After mulling this over for quite some time (perhaps the last 2 or 3 years, off and on), I’ve decided to share the following on my blog. Almost nobody visits the blog anyway, but knowing it’s in the public domain and accessible to anyone has been enough for me to consider this carefully. In the end, it seems there’s no way to fully own my story and what I’ve come to believe without being willing to share this.
We recently celebrated my youngest child’s 8th birthday. He’ll be baptized in the LDS church in another month or so. My wife and I and our children have been raised in the LDS church and, as I mentioned in my last post, this has provided my first lessons in spiritual and eternal things. Despite many awkward and uncomfortable aspects of this upbringing, I am profoundly grateful for my spiritual heritage and I’m happy to have my children baptized in this church.
Twenty-one years ago next month, my wife and I were married in the LDS temple in Los Angeles, a city that is near and dear to my heart. It’s where my wife was raised and it’s where I met my second family. When we were married, I had only been off my mission for about 7 months. Those few years from 1995 to 1998 were the most transformative of my life, spiritually – that is until 14 years ago this month, which I’ve already discussed in my last post (Spiking the Heavenly Gift) and in previous posts. This was April of 2005 and I was a graduate student at the University of Washington. God touched my life by means I wouldn’t have expected. This revitalized and expanded my faith in a way that was dramatic to me, even if unremarkable from the vantage point of outside observers.
Still 7 years later, in April 2012, the pattern repeated itself. This, too, I mentioned in Spiking the Heavenly Gift and other posts on this blog. I won’t elaborate on this other than to emphasize that the Spring and Summer of 2012 fundamentally and irreversibly changed my views of the LDS church. In short, I do not believe that the religion of Joseph Smith survived the presidency of Brigham Young. Sure, the LDS church has retained artifacts and heirlooms of the original religion, so to speak, in that it still teaches from the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants. But, the rich doctrine of the original religion, as taught by Joseph Smith, has been strained and filtered to the point that, effectively, I don’t see the LDS church as being substantially different than any of the major Christian denominations.
So, with that preface, I arrive at what I wanted to share. Seven years has been long enough to realize that this isn’t going away. April 2012 and subsequent investigations have proved not to be a whimsical and transient foray into counter-orthodox ideas, but rather an incremental gathering of light and insight that’s far more savory and satisfying to my spiritual appetites than anything I’ve encountered within LDS orthodoxy.
On January 8, 2013, I had a dream that provides a good summary of what I think is the current state of affairs in the LDS church. This account of the dream is unfiltered, as it’s exactly what I wrote when I woke up. There is at least one conspicuous idiosyncrasy in how I have described the experience and this is the repetitive emphasis on the fact that this was not what I consider a true vision, but merely a ‘vision’ inside of a dream. It seems I had to make sure that anyone reading this at some future time would not come away from it with the impression I was claiming it as a legitimate vision of the Bible sort. The dream was actually my reality and the ‘vision’ was only a vision within that dream state. I believe that a true vision is something that happens while you are awake.
In any case, here are some preliminary notes about what I think the portions of the ‘vision’ within my dream represent: Continue reading