Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Bitter Fruits of Apostasy

This post is dedicated to Sister Fitzgerald who upon leaving the church has known only bitterness and grief.  I will speak directly to her with the hopes that others in her situation will liken my words unto themselves.

Sister Fitzgerald, according to D&C 29:7 missionaries are sent throughout the world to "bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts". In Mormon 9:23 we learn from our loving Savior that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Sister Fitzgerald since you joined the true church you are amongst the very elect of God.  Why then have you turned away from that which you know to be true? While I do not know the details I do know that many have been offended at something little that someone said or did. Sister Fitzgerald did your Bishop spell or pronounce your name incorrectly?  Is this what started you on the road to apostasy? I realize that this can be hurtful as it happens to me all the time, but I would ask that you ponder the inspiring words of Apostle Elder Bednar who said "Let me make sure I understand what has happened to you. Because someone at church offended you, you have not been blessed by the ordinance of the sacrament. You have withdrawn yourself from the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Because someone at church offended you, you have cut yourself off from priesthood ordinances and the holy temple. You have discontinued your opportunity to serve others and to learn and grow. And you are leaving barriers that will impede the spiritual progress of your children, your children's children, and the generations that will follow."

Sister Fitzgerald when members are offended they lose the spirit of the work in which they are engaged and become infidel in their feelings. They say that they do not know whether the Bible is true, whether the Book of Mormon is true, nor whether there is a God or not. When they lose the spirit of this work, they lose the knowledge of the things of God in time and in eternity; all is lost to them.  Is this your fate Sister Fitzgerald? Has your mind become confused and darkened in this manner?

Within the church we find all that is good, pure, holy, God-like, exalting and ennobling. Will you listen as I tell you what you will receive in exchange for giving up the church? Pay attention for I can say it in very few words and here they are: death, hell and the grave. That is what you will get in exchange and I can assure you that Satan rejoices exceedingly over your fate Sister Fitzgerald.

You are experiencing darkness, ignorance, doubt, pain, sorrow, grief, mourning and unhappiness right now. You have no arm to lean upon in the day of calamity and no eye to pity you when you are forlorn and cast down. This is what you get in exchange for your apostasy from the Gospel of the Son of God. This is the reward Satan has in store for you.

You have gone into the dark, and are not able to judge, conceive or comprehend things as they are. You are like the drunkard who thinks that everybody is the worse for liquor but himself, and he is the only sober man in the neighborhood. The apostate thinks that everybody is wrong but himself.

Sister Fitzgerald have you committed a sin but do not want to repent? Are you trying to avoid giving a detailed account of your iniquities to your righteous priesthood leaders that you may be forgiven? To silence your conscience or justify your sinful actions have you moved away from the truth, looking for imperfections in others or questioning Church doctrine? Do not fall into this oh so common trap.

I testify that you may return from the mists of the darkness of personal apostasy by repenting of your sins, overcoming offense, eliminating faultfinding, and following your Church leaders. You must also humble yourself, forgive others, keep your covenants, partake of the sacrament worthily each week, and strengthen your testimony through prayer, daily scripture study, temple attendance and serving your fellowmen.

In a moment of utter despair you reached out to me, a stake president on my facebook wall and pleaded for help.  This assures me that the spirit is still buried deep within you.  Our conversation can be found here for all to read:

In a nutshell you asked what you should do about church members who express disappointment and heartbreak over your choices.  This was my response, given powerfully as directed by The Lord Omnipotent:
“Sister Fitzgerald, before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. Had you chosen to reject the missionaries and serve Satan you would have been judged accordingly at the last day. But when you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant.

It is with this knowledge and our deep concern for your welfare that we (the righteous Saints of God) tell you that we are disappointed in you. By saying this we are hoping to make you think more deeply about your decision because evidently you have not given it enough thought. A deep thinker would come to understand that Satan is at the root of any doubts and that only by coming back to the Church can one be saved. Please listen to the heartfelt anguish and pleadings of your fellow saints, put back on your holy garments and enjoy the financial blessings of paying tithing once more that the windows of heaven may be opened unto you and your children.”

Brothers and Sisters if you have left the Church I would plead with you to return to the safety of the fold.  Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance.  For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

Lovingly,

President Paternoster

31 comments:

Daniel said...

My biggest fear of leaving the church is that I will disappear, in a bodily sense. That's what's happened to every apostate I've known. I never see them again.

Kidnapping? Aliens? Fallen off the edge? Beats me, but I know for sure they're not getting translated.

Sister Jansen Christiansen said...

President Paternoster, this eloquent post is almost as moving as your sermon on financial planning this last Stake Confrents. However, you omitted a particularly applicable quote. Brigham Young said that those who apostatize become "wrinkled, gray-haired, and black, like the Devil." I can testify from eye witness testimony about the truthfulness of that quote. There was a nineteen year old young man in my last Stake who, rather than serve a mission, went to an Ivy League college and ended up being exceedingly popular with the ladies. We can only assume he had sexual relations outside the new and everlasting covenant, and probly drank coffee and smoked cigarrettes too. Well, I can report the fate of that modern day Corianton. There is an old wrinkled gray haired black man who pan handles at the freeway offramp and it is very obviously this young apostate in his deservingly cursed state. But we keep his name on the prayer roll (can I say that on the Internet?) at the temple and hope against hope that one day he will return to the Gospel and have the curse lifted and return to his white and delightsome state like the noble righteous Lamanites in ancient upstate New York.

Stake Pres. said...

Thank you Daniel. I too have noticed that apostates simply disappear never to be seen again. Do not take this path.

Thank you for sharing that quote Sister Christiansen. I hope that the young man will see the error of his ways and return to the safety of the fold becoming white and delightsome once more.

Anonymous said...

I just don't get it. Why do apostates leave the church when they know in their heart that they are doing the wrong thing and that they will lose their salvation as a result? When you really think about it, leaving the Church is the most irrational thing a person can do.

I have an apostate friend who has tried to destroy my testimony, but I ignore everything he says because I already know that he is completely irrational (see above). When he speaks ill of our beloved Prophet, even Thomas S. Monson, I take solace in my knowledge that someday he will face the judgment of God, and then he will have to confess that President Monson is a prophet, seer, and revelator and that he knew it all along but was too proud to admit it.

Anonymous said...

As God said to the prophet in the grove "not to join any other churches because they were all an abomination in His sight" so there you go there. Why are we nice and accomodating to all the other churches if they are an abomination. Just do your due diligence as much as if you were buying a house. Use your brain!
All the best...

Cindy said...

I was in class one sunday and the topic I believe was on Free Agency. One sister made the comment that we may have the ability to regect the gospel (refering to those who have already accepted it) but we don't have the right to. I thought a lot about what this meant. I realized that what she was refering to was selfishness. People need to understand that their actions do affect others. Sometimes we just can't offord to be reckless in our decisions because of how it will impact the lives of others around us and even future generations to come.

Sweetie said...

I know, when I'm driving with a suburban full of passengers on a path through the mts & then the woods & suddenly I realize I took the wrong way, I agree, it would be terribly selfish of me to turn around & take the road that gets there.

Apostates should all continue on the path they thought was correct originally, especially if by diverting from it, it causes others to get off it. As for themselves, what ARE they thinking? Can any other course be better?

Anonymous said...

Sweetie, you are so right. Once you've ever set on a path, it is not right to ever deviate from it in any way. I once had to wait 3.5 weeks to continue because a road was closed for construction; but I know I was doing the right thing, because I had set out to travel down that road. Patience is such a virtue.

Many of the important paths I set down began in very early childhood, but I know it wouldn't be right to use my adult mind to change any of my beliefs. I still look forward every Christmas to Santa bringing me gifts. I hope one day to have been seen as good enough to deserve his visit again. I know that Santa is True.

--RB

anonymous said...

"Within the church we find all that is good, pure, holy, God-like, exalting and ennobling. Will you listen as I tell you what you will receive in exchange for giving up the church? Pay attention for I can say it in very few words and here they are: death, hell and the grave."

Is it just me or does this sound better than heaven? Heaven with a polygamous family, having babies for eternity. I chose death, hell and the grave.

Sweetie said...

Anonymous RB,

Well put! And don't forget the easter bunny. I'm waiting for a visit from him too! Familiarity sure brings safety & sets aside unnecessary reason & logic. Childhood paths were set by others & it is our duty to unquestionably stay on that path & follow.

Stake Pres. said...

Thank you for all of your wonderful comments. It is so nice to be able to discuss the principles of the gospel with such strong and faithful members.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of blogger. They had technical difficulties late last week and the first 3 comments on this blog post (including one of my own) got deleted. I am going to add one of them back in the next comment and will add another comment after that by someone who posted on my facebook page.

Anonymous said...

Sister Jansen Christiansen has left a new comment on your post "The Bitter Fruits of Apostasy":

President Paternoster, this eloquent post is almost as moving as your sermon on financial planning this last Stake Confrents. However, you omitted a particularly applicable quote. Brigham Young said that those who apostatize become "wrinkled, gray-haired, and black, like the Devil." I can testify from eye witness testimony about the truthfulness of that quote. There was a nineteen year old young man in my last Stake who, rather than serve a mission, went to an Ivy League college and ended up being exceedingly popular with the ladies. We can only assume he had sexual relations outside the new and everlasting covenant, and probly drank coffee and smoked cigarrettes too. Well, I can report the fate of that modern day Corianton. There is an old wrinkled gray haired black man who pan handles at the freeway offramp and it is very obviously this young apostate in his deservingly cursed state. But we keep his name on the prayer roll (can I say that on the Internet?) at the temple and hope against hope that one day he will return to the Gospel and have the curse lifted and return to his white and delightsome state like the noble righteous Lamanites in ancient upstate New York.

Anonymous said...

From James: I can't find find your blog either. But, President Paternoster, if you really want to know, you're doing exactly what the typical LDS leader, high ranking or local, always ever does: blame the apostate 100%. We forget that there are differe...nt types of judgement bars. One is a Church disciplinary council where all that matters is the sin the member committed. There are also counselling sessions where understandnig and managing the factors, stressors, and extenuating circumstances are key and vital to recovery. This blog could be more of the latter; it certainly is not more of the former. Why do so many Saints leave our Church? It's too easy to say "it's Satan." Indeed, he not only stokes the flames of offense in those who leave, he stokes the flames of indifference in those who offended and those who remain. There are legitimate offenses committed in the Church, and people have legitimate concerns over doctrine, Church history, etc. Now, there are healthier ways to deal with them, including, most importantly, praying to the Father and seeking His will. But rather than holding to a tone that diminishes whatever the disaffected person's motives are without having even ascertained them is not helpful. In Helaman 5 we read of an amazing conversion of Lamanites, but at the pivotal moment it was Aminadab, an apostate who re-converted in the moment, that led to so many others experiencing their own conversion. Are we actively seeking to reclaim our beloved who have left full activity, or will we insist on blaming them without even knowing why, telling ourselves "it's their (implicitly foolish) choice", and patting ourselves on the backs? What do we have to show for this marvelous approach? Upwards of 80% inactivity, and (by some estimates) nearly a quarter of a million Saints having their names removed from Church records every year. I rather visit our brethren in prison and uplift them then rub their noses in their seemingly "bad" decisions. I may be defected, but I am devoted. I care about them, and I want them back. In fact, I need them back. It's lonely being a misfit in the Gospel.

Damien said...

Pres what to you mean by what you put in bold "death Hell and the grave"

trying to understand what you mean by it, let me try and translate see if Im close to what youre saying.

an Apostate will:
Die
go to Hell
and maybe stay in the grave and not receive resurrection?


so please clarify

and im also wondering about your tactics to bring her back to the fold. It would be bold and arrogant to assume she would even be a regular reader of your blog to see such a message, just because you write it doesnt mean she reads it.

It reminds me how the Lord said to Joseph , they draw near to me with their lip but their hearts are far rom me.

Writing a rebuke to her and asking "Did Bishop say or spell your nmae wrong" seems very condiscending and that in itself seems offensive and not reaching out to her with love

To me if you were to be a true servant of the Lord, you cant shame her out to come back to the fold, you have to reach out and love her - preaching hell fire damnation and scaring her isnt the Lords way - reaching out finding her concerns and resolve them is the Lords way.

Ammon didnt go to King Lamoni rebuking them of their sins, he went as his servant

Stake Pres. said...

Damien, I got the quote about death, heel and the grave from Brigham Young's manual at lds.org

Go halfway down this page to find it:
http://lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-brigham-young/chapter-12-preventing-personal-apostasy?lang=eng&query=personal+apostasy

Dblock said...

I have left the church, and I could not be happier, I don't have to associate myself with hypocrites like your self. Friends who are friends only because of a religious affiliation.

I have not become gray, nor wrinkly, whatever nasty adjectives one wishes to use to those of us who choose to leave.

What I have become is more happy, less anxious and fulfilled individual..

The church likes to use scare tactics to members and scare them into believe they will fall apart if they leave the church. It's called emotional, and spiritual brainwashing, And that my friends is ABUSE,, To those who are to scared. Make sure you are leaving for the right reasons

R. Nephi Samuelson said...

Dear Dblock,

I read your reply with much sadness; in particular as I consider what it is that you have given up for the sake of the world. As we learn from the Book of Mormon, in particular in Lehi’s Dream, we see that there were those who partook of the fruit of righteousness and then felt ashamed due to the laughing and scorn from those in the Great and Spacious Building. Why would you follow such an example and allow your doubts and lack of faith to lead you from the precious words of truth and righteousness which lead to eternity and life everlasting? Please for the sake of your eternal happiness, not just the trappings and ease of the world; please return to the Lord’s church.

We are not a cult and we do not brainwash anyone!! We have our agency and are free to choose life eternal or death. When confronted with that reality, why would you choose otherwise? Remember, obedience to the commandments is the only freedom. To obey is to be truly free!

Keep the commandments. In this there is safety. In this there is peace.

Your brother in Christ,
-R. Nephi Samuelson

p.s. Wickedness never was happiness!

Bro Jenssen said...

A barren tree dropped bitter fruit and not even one sparrow swooped
and the tree repented
and blossomed

Bro Jenssen

Dblock said...

Safety in numbers, Not from what I experienced, I experienced years of verbal, emotional and spiritual abuse every time I walked thru the doors to my branch. My branch President and Stake Leadership all knew what was going on and refused to do anything about it.

Yes, I left, and I am FAR< FAR Happier with out the church than I was with the church and that will never change.

Stake Pres. said...

I am truly sorry to hear that Dblock. Was the abuse from a family member (and the leadership knew but did nothing about it)?

Dblock said...

This was abuse by church members, So called righteous elect people that you and everyone else keeps talking about. all they are bully's

Stake Pres. said...

In what way did they abuse you? Was it their words, their actions or both?

DandJBrewer said...

Uhh... Is this a joke?

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Jason H. Smith said...

This is the best blog, yet, for showing up the modern Church, in its true colours, by rehashing and reqouting their own extremism, ad nauseam.

Pres. 'Paternoster', you are very effective in your subtle condemnation of the brethrens' applalling state of apostasy: well done!

The gospel is true; but successive leaders have managed to distort its truth, under the guise of a most subtle and clever counterfeit, that they are not even aware of how much they are in Satan's deadly grasp ... who will 'correlate' his agenda with absolute and military precision.

On a 'lighter' note: I do think the public affairs department might wish to submit a humble and deferential suggestion that a subtle hint of a halo should be photoshopped into the 'always healthy and bronzed looks of our beloved brethren', which look uncannily like all those 'airbrushed politburo photos' from the Brezhnev era!

Strangerbird said...

R.Nephi Samuelson comments 'To obey is to be truly free'. An interesting proposition, quintessentially Mormon I would say. But counter intuition of this kind is sadly a feature of radical thought generally. It sounds very close to 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (Work makes you free) which was the slogan painted above the entrance to many concentration camps in Nazi Germany. Whilst it is not strictly Nazi in origin (it was the title of a novel, and an idea adopted across Europe in the 1930s) it has connection with the idea of ants. I think it does confirm that if Mormons depart too far from mainstream Judeo-Christian philosophy, they could find themselves keeping company with some ugly bedfellows. Be careful!

dee hee said...

The church is UNTRUE! Leave and read your bible and learn of the real Jesus! The Cross is foolishness to those that Perish!

dee hee said...

The church is UNTRUE! prophets don't marry their followers spouses? They don't use a rock in a hat for revelation? The BOA is a proven Fraud! There is not a single shred of evidence for BOM except what LDS Inc pays for? NOT ONE! The same 40 Billion dollar Corporation charging you admission to heaven.

Social Media Services said...

Faith can move mountains. I so worship whenever I feel so down.

The aura in a church is really amazing.

Acid Reflux Treatment said...

Church is excellent place for people looking for peace. I am an atheist and yet I choose to go to the nearest church. The aura is just so amazing.

Anonymous said...

Fools mock, but they shall mourn.