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