second to last page)
Let us return to the work already completed according to His commands. Amen!
Signed – September 20, 2017 – 9pm:
Adrianne & Jacob Goetz – Alan & Bree Arrington – Andrew Selk – Gin & Nancy Genys – Kelly & Troy Erickson – Rachel Selk – Ron & Bunnie Erickson – Tania Leavitt