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A Letter to a Church Divided

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For years I have believed a day of division in our church was coming, but I have always supposed it would be over some controversial political issue, like some of those we have seen in the recent past.

Perhaps those issues have caused some division, but I believe there is another division taking place that is closer to the heart of the gospel than those issues. It tugs at the heart and soul of the latter-day church, and the experience of a young boy who knew he could receive divine guidance if he asked for it. Following his miraculous vision, he told his experience to his minister and got the following reaction: "he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them." (Joseph Smith - History 1:21)

I believe in a church built upon the ministration of angels, visions, prophecy, and direct communication from heaven. How grateful I am to know revelation is given through his appointed servants, the prophets and apostles who direct the affairs of his latter-day kingdom. I know those gifts did not cease in Joseph's day, nor have they ceased in our day; but I'm afraid our general belief in modern day gifts of the spirit has ceased. Imagine if Joseph Smith Jr's direct witness of Deity were to happen today, and how well mainstream media would cover the story, and how well the general public would receive that blessed experience.

If belief in general has truly diminished in our day, we should wonder why. Is it because our church leaders aren't having divine experiences as in days of old? Or could it be that we aren't being told of those experiences from our leaders because they know we wouldn't believe them?

An ancient prophet named Jacob withheld information from the Nephites because of the wickedness of the men at the time (see 1 Nephi 16:3). Perhaps we aren't heeding our divinely appointed leaders in the way we should? From my vantage point, we have a general church membership lightly regarding the prophets' warnings to get out of debt and have a reasonable supply of the basic necessities of life (Thomas S. Monson, 2014, Are we Prepared). 

The scriptures provide many instances when God's people rejected his message, and so he tried other means of reaching them. With our seeming collective disregard for inconvenient counsel, I have observed another scriptural avenue the Lord seems to now be using to give insight and warning to his people, which avenue appears to be misunderstood among Saints. Its importance has become very clear to me through scripture study. I owe my strong conviction of the Lord's ordained prophets and apostles in part to this other avenue, which is based in the prophecy of Joel: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28). President Hinckley declared this prophecy fulfilled in 2001 (Hinckley, November 2001 Ensign, Living in the Fullness of Times).

It was three years ago that I read the account of the divine manifestations a man had seen of the other side of the veil and of future events. The content of his book felt natural to me, but I questioned the manner in which it came. I believed this sort of thing should come through a presiding officer of the church.

A year or two later Julie Rowe's books, "The Time is Now", and "A Greater Tomorrow"came into my life and described similar events as the first book I read. If you haven't heard of Julie Rowe, she is sort of the icon of a host of people bearing testimony of latter-day events, which group of people I have come to recognize as fulfilling Joel's prophecy. I knew instantly her experience was authentic, but again, I was troubled by the fact that the experiences she shared were not coming through the ordained leaders of the church. So I was caught between powerful confirming emotions I knew to be of the spirit, and a logic that didn’t fit my paradigm which was that only temporally ordained prophets should be revealing this to me.

This inner battle led to the greatest doctrinal journey I've experienced, which lasted for about the course of a year. I regularly did as Joseph Smith, and as James and Moroni directed and asked of God (James 1:5, Moroni 10:30). I found that the answers did not come quickly because I hadn't yet sorted the doctrines out in my mind (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8). In the process of my studies, I became more fully converted to the Lord, his gospel, and his divinely appointed office of Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who I now see has said much about the future calamities, but I was too hard-hearted to see it.

But the Lord knows there are many like me who have difficulty responding (not in lip-service only) to his ordained servants. Sending additional warners is a familiar pattern in scripture. There were many times when immediately preceding a major calamity, the Lord sent a surge in prophets and warnings to gather and preserve as many as he could (see 1 Nephi 1:4Ether 11:1Enos 1:22Ether 11:12Jarom 1:4Jacob 1:6Jacob 4:6Alma 32:23Num. 11:29Rev. 19:103 Ne. 29:6).

Today doesn't appear to be any different. There are many who do not hold the prophetic office (Dallin H. Oaks, 1986, Spiritual Gifts), including men, women, children, members and non-members alike who are bearing witness to the things which they have seen, or have been warned of in these latter-days. Though the church may not publish these warning accounts as part of the gospel curriculum, that does not suggest these accounts are false.

I emphasize that it was not the authors of the books I have read, but the author of their revelations that has converted me. Though I have come to love and respect those warners' roles in my life, they have only served to point me to the Lord and his mouthpiece more faithfully. I'm grateful to the Lord for giving me a second chance to really heed his servants who hold the prophetic office, by listening to those who have prophetic gifts of the spirit. I thought I was following the prophet faithfully, but these warners have helped me see that I had some progress to make.

The recent accusations from a group of saints inside the church against Julie Rowe, and her recently published books strike a familiar tone to that of the persecution Joseph Smith received. Like his accusers, I have found the comments from Sister Rowe's accusers to be lacking in their doctrinal backing, or in other cases, were motivated by contempt for the church in general. Ironically, some members have bought into the subtle anti-Mormon sentiment, which is essentially that revelations of this kind are not achievable to the common person. The prophet Joel would disagree.

The Savior told us to beware of false prophets in sheep's clothing but who are really ravening wolves. Many are quick to judge messages that are not consistent with their own views to be false, and in a fleeting moment, forward the negative email or news article, never giving it the serious doctrinal research, meditation, and prayer that many have.

I wonder why the Lord gave this warning at all, knowing that members of his church would always be led by one holding the prophetic office. Were his council given according to a more current view, it might have been: "Don't worry about judging between true or false prophets, because you will always have only one. Just follow him." I believe his council was to help us know how to discern truth when it comes from sources other than the Lord's ordained prophet, which also implies that he does indeed send us warnings from others.

The Savior also taught us the way to discern truth from these sources is by their fruits. By listening to the message of the warners, I am more kind to my children, have more purpose in my life, am closer to the Lord, pray more earnestly, have made good preparations, and am more apt to receive revelation, and I even sing with a little more intent at church. Can these fruits come from false prophets?

Many of these warners have jobs, families, attend church and temple, and seem to experience the daily struggles we all have, and some with the added burden of being persecuted for their beliefs - they are not ravening wolves.

If we truly followed the prophets today, the way we ought to, then I am confident this current surge in warners and prophets (in the non-ordained sense) would cease, and these ordinary people could go back to their normal lives and avoid the hassle, humiliation, and rejection they face in simply trying to point us to follow his ordained servants more faithfully.

I regret that I didn't heed warnings to get out of debt and have a reasonable supply of the basic necessities of life from the Lord's ordained prophets alone, but needed a gentle nudge from this group of warners. I'm afraid those who heed neither ordained prophets nor these warners, will be left to the Lord's own preaching of thunderings, earthquakes, and the other disasters so frequently mentioned in scripture (see infographic). Perhaps that sermon is what president Monson referred to when he said "When the time for decision arrives, the day of preparation is past" (Thomas S. Monson, 2014, Are we Prepared).

The church gives members each fast Sunday an opportunity to share their witnesses of Christ publicly. We share our own revelations from the spirit trusting they will not be treated with contempt by our brothers and sisters. Stephen took the same opportunity to testify of Christ standing on the right hand of God and was stoned for it.

The next time an email or news article casting stones at our brothers and sisters bearing their testimonies crosses your screen, I urge you to prayerfully consider their message before carelessly disregarding it or contemptuously forwarding it to others. You are entitled to your own revelation. You may come to find as I have, that they are actually inspired, full of the Love of God, fully sustain the Prophet, and can point you to the Lord and the officers of his church more perfectly. Those are some of the fruits these witnesses have helped bring into my life.

If you are inclined to now throw stones at me for bearing my witness of the special role latter-day warners have in preparing his people, then I shall rest my case that we are a church divided on the doctrines of prophecy, revelation, and spiritual gifts, and pray for the day we will all recognize what the Lord has done to reach out to his children in order to gather as many into the garners as he can, to preserve and protect them in the days to come.

Sincerely your brother,
Eric

This letter was originally published on 9/20/2015

Comments

  1. AMEN!!! My Spiritual conviction and preparedness, while I thought was pretty devout before, has grown unbelievable over the past year after our family's prayers of 'what more would Thou have us do?" was answered by being introduced to the aforementioned books. Well said Eric. thank you!

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  2. Well put Eric. You have definitely defined a feeling that many of us have had.

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  3. So inspired and eloquently written! Thank you

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  4. Very good point on what the actual division of the church in the last days could be. I've never thought of that. I fully agree with your post.
    Since the recent backlash against Julie Rowe (which broke my heart for her) and others, I found myself briefly examining my actions and wondering if I was overreacting in my plans for the future. But I immediately thought of the many actions that my husband and I have felt inspired to take. Those are just the things WE'VE felt inspired to do since waking up to our awful situation and spending much time in prayerful contemplation. I know MANY others who have felt inspired to take action for their own situations.
    And I haven't yet read one of these books or stories and seen a single one of these authors asking people to follow them. They ALL point the reader back to the prophets of God and say in essence, "Don't blindly follow me. Follow the Prophet. Follow the Spirit."
    I've felt great peace in Julie's recommendation to not argue with people about what's to come, especially if they don't seem to "see" what's on the horizon, as their path might be completely different from our own. Heavenly Father will work things out in the best possible way for each of us.

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  5. You said everything that was in my heart. This was a really well-thought out post and I appreciate the time you took to write it. Thank you!

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  6. Yes! Absolutely agree with you!

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  7. As one who has had many of these dreams from the time I was a child, I have sadly learned over the years to keep my mouth shut most of the time because these sacred experiences often are treated with contempt. I have had others try to convince me that what I absolutely know was from the Lord, was actually from the devil. There is no mistaking a message from the Lord. Even when He shows you scary things or the message isn't always pleasant, there is always a feeling of deep, indescribable peace that accompanies it. And while some scenes may be scary, I am always left with a feeling of faith and not fear. I have watched many of my dreams come to pass in regards to my family so I fully expect the others will happen as well. I second everything you have said in your blog. My own dreams and the dreams of others I personally know or have read have strengthened my faith, obedience and commitment to the Church and His servants in every way. By their fruits ye shall know them. I honestly don't care where it came from, I love the peace and joy I feel as a result.

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  8. Thanks to each of you for the great feedback. As I have shared this on various forums, I have been pleased to see how many there are who have had similar experiences and convictions. Thanks for doing your part to be vocal in your beliefs!

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  9. Eric,
    I also had a huge spiritual journey learning about others in the church or even outside of it receiving very good information that I thought couldn't be of God, but now I know that he does speak to all his children not just those in the Church or in the Higher Ups. I have been on a journey to answer another riddle about prophecy and revelation though and thought maybe you could help.
    I have been trying to really find a revelation or prophecy from the higher ups in the church for the past 20 years. This is my quandary. we know the Lord God will do nothing but he reveal his secrets to his servants the prophets.(amos 3:7) Joseph smith received how many different revelations? Brigham young received how many revealations? Wilford woodruff received how many revelations? By revelations I am going by what joseph smith related in TPJS that if any other man talk to you and it doesn't come by Thus Saith the lord or by way of commandment that we are not to consider it binding. So since those men how many times has Heavenly Father talked to the prophet and it get revealed in this manner? Changing in church policy like changing the missionary age from one age to another is not a true revelation. Good sound advice to me is not necessarily revelation either. To me and what I read and understand there is a huge difference in revelation and inspiration. Or prophecy and inspiration. We all can be inspired by the influence of the Holy Ghost or the Light of Christ, but to receive a revelation or a prophecy seems to be something of a bigger importance.
    As much as I would like to think that there has been revelation I still have a hard time finding it. I see a ton of inspired thoughts and good advice moving forward but no revelation and no prophecy. I have got all the same answers from everyone in the church somewhat like your article points out "When the time for decision arrives, the day of preparation is past" (Thomas S. Monson, 2014, Are we Prepared). Great advice, but not a revelation.
    The reason I struggle with this is from a quote that says "When revelation ceases to exist, the officers cease to be called of God." I don't know the exact source but could easily find it if needed. Any way any help would be appreciated. I am looking for a revelation or prophecy as stated from Joseph smith to be binding. Thanks

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    1. Bronco Fan, I might like to give a longer answer, but for now I'll just say that I totally see your point, and agree in some ways. But what may look only like good advice, inspiration, or council on the outside, could have been the fruits of actual revelation on the inside (unknown to us). Or to use an example... we know that a corn stalk was planted from a seed. Or, just because we can't see the sun on a cloudy day, we still have some measure of light which comes from the sun. I believe if the prophets and apostles were speaking to an audience of one heart and mind, we would hear more of their revelations, rather than the fruits of their revelations.

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    2. Well put Eric! I am so grateful for what you are doing! I have been accused of sign seeking because I believed the prophet in the Book of Mormon that said we can receive many revelations daily. I believe that is true! I believe that the Lord can and does speak to us personally and because some of us have those spiritual gifts we are ridiculed, questioned and made fun of by members of our own faith. It is terribly difficult to walk into the chapel knowing that you are being made the laughing stock of the ward for having those gifts.

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  10. Fantastic! You put what everything together perfectly. Thank you for sharing such great insight!

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  11. Not to be unkind, but as you used the word "spurious", what is your thought of the official response from the church?

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    1. Daniel, when I read the letter to religious instructors (which was never intended for me to read) I rejoiced that the Church is so committed to truth that it won't even consider things that are mostly true, partly true, or whatever the case is, as part of its curriculum. It strengthened my witness that whatever comes across the pulpit or has the church's logo on it is totally solid doctrinally. I agreed instantly that any NDE experience (except for a couple from scripture) should not be endorsed or taught by the church. Dallin H. Oaks has a great talk called Alternate Voices, that explains the church's proper role in these matters.

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  12. Eric, I feel as if we have been on a similar journey. I read Julie's books in March of this year. As I began to seek more earnestly for guidance I was introduced to many of the visions and dreams pertaining to the last days. These include the dream/visions of George Washington, Patriarch Charles Evans and the Cardston prophecy. I have also been surprised at how the general authorities have been warning us. The Sept. 2014 Ensign should have been a huge wake up call for us; not to mention the numerous references to the warning of calamities in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I must admit that as I began learning about these events I had a burning in my chest that wouldn't leave for about two weeks. Since then I've had a renewed desire to follow the prophet, pray more fervently, attend the temple more often, and seek the guidance of the spirit in all things.

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    1. I'm familiar with each of those sources, and I am grateful for them. Especially President Monson's 9/14 talk, "Are We Prepared". The parable of the molting chickens is a key insight that the brethren are speaking to two audiences, and can not speak with the directness they would probably like to. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and testimony!

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  13. Well written and said Brother. I will add my testimony that I agree with you 100%.

    As you know, last year at this time I was basically inactive. Now, thanks in part to some of these great people sharing their experiences, I study the scriptures like never before. Also, I am doing everything I can to follow President Monson, his counselors and the Brethren. I guess you could say that I am living proof of the "fruits of their labors." I follow the Prophet, but I had help getting to this point in my life.

    Thanks to you, Eric. Also, thanks to our brothers and sisters who bear a warning testimony.

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  14. This entry brought up some points for consideration around individuals who receive revelation in addition to our current leaders. I still think stewardship is the most important thing to consider when hearing revelations and warnings from individuals. If someone has no stewardship over me, I'm keen to avoid them as one who is near practicing priestcraft; instead following the counsel of *Boyd K. Packer:

    "Revelation comes in an orderly way in the Church. We are entitled to personal revelation. However, unless we are set apart to some presiding office, we will not receive revelations concerning what others should do."

    "Revelation in the Church comes to those who have been properly called, sustained, ordained, or set apart. A bishop, for instance, will not receive any revelation concerning a neighboring ward, because that is out of his jurisdiction."

    *https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/10/revelation-in-a-changing-world?lang=eng

    I will say that I know of many individuals within the church who take the writings of Julie WAY too seriously. The fruits of her writings that I have seen are as follows:

    1. A man quitting his job to prepare for the second coming.
    2. A family disowning their daughter because she was not willing to participate in family preparations.
    3. A family depleting their savings to purchase survival items (honestly this isn't the worst thing, but doing it in a more logical manner would have been good)
    4. A man quitting his job to move from California to Idaho without employment so that he could be around other prepared Saints.

    Were I exposed more to the fruits you speak of, maybe I wouldn't be so cautious of her.

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    1. Dear Anonymous, I agree with you more than you might think. If someone claims stewardship over you who is not in your priesthood line of authority, I would say they are not only 'near' priest craft, they are fully practicing it.

      Fortunately that isn't the case with Julie since she went to great lengths explaining her role is not to direct. Your comments suggest you probably haven't read her books, or you would not likely have brought that up.

      I am sorry to hear about your friends who didn't take the spirit as their guide, like Julie suggested - but then, that isn't my place to judge. I wouldn't want to be guilty of claiming stewardship for their decisions. Anyway, the spirit has readily confirmed the truthfulness of her message, and I have taken the spirit as my guide.

      Thanks for expressing your opinions.

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    2. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, although I would like to see a name besides "Anonymous" :)

      Of the three "fruits" you mentioned, the only one I openly disagree with is the family disowning their daughter. The other three you mention, I want to point out that it is very much in line with spiritual promptings to do such things, if indeed that's the motivation behind their actions. Many family histories have such stories that ended up as life-changing for the better. They were directed by the Spirit, defied logic, and were blessed for the rest of their lives for doing so. Who are we to judge? On the other hand, we also ought not to judge (as many people who are big "preppers" do), others who are not making any preparations whatsoever. They may not have been directed by the Spirit to do so, and we need not judge their motives or desires to serve or their ability to follow the Spirit.

      I know our family has been deeply blessed by many of the same things that Eric J Smith has written about in this article, but I do not expect this to be followed by other members, because it is not my stewardship, or those of whom I have read, to be binding on church members. But what the Spirit has directed us to do, in combination with established Church doctrine - that is very binding on us! And we have chosen to obey.

      And one more note: Yes, there are always going to be people who take things to an extreme, in any situation. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water because of one or two extreme personalities.

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  15. Sadly it boils down to members who live by the letter as the Pharisees did or those who live by revelation through the Spirit and the Prophet. Letter of the law is very rigid and narrow, the danger with the letter is that it can only be understood through the spirit.

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  16. This is everything I feel! Thank you so much for articulating it so well. This issue has become very divisive and it makes me want to hide! I appreciate the clarity you provide. I will forward this to others.

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    1. Thanks for reading this Ivie, and for forwarding it. I knew there were others out there who shared in these feelings I've written down, which I've come to see is really my testimony of prophets, and the Lord's mercy in leading his children to truth. I also get your feeling of wanting to hide. We just need to be bold but not overbearing as Alma directed. Best wishes!

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    2. Thank you eric I take so much bashing from my family and friends. We r labeled preppers. I take great comfort in knowing whatever happens I am prepared Your message was such a comfort and came at a perfect time

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  17. Wonderful post! This has been our experience.

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  18. Shortlyafter my husband and I were married 53 years ago, we purchased a book called Prophecy Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther. We have since read a number of books by LDS authors on NED's, including Julie Rowe's 'A Greater Tomorrow', 'The Time is Now' and ' Visions of Glory' by John Pontius. One thing I have noticed is that the closer we get to the time when the prophecies will be fulfilled, the more details the authors have been allowed to tell us. Read D&C 1:18 and 38. In my opinion- we need to ponder these things and then pray about them as to whether they have merit in our own situation. Sticking to the letter of the law is like believing that only a doctor can cure illness and ignoring alternative health measures as we are told in D&C 42:43.

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  19. Sorry- that should have read NDE'S

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  20. I appreciate your sincerity in sharing this, but I feel differently than you do. As you emphasized, one of the beautiful teachings of the gospel is that any individual can receive direct communication from God. We can receive guidance that extends beyond what the the leaders of the church receive. We can use this guidance to direct our own lives and customize messages that we read in the scriptures and from church leaders for our own benefit. That guidance can come in many ways, including perhaps dreams or visions.

    The church encourages us to share our testimonies and experiences. The church gives us opportunities to share our gospel perspectives in talks and lessons at church meetings. However, the concept of "warning" runs counter to the way that God gives revelation to the church as a whole. If someone considers himself or herself to be a "warner," he or she believes that he or she has something that God wants them to share with the other members of the church (not just those over whom they have stewardship). They may believe that this information needs to be shared, even though (or perhaps because) it extends beyond what the General Authorities can or will share. But the Lord has made it clear that his commandments and doctrines and guidance come through priesthood lines of authority.

    What about those who feel inspired and uplifted by the ideas and teachings that come from "warners"? That's fine for them. But it has nothing to do with me. You can share it with the world, but it still only pertains to you (and perhaps those over whom you have stewardship).

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  21. Joseph Smith

    Let us be faithful and silent, brethren, and if God gives you a manifestation, keep it to yourselves...The reason we do not have the secrets of the Lord revealed unto us, is because we do not keep them but reveal them.

    [Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976).]

    Brigham Young

    If the Lord Almighty should reveal to a High Priest, or to any other than the head, things that are, or that have been and will be, and show to him the destiny of this people twenty-five years from now, or a new doctrine that will in five, ten, or twenty years hence become the doctrine of this Church and kingdom, but which has not yet been revealed to this people, and reveal it to him by the same Spirit, the same messenger, the same voice, and the same power that gave revelations to Joseph when he was living, it would be a blessing to that High Priest, or individual; but he must rarely divulge it to a second person on the face of the earth, until God reveals it through the proper source to become the property of the people at large. Therefore when you hear Elders, High Priests, Seventies, or the Twelve, (though you cannot catch any of the Twelve there, but you may the High Priests, Seventies, and Elders) say that God does not reveal through the President of the Church that which they know, and tell wonderful things, you may generally set it down as a God's truth that the revelation they have had, is from the devil, and not from God.

    [Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:318.]

    Now I want to tell you that which, perhaps, many of you do not know. Should you receive a vision of revelation from the Almighty, one that the Lord gave you concerning yourselves, or this people, but which you are not to reveal on account of your not being the proper person, or because it ought not to be known by the people at present, you should shut it up and seal it as close, and lock it as tight as heaven is to you, and make it as secret as the grave. The Lord has no confidence in those who reveal secrets, for He cannot safely reveal Himself to such persons. It is as much as He can do to get a particle of sense into some of the best and most influential men in the Church, in regard to real confidence in themselves. They cannot keep things within their own bosoms.

    They are like a great many boys and men that I have seen, who would cause even a sixpence, when given to them, to become so hot that it would burn through the pocket of a new vest, or pair of pantaloons, if they could not spend it. It could not stay with them; they would feel so tied up because they were obliged to keep it, that the very fire of discontent would cause it to burn through the pocket, and they would lose the sixpence. This is the case with a great many of the Elders of Israel, with regard to keeping secrets. They burn with the idea, "O, I know things that brother Brigham does not understand." Bless your souls, I guess you do. Don't you think that there are some things that you do not understand? "There may be some things which I do not understand." That is as much as to say, "I know more than you." I am glad of it, if you do. I wish that you knew a dozen times more.

    When you see a person of that character, he has no soundness within him. If a person understands God and godliness, the principles of heaven, the principle of integrity, and the Lord reveals anything to that individual, no matter what, unless He gives permission to disclose it, it is locked up in eternal silence. And when persons have proven to their messengers that their bosoms are like the lock-ups of eternity, then the Lord says, I can reveal anything to them, because they never will disclose it until I tell them to. Take persons of any other character, and they sap the foundation of the confidence they ought to have in themselves and in their God.

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    1. Acts 2:16-18

      16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

      17 And it shall come to pass in the last days,
      saith God,
      I will pour out of my Spirit
      upon all flesh:
      and your sons
      and your daughters
      shall prophesy,
      and your young men shall see visions,
      and your old men shall dream dreams:

      18 And on my servants
      and on my handmaidens
      I will pour out in those days
      of my Spirit;
      and they shall prophesy:

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  22. [Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:288.]

    Joseph F. Smith

    We can accept nothing as authoritative but that which comes directly through the appointed channel, the constituted organizations of the priesthood, which is the channel that God has appointed through which to make known his mind and will to the world.

    [Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 42.]

    Joseph Fielding Smith

    It seems that periodically it becomes necessary to call attention to the true order the Lord has given us in regard to revelation. During the past three or four months I have received a number of communications, coming from various parts of the Church, asking if certain purported revelations or dreams or purported visions are reliable and have the endorsement of the Authorities of the Church. . . .
    Now, the Lord will give revelations to this Church, and he will give commandments to this Church from time to time…but always in accordance with his own law; and we do not have to run around and invite individuals who are without authority to relate to us purported visions, or revelations or commandments, for the guidance of this people….
    If a man comes among the Latter-day Saints, professing to have received a vision or a revelation or a remarkable dream, and the Lord has given him such, he should keep it to himself. It is all out of order, in this Church, for somebody to invite him into a sacrament service to relate that to the Church, because the Lord will give his revelations in the proper way, to the one who is appointed to receive and dispense the word of God to the members of the Church. . . .
    Now, these stories of revelation, that are being circulated around, are of no consequence, except for rumor and silly talk by persons who have no authority….When you know God's truth, when you enter into God's rest, you will not be hunting after revelations from Tom, Dick and Harry all over the world. You will not be following the will-o'-the-wisp of the vagaries of men and women who advance nonsense and their own ideas.

    [Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report (April 1938), 65–67.]

    When a revelation comes for the guidance of this people, you may be sure that it will not be presented in some mysterious manner contrary to the order of the Church. It will go forth in such form that the people will understand that it comes from those who are in authority, for it will be sent either to the presidents of stakes and the bishops of the wards over the signatures of the presiding authorities, or it will be published in some of the regular papers or magazines under the control and direction of the Church, or it will be presented before such a gathering as this at a general conference. It will not spring up in some distant part of the Church and be in the hands of some obscure individual without authority, and thus be circulated among the Latter-day Saints. Now, you may remember this.

    [Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 287.]

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  23. There have been individuals, from time to time, who have been invited to go into the wards, in the sacrament meetings, priesthood classes, Sunday Schools and Mutual Improvement organizations, and at times, for their special benefit, cottage meetings have been held where they might come and relate remarkable visions or revelations claimed by these individuals to have been given to them. All this is wrong. . . .
    Now, the Lord will give revelations to this Church; and he will give commandments to this Church from time to time, and as it is necessary; but always in accordance with his own law; and we do not have to run around and invite individuals who are without authority to relate unto us purported visions, or revelations or commandments, for the guidance of this people.
    Everything in the Church is done in order. Everything pertaining to the kingdom of God is in order, because it is obedient to law.

    [Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 288.]

    Boyd K. Packer

    We always know who is called to lead or to teach and have the opportunity to sustain or to oppose the action. It did not come as an invention of man but was set out in the revelations: “It shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church” (D&C 42:11; emphasis added). In this way, the Church is protected from any imposter who would take over a quorum, a ward, a stake, or the Church.

    [Boyd K. Packer, "The Weak and Simple of the Church," Ensign (November 2007), italics in original.]

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  24. Dear 'Anonymous'. I can see that we agree 100% that we must follow the prophet and the Lord's anointed servants.

    Your position on a whether a common member of the church can receive revelation or not is less clear. My witness is that every member can in fact receive divine guidance from the Holy Ghost, or even the Lord Himself, if that is the Lord's will - which is a common message in the accounts of what I have called 'warners'. And the spirit has guided me through these accounts, and it is the spirit and the prophet that I follow.

    What has the spirit whispered to you as you have studied the messages from people like Julie Rowe? And this question is the essence of my blog entry, which restated is that we are all entitled to our own revelation. I have received my witness and conviction from the spirit... have you?

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    1. I absolutely agree that a common member can receive revelation, if we are talking about personal revelation. I also feel that a person can receive revelation about how to help someone for whom they have stewardship (for example, a mother for her children, a bishop for his ward, a YW leader for the YW in her ward, etc.). In reading the quotes above from prophets, it also seems that someone can receive inspiration that could be of general interest to the church but that such inspiration should be held closely and not shared with the world, unless specifically directed to do that by the leaders of the church. I'm not sure how anyone could think otherwise after reading those quotes.

      I have read Julie Rowe's second book. The book had many teachings that are in line with the mainstream gospel and what I believe. But it also has many things that do not make sense to my mind or feel right in my heart. At the urging of people close to me, I have carefully considered whether I might need to open my heart and mind to it. I have prayed about this, too. Consistently, I have felt strongly that I need not give heed to her teachings about "things to come." I have felt strongly that her teachings are not in line with the way revelation is given in the church. It has come strongly and consistently.

      Many people close to me feel the same way you do. I harbor no ill feelings toward them (or you) for this. But I could not feel more strongly against Julie Rowe's teachings (other than those that are mainstream gospel teachings) than I do. I could not feel more strongly against the idea of "warners" as you describe them. Despite our different feelings and interpretations, I hope we can all find peace together.

      P.S. I apologize for posting anonymously. But to keep peace with those close to me, I feel I must.

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    2. The scriptures are very clear when they say that your sons and daughters shall prophesy, that they become prophets and prophetesses in the last days. And they will prophesy with the spirit of God to bring forth the revelations. “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25).

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  25. " I have felt strongly that I need not give heed to her teachings about "things to come." I have felt strongly that her teachings are not in line with the way revelation is given in the church. " We read a similar experience in the book of Helaman. Ask yourself why the people rejected Samuel and his message? The power of the book of Helaman lies in its concern for human souls. Samuel, who fired by the vision and power of God, did all he could to avert catastrophe and his efforts were frustrated every step of the way by the very persons he was so diligently trying to save. Samuel wasn't the Prophet of the day, yet the voice of the Lord told him to warn His people. The Lord calls many, Jonathan Cahn comes to mind. The Lord will call to help the anointed one whomever He chooses. Just watch Joan of Arc. Great example. The portion of Samuel’s prophecies contained in Helaman 15 is a sobering warning to those who have been called the people of God. Samuel reminds the Nephites that they “have been a chosen people of the Lord”. Many today too, as a chosen people of the Lord, are taking this for granted and are not listening to the Prophet. They think "the Lord delayeth His coming" and are not preparing. They don't want to realize we have the great honor of being the ones who need to build Zion and the New Jerusalem in this land. How many are now awake and acting according to their faith thanks to the message clearly given of "the things to come"? I say mission accomplished. Some of us need to hear the specifics before acting. The time is Now she says, and President Benson told us we are the marked generation who would receive the Lord. The Lord surely doesn't want us to suffer unnecessarily any more than we have to. Thus the much needed warnings on the wall. Heed the voice of the prophet she says, in a day when many in the church are falling into unbelief...can we see a parallel here?

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  26. "If a person understands God and godliness, the principles of heaven, the principle of integrity, and the Lord reveals anything to that individual, no matter what, [☆unless He gives permission to disclose it☆], it is locked up in eternal silence."

    In allot of these recent NDE books the authors were not permitted by the Lord to share their experiences for many years. It wasn't until the Lord gave permission that they wrote anything.
    And as for Julie, she knows her visions were for her and her family, she never once claims authority over anyone else. It was a warning of things that will happen to her and her family. But the natural disasters and wars that effect her family will not ONLY effect her family exclusively. This is not your story nor is It mine. It's hers she does not say this or that will happen to you or I, but she does warn about what she has seen cross her path. She is a member and therefore would have an idea of what was going on with the church. Just as she has a knowledge of how the church is today.
    If I say the church is doing well today, I am not speaking for the church. It is a description. Allot of visions/dreams and NDE's include a great amount of description, for it is through their own "eyes" that they witness their visions.
    I know by confirmation of the Holy Ghost that Julie's books are real and true, they have given me great hope for the future, a combination of her books and the Holy Ghost have influenced me to heed the prophets council, to be prepared for the challenges that may lay ahead, to fulfill my callings in church, to give more service, to pray more often and more sincerely, to read the scriptures more and understand them and to hope and not fear.
    I have come to more fully understand that all of Christ's attributes have opposites and who is Christ's opposite? Therefore fear is power you give to the devil. Hope is power you give to God. Pride is power you give to the devil, humility is power you give to God. Selfishness, and charity. Etc... It even goes as far as do you prefer spending your time in the dark or do you prefer to have the lights on.
    Are you're thoughts consumed with negativity, or are they mostly positive.
    I know and acknowledge the reality of Satan and the 1/3. They are not just an idea of opposition, but are spiritual beings of darkness physically present in our everyday lives, they only have power when we give them power by way of those opposing attributes I just mentioned.
    My personal study of these books in combination with the scriptures and words of the modern day prophets have led me to do many personal and spiritual evaluations, who do I serve? who do I give more power to? It has been an influence of light and love for me in my life.

    Thank you for your beautiful words and solemn testimony Bro Smith.

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  27. Well spoken, Eric. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  28. I am slow to be following comments that were written almost 2 years ago. But I found this blog because of Eric's involvement with Julie Rowe's Podcasts. And I have enjoyed listening to Eric as well. I will say for myself, I was very grateful for Julie's books. I have been an avid reader of everything I can find about the Second Coming for many many years, and I have had a keen interest in reading and learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ my whole life. I can see now, as I read the comments of some people, how studying the gospel is so important in the last days, so that you will not be deceived. These people who say that revelation must come from the Prophets is true, if it is for the whole church, and true if it is to a bishop for a ward, and true if it is to a parent for a family. But receiving revelation is something that we all receive. If you stand and bear your testimony of Jesus Christ, you are revealing what has been revealed to you. And when you have been warned it is your responsibility to warn your neighbor. Bearing your testimony is the very same thing as writing a book about your NDE. I don't see the difference. They told their experience, they told what the saw and experienced and then they bore witness of Christ, and all are edified together.
    I never heard Julie once give commands to the church. Have you ever born your testimony and told how you know Jesus is the Christ, and admonished people to read the Book of Mormon because you know it is true? That is receiving revelation and then sharing your revelation, that all might be edified together.
    I say to these people who believe revelation only comes from the head quarters of the church to ask themselves how they received a testimony??? They received it by revelation. There was a time when people were prophesying and they went to Joseph Smith and told him to tell them to stop, and he said, "I would that all men would prophecy" was he quoting Moses? Who said the same thing? I ask, have you read the scriptures? If you say yes, then I would add, then ye do not understand them.
    I read Julie Rowe's book, and I could not put it down, it was sweet to my spirit and I readily accepted all she had to say. Because it was yet another witness of all the things I had read in scripture, from apostles and prophets and from other NDE. I was so grateful to her and to the Lord for giving us added light and truth, and look forward to the many other people that the Lord will reveal visions and dreams to so that I can continually learn and be edified. I'm so grateful for my knowledge and study that I have gained over the years that comes to my aid when these questions and controversies come. I have been able to rely on my own study and wisdom when I hear new truths or new information. Julie would have to be more than a genius to make up what she says she saw. It matches everything I have read on the subject. I thank the Lord for the added knowledge she gives and give this advice to those who oppose her. It's O.K. that you do not want to get advice or knowledge from her. She never said she received it for the whole church. My advice is to go and read what the prophets and apostles have said and take their advice. Prepare, get ready and stand ready. But just so you know, they are saying the same things Julie said. So as long as you are heeding the prophet's and apostle's council then you are in a good place. No matter where you get the advice.
    For myself, I am just very thankful to learn truth from any source I can find it. Be very careful whom you judge. I have read many NDE and almost 100% of the time, the people who receive them are told to tell about it at the appropriate time. If all these 100s of people are being told by the Lord to share their experience, who are we to say they are wrong???

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  29. Thanks, Eric. What you wrote here really sums everything I've been learning lately.

    I see our leaders as Moses. They brought us right where we needed to be and all we had to do was keep their commands, but the church refused.

    They bring us right to God and say, "Come up and see him." but we say, "Go up for us and just let us know if he says anything we want to hear."

    They are like Mormon, trying to teach us and lead us, but we just want someone to get rid of the Lamanites. We don't want anything to do with preachy religion. We just want to hear that everything is going to be fine.

    Thanks again.

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  30. I remember lending the book, Visions of Glory, to a friend in my ward. After she had read the book I asked her what she thought of it. She said that she felt that the author (Spencer) was trying to make himself sound so grand to make up for the fact of how sickly he is. She didn't believe that what he said was true. She felt it was more of a metaphor, than actual happenings for the future. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to argue with her, so I just said that it gives us the kick in the pants that we need to prepare for what's ahead. I feel a bit bad for her when she realizes that those actual events will take place eventually. Btw, thanks for all you do--especially with helping Julie on those podcasts. I've listened to every one and they have greatly benefitted my life.

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  31. My beautiful wife from the time she was a little girl... could see the dead. She saw her relatives and they often talked to her.

    As she got older... she quit talking about what she saw as people would tell her that either it was from the devil... or she had a very active imagination.

    She even saw them inside the temples kneeling on same alters we kneel upon when being sealed to a spouse or family members.

    She has seen the angels standing guard outside the temples but never said anything to anyone. Sometimes she too felt that maybe she was crazy.

    Then she met me. Someone who believed with all his heart in these type of gifts because of some of the things I experienced outside of the church with mediums who also saw the dead.

    Once she knew I was in her corner... her gifts began to develop more and more. She started seeing the dead just in Church on Sundays sitting with their families. Then one Fast and Testimony meeting (which she very rarely would ever participate in) was prompted by the Spirit to get up and let the congregation know that their family member where right there with them and were asking them to please do their work. She let them know she could see them right then and there. She told that they are waiting for the ordinances to be done so that they can progress. And she bore her testimony how many come to her and ask her to find them and submit their names to the temple. And then she sat down.

    Well... do I have to tell you how "offended" some people were? Do I have to tell you how the Bishop pulled her aside and told she was to never do that again. My wife tried to explain that she would not have done it had the Spirit push her to... but he pooh poohed it and ignored her and told her never again.

    The Spirit informed her that even though the Bishop was wrong in his decision... she is to follow what he has to say. And so she now honors what the Lord has told her and says nothing.

    It is me who testifies that they are waiting and want to progress. The only difference between she and me is that I do not see them. So I can't say that I do. But I know without a doubt that she has this gift.

    By the way... her great grandfather is Ephraim K Hanks who was the man sent by Brigham Young to rescue the handcart companies. He raised the dead and healed the sick. There are many gifts that flow in that family line. If you have not seen the movie Ephraim's Rescue... do so!

    By the way... the reason I feel that the leaders of the Church do not give the same prophetic view of what is to happen is that they are in charge of a world wide Church. And unless they are willing to discuss on a general scale what is going to happen to everyone in the entire world... they can not play favorites. So they give the "General" warnings... and the other warnings come through the very very minor "prophets" the Lord is calling all over the world with specific to things more on a local or regional basis... of things to come.

    Hang in there Julie and Eric! Things might change greatly once that first quake hits SLC.

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    1. MrNirom. I, too, have been chastised for doing things the Spirit told me (by Bishopric/RSP). The reply was that he was told by the Spirit to not let me say that. (it was a FB post in the Relief Society Group) He had it removed before I could even rectify the concern. This is a humble wonderful man. So maybe it was just a test for me and for him. Sometimes people think the Spirit tells them to do something just because they have the idea in their head. I've seen it too many times. So that could be why the Bishop dismissed it being the Spirit. History of people crediting the Spirit. But I like that the Spirit told her to still follow the Bishop because that is what is being taught..to pretty much follow our leaders requests.

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    2. Very well said Eric! I was initially unaware that this was four years old and consider it more relevant today then when you first posted it. I have felt much truth from you and julie, and though I am saddened by the loss of your podcasts I know there must have been good reason for taking them down. I found them very informative and uplifting, directing everyone to the prophet and the scriptures, and remain hopeful that we might again be privileged to hear from you both again soon. All the very best to you both!

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    3. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experiences with me! I too cannot see them, but I definitely feel them :)

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  32. Since Eric reposted this article, I know this comment may not be read. However, reading through some of the comments I would like to rhetorically pose these questions. Was Samuel the Lamanite, a proper channel? Was Jonah sent to Ninevah a proper channel? When Nephi was impressed to kill Laban, was that a proper channel? When Lehi left Jerusalem, Jeremiah was the Prophet and Lehi began preaching repentance, was he considered a prophet from proper channels?

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  33. Eric, I agree with everything that you have said. I know that Julie has a special assignment from the Lord to warn and wake up the people to help them to prepare for what is to come and be ready to meet the Savior. She loves the Lord with all her heart and is only doing what He asks. She always asks us to follow the Lord's prophet and the leaders of the church. I am so grateful for her courage to bear her testimony. I am grateful for your great understanding of doctrine and ability to help her do the podcasts. All of her books, interviews, and podcasts have only strengthened my faith in the Lord and the gospel. I worship with more feeling, read the scriptures with more understanding, attend the temple with more joy and feel that I have grown to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. The book "Visions of Glory" woke me up. I am so grateful to "Spencer" who waited for so many years and only shared his story when directed by the Lord. We are living in a time when the Lord wants us to know all these things for our blessing. May God bless, protect and help you to fulfill your mission. Lots of love, Lidia

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