Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Our Journey into Fundamentalism; Clinging to The Iron Rod and Taking the Spirit as Our Guide

Michael and Nichole Knight

By Michael and Nichole Knight

After serving many years in the LDS church, my wife and I decided to discover who held the priesthood position passed from John Taylor and Joseph Smith to John W. Woolley. 

To our surprise, after over two years of serious study and meeting with many LDS break-offs, we found very little records available to make the discovery of the presiding position objectively concrete. While sorting this out, and praying to know how new friends from different groups could get more united, and perhaps share their records, was brought to my mind’s eye mental images and information of a three prong plan that could restore order, power, and community to the priesthood.

Prior to this, I served a two-year LDS mission, as an Elder’s Quorum President, Young Men’s President, temple ordinance worker and was married in the temple to my incredible wife. I’d consistently made an effort to read and obey the word of God, as well as the church handbook. However, after helping a friend who was disaffected from the faith, I soon found the scriptures conflicting with the handbook. After much contemplation and prayer, the Spirit guided me to cling to the iron rod over the handbook. In 2020, I contacted my stake president with questions and a little later my membership was forcibly withdrawn.

Soon after, I attended the largest Christian university in the country, wondering if somehow my testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God might be challenged by biblical scholars. However, I was not disappointed in Smith and the restoration. Instead, I found biblical scholars were merely catching up in most of their theology. Fortunately, taking such a close look at the bible opened my eyes to existent LDS revelations that are often ignored. One doctrine is that the universal/invisible church is distinct from the local/structured church; both are important, real and should be joined when possible.

D&C 10:56-67, 1929-1930
(67) “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.”

Mark 3:35
“‘Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”

Ensign, 1988, Robinson, Warring against the Saints of God
“individual orientation to the Church of the Lamb or to the great and abominable church is not by membership but by loyalty. . . so there are members of other churches who belong to the Lamb because of their loyalty to him and his life-style. Membership is based more on who has your heart than on who has your records.”

Even though my faith was bolstered, it was a hard time. I was excommunicated, my only brother recently committed suicide, I had a bad spine injury, and our marriage had it’s trials. We decided to fast and pray for direction, and afterwards felt to closely examine the original teachings of the church and examine Mormon Fundamentalism. I then learned of the 1886 revelation. My wife and I investigated different groups, and were prompted to join no group until they demonstrated they had followed scripture laws and could trace the leadership position of John W. Woolley to a current man (not to be compared with one-man-ism). This is where our journey has taken us, in part: the AUB, members of Centennial Park, to the Nourish Families organization, as well as Voices for Dignity, to well-known  FLDS members, to the Second Ward of the AUB, to the Fosters' beautiful sandstone homes, to the Roundy's farm, to the Righteous Branch, to the Laub Ranch, to the Kingdom of God group, with many faith-promoting, spiritual experiences.

After reviewing historical records and scripture laws of priesthood succession - it appeared we found someone who held the position John W. Woolley did - and not because he claimed it. However, we still felt the records could be far more comprehensive. The Spirit of God put in my heart to constantly ask people what was keeping them from being more united, as it seemed burned into my soul with love from our Father, our Abba. The first time I asked a group about being united, I was warned against being Mighty and Strong, and I said something like “what’s that?”, being a convert.

While on a trip to Adam-Ondi-Ahman and the Laub Ranch, we stopped in eastern Kansas City, MO (we later learned was the Independence area). In the morning, during prayer and pondering how different groups and independents might work together despite differences, a three prong-plan containing mental images conveying information came to my mind by inspiration. This went on for around an hour. It was so beautiful and restorative that my eyes leaked tears of joy as I lay silently in bed. I came to understand the priesthood wasn’t bound by group but by priesthood law, (which opened my realization that many groups may have decentralized, actionable Melchizedek priesthood) and that the Saints could restore order, power and community to the priesthood through voluntary effort ( From Mexico to Alaska, Saints could share records, compile doctrines, have a safety network and get enjoined in all-things-life through an online platform. It’s my testimony that we don’t need to wait for One Mighty and Strong to keep the covenant of sacrifice made in the first endowment, to give all we must establish Zion.

Only a week later, near midnight on Easter Sunday, 2023, occurred a wonderful experience from the Lord. My wife was healed in a way I won’t recount and we came to a far better understanding of our Savior. Life has had a huge upward trend since that experience. It’s my testimony that He is real and living. In His name, Yeshua (Hebrew) Messiah, Amen.

Michael and Nichole can be reached here.

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