Getting into Trouble
JJ: As I moved along in the church I discovered a number of things that were not church doctrine that were true and I began to write about them, but I had difficulty in sharing them with anyone because the church kept telling you, “Don’t delve!” They used that word “delve” all the time and if you delved then it was worse than child pornography.
JJ: But I was a delver and I loved delving into everything. Members would come to my home from the church and they would see all these weird books that I had on the shelves and they would say, “Aren’t you getting into dangerous territory with those books?” I would say “Well is there anything in the church that says that I cannot have these books? I guess not so I’ll keep these books.”
JJ: I told them there is nothing wrong with these books and they have some good stuff in them. But I kind of kept out of trouble because I knew where the boundaries were. When you are in an organization with a powerful thought form you just sense where the boundaries are. It is an unwritten thing.
The people that are active in the church claim “Oh there are no boundaries and we have free agency and you can say and think anything you want. Well, as long what you say does not cross the boundaries then you are fine and if you do not cross them you can say anything you want but if you want to explore then you are limited in what you can say and I really found this out.
I started doing some writing and I wrote this little treatise that was only about ten pages long proving that there was progression from one kingdom to another. The Mormons believe in only three kingdoms after death, the telestial, terrestrial and the celestial and they think that once you die and you are resurrected that you go into one of them and you are stuck there. You are in that kingdom for all eternity and you cannot progress. Well this did not sound fair to me so I did some research and found some scriptures and writings of Joseph Smith that supported the idea that there is progression from one kingdom to another. So I wrote this little ten page treatise and when I finished writing it I thought the only problem was that there was nobody I could give this to because even though this is fairly harmless I could probably get ex-communicated for it.
Meanwhile my nephew Curtis moved into town and he gave a speech at church. When a member moves into an area they are usually invited to give a speech at a sacrament meeting. I have known him all my life and as a matter of fact he worked for me one time when I was a foreman at a meat packing company and I thought he was the worst worker I had ever seen at the time. We would be packing livers and he would be standing over the livers asleep.
JJ: We would start at 4am and we would have to pack all this meat and ship it. I would often find him sleeping and I said if you were not my nephew I would probably fire you. Anyway I did not have a lot of faith in him until he moved back into town. When he was gone and he started selling pots and pans and he became the number one salesman for the company in this area and I thought well maybe the guy is moving up and good for him. Anyway he moved into town and gave this speech and I was surprised how intelligent his speech was so I decided to test him out.
I did this with many of my Mormon friends and I would invite them over and ask them several questions to see if it was possible that they were interested in further light. One of the questions I asked was, do you have any idea where the Ten Tribes are because that is a big mystery in the Mormon Church. In the Mormon Church they teach about the tribe of Judah which is the Jews and the tribe of Joseph from which many of us are supposed to be descended. The other ten tribes are lost and some people think they are in outer space and some think they are under the earth and some think they are hidden, scattered throughout the world and it is a big mystery as to where they are. In the church if you even talk about this mystery then you are on dangerous ground. But just to casually ask is not looked upon as anything but if you claim to have the answer then you will be in trouble.
JJ: So I invited my nephew over for dinner and I asked him, do you have any idea where the ten tribes are? He said, No but I sure would be interested in knowing!” Well I thought that was ten steps beyond what I usually received. It is amazing that when you talk to religious people, not only Mormons but also, all of the religions, if you see any glimmer of light or curiosity beyond the norm it is very unusual. For instance, for a born again Christian if you go beyond the blood of Jesus it is a giant step for these people.
So anyway I thought, okay I will hit him with something that shocks him and I said did you know that the scriptures say that there are people under the earth? And Curtis said he did not know that. So I showed him a couple scriptures from Revelation chapter 5 where it says, “ That no man in heaven, nor in the earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” I said to Curtis who are these people under the earth? And Curtis looks at the scripture and says, yes it does say that doesn’t it? That’s weird. Who do you think they are?
I said well it could be the ten tribes, you never know. And he said, well maybe it is. So I showed him another scripture and said well it could be that because it says in the scriptures that the desert will blossom as a rose and the ice in the north will melt and the ten tribes will come down from the north after a melting of the ice and maybe the melting of the ice in the north will open some kind of a hole from the center of the earth so these guys will be able to come out, you never know. They could make the desert blossom like a rose when the ice melts. So who knows if that is true or not but you can come very close to getting ex-communicated just for thinking about it. Curtis was just eating this up and he said, boy this is great! What else do you know? And I said well a few things.
JJ: I said I have this paper about the progression from kingdom to another and why don’t you take it home and read it. So he takes it home and reads it and comes back and says, boy this is really good stuff and I never really thought of this before and the only trouble is that the authorities don’t look at it this way. And I said yes that’s right they do not. So Curtis says, I have to think about this.
So the next day he was over at his friend’s home who was really into the church. He shared this treatise with him and they both called me up and they were both on the same line and Curtis said, my friend Neil was looking at this and he really has a good question. The prophet says that there is no progression from one kingdom to another. The prophet at that time was Joseph Fielding Smith and he had written books that says there is no such progression. Then he said, “Do you think you are smarter than the prophet?” And I said, yes, and all of a sudden there is a big silent pause because nobody in the church says that they are smarter than the prophet.
JJ: After they gasped and revived themselves I said well it is obviously true, look at the scripture. For instance, it says that everyone that goes to that celestial kingdom gets a stone and that stone reveals there is a higher order of kingdoms than the celestial. Now if you are stuck in one of the kingdoms, and there is this higher order of kingdoms, does that means that you are never going to go higher even if you make it to the celestial? So you are stuck in the celestial kingdom and you can see this beautiful higher order of kingdoms but you are never going to be able to go there. Do you think that is what is going to happen? They said well we don’t think so. I said you are shown the higher order of kingdoms because you are going to go there someday. There are higher kingdoms than the celestial, which everybody in the church thinks is the highest. Joseph Smith said specifically that there is a higher order of kingdoms than the celestial.
Curtis said, “Well I have to think about this.”
JJ: So Curtis comes back to me later and says well this makes sense and I am moving down to Blackfoot and I am going to make copies of your article and I am going to share it with a bunch of people down there. I said no, no, no, if you share it with people down there then you will get ex-communicated. He said well it is not against church doctrine. I said technically no but you are challenging the powers-that-be with it and you will get us ex-communicated.
He did not think that was true at all and that I was just imagining it. So he goes down there and he makes a bunch of copies and gives it to various elders and friends and after about two weeks the bishop calls him in and says, now Brother Hartwell can I have your temple recommend. And Curtis says temple recommend why? He says I am taking it back for you have been passing around this dangerous literature. We are going to have a trial for your membership by the high council in three days. Now the only witness’s you can have must be members in the church in good standing. So if you want to call anybody you can.
So he calls me up the next day and says, they are trying me for my membership and they are only giving me three days to prepare and the only witnesses I can have are members in good standing and you are the only one I can ask so will you come down and testify for me? I said I planned on being ex-communicated someday but on my own terms. I said this is going to get me ex-communicated and I will probably lose my wife and kids and it will completely alter my life. You are now going to ex-communicated no matter what I do. Then he says yes but you got me into this so you have to get me out … PLEASE come down. I said well if I come down it is not going to help but I’ll do it for you.
So anyway I told my friend Wayne, that is in the book the Immortal, about this and he says with much enthusiasm, can I come down with you? He did not mind if he got ex-communicated at all. He was single and never went to church and did not believe in it much anymore.
So I said sure and we went down to Blackfoot together. After arriving, they were not even going to let us in. I later wrote the story of the trial in the story “Journey’s End” where it talks about Curtis’s trial and it was written fairly accurate as far as I could remember. I would not have known at all what they were saying if I hadn’t put my ear to the door so I could hear what was going on.
But they were not going to let us in and Curtis reminded them that they said he could have witnesses if they were in good standing with the church and Wayne and Joe out there are still good members of the church. Curtis had to be persistent and finally they let us in. I got up and started to tell them a few things about back in Joseph Smith’s day how the high council ex-communicated this guy for preaching the mysteries out of the book of Revelation and Joseph Smith came to them and he said what are you guys a bunch of Pharisees? He said we should have the privilege of thinking and believing the way that we please without being thrown out. He said you guys are acting like Methodists here instead of like Latter Day Saints. Apparently the Methodists were strict back then for now they are easy going.
Joseph told them to put this person back in the church and furthermore his teachings were fairly accurate. The next day he gave a big sermon out of the book of Revelations. So I said, If a man errors in doctrine it does not mean he is evil. If you think this man errs in doctrine, that does make him evil and it does not mean we should throw him out. I explained this to them and these guys were sitting there just about going to sleep and they were looking at their watches thinking they need to get home to the wife and kids and this really irritated me. I thought now these guys believe that when Curtis is ex-communicated that he is going to be like a son of perdition with no priesthood, no nothing. He is going to the lowest hell and they are going to send him there without due consideration, a fate worse than death in their minds. This really irritated me. There was this big unabridged dictionary sitting on the table in front of them so I took it in my hands and slammed it down as hard as I could and I pointed at one of the guys and I said, “You!!! You are putting this guys salvation on the line and you are not even paying attention.” I believe I woke everybody up at this point.
JJ: You’re putting this guys salvation on the line and you are sending him to a fate worse than death in your eyes and you are falling asleep. You are conducting this trial contrary to the order of the church.
Well they excused me as soon as they could and when I was out in the hall I listened at the door again and the stake president got up again and he says, “The guy has the spirit all right but it is the wrong spirit!”
JJ: Then Wayne came in and he gave his two cents worth. Then they wrapped up the trial as soon as they could and condemned Curtis into outer darkness. Then after a few more weeks the bishop drove up to my place with a summons. This took a little longer than I had thought but they had to send it all the way to Salt Lake and then back again.
Copyright 2011 by J J Dewey