Monday, December 19, 2011

The Stake YSA New Years Eve Dance

Brothers and Sisters I had a completely new Church administration experience recently that I thought we could discuss.  My 1st counselor who is assigned to young single adult matters was ill last month so I stepped in and met with the committee in charge of planning the year end dance.  I had never done this before so I brought along my manual of instructions to ensure that everything would be planned in accordance with inspired Church procedure and policy.  Feel free to follow along in the handbook at as you read my post today:

We first discussed section 13.6.2 of the manual which states that “supervision by an adequate number of responsible adults should be provided for activities for young single adults. Parents should be encouraged to help.” 
I made sure that the committee would assign two parents to carefully monitor each of the classrooms and three to check the parked cars.  Others would be strategically placed throughout the building and grounds.  I imagine our young people will be delighted to have many of their parents present for this special occasion and would be willing to bet (if betting was permitted) that the hip new 'Evolution' night club in town that has lured in quite a few YSA’s since it’s opening a couple of years back doesn’t offer an equivalent service. 

In terms of refreshments we decided to include crisps, chocolate biscuits, popcorn, cake and sprite.  An opening prayer and blessing that the food would nourish and strengthen all present would take place before the dance began.

We went on to discuss each point in section 13.6.6 of the manual which states “In all dances, the dress, grooming, lighting, dancing styles, lyrics, and music should contribute to an atmosphere where the spirit of the Lord can be present.”

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having the spirit of the Lord present at dances especially at the New Years Eve dance where there are so many other places the young people could be.  I received a report from a member of the ‘Strengthening the Stake Committee’ last year that a small group of YSA sisters two of whom had served full time missions, left our dance early and were later seen at one of the more unholy establishments in town dancing upon chairs and tables.  Sources confirmed that they did not have their temple garments on nor had they replaced them with other clothing.  This sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated.  When I brought them into my office the next day they seemed to have only a vague recollection of the event which goes to show that the psychologists are correct when they say that the mind often blocks out our most horrifying memories. 

I confirmed that the dress and grooming standards would be properly communicated to all attendees in advance with a note that in addition to our usual standards those wearing skinny jeans would also be sent home to change into something more appropriate.  In addition we made an important note to ensure that all nose and eye brow rings would need to be removed before entering the dance (just in case the Donegal sisters unexpectedly show up again).

In terms of lighting I had to disappoint the DJ by explaining that as per section 13.6.6 “Strobe lighting and psychedelic lighting that pulsate with the beat are not acceptable.” I shudder to think what might happen if such lighting were used on an occasion such as this.  I reminded them that this is a chapel, not a den of iniquity.

I confessed to the group that as a Stake President I often lay awake at night wondering what the Lord had in mind when he asked in the manual that “dancing styles should contribute to an atmosphere where the spirit of the Lord can be present.” 

Perhaps blog readers can help me with this.  Does disco dancing contribute to an atmosphere where the spirit of the Lord can be present, and if so, how?  How about Hip Hop dancing?  Would the spirit of the Lord be present at a dance where there is Swing dancing, or does the name itself invoke the very appearance of evil?  Should those aged 18-30 be allowed to just create their own dance styles (as was the recommendation of the other committee members) or in so doing would we run the risk of some styles not contributing to an atmosphere where the spirit of the Lord could be present?  Does jumping around and waving your arms in the air (as I recently saw young priesthood holder Moriancumer O'Brien do at a stake youth dance in an apparent attempt to win the attention of the sister of Jared, who seemed totally unimpressed), contribute to an atmosphere where the spirit of the Lord can be present?  If yes then please explain how this is so.

The other issue of course is music.  Is there such a thing as non Church/non classical music that can achieve the goal of contributing to an atmosphere where the spirit of the Lord can be present?  In years past I would tell my daughter to turn down or change the music she had blasting in her room only to hear the exact same song at a Church dance.  Surely the spirit of the Lord is offended at such things.  Now that I am finally the presiding authority and father of the stake I cannot idly stand by as we follow the ways and standards of the world all the while blatantly ignoring the counsel given by prophets in the manual.  At all costs we must ensure as per the manual that “The beat of the music does not overshadow the melody”.  To allow such songs would be to allow our young people to fall into temptations from which they may never return.

One song we discussed was called “Two Is Better than One” by a band called “Boys like Girls” and I wondered if some of the brethren might get the false impression that we were advocating a polygamous lifestyle. 

Obviously we cannot tolerate any more Rihanna songs after she *defiled the fields of the promised land whilst making her latest video in September.

Bon Jovi’s song “Bed of Roses” was discussed but the words “I want to be just as close as the Holy Ghost is” caused me to reflect on my own personal close and very intimate relationship with the Holy Ghost and I wasn't sure that we should be encouraging that level of intimacy amongst single people of the opposite gender.

One great thing that we ensure that will certainly not be offered at the night clubs and other parties in town is that “The volume should be low enough to allow two people…to have a conversation.”  This is important because if two people can’t even hear each other speak how on earth can they be expected to discern the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost throughout the duration of the dance?

Another good thing that will definitely help convince the young people to come to this dance rather than go elsewhere is that the manual requires the following (see section 13.6.11) “When New Years Eve falls on a Saturday (as is the case this year) dancing is discontinued at midnight.” I asked the DJ to time it such that the last dance ends precisely at midnight so as to not profane the Sabbath, and counseled that it be immediately followed by a closing prayer.

Personally I can think of no better commencement to the year 2012 for our young people.  I anticipate they will be delighted with this approach as it will enable them to get to bed as soon as possible after midnight so they can be alert and attentive for their Church meetings the next day. 

Brothers and Sisters I hope this blog post helps you to appreciate some of the important issues and dilemmas those of us in high positions of leadership and authority have to deal with.  I am deeply grateful for the Church policies and guidelines that provide inspired direction to ensure that our young single adults can attend dances where the spirit of the Lord can be felt.  This is in deep contrast to the worldly events that Satan would have them attend.  I am confident that under my direction this will be the best YSA New Years Eve dance our stake has ever seen and that it will be talked about for many generations to come. 

God bless you all, I will do another post in the new year after the holidays,

Your loving servant, 

President William Lilburn Godfrey Paternoster

Monday, December 12, 2011

Keeping Christmas day Holy

Dear readers I must apologize as I didn’t have time to write a blog post this week.  This probably won't be of any interest to you but for those with a few minutes to spare I will share the email I sent on Friday December 2nd to all unit leaders in my stake:

Dear Bishops/Branch Presidents,

Please read the following announcement in your respective units during sacrament meeting over the next two Sundays: 

“During this season of joy and peace the Stake Presidency would ask that we keep in mind the real purpose of Christmas which is to spend as much time as possible thinking about, worshipping and following the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  With this in mind we are delighted to announce that unlike some stakes of Zion we will be offering the full three hour block on the Sunday of December 25th.

Local leaders are working with the stake to prepare a very special Sabbath day of worship that will include the following: 

·     Sacrament meeting talks on the topic of peace taken from the Christmas edition of the Ensign.  For this we will concentrate on the article highlighted on the Ensign’s cover page entitled *"Tithing: A Key to Peace in a Troubled World".  From this inspiring article we will learn from one faithful family how “At times it was tempting to use our tithing for bills or groceries, but we trusted in the Lord and submitted the tithing to our bishop instead" and from another family who speaking of their tithing dollars declared "That money could have gone toward medications, but we knew we would be blessed for paying our tithing."

·     Following Sacrament Meeting you will not want to miss Sunday School lesson **number 45 which will involve an important discussion on the frightening events of the latter days as foretold by John in the book of Revelation.  (Members will recall that we already had a lesson on the birth of Christ on the ***3rd Sunday of January this year).

·     With it being the fourth Sunday of the month the Priesthood and Relief Society meetings will involve a discussion on a talk given at the October General Conference.  We are pleased to announce that we have picked the ****address from our beloved prophet Thomas S. Monson entitled ’Dare to Stand Alone’ for this special occasion.   

We would ask all present to please keep in mind that there are many who will not be thinking of Christ this Christmas; they will likely be at home opening gifts, cooking large meals on the Sabbath, partaking of wine and strong drink and doing all manner of things of which the Lord would not approve.  Please take the opportunity to invite these friends, neighbours and any non member family members visiting with you over the holidays to attend our three hour block of worship that they too may enjoy the true spirit and meaning of Christmas.  


The Stake Presidency”


Monday, December 5, 2011

Did the Freemasons Steal our Endowment Ceremony?

Brothers and Sisters I recently received the following letter from a man who lives in Las Vegas, which is in America:

President Paternoster,
May I first express my deepest appreciation for your blog.  The way you and the commenter's defend the Church is second to none and I want you to know that as a High Priest Group Leader I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. 
I must admit however that I have recently been struggling with my testimony due to some things I have researched about Freemasonry.  If I understand correctly soon after joining the Freemasons the prophet Joseph introduced the temple ‘endowment’ ceremony which included many symbolic elements that were, for all intents and purposes, identical to those found within Freemasonry. 

The evidence seems to indicate that Joseph took the symbols, signs, words, clothing, handshakes etc and used them in the temple endowment.  I would not be exaggerating if I were to state that I have learned more about the temple endowment and its meaning in the last two weeks of studying Freemasonry than I have in the last 46 years of attending the temple twice a week.  I had always thought of the endowment as being revealed to the prophet from the Lord rather than simply borrowed from another group of people and then partially altered.  Could you please clarify this for me?
Kenneth Dalgleish
p.s. You are welcome to post this letter on your blog, but I have noticed that those with doubts are often looked down on by the loving members of my ward and stake so would request that if you respond you please change my name to Brother Jones. 

Below is my response:
Dear Brother Jones,
Thank you for your letter and words of encouragement.  Your question is a valid one that comes up quite often.  It is important to understand that if Joseph simply took the things he had learned from Freemasonry and used them to create the endowment ceremony, then all of the endowment work that has been done for both the living and dead since the beginning of the Church would be based on plagiarism; and if that were so then all of those countless hours you have spent in the temple would have been for naught and you would have been better off spending the time with your family.  Plagiarism is a form of theft and the scriptures strongly oppose theft in any form.  Since Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God we can safely conclude that this is not how the endowment ceremony came to be.     
One must understand Brother Jones that the fullness of the gospel was originally given to Adam.  This included the temple ordinances, signs, words, clothing etc to which you referred in your letter.  As Adam passed this knowledge down through the generations it gradually became corrupted.  Nowadays we see  fragments of our temple worship in all parts of the world including within Freemasonry.  If anyone is guilty of plagiarism it is those whose ceremonies resemble ours and not the other way around. 
This is all perfectly explained in the ensign article entitled *“Why Symbols?” where it asks “Did Joseph Smith reinvent the temple by putting all the fragments—Jewish, Orthodox, Masonic, Gnostic, Hindu, Egyptian, and so forth—together again? No, that is not how it is done. Very few of the fragments were available in his day…..The temple is not to be derived from them, but the other way around.…That anything of such fullness, consistency, ingenuity, and perfection could have been brought forth at a single time and place—overnight, as it were—is quite adequate proof of a special dispensation." 
With this adequate proof Brother Jones you can rest assured that it is quite simply a coincidence that the coming forth of the temple ceremony occurred right after Joseph Smith became a Freemason.
May the Lord bless you and your posterity with a greater devotion to temple service,  
Your fellow servant in the Lord,
President Paternoster

Monday, November 28, 2011

Beware of Open-Mindedness

About a year ago I received a letter from Salt Lake telling me that Ronald Gray had requested that his name be removed from the records of the Church.  This is something that I have never allowed to happen under my watch and I pride myself on my unblemished record in this regard.  One time I had to quickly convene a stake disciplinary council to excommunicate someone who was determined to leave. Unfortunately nowadays the Church asks that we no longer take that course. 

I could hardly sleep for several days as I pondered this dilemma.  Brother Gray refused to meet with me telling my secretary that he didn’t need to see anyone and asking that his name removal take place at once.

After much fasting and prayer I decided to personally stop by Brother Gray’s house in order to find out who had offended him.  He reluctantly let me in. 

Brother Gray consented to starting our meeting with a word of prayer.  I asked the Lord that the spirit be present for our meeting such that we could make correct decisions with regards to Brother Gray’s eternal welfare and salvation.

I then took the time to thank Brother Gray for all his faithful service to the Lord and told him how much I have enjoyed hearing him bear his testimony and speak over the years.  I asked what had made him change his mind about the church. 

Brother Gray explained to me that over the years he has realized more and more just how close minded the Church and its members are and said he no longer wants any part of it.  When pressed for examples Brother Gray stated that he felt that the whole ‘one true church thing’ was ridiculous and prideful.  He didn’t like that missionaries were out there trying to convert those of other faiths especially those who had already accepted Christ.  He didn’t like that as an adult he couldn’t even make his own decision as to whether to drink things such as green tea without there being consequences to his Church membership.  Drawing attention to his face he mentioned he was growing a beard but that in this stake men who have beards are frowned upon and cannot serve in certain callings such as the high council and bishoprics.  Basically he had concluded that Mormons were just too narrow-minded for him.  

With my many years of experience and training as a Church leader I knew exactly which course to take.  Not knowing beforehand but trusting in the promptings of the spirit I asked Brother Gray if he had a copy of Apostle Bruce R. McKonkie’s book entitled Mormon Doctrine.  He said he did but that he didn’t think it was a credible book since it has been through several revisions and even went out of print last year.  I was able to explain to Brother Gray that many lessons in our current Church manuals quote from and refer back to Mormon Doctrine.  I offered to show him examples at but he said he believed me and conceded to go and get his copy.

Seeing that Brother Gray had fallen into the trap of accepting worldly views I decided to share with him the section on Broad-Mindedness from page 107. Below are some of the highlights of this section:
 “....broad-mindedness consists in entertaining liberal opinions and in having tolerant views, particularly on religious a very real sense this worldly broad-mindedness is of the devil.”  As a stake president I cannot emphasize enough how damaging it is to have tolerant attitudes towards the false belief systems that surround us in these latter days.   

Reminding Brother Gray that when men speak by the power of the Holy Ghost it should be taken as the mind of God and even as scripture I asked that he continue reading.  As he read the following an overwhelming feeling of warmth and peace came over the whole room:
“In the true gospel sense of the word, broad-mindedness is the state of mind of those who know the truths of the gospel, who reject the false creeds of the day, and who walk in the light of revealed truth.  The broad-minded man is the one who knows that baptism is essential to salvation and celestial marriage to exaltation……it is narrow-minded to reject the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”

After reading this Brother Gray’s whole demeanour changed.  His heart became softened and a look of enlightenment came over him as the effect of the truth of this prophetic statement entered his soul and penetrated every fiber of his being.  For some time he remained completely speechless.

Months later in stake conference a clean shaven Brother Gray would explain “Never did any statement come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart and I knew that it was true and that the Lord knew that I knew it.”

As the letter from Salt Lake burned in the fireplace Brother Gray and I knelt in humble prayer thanking the Lord for showing us the way.  The truth had set him free and he had seen for himself that the true meaning of being open minded was to accept the gospel as given by the one true religion upon the face of the earth today, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Satan Indoctrinates Children; a Warning!

Brothers and Sisters today’s post will be a little bit different than usual due to an urgent situation that has come up.  It has come to my attention that there is a growing trend in the Ex-Mormon community of parents making and more importantly getting their children to make statements against the Church that go something like this:
“I know that the Church is not true, that the Book of Mormon is made up and that Joseph Smith was not a prophet and neither is Tom Monson.”

This pains me to the very core and is absolutely ludicrous.  How on earth can little children who are sometimes as young as four or five know these things?  No one can know that the Church is false and getting children to say they know things that they can’t possibly know is nothing short of teaching them to lie. 

As a stake president I am both appalled and disgusted at this new development and fear that as more and more former members catch on to this trend they will start to organize themselves and have meetings where everyone will be encouraged to state that they too know without any doubt that the Church is not true and that Joseph Smith wasn’t a prophet.  No doubt some in attendance will not feel comfortable saying these things but with time, persuasive encouragement and as they witness those who comply receiving praise and popularity they too may succumb.

Satan is a master of human psychology and knows that if groups of people get together and tirelessly repeat an idea it will begin to be taken as truth.  He knows that repetition is an integral part of indoctrination and that this practice, if allowed to continue, will negatively affect the souls of the innocent.  Why anyone would manipulate or as the Saviour would say offend little ones in this manner is beyond me.

A person in attendance at one of these meetings told me of a young boy just 5 or 6 years old who got up in front of a group of his peers and said “I love my Mum and Dad.  I love my brothers and sisters some of the time.  I know that God answers my prayers as I got the exact toy car for Christmas that I told my Dad I wanted and I know that the Book of Mormon is not true and Tom Monson isn’t a prophet, amen.”

What most shocked this observer, who has never been a member of any church before, was that all present in the room then repeated aloud the word "amen" signifying that they agreed with his horrific statement.  When wee Timmy got back to his seat his mother gave him a big hug and said she was very proud of him.  Timmy seemed delighted with the praise and attention he was given.

To faithful members wherever you may be I plead with you that if you hear of anyone encouraging their children to make repeated statements like this please do all within your power to discourage it.  These children haven't even read the Book of Mormon yet but are being encouraged to make negative statements with regards to both its veracity and authenticity.  Please invite these families back to church that they may feel once again of the spirit. If your invitation and calls to repentance are rejected don’t be afraid to call Children’s Services to have them investigate.  Children can’t possibly know that the Church is false and getting them to make such statements is nothing short of child manipulation and will only anger the Lord and bring about his judgments and wrath; for it is better that a millstone were hanged about your neck, and you were cast into the sea, than that you should offend one of these little ones.

With grave concern,

President Paternoster   

Monday, November 14, 2011

Battling Pornography - One Sister at a time

Brothers and Sisters the sinister and diabolical plague of pornography continues to enter the homes of latter-day saints everywhere.  Pornography, like coffee, is addictive and can quickly spiral a person out of control where Satan awaits always ready to drag victims down the slippery path to hell.
While meeting with Cassandra and Jim about a stake calling I felt inspired to inquire about pornography and its usage in their home.  Jim, like me, felt that seeing a woman without clothing on would be a most frightful and damaging sight indeed and confirmed that he has avoided, as if it were a plague, any online pursuits of such atrocities.  His wife on the other hand after some encouragement eventually admitted to what I would call an uncontrolled addiction to pornography; yes Brothers and Sisters, she had a habit of reading romance novels.
In the ensign *article entitled “Addicted to Romance Novels” we learn about the danger of being addicted to literature of a pornographic variety and the devastating effect this has on ones sense of self worth.  The Sister in the article speaking of her addiction and her failed attempts to overcome it said “Yet my problem persisted, and I continued to try to conquer it by myself. The result? Repeated failure followed by self-loathing and depression.”
I asked Cassandra if she was living the gospel and if there was anything we could do to help her repent of her actions.  She confirmed that she read her scriptures daily, prayed fervently and fulfilled her callings in the church but didn’t feel the need to give up reading a chapter or two of her book before retiring to bed.
I asked Jim how he felt about the situation.  He answered as follows “When I discovered that my beloved eternal companion had become ensnared by pornography, I experienced the intense pain that only a priesthood holder in such a situation could suffer.  It is a deep sense of soul sickness, betrayal, and spiritual agony. It felt like the very roots of a precious eternal marriage had been yanked out of the safety and protection of the gospel. There was a very real sense of panic. I felt the safety and peace of the marriage relationship begin to evaporate. Trust, respect, honour, love and most importantly my priesthood power all felt deeply injured. I felt betrayed and used and have questioned whether I should stay in the marriage.”
Brothers and Sisters I hope you can see from this how pornography destroys happy homes and eternal family relationships.     
I asked Cassandra if she experienced the same self-loathing and depression as described in the ensign article and to my surprise she claimed she did not.  She seemed quite indifferent about the whole thing and wondered why we were making such a fuss of it.  In my many many years of experience as a church leader I have found time and again that indifference is one of the greatest tools of the adversary.  I find that bishops need continual training in their sacred duty of helping members feel the pain, gravity and severity of their sins, for the Lord does not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.  The exquisite joy that is felt when sin is overcome and forgiven cancels out any self-loathing and depression that may have been caused as a result of counselling with the bishop.  As I always say "There is no forgiveness where there is no sorrow and there is no sorrow where there is indifference."
I asked that Cassandra refrain from attending the temple for a few weeks and that she attend the addiction recovery group and told her that if she was still in denial when we met again I would work with her bishop to consider further disciplinary action.  She seemed quite taken back and upset by this but I showed forth an increase of love toward her, as the scriptures instruct, by participating as I had her righteous husband give her a priesthood blessing.  It was a wonderful blessing in which the Lord promised her that despite her addiction to pornographic material if she would hearken to the counsel of her husband as he hearkens to the counsel of the father and if she would listen to her priesthood leaders and faithfully attend the addiction recovery meetings the Lord would help her to overcome this weakness such that the desires of her flesh would be subdued.
Tears welled in Jim’s eyes as I shook his hand, put my hand on his shoulder, and encouraged him to support his wife in her time of need.
Brothers and Sisters as the ensign article states “Sexual sin of any degree can be difficult to overcome. But with the Lord’s help, it can be conquered.”  If you are being tempted or, like Cassandra, are entrapped by pornography in any form please advise your priesthood leaders. They want what’s best for you and will be inspired in ways to help you, of this I testify in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Whore of all the Earth

Brothers and Sisters before getting into the topic of the day I just wanted to take a minute to state that I appreciate the hundreds of weekly letters, emails, cards, faxes and voice messages in support of my blog.  I enjoy them all immensely and the postman is delighted with the extra load.  To the few who asked about donations I should clarify that blogger hosts this site for free and, like most humble followers of Christ, I am unconcerned with laying up for myself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal.  Any donations sent to me will be returned.  If you feel compelled to make a donation please consider giving directly to my charity of choice even Brigham Young University.  This can be done directly at I also encourage donations that help fund the building of the City Creek Mall in downtown Salt Lake City.  Thank you in advance for your understanding in this matter.

While I cannot possibly respond to all letters and inquiries this particular one from a gentleman in the United States of America caught my attention and I feel it deserves a response.

Dear President Paternoster,

I was recently reading a book entitled “Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans - A Mormon Example” by D. Michael Quinn and was quite shocked when I read this on page 319:

“A little-known irony is that the LDS Church had a long-term relationship with several of Salt Lake City's houses of prostitution on Commercial Street since 1891. This created conflict within the Mormon hierarchy. Because the Brigham Young Trust Company's officers had "elected to let [i.e. lease] buildings to whores," Apostle Brigham Young Jr. angrily resigned in January 1897 as vice president of this LDS company that bore his father's name. At a meeting in the Salt Lake temple four months later, the First Presidency and apostles discussed Young's resignation and "the matter of the Brigham Young Trust Co. having fitted up a first class whore-house and President [George Q.] Cannon being President of the company was brought up.

The LDS Church's connection with houses of prostitution remained an uncomfortable secret until 1908 when the Salt Lake Tribune proclaimed that the Brigham Young Trust Company "filled these houses on Commercial Street." This article noted that the church-owned Clayton Investment Company continued to lease these houses of prostitution and that the LDS Church's annual rent was $2,400 from just one of these brothel leases. At that time $2,300 was the purchase prices for a "12-room modern house, 3 blocks from the Temple".... The LDS holding company did not divest its houses of prostitution until 1941”

President can you confirm to me that this is true?  Did the Church knowingly rent out prostitution houses until 1941 and if so why did they charge such high rents (the annual rent per whore house was enough to buy a modern house outright)?  Was the Church really making such excellent profits from prostitution?


Brother Smith

Below is my response:

Dear Brother Smith,

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vehemently opposes sexual sin in all of its malicious varieties.  In the book of Alma we learn that sexual sin is next only to murder in the Lord for in talking to his son about Isabel the harlot Alma stated “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?”

Brother Smith, many evil things that have and are being done by other churches in the latter days in order to get gain were foretold in the Book of Mormon.  All other Churches according to 1 Nephi 14:10 are part of what the Lord calls 'the whore of all the earth' and anyone not belonging to our church is a member of this great church, which is the mother of abominations.  Allow me to quote some verses from Mormon chapter 8 keeping in mind that these verses pertain to these other churches, but not ours:
“O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? …and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?”

As you can see Brother Smith none of these accusations apply to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We do not love money or spend it adorning our Church buildings more than we love the poor and needy.  In fact we have just announced the building of a much needed multi million dollar temple in war torn Congo which will allow the saints to seal their many dead and dying to them for time and all eternity.

Now let’s talk more specifically about your question; it is very important to understand certain things about the author of the book you are reading, D. Michael Quinn.  As a stake president I oversee stake and ward historians and thus am qualified to state that Quinn was and is a very amateur historian who lacks in both the spirit of the Lord and in tact.  You see Quinn was given access to the Church archives some years ago which was a great mistake that I am sure the Church will never make again.  Quinn went on to publish his findings without regard to the damaging effect this would have on faithful members of the Church.  A professional historian, one who is properly trained, would know to publish an unbiased view of the Church showing only the faith promoting parts.  In this way the reader would be free to decide for himself that the Church is, and indeed always has been, a beacon of truth in these the latter days.

Most importantly Brother Smith you must remember that the Church excommunicated Quinn for publishing truths that were not in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  To add to this he has tendencies of a homosexual nature.  He claims to believe in the Church all the while working to expose its darkest secrets.  I for one will not tolerate such people.      

I would exhort you and all readers of this blog (as per Alma 39:11) to ‘Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing’.  Please refrain from reading vain and foolish material written by Church historians whom the Lord has removed from his kingdom through excommunication.


President Bill Paternoster

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Danger of Logic and Reason

Brothers and Sisters I consider talks given at General Conference to be both the mind and will of God and always counsel my stake that they be taken as scripture even for the edification of the saints in these the latter days. 

It is in this spirit that I would like to discuss the General Conference talk entitled *‘Testimony’ given by Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy a few years ago in which we learned that ‘the real strength of an individual is to be found in his testimony and in living it.’

If you are not feeling strong as an individual, if you are struggling with a sense of self worth, if you feel less than those of us who have and are living according to our testimonies I plead with you to take the necessary steps to increase your testimony that you may emulate more fully your leaders and their example.

In his talk Elder Didier gave us certain keys necessary to gaining the revelation required to obtain a testimony. I consider these keys to be absolutely essential and would ask that you ponder each of them prayerfully.  In key number 2 we are expressly warned “Do not look at reason, logic, or the philosophies of men and theories of the world.”

I cannot emphasize enough how important avoiding reason and logic are in gaining a solid and unbreakable testimony of the Church.  Those who gain a belief or testimony through reason and logic can just as easily lose that testimony through the very same process.  This has happened to many individuals who have built their testimonies on the sandy surface of reason.

Please pay special attention to the correct way to gain a testimony as given in this ensign article; it is almost identical to how I gained my unshakeable testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon:

**“At the age of 22, I realized I had never read the Book of Mormon,” Tom remembers. “I knew the Lord had given me a second chance, and I became determined to find out His plan for me. My dad bought me a large Book of Mormon, cut off the binding, and put it in a three-ring binder. Assisted by my mother, I read from January to September, and then I decided to take Moroni’s challenge. I expected an immediate response, but nothing happened. Finally, after several prayers, my heart began pounding, and I realized that I had known it was true all along.”

It is important for all (and especially our youth) to realize that in that moment of silence when you are praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true if you notice that your heart rate increases this is to be taken as a sign from God that the book is true and that you have known it all along.  Had Tom not known how to interpret his feelings correctly he may have erroneously thought that the Lord had not answered his prayer. 

Skeptics who are well known for using reason and logic may say that this is a completely ridiculous way to know truth and that heart beats have nothing to do with God communicating to us, but we know they are wrong.  If your heart beats faster than normal when praying about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon you may know of a surety not only that the book is true, but also that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson is his authorized servant today and (if you are in my stake) that President William Lilburn Godfrey Paternoster has been ordained to watch over the flocks in this part of the Lords vineyard in these the latter days.

It is important to understand that Tom’s testimony is much less likely to falter than others because he gained it not through reason and logic but through direct revelation from the Lord as an answer to prayer.  Those who lose their testimonies and try to bring people like Tom down to their level don’t seem to understand that their efforts are wasted, for you cannot reason a person out of a position they arrived at without reason in the first place. 

Brothers and Sisters you have a testimony.  You would not be reading this humble blog by a faithful Stake President were it not so. Don’t you ever doubt it, no matter what anybody tells you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Monday, October 24, 2011

O Canada may BYU Receive thy Tithes evermore

Brothers and Sisters several of you have expressed deep concern over the testimony of Jon Hare of whom I spoke on May 30th in my post entitled “President Paternoster discloses how Tithing helps the poor and needy.” To refresh your memory please re-read this post before continuing, at this link:

You will recall that Brother Hare had been concerned that the Church didn’t disclose where tithing money went and that it wasn’t being used to help the poor as per the scriptures.  I was able to show him that this was not the case at all.

Brother Hare excitedly rang me last night and asked if I remembered how the Church over in Canada had given 40 million dollars to BYU in 2009.  I confirmed that I remembered this and we discussed how wonderful it was that the paid cleaning staff who were Church members had been relieved of their responsibilities allowing them to seek more gainful employment and giving all members an equal opportunity to clean the chapels. 

Brother Hare said that he had heard people complaining online about this and had started to see their point of view but had remembered my words of assurance wherein I prophesied that due to this move the Church would be able to help BYU even more in 2010.

Brother Hare couldn’t hold it in any longer and through tears told me that the Church in Canada did indeed do better in 2010 for instead of being able to give just 40 million dollars to BYU (as in 2009) they were able to give over *102 million dollars! 

Brother Hare then bore his testimony stating that he now knew of a certainty that it is not men but the Lord who is at the helm guiding this church and the decisions of the leaders.  While telling the cleaning staff that they were being let go due to the economy must have been heartbreaking the fruits of that decision are now clearly apparent for all to see. 

Tears streamed down my face as I thought of how immensely proud and happy the members in Canada must be to have contributed such a large amount to BYU.

Brother Hare told me of how some critics thought the Church should re-hire the cleaning staff who had lost their jobs but we discussed how if they did that they wouldn’t be able to make such a generous offering to BYU going forward.  We talked of how the Lord surely knows that BYU needs it more and Brother Hare made a great point when he said “it’s not like the cleaning staff don’t get to clean anymore.” 

I told Brother Hare that the Lord knew that in addition to attending the temple, doing their home and visiting teaching and magnifying their callings if members were to use their free time mopping the chapel floors, dusting the artwork and cleaning the toilets they would feel the spirit and there would be an increase in testimony.  He knew that this program would bring back the less active, hasten the baptism of the investigator, move the work forward and ultimately increase the ability of the Church in Canada to do good in the world; for thus saith the lord “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”  

I am proud to be a member of this worldwide Church with its ability to bring sacred funds originating from other countries into Utah where the headquarters are located.  Not only is most of the money donated from the members in Canada going to the benefit of Utah but as mentioned in a recent post of mine the Church has been able to put billions of dollars into beautifying Salt Lake City with the building of a mall and condominiums.  It is my hope that the extra funds from all countries will end up in Utah where it is so desperately needed and can accomplish the most good. 

Brother Hare went on to point out that while the Church does humbly publicize and take credit for much of its humanitarian and other charitable work throughout the world through **press releases and its Humanitarian Aid website it has chosen the path of humility and non disclosure in this case. The record of it cannot be found except on the Canada Revenue Agency website.  Some things are just too sacred to talk about and I applaud the Church for their humility in this case which is in complete accordance with Matthew 6:3-4: But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”

Brothers and Sisters I know without a shadow of doubt that the Church is true, that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God and that the Lord is at the helm gently directing and guiding the affairs of his kingdom upon the earth.  To the saints in Canada I want you to know that I President Paternoster am proud of you.  May God bless you for your willingness to sacrifice 10 percent of your incomes and in some cases even your employment such that the Lords University may continue to operate in truth and righteousness.


The President



Monday, October 17, 2011

To Sisters with Less Active Husbands

I recently received an email from Sister Sumsion asking what she can do to help reactivate her husband who no longer has any interest or belief in the Church.  This was my response:

Dear Sister Sumsion,

My heart bleeds when I think of your predicament.  There are many good Sisters in the same situation as you and it is promised unto you that no blessing will be withheld from you insofar as you are doing all that you can to live the gospel and obey your priesthood leaders.

You mentioned that your husband doesn't feel comfortable at church anymore.  I would refer you to a wonderful ensign *article by a sister in a similar situation as yours who took to heart the counsel of apostle Boyd K. Packer who said “If your husband doesn’t feel at home going to church, then do everything you can to make him feel at church while he’s at home.”

The sister in the article said "This was a terrific concept to me, and it was my guiding theme for many years before my husband returned to full activity in the Church."  Please make this your guiding theme Sister Sumsion.

So how does one do everything to make ones husband feel like he's at church when he is in fact within the walls of his own home?  Here are some ideas:

1.    Last time I was in your home Sister Sumsion I noticed several pictures of flowers, trees, animals and other things to do with nature.  Please consider replacing these with pictures of the First Presidency, temples, the President of the Twelve (Boyd K. Packer), the proclamation on the family and the picture of the stake presidency that was handed out to each family at stake conference.

2.    This idea from the ensign article is very important; at bedtime have your two tiny tots learn to recognize pictures of the General Authorities.  This will be very touching to your husband and without realizing it he too may learn to recognize and gain a testimony of them.

3.    Even if he doesn't want to participate be sure to hold family home evenings and assign your husband a task. This is what the sister in the article did and she explained that "Sometimes it seemed like there was a quarrel between Kelly (her husband) and me every Monday night. Satan was doing his best to keep any spirituality from entering our home. He didn’t want my husband to get used to feeling the Spirit and become comfortable with the gospel.”

These were difficult years for this good sister but she learned much and explained "I learned that blessings result from following the counsel to hold family home evening and diligently striving to include every member of the family, even those who might be hostile to the gospel or disinterested."

Sister Sumsion I know that as you diligently do everything you can to make your husband feel like he's at church while he’s at home he will eventually conclude as did the husband in the article, that he might as well just go to church.

Your loving Stake President,

Bill Paternoster


Monday, October 10, 2011

Achieving Financial Independence; the First Step

Brothers and Sisters are you in financial trouble? 
Are you months behind on your bills?
Are creditors threatening to foreclose on your home and/or repossess your possessions?
Are your credit cards maxed out?
Are you considering getting additional credit cards to pay your bills?
Has it crossed your mind to have the Mother of the home work outside the home in order to feed the many children that the Lord has blessed you with and will continue to bless you with?

If you answered yes to any of the above I want you to know that anyone can achieve financial well-being by following prophetic counsel on monetary matters.

Allow me to quote from the inspiring ensign article entitled *Five Steps to Financial Well-Being written by a bankruptcy attorney which states clearly and unequivocally "The most important step toward achieving financial well-being is to pay tithing first—no excuses and no exceptions."

Giving 10% of your income to the Lord makes perfect financial sense.  As per the Church's financial guide for members **"If our tithing and fast offerings are the first obligations met following the receipt of each paycheck, our commitment to this important gospel principle will be strengthened and the likelihood of financial mismanagement will be reduced. Paying tithing promptly to Him who does not come to check up each month will teach us and our children to be more honest with those physically closer at hand."

In my stake I have made it crystal clear that this financial advice of paying tithing first includes even the destitute who according to the dictionary definition are “without means of subsistence; lacking food, clothing, and shelter.” 

In the ensign article entitled ‘Tithing a Commandment Even for the Destitute’ the point is made that 'Faith isn’t tested so much when the cupboard is full as when it is bare' and goes on to state that 'if a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing'.  If ever you are tempted to pay a bill or feed your family first before paying the Lord please be assured that you will never be tempted above that which you can bear.

Brothers and Sisters the faithful payment of tithes enables the worldwide Church, which has more members outside of the US than within, to invest the money and from the profits they can accomplish much good in the world such as the current project of spending billions of dollars building ****malls and condominiums in Utah.  A Sister once asked me why donations from Japanese, Brazilian and Irish Church members would be used to revitalize a downtown portion of a city in the United States of America.  She went on to ask why they don't revitalize Soweto instead or the slums of Rio de Janeiro or even that run down Irish Castle near Macroom, to which I lovingly responded “Sister Malley, God only knows.”

Brothers and Sisters the Lord doesn't need our money but we need the blessings that result from faithfully paying the Lord.  I am thankful for the sound financial advice of the Church and can testify that the best way to get out of debt, beat poverty and achieve financial freedom is to always pay 10% of your income to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.   

Monday, October 3, 2011

When Prophets Speak……

Many Anti-Mormons find great joy in pointing out the differences between the accounts given by Joseph Smith of the First Vision.  In the earlier versions Joseph failed to mention that he had seen God and Jesus, but in later accounts he adds this important detail.  This however should not cause suspicion amongst faithful latter-day saints for we know that even our current living prophet Thomas S. Monson does similarly with the stories he tells, adding line upon line, detail upon detail for our own good and understanding.  One could say that this is a trademark of a true prophet of the Lord. 

Along these lines let’s take for example a faith promoting story told by Thomas S. Monson.  In 1969 during a *general conference address Monson spoke of that fateful “eighth day of May in 1942 when the mammoth aircraft carrier Lexington slipped to its final resting place on the ocean floor….. One who went down with his ship was my boyhood friend, Arthur Patton.”

In the 2007 general conference Monson tells the rest of this faith promoting **story wherein he states that “In March 1944, with the war now raging, Arthur was transferred from the USS Dorsey, a destroyer, to the USS White Plains, an aircraft carrier. While at Saipan in the South Pacific, the ship was attacked. Arthur was one of those on board who was lost at sea.”

Much like the case with Joseph’s First Vision critics may point out inconsistencies between the accounts.  In this case they will say that in the first account Arthur died in 1942 on a ship named Lexington and in the second he died in 1944 when the ship named the USS White Plains was attacked.  They may also point out that according to Wikipedia ***"the White Plains herself suffered NO enemy attacks."

Critics who look for such inconsistencies fail to see the whole point of the story which can be best explained by looking at the website of the Church owned advertising company Bonneville Communications.  The people at Bonneville know that by creating feelings in people (helping them to feel the spirit and perhaps even shed tears as I did in 2007 when I heard President Monson’s address) they can get people to emotionally connect to their message and act accordingly.  On their website it says ****“Our unique strength is the ability to touch the hearts and minds of our audiences, evoking first feeling, then thought and, finally, action. We call this uniquely powerful brand of creative "HeartSell"® - strategic emotional advertising that stimulates response.”

All true prophets from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson and I would even include myself and several other talented Church leaders use this "HeartSell"® method without even knowing it.  It is an approved method for getting people to live in accordance with the teachings of the Lord and is used only for the righteous purpose of bringing people unto the truth.

So next time a critic brings up insignificant inconsistencies in the stories of our prophets you can explain to them that while the stories themselves may ‘seem’ to be lacking in accuracy it is the emotional impact on the members that is important.  When seen in the proper perspective and with the assistance of the spirit, the truths of these stories will touch our hearts and lead us onto the path towards eternal life and exaltation. 

Please keep this in mind as you feast upon the talks and wonderful faith promoting stories that we have just been privileged to receive at this the 181st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Humbly yours,
President Paternoster     

Monday, September 26, 2011

To Parents of Apostate Children

Below is a copy of a talk I gave at the Saturday evening adult session of stake conference two years ago:

Brothers and Sisters as a stake president my heart goes out to you who have children who are no longer in the Church.  Know that I think about and pray for the safe return of these souls daily.

As a family oriented Church it hurts very deeply when our children choose to break their ties with us by leaving the Church and not keeping their lives in harmony with the gospel.

The example of a sweet sister is highlighted in the Feb 2004 Ensign* article entitled “I Won’t Give Up on Them”.  This divorced sister lamented over her children saying “I expected their pure hearts to recognize and cling to goodness. I naively thought the choice between their father’s immoral, apostate lifestyle and my gospel-centered lifestyle would be easy for them. I was devastated as one by one, three of my four children turned their backs on the Church.”

She goes on to say “My heart was broken by the decisions of my children, and in a very real sense my life fell apart.”  Oh that children would be more considerate of the feelings of their parents!  I have a friend the same age as I who wanted to leave the church and live a different lifestyle with our school friend Gary, but who has remained active and worthy to this day in order to maintain the approval of his parents.  I applaud such maturity and authentic living.  I am happy to see that Brother Holman is in the congregation today and though he never married is known for faithfully cleaning the chapel each week as he serves the Lord.  These blessings are all thanks to his decision to remain with the saints when the tempter would have had him choose another path. 

The sister in the ensign article goes on to explain her feelings with regards to her fellow ward members saying “I was embarrassed when people learned that my 14-year-old daughter had elected to live with her father, who had chosen a homosexual lifestyle, instead of with me. (What was I doing wrong? I was a good mother. I paid tithing, fasted and prayed, attended the temple. What more could I do?) Later, it was even more embarrassing to admit that my daughter had chosen her father’s lifestyle for her own.”  I cannot even begin to imagine how embarrassing it would be to have to admit to fellow Church members that ones own child has chosen a homosexual lifestyle. Like this sister my worthiness as a parent would be in question and my reputation as a worthy priesthood holder and father could be forever marred.  

The article stresses the importance of the careful interactions that parents should have with apostate children.  I would echo the warning in the article to be careful not to pollute yourself “by spending time in Babylon.”  We do not want to give our children “a false message of approval by sharing parts of their questionable lifestyle.”  I hope that all parents will feel a certain sense of relief as did this good mother “at not always having to participate in their (apostate children’s) lives.”

When she did visit her daughter this good mother attended the local ward and instead of wallowing in her own misery thinking only of herself she turned her thoughts to what these poor righteous Church members must think when they see her unworthy daughter; “They would look at her walking down the street or drinking with her female partner, and they would feel uncomfortable. It probably would not occur to them that she was raised in Utah, a descendant of Latter-day Saint pioneers.”

I would like to note here that I commend this good sister for being honest not only in her heart but with the world about the reality that her children are unworthy. This is one of the great things about being members of the one true Church-we can see things as they really are while the rest of the world remains in darkness. I have always maintained that honesty is the key to successful relationships and thinking (correctly in this case) of one's child as unworthy is the sort of honesty that can only lead to a healthy, strong and loving relationship.

I always advise parents as a matter of principle to take ownership of and apologize for their children’s behaviour when it is not in line with the gospel.  The spirit prompted this sister likewise as she stood up and bore this testimony “Brothers and Sisters, I am here visiting my daughter, who should be a member of your ward but has not been inside a chapel for many years. In fact, three of my four children have fallen away from the Church. I want to apologize to you good people on behalf of my children. I suspect that you may have seen them as you walked down these streets, and I am sorry if their behavior has offended you….”

This testimony brings tears to my eyes.  My heart truly goes out to this sister and the poor ward members who have to share the same streets as her daughter.

To those of you who have children who, as the article says “may not be worthy” please continue to have hope and faith.  Remember that “Faith is a belief that through fasting and prayer all things are possible—even a change of heart in our children so that they will repent and return to the Church.”

I have always maintained that the best way you and I can be missionaries to our neighbours, associates and even our children is to radiate the joy of the gospel by the way that we live.  As I have done this the Lord has blessed me and my posterity with an undeniable testimony and commitment to the gospel and has allowed me through your prayers to lead this stake in humility and righteousness.  Brothers and Sisters I bestow upon you the blessings of the Lord as you strive to live in such a manner that your children will not forsake you by leaving the church, and do so in the sacred and holy name of our Lord and Saviour, even Jesus the Christ, amen.