Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Non Temple Royal Wedding

As the world prepares for this momentous occasion I would like to state for the record that I feel sorry for Kate and William.  Based on the title of this post you are probably thinking that I feel sorry for them because as non church members they are having a civil marriage as opposed to getting married in the temple.  Nothing however could be further from the truth.  You see, according to British law all weddings must take place in a public place, therefore all British saints marry first in a chapel where non member family and friends can attend and at some point (usually shortly) thereafter they go to a temple to be sealed.  Thus there are two separate parts to a typical “Mormon” wedding in Britain that do not necessarily exist in other parts of the world.  I feel sorry for the royal couple because they will not be following their civil wedding with a temple sealing ceremony.  This means that their marriage will be for this life only and they will have no claim on each other in the world to come. 

Here in the United States we have the freedom to get both married and sealed in the temple and have no need for civil ‘till death do us part’ ceremonies.  In fact in the church we highly discourage such ceremonies. 

I had a couple come to me a few weeks ago where the bride to be was a fairly new convert whose non member parents wanted to attend their wedding.  I explained that in the church we marry in the temple.  If a couple chooses to disobey this counsel and proceed with a civil marriage there will be two consequences.  First, not all but many of their peers and fellow ward members will assume that they committed a sin together which prevented them from having a temple wedding.  And second (unlike in the UK), they will be forced to wait a whole year before they can be sealed even though they may be active and worthy temple recommend holders.  I explained that this policy is specifically in place to discourage couples from the temptation of having civil weddings where their non LDS friends and family can attend. 

I further warned them that during the time that they are only married according to civil law if one of them dies their marriage will have no effect in the afterlife.  I also explained that any children born before a sealing ceremony takes place will not be born 'in the covenant' which means that they will have no claim on them either.  To clarify my point I quoted from former Church President Joseph Fielding Smith who said "Unless young people who marry outside the temple speedily repent (this statement in and of itself indicates that marrying outside the temple is a sin), they cut themselves off from exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God. If they should prove themselves worthy, notwithstanding that great error, to enter into the celestial kingdom, they go in that kingdom as servants.  When they marry outside of the temple, they cut themselves off. If they are content with that kind of marriage outside, when they come forth in the resurrection, they have no claim upon each other, or their children upon them, and there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Fortunately after counseling with me this good couple made the right decision and decided to proceed with a temple marriage.  When the parents were informed of this the father immediately made an appointment to come and see me. He told me of how he had always dreamed of walking his only daughter down the aisle.  I explained to him that we do not do this in the temples of the Lord.  He was very respectful and asked if he could at least attend the wedding ceremony.  I explained that due to the sacred nature of temples he would have to be a member in good standing to attend.  He then surprised me by asking if he could join the church.  I confirmed that he was most welcome to join and we would be honored to have him amongst us.  He then asked if that would enable him to be in the temple on that special day.  I explained to him that as a new member he most certainly could be in the temple on that day but would be restricted to performing ordinances with regards to baptisms for the dead.  He would have to wait a whole year until he could attend a marriage/sealing ceremony.  He said that the wedding was in three months and asked if the rules could be bent a little in this case.  I explained that one year was the time required and that I had no authority to change that policy. 

Knowing him to be a man of great wealth I thought about suggesting that the wedding take place in England where both a civil marriage and a temple sealing could take place.  That thought quickly left and a strong spiritual prompting came to me; I looked him in the eye and explained that he could arrange to see his daughter and son in law sealed to each other on behalf of his very own ancestors in a year’s time if he was worthy to enter the temple.  This would basically be a re-enactment of the ceremony he would have missed; so in the long run he wouldn’t really be missing out at all.  

Funnily enough he didn’t seem too happy with this idea but asked just what he would have to do to be considered ‘worthy’ to participate in such a ceremony in the future.  I explained that he would have to sustain (support and obey) church leaders from the top down to the local level.  He wouldn’t be able to partake of tea, coffee, tobacco or any alcoholic beverages and he would have to donate 10% of his income to the church as per the law of tithing.

At this point something very strange happened.  He just got up and left my office without a word.  I think in his mind he had resolved to comply with all the requirements specified and I assume he went to tell his wife that this is what they needed to do. 

From this experience we can see that the spirit works in marvelous ways upon the hearts of the children of men.  We also learn from this that the Lord truly does provide constant opportunities for missionary work if we will but listen to the spirit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh the Cunning Plan of Satan!

Brothers and Sisters I would ask that you take a moment to imagine what life would have been like on the Earth had Satan’s plan been chosen as the way to save mankind instead of the plan that God had intended for us to follow.

Please turn with me to the Pearl of Great Price while we read from Moses chapter 4 together.  I will quote the relevant parts below:
“Satan....came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.”

From these scriptures we learn that Satan sought to save all mankind by taking away the agency of man.  He also sought to have the honor bestowed upon him that is reserved for God the Father alone.  Agency is a precious gift from God; it is essential to His plan for His children.  Agency is to act with accountability and responsibility for our actions.  Without agency we would be unable to make right choices and progress. Yet with agency we risk making wrong choices, committing sin, and losing the opportunity to be with Heavenly Father again.

Satan’s plan was to take away our agency and make us go back to heaven with coercion and force.  In his plan all would have been saved but not through their own choice.

While we do not know exactly how life would have been under the plan of Satan in my mind there would have been two main points to the plan:
1. We would have been discouraged from thinking for ourselves.
2. Any deviation from the plan would have been punished in such a way that conformity would have been more appealing.
With regards to not thinking for ourselves I believe that individuality would have been discouraged to the point where we would all look and think alike. I imagine that we men might have been forced to have similar haircuts and styles, with only specific lengths being allowed.  Our shirts would likely be the same color with any deviation being frowned upon.  We may have been required to be all clean shaven that there be no inequality amongst us.  We would all speak alike and would have been encouraged to state our allegiance to Satan and his earthly leaders.

If the women were allowed to wear jewelry such as earrings perhaps the amount they could wear would be clearly spelled out to them lest there be any confusion.  I imagine they might all wear similar clothing in terms of skirt length and shoe type.  They might be told specifically what their role is in life that they may achieve the purposes as set forth by Satan.

I suspect that our days would be filled with many non essential tasks to ensure that no time for deviating thoughts could take place.  We might have a family get together each morning to study Satan’s words followed by prayers to him.  After our work day our evenings may well be taken up with meetings to discuss any deviators or perhaps we would be engaged in visits to the homes of others to ensure they are doing all that they should.  In brief our days would be planned out for us in such a way that we would be kept busy and free from the burden of thinking and planning for ourselves. 

With regards to deviation any such action would be reported to those in authority and would be dealt with swiftly and harshly.  For example if someone chose to consume something that had been deemed harmful by Satan that person might be denied entrance to the most sacred and holy places of worship where special ceremonies may be missed.  In this way free agency would become a useless and painful burden upon us and we would give in to what we would perceive as the blessings of conformity.  

But enough of such dreary talk! In complete contrast to Satan’s plan we have agency and are free to choose for ourselves.  Modern revelation makes it clear that agency is a gift from our Heavenly Father to allow us to choose obedience, which leads to eternal life.

Apostle Robert D. Hales in his 2010 General Conference talk entitled ‘Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life’ asked the following question:
My brothers and sisters, are we hearkening with exactness to the voice of the Lord and His prophets?

I am pleased that I can choose to exercise my agency in righteousness and that in so doing I have the opportunity and blessing of showing that I support and sustain my priesthood leaders upon the Earth.

I am thankful for the plan of happiness that our leaders have so clearly defined for all of us.  I know that as you and I follow this plan with the exactness spoken of by Elder Hales we will be happy and will enjoy the bounteous blessings the Lord has in store for us.  I humbly leave these thoughts with you in the most holy and sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

President Boyd K. Packer – Lover of my Soul

I was recently asked who my favorite General Authority of all time is.  Without hesitation I replied that it was Boyd K. Packer.  In fact I like to think of our relationship as being akin to the Old Testament characters of Jonathan and David. 

If I were to liken 1 Sam 18:1 to Boyd and me it would read: “the soul of Boyd was knit with the soul of Bill, and Bill loved him as his own soul.”

Some people nowadays who have not experienced the deep kind of love and respect that men of God can have for each other conclude that David and Jonathan engaged in an inappropriate homosexual relationship.  Nothing however could be further from the truth. 

Boyd has helped out so many lost souls and is especially concerned with the young boys as shown by his talk entitled 'To the Young Men Only' that appears in leaflet form and is available in chapel libraries and young men classrooms throughout the world.  I especially enjoy the part where he talks about the physical changes that young men face as they grow into adulthood where he says:
“As you move closer to manhood, this little factory will sometimes produce an oversupply of substance. The Lord has provided a way for that to be released. It will happen without any help or without any resistance from you. Perhaps, one night you will have a dream. In the course of it the release valve that controls the factory will open and release all that is excess.
The factory and automatic release work on their own schedule. The Lord intended it to be that way. It is to regulate itself. You might fondle yourself and open that release valve. This you shouldn't do, for if you do that, the little factory will speed up. You will then be tempted again and again to release it. Resist that temptation. Do not be guilty of tampering or playing with this sacred power of creation. Keep it in reserve for the time when it can be righteously employed.”

As men of God who have only ever righteously employed this sacred part of our bodies I feel that Boyd and I enjoy a special spiritual bond which can be likened to the one that I have with the Savior. 

In the due time of the Lord President Packer will pass on to his eternal glory.  When that day comes I will feel as did David after Jonathan’s death. David wrote in 2 Samuel 1:26 (and I will again liken this scripture unto me) “I am distressed for thee, my brother Boyd: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”

I can testify as did David that the sacred relationship men of God can enjoy with each other can be absolutely wonderful, even more so than the love of women.  Boyd K. Packer truly is a lover of my soul and of yours too.  I am grateful to have spent precious moments with him during my life including moments in the sacred temple of our Lord.  I would encourage all to enjoy his spirit through pondering the marvelous words of wisdom that he has so lovingly shared with us throughout his life of service to the Lord.

Bill Paternoster

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Gain a Testimony – A General Conference Review

The talk entitled “Testimony” by Cecil O. Samuelson will go down in history as one of the most influential talks of 2011.  Nothing will influence a member of the church as much as his or her solemn testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel.

Please follow along his talk as you read this post to ensure I do not in any way misrepresent his inspiring words. The talk can be accessed from this link:

In this talk Brother Samuelson correctly defines a testimony as follows; “In our Latter-day Saint context, we refer to our testimonies as our sure witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is obtained by revelation through the Holy Ghost.”

He then clarifies who is entitled to have a testimony; “Everyone who is willing to pay the price—meaning keeping the commandments—may have a testimony.”

This is very important to all those who investigate the church and current members who are having doubts or who have not yet obtained one. I would ask you all, have you paid the price? A testimony is available only to those who keep the commandments.  We must first accept the gospel requirements (commandments), after which we will become eligible to know through revelation that the church is true.

Some may think of this as being backwards and may ask ‘why should I have to keep the rules of a church first before God will reveal to me that it is true?’  But this is how it is and the Lord does not excuse Himself.

I recently became aware of an investigator that enjoyed a glass of red wine with his meal three or four times a week. When the missionaries taught him that this was wrong he claimed that the best medical research of our day shows quite the opposite, and that this is in fact a very healthy habit.  He further pointed out that men of God from Noah to Jesus partook. The missionaries explained to him that the Lords requirements for our day and age were that we should abstain from all alcoholic beverages. The man liked the missionaries and enjoyed the gospel discussions but never became eligible to receive a spiritual witness of the truth of the gospel because he was too stubborn to sincerely test the promises of the missionaries and abstain from drinking his occasional glass of wine. He never joined the church and will miss out on untold blessings because he was unwilling to pay the price for a testimony, by keeping the commandments.  I should mention that he did actually abstain for one week to test a promise the missionaries had given that he would come to know for himself that this was the Lords way; but no such confirmation from the spirit came to the man and Brother Samuelson clarified why in his talk; “You must have a firm commitment to follow the answer to your prayer.  If you are keeping the commandments, studying and pondering and then ask in prayer for an answer as to whether it is true, but have not committed in your heart to follow the church when the answer is confirmed then no such testimony will be accorded.”

The man in question tried out the invitation from the missionaries as a test, but had evidently never committed in his heart to actually follow the counsel given if indeed such a revelation occurred. His faith wavered and he was likely convinced that his ways were better than the Lords ways. He did not understand that God doesn’t reveal Himself to the uncommitted and insincere. 

We must understand that gaining a testimony often occurs gradually, rather than instantaneously. It could take years of committed gospel living and faithful payment of tithes and offerings to obtain a firm testimony of the gospel.  It is an ongoing quest which needs constant nourishment, care, and protection to thrive and prosper. Brother Samuelson made it clear that any deviance at all from the pattern of living can lead to its loss or diminishment. The scriptures warn that transgressing or breaking the commandments of God can result in the loss of the Spirit and even to one denying the testimony he or she once possessed. 

We must at all costs do the little but necessary things daily and regularly. Prayers, scripture and gospel study, attendance at Church meetings, temple worship, fulfilling visiting teaching, home teaching, and other assignments all strengthen our faith and invite the Spirit into our lives. If you are neglecting any of these privileges (and yes they are privileges), you are placing your testimony in serious jeopardy.  Please stay away from this danger by keeping your life in complete obedience and harmony to the gospel. 

If we are uncertain of our testimonies a key thing to remember given by Brother Samuelson is that “when you share your testimony, it strengthens and increases.”

This is compatible with President Packer’s counsel who explained as follows:
It is not unusual to have a missionary say, “How can I bear testimony until I get one? How can I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the gospel is true? If I do not have such a testimony, would it not be dishonest?”
Oh, if I could teach you this one principle. A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!”

As suggested some might see it as dishonest, but since an apostle of the Lord has taught us this method there can be no dishonesty in saying that you know the church is true even if you don’t.  I would plead with all readers of this blog including all current and future missionaries - if you don't yet know that the church is true please take every opportunity to tell others that you do know this. Soon you will have said it enough times that you will come to believe it.  This will lead you and many others to salvation and will in time suppress all the doubt and disbelief that you have allowed Satan to put in your hearts.

In closing I would echo the words of Brother Samuelson and say that if you are struggling and have doubts you can rely on the testimonies you hear from the pulpit at general conference. In 2 Nephi 4:34 we read “for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man”. Do not put your trust in the philosophies of men but in the leaders of the church. As an authorized servant of the Lord and president of a stake in Zion I stand with the General Authorities and equally welcome all to rely on my testimony.

If your testimony is not strong enough to stand on its own I want you to know that you can put complete trust in those of us who lead the church; for we do know of a surety that these things are true, we have reached a point where we no longer doubt and we are the true disciples of the Lord upon this Earth.  Of this I bear solemn testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Become as a Little Child - A General Conference Review

Manipulation of Children is a form of abuse which is not tolerated in the Church.  The Savior said that it would be better to have never been born than to offend one of these little ones.  We do however as leaders need to be taught how children can assist in building up the Kingdom of God upon the Earth.  

One of my favorite talks in the recent general conference was given by the first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, Sister Jean Stevens whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. The talk was entitled “Become as a Little Child” and can be found at the below link:

I would kindly ask that you open/read it alongside this post to ensure I am not misrepresenting in any way the words she spoke.

Sister Stevens asked this important question; what qualities do children possess and what examples do they demonstrate that can help us in our own spiritual development?

These precious children come to us with believing hearts.  They are full of faith and receptive to feelings of the Spirit. These are qualities that many in these the latter-days are losing as Satan gains a grasp on the world.

Sister Stevens goes on to ask this poignant question; Have some of life’s experiences taken from you the believing heart and childlike faith you once had?

I know that many readers of this blog used to believe when they were children and even kept that faith right into adulthood.  Then, through sin and weakness they drifted away from the faith of their youth into their current state of misery.

To those who have thus strayed the advice was given to look around at the children in your life. Do you have sufficient humility of heart to learn and a willingness to follow the example of children?  If so their divine attributes can hold the key to unlocking your spiritual growth.

This general conference talk is completely in harmony with 1 Corinthians 13:11 where we read “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

This scripture has reference to things that children believe in that are not true such as the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.  As we grow up we put away such childish things, but we do not under any circumstances give up our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Church and current or past Church leaders.  

I will now quote from the talk as Sister Stevens shows us how children can be used to get parents to pay tithing to the church in order that they may receive blessings.  My comments are in brackets:
“Some years ago a member of the Seventy was on assignment in Hong Kong. He visited a very humble ward that was struggling in many ways, unable to provide for its own needs (it is very important for wards to not only be able to cover the costs of operation, but also to be able to send funds back to Salt Lake to enable the Church to run in the efficient manner the Lord intends). As the bishop described their situation, the General Authority felt the impression (leaders regularly feel such impressions whilst on the Lords errand) to have the members pay their tithing.

The bishop, knowing their dire circumstances (but lacking in faith), was concerned about how he could carry out that counsel. He thought about it and decided he would approach some of the most faith-filled members of his ward and ask them to pay their tithing (this would allow them the blessing of holding a temple recommend assuming they also kept the other necessary requirements such as abstaining from drinking coffee etc). The next Sunday he went to the Primary. He taught the children about the Lord’s law of tithing and asked if they would be willing to pay tithing on the money they earned. The children said they would. And they did (it brings tears to my eyes to think of these children having the faith to pay ten percent of their incomes to the church).

The bishop later went to the adults in the ward and shared with them that for the past six months their faithful children had been paying tithing. He asked them if they would be willing to follow the example of these children and do the same (this is an excellent example by an inspired Bishop. If children can have the faith to pay tithing on their incomes there is absolutely no reason why parents can't do likewise). The people (like me) were so touched by the sacrifices the children were willing to make that they did what was necessary to pay their tithing (some no doubt were unable to pay their debts, but at least they were being honest with the Lord and helping their ward to not become a burden on the Church in any way) and the windows of heaven were opened (and what were the blessings received when the windows of heaven were opened you might ask. Read on). With the example of these faithful children, the ward grew in obedience and in testimony (isn't that wonderful?).”

As a stake president I plead with all leaders; if you are having problems with your members, if they are not being obedient to your counsel you can likewise reach them through their children.  For example if a parent is drinking green tea and is unable therefore to enter the temple, you can meet with their child and ask the child if he or she is willing to never partake of this forbidden substance.  My promise to you is that children will almost always, when invited by an authority figure, agree to keep such commandments. Then when you meet with the offending parents you can explain the faith of their children and their hearts will be touched.     

Precious children come to us with believing hearts and are full of faith.  In General Conference we were taught how to effectively use these children and their simple faith to bring adults unto obedience to the laws of heaven.  Stay tuned for more of my analysis on the inspiring words of General Conference.

President Paternoster

Monday, April 11, 2011

President Paternoster's Three Month Review - A Must Read

Brothers and Sisters, today marks three months since I started this blog.  It has been a wonderful journey.  I made it clear when I started that as a stake president I do not speak for the church as a whole, but am happy to share my insights as prompted by the Lord. 

My intention was to follow the counsel given by church apostle M. Russell Ballard who urged us to use the Internet, blogs, and other forms of new media to contribute to a national conversation about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He suggested that we “join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration.”  This I have attempted to do on my blog.

He explained further that conversations about the Church would take place whether or not Church members decided to participate in them. “We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches,” he said.

It is in this spirit that I decided (after a telephone discussion with an area authority seventy and Elder Bednar) to go online and be completely open about my role in the church.  I will let you know that I am building up quite a reputation amongst the general authorities of the church. Boyd K. Packer is especially excited about this project and you will soon see other stake presidents coming online as they follow the example I have set. 

As many of you know I not only have this blog but can also be found on Facebook at the below link or you can add me (Bill Paternoster) as a friend. 

My online endeavors have as predicted resulted in much persecution, but I have heard the voice of the Lord in my own heart whisper clearly to me “President Paternoster I the Lord have descended below all things, art thou greater than me?”

While many faithful members are fearful I have not shied away from preaching repentance unto the Ex-Mormon community.  I can confirm to the brethren that they have indeed become a stiff necked and loathsome people.  They have banned me from their forums, but I am happy to report that several individuals have been rescued and brought back from the very grasps of Satan to the depths of humility.

As an example I started this thread.  Not only was the link to my faith promoting blog edited out, but the moderators disabled my account and (if you look at the bottom of the thread) the discussion was quickly closed.
They had another discussion on me at this link:

Another faithful Church member and I tried to warn the lost people at this site that they were no better than Satan’s fallen angels, but they just argued against our counsel (as of comment# 508) and the discussion was ended by a moderator who could no longer stand for her flock to hear the message of truth.

The lost souls over at ‘Post Mormon’ are having a current discussion on me.  I tried to join their site that I might rebuke them, but do you think the moderators over there allowed me to join? No of course they didn’t and I will now tell you why.  They and all Ex-Mormon sites do not want their converts to be ‘corrupted’ by a faithful member such as me.  They know that if they allowed their people to be exposed to the faith promoting words of a stake president many would turn away from their evil paths and return to the truths of the gospel.  They would then lose the donation dollars that they so desperately seek.  It is this sort of information mind controlling cultish activity that I as a servant of the Lord intend to stamp out.  Ex-Mormons I have one message for you and it is the same message that Moses had for the wicked Pharaoh; LET MY PEOPLE GO. 

You can read their discussion below.  It will become painfully obvious to all that since leaving the church they have completely lost the spirit of discernment:

The folks at “Life After Mormonism” ( are engaged in a similar discussion to the one at Post Mormon which I was permitted to start.  That discussion requires a login which I am afraid may be taken from me at any time as I have been told to go away in words which cannot be repeated here.
All I asked was how leaders such as myself could make the church more relevant in their lives.  For a group called 'life after Mormonism' I considered this to be a very fair question. 

Discouraged but determined I decided to take reprieve amongst my own faithful church members, but found to my dismay that just like the savior ‘mine own received me not’.  In fact in their misunderstanding they have been working hard at bringing this blog down (as of comment #39 below):

By uniting together, forgetting their priesthood and other church duties and spending all their spare time clicking on the “Report Abuse” link at the top of this blog (and on my Facebook posts) those offended at my blog did manage to temporarily succeed to the point where I had to prove my identity beyond doubt in order to continue the blog.  Now that this is done they can click all they want, but it profiteth them nothing.  This was noticed and spoken of at this rather interesting blog:

I don’t know what has become of these so-called faithful members.  Do they not believe that I am working under the direction of the twelve?

I often feel as did the redeemer, rejected and downtrodden. But I will one day be lifted up, and will stand at the bar of judgment to testify against those who rail against me.  All will know in that day that President Paternoster has trodden the winepress alone, hath fought the bitter fight, and in so doing has brought salvation to his soul.

In terms of finding a home on the internet I often feel to lament that foxes have holes, birds have nests, but President Paternoster hath not where to lay his head.

I was pleased to be highly spoken of at this link, but then I noticed that some of the comments were not in harmony with the teachings of the Lord and my words became twisted and used against me as did the Saviors:

Dear sweet Lisa, who in a state of confusion left the church, wrote about me on her blog
I know with the Lords help I will be able to get through to her though. With the assistance of loving visiting teachers who keep reaching out to her with cookies I do not doubt that she will come back to the fold in the due time of the Lord.

Another group of confused Ex-Mormons who have left the church but can’t seem to leave the church alone spoke of me in this manner:

And more recently a homosexual man who was once a worthy priesthood holder spoke of my blog and is, I assume, considering a change of ways and a return to full activity in the church thanks to my efforts with him:

The sister at this site had left the church, but has agreed to meet with me to start the repentance process:

I am pleased that I can as the savior make a difference in the lives of all latter-day saints, no matter how lost they might be.

Members the world over have been thanking me for offending the famous online ‘Bishop Higgins’ to such a point that he has now taken back his position as bishop (though I’m not sure the First Presidency has approved of this action) and has started up his popular blog once more:
My original offending comment can be found towards the end of the comments on the post entitled “The Bishop has Been Released” which was supposed to be his very last post. I had other plans. 

I invite all to drink a toast of pure unfermented grape juice from the vine (commonly referred to as wine in the New Testament) to my continued success as I faithfully defend the restored gospel of Jesus Christ both on the internet and within my own stake boundaries as per the counsel given by my friend, associate and fellow disciple in Christ, even Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.   

Yours faithfully,

President William Lilburn Godfrey Paternoster

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Pictures on our Walls

Brothers and Sisters I recently visited a member’s home and was given a tour of the house.  I was very disappointed by the pictures on the walls, particularly in the bedrooms of the teenagers.

I restrained myself but wanted to ask if the things they have hanging on their walls will help them live the kind of life they should. I wanted to ask if what they have on their walls will help their children set goals to go to the temple or serve missions.

You see by being repeatedly exposed to posters that depict worldly or irreverent things, one becomes less sensitive to spiritual things.

Feeling the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit in his life is one of the greatest experiences a person can have. Why would members do anything to get in the way of or stop those feelings?

The truth is that we are all affected by the things we see. If we are exposed to pictures that are shocking or titillating, we can become desensitized. In other words, they no longer shock us, and they start to seem normal and acceptable to us.  We need to surround ourselves with good and noble things that will uplift us.

The kinds of pictures you have hanging on your walls reflect the type of person you want to become. If you want to become more like your leaders, then have a picture of them on your wall.  Please do not hang up pictures that might chase the Spirit out of your homes.

Every day we are faced with the evils of the world. We need a place to escape to, a haven, to bring our minds and hearts back to the right perspective and spirit.

In our chapels, bishops offices and homes we have pictures of our leaders to remind us of them and their words and counsel to us.  I would like to suggest that we can equally have pictures of local leaders such as our stake presidents on our walls.  If you do not have a current picture of your stake president feel free to ask for one.  Alternatively (and at no cost to you) I am also making available my own pictures below which you are welcome to print out, frame and place in a prominent place within your home.  It is important that your children grow up with real life models that they can both emulate and honor.  I know that as we follow this counsel our children will grow up to be exemplary citizens of our nation and will bring much honor to the Church.


President Paternoster  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Frank Discussion on Polygamy with President Paternoster

I have had several comments and questions on my blog on the subject of polygamy.  I wish to clarify the position of the church in this matter.  Firstly for the purpose of this post I will define polygamy as meaning one man having more than one living wife at the same time.  This is the same definition given on
Based on this definition it is important that I as a respected leader be completely up front in acknowledging that there are many in the church practicing polygamy.  This most often occurs when a couple gets a civil divorce and the man then takes another wife to the temple to be sealed.  The first temple sealing (marriage) is still valid in the eyes of the Lord, as is the second.  This man therefore has more than one living wife at the same time.
Often sisters who have been granted a civil divorce ask me if they can get their temple marriage annulled too.  I always reply that we do not break eternal temple sealings for sisters as this would leave them unsealed into the eternal family of God and would be unfair on them.  Sisters seem especially keen on getting this annulment when they wish to remarry.  This we do not do unless they are marrying another worthy priesthood holder to whom they will be sealed in the temple.  If a civil marriage is taking place then we leave the first marriage in full force and effect.  This way any children born to the new couple are sealed to her and the first husband and are under no condemnation since the first marriage remains valid in the eyes of the Savior.  This is one of the many methods we use in the church to encourage sisters to only marry within the hallowed temples of our Lord.

One sister recently threatened to remove her name from the church records in order to no longer be sealed to her first husband.  She said she could not stand the thought of being with that man or being subject to him in the next life.  I was able to show her that her intended actions were prideful and would only hurt her in the long run.
One must keep in mind that the above example of how we still practice polygamy requires a man to be faithful to one woman at a time.  In the past we as a people were free to practice the type of polygamy that allowed a man to have multiple wives with whom he could procreate at the same time.  I will now address this type of polygamy.
From the aforementioned link at we learn that “At certain times and for His specific purposes, God, through His prophets, has directed the practice of polygamy.  In obedience to direction from God, Latter-day Saints followed this practice for about 50 years during the 1800s but officially ceased the practice of such marriages after the Manifesto was issued by President Woodruff in 1890”. Some say that the Manifesto was given due to governmental pressure, but I can assure you as a stake president that even without such pressure this revelation would have occurred.  Since 1890 no plural marriages have been approved by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
President Hinckley clarified this for the entire world when he stated: “I wish to state categorically that this Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. They are in violation of the civil law. They know they are in violation of the law. They are subject to its penalties.  Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.  An article of our faith is binding upon us. It states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”.  One cannot obey the law and disobey the law at the same time."
This is a very important point made by a prophet of the Lord.  As latter-day saints we have always kept the laws of the land in this and all other regards. We are utterly disgraced at those who knowingly violate this law.      
Often I am asked why Mormons practiced polygamy in the past.  People need to realize that this was the method the Lord instituted to take care of the poor widows in the early days of the church.  Many had lost their husbands due to persecution and were in need of care.  Brigham Young and others stepped up to the plate and fulfilled this need.  Sometimes the women were able to care for themselves but simply wanted a faithful priesthood holder as a husband.  In this an ancient prophecy was fulfilled when Isaiah wrote of our day in chapter 4 verse 1 as follows “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”
I am grateful for the early leaders of the church being so willing to sacrifice themselves for these good sisters in need. 
One single sister recently asked me if there will there be polygamy in heaven.  I responded without hesitation that she need not worry, there certainly will be.  I taught her that more sisters will make it to the celestial kingdom than brothers.  Eternal life is to become as God, creating new worlds and populating them with our own offspring.  This cannot be done in a state of singleness therefore in order that these faithful sisters may progress they will need to be given to a worthy priesthood holder.  You should have seen the look of relief on this sisters face as I explained this to her. 
While I don’t know the process by which this will be done I imagine that as a stake president I will be involved in the assignment of the single sisters within my stake.  I stand prepared to take many of them unto myself, including the sister of whom I just spoke.  This is why even though I exhort them I do not become too worried if husbands become slack in their priesthood duties.  I know that many of their wives will be available to me and others in the kingdom of heaven and that these sisters will in no wise lose their reward.  Those that I do not pick for myself I will assign to my counselors, the bishops and stake high council as directed by the spirit. 
The Lord in his infinite mercy has provided a way for all to come unto Him, be saved and reach their fullest potential in the life to come.  Due to the righteousness of so many of our beloved sisters’ polygamy is a necessary part of the plan of happiness that the Lord has put in place for us.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Warning: The Danger of Casual Friendships Outside of the Church

To assist my readers as they prayerfully prepare for General Conference this weekend I would like to highlight a story from the current April Ensign that a member of my stake submitted last year.  I am very proud to see this story published and know that members can learn much from it as they interact with those who are not of our faith.  The link is below:
I would encourage you all to read my article alongside the Ensign article for clarification.

In this story we learn of a young single man (almost in his mid twenties I might add) who had developed a casual friendship with someone of the opposite gender even though they didn’t share the same faith.  

The story then goes on to warn us of the dangers of such friendships.  While it is important to have acquaintances outside of the church (in order for effective missionary work to occur) when these develop into friendships many problems can arise.

In the article the young man arranges to meet up with his non member friend and justifies to himself that this is not a date.  He explains though that as he got closer to the place where they would meet, a voice inside his head said, “You’re supposed to date only people who have high standards.” “This isn’t a date,” he thought. “I’m just getting together with an old friend.” The Spirit repeated the warning, pushing until he realized it was indeed a date and he then began to wonder about his friend’s current lifestyle. 

He rationalized that the woman knew he was LDS and justified himself that because of this there wouldn’t be any problems.  I would just like to add here that this is exactly how Satan traps us.  He makes us think that seeing a non member friend is not harmful….and thus it is that Satan lures many into traps from whence he hopes they will never return.

The young man however followed the promptings of the Spirit and called his friend to cancel.  When he got on the phone though he became afraid of offending her (I should note that this yet another of Satan’s lies.  He whispers to us that we had better not offend another in order to keep the standards our father in heaven has set for us).  The young man doubted how he would be able to explain spiritual impressions to a friend who doesn’t appreciate the mission of the Holy Ghost (are you seeing the hold that Satan is gaining on this young man at this moment? To a stake president it is crystal clear). 

Whilst talking on the phone to his friend the young man was not bold enough to tell her that the spirit had whispered to him to stay away from her due to her low moral standards, so he simply made an excuse that he wasn’t comfortable with one of the activities they had planned on.  She however slyly offered to meet anyway and do something different.  The young man seeing no other option agreed to this.  This is why I always advocate being up front with non members from the start.  If they want to be friends with us then they can come to a sacrament meeting or church activity.  This is the way of safety that the Lord intends for the dual purpose of not only protecting us, but of bringing non members unto Him.   

The young man kept feeling intense anxiousness as the spirit continued to warn him of the upcoming danger.

After they met though they ended up having a fun time together (can you see Satan trying to lull him into a false sense of security?).  The spirit who is always there to warn us against the forces of Satan would from time to time, tell him that the earlier warning was still important.  At first nothing seemed concerning, but as the evening progressed, it became clearer that they were headed in completely different directions. This became undeniably obvious when she ordered a glass of wine!  Acting under the influence of the spirit the young man quickly and without hesitation explained that he would not pay for alcohol and that she would have to pay for it herself.  As a stake president I commend such action. 

As dinner wrapped up, the young man was on the edge of his chair, eager to go.  Not only was the young woman likely intoxicated from her glass of wine, but also the evening’s last train was leaving soon and he knew he had to get away from this dangerous situation. 

Now, pay close attention to how Satan used this glass of wine to influence the young woman.  I will quote from the article; “Aware of my worry, my friend said I could sleep at her place”!!!! 

The Spirit knowing that his eternal salvation was at stake would not leave the young man alone and he knew that staying was not an option.  But instead of racing to get the last train back the young man walked her to her home where she again had the opportunity to tempt him as she asked “Are you sure you don’t want to stay?”.  We know that she wasn’t forward or offensive, but was subtle and discreet.  The Spirit quietly spoke more clearly to the young man than even the sound of thunder.  The young man knew he could under no circumstances miss that train.

As soon as the young woman was in her house and out of sight he ran as fast as he could to the train station all the while thinking of Joseph in Egypt when he ran from a similar temptation.

This is where the story ends, but as I mentioned earlier this man is a member of my stake so I will take the liberty of giving you the rest of the story.  Ensign readers might leave with the impression that the young man caught the train and made his way home, but this was not the case.  On the contrary a concerned policeman seeing him running at top speed stopped him.  By the time the young man was able to catch his breath and convince the officer that no crime had taken place he had missed his train.  He admitted to me that on several occasions as he lay in the cold cheap motel room that night he thought of the warm bed and company that could have been his had he not been a faithful church member and priesthood holder.

This young man is still single, but I know that the Lord blesses him as he continues to follow the promptings of the spirit in his daily endeavors.