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The Inquisition Has Begun

The Bloggernacle Inquisition that I mentioned back in July has begun - with me. All three members of my bishopric came over to my house tonight and spoke with me about concerns they have regarding my blog and other websites. I am not ashamed of what I have said here to date. This site represents my spiritual journey, not a static theological stance, and I am not in hiding. Let me reiterate a disclaimer similar to what I think I've said before: My views may change over time as I gain different spiritual insights and experiences, and nothing I say here should ever be taken as truth by anyone without them first backing it up with authoritative evidence from a reliable source and receiving a spiritual witness of it. Our discussion was long, and I will sum up briefly: They take issue with a few points on my blog, including my conclusions about Jehovah, and consider my inquiries regarding the theology represented in The Living Christ to be incompatible with sustaining the prophet.

However, I will not lie to escape out of a situation, and I feel compelled to answer with what is true according to my heart and conscience. The three points raised were mostly on Theology, Sustaining Leaders, and Apostate Affiliations:

First point:

Do you believe in God, the Eternal Father, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost; and do you have a firm testimony of the restored gospel?

Yes, I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. This requirement makes no claims or attempts to assign names to them. And yes, I have a firm testimony of the restored gospel.

Second point:

Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator; and do you recognize him as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?

Absolutely and unequivocally he is, similar in authority to Moses, Abraham, or St. Peter, for example.

Do you sustain the other General Authorities and the local authorities of the Church?

I do, and I welcomed them into my home to discuss these matters with me. Where I differ in interpretation of these last two statements is that I see the prophets as fallible mortal men who are inspired by God to do great things, and I am hesitant to agree that every letter or word spoken from the mouth of a prophet is utter and absolute truth. The latter position seems to be what has been asked of me, but how can one take such a view in light of the history of this Church and the various doctrines and views that have been held in favor at various times? If I were to accept infallibility, I would be required to say that the Church apostatized with Joseph Smith, because I believe Joseph to have by sheer sake of human nature made mistakes (although I am not sure if I could point out any particular). Infallibility is a bad doctrine, and can not be applied to modern prophets without great hypocrisy in not applying equal treatment to all of their predecessors in office. It seems that infallibility is not the precise understanding that these brethren are trying to move me towards, but I'm not sure what it is they want of me in this regard. I will pray about the subject.

The third point is the question regarding apostate affiliations, I believe it goes:

Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?

No. My post about The September Six was cited as suspicious of sympathizing with an individual whose teachings and practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church. I have never spoken with Michael Quinn personally, (although I wouldn't mind having a chat with him at some future date,) so I think the term "affiliate" is entirely out of the question. I feel sorrow for Mike and the hard position he was in in his life. The only precepts of Michael Quinn that I agree with would be those that are positive spiritual insights and uplifting ideas regarding the Church, I do not put any type of a blanket endorsement on what Michaell Quinn has taught. There is nothing wrong in agreeing on certain or even several points with a supposed "apostate" individual, as Brigham Young taught that even Satan can teach the truth, and that we should pray for the wisdom that we may discern and receive that truth and reject the error. Certainly I would not back up any teachings or opinions of such an individual that would be attacking the Church in any way.

These men have declared that they come to me in love, and I sense that in a large portion they are genuine and sincere in this love. They shared with me that they actually enjoyed many of my posts and even learned some things from them, and that they have read "the good and the bad" and not focused solely on what was perceived to be the "bad" about my blogging. I know they together spent hours studying the things I have said, and have probably read some of my articles that no one else has ever even bothered to read. I am grateful for the care they are taking in my situation.

However, this is the second time now that I have been faced with accusations about my beliefs, and I don't know how much longer I can hold up.

Readers (however few you be): I apologize that I may not feel free to fully express myself from here on out. My personal feelings and thoughts of which I have been frank and open with you up until today are now being judged and scrutinized, and this is enough to strip anyone's ability to speak freely no matter how hard they try not to let it affect them.

I will continue to share the details of my discussions with the Bishop and his counselors as things proceed forward, and I hope it may be of some help to others who may find themselves in similar circumstances. To the Bishop and his counselors, whom I expect will ultimately read this as well: I hope it may help you relate to the feelings I have, to have ones ideas be placed under scrutiny.

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