The Atheist

The Atheist

By J. J. Dewey

“Do you believe in a creator?” said Iiiir.

Londi looked at Iiiir as if he had asked him if the world exists. “Yes,” said Londi. “Why yes. Of course. Don’t you?”

“I’ve been thinking,” said Iiiir. “You know not very many people in this world do think. That’s the trouble. Everyone clings to the belief of others. Children inherit the convictions of their fathers and their fathers from their fathers. It turns out that we all believe something some prehistoric man conceived eons ago. I’ve reasoned it out for myself and in answer to your question; I must give you a no. No, I don’t believe in a creator.”

Londi was pale upon hearing the words of Iiiir. “But you must believe in a creator. Surely, we would not exist now if there were none. The parts to our bodies just didn’t fall in place. Life just didn’t happen. Just because the wind blew at a certain time of day that is no cause for a hunk of earth to be sent into living motion.”

“Yes, yes, I know,” said Iiiir. “I’ve heard that same old hogwash from every believer around since I can remember, and for many years I nearly believed it. It was rammed down me to the extent that I had to. But now I’ve read a lot. I’ve studied a lot, and I can see how this belief in a creator is all just kind of a rope of support. Why there’s no evidence. None at all.”

“Aren’t we evidence enough, Iiiir?” said Londi. “Haven’t you ever looked at the intricate parts of the body? Don’t you think some intelligence had to make the first one of us and give him power to think and act on his own? I have two children. I am their father. I had a father. My father had a father, and so on up to the first, the father of us all. Who created him?”

Iiiir made a swoop at the universe with his opened hand. “All around us is the universe. It’s infinite, Londi. Infinite! Some fanatics have guessed that the chances are one in ten billion that we could have been created by chance. But do you realize how many ten billions there are in the universe, Londi? Do you? How many ten billions in infinity?”

Londi said nothing.

“An infinite number! That’s what,” said Iiiir. “That would mean there’s an infinite number of others just like us. There’s an infinite number of anything that has a numeral chance at all of being created.”

“I just can’t see myself as being fortunate enough to be one in ten billion. And I believe the chances to be much greater than that.”

“That’s the trouble with this mess we live in. The earth is filled with narrow-minded slobs. Everyone is too blind to step out and see themselves as they really are. But know I’ve done that, Londi. I can see. I was an idiot for believing such an incredible thing all of those years. Now I can think for myself clearly enough to look at both sides of the question, and mere common sense tells me there was no creator.”

“I guess I’m an idiot,” said Londi. “I believe now, and I guess I’ll always believe. I feel something inside telling me it’s true. Something that is beyond common sense, or science.”

“The trouble with you and all of the others,” said Iiiir “is that you’re ruled too much by your emotions. We shouldn’t even have emotions. Sometimes it makes common sense impossible. If there were a creator, I would curse him for giving us that fault. The belief is buried in you Londi. You’ve been hypnotized with the repetition of others throughout your lifetime. You need to wake up. I did, and I can see the world the way it really is.”

“I’ve studied both sides, too,” said Londi. “Sometimes I was tempted to believe as you. It’s true that there is no material evidence of a creator. None has been found. But in a way this makes a belief more worthwhile. I’m sorry Iiiir, but I must believe against your common sense. Believing is the first step. Doubting is the second. Confirmation is the third. You have experienced the first two, Iiiir, but I believe I have gone a step further.”

“Oh,” said Iiiir. “You believe your belief is confirmed. You haven’t yet confirmed your confirmation. Yes. I see.”

Londi gave Iiiir a look of pity.

“Londi,” said Iiiir”

“Yes,” said Londi.

“So you believe in a creator?”

“Yes, yes I do.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes. Quite sure.”

“And this creator. Don’t you think he would have had to have been much more complex than ourselves in order to get the show on the road?”

“Yes, I suppose.”

“How much more?”

“Quite a bit I would guess.”



“Who created the creator?”


“And who created him who created the creator?”

Londi said nothing.

“Don’t you see Londi? It’s so much easier to believe that we are the ones created by accident. Someone up the line had to be. What do you think the chances are of the wind lumping together a being intelligent enough to create us? It would indeed be more than ten billion. You must agree to that.”

“Iiiir,” said Londi. “I must go now. Please excuse me.” His eyes were almost moist, but they weren’t. They couldn’t be.

“You have to agree,” said Iiiir. “We are the ones created by chance. You can’t deny that.”

Londi was out the door and walking away.

“You agree with me, don’t you Londi? You know you do. You won’t give me the satisfaction of telling me so.”

Londi was walking away, silent.

“Londi!” Iiiir nearly shouted. “You’re afraid. Afraid. You fear your rope will break and you will have no belief to hold to. Admit you don’t believe. Admit it! Admit…”

Londi was gone.

Iiiir clung to the door viewing the lifeless earth. Dry dust was drawn to his face as he prayed for Londi to return and convince him he was wrong. He had won the argument he had started. He knew he had. He knew Londi knew he had. But somehow, he was not exultant. Somehow, he was not patting himself on the back. Somehow, he had talked himself out of his own belief.

Iiiir walked outside, laid himself on the fine dust, and tried to weep. He knew he couldn’t but he tried. He tried as hard as the circuitry within him would allow. In fact he tried so hard he upset the intricate mechanisms out of which he was composed to the extent he felt ill. He undid the metal door on his chest and started readjusting the circuits and components within him.

A creator, he thought, as he was tinkering. It’s impossible. Sure I would like to believe in one, but the legend which has been passed down through the ages that he was made of flesh and bones is just too incredible. Legend also says that he had a thing called a woman and together they produced young. Everyone knows the only way to recreate is with one’s own two hands, the way he made his children.

If there was only some evidence that creatures of flesh and blood and bones once resided here. That there were trees and flowers and birds and bees, and many other things of beauty of which legend claims to have reproduced by their own substance. If there were only some evidence of any of these things then maybe he could believe. But it is as the scientists say. It would take a billion years of research to even create a cell of the fabled being. If one made of flesh did exist then he would have had to have been created by a power superior to any we can comprehend. That is of course, impossible: therefore, a being of flesh is impossible. There is no creator.

Iiiir felt alone in the universe.

Posted Sept 22, 2007, Written in 1961.

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Journey’s End, Part 5

Journey’s End, Part 5

After they searched the house for a couple minutes someone finally heard one of the kids crying under the house. They found the trap door and within a few minutes they had June and three screaming children in their hands. They took them over by Fred’s body. June screamed when she saw Fred’s bloody body. She bit Troy on the arm. Troy slapped her face.

“Calm down lady. He’s going to be all right. Don, throw a bit of water on his face and shake him a bit. I’m going to make him suffer more than he ever thought he would.” Troy held on to June so tight it hurt her. “This husband of yours loves you, doesn’t he?” said Troy.

June saw ice in his eyes and it frightened her. “Do what you want to me, but don’t hurt Fred anymore–or the children!”

“We’ll do what we want to you all right. We’ll do what we want.” Troy looked at his brothers. “You want to do something don’t you? Isn’t she pretty enough to do something to?”

His friends agreed. They wanted to do something.

“Looks like he’s coming to,” said Troy. “Wave one of his kids in front of his face. Maybe that will bring him to a bit more.”

Don did as he was told and it seemed to do the trick. Fred quickly regained his awareness. “Troy! For heaven’s sake! You’re not going to hurt them. You can’t.”

“You’ll see what I can’t do. Don, I saw a saw in the garage. Go get it.”

June screamed until Troy hit her in the face. Fred grabbed Troy’s feet and cried: “Troy. Troy. You were a High Priest. How could you even think of doing something like this? You who always said you had great faith in the Lord–you who bore your testimony every month. How?”

“Damned if I know,” said Troy, “but I’m going to do it and enjoy every minute of it.”

“Troy! I’ll take the oath. I’ll do anything, I’ll say anything, but don’t hurt my family. Tell me what to say and I’ll do it!”

Meanwhile Don returned with a saw and handed it to Troy. “I may not need this now,” said Troy. It looks like Fred here decided to join us. Are you ready to take the oath now?”

“If you’ll spare my family.”

“Sure we’ll spare them, but you’ve got to take the oath. Repeat after me: ‘I, Fred Cole, swear by the throne of God the Father and in the name of Jesus Christ that I will serve the Brotherhood of the One.’”

“What in the world is the Brotherhood of the One?”

“You’ll find out later–now take the oath!”

“I can’t say that,” said Fred.

“I was kind of hoping that you wouldn’t be able to,” said Troy.

“Don. Bring me one of those kids. I’m going to saw his head off.”

June started screaming again and Fred said: “All right. I’ll say it.”

“Say it then,” said Troy, and say it fast or I’ll saw the boy’s head clean off. I saw slow too. Real slow.”

Fred repeated the oath.

“You didn’t say that like you really believed it,” said Troy. “Say it again like you really believe it and say it louder. Much louder.”

Fred said it again louder.

“That’s still not good enough. Put some guts into it. Shout it out.”

“But Troy. I said what you wanted.”

“Bring me that kid again,” said Troy. “Unless this guy performs, I start sawing.”

This time Fred shouted out the oath.

“That’s not bad,” said Troy. “Now you must repeat the rest of the oath.”

When Fred heard the rest of the oath he shook to the center of his soul and again Troy had to put the saw to his boy’s head to get him to repeat it. After Fred repeated the second portion three times Troy finally grew bored and decided he needed some other excitement.

“Are you going to let us go now?” said Fred. “You have our food. What else do you want?”

“My finger still hurts like hell and some of my best boys are dead. I think I deserve a little more revenge than I’ve had.”

“What kind of child of hell are you?” said Fred. “You promised me that you would spare my family.”

“I’m going to spare your family all right,” said Troy. “I’m going to do them a big favor and spare them all the miseries of this world. After all, if we let them go now they would only die, at best, a slow death of starvation. You don’t want that do you Fred?”

“I want them to at least have a chance at life! Troy. You can’t do this!”

“Who do you think you are to tell me what to do?” Troy started sawing his boys head off. The boy screamed for a while and then stopped.

Fred shouted, cried and tried to free himself incessantly. June screamed and made a great effort to free herself, but to no avail. Finally, she passed out.

“One kid down and two to go,” said Troy. “They sure do bleed a lot don’t they?”

“You fiend! You’re possessed by’ the devil himself!” cried Fred.

“Temper, temper,” said Troy. “A good Mormon doesn’t get irritated like this. I’m really enjoying seeing your anguish. It almost makes me feel happy to see you squirm and the more I can make you squirm the better. Nobody’s going to do what you did to us and get away with it.”

“Don’t you realize you’re possessed of the Devil!”

“So what if I am? I’m enjoying myself a lot more than you are and what good is life if you can’t be happy?”

Troy started sawing the oldest girl’s head off. Fred was so numb he just quit screaming and closed his eyes. Troy stopped in the middle of the job and had Don pry Fred’s eyes opened so he could see. As the second head dropped off Fred went into a crazy rage like a lion tied up with barbed wire, but fell back exhausted after several minutes. The third child had been screaming all the while and finally Troy grabbed her. He walked over to Fred with her under his arm.

“Sweet little thing isn’t she? She reminds me of my little daughter before she died of that terrible disease. I don’t think you ought to have a pretty little thing like this while I don’t have one. I think we ought to send her to a better place.”

June woke up and began screaming again and Fred joined her. They both continued until the third head fell off. Fred fell to the earth face down and cried like a baby. Troy grabbed him by the hair and jerked him up as hard as he could. “You think you can hide your face in the sand like an ostrich, but you can’t. The show has just begun. Don and Jeff–tear the clothes off his wife. We’re going to have some fun while we are at it here.”

“No-no-no-no-no!” cried June. “Fred, don’t let them do this to me! Please!”

They ripped all her clothes off and laid her on the ground. “Now,” said Troy, “we want to make sure ole Fred here has a good seat for the live sex show.” He laughed.

Fred protested, but they held him so he had to watch. Troy raped her first and he bit her whenever and where ever he felt like. She screamed and Fred cried. In his weakened condition he could not put up much of a struggle. For the next hour the other two raped her with no mercy.

Fred shouted: “Troy! You’ve done enough. Please let her go. Please!”

Troy walked over to Fred and slapped him on the face. “Are you trying to take away from my fun? Well, I’m not going to let you. Don. Go in the garage again and get some of those big spikes he has in there.”

Troy and June cried and protested until Don came back with the spikes.

“We’re going to have a little fun and crucify this lady,” said Troy. “Let’s nail her to the side of the house.”

Fred swore and cursed at Troy as he never did before.

They began nailing June to the wall. “Damn,” said Don. “I can’t seem to find a stud for this arm.” Troy pulled the spike out of her wrist and nailed it through again and finally fastened it securely to a stud in the building.

“Now, let’s start this house on fire and really burn it down this time,” said Troy.

As the house was burning down and June was screaming and Fred found his eyes gazing at the blood of his dead children he asked himself: Why? Why did this all have to happen? Why didn’t he listen to Curtis? Why didn’t he have the courage to vote for Curtis? Why didn’t he follow Curtis to Ensign and somehow get his family to go? Ensign is a place of safety. No mob of people like Troy’s group would come against an entire united city. Why didn’t he have the courage to follow; His wife loved him and even though she may have protested he felt sure she would have followed him.

“Why?” he shouted out loud. “Why?”

June finally screamed her last. At last all was quiet as the men watched the house burn. Fred noticed that even Troy seemed somewhat sobered by the silence.

Finally, Fred’s voice cut through the air: “Kill me! What are you waiting for? Do it to me! I have nothing to live for now. Nothing. Let’s get it over with! Do it!”

Troy looked at Fred rather soberly and said, “The fun’s gone out of it now. You’re all washed up anyway. Why should I send you to Mormon heaven when the rest of us have to struggle here? It would be too easy on you to kill you. Besides, you have taken the oath of the One and being a brother I am not supposed to kill you until you betray us and you haven’t done anything since the pledge. You’re one of us now brother and now that you’ve made the pledge your soul is bound for hell whether you like it or not so you might as well make the best of being alive.”

They left Fred there and walked off into the distance. Fred fell back exhausted and slept until sunrise. When he woke up he wept for several hours. When he could weep no longer he prayed. He prayed as he had never prayed before. One thing that really bothered him was the oath he had taken. Would this cause him to lose his salvation? He wondered and meditated on this and prayed for a long period of time. After much prayer he felt an answer come to him and the following words began to form in his mind: “The Lord looketh upon the heart.” Then a great peace came upon Fred for he knew that he did not make any oath in his heart. Perhaps he committed some sin, but since the sin was outward he knew he could be forgiven. Then he prayed for a longer period of time and other words formed in his mind: “An Ensign to the nations a place of safety and a city of refuge for the Saints of the Most High God.”

At that moment Fred was filled with an even greater peace and he knew that he must try and make it to the city Ensign. He remembered that he had buried a box of storage foods under the earth in his garden and he retrieved a shovel and dug it up. He got a hiking pack out of the garage and filled it up with some wheat and dried fruit, He also got a canteen and filled it with water. He thought he would pay a call on his Bishop first, but when he found that his house was also burned down, he imagined the worst. He departed south to the city Ensign as fast as his legs would carry him.

It would be a long journey and Fred knew that the little food he did have would have to last a long time so he decided that the best way to make use of his wheat was to sprout it in a little container that he brought with him. Sprouting the wheat greatly increased its nutritional value and weight and this way he could survive about three times as long on the same amount of wheat. His big problem was avoiding the mobs, but the pistol and rifle he carried with him was hoped to give him the protection he needed. He also had some survival knowledge. He knew that certain weeds and plants had edible roots and foliage and perhaps he could survive on these if he had to.

Fred traveled for several weeks avoiding mobs and people the best that he could. Every town of any size seemed to have several organized mobs and many of them seemed to be at war with each other. He decided to travel through a mountainous area where he thought there would be few people, but after several days he was confronted from behind:

“Lay down your guns.” said a voice.

Fred turned around slowly. “Lay them down now!” said the man impatiently. Fred threw his guns on the ground.

“What do you want from me?” said Fred. “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“What we want to know is what are you doing up here. You looking for someone or something?”

Fred looked at the man. He was about twenty-five with a long beard and long hair and looked a lot like a hippie from the Sixties. “I’m just traveling South. Look, I’ve just had my wife and kids tortured to death and if you want to kill me that’s all right too. Just tell me what you want.”

“Maybe you’re telling the truth and maybe you’re not,” said the man. “Lots of people come through here who are scouts for mobs and robbers. You do look like you’ve taken a beaten though. What did they do to your wife and kids?”

“I’d rather not talk about it now. It was too horrible. I want to forget it.”

“I feel that you’re telling the truth feller. What’s your name?”

The man offered to shake Fred’s hand.

Fred returned the grip. “Fred. Fred Cole. What’s your name?”

“My name’s Jake Andrews. Would you like to come and rest a spell and meet the rest of our party?”

“I haven’t had any hospitality for a long time. Thanks. How many in your group and what’s the story behind it?” said Fred.

“We are Mormons,” said Jake. “There’s about twenty of us. Me and my friends saw that the day was not far off that we would be hunted by the mobs for our food so me and my friends who had a year’s supply decided to take off to the mountains with what provisions we could and seek a place of safety here. Even here we are not safe. Roving bands of robbers are a constant threat to us, but so far we have been able to hold our own. We have quite a few guns and ammunition here.”

“I’m a Mormon too,” said Fred. “We were really caught with our pants down when this hit, weren’t we?”

“Things didn’t turn out exactly the way we hoped all right. There’s our camp over there.” Jake shouted out to his friends: “It’s all right! This guys a friend.”

Fred found that they had a cozy little camp. They had numerous tents, a log cabin and a cave and they were doing what farming they could. They also did quite a bit of fishing and some hunting, but there was very little game left as most had been destroyed. That evening they sat around a campfire and talked.

“Does anyone know what happened to the General Authorities, or for that matter the city of Salt Lake?”

Larry spoke up. “I was curious about it and hiked over there a while back. There has been a literal war in Salt Lake and there has been some terrible destruction. As far as I could find out all the Authorities are dead and some apostate group made off with all the records of the church and has made a claim to leadership. They are the same ones who built the city called Ensign. You remember reading about Ensign in the paper a before the collapse, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do,” said Fred. He felt that at present it would be wise not to mention his destination. “What do you guys know about the city Ensign? I have a friend that is supposed to be there.”

A lady named Grace spoke up: “It’s a whole city of apostates. It’s like Jim Jones’ group on a massive scale. They have brainwashed many people. One of them was my niece. She joined them against all my persuasion otherwise. They poisoned her mind with strange doctrines and beliefs which are straight from hell. They have set up their own dictatorship. It’s worse than Hitler ever thought of being. Everyone there is a slave to the whims of one who they believe is Mighty and Strong.”

“It sounds like they were at least wise enough to set up a place of refuge,” said Fred.

“The devil takes care of his own,” said Mike. “They would kill us on the spot if we tried to approach them. They say that the people there are in league with the devil and practice witchcraft and all kinds of satanic rites. A person has a lot more to fear by going there than losing his life.”

“I see,” said Fred. “How do you think God is going to get us out of this mess?”

“The Bible prophesies that they who are alive when Jesus comes will be taken up into the air to meet him. As long as we continue faithful the day will come that Christ will rescue us and all the wicked will be killed. Then the millennium will be here,” said Jake.

Fred remembered Curtis once quoted to him from the Doctrine and Covenants that before Zion could be taken up to meet the Lord there had to be a gathering established. However, he decided not to bring this point up. “Do you have a place I can sleep tonight? I want to get an early start tomorrow.”

“You never did tell us. Where are you going?” said Jake.

“I’m just trying to find a new place to call home.”

“You can stay here,” said Jake, “if you’re willing to do lots of hard work.”

“Thanks for the offer,” said Fred, “but I feel I must move on for now. Maybe I’ll see you people again in the future.”

“Just stay away from the so-called Ensign if you know what’s good for you.” someone said.

Of course, Fred ignored the advice and continued on his way the next day. Fred traveled for two weeks and passed through many perils and attributed his deliverance to the power of God only, for he definitely felt some power assisting him. Finally, he arrived within several miles of the city Ensign. Near a stream he found a man who had been beaten quite badly. Fred got him some water and sat him up.

“What happened to you?” he said.

“My family did this to me,” said the man. “I was an Elder in the Mormon Church and was the member of a very close knit and large family and as a unit we were about as prepared for the calamity as anyone. However, we were not as prepared as we thought. We were turning into animals and I knew that if the Lord were to come, He would have nothing to do with us so I prayed about it day after day and finally I received an answer. The Lord told me to go to the city Ensign. When I told my family my decision, they were very upset and tried to persuade me to stay. They said the people in Ensign were apostates and the Devil’s people and if I should join them I will burn with the wicked when Christ comes. I tried to reason with them and tell them that if the people there are evil then I will leave, but they thought that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. I had second thoughts, but the Spirit continued to bear me witness and finally I made preparations in secret to leave my family. When they discovered I was gone the next day they trailed me to this location and when they found me and I refused to go back with them they were angry and fell upon me and beat me and left me for dead. In their crooked way they thought they were performing the Lord’s will. I never thought they would do something like this to me. Never.”

“You’re going to be all right now,” said Fred.

The man’s eyes lit up. He looked toward Ensign. “Look over there!”

“Can you see it?”

“See what?”

“That cloud of smoke.”

“Under that cloud is Ensign. The prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled: ‘And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.’” (Isa 4:5)

“It will be dark in a few hours. Then you’ll see the shining of a flaming fire instead of the cloud. I saw it last night from over yonder. Wait until you see it. It will fill your heart with hope. God yet reigns over his people and I was too blind to see it until now.”

Fred nursed the man until dark the best he could. He found out his name was Larry Wilcox. As the night began to fall Larry said: “See there Fred! The cloud covering the city is beginning to glow. When it gets a bit darker it will look like a great fire. It puts fear in the heart of the wicked just like the prophecy says.”

Fred watched the fire become greater and greater until the whole sky was lit up and he marveled greatly. “It gives me a warm burning just to look in the direction of Ensign,” said Fred.

“I know what you mean,” said Larry. “Let’s go there tomorrow. I think I can make it.”

“We’ll go tomorrow,” said Fred. They fell asleep a few minutes later. Fred had never slept so peacefully in his life. He dreamed of Curtis, that he put his arms around him and embraced him and was filled with great joy and that the memory of his horrible experiences no longer bothered him. They both woke up the next morning eager to go. Larry had a bad limp and was weak and had to lean heavily on Fred’s strength.

It seemed to take forever to go those last few miles, but finally they made it to the entrance of the city. To Fred’s surprise it was left totally unguarded, but they did notice that right at the edge of the city was a faint hue of golden light which seemed to surround the whole town. As Fred and Larry surveyed the city they noticed that it was laid out just as Joseph Smith had outlined years ago. As they approached the yellow hue, they began to wonder whether or not they should pass through. They felt a strange tingling sensation as they approached it. They both decided to kneel and pray about what to do.

As they prayed, they saw a light forming in front of them even though they had their eyes shut. They opened their eyes and they continued to see the light. Finally, a personage appeared before their eyes.

The personage addressed them: “All hail brethren! I am sent in the name of the Father to admit you to the Kingdom of God. Your sins are forgiven you and, Brother Cole, the Oath you made is hereby nullified by the authority of God. You may both enter the city.”

Fred felt for sure that this was a messenger from God but he wanted to make sure so he offered him his hand. The angel did not shake it and departed. However, a light hovered around where he had stood for several seconds afterwards.

“What are we waiting for?” said Larry. “Let’s go!”

Together they hobbled into the city. They caught the attention of several individuals who were peacefully working in their yards. These people came to their aid and put them in some kind of electric car and drove them to a strange hospital. There they gave Larry the attention that he needed and Fred was surprised that the hospital seemed to have modern equipment. In fact, they had equipment he had never seen before.

Fred talked to the nurse: “Is there a guy living in this town named Curtis Hartell?”

“Do you know Brother Hartell? He’s one of the leading men in Zion. Everyone knows him.”

“He was a good friend of mine. Is there some way to contact him?”

“If he is free I can contact him right now. I must warn you, however, he is a busy man. Right now he’s helping to plan five new cities or stakes of Zion.”

The nurse pressed a button on what appeared to be a wristwatch and spoke into it. In a few minutes Fred heard Curtis’ voice respond over it.

“A Fred Cole wishes an audience with you President Hartell.”

“Did you say Fred Cole?”


“Don’t let him get away. I’ll be right there.”

Curtis arrived a few minutes later and when they met they embraced each other just as Fred saw in the dream and he felt a wonderful feeling just as he felt in the dream.

“Fred, my beloved friend,” said Curtis. “My but you look like you have been through a lot. Are your wife and children still alive?”

“I’m afraid not,” said Fred sadly. “You were right. I should have listened to you.”

“I’m not going to say I told you so or even ask you what happened. The Spirit bears witness to me that you have paid for any wrong decision you have made. When I saw you last the Spirit told me we would meet again, but I didn’t have the same feeling about the rest of your family. I felt a sad feeling when I left you. You must have had a terrible experience. On the other hand, the tribulation you have been through will make you a much stronger man than you ever were before. Now you can set your mind with an eye single to the glory of God and you understand through your own experience how important it is for man not to lean on the arm of flesh, but that each man has to receive revelation for himself.”

“You’re right Curtis. I’ve learned my lesson in a way that I’ll never forget. Never. Tell me what is that gold light that surrounds the city?”

“It would take a while to explain it to you in full, but the power to create that light was revealed to us from heaven. That is part of the endowment of power the Priesthood receives when it is in order and only a person whose heart is pure can walk through the light. Those with evil intent or lacking faith just cannot come through it. By natural principles fear overcomes the unjust so most of them have no desire to come here. You have probably heard many stories of how evil we are and how everyone is kept here as a prisoner or slave, but as you can see everyone is free to come and go. There is freedom here the likes of the world has not seen since the city of Enoch. Tell me Fred. Do you have any desire to leave?”

“No more than I want to go to hell,” said Fred.

“I’m glad you are here Fred. You are a capable man and we have a great work to do. Thousands of the pure in heart are fleeing to the Stakes of Zion every day and we have to prepare for them. We have to feed, clothe and house them and it’s a monumental undertaking. Let me show you around this city Fred. It’s a city like you have never seen before and we’ve got to build lots more like it. Preparations are now under way to establish the center stake at Jackson County and there we will build the glorious temple, Fred. We are really going to do it.”

Fred felt so good inside he almost cried.

“There is a group of White Nephites down in Central America who has been hidden from the world who have fashioned many of the stones for the temple over a period of many years. Many Indian leaders want to cooperate with us.”

“All this sounds too wonderful to be true,” said Fred, “But I now know it is true. How’s your family doing? I’d like to meet them again.”

Curtis smiled: “I can honestly say that they are doing just great. Kathy and the kids will be thrilled to see you again.” Curtis put his arm around Fred: “Come with me. I’ll introduce you to my friends and we’ll show you how the cities of Zion are to be built.”

“Is this the beginning of the millennium then?” said Fred.

“Not yet,” said Curtis. “First, this country and then the world has to achieve some stability. Then there will be a major conflict between the cities of Zion and the armies of the world itself. When the time is right Christ will come and personally assist us. As it is, his presence is assisting us now. This is not the end of your journey Fred. It is the beginning.”

Fred followed after Curtis and somehow, he felt that he was right. This was just the beginning.

Journey’s End Addendum

I hope you enjoyed the story and I hope it was not too graphic for you but it was written to make a specific point to the LDS members. Presently they think that they will be protected from a calamity or economic collapse if they just store up a year’s supply of food. I wanted to illustrate to them in a stark way that in their present situation that their stored food could wind up doing them more harm than good. Since it is common knowledge that Mormons store food, they will be the ones the mobs seek out if civilization as we know it were to collapse. Their own teachings, which they ignore, tell them that the way to avoid this problem is through the gathering principle and their own scriptures predict they will abandon it to their peril.

Hopefully this story will wake some up to a possible reality. Let us hope a real collapse does not happen in our future, but sadly it is a possibility.

The second reason I wrote this was to illustrate the injustice of the LDS court system of which Curtis and I went through.

I wasn’t concerned for my salvation when facing excommunication but I told Curtis we should fight it because it was unjust because we had broken no rules.

This was illustrated with a true experience. Curtis Hartell is, of course, my Nephew Curtis Harwell. Fred was a fictional character though Curtis did have a friend who was not on the high Council with whom he did have similar conversations. David was me and Wayne as always was Wayne. The dialog was altered some for the story’s sake but quite close to what happened. It’s kind of a composite of both trials for Curtis and I. I was able to hear all the dialog at Curtis’ trial because, even though they wouldn’t let us in for most of it I put my ear on the door and heard the whole thing.

It is true that when I entered the room to testify that it looked like most of them were not paying much attention and several looked like they were about to doze off. I was indeed enraged and did grab that unabridged dictionary and threw it on the table. That was indeed a satisfying moment to see them come to attention. They were probably caught too off guard to think of throwing me out.

It is also true that Curtis was fired from his job right after the trial.

One thing that might have been good to include was that after my trial a council member came up to me and told me that it is too bad that they did not have power to put me to death as would be the case if the church had full political power.

Of course, after the trial, the story of Fred is fiction but hopefully will lead to an awakening for some.

The most interesting comment I have received from this story was back in 1980. Apostle Mark E. Peterson got a copy and told me to my face that it was inspired by the devil himself. Indeed, he did not like it at all. This encounter with Elders Peterson and McConkie is related in my previous writings

Posted Sept 20, 2007, written 1979.

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Journey’s End, Part 4

Journey’s End, Part 4

The world situation continued to get worse until a new trouble developed that no one had expected. Fred read the headlines in the paper: “SCIENTIST BUNGLING MAY CAUSE DREAD EFFECTS.” Fred read the article. It told about strange weapons research that had not been properly contained. It had produced a deadly biological effect, which was released into to the atmosphere. The results could be a dread disease that could cover the earth. It pointed out that many scientists throughout the world were working on a solution.

No remedy was found and many people through the world suffered greatly with sores and baldness and great nausea and many died including two of Fred’s children. The smell of death was so great in the land that flies began to greatly multiply and new species began to develop. This new species bit man and created great sores on his body.

“June,” said Fred. “I have heard that in the city of Ensign where Curtis is that there is no disease or flies.”

“It’s just lies,” said June. “The devil’s trying to deceive naive people like you. The Authorities have admonished to be calm and are supporting our own LDS scientists to come up with something, and I am sure they will.”

Fred groaned within his heart.

Then came the collapse of the dollar. Europe decided that they could no longer take our worthless currency and declared it illegal. This caused a complete collapse and within a few days it was found people lost all faith in the dollar at home and all stores had to shut down because no one had currency with purchasing power. The government was doing everything in its power to control the people and to ease the panic to little avail.

Fred’s Bishop called an emergency meeting of the Priesthood. He spoke to the assembly: “It looks as if the days that we feared are upon us. This is the time we really have to make the Priesthood work as never before. There is a strong possibility that we will have a complete communications breakdown within a few days, but our Stake President has had communication with the General Authorities. They tell us to put all the things we have learned over the years to work and that each ward and stake may be left on their own. We are to take a survey of the amount of food we have in the ward and see how well prepared we are and how long we can survive. They tell us that the Lord will see us through.”

Fred thought that it seemed as if things were happening about the way that Curtis predicted. He was greatly worried.

The Bishop continued: “I’ll pass around this sheet of paper and on it is a list of different commodities. Please list the number of pounds of each that you have.”

An Elder arose: “Are you saying that I have to share my food with others that were too negligent to store their own? I’ll be damned if I am. Heaven knows how long this thing is going to last and I’ll be lucky to have enough for my own family.”

A rumbling spread through the congregation. Fred could hardly believe that was Elder Nathan Williams speaking. He had never heard him use a swear word in his life and he was always preaching about loving your fellow men.

The Bishop again spoke: “Brethren, you must understand that not all the saints are prepared. We have widows and some poor who just were not able to store anything and they are feeling hunger pains already. We must share with them.”

Troy Williams got up: “I agree. If we follow our Bishop and help the needy the Lord will somehow help us.”

“I’ll pass out this form then,” said the Bishop, “and will ask that all of you fill it out.”

Fred was one of the last ones to receive it and he was amazed at how little food everyone claimed to have. He saw that Charles Ray listed that he had only five hundred pounds of wheat and fifty pounds of dried milk and a few other things. Fred had been in his storage room before and he knew that he had about the best supply of food in town–at least two years supply. As Fred reviewed the list he knew that his brethren were not being honest because they did not want to share, and he couldn’t blame them. However, Fred had always been honest and he tried to fill in the form accordingly. This bothered him greatly, however, because it showed him to be one of the best-stocked individuals in the ward, and he knew that he was not.

Finally, the Bishop received the list back. After reviewing it he said: “Brethren. I know many of you personally and am aware of how much storage some of you have and I know that some of you have shortchanged us here. I may have to have a personal interview with some of you.”

Brother Bailey rose up: “I’ve saved up a year’s supply just like we’ve been told to do and I’m not giving it over to the Bishop or anyone else and see my family starve.” He then walked out of the room.

“Brethren,” said the Bishop. “We have people that need food right now. Let us all give ten per cent at least to help the needy. All that will do this much please raise your hands.”

About two thirds of the congregation raised their hands. The Bishop then appointed several individuals in charge of collecting and dispersing the food.

The Bishop continued: “Brethren, these are the days of tribulation that have been prophesied. If we are faithful we will be here when Christ comes again. We must continue to do what is right even when times are hard.”

At home that evening June said: “Well what did they come up with at the meeting?”

Fred told her.

“What!? They expect us to share our food. We don’t know if we will have enough for our own family. We are already out of bread and I never learned how to make bread.” She cried for about five minutes.

“June, we knew in advance that we may have to share with others. That’s why we bought some extra. Now some of the brethren will be here tomorrow and we need to give them ten per cent of what we have. We should have enough left after we give that out.”

“But what happens in a few weeks? Most people in the ward are not prepared and the Bishop will ask for more. And what about our neighbors? Fred. What is going to happen?”

Fred felt that this was the wrong time to tell her that what was going to happen was what Curtis had told her was going to happen. He wondered how he was making out in Ensign. At least there was a group of them there that were all prepared. At least they could defend themselves if necessary. And Fred began to fear that it just may be necessary.

Within a few days all electrical service was cut off as well as all communications. There was no telephone service, no gas for cars, no television, none of the modern conveniences. Fred found a book on making bread and made some himself in their wood stove.

The Bishop called another meeting of the Priesthood. This time a much smaller number showed up. Fred noticed that those who did not show up were those with the most food. Just about all of the have-nots were there.

The Bishop said: “I was very disappointed with the ten percent that we received and I’m even more disappointed at those who have food that have not come to the meeting. The food we collected is almost gone already and we need some more. Will those of you who have extra be prepared to share some more. How about you brother Cole?”

Fred stirred: “We may share some more, but it’s going to cause quite a stir with my wife. Let me suggest that you select several individuals to visit those who are not here today and see if we can get them to share.”

“An excellent idea,” said the Bishop. “I will appoint you in charge.”

Fred had never been so reluctant to fulfill a calling in his life, but did so to the best of his ability. As he visited the various homes he found that most of those who did not come to the meeting did so because they did not want to share. He was only able to obtain a small amount of food. When he reported to the Bishop he was visibly shaken. For the first time, the Bishop, who was a faithful man and quite calm, actually seemed to fear.

“What will I say to the poor?” he said. “After I give them this I am afraid there will be no more. We are out of contact with the Brethren and I do not know what to do. What would you do if you were me?”

“I’d pray a lot,” said Fred.

“If you only know how much I’ve been praying. You know it looks like the Lord would have provided some way for us to have been more prepared than this. Here I’ve got my year’s supply of food, clothing and even fuel and I thought everything would turn out all right in a calamity but it isn’t all right Fred. Everything’s all mixed up. I don’t know what to do. The Stake President doesn’t know what to do. Why did God allow this situation to happen?”

“Maybe God didn’t allow it,” said Fred. “Maybe we did because we did not listen.”

“Didn’t listen? Why I’ve read every conference address for the past twenty years. I’ve followed all the good advice that was ever given out!”

“I know you’ve listened to the authorities, Bishop. But do you remember those writings that Curtis’ group gave out that were sent out to all the members a while back?”

“Yes. I didn’t read them though. I burned them as the Brethren instructed.”

“Those writings that you burned told us that things would happen this way. They also offered a solution. Those people that believed the teachings went ahead and built cities of refuge and right now I have the feeling that they are the only people in the land that are not dwelling in fear.”

“Any other time I would have called you an apostate,” said the Bishop, “but now I’m not sure. Do you have a copy of those things that I could read?”

“Yes,” said Fred,

“I’ll bring them over to you.”

Fred brought them to the Bishop a few hours later and he eagerly accepted them and began reading them right away.

Shortly after Fred got home there was a knock at the door. It was his next door neighbor, Carl.

“Fred, I hate to ask you this but we are out of food and I understand you are Mormons and store a year’s supply. Could you spare a little to tide me by till the government works something out.”

“I don’t know if we still have a government,” said Fred. “I guess we can spare you a little.”

“No we can’t!” shouted June. “We’ve given away all that we can. We need the rest for ourselves!”

“June. I’m going to give Carl a little food. It’s the least I can do.” Against June’s protest he gave Carl some food. Later he wished he wouldn’t have for the next day two more neighbors came to the door. Then he told the first lie he had told in some time. He told them he had no food. The neighbors went away with a hateful look in their eyes.

The next day Fred went to visit the Bishop again. “Did you get a chance to read those materials?”

“Yes,” said the Bishop sadly. “I read them. I read them years too late. I also prayed about them and I know now that God did provide a way for our escape. I can see why the Lord said ‘The Saints will hardly escape!’ Some did hardly escape to the city of Ensign, Fred. But we didn’t.” He cried: “We didn’t. There’s no way out Fred. We are caught in a trap. A horrible trap. If you believed this stuff Fred why didn’t you escape while you could?”

“I would have had to leave my wife and children, and I couldn’t do that.”

“I understand,” said the Bishop. “I understand. What do we do now?”

“I don’t know,” said Fred. “I’m afraid it’s going to be each man to himself. I don’t think it’s going to do any good to have any more meetings. I would just advise you to protect yourself. Do you have a gun?”

“Yes, but I couldn’t use it on anyone.”

“I’m afraid we will be surprised at what we can do if the situation is right,” said Fred. “I know you’re a peace-loving man, but you’ve got to mentally prepare to stand on your own and defend yourself and your family.”

“Maybe so, but I’ve never felt so defeated. Do you think we could still make it to the city Ensign?”

“You and I may make it on our own, but I know my wife and children could never make it. They are quite weakened from that sickness that was going around. That’s the only reason I have not went off on my own. If I have to stay here and die with them, then I guess that’s the way it will have to be.”

“I suppose that’s the decision I will have to make with my family. I never dreamed it would be like this. Never.”

“I’ve got to run back to my family now,” said Fred. “It will not be safe to leave them on their own much longer.”

“See you later. I hope.”

As Fred approached his home, he heard someone screaming. It was his wife. He noticed the door was open so he ran as fast as he could.

As he entered the door he found his wife with a broom, flagging a man who was escaping with several large cans of food under his arms. Fred was able to wrestle the food away from him and the man escaped.

June spoke between tears: “Fred, you’ve got to do something. That man busted in and tried to steal our food just after I took a step outside and went into our storage room. You’ve got to protect us! You’ve got to!”

“I will dear. Don’t worry. Everything will be OK.” Fred wished he had someone to say the same thing to him.

“Our children Fred! The man terrified our children. Our daughter, Shelly, has been screaming in terror and the other two are hiding in their rooms.”

“They’ll be all right dear.”

“Why hasn’t the Church done something?” said June. “I thought they would have some emergency program into operation by now. They’ve got numerous resources and storage centers to feed all these hungry people, don’t they Fred? They’ll come through with something won’t they?”

“I’m sure something is being worked out,” he said knowing it was not the truth.

Fred decided that if he was going to survive for any length of time that he was going to have to depend on himself and use his own common sense to the best of his ability. He was glad that he had stored a lot of ammunition just in case. He got out several handguns and rifles and loaded them and hid them in several convenient places throughout the house. He tried to talk June into going in the back yard and teaching her to shoot a handgun, but she refused. Guns scared her and she did not want to learn.

Next Fred took most of their food out of the storage room and hid it at various places in the crawl space under their house and even buried some in his garden. He left some food in the regular storage room so if worst came to worst he could tell intruders that was all he had in the hope they would leave him alone.

He then got some lumber out of the garage and nailed up all the windows so no one could break in. He also tightly boarded up all the doors but one, and on that one he made a giant lock from the inside using several planks which he felt could keep a gorilla out. He just hoped it would work against hungry people. He knew that the time of being Mr. Nice Guy was over. Everyone out there except other people he also knew had food were his enemies. If there was just some way they could have had even a few weeks notice before the collapse those who were prepared could have somehow banded together for protection or helped each other, but the way it was Fred found that he was the only man in the world he could depend on.

Fred did have an idea he thought would help in his protection. He put the following sign on all of his doors: WARNING: OCCUPANTS HAVE LOADED GUNS READY TO FIRE ON ANY INTRUDER. This seemed to help for several weeks for often he heard feet coming up to his door and then walking away, but he knew that if a man got hungry enough he would not fear guns.

Finally, the time came that Fred was challenged. He heard a loud banging on the door. It sounded as if several people were there. “Fred. We know that you are in there and we know that you have food. Come close to the door and talk or we will burn your house down.”

Fred came closer and shouted: “Get out of here or you’re going to get shot!”

“Fred. This is Troy Williams, your friend. I have a proposition to make to you. Can you hear me?”

Fred couldn’t believe that that was the voice of his friend Troy who was a faithful member of his ward. His voice sounded different. Horribly different. Troy had had a year’s supply of food. Why was he here?

“I hear you, Troy. What do you want?”

“Listen Fred. I’ve joined a group. It’s the only way to survive. Without a group you’re dead. We want you to join us.”

“I’m not trusting anyone or joining anyone.”

“Fred. If you don’t join us then we will have to take your food by force and then you and your family will perish for sure. If you join us and share your food with us then you can help us find others with food and at least this way we can survive. We also help protect each other. It’s a way out Fred. Maybe we can at least live until this thing is over.”

“Who else is with you?”

“There’s Brother Carr, Smith and Jones and several others that you do not know. Altogether our group consists of about one hundred men. About half of them are Mormons.”

“What do you do when someone refuses to share with you?”

“We do what we have to do Fred. Please don’t make us do it to you. You are a friend. I was faced with the same decision you are a while back and I joined rather than getting killed. Fred, think of your family!”

“Then if I join you what do I do? Go around and loot other faithful Mormons with you just so I can survive? I’d rather die.”

“That just might happen Fred. Are you going to let us in or do we bust in?”

Fred heard several other voices murmuring in the background and he knew he was in for trouble. He picked up his gun and shot six holes through the door. He heard screams and curses from several men. Then he heard several shots fired from the outside. He felt the warmth of a bullet pass by his head.

Troy shouted: “Fred. You shouldn’t have done that. Now we are going to have to get you any way we can.”

Fred shot six more bullets through the door. June and the kids were sitting speechless in a corner. Fred took them and lifted a trap door and put them in the crawl space under the house and told them to keep as quiet as possible. Then he got out his other guns and prepared to defend himself. When he came back in the living room he noticed that the mob was trying to bust the door down. A blade of an ax penetrated through the door. Fred made his way over to a small opening in a window he purposefully left and pointed his shotgun through the hole and fired three times. This time the screams were louder than before. He looked out the window and saw that there were about a dozen men in the group and three of them were apparently dead and several wounded. Troy appeared to be unharmed so far. The survivors quickly ran around the corner of the house. Fred ran around the house and looked through several peep holes he had prepared. At the west end he saw that they were lighting fire to the house. He pointed his shotgun through a hole and fired until it was empty. Three more men were killed and several others received buckshot, but the fire was started. What was he going to do now?

Troy shouted out: “Fred! Your house is now on fire. If you come out unarmed and surrender we still have time to put the fire out. If you don’t come out you and your family will burn with the house. You have just a couple minutes to make up your mind, Fred. What do you say?”

Fred realized that he was trapped and there was no easy way out.

He could either surrender and beg for mercy or he could shoot it out with them. Unfortunately, the mob was well armed. If he shot it out with them the chances were that he would get shot then heaven only knows what would happen to his family. If they surrendered there was a chance their lives would be spared, but for what? To starve to death. Many thoughts rushed through Fred’s mind and a year seemed to pass in a moment. Finally, Fred made up his mind. He stuck a small twenty-two pistol under his shirt out of sight and opened the door and threw a couple guns out.

“Let’s go put that fire out before it burns the house down with the food in it,” said Fred.

“Come on out slowly with no guns,” said Troy who had a gun pointed on Fred.

“Can I help put the fire out?” said Fred.

“Go ahead,” said Troy. Fred took a couple blankets and they all rushed to the fire and smothered it. Fred noticed that most of the men seemed to have guns and decided that now was the time to make the move since everyone had their mind on putting the fire out. He waited till the fire was under control and then quickly drew his gun and shot at Troy. The bullet almost shot one of his fingers off and caused him to drop his gun. Then Fred quickly opened fire on the other men who had visible weapons. He shot a couple of them in the gut, but before he could do more damage Troy regained his weapon and pointed it at Fred.

“Hold it right there Freddy Boy. Just hold it or you’re dead.” Fred saw that Troy had the advantage so he dropped his gun.

“I’ve got to admire your guts,” said Troy. “I never thought you’d pull something this slick.”

“It looks like I didn’t do quite as good as I should have. Listen Troy. I’m sorry I shot your finger off and had to shoot these other guys, but what else can a guy do but defend himself?”

“He can get smart. That’s what he can do,” said Troy. “These are my new brothers and they are a lot more helpful than the old ones that were in the church. We’ve all taken an oath to stand by each other. Everyone’s life is at stake if they do not keep the oath, and it’s worked pretty good too. At least we are able to obtain enough food to live on. I must say though that most of the good Mormons do not give us the problem you have. Many have joined us.”

“Sounds like you’ve started your own Gadianton band,” said Fred.

“Listen Fred. Don’t provoke me any more. You’ve killed my brothers and my finger hurts like hell. I could blow your brains out now and feel good about it. Damn good. However, we’ll give you one last chance. I know that you are a man who fears God enough that you would keep the oath if you made it in his name.”

“What is the oath?”

“The oath that you would be required to take is that you swear in the name of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ that you would work for the good of the group and that you will defend your brothers with your life and should anyone be unfaithful to the group they must forfeit their life. It may not be like the old Mormon ‘brotherhood,’ Fred, but it works and we can survive this way. Then maybe when this thing blows over we can get back to normal living again.”

“If I made oaths with you Troy I would be making the oaths of Cain. Where will your security be when Jesus comes again and the wicked are destroyed? Remember how you used to teach about the Second Coming in Priesthood class? Don’t you feel like a hypocrite now?”

“Listen Fred… I’m going to blow your brains out if you don’t take the oath and if you give me any more guff, I’ll do it anyway.”

Fred spit in his face.

Several of the men grabbed Fred and held him tight. An evil smile grew on Troy’s face that made a chill run up Fred’s back. He felt the atmosphere become cold and dark. Troy came up to Fred and slapped him as hard as he could three times on the face, then he kicked him in the groin. Fred doubled over whimpering and then Troy kicked him on the side of the head.

Fred half heard Troy speak: “It makes me feel good to make a goody goody like you suffer. I probably feel as good over doing this as you feel bad.” He laughed and then cut it short and kicked Fred in the body three more times. Then he laughed again long and loud, and when he had exhausted himself he kicked Fred a couple more times.

“Are you going to take the oath now Fred?” He shouted: “Are you Fred?”

“Go to hell.”

Troy kicked him four more times. Finally, Fred’s body went completely limp and the sport seemed to be gone. “Is he still alive?” said one of the men.

“Oh, there’s lots of life left in him,” said one of them. “We just got to slap him around a bit till he comes to again. Ain’t no fun killn’ a man who don’t know he’s being killed. Specially a man who’s killed our brothers. He deserves more than just regular dying.”

“You’re right,” said Troy. “You’re so right. Let’s go get his wife and kids.”

Posted Sept 19, 2007, written 1979

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Journey’s End, Part 3

Journey’s End, Part 3

The first witness was brought in and given a briefing on the case thus far. “Your name please?”

“David Johns.”

“And what is your ward and stake and priesthood?” “I am a Seventy from the Morgan Ward; Moroni Stake.”

“And are you a member in good standing?”


“You may proceed with your testimony.”

David rose up and stood before the High Council who were all seated in front of him with the stake Presidency behind. “Brethren, in the days of Joseph Smith a council similar to this was held for a fellow Elder who the High Council assumed to be erring in doctrine. Joseph Smith said of this incident: ‘I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodists and not like the Latter-Day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.’” (Documentary History of the Church Vol 5; Pg 340)

“Brethren, why do you assume Curtis is an evil man to the extent that he must be cut off when he merely errs in doctrine, in your opinion?”

David surveyed the group and noticed that several members were dozing off to sleep and none seemed to be paying much attention. His eye caught a glimpse of a large unabridged dictionary on the table in front of him. He felt enraged over their indifference toward a brother who had his supposed eternal salvation on the line. He grabbed the behemoth book and slammed it on the table as hard as he could.

It made a noise and impact that would wake the dead and that’s what it seemed to do. Suddenly everyone jumped to attention.

David spoke with a raised voice, “Wherein has this man sinned! Why do you wish to expel him just because he thinks differently from yourselves–because God has witnessed to him things he has not witnessed to you? Why do you nurse the drunkards, liars, wife beaters, profaners, and completely inactive members? You put your hands over your mouth at the thought of cutting them off whereas you will not even give this Elder the courtesy of showing him where he is wrong. If you are to expel, without knowing why, him who is a righteous man and lives the gospel, but continue to nurse the wicked with great friendship then you are choosing the type of people you will be with in the eternities. You love the wicked more than you love a righteous man like Curtis against whom you can prove no charge.”

“I come here today to testify at a great sacrifice. No doubt a knowledge of my testimony will be communicated to my leaders at home and I will be brought to trial just as Curtis is. My wife does not believe as I do and there is a great possibility that if I am excommunicated that she will leave me with our beautiful children, and return to her home in England and if she were to take them there I may never see them again. I am a Seventy at home and considered to be a solid member of the church. I stand to lose the fellowship of many of my friends, but Jesus said: ‘A man’s foes shall be of his own household…He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.’ (Matt 10:36-37) We must be willing to sacrifice all that we have for the Kingdom of God!”

“I have always been interested in the mysteries of the kingdom and through study and contemplation discovered many things that are not a part of regular church doctrine. All this time I followed the party line in the church and only spoke openly about approved doctrines. Even so, I had a great desire to share my thoughts with someone. This was realized when my nephew Curtis moved into our ward. When I told him of some of the things I discovered he was excited to learn there was knowledge available beyond what is given out in general conference. Then I gave him a copy of a treatise I wrote showing there is progression from one kingdom to another.”

A Council member spoke up, “So you are the one who filled his mind with that heresy.”

“Well, I gave him my treatise and he was very excited when he read it. I told him to not share it with anyone or he could wind up in a trial like this one. He didn’t think that was possible and passed it around. The poor guy was devastated when a few days later his Bishop called him in, relieved him of all his jobs and told him he would be tried for his membership.”

“Another thing we studied was the tribulations to come and we concluded that if the prophesies are accurate that the church is ill prepared. It is not prepared because they have abandoned the tenth article of faith concerning the literal gathering. They have abandoned a literal gathering in favor of a figurative gathering and if a true calamity comes the members will be exposed to great peril. The church needs to follow their own doctrine and prepare for the calamities to come. If not, the scriptures say they will be caught in a trap just as was Jerusalem in the days of Lehi and Jeremiah.”

“I know some of you brethren here in this room can feel the Spirit bearing witness this very minute that Curtis is an innocent man before God, but will you have courage to follow it? If you do not sustain the stake presidency in their vote you could be the next one called up to a court. It takes courage and guts to follow Christ and if you go against the light you will find yourself troubled by the forces of the Prince of Darkness.

“Ask yourself brethren: How does the Lord want you to vote? I bear you this witness in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.”

Fred felt very troubled for he felt the Spirit of the Lord during David’s testimony–at least he thought he did, but he tried to tell himself that it was not the Spirit, but it was something else. He did not want to believe that this was true for David was right. If he voted against the decision of the Stake Presidency, he may be the next one to go and then June would be sure to divorce him and he would lose his wife and five children. His business which had just begun to flourish in this highly Mormon town would collapse without the support of the members of the church who would now shun him like the plague.

He would lose many of his friends. NO! He didn’t want the words of Curtis and David to be true, they can’t be true.

Fred wondered how everyone else was affected so far. He noticed that most of the other High Council members were avoiding any eye contact with David during his testimony. Most of them stared at the floor almost as if they were ashamed to look up, but Fred had looked up and when his eyes met David’s he definitely felt something, something saying that the man had a message from God and not Satan. “It couldn’t be true,” he thought.

President Jason was quite upset. He felt like he had been deceived for he assumed that David was going to testify as a faithful member would. He was very reluctant to admit the second witness, but now knew it would put him in an embarrassing light to refuse him.

He figured he may as well let him in. “Bring the second witness in.”

The second witness came in and sat down in a chair in front of the High Council.

“Your name please?”

“Wayne Garner.”

“What ward and stake are you from?”

“Morgan Ward; Moroni Stake.”

“Are you a member in good standing?”

“I am an Elder, but I am not very active at present.”

“You may proceed with your witness.”

Wayne looked at the High Council members and said: “I want everyone here to look me in the eyes.”

The council seemed to become aware that they had not looked David in the eyes and made an extra effort to maintain eye contact with Wayne.

“I also know that the church doesn’t have a clue as to what the situation would be like if there was a complete collapse. I haven’t studied the scriptures as much as David, but I do know some perilous times are awaiting us and we as a people are not prepared. If there was an economic collapse tomorrow or a great calamity and the prophecy came true about neighbor against neighbor and state against state where would your protection be? You expect to be protected because you have a year’s supply of food, but this could wind up being to your detriment. Most of the non-Mormons know that we store food and when they run out who are they going to turn to? And when they turn to you, you will either have to feed them or kill them and you cannot kill them all. What will you do when your neighbors come banging at your door with clubs, when they break in your house and steal your food? Where will your protection be then? Where will your support of the prophet be then? How wise will you esteem yourselves when you find you cannot feed your own families and that your worst enemies will be members of your own church who have not stored food?

“Will you then awake to your awful situation. Instead, why do you not now awake and realize that you are excommunicating a man of God just as the Jews did to the prophets in olden times. I bear you my witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Fred again felt uneasy as Wayne left the room. Again, he found himself resisting that same feeling that just maybe these men were right.

There was a short silence in the room as Wayne left. Finally, President Jason said: “Well, Curtis, do you have anything else to say before we dismiss you?”

“I will say that I have a testimony of the scriptures but not the traditions of the current church and that testimony is from God. If you cut me off for obeying the Spirit then it will be in the eyes of God as if you cut Jesus off for whatsoever you do unto the least of the brethren you do unto him.”

“Do you have anything to say Kathy?”

“I believe the things my husband believes are true. At first I was against them and I thought I received an answer that the teachings were from the devil, but when I really prayed with a sincere heart I received a witness that they true. The first answer I received was from my own heart, but the second answer was from God and was accompanied with a great peace.”

“I have one more question to ask,” said Curtis. “How many in this room have read the writings I gave you all the way through?”

No one raised his hand.

“Fred. How many did you read?”

“I read about ten pages,” said Fred feeling a little guilty.

“How about you, Brother Smith?”

“I wouldn’t read that stuff anymore than I would read books on witchcraft. I don’t have to read it. I know immediately that anything that goes against the Brethren is wrong.”

“I’ve got to admire your opened mind,” said Curtis. “You have to be born a Mormon to have an attitude like that. No one who says something like that can be converted to anything. How about you, Brother Marks?”

“Actually, I read most of it and I did pray about it and the answer I received is that it is from the devil.”

“Tell me. After you prayed did you find yourself somewhat troubled about the revelations?”

“Yes. That is about the way my answer came. After I prayed I found that certain things I read kept coming into my mind and they troubled me greatly so they must be from Satan.”

“This is interesting because we are told that if the thing we are praying about is wrong we ‘shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong’. (D&C 9:9) You couldn’t get the revelations out of your mind because they were from God and they were disturbing because you could not accept the answer.”

President Jason began to squirm a bit. “Let’s get this wrapped up,” he said. We’ve got other business to attend to.”

Curtis continued: “I contend brethren, that you have no right to judge me for you do not know what you are judging. If you condemn me tonight then I must utter the same prayer as Jesus: ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’ Not one of you has read all the writings. Even the courts of the wicked have more justice than this. Even in a dictatorship the leaders will read a man’s book before they condemn him and in your eyes you are sentencing me to a fate worse than death. Even if I am as guilty as all hell, then you are guilty along with me. I rest my case.”

President Jason spoke, his voice a with a slight quivering: “You may leave the room now and we’ll make a judgment.”

As Curtis left Fred did a lot of thinking to himself: “Talk about feeling troubled. I don’t want to vote against my friend. Something tells me not to. What if he is right?” Fred almost felt, as if he would not be able to raise his hand in a vote. He felt a great burden on his shoulders.

President Jason spoke: “Brethren, the Spirit was here all right when these men spoke, but it was the wrong Spirit. Satan is so clever. He can come up with wonderful arguments to lead men astray, but we have one sure rock to hold on to, the Prophet. If we follow the Brethren we know we will always be on good ground. There is only one obvious decision to make in this case as sad as I am to say it. By the rules of the Church the Stake Presidency finds Curtis Hartell guilty of the charges named and that he must be excommunicated. All those who can sustain us in this decision please signify it by raising your right hand, and remember a General Authority has already told us this is the right decision.”

President Jason raised his hand followed by his councilors and one by one the hands of the council raised. Fred’s hand was the last to go up. There was about a two-second pause between him raising his hand and the others. In that short time Fred felt like that was the most uncomfortable two seconds of his life. During that short space of time Fred felt that the thought in the back of his brethren’s minds was that they may have a traitor in their midst. He knew he must vote to sustain or he would be the next one cut off. Finally, Fred’s hand joined the rest. He left it up for only a few seconds and then jerked it back down. A terrible depressing feeling came over him and he found he almost hated himself. This was the only time in his life that he felt like a coward.

President Jason looked Fred over with some suspicion, but seemed satisfied after the vote. The unanimous vote helped to assure him that he had made the right decision.

“The voting is unanimous. Call Elder Hartell back in.”

As Curtis was standing before his brethren President Jason said: “The voting has been unanimous. As of now you are excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and you forfeit all rights, privileges, and Priesthood that you have. You are to no longer wear the regulation garment. You are to no longer pay your tithing to the church but are admonished to save it up so that you may pay it later upon reinstatement. You are to no “longer attend Priesthood meetings, but are welcome at Sunday School and Sacrament; however, you are to not partake of the sacrament. You are not to partake or make comments in any Sunday School lessons. We want you to know that we are doing this in a spirit of love, that this action is hoped to bring you to a realization of your situation so you will repent so you can be entitled to the blessings of exaltation in the world to come. If you do not repent you will not have your family in the hereafter.”

Curtis replied: “I know I am losing nothing. The only thing that can take away the blessings of God is sin and I have not sinned, but you have sinned in that you have rejected the Spirit of God.

“I testify to you this day that you are excommunicating an innocent man that the day will come when you will see many of the things predicted come to pass: neighbor will be against neighbor, state, against state, father against son and the judgment will begin at the Lord’s own house and fear will come upon every man and many of your hearts will fail you. You have judged me now God is going to judge you with the same justice you have given me.”

President Jason was visibly irritated: “That’s enough! The trial is over and you have been found guilty as charged and you are now left on your own. If calamities come it’s you who will be outside the protection of the church. You will then see the protection of the church and how it can move into action to save its members. The Church has canneries, wheat stored and many resources you’ll wish you had someday. You may leave now.”

Again, there was a short silence. President Jason cleared his throat, proud of his short oratory, and then warned the High Council not to have any association with Curtis or anyone who believes as he does or they could be cut off.

Fred had been paying close attention and one thing bothered him greatly. He wasn’t sure if it was his imagination or not, but he thought he saw a halo of light around Curtis’ head when he was giving his testimony. No one else seemed to notice it and Fred wondered if he was going crazy, but he knew he saw something similar to the halo the early Christian artists painted around the heads of the Saints. His mind was troubled enough without adding that to stir his feelings.

As Fred drove home that evening, he couldn’t seem to recall any of the other business that was discussed. He knew he wasn’t going to sleep well that night, maybe not for several nights.

After several troubled days Fred received a phone call in his office: “Fred. This is Curtis. I felt prompted to call you.”

“Good to hear from you. I heard you were leaving town.”

“I may have to. I got fired from my job and everyone in town equates me with Judas. I don’t think I could make any money here if I was starving to death. People are afraid to be associated with me.”

“A strong association with you would make a man a suspect,” Fred agreed.

“Does it bother you, Fred?”

“Of course it bothers me and I would have not voted to excommunicate you but do you think I want to lose everything I’ve built up over the years?”

“You’re going to lose it anyway Fred.”

“Maybe so, but I don’t want to rush it. I feel bad about what happened the other night. I didn’t want to really vote against you.”

“Do you feel what I said was true Fred?”

“I’m not sure, but I’m bothered about it. I’ve read the rest of the writings and I can see how they make some sense, but I’m not sure enough to sacrifice everything.”

“The Lord will not give you a sure answer until you are ready to sacrifice everything.”

“That could be true, but do you realize that if my business collapsed and I was excommunicated that my wife would leave me, and she’d probably get the children, especially with a Mormon judge?”

“It’s a rough decision. One I don’t like to force on any man. Say, would you like to have lunch together?”

“Don’t you realize I can’t be seen with you? Come over to my house some evening. On the other hand, I can’t even ask you there. June would blow up. Listen, I’ll call you sometime.”

“Fred, I’ll be leaving in a few days and I feel that we will not meet again for some time. I do feel we will meet again in the future, but in entirely different circumstances. I want to warn you Fred, because you are my friend. Read the teachings again and again and keep praying until you get a sure answer and then contact me. I’ll send you my new address in the mail. Okay Fred?”

“I’ll do my best. Curtis?”

“Yea Fred.”

“Good luck. I admire you and I wish I had your guts.”

“I wish a lot of people did. This work would be a lot easier. We have to get these teachings out to all the members of the church in the world and it’s going to be a big job. Only the power of God will give us the means to do it. Right now there are only three or four workers in all the world, but a day of Pentecost is coming.”

“I wish things were different,” said Fred.

“Things will never be different enough to make the work easy until the millennium.”

“Maybe so. I have a client waiting here to see me. I’ve got to go now.”

“Good luck Fred.”

“You too.” Fred hung up and attended to his business.

Curtis did move out of town and sent Fred his new address, but Fred did not respond. He thought that maybe Curtis was right. He would not receive an answer until he was prepared to give up everything, and he had to admit to himself that he just was not prepared to do that yet.

As time passed Fred began to hear more and more about the movement that Curtis had espoused. First there were warnings about it from the local leaders. Everything he heard about the movement seemed to be bad. It reminded him of a quote from the New Testament about the Early Christian Church. It said that it was everywhere spoken evil against. Later Fred found out that all of the local leaders received a letter of warning about the movement from the first presidency. It called them apostates and that should any member receive anything in the mail from them that they should not even read the literature, but throw it away, or better still burn it so no one else can read it.

This attitude somewhat disturbed Fred as it reminded him of the control the Priests during the Middle Ages had over the people. The priests were afraid of the people reading the scriptures because then they would lose their hold on them. Why would the general authorities be afraid of the members reading the teachings if they are false? If what we have is the highest truth, we should be able to defend it successfully, he thought.

Finally, Fred noticed that a number of articles began appearing in the papers about the movement. It noted that they planned to build cities and the media compared the group to Jim Jones who gave poisoned Kool Aid to his followers and noted that there was a cry from Mormon Church authorities for the government to do something before we have a repeat of Jonestown.

Later, Fred was listening to general conference and the Prophet was speaking: “As of late we have been receiving numerous enquiries about a certain movement, I’m sure you are all aware of, which movement claims to have the calling to gather the so-called lights. All the Brethren are gravely concerned about this Satanic influence for it has drawn thousands away from the truth. Do they not understand that we have the fullness of the Gospel with us now, and that one cannot have more than the fullness? Why do people want to go establish a community like Jim Jones when church members are promised protection from calamities, should they come. We just need to keep all the commandments and follow the Brethren. The Brethren have been telling you for years to get your year’s supply, that this is the gateway to survival. The scare tactics of this movement should not bother you. You should have enough faith to believe that God will protect you if you follow the Brethren in all things. The Brethren will always lead you right. We may not be perfect, but God is and he is leading this church.

“I understand that many members have received their literature in the mail or through the internet and many Saints are rightfully upset about the way they have twisted the scriptures. Do you entertain other anti-Mormon literature in your home? Do you have pornography in your home? Then why do you want to leave this attempted rape of the scriptures lying around where your children may find it? If your children are led to hell by it, you will be responsible. Those of you who have this material in your home and those of you who are yet to receive it we give you strong advise to burn it just as you would the vilest of pornography!”

Fred was quite amazed by the attitude of the speech. He was even more astounded when he found out that all the local leaders were later privately instructed to carry on a search of the wards and stakes for those who yet had the materials. Anyone who would refuse to give them up would be tried before a church court. Fred did not want to give up his copies so he took them to his office so he could technically avoid having them in his home. Thus when the home teachers did come he was able to honestly tell them he did not have them in his home and they seemed satisfied.

One evening at home Fred spoke to his wife: “June, I’ve been studying the writings and teachings Curtis has sent me and I feel they are true. I feel we must do something for the protection of our family.”

“You told the home teachers that you do not have them. Why did you lie?”

“I didn’t lie. I told them I didn’t have them in my home. They are in the office.”

“That’s still just as good as a lie. Now I don’t want to hear any more talk about Curtis and his beliefs.

“But June, things look bad. We are on the verge of a depression and a possible world war. People in our government have been assassinated and yet the church leaders tell us that somehow God is going to protect us. I don’t see any protection in the way that we are going. Aren’t you concerned about the children?”

“Of course, I am concerned about the children. That’s why I avoid those Satanic revelations like the plague. God has promised us protection if we follow the Brethren, and I’m going to follow them and if you want to follow anyone else you can get out and stay out!”

“But June I feel we must do something.”

“Then go do it without the children and me! And if you are going to stay around here I expect you to get rid of that garbage in the office or I’ll report you to the Bishop myself.”

Fred became very depressed, but what could he do? He couldn’t bring himself to leave his wife and children.

Sept 18, 2007

Copyright by JJ Dewey

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Journey’s End, Part 2

Journey’s End, Part 2

Fred met Jeff Harris, another High Council member, as he was entering the building. “How’s business?” said Jeff. “I heard you were working on a big deal.”

“I don’t count my money till it’s in my hand. It sure doesn’t look like your business is suffering though by the look of my daughter’s dentist bill.”

“Hey, you got it all wrong; that’s not all profit. Expenses are going up. Say have you heard about what’s happening tonight?”

“Hard to believe, isn’t it?”

“Sure is. He sent me a photocopy of some writings that accuse us of believing in an infallible prophet. Did you get all that stuff too?”

“He hand delivered it to me. What did you think of that stuff?”

“What could I think of it? It’s just a bunch of lies. I could tell that after I read two pages. It’s obvious that anyone who goes against the Prophet is a deceiver.”

“I suppose so,” said Fred.

President Jason called on Fred to give the opening prayer. Afterwards he said: “Brethren. We have a very serious matter before us this day. Elder Curtis Hartell is to be tried for his membership. I’m sure that by now you understand the nature of the charges as I understand that he has sent all of you some of these abominable writings. I didn’t have the stomach to read them all the way through and I’m sure that we can all clearly see that they were inspired by Satan. I talked with the visiting authority about this case and he told me to cut Elder Hartell off. Nevertheless, we must hold a fair trial and let him have his say. Are there any questions before we admit the accused?”

Fred responded: “Isn’t the correct procedure to have the council divided so that six are for and six against the defendant?”

“Yes, I suppose so. I can’t see how anyone can defend him though. I’ll appoint six here for the defense, but I don’t expect you to defend false teachings.”

In a few minutes President Jason opened the door to admit the defendant and found seated in the hallway Curtis and his wife, and two friends. Jason was troubled by the presence of his two friends for he feared that they may be troublemakers. “You’ll have to stay out here,” he said to them. “Only Curtis and his wife will be allowed.”

“But the letter you sent me said I could have witnesses,” said Curtis.

“Just you and your wife are allowed in. Come along now.”

Curtis and his wife walked in and sat down. He felt a heavy atmosphere as he surveyed the men in the room. Nearly all of the council members were highly successful businessmen who were used to having their own way in life. Curtis felt as if he was in a different class than his normal friends for it seemed as if he was always hindered financially. All of these men owned comfortable homes and had nice cars whereas he was struggling to pay the rent. He looked at President Jason who owned an insurance company. Some people say that he is a millionaire several times over. Curtis wondered if he could be right whereas these men, wise in the ways of the world and proven successes in their own right, are wrong. “The’ Holy Spirit has told me certain truths” he thought to himself, and if I ever need the help of the Lord it is now.”

“I think we had better begin with a prayer,” said President Jason.

After the prayer was given Curtis said: “Brethren, my membership is at stake here and I need the help of the Lord. Would you mind if I also offered a word of prayer?”

“I suppose that would be all right,” said President Jason a bit nervously. “Do any of you brethren have any objection?”

No response.

“Go ahead.”

Curtis stood up and began: “Our Father in heaven. We come before thee in deep humility at this time and ask for thy Spirit to descend on us all and bear witness of the truth. We realize oh Father that thou must work according to the free agency of man, but we ask that we will all have open hearts and resist the tendency of the natural man which is an enemy unto thee. Especially, I ask thee to bless me at this time with your Spirit that I may speak in accordance with thy will. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Fred was a bit uneasy. Even though he felt an uplifting Spirit during Curtis’ prayer it was no comfort to him. Curtis couldn’t be right. If he is then nothing makes sense any more. Fred pushed the feeling to the back of his mind.

President Jason stood up: “Now we will have President Hyde read the charges.”

“The charges are as follows: First you are charged with accepting and teaching doctrines contrary to the doctrines of the church. Second you have association with other groups and individuals who teach doctrines contrary to those authorized by the church. Thirdly, you do not abide by the rules and regulations of the church. Finally, you do not sustain the Prophet as the only one who can exercise all priesthood keys, and as the prophet seer and revelator of the church.”

“How do you plead to the charges?” said President Jason.

“Not guilty,” said Curtis. A silence penetrated the room.

“We shall review them then,” said President Jason. “First you are charged with accepting and teaching doctrines not accepted by the church. How can you deny that you are guilty of this?”

“Tell me one doctrine I believe or teach that is contrary to the church.”

“Your Bishop first noticed a problem when you circulated a paper teaching that there is no progression from one kingdom to another contrary to the teachings of modern prophets. Then after you were questioned it was discovered that you believe quite a range of false doctrines. I don’t know where to start.”

“Why don’t we start with the kingdoms then,” said Curtis. “Do you remember which kingdom the earth is as taught in the temple?”


“We are told it is the Telestial. Am I correct here or not?” he persisted.

“Yes, I think I recall that,” Fred volunteered, thinking he would help his friend along. He sensed the others did not appreciate his response.

“Now, President Jason, after you die and are resurrected which kingdom do you expect to go to?”

“I hope to go to the Celestial.”

“This means that your own words betray a belief that you will progress from the telestial earth to a celestial kingdom later on. Now answer me this. Which kingdom is Enoch and his city in?”

There was silence again. This time Fred thought he’d better not press his luck and said nothing.

After a few seconds Curtis goaded them on. “I’m sure most of you recall that Joseph Smith taught that Enoch and his city are part of a terrestrial order. Is this not correct?”

“So what?” said President Jason.

“So, I’m sure you can’t believe that you will go to the Celestial Kingdom whereas Enoch, one of the greatest prophets, will be left out in the cold in the Terrestrial. Obviously, Enoch and his city will progress into the Celestial. Don’t you think?”

“Maybe so, said the President. “We know there is progression before the final judgment. After the judgment there is no progression from kingdom to kingdom.”

Curtis continued: “Actually, the modern authorities teach there is no progression from kingdom to kingdom in any way so we’ve broken a little new ground here in doctrine. Okay, let us compare this with the scriptures.”

Curtis picked up his scriptures and read:

“The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state (the celestial), will be like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order (the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms), will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s. Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17 will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby THINGS PERTAINING TO A HIGHER ORDER OF KINGDOMS WILL BE MADE KNOWN; and a white stone is given to each of those who come into the CELESTIAL KINGDOM.” (D&C 130:8-11)

Curtis laid down his scriptures and continued, “Now brethren, I’m sure you have read the scriptures and also discovered that there are kingdoms higher than the celestial.”

“That’s a false doctrine,” said President Jason. The celestial is the highest. We all know that.”

“But that’s not what the scripture says.” He opened to the passage again and laid it before a council member. He pointed to the passage and said, “Here, read this passage I highlighted Brother Brown.”

Brown reluctantly read: “Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17 will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby THINGS PERTAINING TO A HIGHER ORDER OF KINGDOMS WILL BE MADE KNOWN;”

“How clear can the word be?” said Curtis. “Here we are told that there is a higher order of kingdoms than the Celestial.”

“So what?”

“So, even if you make it to the Celestial, according to your belief, you would be stuck there for eternity. You will be aware that there are even higher kingdoms but will not be able to go there. That sounds like hell to me. Surely if the end result is to have all power as promised in the scriptures, then we will have power to move from the Celestial to the kingdoms that are even higher.”

“We are getting into the mysteries here,” said President. “I think we need to move on.”

“So you agree that I am not teaching false doctrine then?” asked Curtis.

“You are teaching doctrines not approved by the church.”

“But what I just taught you is from the scriptures. Are the scriptures not approved by the church?”

“Of course they are. Your interpretation is not,” said the President.

“There’s not much interpretation needed.”

“Joseph Field Smith said there is no progression from one kingdom to another and the present authorities agree so I think the matter is settled here,” President Jason said.

“But the church teaches that the scriptures are a higher authority than a church leader,” Curtis replied.

“We follow the words of a living prophet,” he countered. “Now let’s move on. We understand you accept prophets not recognized by the church?”

“I believe that any man can be a prophet whether he is in the church or out of the church,” replied Curtis.

That doctrine certainly is not accepted by the church.”

Curtis replied, “Can you tell me what is the difference between an accepted and unaccepted doctrine?”

Elder Wood spoke up: “You should be aware that the accepted doctrines are those recognized by the authorities of the church.”

“That’s not what Joseph Fielding Smith said,” said Curtis. I have here in my hand the book “Doctrines Of Salvation” by Joseph Fielding Smith who was at one time the Prophet of the church. I’ll read from page 203: ‘STANDARD WORKS JUDGE TEACHINGS OF ALL MEN.’ ‘It makes no difference what is written or about what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.

“‘You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.

“‘Every man who writes is responsible, not the church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted.’”

Curtis put the book down and continued, “Here, brethren, we are clearly told that the only doctrines authorized by the church are those that can be proven out of the standard works. If they do not measure up then we are duty bound to reject them, even if they come from an authority as Joseph Fielding Smith. Show me where I am teaching a doctrine not found in the standard works.”

“I’d like you to show us any substantiation for the calling of a prophet not recognized by the church when the scriptures tell us that God will speak through his authorized prophets,” said Elder Wood.

“It sounds like you’re referring to Amos 3:7 where he… says: ‘Surely the Lord God will do nothing ‘but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.’ Is that the scripture you’re thinking of?”

“That’s the one,” said Elder Wood.

Actually, Amos was not a prophet authorized by the church of his day. He was about as far away as you can get from being a General Authority. He said: ‘I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go prophesy unto my people Israel.’ (Amos 7:14-15) In the same way today there are a number of inspired prophets who were not authorized prophets of the church nor a prophet’s son, but just regular people receiving inspiration to go prophesy to his people Israel. Why am I wrong for believing that God can speak through anyone?”

“But no one in your group was set apart to be a prophet by the laying on of hands,” said Elder Smith.

“Neither is there a record of Amos, Jeremiah, Lehi or Isaiah being set apart by the laying on of hands of the authorities. In Joel we are told that even our daughters and handmaidens will prophesy. (Joel 2:29-29) Where is the ordinance to ordain a woman to be a prophet? In Numbers chapter twenty-two we find that the Lord even went so far as to call an ass to be a prophet to rebuke his authorized prophet Balaam. Where is the ordinance to ordain an ass to be a prophet? Can’t you see brethren that this is the Lord’s church and that he can speak through anyone he pleases?”

“Anyone can twist the scriptures to say anything,” said Elder Cole.

“Then go ahead and twist them and prove me wrong!” Said Curtis. “I challenge anyone here to do it.”

“It’s obvious that you’ve studied the scriptures more than most of us,” said Elder Little. “I, for instance, am a busy man and find that I have to rely on the Spirit for my guidance.”

“I think you have as much or more time to study than me. There’s been times I’ve had to work sixteen hours a day at two different jobs yet I still found time to study. Besides the scriptures say: ‘Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word.’ D&C 11:21) The Lord also tells us that he will not give us answers unless we study. (See D&C 9:7-9.) Tell me, Elder Little. How do you get all this inspiration with no study when the Lord himself says he will not give it to you unless you do study? How?”

No response.

Curtis continued: “In the summons you gave me it said I could have witnesses. May I please bring them in?”

“Any witness must be a good member of the Church,” said President Jason.

“My friends are good members of the church,” said Curtis. “They are in good standing. One is a Seventy and the other is an Elder. Now may they please come in. They’ve traveled about three hundred miles to be here.”

“We may let them speak later,” said President Jason.

“So, how about plural marriage? Does your group endorse this?” said Elder Wood.

“First I will say that plural marriage is scriptural according to Mormon scriptures. If you do not believe that just read D&C, Section 132. Since it is scriptural according to Joseph Fielding Smith then it must be an orthodox doctrine of the church. I think people should be free do practice it if they want and there is no coercion, and they should also be free not to practice it. As for me I only have one wife.”

“Would you practice it if one of your prophets told you to?” said Elder Randall.

“If someone received a revelation that I was to practice it I would seek personal confirmation through the Spirit. I wouldn’t do it unless I received the answer for myself.”

“But if you received confirmation would you?”

“And if the president of the church told you to take a second wife, would you?” Curtis retorted.

“That’s different,” he said.

“Only in that I would check with God first and you apparently would not.”

“I’m sure I would pray about it, but it’s a moot point because such a commandment is not likely to happen.”

“But what if you received a commandment directly from God?”

“God doesn’t work that way.”

“God sure worked that way in the past,” said Curtis. “When God commanded Moses he spoke to him directly. He also did the same to Nephi. Are you saying that you would ignore any message from heaven except in the ways you decide to accept?”

“You realize,” said President Jason, “that if you practice plural marriage it is the same as committing adultery today?”

“But that’s a moot point for I have only one wife, and almost all the members of the church today say they will live plural marriage today if God commanded them to. Are you going to excommunicate them also?”

“Getting back to your prophet or prophets,” said Elder Murphy. “Why would God call someone outside the authorized channels? Why wouldn’t he call someone in the church?”

“There have been people called to be prophets by the voice of the Spirit within the church, but as soon as they speak they are excommunicated. I know of several such persons myself. Interestingly the Lord commands the Elders to ‘lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good.’ (D&C 42:12&16) Actually, the lowly prophets you reject are only fulfilling this commandment in the Doctrine and Covenants and have been prophesying as seemeth good to the Lord.”

“But why didn’t the Lord go through the regular channels,?” said Elder Wood.

“Inspired people tried the regular channels and they would not receive their words because their hearts desired something else. If the First Presidency will not hear the word of the Lord then the Lord has to seek a mouthpiece among the Apostles; if they will not hear then he has to seek among the other General Authorities. If they will not hear then he has to seek among the other leaders, and if they will not hear he would finally have to seek among the lowly Elders of Israel.”

President Jason cleared his throat. “We are not getting anywhere with this arguing. Let’s move on.”

“Am I innocent of the first charge then?

“That will be decided.”

“Listen,” said Curtis, “My membership is at stake here. To you brethren excommunication is worse than the death sentence, yet you seem prepared to sentence me to such a fate without proof. The courts of the cities of Babylon have more justice than this.”

“You will receive justice. Now on this second charge you are accused with associating with other groups or individuals who teach doctrines contrary to those authorized by the church.”

“Well, I do associate with a lot of Catholics,” said Curtis. “It looks like you will have to excommunicate everyone in the stake.”

“That is not what is meant by the accusation.”

“That’s what it says.”

“Come now. We know you’ve been associating with apostates. Do you deny it?”

“I do not believe I associate with apostates, but with people who are sincere seekers not in any way separated from God. I can prove the doctrines of my friends are in harmony with the Standard Works.”

“I can see where you are trying to take us around in circles here. It is obvious here that your apostate friends teach false doctrines. We will proceed to the next charge.”

“I don’t think this is fair,” said his wife, Kathy. “The odds here are fifteen against one, nor do I see six elders defending Curtis as your manual directs. I think you should let the witnesses in.”

“We’ll see,” said President Jason. ‘‘Now the next charge is that you do not abide the rules and regulations of the church. How do you explain yourself there?”

“I have tried to live all the rules and regulations,” said Curtis. “I have always paid my tithes and offerings. I am a hundred per cent home teacher. I live a moral life. I attend all my meetings, I have never refused a calling. I’ve done everything the Bishop has asked of me. I can’t think of a rule that I am breaking. But tell me are all the members of the Stake Presidency Home Teachers?”

“No. We don’t have the time.”

“Brethren! Are you not aware that the prophet has instructed all leaders including Bishops and Stake Presidents to home teach at least one family. It looks like it is you who are not obeying all the rules. I think we should have a court for you.”

Fred almost cracked a smile. In his heart he was almost proud of Curtis.

President Jason’s face turned a bit red, “Listen you are on trial here and not us! You disregard the council of the Brethren, so you are not obeying the rules!”

“But some of the council of the Brethren is contrary to the scriptures, and besides you are on trial here more than I am. My beliefs have already been cleared by God. Now he is seeing how you react to them. You are the ones being watched by the courts of heaven more than I.”

Elder Marks spoke up: “I will not see you belittling our President. Don’t you realize that we have power here to take away everything that is important. We can take your membership away, your Priesthood, your temple marriage, your salvation and exaltation. You ought to take this seriously and get down on your knees and repent. Where’s your senses anyway?”

“You have power to take nothing but my church membership,” Curtis replied defiantly. Many people don’t realize that the Church is merely an auxiliary of the Priesthood just as the Sunday School is an auxiliary of the church. Only sin can take away my Priesthood connection with God, and that decision belongs to God alone.”

“You’ll think differently when you are cut off,” said Elder Marks.

“If we keep on going this meeting will last all night,” said President Jason. “Here’s the last charge: You do not sustain the Prophet as the only one who can exercise all priesthood keys and as the prophet seer, and revelator for the whole church. How do you respond to this?”

“I have never said that the prophet does not have the keys. Brigham Young once said that” that the least member has the keys to build up the church if all the leaders were killed. I sustain the man as a prophet seer and revelator as long as the Spirit testifies to me that he speaks the truth. Brigham Young condemned the Saints for believing without question. He said we must find out for ourselves. This is what I do with the words of the Prophet. I let myself be guided by the Spirit.”

“What does the Spirit tell you about the revelation on the blacks?” said Elder Wood.

“The Spirit says it was a false revelation given to them because that is what their hearts desired. Actually, the revelation may have not even been needed because Joseph Smith himself ordained a black man named Elijah Abel to be an Elder and I can find no revelation that should have changed that policy. The blacks should have never been rejected.”

“That does, it right there!” said President Jason. The revelation on the blacks is now scripture and you are speaking against it. That condemns you using your own reasoning.”

“But where is the revelation?”

“It was published in the Ensign and the Church News. About everyone in the Church read it. Didn’t you?”

“But that was not the revelation. That was only a statement that there was a revelation. How can you say I am going against a revelation when no one knows what the revelation says?”

“You can twist things around all you want, but it’s obvious to us all that you don’t sustain the authorities. I think it’s about time to bring this meeting to a conclusion.”

“But you haven’t heard the witnesses yet,” said Kathy. Did you lie to us in your letter when you said Curtis could have them?”

“Are you sure they are members in good standing?”

“Yes,” said Curtis. “I can prove it to you if you want.”

“All right we’ll let them in for five minutes each.”

Sept 17, 2007

Copyright by JJ Dewey

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Journey’s End, Part 1

Journey’s End

Copyrighted 1979 & 2007;

and written by: J J Dewey

Part 1

NOTE: The first part of this story is based on true events with some fictional dialog added. However, the dialog at the trial is very close to the actual occurrence. Curtis is my nephew, Curtis Harwell, and the David character is myself. Wayne is my good friend who was also in the Immortal series.  The second part is fiction written to make the LDS take a realistic look at how their preparations could play out.

Fred Cole was just about to fall asleep in the High Council meeting until he half heard the Stake President say something about a trial to be held next Sunday evening concerning a certain Elder who may be in danger of excommunication.

Fred came to life and sat up in his chair.

Lee Jason, the Stake President, spoke in his usual monotone: “The Elder in consideration is Curtis Hartell. I’m sure this is a shock to you as it has been for me, for Curtis seemed to be faithful in all his duties and has a great knowledge of the scriptures, but it seems as if he’s studied so much that he thinks he knows more than the prophet. He’s been circulating some heretical writings and doctrines and poisoning minds. Not only that, but it seems as if he’s found another prophet or guru to follow. As difficult as it is we must try him for his membership next week.”

Fred was too stunned to make any response. Curtis was his good friend. They had at one time been in the Elder’s quorum presidency together. They had played ball together. How often had Fred and his wife June entertained Curtis and his wife Kathy and often they had talked past midnight about the scriptures. Although he had found Curtis’ thinking unorthodox, he had always found him enlightening and quite well read. The last year or so Fred had seen very little of him. It seemed as business interests and different church positions had caused them to drift apart. As of late Fred had opened up his own law firm and had been doing quite well. His business associates as well as his church obligations seemed to take up all of his time. From what he had heard of Curtis it was about all he could do to put food on the table. He was a struggling real estate salesman and seemed to have so many interests lately that perhaps he wasn’t concentrating on his work as he should.

But Curtis excommunicated? An apostate? Never. “No not him! Please don’t let it happen to him, God. Please!!!”

June greeted him at home with a tired look in her eyes: “What a day I’ve had. Those five kids of yours about drove me nuts…” She continued to elaborate on her daily problems, but Fred was oblivious. After several minutes June became aware that she had no listener: “You haven’t heard a word I’ve said, have you?”

“What . . . What did you say?”

“Never mind. What’s bothering you, that Tate deal?”

“No. No, something more important.”

“More important. Why, if you handle that right you’ll make $40,000 and we can finally take that vacation abroad that you’ve been promising us.”

“You remember Curtis and Kathy don’t you?”

“Of course, but about all I see of them now is at church. Our interest seems to have gone in separate directions.”

“Well, maybe you had better sit down for this. Curtis is in some serious trouble.”

“What he’d do? Rob a bank?”

“This isn’t funny. They may excommunicate him next week, and I may have to vote against him. I’d rather condemn him to death than this.”

Fred just about cried.

“Fred. Fred. What is it…? He didn’t step out on his wife, did he? He couldn’t find a sweeter wife in the country than Kathy. I don’t believe it. He wouldn’t have done something like that!”

“June. There are other things a person can get excommunicated for than adultery.”

“Well, they sometimes excommunicate inactive people that request it, but I understand it really takes some doing to get off the church records. My brother Bill has been trying to avoid the home teachers for years, but they track him down wherever he goes. He even asked to have his name taken off the rolls, but the Bishop refused. They think they are going to get him sooner or later, but he’s a tuff nut. Maybe there will be hope in the spirit world.”

“June,” said Fred with a grim face. “Curtis is going to be tried next week for apostasy.”

“Curtis tried for apostasy? Why, he goes to church each Sunday and has half a dozen jobs. How could he be apostatizing? Now Bill, I could understand.”

“It’s much worse than being inactive… Curtis doesn’t believe and sustain the prophet any more. He’s following another prophet.

“You gotta be kidding. What prophet is he supposed to be following?”

“I’m not sure. Must be one of those who claim to be Mighty and Strong.”

“And who on earth could that be?”

“I don’t know June. The Stake President just said he’s been circulating some very odd writings. I just can’t understand it. I know he had a testimony; I can’t see how he can deny it!”

“What’s he been teaching? Does he have a bunch of wives? Is he one of those? Now I can understand how something like that could get a man’s interest.”

“I don’t know anything more than what the President said. You know as much as I do about the situation.”

“Well, let’s find out some more. I’m not going to sleep tonight until I know what’s going on.”

After and exchange of words Fred dialed the phone: “Hello. Curtis, is that you?” His voice sounded a bit strained.

“Sure isn’t the Lone Ranger! Say, is this Fred? I’ve been meaning to talk to you. I suppose you heard the news today.”

“Yes. I heard,” he said gravely.

“I wanted to be the one to tell you, but that’s under the bridge now. What have you heard?”

“I heard you don’t believe in the prophet anymore and that you’re following some other guy. Curtis, tell me it isn’t true.”

“Well, I’m sure everything you’re thinking is not true, but I have received a witness of several important things. The General Authorities don’t know any more than we do and are not working to fulfill the true purpose of the church. There are other teachers out there who are more like prophets than leaders in the church.

“But the Lord always speaks through the prophet. If the Lord wants his people to repent, he’ll tell the president of the church.”

“But the prophet won’t listen so He had to tell someone else,” said Curtis

“What do you mean the prophet won’t listen? If anyone is righteous enough to receive revelation he is.”

“How do you know he’s righteous?”

“Listen. He’s a damn sight more righteous than you or your prophet ever thought of being!”

“I know that you believe that Fred, but calm down a minute and tell me why you think he’s righteous.”

“I’ve read all about him and his life is nothing but good works. Besides I met him once and shook his hand and looked in his eyes and when I looked in his eyes, I knew I could not question him being a prophet.”

“His eyes seem pretty ordinary to me. Even when I accepted him as the one and only mouthpiece, I thought he had an ordinary set of eyes. Come now Fred; you’re letting the glamour of his position get the best of you. I once knew a guy who met the Pope and he said about the same thing about his eyes. Now come clean. What makes you think he’s any better of a person than you are?”

“I wouldn’t even dare compare myself with the prophet,” said Fred timidly.

“Why not? Haven’t you tried to do good works all your life?”

“Well, yes,” said Fred, “but I’ve made a lot of mistakes. He’s a lot better than I am.”

“Has the Lord told you that? “

“He doesn’t have to. The prophet is chosen because he is worthy to receive revelation for the whole church and we are promised that he will never lead us astray. I know that he is a righteous man. I have a testimony that he is the only person on the earth who can receive revelation for the church.”

“And I have a testimony that anyone can receive a revelation on any subject he wants to and that if the church is out of order, then the Lord himself will give a message to prophets of his own choosing to cry repentance. Do you think one has to be president of the church to cry repentance?”

“No, but if the prophet is out of order the Lord will set him straight himself or he will take his life.”

Curtis sighed. “The scriptures say that the Lord works the same today as he did in ages past. Do you know how he corrected a prophet in the Old Testament when he went astray?”

“How’s that?”

“In Numbers, Chapter 22 we are told that the Lord rebuked the prophet Balaam through an ass. Now tell me… If an ass had authority given him from God to call a prophet to repentance, then why couldn’t you or I be called the same way?

“Things were different back then. The church wasn’t set up as it is now.”

“You mean back then an ass could rebuke a prophet, but for some odd reason it couldn’t happen today? Use your courtroom logic. Why couldn’t it happen today?”

“We are promised the church will never fall. This dispensation is different. The Lord will not let us go astray this time.”

Curtis sighed and replied, “Then why did the Lord say: ‘Wherefore let the church repent of her sins, and I the Lord will own them, otherwise they shall be cut off?’”

“Where’s that found?”

“It is in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 63, verse 63.”

Fred opened up his Doctrine and Covenants and studied it a moment.

“The Lord was just warning those people in that day. He had to be strict in order to get the church started, but he had a foreknowledge that everything would work out. That’s why he promised us the church will not fail.”

“And where did he promise us that?”

“It’s in the scriptures somewhere. I don’t know them by heart, but I’ll find it.”

“I’ll tell you what. You find it and let’s get together tomorrow evening for a few minutes. There are several things I want to share with you.”

“I don’t know… I’m pretty busy.”

“Fred, I have a feeling that you’re nervous about talking with me. Are you afraid of what you might find out?”

“Of course not!”

“Then let’s do it. Are you free tomorrow night around eight?”

“Okay, come on over… and bring your wife.”

“You’re on Fred. See you then.”

Fred found himself questioning some of his feelings as he hung the phone up. The conversation seemed to cause him to be unusually agitated and Curtis was right. Fred was reluctant to invite him over. He couldn’t quite explain to himself why. Could it be possible that he was afraid of finding out something? “No!” He told himself. He knew the church was in order and there was nothing that could shake his testimony.

The next evening June had just finished putting the kids to bed when the doorbell rang. Fred answered it. “Curtis, Kathy, please come in.”

“Good to see you again Fred.” Curtis lightheartedly walked in and took a seat. He always seemed able to make himself at home without seeming imposing. On the other hand, Kathy was quiet and unimposing, yet always friendly. She waited for Fred to find her a seat.

“We’ve been here for sixty seconds and you haven’t offered us a drink,” said Curtis lightly. “What’s the matter, aren’t we friends anymore?”

“Just hold on a minute,” said June. “Some root beers are on the way.”

Fred sat down facing Curtis over a coffee table. “Did you find that reference about the prophet not leading the church astray?” Curtis asked.

“I got to admit I didn’t have time to look, but I know it’s in the scriptures somewhere. I’ve heard it quoted many times.”

“There is such a statement,” said Curtis, “but it’s not in the scriptures, but was an official declaration by the church and is now placed as an addendum to the Doctrine & Covenants. President Wilford Woodruff said it; the statement is in his biography. It was not given as a revelation, but it was a pronouncement given in his own name. He said that if the Prophet tried to lead the church astray that God would remove him. Interestingly, in that same address he also said that God would do the same thing to any other person that tries to lead the children of men astray. Looking at it in that context one is lead to wonder why God did not remove Hitler sooner. Obviously, the removal is not always immediate, or even obvious.”

“But later prophets have said the same thing.”

“Yes, Fred, but consider for a moment that they could be wrong, and if this doctrine of infallibility is wrong can you think of a doctrine that would cause greater rejoicing in Hell? Just consider a people who believed in following a man without question and that man was under the influence of Satan – just think of how disastrous the results could be?”

June’s eyes turned red: “If you’re saying that our prophet is under the influence of Satan I think you can just leave!”

“Calm down,” said Fred. “Our friends are always welcome here. Are you saying, Curtis, that the prophet is under the influence of Satan or that he is evil? I don’t think we can buy that.”

“I realize that he is a sincere man, trying to do what he considers right and seems to be very righteous in the eyes of his followers, but so is the Pope, Oral Roberts, and Billy Graham, yet Mormons readily believe that other religious leaders are influenced by the adversary. After all, who isn’t at times?”

“Well, not even the prophet believes he is perfect,” said Fred.

“I realize that, but the church teaches strongly that he will never lead the church astray and thus must be supported at all times. Anyone who doesn’t support without question is cut off. On the other hand, there are many adulterers, liars, wife beaters, child molesters, and many completely inactive people who are nursed with great care and are not cut off unless it becomes an embarrassment to the church.”

“You do have a point there,” said June. “My brother Bill has begged to be taken off the records, but they just won’t do it. The bishop says it would break his mother’s heart.”

“I have a friend like that too,” said Curtis. “But the point is that this doctrine of the prophet never leading us astray is the same as the doctrine of infallibility, and it is a very dangerous doctrine.”

“But the people need some guidepost to lead the way,” said Fred.

“Yes,” said Curtis. “The sheep always need a shepherd, but we are told that in the last days men will not be able to live on borrowed light, that the five wise virgins will depend on the Holy Spirit and not on the arm of flesh. Now there’s something else important I need to tell you about, something that is important to your physical survival.”

“I’m sure the church has already told us all we need to know to be prepared,” said June.

“That’s what the Jews thought in the days of Lehi,” said Curtis, “but the authorities were astray then, and who is to say that it cannot happen again? After all, the only ones we have a record of who were aware of the true situation were Lehi, Jeremiah, and several unnamed prophets. There is a scripture here that I want to read you which is rather frightening: ‘For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitant of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem; and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.’ (D&C 5:19-20) Do you realize what this means, Fred and June?”

“We are aware that there is going to be great tribulation,” said Fred. “That is nothing new – all the prophets have warned us.”

“Yes; but were you aware that this scripture indicates that these last days will be patterned after the destruction of Jerusalem?”

“We know there’s going to be great calamities.”

“But in the days of Jeremiah and Lehi the destruction began at the Lord’s own house, first among the leaders of the church. There were only a few righteous that were saved.”

“Well, I’m sure the general authorities will be righteous enough to be saved,” said June.

“I hope for their sake that that is true,” said Curtis, “but concerning the calamities the Lord said: ‘And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; first among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me.’ (D&C 112:25-26) This is what happened in the days of Jeremiah. The judgment began at the Lord’s own sanctuary.”

“I’m sure there will be people high up in the church who will falter,” said Fred. “After all, look at the days of Joseph Smith. It could happen again, but that doesn’t mean that the church is being led astray. On the other hand, it says that even the elect will be deceived. We are told that there will be great deception and you are a part of it Curtis. Come to your senses man!”

“It’s a compliment, at least, that you think 1 am one of the elect. You are right, however, there is supposed to be great deception, but not many believe the way I do. I am just one person, so even if I am deceived how can you call that great deception? On the other hand, if the whole church is led astray that is great deception, is it not?”

“There are many apostates today and billions do not believe the Book of Mormon, so I’d call that great deception too,” said Fred.

“The deception talked about concerns the believers, not the unbelievers,” said Curtis.

“So how are we deceived?” said June. “I don’t see the prophet leading us down to hell. If everyone did what he said the world would certainly be a happier place.”

“Deceptive teachings never appear evil,” said Curtis. “They are almost always approved by the majority. On the other hand, the truth always stirs up a lot of opposition.”

“Tell us some way that we are deceived,” said Fred.

“Let me ask you this,” said Curtis, “If there were an economic collapse or disaster tomorrow what would happen to you and your family?”

“The prophets have told us that if we are prepared we will not fear,” said June. “We have done as the prophets have instructed us and stored a year’s supply of food, clothing and firewood. We have also attended our meetings and studied the gospel so we are also spiritually prepared. I’ll bet we could live longer on our supply than you could on yours.”

“Not if I could break in and steal your food,” said Curtis.

“But I’ve got guns and ammunition to prevent that,” said Fred.

“Has the prophet told you to shoot your brethren that don’t have food?” said Curtis.

“No said Fred, but in a situation like that I would decide myself what to do.”

“And you think you would shoot me?”

“Really, I’m not sure what I would do. I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”

“Don’t you know what the General Authorities have told you to do?”

“I guess you’re one up on me there,” said Fred.

“They have told you to store extra food so you can share with your neighbors.”

“I guess we’d better buy some extra food then,” said June. “Come to think of it I do remember Brother Featherstone saying something about that a while back.”

“Do you know anyone in the ward that has extra food now to share with their neighbors if they needed it tomorrow,” said Curtis.

“No,” said June,” but I’m sure the church will be prepared when the time comes. After all, the church has much grain stored now that could feed the hungry.”

“In a disaster that would all be gone in two weeks,” said Curtis.

“And even if they had enough how would they get it here with no gas, and even if they had gas how would they get it here if a disaster broke the roads up?”

“If we do what we are supposed to do we will be protected,” said June. “The Lord has promised.”

“But let us see what the scriptures tell us we are supposed to be to be protected,” said Curtis.

As he was opening his scriptures Fred looked at Curtis’ wife: “What do you think of all these things he comes up with, Kathy?”

“At first I was very upset, but I’m beginning to see how they are true. We’ve got two little children and I want to make sure they are protected.”

“Here’s the scripture I was looking for,” said Curtis. “When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith he quoted a verse similar to the last chapter of Malachi, but differently. He said: ‘And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.’ (D&C 2:2-3) Now I ask what are the promises made to the fathers?”

“That refers to genealogy work,” said Fred.

“The power of sealing is just One promise that was made to the fathers, but notice the word is plural. It says ‘promises.’ What other great promise was made to the fathers?”

“You tell me.”

“One of the greatest promises repeated all through the scriptures is the gathering of Israel. This gathering of the elect is part of the preparation the church must make for we are told: ‘And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.’ (D&C 115:6) It is true that we are told that ‘if ye are prepared ye shall not fear’, but the next verse says: ‘And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless.’ (D&C 38:30-31) We are clearly told that if we want protection that we must be gathered.”

“But that was pertaining to that day when the church was young,” said Fred. “They had to gather to protect themselves because of the persecution. Today the authorities tell us to stay where we are. There is no need to gather any more, and if we do it will be in Jackson County.”

“Where is the revelation telling us that we no longer need to gather.”

“The prophets receive revelation and they tell us. They do not have to say everything in the name of the Lord,” said Fred.

“It would be nice if they said anything,” said Curtis. “Any word on ceasing the gathering has been in their own name and not the Lord’s. Furthermore, we are told that the gathering is to protect us from latter-day calamities, which have as yet not happened. If the gathering is for our protection, then why do we cease doing it when we need it the most? Why Fred?”

“I’m sure the prophet knows what he is doing.”

“Fred you’re relying on the arm of flesh by trusting in the reliability of a man. Remember Moroni said that if these promises are not carried out by the children ‘the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming’. The reason the earth would be wasted is because if there is no gathering of Israel then there will be no refuge and if there is no refuge then the earth will be wasted and all the inhabitants consumed and all flesh would be destroyed when the Lord comes. That’s how important the gathering is Fred. Without this principle you’ll be destroyed.”

“You’re just trying to scare us,” said June. “If we follow the prophet we’ll be protected and that’s that.”

“But what would you do if there was an economic collapse and all the food was gone from the stores in two weeks and then your neighbors started demanding your food. After all, they know you’re a Mormon and have food stored. What would you do when you find a hundred hungry men banging at the door with sticks wanting food? Then what would you do if they tortured you for the names of other Mormons with food?’ What would you think of the prophet’s advice then?”

June rose up and screamed: “Get out! I’ll have no more of this talk in my house. The prophet is a holy man and he talks with God and what you’re saying is blasphemy. I’ll have no more of it!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” said Curtis getting up. “I merely came here in a sincere effort to warn you, but I see you do not want to be warned; however, I will tell you this. Great tribulation is prophesied to come and when it does it will last for quite some time. I hope you remember my warning for it may be your physical salvation.”

Fred saw Curtis and Kathy to the door. “I apologize for my wife’s behavior,” he said. “I can see you are at least sincere about your beliefs.”

“I’m sincere because it is in the scriptures. I have received a spiritual witness of a number of things the church would consider blasphemous”

“Tell me then,” said Fred. “How will those who are not deceived supposed to be protected?”

“We will do as the scriptures say and build communities and cities and gather together in them. If those who are gathered have the Spirit with them, they will be protected.”

“But the saints have already gathered in Utah,” said Fred.

“The effect of the gathering has been neutralized for there is no gathering in Utah of a truly spiritual people. Salt Lake is about as prepared or unprepared as any other city.

As Curtis and his wife walked to the car Fred thought he was going to cry, but could not quite understand why. Could that really be the Spirit of the Lord that accompanied the words of his friend?

June jarred him from his contemplation: “That Curtis really has a nerve saying” those things about the prophet. Fred. I don’t want you to see any more of him.”

“Now June, Curtis is my friend even if he is deceived. I’ll see him when I want.”

“You start seeing him and you’ll see no more of me or the children. Satan’s got a hold on him and I’ll have no part of it!”

Fred was somewhat startled by her abrupt attitude. It did not quite seem like June. He said what he could to pacify her, but his mind was on the words of Curtis. “June, how do you think we really will be protected in a day of calamity?”

“I’m not sure exactly how it will come about, but I’m sure the prophet will lead us so we will be prepared if we just do as he says. Now I don’t want to discuss it any more. Next thing you know you’ll be his disciple.”

Fred was quiet the rest of the evening contemplating the warning Curtis had given him. He wouldn’t think a thing of it except that as Curtis left he felt that strange feeling, that strange wonderful Spirit, a peaceful Spirit. Could the Spirit really be supporting those teachings? What if Curtis was right? Fred began to see that if he was then his family would be in a very fragile condition in a calamity. What could the prophet do to save us in such a situation he thought. Somehow Fred was disturbed beyond what reason would allow and he only slept a few hours that night.

A few days later Fred was having lunch with Ralph Davis, a real estate broker. “What do you know about Curtis Hartell’s situation?” said Ralph.

“How much have you heard?” said Fred.

“As you know he is one of my salesmen and he’s been telling the other guys some real strange stuff. One of my men told his Bishop about him and I understand they are going to hold a court for him.”

“Sounds like you heard correctly.”

“But is he really going to be excommunicated?”

“We won’t know till the court, but I don’t see any way out for him. I really feel bad about it,” said Fred.

“Well, if he goes out of the church then he goes out of my company.”

“But why, Ralph? I’m sure he could still be a good salesman. After all a man needs to make a living.”

“That’s right. A man needs to make a living, and number one comes first. Everyone in town will know that Curtis is an apostate, and what do you think that will do for my business when almost everyone here is a Mormon? I’d be lucky to sell anything at all,” said Ralph.

“I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt you that much and he’s got to earn money too.”

“He can earn it somewhere else. I just about fired him this morning when I caught him polluting Smith’s mind. That boy is really going to have some answering to do on judgment day.”

“Just go easy on him Ralph.”

“I’ll go easy on him all right. It’ll be really easy to fire him.”

Fred was disturbed at the way Ralph grinned afterwards.

It was Sunday morning, the day of the Stake conference. This was a special day because a general authority was visiting. The day was also unique because a leading Elder in the stake was to stand trial. Lee Jason, the stake president shuffled papers in front of him as he was entertaining the visiting General Authority. His counselors, Presidents Hyde and Murphy were at his side. Elder Perry was taking the minutes.

“What shall we do about this Curtis Hartell,” said President Jason to the visiting authority.

“Is he the one you told me about that’s been preaching false doctrine and associates with known apostates?”

“That’s the one.”

“There’s only one thing to do. If he doesn’t support the Prophet he must be cut off.”

“Have you heard of this Curtis and his associates before?”

“Their group sent me and other authorities copies of various writings. I guess they think we need straightened out” The authority let out a brief chuckle. As to any following I don’t think the group is credible enough to attract many disciples. This Elder is the first one I know of that we have been able to pin on this group. What kind of person is this Curtis Hartell?”

“Actually, he has been to date one of the highest respected students of the Gospel in the stake. Often when people have a doctrinal question, they will ask him for advice. Also, he has always done whatever job he has been asked to do, and that quite successfully.”

“A typical pattern,” said the Authority. “A lot of these people who study a lot and rely on their judgment get to thinking they’re smarter than God and finally get to the point where they will not follow counsel. Unless he humbles himself to his knees and irrevocably supports the prophet he must be cut off. I will examine the minutes of the meeting personally.”

“I understand,” said President Jason. “I sure feel sorry for the guy though. Especially his family. I know them and they are nice people.”

“You’re doing them all a favor by cutting him off. Maybe he will repent this way. Have you ever excommunicated someone for apostasy before?”

“No. Several on immorality, but nothing like this.”

“Well, don’t have any sympathy with him. Remember he is an apostate and anyone who leads people away from the church is committing a sin worse than murder. I wish we had laws so we could control these people. Now let’s review your attendance goals.”

Fred had just finished saying a prayer in the privacy of his bedroom. He asked for help for both himself and Curtis and that if Curtis did have any truth that it would be revealed unto him. Fred was pretty sure that Curtis was completely wrong, but there was always that off chance. He decided to leave a corner of his mind opened.

“I’ve got to leave,” he said to June, “or I’ll be late to the High Council meeting.”

“This is where Curtis gets where he deserves,” said June. “If he knows what’s good for him, he will grovel your feet.”

“June we are not trying to get revenge on him. The purpose of the court is an act of love. It’s to help him repent.”

“He’ll never repent. I’ll prophesy of that,” she said defiantly.

“I’ll admit that his mind seems made up,” said Fred, his voice quivering somewhat.

Sept 16, 2007

Copyright by JJ Dewey

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The Faces of Love

The Faces of Love

This poem represents one of my few efforts to write in poetry. It is written in an unusual style. It is called metered poetry in that each line has exactly the same number of syllables. I was told the meter of ten syllables per line is very difficult to write, but also very beautiful. On hearing this I decided to give it a try and wrote the following poem metered at ten syllables per line. If you read it aloud you can appreciate the power of the meter.


The Faces Of Love

by JJ Dewey. Written in 1967

I was alone walking beside the sea;

How long I had trod I could never know.

I saw not where my tracks began to be;

I could not recall where I was to go.

Then I questioned the reason I was there;

The thought had not before occurred to me.

It became a weight I could not bear;

Finally, I looked to see who I could see.


Vaguely, at first, through one eye I saw him;

I blinked my eyes and viewed him more clearly.

I stopped and so did he, then walked again;

Then I paused: “What have you to do with me?”

“Nothing,” said he., “since the years have gone by,

Though the tracks in the sand belong to you,

I’ve been by your side just watching the tide.”


“How was it that I caught not your presence

If from time without end you’ve walked the sea?

Why do you live, and what is your essence,

And tell me what have you to do with me?”

“You do not know, you have been slumbering,”

The tall and fair stranger then said to me,

“Without me you have been a blundering,

But I could have so much to do with thee.”


I said, “What can you have to do with me?

Do you have a home and what is your name,

And why do you say that I’ve been asleep?

Tell me why you have come and whence you have came?”

“My name is Love,” said he in a warm smile “

I have no present home in which to live;

It is hard to say where was my first mile,

Will you learn from me what I have to give?”


“What good are you – I’ve been content alone,

Since time has begun I have got along;

Why should I take you and give you a home,

Why follow me, do you think you belong?”

“You’ll never know till you try me,” said he,

“What it is like to have me for your friend;

The blind know not the joy it is to see,

Pray take me in, or be alone again.


“Aye,” said I – “I do have nothing to loose,

Here is my heart – you can do what you must;

The magic you have and this much I choose;

I may take you into my deepest trust.”

His hand on my head I felt in my heart,

Love changed in view to a maiden so fair

My spirit within was crying to start

Knowing more than the sea, sand, and the air.


I stopped the maiden and then asked her why

She came to me no sooner than she did.

I pleaded: “Do not ever say goodbye,

Stay with me and I will do as you bid.”

She turned to me and smiled with her blue eyes,

“Many times, through Love I’ve tried to touch you,

But you’ve walked alone, your friend was the sky;

Now finally, perhaps I have gotten through.”


“That you have come to me I am amazed,

For I see things, before I did not see;

All that was before was just a dark haze,

But tell me, what have you to do with me?”

She smiled again: “I will make life for you,

Something more than footsteps without an end;

You’ll be happy for the things that I do,

For you see – Love has always been my friend.”


Her warm hand held mine, then I shut my eyes,

A tingling touched my spine, I opened wide –

To my surprise I saw a little child,

Her eyes, melting flowers of the sea tide.

Where did she come from I could only guess,

A maiden transformed to the child I see;

The mere sight of which is enough to bless,

“But tell me, What have you to do with me?”


“Love is also my friend,” she did reply,

“I am a part of him you never knew;

You were so alone and did not ask why,

But I should have a lot to do with you.

Oh, when will you tire of walking alone?

Yesterday’s thoughts were the same as today’s;

Let me in and I will call you my home,

I will show you hidden things, if I may.”


I blinked again, and then in great slender

Before me a man so virile and strong;

I asked him then if he had a sender;

“Tis Love,” said he, “But do not get me wrong.

My name is Life, I spend time just living;

Love is too my friend, and I nourish him.

Those who miss me have many misgivings,

And do wish to have me to live again.”


“‘Tis fine,” said I, “but I have been content,

No worries or cares for me certainly,

Though many people wonder where you went

I but ask what have you to do with me?”

“Fool,” said he, “What have you that remains?

The tides of the sea washes all your prints;

All of me you’ve had is gone with the rain,

Your eyes can never see where you have been.”


Lightening flashed, Life disappeared from my sight,

Then appeared a girl with beauty unseen,

Lilacs in her hair and violets her eyes,

Why would such a wonder be sent to me?

She smiled a smile that caused a new feeling:

“I am Mother Nature, forever young,

I keep life going and start birds singing;

Do take me in and hear songs never sung.”


I paused a moment and she disappeared;

Tell me why oh why did I hesitate?

To my right choirs of angels did I hear,

Lovely songs and melodies did they make.

I turned my head and saw a perfect man,

White hair aged with wisdom, but young with thought.

He said: “So little do you understand

The joy and happiness you have been brought.”


I said, “I do not seem to comprehend,

Though all that you bring appears so much bliss,

Tell me what other beings will be sent,

And what have you to do with all of this?”

He replied: “I wait in eternity.

I created Love, yet I am a part,

And it ever has much to do with thee,

All you need do is to open your heart.”


A flashing white light was before my eyes,

“I am the first and the last,” I did hear –

Light grew brighter till it was no more bright:

“Remember my light, and you will not fear.”

Then Love appeared more clearly than before,

Walking by me, no footprints in the sand.

He said: “Friend will you now open the door?”

“Let me think,” I said, “Till I understand.”


I closed my eyes and daydreaming walked by,

But then he was gone – I waited too long;

Love, no longer seen clearly through the eye,

I began to yearn and not feel so strong.

I feared to look on my desolate past;

I was alone, there was no one but me,

Hearing from that eternity so vast:

“Tell US Sir, what have we to do with thee?”

Sept 13, 2007

Copyright by JJ Dewey

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Fundamental Argument

Fundamental Argument

I had an interesting exchange with a Mormon fundamentalist. Here is some of our conversation

As the conversation began, he expressed disdain for reason and common sense in favor of following what God tells him. He thinks reason leads to a darkened mind.

Here was my response: When has true reason and common sense ever led anyone to a darkened mind? If reason and common sense are bad then the prophets are all imposters because they all used it. The reasoning of Jesus was so powerful that the authorities were afraid to ask him any more questions. Joseph Smith, who you accept, used a lot of reason and common sense.

“Great God! Where is common sense and reason? Is there none on the earth?” exclaimed a somewhat frustrated Joseph Smith as he was trying to drill the simplest logic into the minds of the members. (See Documentary History of the Church Vol 5:297)

If the reasoning and common sense are sound then they will be the same. Anything that is true will be in harmony with reason and that which is not true will have flaws revealed by reason.

Fundamentalist: “And since His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9) then man’s reasonings are generally not the same as God’s truths. Again, by the Spirit we will know the truth of all things.”

JJ: The scripture doesn’t mention reasoning.

This scripture is a continual excuse for believers to remain mentally lazy, but such laziness is contrary to the prophets.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7)

“And he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” (Acts 18:4)

Sure, God’s ways are higher than ours, but a calculus teacher also knows math that I do not. This does not mean that I drop the use of reason or learning from fellow humans if I decide to learn it.

He stressed that he discerns all truth by the Spirit of God

JJ: That is a good goal, as long as you do all you can do first as illustrated by this scripture:

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that YOU MUST STUDY IT OUT IN YOUR MIND; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:7-8)

We are not just given higher knowledge with no effort but we must study things out with all the faculties at our disposal.

Fundamentalist: “You said that since not all people feel the Spirit, or don’t feel it enough, or don’t feel it accurately then it is okay to turn to man’s help. Is this what God says? Where? His plan is for us to learn to connect directly with Him by the Spirit. He knows not all can do it perfectly, instantly and consistently at first. That is not a reason to abandon the plan, His plan.”

JJ: First you keep talking about God’s Plan as if you have some idea of what it is. Have you received some revelation on the matter because the phrase “God’s plan” is found nowhere in the scriptures and whatever it is, is not clearly laid out. That is why there are hundreds of religions with hundreds of ideas of what the plan may be.

Secondly, I am not advocating abandoning anything given out about any plan. Why do you misrepresent me so? You are arguing with a straw man here.

Next, he accused me of excluding people from contacting the Holy Spirit and God’s plan.

JJ: Again, you are arguing with a straw man. I have never said that God would exclude anyone. However, it should be obvious that God does not just give us answers on a silver platter but one must learn how to avoid all the pitfalls of deception as well as crossing the barriers between matter and spirit.

I would guess that all the people in this group are doing their best to contact the Spirit and get the right answers, but obviously most are not succeeding or else we would think as one for we would all get the same answers.

There are many people who will state they are doing their best to contact the Spirit but rarely if ever get an answer they can definitely say is from God. Would you just abandon these people and say “since you do not have a direct pipeline to God as I do, the hell with you. You are just too wicked for my company.” That is just as silly as it sounds.

All are capable of contacting the Spirit, but all know not the path, but all will eventually discover it.

Fundamentalist: “And because some only receive contact every once in a while, means they should receive truth another way? Where is that in the scriptures?”

JJ: Where does it say that I have to learn that 2+2=4 from the scriptures? Obviously, most of the truth we learn in life is not from the scriptures. The scriptures only tell us only a handful of truths, important as they may be.

He again stressed on learning from God rather than man.

JJ: So if you see yourself as having direct phone contact with God the how many planets are in the Alpha Centauri system?

No answer?

Then it must not work for you the way you say.

Or how about a question about God?

How many spirits are there designated to this earth? When will Jesus show up? Another fundamentalist says the Spirit told him Jesus is already here and has written books. Is he deceived? If so, why? What does the Spirit tell you about that?

Fundamentalist: I don’t sense a great deal of confidence in Father’s plan for us. We need to keep seeking God until we get all the answers.

JJ: I have full confidence in that part of the plan as I understand it. I can’t vouch for what your reasoning mind sees as the plan.

As it is, we first learn about God through teachers in church family etc. This we do through this regular learning method that you despise and reject. You make it sound like you were just born with a direct pipeline and learned nothing through the regular intellect.

If you are honest you will have to admit that you have learned most of what you know through this other way of using regular study and regular teachers.

Fundamentalist: I’m really surprised at your audacity to suggest that God’s way won’t work for most people and so it is good to seek another way.

JJ: God’s way or your way? I don’t think you have a clue as to what God’s way is.

Fundamentalist: What Father would prepare for His children in ways that won’t work for them?

JJ: Is someone saying God has prepared a way that does not work? Who are you arguing with here?

Fundamentalist: The danger of your distractions is that people will swallow your lies that they can’t really rely on the Spirit to guide them so they must turn to other ways to find truth. This leads them away from God and His plan for them.

JJ: Okay, I get it. You do not believe in using your brain or thinking. That explains a lot. What I do not understand is how you think that God can reveal anything to a person who has learned nothing, not even how to read or speak, or did God teach you these things?

So to learn to read you first sought God’s will? If you seek my will, you ask me. If you seek God’s will you ask God. No one disagrees with this obviously mental conclusion.

So if you and I both seek God’s will. Why then do we disagree?

Fundamentalist: “You asked for an example of a truth that is not in harmony with man’s reasoning and common sense. How about when Christ taught that if you lose yourself you will find yourself.?”

JJ: This is in perfect harmony with the reasoning mind once the meaning is understood. I have taught this to many people who have not claimed to have direct contact with God and it is well accepted.

Care to try again?

Fundamentalist: “BTW, isn’t it rather arrogant to tell me what I cannot do?”

JJ: Not at all. There are many things no one can do including you. You can’t make 2+2=5 and you can’t make a true principle not true.

Fundamentalist: “And there are others. Faith is not really reasonable – to trust in something you cannot see?”

JJ: There is nothing unreasonable about faith as it is taught in the scriptures. Again, I have taught this to many people who say they do not have direct contact with God and it is very well received by the reasoning mind when correctly explained.

True faith is always logical, else why apply it? Do you work against your best interest?

Fundamentalist: “Man’s reasoning will always fall short. Our answers need to come from God.”

JJ: And you are a man who seems to be falling short with your own reasoning here. After all your whole post is in your own words and not God’s.

Well, I guess you could in a roundabout way say that even 2+2=4 is from God, but it can be discovered with the reasoning mind which is an endowment from God.

Galileo was better at finding the truth of the universe than all the Bible thumping priests put together.

Fundamentalist: “The truths I am seeking are the ones I do not know and need to know. I already know the sun gives light and, in reality, do not need to know if the earth is round.”

JJ: Since you think you will someday be as God and create earths you do need to know the earth is round if you are going to create one, else you may make a square or flat earth.

Fundamentalist: “Where reason and common sense are founded on man’s ideas they are leading away from the true light.”

JJ: Galileo used man’s reasoning on truth gleaned outside of the scriptures, or direct revelation, and he found more truth than the priests. He did better than those who attempted to rely on God and the scriptures.

In history those who attempted to rely on their interpretation of God and the scriptures have often been proven wrong. Why? Because they threw out common sense and reasoning that God gave us to use.

Fundamentalist: “Not all reason and common sense is founded on truth.”

JJ: Reason is not truth, but the search for truth using a logical process. If you start with a fallacy and use true reasoning you will unravel the fallacy and eventually find the truth. The reasoning mind will not let you accept a beginning fallacy without questioning it. The one who thinks he knows the mind of God will often not question and be as wrong as the Mormons believing their prophet will not lead them astray.

Fundamentalist:  “We need the Spirit to guide us to the teachings that are truth. We need to rely on the Spirit and not just someone’s reasonings and teachings.”

JJ: We need both.

Fundamentalist: “I hold up God’s truth up and measure all other thoughts by that standard. It appears that you approach it with reason as the standard and that truth must harmonize with it.”

JJ: All truth I have received through the inner Spirit from God is reasonable and logical. You apparently do not believe this. Galileo thought truth had to be logical, but the priests who put him in prison did not. That is the difference between you and me.

Fundamentalist: It almost sounds like you don’t trust anyone to discern between the Spirit and emotional desires.

JJ: Obviously there’s a lot of people we can’t trust or else we’d be obligated to follow every Mighty and Strong One as well as the false Messiahs and prophets that come along.

Fundamentalist: You say we should study things out before asking, but the scriptures says, ask and ye shall receive, so I think we should just ask and lean on the Spirit.

JJ: So tell me of a revelation you received from God concerning a true principle that took no study or thought on your part?

You’re being black and white here like the priests who went against Galileo. If you are prompted by the Spirit to study in a certain direction, fine. Go with it. But if the Spirit doesn’t care one way or another then use your own mind and learn something you enjoy, like Spanish perhaps. The Spirit isn’t going to teach you by osmosis what you can learn with a little effort.

Fundamentalist: Yes, we need to make some effort, but to me, the effort is in learning to learn by the Spirit and in exercising sufficient faith to do so not to lean on other men’s reasoning.

JJ: First, I do not use other men’s reasoning, but my own. You are the one who uses the reasoning of other men. These men may be called prophets, but they are still men and still capable of being wrong or misunderstood.

We both agree on learning as much as possible from the Spirit, but you do not give me any credit in this direction.

Fundamentalist: “I believe in studying things,”

JJ: Then why are we having this argument? It started because you think I am wrong in presenting the Principles of Discovery which involves studying things.

Fundamentalist: It appears that you have decided that most men cannot be Spirit-led and therefore you are justified in replacing such guidance with man’s reasonings and common sense.”

JJ: You cannot replace such guidance unless you have it. It is a hard fact that few receive infallible guidance from God. The fact that we cannot even agree in this group proves it beyond doubt. All have to follow the highest they know and if one doesn’t perceive a direct answer from God he has to reply on his best judgement and reason. But if the seeker keeps following the highest he knows then he will eventually arrive at a true knowing through the Spirit.

Fundamentalist: Paul, who reasoned as he taught (as you quoted him), said: ‘For a many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’ (Romans 8:14)

It is our birthright to connect with our Father, if we desire it enough to learn how. And then, through the Spirit, we can learn all things – all truth. This is God’s plan.

JJ: Yes, it is our birthright to be sons of God and learn truth directly from the Spirit. Looks like we agree after all.

Now the question to resolve is this. How is it that you learn things through your spirit which are conflict with what I and others in this group learn when all of us are sincere?

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” — Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)

Sept 9, 2007

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Argument And the Ego

Argument And the Ego

The process of arguing, or attempting to use reason to gain greater light, which occurs regularly here, is often criticized as being a negative thing, yet if those involved are sincere and civil the argument may lead to greater understanding and be beneficial.

But to be of maximum benefit the argument should be taken to either its conclusion or as far as possible.

The problem is that the ego does not want further light, or to use reason, so it will devise ways to shut the argument down or never let it materialize. After all, its objective “can be summed up simply as: ‘Seek and do not find.’ This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep.”  T-12.IV.1

The ego does use some argument, but it does not use true reason but a distortion of

The Course says this:

Reason lies in the other self you have cut off from your awareness. And nothing you have allowed to stay in your awareness is capable of reason. How can the segment of the mind devoid of reason understand what reason is, or grasp the information it would give? All sorts of questions may arise in it, but if the basic question stems from reason, it will not ask it.” T-21.V.4

Here we see that pure reason as defined by the course does not even exist in the ego, but in our “other self” that is still with God which is communicated to us through the Holy Spirit.

The ego uses its version of reason which is always flawed and is not reasonable at all.

Some of the ways the ego uses against argument to prevent us from finding truth are as follows:

[1] Not let an argument begin in the first place.

If there is any chance of receiving further light and reason on the subject the ego will argue against arguing itself and make statements such as:

“Arguing is divisive, we need to pursue peace.”

Then they will equate argument with contention and say something to the effect that contention is wrong or of the ego.

If the ego thinks it can control the argument and keep both sides in illusion then it will have no problem starting one, but will totally resist if it looks like truth will be revealed or reason involved.

For instance, the religious authorities at the time of Jesus had no problem starting an argument with him because they thought they had the upper hand. He never avoided an argument, but the problem was that he always prevailed by revealing their errors through reason. Then after several attempts to humiliate him, they could see that further argument would lead to more truth so they abandoned argumentation completely:

“And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” Matt 22:46

And why did they not want to engage in further argumentation?

Because their egos did not want their errors revealed.

[2] A second way the ego shuts down a healthy discussion is through attack and judgment during the argument. If it looks like further light is forthcoming it will accuse the other of “needing to be right” and then indicating this need to be right is of the ego. Unfortunately, this line of attack often works and the discussion ends with no further light revealed.

Here the ego takes a good desire, the desire to be on the side of truth, and make it appear as if it were a thing of evil.  If a seeker has no desire to be on the side of truth, then he will have no desire to pursue more truth and his progression will end. The ego does not want anyone desiring to be on the side of truth so it uses illusion to make it appear what it is not. It indirectly associates this desire to be on the side of truth with an error which is an insistence that the other person admit he lost the argument.  The need to defeat or humiliate the other guy is where the error is, not the desire to be right.

Who desires to be wrong?

No one.

Who desires to be right?

Everyone, if they are honest with themselves. And there is nothing wrong with that.

However, a problem can arise if we insist that others agree with us. Instead, the seeker has to just accept whatever response he gets from others involved in a discussion and let the seeds of truth sprout where they find good soil.

[3] A third way of shutting down the argument is through the use of insults. This is a common method used by the ego when it sees it can no longer defend its position.

These insults take many forms but name calling, such as calling the other person a liar or hypocrite, will often put an immediate end to the discussion.

Then there are more subtle insults such as comparing the person to caveman mentality or to some mislead religious fundamentalist.

But perhaps the most common insult for Course students is to be accused of being in the ego. Such an accusation assumes the accuser is not in the ego which creates the division of inferior vs superior.

For many Course students this type of accusation is worse than name calling.

In conclusion I would maintain that an argument or discussion using reason to offset differences can be a healthy thing if both parties are considerate and respect each other. Such arguments can lead to greater understanding by both participants. To cause this to happen the participants need to avoid the traps set by the ego that can shut down the discussion before any benefit is derived therefrom.

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Quantum Physics and ACIM

Quantum Physics and ACIM

There has been much discussion among A Course in Miracles students about the oneness of God. Is God just one alone, is he many or what?

Perhaps we can find the answer by exploring the quantum world.

Since the first demonstration with the double slit experiment many years ago scientists have been baffled by its results and have been unable to come up with an agreed upon explanation for the odd behavior of subatomic particles. Here is what they found:

If a particle, such as a photon or electron, is observed it appears as a particle with form and location.

BUT… if it is not observed it is no longer a particle but a wave in many locations at once. It is as if these particles are both matter and spirit/energy all at the same time.

The interesting thing is that scientists cannot see both at once, but have to either see the particles as waves or pieces of matter with form.

This conundrum seems to be explained in the Course which says:

“You cannot see both worlds, for each of them involves a different kind of seeing, and depends on what you cherish. The sight of one is possible because you have denied the other. Both are not true, yet either one will seem as real to you as the amount to which you hold it dear.” T-13.VII.2

This conforms with quantum science as it takes a different kind of seeing to see an electron as a wave than it does a particle.

Even so, the Course tells us we use one type of vision to see this world and then another type to see the universe of Spirit. It says we cannot see them booth at the same time and this applies also to quantum science.

So, is God one or many?  The answer is both are correct.

It may aid our understanding to examine an atom such as oxygen, which has eight electrons. When it is observed directly there seems to be eight separate particles in orbit like planets around the sun.  But then when we withdraw from physical sight the eight seem to act as one unit where each electron is everywhere in the periphery. They still exhibit the properties of eight, but it is they have blended together beyond physical form as pure energy.  Even though they act as one the many are still there.

So, if the behavior of the quantum world reflects the behavior of the universe itself, both sides are right

God is one, but also many. There are many Sons, but one Sonship.

Consider this. Quantum physics tells us that the world we see about us appears as form, but the quantum field that co-exists does not have form as we experience it here. Because the form of sub atomic particles vanish when attention is taken off them some scientists see this world as a corresponding illusion maintained by our attention and if we ceased paying attention to it then it would disappear.

Where have we heard this thinking? Yes, ACIM.

We are told this:

“The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else.” T-11.VII.2 “No one in this distracted world but has seen some glimpses of the other world about him.” T-13.VII.4

If the real world can be perceived then the possibility certainly exists that science can find evidence of it.

Real vision even allows real world seeing in “The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God’s perfection.” T-17.II.6.

How does this happen?

“You will begin to understand it when you have seen little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now. That is the beginning of real vision. You can be certain that real vision will come quickly when this has occurred.” W-pI.15.2

Indeed, there is a real world counterpart of light behind all material form and from this springs the great illusion.

And what is light made of?


And what is the quantum world made of?


To say that we are so far removed from God that that we cannot see some effects from the real world that He created to reach us makes no sense.

The Course does not spell out all the details of scientific discoveries, but harmony can be seen by those who look.

Question: How can they know how anything appears if it’s not observed?

Answer: They shoot photons through a slit toward a screen, and when not observing them they register on the screen afterwards as waves, but as soon as anyone looks at the process they appear on the screen as particles.

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