Today is September 2, 2018. My excommunication tribunal is now 1 week away on the 9th. I plan to present a vigorous defense. Never-the-less, I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in hell that I will emerge with my membership intact.
I’ll be stripped of my bishopric, priesthood, saving ordinances and blessings. I will be ripped from spending eternity with my family. I’ll be consigned to an everlasting location with no future interaction with God, Jesus or my loved ones.
As an apostate, I am considered worse than murderers, rapists and pedophiles. I will be condemned to spend the eternities in Outer Darkness.
What a gracious Mormon God we have. How blessed we are that He has placed His power of judgment in the hands of men. The power to tear a dad away from his family forevermore and damn him to the darkest corner of the universe. A destination worse than hell.
Today, I attended my last Fast & Testimony meeting as a member. I chose to share my final testimony with my ward family. You can listen to it or read it below.
4 years ago, at age 61, my faith started to transition….into a beautiful faith in Jesus Christ.
In 1842, 2 years before his death, Joseph Smith penned The Articles of Faith. In the early days of the Church, a vote was held to canonize these 13 tenets of our religion as scripture.
The 4th one says this: ‘We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!! Reading through the entire list of 13 articles, there are no instructions whatsoever to place our faith anywhere else. Just in Jesus Christ.
President Nelson recently re-announced to the world what the proper, God-given name of our church is: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It makes me happy that he reinforced this.
The Church of Jesus Christ. The only being in whom our scriptures instruct us to have faith. He is now the only being in whom I place my faith.
What gorgeous teachings he has given us. The good Samaritan. The parable of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked. Reaching out to the marginalized, the vulnerable. In his words, “The Least of these.” Protecting children with his threat of physical violence to any who would harm them. And his poignant summary of the commandments….love, just love.
What a glorious example he has set for us to follow. He lived his parables. He was the Samaritan who reached out to heal while the priesthood leaders ignored the wounded on the side of the road. He sat with, supped with, talked with those on the margins of society. He was criticized for doing so by the leaders of the church. He was not restrained in speaking openly in opposition. As a result, he paid the price with his own life.
Beautiful teachings. Stunning example. He asks us to follow him. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
I love the teachings and example of Christ. I now have 65 years of lived experience to KNOW that his way is a good and fulfilling way to live life.
This is likely the last time that I will bear testimony in the church that I love. I have been summoned by my friends to a church court next Sunday. I will likely be excommunicated by my friends for standing up and speaking out to protect our children.
I don’t want to lose my membership. But, I will go there with comfort that I am trying my darnedest to follow the teachings and example of my Savior. He was tried, convicted and executed. In the end, that worked out for Him and all the rest of us.
I share this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
As I left the podium, the bishop stood. We hugged. It was sweet. I whispered in his ear, “I love you.”
Several women shed tears.
Two couples called me a hero.
Three men invited me to lunch on different days this week.
Several expressed love.
Several expressed support.
All in all it was a good day for a final testimony.