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Gramps,

There are several books written by members who claim they have seen the future and are commanded by God and angels to warn the public about what they have seen. They are even giving firesides in church buildings on the topic. Many members swallow every word they say without questioning them. How do they stay in good standing in the church? I read on LDS.org that the church does not endorse these books but they allow them to spread their messages in firesides inside LDS churches. Why?

Tracie

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Answer

 

Tracie,

You have provided multiple questions that appear to cause you some trouble. I pray and hope my response provides the answers you seek, or at least principles to ponder. Let’s begin with your second to last question first, “How do they stay in good standing in the church?” I would propose that this question is more easily answered if we properly understand what it means to be a member in good standing? On a side note Marvin J. Ashton once said,

“Perhaps all of us would do well to realize that as we promote personal activity and involvement in the Church, it might be much better to be classified a member of “good coming” instead of a member in good standing. It is our responsibility and privilege to encourage the immature and give them opportunities for growth and development.”

As a member of good standing we are currently living up to the covenants we have made at baptism and the temple (if we have gone through the temple and received our endowment). This means we have not received any church disciplinary action that would cause us to lose good standing. As a member of good standing (coming) we also are allowed our own personal thoughts, personal revelation, and personal experiences. As a member of good standing, we are able to express our personal views and experiences. We could probably say more, but what is said here I believe suffices the questions.

In light of this, have these individuals done anything wrong that would cause their “good standing (coming)” membership to be at risk? I would say, they have not. If you have ever delved into the Journal of Discourses, or other Church history material you will read many different thoughts and opinions coming from past Church leadership. John Taylor in fact had a vision that he shared and can be found on Youtube. Would this vision, this sharing of his personal experience place his membership at risk? No.

The real question for us, are we living a life that we can recognize truth — as given by the Spirit — in comparison to personal experience that may or may not be true? Your first question reminds me of a personal incident during a presidential campaign. A member, in good standing (who proclaimed his leadership callings), said that the Lord told him to vote for a certain presidential candidate, and that the Lord told him to tell everyone. Would this personal experience place this brothers membership at risk? No.

I also had other people share how the Lord told them a different candidate was to be president, and that they were to share it also. What if a leader allowed him to share his thoughts at church during a fireside? Would this put his membership, or mine, at risk? No. When a personal experience is shared, just as we all have the right to share (if given an audience), our membership of good standing is not at risk, unless we begin to deceive others or to take away others from the true vine. We have experience of this already. People who have had personal experiences, personal thoughts, and then they take these thoughts to the next level thinking to force their will on the Church, or on others. If the Church recognizes that people are being lead astray they, the Church, will take measures to ensure that proper understanding of Church doctrine and policies are kept sound.

We live in a wonderful time where the Lord wants us to experience his love, and his love can come from many avenues. We may learn his truths through divers places also. In these circumstances, I simply ask myself, what has been currently revealed by our prophets regarding the subjects, experiences, being addressed. If any of them contradict, I know for myself, that I can reject the thought. Like with this brother experiencing this revelation in the temple. The Lord already spoke to his prophet, and they share the Church’s thoughts every time any major election happens. To ponder and pray for ourselves as to who we would vote for.

I remember on my mission when I used to “swallow” everything a missionary said that was my senior! I truly soaked it up! Now, as I have matured, I have realized the importance of verifying and confirming personal experiences through proper sources. Some of these members may learn the same thing as they are members of “good coming,” and will have their own experiences to share also. I am glad the Church doesn’t clamp down on personal experiences like a dictator. They teach correct principles and allow us to govern ourselves.

The real question Tracie, what do you think about these experiences? If you do not believe them, then don’t accept it. You can share your thoughts also, and try to do your best (unlike myself at times) to do so without emotion.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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