For a good many years I was involved in the Restoration Movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr., first as a Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and then as an RLDS (Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now renamed the Community of Christ). In addition, following my problems and disagreements with the former, I made an extensive study of all the many factions of that Movement. This morning I entered a section of my library which I hardly ever go into containing several hundred books on all these churches, and as I thumbed through the books, revelations and tracts of the different Restoration factions, it struck me forcibly just how easy it is for a men to get spiritually lost when he departs from the Bible as his revelatory foundation. I considered all the lives of men and women, some of them honourable and noble, who had got sucked into this demonic deception as I had done for a while, and wondered at the waste of it all. Luckily my allegiances to Restoration churches consumed only five to six years of my life in total.
From time to time we need to look back and retrace our steps to make sure we have not knowingly or unknowingly repeated the errors of the past. And whilst dwelling too much on the past is never very healthy spiritually, from time to time we can make such a project a profitable one. I did this today in part because of a vision Yahweh showed me commanding me to go back to 1988, when this work really got started, to review things, and in part because I was troubled in my mind about the difficulties those coming out of a cult like Mormonism have in getting a grasp of, and adjusting to, Yahweh's reality and truth. For it takes the soul many, many years to get out of the thralldom of wrong thinking and to eject a false vision of the cosmos out of ones system. Many coming out of Mormonism and its offshoots have, with the best intentions in the world to be free of their Latter-day Saint past, simply recreated the original system within a Bible-only framework. Even more surprising, perhaps, is the fact that you can find in Christendom today modes of thought and behaviour which, though having no tangible connections to Mormonism at all, nevertheless duplicate its spirit to an astonishing degree. Moreover, the adherents of this way would shudder at the thought of being associated with Mormonism which, though they disavow it's scriptures, priesthoods, and more obviously external manifestations, nevertheless unknowingly duplicate its spirit. And since we ourselves - or at least some our founders (for almost none of our new members have such ecclesiastical roots) - came from a Mormon background, it behooves us to carefully explore our spiritual journey to ensure we have not brought with us any of the false baggage of a religion which once had such a profound impact on us and into which we were attracted by false spirits.
There are today groups on the Internet who will not forgive us of our past associations and accuse us of being 'Mormons' in spite of the fact we have journeyed far away from it. I suspect this has more to do with the fact that we did not simply jump out of one religious bed (Mormonism) and into theirs (Protestantism) but chose to undertake a passionate search of the Scriptures and find out the truth for ourselves unencumbered by the traditions of men. People are expert at tarring and feathering people who are different, or affixing to them the label of 'cult', simply because they do not agree with their own religious convictions which, though in fact claiming to be based in the same quest for truth, are nevertheless often built on many unchallenged assumptions, foremost of which of these is the belief that the New Covenant repudiates Torah and that the creeds on the Godhead - evolved by a Catholicism they themselves repudiate - are to be accepted carte blanche. Inevitably, as we were unencumbered by any kind of such presupposition, we not only came to reject the Protestant propaganda about Torah but ended up rejecting all of the Catholic Creeds but one, the Apostles' Creed, which was, and remains, completely scriptural. (Mormons reject even that).
There are, today, many professional apologetic groups which have emerged to defend the tents of Mormonism. When I was LDS and RLDS these (like FARMS) were very much in their infancy but have evolved into a vociferous unofficial propaganda device for the Mormon Church, dedicated not to the pursuit of truth but to defend Mormon dogma, claims to the contrary. These modern-day apologists of Mormondom are eloquent and, at times, persuasive, and have unhinged many Bible-believing Christians. I have huge numbers of their journals, magazines and books in my library which once I avidly digested, but which are now covered in a think layer of dust. A whole wing of my library is packed with them.
As I sat this morning thumbing through these volumes and covering the floor of my library with a new layer of dust, I reflected back on my own personal spiritual journey and on what I had learned. And one of the things that struck me most forcibly was the fact that Mormons and those from splinter group simply have no idea about the demonic realm and how it operates since they themselves are a part of its illusion. My years as a deliverance minister in particular have revolutionised my whole way of viewing the Gospel as I have been confronted with the myriads of demonic counterfeits in the world of not just non-Christian religion and the occult, but of the many counterfeit Christian movements too. In these I have observed the same basic demonic themes being repeated with a few variations and glosses in order to artfully conceal the satanic craft.
Mormonism makes many claims, particularly in the realm of legalistic authority, but it also claims to possess a 'priesthood power' and can point to many miracles performed through it. I cannot deny that it possesses such a power because I have witnessed it myself and was briefly deceived into thinking that it was from God. It was only by being anointed by the true Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) that I saw just how weak and feeble it really was, not to mention its demonic origin, for it is a force easily bound and rendered powerless by true spiritual authority. It as not until I met a deliverance minister who made it her practice to bind up the Mormon priesthood power in prayer when Mormon missionaries visited her that enabled me to expose (for myself) the whole Mormon Priesthood mystique. For when this lady did this, these missionaries would be confounded and tongue-tied, and unable to bear witness of their religion, for their demons (posing as the 'Holy Ghost') were gagged.
In the Restoration section of my library there are numerous books by split-off groups publishing new 'revelation' to the world, some resembling the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham in presentation, but most the Doctrine & Covenants. For about 7 years I spent enormous resources investigating these claims to revelation, even publishing my findings in a a Journal dedicated to exploring the claims of the various movements. The internal contradictions plus the so obvious human origin of most of them made it a relatively easy matter to dismiss them at the time, simply by using the power of reason. But today, some decades later, I was able to pick up these books of purported words from God and could tell by the Ruach (Spirit) that these were false and of a completely different spirit to the biblical prophets. Indeed as I read them, I not only discerned their poverty in terms of saving truth but could see in my mind's eye the web of deception being spun by the demonic hand behind them.
To observe this and to then present to the world our own set of revelations (the Olive Branch) might then seem to be not only incredible but even self-defeating. Protestants are rightly concerned about claims to modern-day revelation considering the thousands of volumes of demonic concoction over the millennia which in the last two centuries have increased exponentially in number. And not just Protestants but anyone naming the Name of Christ. And yet as you read the Olive Branch you will discover that, in spite of some superficial resemblance's to the format and language style of, say, the Doctrine & Covenants, the content is radically different. And unlike the counterfeits, it openly declares that the Bible is sufficient when it comes to the message of salvation (OB 61:17-19), admonishes its readers to know their Bibles first of all (OB 109:58-60), and declares unapologetically that the foundation of all Scripture is the Bible (OB 297). Indeed the book concludes with a message for those who may come across it before reading or knowing of the Bible to go and study the Bible first of all! (p.983) And its principle author has stated many times that if the Olive Branch creates doubts or concerns in the reader's mind, to put it aside and rely solely on the Bible, an anetirely different spirit from modern extra-biblical revelations which declare them to be indispensable and on occasion (as the Mormons do of the Book of Mormon) superior to the Bible. As New Covenant Christians we do not go from door to door advertising the Olive Branch - indeed we do not use it to evangelise at all. It is a secondary supplement for the use of ministers who, as part of their ministry, require not only a rule of order for the Church but, on occasion, guidance in interpretation (the responsibility of all ministers). And the fact that many coming to us have been taught privately by the Ruach (Spirit) the very things taught in the Olive Branch, without having previously set eyes upon a copy or our web site, is, in our minds, confirmation of its divine origin (see 2 Pet.1:20-21). Nevertheless it does not exist for itself.
The bearers of 'modern revelation' also, as a rule, make claims of legal authority to solely represent God, and are not slow to condemn all others as 'false'. Every Mormon group, including the main body, makes such claims and condemns all the rest, along with the rest of Christendom and the world. Needless to say such are of a cultic spirit for truth is available to everyone upon submission and obedience to God. Moreover, each splinter group has organised a 'church' which they believe is God's sole legal organisation, whereas the Bible makes no such claims. Rather, all who receive Yah'shua (Jesus) as their Lord and Saviour and subject themselves to His Torah (as found in the Old and New Testaments) become part of the Nation of Israel. And it is that Nation which is Yahweh's 'Church'. As a body of believers it was not, moreover, 'organised' by men but was bred into existence through three righteous men, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All those who believe and obey Yahweh's truth are attached to that family which bears his name (Israel) and which is the Bride of Christ. The 'Church', if we can even call it that, is therefore a marriage relationship, not an organisation with a Board of Directors and a man-made constitution with formal creeds. To be sure we can write these, and can even justify them for order's sake, but these do not validate us, nor do they make us something 'greater' than the Nation of Israel.
As I reflected back on the past and contemplated the feast of fat things that Yahweh was now serving me, I could only mourn the spiritual poverty and deception that was my diet in Mormonism all those years ago, in spite of there being many good things in that religion which it had borrowed from the Bible. All false systems that borrow in whole or in part from the Bible have good things and we must credit them for that. That does not mean, however, that we must acknowledge their spirit or modus operandi (way of doing things).
Most people who move from Mormonism to Biblical Christianity go to one or other form of Protestantism because that is all that is available to them on the spiritual menu or geographically. In the process such people often discard some of the good of that religion. With the advent of Messianism there is a wider range of choice and the possibility to go further than Protestantism allows, namely, into proper Torah-obedience. There is a danger, which we have noted (and was how Protestantism started in the first place) or minimising law-keeping because of the abuses of the Mormon system which also stresses obedience to its laws. Many ex-Mormons develop an unnatural immune system against law-keeping, confusing it with the abuses of the false system they left. Others are not so drastic and tend the more easily to accept the Torah diet which we present to them. The only danger for these people is that sometimes they can bring over the false spirits (demons) of Mormonism with them and end up creating a 'new Mormonism' without all the distinctive Mormon externals. Doubtless this is why some are attracted to a number of forms of Messianic Judaism which, if the truth be known, sometimes resemble the Mormon spirit far too intimately for my own personal comfort, and I often find myself opposing them as much as I do Mormonism for this selfsame counterfeit spirit which, for example, condemns those as being pagans who do not spell the divine names properly.
We know this ourselves from our own experience in transition as Independent Latter Day Saints. Many came in those early days looking for a more righteous, Biblically-based 'New Mormonism' but still carried idolatrous expectations in regard to infallible prophets and a 'one-and-only true organisation' in spite of our officially repudiating such things. Many of these did not stay long but left disappointed. When our ILDS phase ended and we dismissed all things Mormon, most of the original people left. Today, of some 30,000 or more members, perhaps less than two dozen are from a Mormon background, and of the original members, only about 5. We are very different to what we were. However, this will never be good enough for implacable critics for whom past association with Mormonism implies that one is forever tainted. That being so, we must regrettably inform all Protestants that they are tainted with Catholicism - and for them that may actually be truer than the accusations made against us. You can't please everyone.
Do I have any concerns about leftover baggage from Mormonism in our midst? For the founders, no. For those coming out of Mormonism still, or indeed any cultic body like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Worldwide Church of God, Seventh-day Adventists, and so on, yes, there is always concern particularly is such attain leadership positions without properly transitioning out of their former religions. But in truth this will be true of all new members, no matter what their background, as they learn to leave the world behind and enter fully into a life in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus). That is why we retain a priesthood system consisting of the mature (Elders), the less mature (Deacons) and the immature (lay members). Like it or not, it takes time to be purged of false thinking and spirits. It requires intense teaching, deliverance work, living Torah, and experience on the mission field, to perfect people in their discipleship. Inevitably, congregations are spiritually different from one another, depending how mature they are, a very different state of affairs in cults like Mormonism where everything appears to be the 'same'. Members of cults derive much comfort from that because it does not actually challenge their spiritual growth but entices them into a demonic illusion that minimises responsibility for personal growth. Messianic Israel is a nation of people of all kinds of dispositions being gently prodded by their elders into all truth, encouraging them to search and to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, rather than forcing them into a single mold upon entering the waters of baptism. And whilst there is what one might call a true 'Messianic Israelite' it is something that must be grown into rather than forced, whilst not forgetting that there are always minimal accepted codes of behaviour for all members which must of necessity be imposed externally (outward Torah) for the peace and prosperity of the nation until they have naturally grown into these things (inward Torah). In this the Elders must set an example - if they do not, their bad ways will be imitated and the nation descend into spiritual corruption as it did anciently. We remember the undisciplined sons of the High Priest Eli who turned the temple into a place of prostitution.
Like all nations, Israel has civil, theological and military arms. Messianic Israel is not, however, an independent nation within fixed borders, and will not be so until the Millennium (the Mormons tried to establish their own nation of Deseret in Utah), and so does not fully resemble a nation outwardly today, though it will establish twelve small colonies which to all intents and purposes will become independent in the days of anarchy to come. To survive they must be led by able and mature leadership on whose hearts Torah is written fully so that they can be a living example to those for whom external imposition remains the rule, and for whom continuing membership in will depend upon their obedience to Yahweh's theocratic law. Anciently as today and in the days to come, those who reject the laws lose their tribal and national membership.
Outwardly this may appear to resemble the Mormon system until you realise that two entirely different spirits hold the systems together. Mormons lived, until recently, under fear of the penalties of bloody neo-Masonic oaths in order to keep the system together, a system which in early Utah led to ritual murder and marked Mormonism as an extreme terror-based cult for sure. Messianic Israel is a voluntary association without (in the period before the Millennium) a death penalty, and those who infract Torah are simply released back to the world to add to the external pool of evil, until they hopefully repent and return to Israel's high moral and theological standards. Mormons don't, of course, execute people today as they used to, though some of their fundamentalist brethren continue to do so. They do most certainly, however, 'cut off' former members in every way, treating them as non-people, much as the Jehovah's Witnesses do, instead of trying to win them back for the cause of Christ by non-compulsive and non-threatening means. As the nation of Israel was kept pure as a covenant people, illustrated by the incident of Achan after the conquest of Jericho, so we too are commanded to keep the messianic nation pure. Failure to do so has dire consequences.
Mormonism, by contrast, is not so much interested in obeying the laws of Messianic Israel as it is in preserving itself, including its corruptions and falsehoods. It employs the strictness of the Israelite system but for unjust and lawless ends. Thus Brigham Young, the second Mormon prophet, could say:
"Brethren, keep your eyes on the President of this Church. If he tells you to do anything and it is wrong and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it" (Ensign, October 1972).
Clearly Mormons still hold to this belief because Harold B. Lee, another Mormon president, quoted Brigham Young in an address to BYU quoted in the above LDS magazine. It is ironic that an earlier Mormon leader, Samuel Richards, said the very opposite and in the true spirit of Messianic Israel:
"We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he returns from his folly" (Millennial Star, 14:594).
It is a pity, then, that modern Mormons have returned to the priestcraft encouraged by Brigham Young. It is a pity, indeed, that Torah was not their absolute standard of behaviour and truth from the very beginning instead of their priesthood. Mormonism, like all cultic systems, operates on the basis of such slavery, something we have vigorously resisted and will always oppose. Provided it is done respectfully, and provided Torah is the standard by which truth is adjudged, any member of our fraternity may ask honest questions and oppose anything that is clearly unscriptural. And such has happened with us. But where Torah is unambiguous, we have been strict in the execution of judgment, for it is not our law, but Yahweh's. Thus any member of NCCG may oppose anything that is non-scriptural without fear of being pushed down, for that is his God-given right under Torah, provided he does it in the proper way. When this right is denied, then a spirit of priestcraft has entered in and apostacy has raised its ugly head. We are to submit to Yahweh's Law before the unrighteous lawless dominion of men, be they leaders or otherwise, provided we do it in humility and love and not by railing accusation. For the purpose is to win all to truth, not to condemn them to hell. And if gentle persuasion is resisted, then the Biblical formula of calling upon other Elders as witnesses is to be enjoined, and if this process continues to be resisted, then disfellowshipment and expulsion must naturally follow.
This is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Mormonism, its priestcraft, quite apart from its theological and legalistic claims, because priestcraft always leads to Satanism. Indeed, according to the Pace Report, Satanism has made major inroads into Mormonism because of the system which protects those in power by virtue of their rank and position. Much evil always breeds in such an environment. Such a mindframe must be, and is, vigorously resisted in NCCG, for were we not to do so, we would soon be infiltrated and destroyed. Therefore it may be said that the highest authority in the Church is not the Patriarchate but the Torah. The Patriarchate and the Apostolate have, as part of their mandate to serve, the unconditional upholding of Torah.