Over the years I have been contacted by a lot of people online; some via the comment section of my blog posts (which I have temporarily deactivated because I don’t have time to manage and respond at this time) and others who send me emails.
This wordpress blog appears to have over 2200 comments on it and the three watches blog spot has lots of comments as well, although I have not posted on that site for years now.
Although I began blogging in September of 05, I did not get around to creating my onewhoiswatching [at] gmail dot com account until April 6 2012. I did not anticipate using the gmail account very much when I created it but thought I should have a place for allowing people to contact and communicate with me on a more personal basis. I now have nearly 700 separate email strings of discussions with people in the gmail account.
Some people contact me to thank me for sharing what I have learned.
Some people contact me to explain why they disagree with me on a particular doctrinal issue.
When I decided to publicly challenge some of the doctrinal claims of Denver Snuffer I got inundated with a lot of angry responses from people who felt I was being disrespectful of the Lord’s newly anointed.
Needless to say, I meet all kinds of people online and I know that everyone of these souls is precious to God.
Many of these people that I have met have become very good friends. (Although I have never once met one of these online personalities, in person)
Some visitors to my blog have become angry critics.
Being a passionate soul with a dominate and sometimes overbearing personality, with very strong doctrinal point of view, I have offended several people because I tend to lose patience with those that simply want to emotionally argue and debate about the issues I have raised based solely on how they want things to be, or how they think things should be, rather than to engage based on using the scriptures as the foundational reasons for making doctrinal conclusions.
I am impatient and arrogant
In an upcoming post for this series I will highlight a communication wherein I am informed what a jerk I am because of my impatience and arrogance, etc.
The truth is that I am a jerk sometimes.
A visitor to this blog that has a high “EQ” (emotional intelligence quota) will not discount the research I am offering simply because I am not a highly advanced spiritual being. The truth is that God sometimes uses jerks to test people and to see if they are more interested the truth or in warm fuzzy personalities. One of the truly miraculous things about God is that he can and does use jerks to disseminate valuable information.
Even highly advanced personalities like the apostle Paul appear to have been somewhat costic personalities at times according to the New Testament narratives.
My goal in blogging is to passionately state my findings and my conclusions in an effort to jolt people into questioning their preconceived conclusions, question the assumed religious authority of those claiming to have any, and to ultimately drive people deeper into the word of God and to take God’s word literally.
I have never intended to enter any online personality contests, and it is clear to me from many of the comments that I get, that I would not do well, if I did.
Two Outcomes from Spiritual Epiphanies
I get many people contacting me to tell me how excited they are to learn about how the Marvelous Work and a Wonder is a future event, that is about to take place, and how my research regarding 2nd Samuel 7 and the atonement statute-prophecy as contained in Lev 16 has solved the prophet “Prophet Puzzle” which answers most of the difficult questions they have had during their crisis of faith.
Nevertheless, among those that have this initial epiphany, I have identified two general categories of people that each have a different outcome from their epiphanies; there are those that continue to become filled with light and become stronger in the faith after their initial epiphany, and those that eventually begin to falter again and become filled with darkness.
The difference between these two groups of people is that those that continue to become stronger in the faith, contract the spirit of searching the scriptures and the spirit of watching for the secret return of Christ and his messengers, and they spend their time doing their own scriptural keyword searches and developing a stronger relationship with God through reading and pondering his word as they mine the hidden treasures of knowledge from them.
The second group spends their time searching the Internet instead of searching God’s word.
They love to be entertained and to know what all of the great minds on the Internet are thinking and they are often intrigued by the dark side.’
They are curious to see what all of the interesting bloggers are saying and they want to know the latest challenges to the faith are.
The people in this second category usually begin to be filled with doubts again, after their initial epiphany, because they focus on the intellectual technicalities brought up by the skeptics instead of realizing that the only way one can spiritually discern the truth is by searching and pondering God’s words.
Their ongoing search for truth becomes a cerebral one instead of a spiritual one, they don’t seem to understand that the things of God can only be understood by the spirit of God.
Needless to say, it is deeply disappointing to me when someone has the initial epiphany but eventually becomes darkened in their mind again.
Today I am going to highlight a correspondence I had with a fellow who has contacted me twice and appears to be in the first category I mentioned for which I am so grateful.
Epidemic numbers of people are having a crisis of faith
The reason I am sharing some of the correspondences that I have had over the years is because there are LOTS of people that are currently experiencing a crisis of faith at this time and I am hoping that sharing some of these online conversations will help those that are feeling spiritually confused and distraught, to regain their spiritual equilibrium and get back in the straight and narrow path and to re-grip the iron rod.
As with all of the emails shared in this series, I am not sharing the actual names of people.
In this post, I am referring to this fellow as “JL”
Here is what he had to say in his first email:
“Hello Watcher,I am not certain if this is your email address however I noticed that you posted it on one of your posts from our https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/ website so I figured I would send you a quick email in hopes that it reaches you.
I have been meaning to email you for a while now. There are so many things I could say but the only one that really matters is thank you! I want to thank you for your Three Watches blog and for your One Who Is Watching website.
About 11 months ago my life changed. At that point I was overall a happy father of six kids who was striving to live the gospel the way I had been taught all my life and was trying to pass those teachings on to my own children. I was someone who would spend hours studying the scriptures and learning all I could about the gospel and the church.
I was someone who would drop anything to fulfill a priesthood calling or go take care of something that needed to be done within the Ward because that was who I was and who I thought the Lord wanted me to be. I was someone who cherished the covenants I had made in the Temple and felt they ensured that I would have the most important things in my life in the life to come (my wife and children).
Up until that point in my life there were brief moments were I wondered why things seemed different now in the church compared to what the prophet Joseph Smith taught to the early saints but I was quick to brush those kind of thoughts away. I never wanted to doubt what I was being taught because I knew I had a modern day prophet that I could listen to for guidance in my life.
Everything changed when I accepted the gospel doctrine instructor calling. I was preparing for my first lesson which was lesson 30 from the Doctrine and Covenants lesson manual. The lesson focuses on the building of the Nauvoo temple and the introduction of temple work for the dead.
As I was studying the history of the Nauvoo temple I started learning things that did not sit well with me. What should have been a simple gospel doctrine lesson ended up turning into a crises of my faith. Looking back at it now a part of me wants to cry, while another part of me wants to laugh and shout for joy.
I began to look at everything about the history of the church. No subject was off limits. I would wake up early so I could read as much as I could and then continue late into the night after my family was asleep. All that I cared about was finding the truth. I just wanted to know if what I had been taught and believed all my life was correct.
By the time I was done at this point I had come to a few conclusions.
- I knew more than ever that my faith needed to be in the Savior and that as long as I trusted in him he would help me through this even though at that point I felt lost.
- I knew that Joseph Smith started off on the Lord’s path but it was clear to me that something had gone horribly wrong (I did not know what at this point).
- I knew that after Joseph’s death there had been terrible liberties taken with changing the things the Lord had initially established with the early saints.
- I struggled with the thought that things might be so far from the path that I might no longer belong to the Lord’s church.
- I was devastated.
I am sorry this email has become so long but this is the part I wanted to share with you. As I was truly struggling with these issues I was begging the Lord for guidance. I was looking to the scriptures for help, I was looking to my parents for help, I was searching other sources on the internet but all were falling short.
At some point I started noticing a blog that would pop up as I was entering different search phrases The blog kept talking about three watches which I had no idea what in the world that meant so each time I kept moving past it. Despite my attempts to move past that silly blog almost everyday as I was entering different search phrases through Google it kept popping up as one of the top 5 or so results. I finally started realizing this and one day told myself I better find out why I keep seeing this blog.
Watcher the Lord saved me! He heard my prayers and I know he lead me directly to your blog. I know that my cries for help, for insight, for something more were heard and I wake up every morning and I thank him with all of my heart that he kept having your blog show up each time until I finally got the message he was sending me.
Once I realized what your blog was about I doubled my efforts and begin my personal quest to understand the doctrines you discuss so powerfully at your sites. I went through every single post you ever made on your Three Watches blog within just a couple of weeks. I then moved on to your other site and have read through most of the material. I took a break for a few months as I digested and tried to apply the information into my life.
There is so much more I could say but this email is longer then I intended. Please just know how grateful I am to you for your thoughts and insights. I am a better man because of this experience and I have now caught the spirit of watching along with you and others.
I can see how the Lord’s hand has lead me to this point in my life and how sweet this knowledge is to my soul. My despair has now been replaced with joy! I am anxiously waiting for the servants of the Lord to return and I pray that I can recognize when that time comes. I hope that someday I can meet you and thank you in person.
“Praise the Lord God Almighty!!
God is Good.
I am so grateful that you would take the time to share a little about your journey with me.
I know God is doing a preliminary work getting us ready for the Marvelous Work. It is always so wonderful to meet another kindred spirit. I look forward to the day we can physically meet in Zion or perhaps before.
I love you brother.
Keep the faith and keep in touch
Your unworthy friend in Christ
One of the reasons that I have reason to believe that this fellow is part of category number one that I previously mentioned is because I heard from him a second time several months later and he appears to be searching the word of God for answers instead of searching the Internet for answers.
Here is his second communication:
Its been four months or so since I last emailed you.
I did not have anything special to say other than your last two post have prompted me to send you a quick email. I wanted to take a quick second and comment on your latest post about how some people come to your site and then leave quickly looking for cover and therapy.
I want you to know that for me your insights and thoughts have been my therapy because when I found your three watches blog I was at a point in my life were I did not care what the answers were I just needed the truth.
I had realized that up until that point in my life I had not been taught the truth or if I had it certainly was only half truths. Coming to this realization was difficult for me however it was necessary.
In the past I probably cared more about what the answers were and how they fit into my view of the world and the world to come and less about the actual truth.
I thank God every second of my day that he brought me to a place in my life that truth was more important to me than anything else.
I just want you to know that its been more than a year now and I have stuck with your insights and my life is the better for it.
My understanding of the scriptures has grown by leaps and bounds and I anxiously await for the first laborers to return.
I pray every day that I can be a part of the Lord’s great work. Sometimes I find myself laughing at how I used to think and how silly I was. I can only imagine what it will be like six months from now as my faith and knowledge in the Lord grows and then six months after that.
I have read just about every post you have made on both websites over the last six years and even though I did not start with you six years ago I feel like I have been on that journey in some small way. There is so much more I could say but ultimately I just want to thank you. Happy anniversary!
Here is my response:
Thank you so much for that response and for the first one you sent prior to that.
I need to share your testimony in one of my blogs and plan to do so.
May the Lord God continue to bless you in your study of the scriptures and in the relationship with God that categorically follows such a study.
I love you
I rejoice in the comments shared by JL.
I find it interesting that his crisis of faith was not created by some controversial interview from MormonStores or from the writings of an anti-Mormon.
It was caused by reading an official teaching manual of the corporate church!
(this reminds me of the letter that a disaffected person recently send to his bishop informing his bishop that his loss of faith did not come from reading anti-Mormon literature but rather from reading the historical essays on the church website!)
God can create a crisis of faith without using a skeptic LOL
During the last few years there have been many things that have caused many people to experience a crisis of faith.
There are compelling books about church history coming out, like the one written by Alex Beam.
John Dehlin has produced some powerful interviews of high profile people that have lost their faith.
Jeremy Runnells has compiled a compelling listing of the more difficult issues that have been promoted by critics of the restoration.
Interestingly, many people are waking up simply from reading about church doctrine and history within church manuals and from the essays on the church website.
Additionally, within the faith, there are charismatic personalities that are raising up, claiming to have spoken to Christ. Then they spout all sorts of nonsense which contradicts the word of God.
All of these things are taking their toll on the lives of many latter day saints who are not looking for answers to their concerns in the right place.
The right place is the word of God.
Although it may seem discouraging that so much crisis of faith is taking place, the Lord is in the storm!
He is using these things to bring the pure in heart to their knees. (quite literally)
A great spiritual awakening often begins with a crisis of faith to sufficiently humble the sincere seeker of truth.
Once a person is humbled, they can be taught. Prior to that, they are too wise to be taught.
One of the most powerful statements by JL is the following one:
“.. at a point in my life w[h]ere I did not care what the answers were I just needed the truth.”
You see, before a person can be humble enough to believe something that challenges their false paradigm, they sometimes need to be broken down. Have you wanted to know the truth about something only if the truth was what you wanted it to be.. or at least something that would not be too inconvenient… something you could handle?
A crisis of faith can humble a person to the point where they no longer need to protect their belief biases that they inherited from the false traditions of their fathers and from false teachers. Once this happens, the only thing a person cares about is knowing the truth.. no matter what it is, no matter what the cost of knowing the truth is.
Another significant statement by JL is this:
“I have now caught the spirit of watching along with you and others.”
Once a person has their spiritual epiphany and begins to deeply search the scriptures for themselves, they catch the spirit of watching because the promises and prophecies contained in the scriptures come alive and they can see the work of God taking place in the earth RIGHT NOW!
If you are a person that is new to this blog,
and you are having a crisis of faith,
and you are looking for answers
and you are at the point where you have been truly humbled,
and you no longer feel the need to defend what you have been taught all of your life,
and you simply want to know the truth at all costs, no matter how painful it is,
I HAVE A MESSAGE FOR YOU.
He is real.
He is the God of the Bible. (which is a God that you are very possibly unfamiliar with if you are a Mormon)
His ways differ greatly from our ways and his thoughts differ from our thoughts.
Forget everything you have ever been taught and begin reading the New Testament without any commentary from any other mortal person.
Take it literally.
Gain a testimony of Christ and him crucified.
Then re-read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and read them accepting the literal interpretation of what they are saying WITHOUT any interpretive biases from any commentaries or any spin that you have received from the modern corporate church. Believe EVERY unconditional promise and prophecy that is given in modern revelation.
Realize that people must return from the dead in order for God’s unconditional promises to come true.
After doing these things and prayerfully searching God’s word, there might be a few tidbits hidden within the posts in my threewatches and onewhoiswatching blogs that will continue to facility your search for the truth and that may contain additional insights as you begin searching the scriptures in a way that you have never searched them before, but be warned, the journey you are about to embark on is not for the faint of heart. You must embark on this journey with a desire to know the truth at any cost.