On February 14th, podcaster Mike Stroud dropped a bombshell. After bearing a heartfelt testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson, and deity, Brother Stroud announced he’d been excommunicated for apostasy.
I first wrote about Mike Stroud in September 2017, several months after I’d been introduced to his podcasts by a wardmember. My view was that Brother Stroud’s longtime service in the Church Educational System (27 years as a seminary teacher) gave him significant institutional credibility, but he was pushing more fringe teachings of latter-day gnostics (like Denver Snuffer) and end-times visionaries (like Spencer from the book Visions of Glory). It was a problematic combination.
Stroud’s initial run of podcasts began in February 2016 and ended in November 2017. He was never under any threat of disciplinary action as far as I can tell, but priesthood leaders found several of his teachings “inappropriate.” To his credit, Stroud clearly identified those teachings in his final podcast, published November 5th.
[2:16] The doctrines of the Second Comforter, calling and election made sure, translation, and the calling of the 144,000 are among those specific sacred concepts that should have been spoken with more care and by constraint of the Spirit….
[3:00] It was inappropriate for me to teach that persons should seek to be translate or to receive an ordinance of translation and become members of the 144,000 spoken of in scripture.
It was inappropriate for me to teach that temple ordinances, specifically the use of altars, should be practiced outside of the temple.
It was inappropriate for me to teach that that the Church of Latter-day Saints is Aaronic in nature and preparatory to the Melchizedek priesthood institution referred to in scripture as the Church of the Firstborn.
It was inappropriate to teach that people should seek to receive priesthood ordinations outside of the ordained channels found within the Church, and that priesthood healings and ordinances should be practiced using a prescribed format and that they can be performed over the phone.
For this, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness.Mike Stroud, Podcast 062: Epilogue
But something changed.
During 2018, Stroud experienced more intense spiritual experiences and was regularly visited by heavenly beings (Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Jesus Christ, and others). He gave an address at an end-times conference in Arizona last November on “Accessing the Fullness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ through Personal Revelation.” At the end of the presentation, he announced that he would be starting a new podcast series on the Book of Mormon, and the Lord wanted the podcasts translated into Spanish.
Book of Mormon Podcasts
Brother Stroud views the Book of Mormon as a road map to achieving a Second Comforter experience. According to the Church, “When someone obtains the Second Comforter, Jesus Christ will appear to him from time to time, will reveal the Father, and will teach him face to face (D&C 130:3).” For Stroud, the Book of Mormon brings people closer to Christ and the heavenly hosts, literally. “[A]t this point in time, in the day of the gathering of Israel, there has never been a more appropriate time for us to obtain the power and knowledge, wisdom and understanding from the Book of Mormon through revelation and angelic ministry than right now. I believe that’s why the Lord wanted these podcasts to be done…” (Podcast 08: 1 Nephi 5-7, abt 41:23)
So what did Brother Stroud teach? He only got through 1 Nephi before his church discipline, but the vast majority of what he said is what you’d expect from a longtime seminary teacher: pointing out Hebraisms, thinking more deeply about each verse and the motives of each character, emphasizing tribal lineages in the gathering of Israel, etc. It seems like he worked really hard to avoid overt mention of the “inappropriate” teachings from his first series. What might’ve gotten him in trouble this time?
First, Stroud got specific when describing a process to commune with heavenly beings. He suggested spending at least one hour every day between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. with the Lord. During that time, “express your gratitude, your love, your adoration, and give praise to Them for all that They have given to you and for all that you are.” (Podcast 05: Spending Sacred Holy Time With The Lord Jesus Christ, abt 13:16) “Them” and “They” refer to Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, and Jesus Christ. In a later podcast, he promised, “You spending time with the Lord every day is designed to bring you to this place where you too can say, ‘I did look unto my God and did praise him all the day long.” (Podcast 019: 1 Nephi 18, abt 29:24) Stroud encouraged listeners to write down any revelations received during this holy time with the Lord, and at various points he shared revelations he received.
But it’s not just about spending time with deity. Stroud also recommended asking for visitations from specific Book of Mormon individuals. “As you read the chapters in the Book of Mormon, identify beforehand the characters that you will be reading about. As you kneel down in prayer before reading the book, ask the Lord to send these men and these women to you to teach, instruct, give greater understanding, and even visions and manifestations to you…” (Podcast 023: 1 Nephi 22, abt 4:14) I’ve seen one critic use the word “conjuring” to describe what Brother Stroud recommended. It’s a bit strong (evoking images of the occult), but the idea of requesting a specific heavenly messengers by name does seem unusual.
Second, Stroud suggested that the Lord inspired this podcast series for a specific audience, and he asked for help reaching that audience. In his initial announcement, he stated that the Lord wanted the podcasts translated into Spanish. He believed that it was to benefit the modern-day descendants of Lehi, who are assigned to the tribe of Manasseh: “I believe that the majority of the tribe of Manasseh are Spanish speakers.” (Podcast 08: 1 Nephi 5-7, abt 41:51) In January, Stroud asked listeners for help to get translated Spanish (and Portuguese) podcasts into the hands of those who could benefit from them. “I would like to invite all who have served missions in Spanish-speaking or Portuguese-speaking countries, if you can, to refer these podcast lessons to those men and women that you worked with in the mission field and put them in touch with the Spanish translation of these Book of Mormon lessons and… we’ll soon have the first lessons in Portuguese.” (Podcast 012: 1 Nephi 12, abt 20:19)
The reason I suspect this was an issue is that in Stroud’s podcast where he announces his excommunication, he notes that he is only continuing the series at the encouragement of his children. Further episodes will be created solely for the benefit of his posterity, though other people may listen in if they want. There is no indication that translations into other languages will continue. (But the few Spanish and Portuguese podcasts are still up, so who knows.)
Third, Stroud continued to espouse ideas that appear to be influenced by the end-times book Visions of Glory. One item I recognized in his new podcasts was something Stroud talked about in his original series, that the 144,000 talked about in the Book of Revelation were a group of men and women who used portals to move through time and space to gather the elect.
[56:02] There is in our day, and in the day to come, the formation of a rescue brigade. This rescue brigade, to liberate and deliver the captive House of Israel throughout the nations of the world, are referred to in scripture as the 144,000. These men and women called to this ministry have an assignment in a future day when hopelessness and despair, destruction and death rule the day to go into these nations and through priesthood power and the gifts of the Spirit find these lost ones who have no hope of deliverance and bring them through miraculous ways superseding time and space and deliver them to places of safety and refuge set up by the Lord in his wisdom throughout the world…
[57:26] Many of them will be translated in the flesh, as in ancient times, so as to be able to fulfill this mission successfully to bring these redeemed of the Lord to Zion…Mike Stroud, Podcast 022: 1 Nephi 21
When Visions of Glory was first gaining popularity a few years back, this was one of many teachings that got highlighted in critiques from FairMormon and Meridian Magazine.
So if Stroud was declared apostate for teaching questionable doctrine, those are the obvious trouble spots.
It should also be noted that opposition quickly mobilized when Stroud began his podcasts last November. Several people put together an open letter (a Google doc) citing new questionable teachings from his conference address onward. A Facebook page was put up in December called “Mike Stroud Podcast Exposed,” modeled after another “Exposed” page. (It even had my 2017 W&T post on Mike Stroud.) After the excommunication was announced, those behind the Google doc and “Mike Stroud Podcast Exposed” Facebook page were blamed for the disciplinary action and received public backlash. The Facebook page was taken down temporarily for safety concerns.
Something’s been gnawing at me as I’ve listened to Stroud’s podcasts during the last week or so. (I wasn’t aware he’d started podcasting again until after his excommunication, so there was a lot to catch up on.) He mentioned a shift in tone and messaging from church leaders since Russell M. Nelson became president of the Church. This seems to have made Stroud more comfortable speaking out again. Thing is, he’s right. There has been a shift.
Referring to the changes in priesthood quorums and ministering announced at the April general conference, Elder Holland quipped that he wasn’t sure how many more “rushes” of revelation members of the Church could handle from President Nelson. Less than two weeks later, Sister Wendy Nelson declared that “the frequency and abundance of messages from heaven have increased exponentially” since her husband became the president. In June, she elaborated on the process of President Nelson writing impressions down on a yellow note pad and how she has been prompted at times to leave the room. A member in Cardston observed, “She testified of how real and true the concept of modern revelation from the Lord to His prophet really is.”
But the shift isn’t just talking about revelation to church leaders. For example, President Nelson counseled in April,
I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”12
Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”13President Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” April 2018 General Conference
And there are other examples from the past year. The doctrine of personal revelation has definitely gotten a boost lately.
Funny enough, the Church released a new resource for seminary and institute instructors last August on false revelation. In a new “Helps by Topic” page, there is a link to “False Revelation and Gospel Extremism.” In that category, there are a couple scriptures, several talks by apostles, and even church history resources. It seems if we are going to seek out heavenly mysteries and secrets of the universe, we may need to exercise more caution along the way. Wish us luck.
 There were a few other moments in the podcasts where I cringed, but I doubt they would’ve played into any discipline. I want to flag one because it relates to a recent post. Stroud told a family story about his grandparents in Payson, Utah. The grandparents shared a pie with some local American Indian friends, and they were later given a “crude type of pie” in return. When his grandparents cut the pie open, it was filled with black Mormon crickets. “Cricket pie. These Indians ate insects, had degraded down to such a state that truly, with the loss of the Spirit of the Lord, they had ‘become a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.'” (Podcast 012: 1 Nephi 12, abt 47:25) This is a perfect example of why people have mixed feelings about Lamanite identification. “Unfortunately, some Church members have viewed groups they considered to be Lamanites with condescension or contempt,…” (“Lamanite Identity,” Church History Topic)
I think “Brother Stroud” left orbit some time ago. No one does religious extremism better than Mormons!
It is simultaneously hilarious and tragic that an institution who makes such extraordinary (some would say literally unbelievable) claims about personal revelations, heavenly visitations, etc. would then regulate such claims. It’s okay that Wilford Woodruff had the vision of the founding fathers asking him why their work wasn’t done (even though it had been done previously) but it’s not okay if someone else has them? David Whitmer believed Jesus Christ appeared to him in the form of a deer, for pity’s sake! I can see the bind that the church is in here and I am actually somewhat sympathetic to its position, but of course, it’s a case where the church has done this to itself. If you’re going to make extraordinary truth claims and claims about revelations, visions, etc., you’re going to look a bit foolish when you say something like, “oh, well these people all had visions and those were real, but these people having visions are making false claims or deceived by Satan” or whatever. When you start trying to define the difference between “highly unlikely but inspired” and “highly unlikely and crazy” (which is a very fine line, I think), you’re playing a losing game, IMHO.
Amen Brother Sky.
Thanks for the write up. When I read about stuff like this and considering the alt-right elder’s quorum lesson I just sat through–railing on the liberal media, pro-choicer’ers, and advocating shunning your out-of-the-close relatives–and then you look at the research on millennials from Jana Reiss and what appears to me as the obvious needed direction moving towards more moderate/liberal views on these issues, it seems like some sort of schism is unavoidable. I really hope we can preserve it all together, because I think a huge part of the value of Mormonism is in our organizational strength and size and reach.
“what appears to me as the obvious needed direction moving towards more moderate/liberal views on these issues”
I’m a big fan of moderation and pluralism, but I continue to see a lot of talk about what the Church “obviously” should do. To what end? If the answer is because moderating a position on something is more compatible with what the Savior taught, then absolutely I agree. If the answer is to try to retain Millennials and Gen Z, then I say no way. Taking a liberal approach has not saved liberal churches from rapid decline.
The job of church leaders is to try to lead the Church by the Spirit. That includes defining doctrines and positions of the Church and taking action on heresy from whatever “side” that may come. Conflicting values is nothing new. The Church constantly deals with apostasy, sometimes in large waves, because of it. Schism, at least in the sense that the United Methodists are now facing, seems like a very distant notion to me.
DSC the Church has changed over the years and the changes nearly always are mostly in the moderate/liberal/progressive direction. Ending priesthood ban, baby steps towards female equality, changing to youth interview questions, baby steps in changing of anti-gay rhetoric, making the garment easier, BYU Honor Code policy, recent temple changes, all the gospel topics essays, backing off slightly on the King Follett doctrine stuff, more GA’s of color, more grace, etc. So I anticipate future change to be more of the same. These kinds of changes will be difficult for the Mike Strouds of the world.
Brother Sky, I agree it’s a very fine line. The concept of personal revelation has been a source of strength and tension since the beginning of the Church.
Churchistrue, Mike Stroud is very positive about many of the recent changes, including the temple changes and at-home study program. He sees them as moving us out of a preparatory state and into a higher one in anticipation of the Second Coming. I saw more frustration with Church leaders in his original series (like with becoming softer on LGBT stuff and not being allowed to discuss mysteries) than in the newer podcasts, but he was very careful about making sure it was clear they had his full support regardless.
DSC, I agree that the church has always dealt with apostasy from either side (it’s interesting to compare Malcom Jeppsen’s early 1990s bell curve of membership to the December 2015 “Enemies Slide” released by MormonLeaks – things really haven’t changed all that much). The Church will make some faction angry with any move they make. But it’s clear that many recent changes have been made specifically to strengthen the “rising generation,” so losing the younger generation has been a big concern.
I think part of the disconnect here is what constitutes a “moderate/liberal/progressive” change. If “conservative” means preserving the status quo, then no change can be “conservative”, and that statement becomes a tautology. But if you take a higher altitude view, there are a number of changes that could be “conservative” by some definition. Correlation was a “progressive” change but may now be viewed as “conservative”. The BYU honor code itself was the result of a conservative change, so changes to restore some of the status quo ante are hardly progressive. The Gospel topics essays are a mixed bag. I’m not sure that garment changes fit a philosophy one way or another. I’m not sure how anything King Follett fits in one way or the other.
Further The Family Proclamation was conservative. Proposition 8 involvement was conservative. There are a number of other attempts to emphasize certain doctrines that are more conservative than not.
More to the point, though, it’s not at all clear to me that certain moderate/liberal/progressive changes should be made. Again, if the idea is that moving in that direction will avoid schism or retain members, it’s not at all obvious to me that those changes would help.
I havent listened to any of his podcasts, but it seems to me that personal revelarion is just that: personal. He is not in a position to be receiving revelation for anyone other than himself, his family and those he had/has stewardship over. To me, that is the difference. If he is going around teaching those things like they are doctrine, and not as personal insights, then I can see where the church would take issue.
In reply to Brother Sky:
I sort of get what you are saying, but to say it you seem to “strawman” the actual church position (as I understand it to be). Specifically:
“an institution who makes such extraordinary claims about personal revelations… would then regulate such claims.”
The church does not regulate claims per se (IMO) but rather who is authorized to speak for God. This principle is explained here:
Alma 12:9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
In other words, those portions of God’s words or intentions that are public are published in scripture about which new scripture comes into existence the moment a prophet creates it. Many prophets exist; men and women alike, but only one is THE prophet. Where he is mistaken then we are all in it together, a better thing than a church with many heads and no direction.
“you’re going to look a bit foolish when you say something like, ‘oh, well these people all had visions and those were real, but these people having visions are making false claims or deceived by Satan’ or whatever.”
Shiver me timbers! Turning again to Alma:
30:53 But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. ….
Even though many people have heard God’s voice, received instruction from God or various angels, they are usually instructed either by scripture or by inspiration to not publish such revelations.
Thank you Mary Ann. You devote a lot of time and are very thorough in your work.
To me his message can be summed up in BRM additional verse to “Come Listen to a Prophets Voice”
Then heed the words of truth and light
That flow from fountains pure.
Yea, keep His law with all thy might
Till thine election’s sure,
Till thou shalt hear the holy voice
Assure eternal reign,
While joy and cheer attend thy choice,
As one who shall obtain.
If they don’t want us talking about it, then why the hell are we singing about it?
I hate all of it. I have a dear friend who started hearing voices and seeing people. Pretty soon after that he taught his wife how to have visitations. God showed up to her and told her to leave him and now she is part of some cult in southern Utah. I think it is called The Church of the Firstborn. Her six kids are totally screwed up.
I have become a little too pragmatic. I am not a fan of personal revelations, testimony meetings, patriarchal blessings, the temple in general, bishopric and stake presidency interviews, the ensign, 90% of conference talks, and anything else that is cult-like or weird.
I agree with Dave C – “Amen Brother Sky”
Seems like there must be more to the story. His apology sounds like something he did in response to counsel from leaders to avoid discipline in the first place. My guess is that he proceeded in direct opposition to some counsel he was given and agreed to, because while his ‘doctrine’ sounds extreme and off the path of truth, I don’t think the church is in the business of excommunicating people for faulty but genuinely held beliefs. It’s only when a person overtly undermines the stewardship of The Church and the proper pattern of authority, that it seems people actually run into trouble.
“…, and anything else that is cult-like or weird.”
Being able to discern good-weird from bad-weird isn’t particularly easy or obvious. Each person decides which is more important; having the good or avoiding the bad. Jehovah’s plan included to take the risk and seek good-weird which may entail some bad weird.
Or so it seems to me.
It strikes me how much the church has changed even in my life time The increase skepticism and unbelief is remarkable.I can remember G.C .talks on having your calling and election made sure and the importance of hearing the more sure word of prophesy. Ideas that we are now not even suppose to talk about . My great grandfather having read the Book of Mormon and desiring to know if it was true and having read about the 3 Nephites asked that they be sent to him to teach him the gospel. They were and they did. But we laugh at those ideas today. I can remember my father going to the True Order of Prayer prayer circles held each month in our stake. Harold b Lee was in attendance once and powerful spiritual manifestations were received. Guys if this religion can not connect us in this life with the divine. If we are not entertaining Angels as Stroud and Denver Snuffer claim to and many ,many of my friends claim to, then as Moroni said it is because of our unbelief. Moroni 7 :35-37 It is the doctrine that converts. It is the ability to connect with god in this life that makes the gospel important. If it isnt we might as well stay home on the Sabbath ,and watch the telly and drink beer. Watch any religion that does not offer this connection fade into oblivion before your very eyes
Steve you are WRONG. I know this guy and many others like him .The bulk have been excommunicated because they testify to the very thing that our present Special Witnesses refuse to do, that is having the promise of D and C93:1 fulfilled in this life. You try getting up in church and testifying truly that you have had an angel visit you and see what happens to you.I have had numerous acquaintances have this very thing happen to them. If they testify to the reality of the spiritual world and that the gifts of the spirit may be enjoyed in this life they get the modern equivalent of being burned at the Stake. Listen to Mikes podcasts for your self. Talk to his neighbors and ward members as I have and you will see how badly you misjudge somebody who is only crime is taking the scriptures seriously and encouraging others to do the same.
Handbook 1 Section 6.7.3 includes a special Mormon-speak definition of “apostacy.” Mike’s telling us he was excommunicated for “apostacy” doesn’t actually tell us why. Under the special definition subsection 1 it could be nothing more than resuming podcasts if his local leaders had instructed him to cease podcasts. That by itself, of course, wouldn’t make such an instruction appropriate, but it would authorize an excommunication for Mormon-speak apostacy. Incidentally, no alternative under the definition of “apostacy” “[a]s used here”, i.e. in Section 6.7.3 is a crime. Are you in a position to tell us what part of that definition was applied by whom in Mike’s case?
There are curious minds around here (other than mine) who would like to know, as they don’t understand the decision.
Bellamy, one of the reasons that I said “maybe not for the reason you think” in the headline is because I don’t think he was excommunicated merely for teaching about calling and election, second comforter, or seeing angels. This is the current definition of apostasy per the handbook:
1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders. [I have seen no evidence that Mike Stroud has done this – he has bent over backwards to indicate his public support of church leaders, both general and local.]
2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority. [This is the most likely reason I can see, which is why I noted that he’d previously been corrected on “inappropriate” doctrines and highlighted questionable teachings in his newer podcasts.]
3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority. [This is a possibility.]
4. Are in a same-gender marriage. [Nope.]
5. Formally join another church and advocate its teachings. [Nope.]
Mary Ann i generally agree with your analysis . i am pretty sure 3 is not likely. Number 2 however is very likely. Despite his constantly bearing testimony of the brethren he read the B of M like Nibley did ie condemning the Gentiles and making the case ( which most agree with) that we LDS are the Gentiles discussed in the B of M. In his podcast on the definition of Gentiles he discusses 2 Nephi 28 and effectively says that when Nephi sees that ‘ they have “ALL gone out of their way ” ( 2 Nephi 28;11) or Moromon 8;380 ” why have ye polluted the holy church of god” he is talking about us in our day. I will tell you that as a former student of Hugh Nibley this is no different than what he use to say in his B of M class. Nor is it any different from what i have heard lots of G As teach over the last 60 years. but times have changed and if you interpret the scriptures the way we have for eons you now find yourself ex’ed for apostasy
I am really disappointed in this article. I am one of the authors of the Google Doc that is being blamed for Mike Stroud’s Excommunication. I can assure you that Mike’s Priesthood leaders and many people in his ward and Stake have had serious concerns about his teachings long before I ever wrote that letter.
I really enjoyed the first piece you did on Stroud. In this one you seem eerily sympathetic to the fact that his new podcasts contain many occult ideas that he hid behind Book of Mormon scripture. That is what made Mike Stroud one of the most dangerous False teachers in the church. Other false teachers like Snuffer wrote their own material. But Stroud uses the Book of mormon itself to promote his “new meanings and speculative and new definitions” of basic gospel teachings.
Based on the hundreds of private messages the Mike Stroud Podcast exposed page received from people who were seriously harmed by Mike Stroud’s misguided ideas of seeking to commune with” spirits” at 3am I can assure that the fruits of this idea were anything but positive. Many complained of demon possession and having false spirits torment them for months after doing as Mike Stroud suggested. Couples divorced when one spouse wanted to follow Stroud and the other didn’t. They were told that their willingness to give up their family to follow these deeper doctrines were just part of their Abrahamic test that would prepare them for their second comforter and becoming part of the 144,000
and MAKE NO MISTAKE this has nothing to do with President Nelson’s push for us to receive “Personal Revelation”. Personal revelation does not give anyone the right to direct others or to convince them that they were ordained by translated beings to bring them to the Church of the First born. If people knew how to get their own Personal Revelation they wouldn’t need a charismatic teacher like Stroud who claimed doctrinal superiority to tell them how to understand the Book of Mormon.
Mike Stroud set himself up as a light about the Prophet of God and convinced people that it would be through his ‘Podcasts” that “THE REMENT” would be awakened and they were the ones chosen to prepare the way for the second coming of the Lord. He taught this not only in his podcasts but to private groups of people that he “mentored”. He even admitted he was “obsessed with the idea of “The Remnant”.
Mike Stroud may have bore testimony of the church and the “Brethren” in one breath but in the next he bore testimony of the fact that their job is only one of a “preparatory” role. He even said the church is basically responsible for “distributing” the Book of mormon while Mike and his podcasts were used by God to GATHER THE ELECT. So if anyone believes that God called Mike Stroud by personal revelation and he was ordained by angels from the city of Enoch then I have a condo on the Moon to sale you.
Thank you, Kimberly. That broadens my understanding. Here we know essentially nothing about whatever Google.docs article/letter you refer to. We have heard only a few of Mike’s podcasts encouraging personal revelation. And Bellamy did not answer my question. While I still don’t know the specific basis of the determination of apostacy, your comment provides some context in addition to those few podcasts, Mary Ann’s article, and Bellamy’s comments.
Kimberly, I’m not sure I see the need to come down so hard on Mary Ann, I appreciate what she put together here. At the same time I think you are very accurate in noticing some of the biggest flaws of those who apostatize on the right. In my experience it seems the overarching need/message is one of moral superiority and a need to achieve or get a manifestation of some sort that ultimately seems to serve to prove one’s “elect-ness” – as if that were the purpose of life. This to me is in direct opposition to living to truly love your neighbor and embodying Christ-like love in all our interactions with one another. It’s as if the messages lead to a circle of patting each other on the back for learning the “mysteries” rather than helping the suffering widow down the street.
I am much more impressed by the ignorant man who is filled with the love of God for the people around him, than the person who professes to know the secrets of Christ, and aspire to be worthy of the company of the former. If the 144,000 really are a club that pat each other on the back for their superior knowledge while condemning us “gentiles” for our weaknesses, then they can have their club, I will stand with the man and woman who love me in my weaknesses and join with them to bear each others burdens as we seek to improve our ability to love one another as Christ and God have loved us.
I’ve listened to almost every podcast of Mike Stroud. I do not know him at all, but I have learned a great deal from his teachings of the scriptures. He uses only scriptures and teachings of Latter-day prophets in his podcasts. He gives exact quotes and where they can be found down to the page number. If he gives his opinion he always clearly, clearly states it is his opinion only and is to be taken into consideration only if guided to by the spirit.
If it is true that some have divorced “because of this man’s teachings” then I believe those marriages were in trouble already. I say this because in my long life I’ve heard a few claim Pres. Benson ruined their marriage, or Boyd K. Packer, or other leaders who taught something(s) one spouse embraced so extremely—BUT WAS NOT MEANT IN THE EXTREME—that marriages fell apart. But I knew the couples and knew there were strains and rifts and issues long before Pres. Benson or whoever stated the proverbial straw that broke the marriages backs.
More frequently, I have witnessed a few somewhat mentally fragile or mentally ill members take nose dives into fanaticism because of teachings in General Conference or from a quote in a lesson manual. Bless their hearts, they grab onto something they crave or feel drawn to or whatever, and an obsessiveness follows that strains coping skills for the individuals involved, as well as family and friends who try to help them regain balance and moderation.
Bro. Stroud has taught no false doctrines that I can discern. While he said he has a desire to be translated someday, and endeavors to live worthy of such a calling, he clearly said that such an opportunity would only come by calling and NOT from personal desire. Further, I have never heard him claim anything destructive to the soul, the church, or its leaders. Rather, he continually and fervently directs listeners to seek the spirit, keep the commandments, follow the prophets, study the scriptures, attend the temple, ponder, pray, fast, and serve one another. If these teachings are wrong, then God is dead and so is his church. Bro. Stroud most definitely does not set himself up as a leader or prophet of any kind. He’s very humble. And he’s a tremendous teacher. If suggesting asking for Nephi et al to come visit, so-to-speak, is a bit peculiar, (and I grant that it is) I’ve come to think, well, who am I to say Nephi is too busy? When you’re old, odd isn’t as odd as it is when you’re young and have a nice big box to fit everything into. When you’re old you can wear purple and think outside the big box occasionally, and when you do, sometimes wondrous things happen. But also, the younger often poopoo such things, even to the point of fear and denigration. They mean well so it doesn’t occur to them that odd and peculiar can be pretty damn good.
This is how I’ve heard Mike Stroud.
I think others have heard him quite differently. I’m not saying my hearing is better or more correct. I’m just saying this is how I’ve heard him. And I honestly believe anything any of us say can and will be heard 1) in a way(s) we never meant at all, and 2) heard by people who have personal issues that could make use of our words in negative and/or destructive ways. So should we all be silent lest we cause sorrow unintended, even though the vast majority find goodness in our words?
I have found much goodness and that which is lovely and of good report and praiseworthy in this man’s podcasts. I am a better disciple of Christ, and I have grown closer to him. I am thankful for these choice lessons from an excellent teacher, and I mourn with Bro. and Sis. Stroud that he has been excommunicated and called an apostate, and is so harshly judged by so many. I pray for them. My heart hurts for them. And I hope and pray he never stops teaching.
Kimberly, I hope I’m never in the same ward as you. God forgive you for what you’ve done. The superficial milk seeking, moralistic therapeutic diesism found in the minds of those like yourself have changed the way we teach the doctrines of the gospel over the course of my life and I am greatly disappointed by your ilk.
I found more truth and insight from mikes podcasts than I have from general conferences and sacrament meetings since the early 80s.
JR sorry you think my response is inadequate. But the only way anyone can know the answer to your question is if they were in the room with the SP o and HC.In my experience even the letter announcing the hearing is very ambiguous and of course there is never any formal announcement for the rationale for the decision. I have several friends who have been exec for apostasy and they still don’t understand exactly what they were accused of.I will say that this ireminds me of Joseph’s complaint about the early Saints who were fond of “ setting up stakes” and who would “ fly to pieces like a price of glass” if he tried to teach them anything contrary to their traditions.Alma 13 tells us what happens to people who refuse to accept the opportunity to learn what God offers them. I would not normally say this but least someone think of me as an apostate I have served as a member of multiple bishopricsfor 12 years ,8 as bishop. I have served on the HC in multiple stakes HC , Temple worker in multiple temples HP group leader and my real claim to fame SM twice totaling 6 years, released when I turn 70 and presently teach an Institute class. I have not listened to all of his podcasts but I have to many and in my view his opinions are well within the scope of the gospel taught by Joseph and I am deeply troubled that someone could be expelled from the Church of Christ for teaching principals that bring us closer to him.
Sorry, Bellamy, you said you know Mike. That suggested the possibility that he knew what the grounds were and might have told you. My question was “Are you in a position to tell us what part of that definition was applied by whom in Mike’s case?” A simple “no” would have been an adequate response. Conjectures and historical comments on others, however, simply left the question hanging. I agree that the grounds are at least sometimes inadequately communicated even to the person subject to church “discipline.”
RockiesGma describes Mike Stroud’s podcast correctly. I also have listened to all of Mike’s podcasts multiple times and have learned a great deal from them. I second the fact that Mike gives exact quotes, uses only scriptures and teachings of Latter-day prophets in his podcasts. And he always states if he is giving his own opinion about something and it is only to be considered by the guidance of the spirit. I would say all things in this world should only be considered by the guidance of the Spirit. It is only by the Spirit that I know that The Church of Jesus Christ or Latter-Day Saints is a true church or that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet or that The Book of Mormon is true or that Jesus is the Christ and His Atonement is real. All of us have the same promise…. “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” There is a reason why Heavenly Father has given us this miraculous gift because there is small portions of truth found everywhere and absolute truth is only found in Christ. With this we can rid ourselves of all fear and ridicule of others and have confidence that we are taking the right path.
Let’s see – in the BOM alone we have Lehi witnessing a pillar of fire vision that left him exhausted; Nephi being taken up to a high miountain and shown the history of the world; Abinadi being prompted to call out the priests of King Noah at the risk of death; King Benjamin being visited by an angel, Alma the Younger’s theophany that left him near death, not to mention those of Limhi and other Lamanite converts. We have Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s laying down their lives by the thousands, and the miraculous conversions attributed to Alma and the sons of Mosiah; Prison walls fall to the ground around Alma and Amaleki, then, following the demonstration of the pillar of fire, around Nephi and Lehi. We have Nephi the son of Helaman being told that whatsoever he asked would be granted because he had been true and faithful and would never ask for anything contrary to God’s will. Then Samuel the Lamanite on the wall, and…oh, oh, oh! Christ visiting hundreds and thousands of people at the same time at the temple in Bountiful – with rings of fire around the children and…granting translation to the 3 Nephites.
Now, the church excommunicates someone who teaches that these stories are to be applied to us, each of us, equals, loved equally? Didn’t Nephi say something about applying the scriptures?
My head hurts. My heart hurts. My spirit hurts.
Then, let’s take it a step further. All throughout the Scriptures we have stories of mostly men, extraordinary men, who have extraordinary experiences with God. These are our examples. Why? If we’re not supposed to strive for these things, then what are the stories for? If God offers gifts, are we supposed to disrespect the gift by refusing to seek after it? So, where are the stories in the scriptures of those who serve quietly in anonymity. Oh – that’s right they’re anonymous. Where are the stories of single mothers working desperately to provide food for their children, even to the point of offering their bodies to men of power who exercise unrighteous dominion? Where are the stories of humble priests who offer the remaining candlesticks to the thief who spent years at hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving children? These are the scriptures of the common man – not of the elite. Yet, they are ignored, as, apparently, are the canonized scriptures such as the Bible, BOM, and D&C.
And then Christ goes and talks about all being one , and that eternal life is to KNOW HIM in John 17. What’s with that? The scriptures reinforce again and again that, in the government of God, there is an hierarchy of noble and great ones who lead with God-given authority. And now – the message of this type of excommunication is that, not only are the noble and great ones given the authority to lead (hopefully to SERVE), but they are the only ones who should reach out and take hold of the awesome promises that are expounded in the scriptures.
My head hurts. My heart hurts. My spirit hurts.
And yet the excommunications continue. And unrighteous dominion thrives. And trust and hope wanes.
scootd28 asks “If we’re not supposed to strive for these things, then what are the stories for?”
I explore the assumption that these are things we are to strive for. The examples you cite are things that happened to prophets which in nearly all cases not only did they not strive for those experiences they would like to have avoided them. The purpose of the stories, in my opinion of course, is to show these men doing a duty which in many cases cost them their lives.
“Now, the church excommunicates someone who teaches that these stories are to be applied to us, each of us, equals, loved equally?”
Yes, no, maybe so! It is what it is, and nobody here knows what it is, but only what it seems to be, with the missing parts filled in by each person that cares to imagine the missing parts.
“who have extraordinary experiences with God.”
Those persons are generally under a commandment to impart to the world only those stories that are appointed to be public.
Alma 12:9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
This is why I believe that actual contact with God and angels is considerably more common that perhaps many believe; because each such person keeps these things private and sacred.
“If God offers gifts, are we supposed to disrespect the gift by refusing to seek after it?”
Gifts come to me by the giver of a gift. I do not seek GIFTS. Refusing to accept a gift might be what you meant, and yes, that would be rude and there might be no more offer of gift.
“And yet the excommunications continue. And unrighteous dominion thrives. And trust and hope wanes.”
Indeed they do, it does. So what are you going to do about it? Replace it with righteous dominion? That’s my kind, naturally 😉
Michael, – nice comments. Of course, I get all those things. As an adult convert, I took everything I was told enthusiastically and believed every word. Nevertheless, by suggesting that these men have these experiences because they are prophets of God confirms an hierarchy…these men are “special”…even, by extension, “I love them more”. I’m not saying that Christ would say that, but it’s the message that is often received by fallen man.
In truth, I have learned that many actually DO tend to “lust” after spiritual experiences, precisely because their IS an hierarchy – at least in our minds. I have also been told clearly, “Do not compare your experiences with others” and “Trust me…Relax”. So, I have learned to just not worry about this so-called extreme gospel. I have learned to accept what I’m given as priceless. But that is my own evolution, and is in no way precipitated by anyone speaking from a voice of authority.
I do spend 30-60-and more minutes every day in prayer. I do write down what I’m told – what I learn, often in a blog post of my own. I didn’t get that from Mike Stroud. As a result, I have a closer relationship with Christ than I ever got through the temple. I worked in the SL temple, and I loved it, but my time with the Lord is more precious to me than that ever was.
I think you’re right that the contact is more common – but we have to not be afraid of it.
What am I going to do about it? Unrighteous dominion is the result of fear. There is no fear in love. So I’m going to love. Heroically. And I’m asking HIM to teach me how to do that – but it can’t just be bestowed on me. If it were, it would be HIS love, not mine. Any dominion I personally might exercise is a dominion of service – as illustrated by Christ’s ministry – and so eloquently by the washing of the feet. That is the only dominion that can bring about eternal life.
Thanks for responding!
scootd28: I wish it were more readily accepted to talk about sacred things without pushback. I am a convert, as a teenager, and against the wishes of my father (an atheist). The part of my life most closely parallel to your description was in the Navy in Alaska where I had plenty of time for scripture study, prayer, but more importantly an environment where nature was pristine outside the barracks of course.
The Chaplain wrote a complaint in the base newsletter about people preferring to go to the mountains on the Sabbath, which included me. My reply started with a reminder that Abraham met God on a mountain, so did Moses, so did Jesus (mount of Transfiguration). Then they came down and did something about it.
I had many questions and nobody to ask. i quickly learned that I was already ahead in scripture study of anyone nearby to ask, and that asking some questions caused alarm in my home teacher. Alma 12 clearly teaches to seek after knowledge, and to him who does not harden his heart, will be given the mysteries of God. There it is dude, black and white, my permission to explore the mysteries of God. BUT with that a commandment to not impart to others. Why not? Well there be many reasons; the main one probably being that while anyone with a spirit of prophecy is by definition an prophet, there can be only one that is The Prophet, since otherwise esteeming each other as prophets would result, or opens the door to mischief.
Now I will write about LOVE. How can I do that in a paragraph and have it mean something? This is the word that I had NO IDEA what it meant until that year in Alaska! Oh, I knew the feeling, but I did not know what feeling goes with the word, and I did not know the word for the feeling, and I struggled for years not knowing how to obey the Two Great Commandments since each requires a knowledge of what is “love” (as meant in the scripture anyway; the word has many human meanings).
To make a long story short, when things seemed hopeless, two events planted the feeling in my mind and the word was spoken. In one, the words were, “this is love.” In the other, “I care”.
Caring and love. They go together. Caring implies action; love is just a feeling. But without love you won’t probably care, and if you care, it is because of love. I put it this way because too many people think that “love” is an action word, and for them perhaps it is. I have a doubt I do anything out of love, I do things because I care.
Another problem is that God isn’t the only spirit that can pop things into your mind. The enemy of God is cunning and can put words or thoughts in your mind that, being nearly correct, discourage further study on that topic because you think you’ve gotten it straight from God. Can I be so sure of my own revelations? No, although I feel sure. That’s why Jesus taught the only sure way to know what’s from God is to treat it like a seed, plant it and see what grows. the FRUIT of a good tree is good fruit, a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit. This of course presumes one can discern good fruit from bad.
So what exactly is the fruit of Mike Stroud’s podcasts? I don’t know but apparently some confusion and many paths to many trees of life. It’s like a room of mirrors, how can you choose which direction to go?
Anything God wants you to know is either (1) already in scripture or (2) told direct to your mind. What is told to your mind might be from God, might not be.
On Chosen People:
God has presumably chosen certain spirits in advance and has nothing directly to do with “love” for them specifically but rather love for the human race that is answered by providing certain talents at certain places and times. It is a BURDEN on those so chosen. The Judeo-Christian tradition places the tribes of Israel as privileged or “chosen” in some way; it is what it is, but remember the parable of the marriage ceremony where the chosen people invited to the wedding did not accept the invitation and instead the highwaymen (gentiles, me in other words) were invited to the wedding in their place.
Many people seek dominion and amen to the priesthood of those men. Alas, it is so widespread that to fill the roles in a typical ward one might have to dig into the barrel and choose some people that ought not to be chosen. Were it up to me I would leave some roles unfilled rather than put uninspired, unworthy persons in there.
Having studied somewhat of the background of all this, the “Remnant” version 1 and 2 and so on; the idea of actually expecting to see Jesus in person and NOT having to stand in a very long line seems rather hubristic. It takes the “seeker after a sign” to the “next level”.
I have no desire to be in the 144,000. I’m not sure I have desires with regard to what God may offer. That’s like at Christmas when your children tell you their wish list. It sort of robs you of the joy of giving when you are really just complying with your selfish child’s wish list.
In my prayers I give thanks for what I have and very seldom ask for anything. I have a doubt that I am wise enough to ask for what will most benefit me, my family, community and nation.
Brother Sky’s comments are not without a sound of legitimacy, however, perhaps a couple more points might add to the discussion. Generally speaking people who advance in true knowledge and understanding, and let’s presume Brother Stroud is one such, grow in learning to recognize what I call the fingerprints of God that identify a particular spiritual experience as originating from God. While it is true that we teach of visions and angelic ministrants and such we also teach of the adversary’s counterfeits as well and the imperative of learning to discern between deception and Godly instruction.
Those who are truly learned in the things of God have learned to recognize such and if they condemn someone’s claims, claiming itself being a huge red flag, they do so with an understanding and recognition of what is absent to validate the claims. One does not expect everyone to recognize such but we should be prudent enough to listen to those who we might think were well apprised of discerning Good and Evil. Brother Stroud’s narrative is indeed lacking in much that might legitimize it.
Thank you for this update on Mike Stroud. This is a sad outcome to befall a man who had a lot of spiritual gifts to share. But, early on it was clear he was sympathetic to and shared some of the same beliefs as Denver Snuffer, and he followed his own path; he chose his own way rather than humble himself and remain in the Lord’s church. This is the pattern of many who refuse to humble themselves when they ere. ‘Oh that plan of the evil one, Oh the vainness and the frailties and foolishness of men! When they are learned, they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not, And THEY SHALL PERISH’. 2 Ne 9:28
Mike Stroud set aside the ‘counsel of God’ which was offered to him by the Lord’s servants called to minister to his children on earth. He thought his own ‘wisdom’ was worth more than his membership in the Lord’s true church. The Lord warned us this would be a problem in the last days. False prophets, false Christ’s and false teachers would arise and deceive many–if it were possible, even the very elect. We’re living to see that it IS possible and it does happen–even the elect can be deceived when they refuse to humble themselves. Christ also told us that by their fruits shall we know them. It only takes a little time to see the ‘fruits’ of their labors, to recognize they are indeed proud, vain and foolish.
This Mike Stroud controversy is something that has somewhat divided me. I don’t quite share Stroud’s optimism about the spiritual level of the church as a whole. There’s nothing inherently evil about having direct communication with Christ or heavenly Mother. The question is whether or not we’re at a spiritual level to be teaching that we can. And that is where I differ with Mike. I believe that when a person gets to a certain spiritual level, they can have direct communication with these beings by way of the Holy Ghost giving permission and instruction on how to do it. And then it’s an ability they’d likely be keeping to themselves.
On the other hand, if Mike actually was divinely inspired to share that podcast, then I’ll stand corrected. The ruling of his stake on this matter may indicate otherwise. But it’s my understanding that he is appealing their ruling so we’ll see how that goes.
To be fair, Mike did put a disclaimer at the beginning and the end of the podcast in question that this technique may not be for everyone and should only be tried with discernment. Apparently, some tried it and did not have a good experience. But if they had really followed Mike’s instruction, they would have discerned that it wasn’t for them and never would have had to go crying to Kimberly in the first place.
Despite my reservations about Mike’s teaching, I have far more about his accusers and their methods. I’ve had plenty of dealings with Kimberly and her associates on social media. This is going back about four years now. My first observation of their character is that despite their supposedly being such strong adherents to official church doctrine, they don’t feel like any other rules apply to them. Because of the higher calling that they’ve appointed themselves to, all other rules can be ignored. They frequently inject their personal causes into any discussion whether it applies to the topic or not. Many forums consider them to be problem members and some have removed them altogether.
I also find it interesting that they are so condemning of teachers in the online community who they feel have inappropriately and without authority called themselves to teach. And yet it is exactly the same thing they have done. The doc posted is not just showing why they think Mike is wrong but also trying showing the rest of us how the gospel is properly taught. No one in the church called them to write up that online doc. They appointed themselves to do it. And this is the hypocrisy of the author and all their associates. Rules apply to everyone else but not to them. They can appoint themselves to be teachers but no one else can.
And now about their doc. I have read through most of it and it wasn’t easy. It’s interesting that the author claims to have felt a bad spirit every time they listened to a Mike Stroud podcast. But I didn’t feel a particularly good spirit while reading their doc. I’ve dabbled in apologetics for years. And what I first noticed about the doc is that it plays out very much like an anti-mormon literature pamphlet – citing all the “concerns” they have about certain beliefs and blaring numerous scriptures and quotes about false prophets. Maybe if they quote enough scriptures about false prophets, it’ll validate the claim about the person they’re accusing. But in the end, there is not a whole lot of substance. It’s mostly just a lot of fluff with not much meat to satisfy the arguments. The doc follows the same format.
The follow are some but not all the subjects that were brought up in the doc. I’ll first quote Mike Stroud’s statement, then the author’s reaction and then my own response.
.. This is a feeling of lightness and euphoria, begins in the chest hard area, and slowly expands outward, is subtle yet very noticeable, it almost feels as if you’re being drawn upward and out of your body, it radiates outward in a swelling motion and is very desirable”.
Let me explain what Mike Stroud is really teaching: He is teaching a practice called “astral Projection” though he never uses that word.
I have no idea how the author come to this conclusion. Stroud said it “almost” feels like your being drawn upward. Yes, he said almost. Almost means not quite. And as the author rightly conceded – he never actually used the term astral projection. But this doesn’t seem to matter to the author. If they say he was talking about astral projection then he was and that’s that.
Most in the church know little about this topic and I’m not too thrilled about even commenting on it but the author did accuse of it so a response is warranted. Astral projection is basically when someone’s spirit consciously leaves their body and then returns. First of all, there is no official church guidelines or position on astral projection. But there’s plenty of spooks in the church who consider themselves experts on this matter and have plenty to say about it and how evil and occultic it is. I think they all probably went to one too many Lynn Bryson firesides when they were younger. The truth is they don’t really know much about it themselves, aside from what they’ve heard from other spooks and online sources.
Here’s the fact. God has made our spirits a very tight fit with our bodies for the duration of mortality. I don’t know why a person would think otherwise. Consciously getting up and leaving one’s body is not something most could do even if they spent all day trying. There’s a lot more that can be said about this but basically speaking if a person is just meditating and especially if they’re meditation on Christ, it’s not going to happen.
But that’s not how the author and the other spooks see it. For them, all it takes is about 2 minutes of eastern style meditation and you’re floating away. It’s this kind of fluffy, fear mongering, reaching for the stars conclusions that made the document so difficult to read. But there are some things are easily disprovable which I’ll I will now address.
Astral Travel At Night
One time I asked the Lord, ‘Lord am I traveling at night?’ ….And he said, ‘yes.’ And I said, ‘I don’t know it.’ He said, ‘I know.’ That was it. There’s that little humor again – ‘I know.’
Mike Stroud is teaching all of these NEW and EXPERIMENTAL concepts that are NOT based on any scriptural truths or words of the Prophets.
Astral travel during sleep is a bit different than doing in consciously – obviously because we don’t know we’re doing it. Mike is addressing this subject which the author refutes as not based on scripture or the words of prophets. However, this is not the case at all. Astral travel during sleep was taught by Brigham Young in the following quote.
“when we lie down to sleep, our minds are often as bright and active as the mind of an angel, at least they are as active as when our bodies are awake. They will range over the earth, visit distant friends, and, for aught we know, the planets, and accomplish great feats; do that which will enhance our happiness, increase to us every enjoyment of life, and prepare us for celestial glory; but when we wake in the morning, it is all gone from us; we have forgotten it.”
Perhaps the author’s research on this topic was poor, but this quote has come up on social media a number of times and I’m a bit surprised the author has not seen it. Actually I know of one of Kimberly’s associates who flat out disagreed with this very quote during a social media discussion. This flies in the face of their favorite social media montra’s – “Follow the prophet!” So apparently we should always follow the prophet…except for them when a prophet says something they disagree with and then they can toss it out…but for the rest of us, we have to hold strict adherence. And thus again the hypocrisy.
Fear of Deception
“Don’t be afraid of being deceived. Fear of deception is deception. Fear of being deceived effectively stops you. Don’t be afraid”.
Towards the end of the Savior’s earthly ministry, His disciples came to Him with several questions concerning the future: “Tell us … what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Jesus responded: “Take heed that no man deceive you”. I would argue that this is extremely significant
Mike was not contradicting the Savior at all here. The problem is that the author does not know how the gospel is properly taught. Taking heed of deception is not being afraid of deception. It’s just being wise about it. As far as the gospel is concerned, we’re not supposed to be afraid of anything including deception. Fear is the opposite of faith. We cannot develop faith if we have fear. It also hinders our ability to love. John 4:18 teaches that perfect love casteth out fear. Wise teachers like Jesus would never tell us to be afraid because it would directly limit our ability to grow in faith and love.
In the talk the author quoted by M. Russell Ballard – Beware of False Prophets and False teachers – not a single time did Elder Ballard ever say that we should be afraid of deception. In Elder Oaks talk – Be Not Deceived – he also did not teach that we should fear deception. They were both teaching of how to be wise about it. Mike did tell this man that if he wanted to learn the mysteries of God, he should not be afraid of deception. And he is correct on that. But he never told him not to take heed of deception. Of course he should just as the Savior taught.
The author, on the other hand, rather likes using fear as a teaching tool. They used fear all throughout this doc hoping to convince the reader that Mike Stroud is some kind of boogie man. But to be clear on this, fear is never used by the Holy Ghost to teach. Fear is a tool of the adversary. Where there is fear there is uncertainty/darkness. Teachers of light simply do not use fear as a teaching method. And because Mike’s accusers used it so much, it puts into question where the source of their inspiration comes from.
“So I had a lady call me up a while back and she is up in Utah and she said brother Stroud can I share with you this experience, and I said please do it….She says I saw man and I don’t know if I was in a dream or vision, I don’t know what it was, but I saw man and he was standing in the distance and he was looking at me. It was just the two of us. I said, ‘Who was it?’ She said, ‘Why it was the Lord.’ I said, ‘How do you know it was the Lord?’ She said, ‘I just knew it was the Lord.’ And I said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve had a Second Comforter experience.
If this lady really had a Second Comforter experience, why does she have to confirm it through Mike Stroud? Why is she not seeking the confirmation of the Holy Ghost? Why did she not TEST THE SPIRITS like we are taught to do in Doctrine and Covenants?
Here we have the author making another conclusion that leaves you wondering where in the world it came from. The lady did NOT come to Mike to ask if she had a Second Comforter experience. She only came to tell him about this vision she had. And Mike just told her that it was a Second Comforter experience. There was also no reason to test the spirits as the author accuses. The lady said she knew it was the Lord. That was her discernment and no more should have been needed. This one was not difficult at all to discern the authors deception. . All you have to do just read what was actually said and the author’s deception is right there.
There more from the doc that could be discussed. But I think I’ve made my point.
The hysteria surrounding the Salem witch trials was not brought about so much by church leaders at that time. It had more to do with some very immature teenager girls who convinced everyone that they had a special ability to see evil in a person that no one else could. It started off as a lark but after getting a taste of the attention and the power it gave them, they developed an appetite for it. The accusations continued and got worse more and more people were getting tried and executed as witches. It didn’t end until some wiser and higher up authorities put a stop to it.
In modern times we are seeing Kimberly and her associates making the same claim. They believe they can see evil that others can’t. This document was basically their attempt to establish that. And it the eyes of some, they may very well have pulled it off. Now after getting someone excommunicated and probably getting another podcaster taken down, they are also developing an appetite for it. I found it rather amusing when Kimberly suggested that perhaps Mary Ann “has a devil” because she “eerily” posted something that Kim did not agree with. This is you’re basic McCarthyist style, witch accusing, intimidation tactic that is used to try and gain total control over perception and the situation. This may all blow over soon which would be nice. But if history repeats itself, this situation will only get worse until higher authorities step in and put a stop to it.
I still think that Mike Stroud may be in error on some of his teachings. But when you weigh Mike’s errors against those of his accusers – with all their hypocrisy, fearmongering, deception and intimidation tactics – there is really no comparison. I hope those in Mike’s stake high council did not use any of the content in this doc as a basis for their ruling. If they did, then I hope they will have another look at it with closer discernment, to see what is really going on here.
Judgment. Fear. Comparison. Guilt. Hierarchies of “Spiritually Advanced” or not so much – of called vs chosen, or noble and great ones. Excommunication. Dogma / Culture / Doctrine. This whole exchange – and the podcast, disciplinary activities, uproar, etc – paints a vivid picture of a great and spacious building filled with laughing, sneering, finger pointing “believers”. Are there saints among them? Were I to answer that question, I would simply be joining in the cacophony. Have they approached the tree of life? Again – not my story to tell.
I testify that Christ has not judged ANYONE involved, nor will he. We are all learning and doing the best we can given the circumstances of our life. Christ prayed in John 17 – His great intercessory prayer – that we might all be one with Him as He is with the Father. If I’m not mistaken – one of only 2 prayers from His mouth recorded in the Bible. And yet we seem to think that this whole activity – in its entirety – is somehow glorifying Him.
I further testify that we truly glorify Him with love, patience, understanding, tolerance, compassion – forsaking judgment, fear, guilt, hierarchies, comparison, competition, contention, and control. Such are the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and as such, will ensure that we remain separated from Him and from each other.
Lest we wonder why we haven’t experienced Zion…
Thanks for your input, Scootd28. Sounds like you agreed with some things I said…and some not or at least the terminology. But I agree with you general point that if we want to establish Zion we need to shrug off the standard mortal way of looking at things. Here’s my take on that.
Hierarchy is a perception of of the fallen state – We perceive that it exists because of our natural eyes. But as far as our spiritual eyes are concerned, there is no hierarchy. We are all equal. That is the reality of who we are and that everyone needs to wake up to to establish Zion.
Separation is another illusion brought about by the fall. It’s separation that brings about other fallen concepts you pointed out like comparison, competition, contention. It’s okay to work with these things as long as the Zion initiate acknowledges them for the illusion that that are. It is believing that these things are real and, as some seem to think, more important than anything, that is our biggest stumbling block to establishing Zion.
Without the illusion of separation, those who’ve had greater knowledge and gifts bestowed would not little need to hide them. They could share them with others without the concern of generating feelings of separation and comparison. No one would feel “lesser” because God has blessed one person in certain ways that he has not blessed them. Instead they would take joy in the blessing of others and take equal joy in the blessing that God has given themselves. Instead of counseling God as to why someone else is blessed, they’d only ask what the next step is on their own path to perfection and if the blessings that God has given others might be off assistance to them.
I think there are many in the church who are in possession of this Spirit and it is the quickest path to perfection and the Zion state for the church as a whole. On the other hand, there are also many in our faith who truly believe that the illusions of separation and comparison are a very real thing. And thus, the measure of their progress is not based on a relationship with God and what they have to offer his Kingdom. Instead, it’s based on separation and comparison in how their abilities measure up to the abilities of others. So instead of making real spiritual progress, they substitute it by comparing themselves to others or worse, by putting others down. And the whole time they don’t realize the illusion that they are creating. Comparing oneself to others cannot make that person any more of what they are nor does it make the other persons any less than what they are. But because of our fallen state, it can create the illusion that it does.
In my previous post, I poked a little bit at Lynn Bryson. When I was 15, I went to a youth conference where he spoke several times. And he got into some pretty crazy stuff. However, that was one very spiritual experience he shared with us that has stuck with me through life. It was an experience he had a seminary teacher. There was a nice girl in one of his classes who was popular, very spiritual and had a very kind heart. She was one of the most loved people in the class. But not everyone like her. Some disliked her quite a bit. Infact, what Bryson noted was that at the same time she was the most loved person in class she was also the most hated.
This situation is not unique and at the end of the story, Bryson shared with us is a universal constant of the fallen world we live in. The more you’re loved, the more you’re hated. It’s how this world works. For a Zion people this is not a problem but it is a common problem of society and because the church is still in a pre-Zion state, it’s a problem in the church as well. Since this council, I’ve seen abundant evidence of the existence of this fallen law.
I was at the meeting where Mike told the guy to not be afraid of deceit. It was a well attended meeting and there was a good spirit there. Still, I was worried at the time that Bryson’s universal constant might apply. As much as Mike Stroud was loved at that meeting and in the online community, there would be others who would hate him just as much. The meeting was not an official church gathering so the church could not protect him from that. I hoped for the best but unfortunately it was shortly after that meeting when his accusers began to open fire. And now it has come to this. Maybe, Mike was a bit naive about this and in hindsight, it probably would have been better to not post the meeting on youtube. But I do understand his zeal to hasten the establishment of Zion. It’s what we all want.
Scootb28, I admire your own zeal for Zion and I’m with you on that. I look forward to the day when we’re all living in peace and harmony, of one heart and one mind. Perhaps, I’d better serve my own desire for Zion by showing more zeal instead of being pessimistic. This is where it can be hard to find a balance. Still, this whole matter with Mike Stroud has been very disheartening.
Evan, I wasn’t really disagreeing with what YOU said before, and I disagree even less now. Have you read “A Course in Miracles”?
It’s cool, Scoot. I have heard good things about a Course in Miracles and I have the book. But haven’t as yet got much of it read. But I have read a lot of other material on enlightenment.
Evan, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Invitation.
Evan. Very good comments. I’m with you 110%. Praying Mike and Margie make it through this struggle much stronger.
Interestingly, I just found out that Julie Rowe, another podcaster and author, was excommunicated in April. Here is a link where it is discussed.
Now I haven’t followed Rowe at all, but I understand her to be conservative, focusing on preparing for the end times.
Rockwell, thanks for the heads up. I know when Stroud got excommunicated, Julie Rowe suggested she would likely suffer the same fate (though I didn’t get the impression it was imminent). I’ll have to look into it.
Thanks for this. A neighbor gave me his podcasts, and as I listened to them I increasingly felt uncomfortable with his teachings; especially the Visions of Glory type stories of others that he shared. The podcast that I finally had to do research on and finally just Googled his name was the one on Familiar Spirits. What the? False Doctrine right and left. I think I’ll just stick to Fair Mormon et al. 😉
I have enjoyed Mike Stroud’s podcast immensely. I have not listened to all of them. There are things after I read the sources that he quotes, I don’t agree with his interpretation. I also have a husband that is very nervous that I listen to podcasts by people who are on the “extreme” edge. When I was younger I often thought as I read stories in the scriptures that I would like to have similar experiences. I appreciated Mike pointing out that Nephi told his brothers that they don’t get answers because they don’t ask or if they do ask then they don’t really believe that they will receive answers. In that last days we are told that spiritual manifestations will increase.
What is that supposed to look like???
Also I have pondered a lot on the fact that Lehi was not a “prophet” in his day but a regular man that spent some time pondering the teachings of prophets and had a vision and shared that vision. In sharing that vision those that feel threatened wanted to kill him and he was directed to leave after going back for his family’s set of scriptures that was in the possession of Laban. We accept him as a prophet because his story is in “the scriptures” instead of a current podcast. I have also pondered a time or two about that fact that when Christ read the scriptures that had been kept by the Nephites he asked why Samuel the Lamanites warnings had not been kept as scripture……..So that tells me that Samuel the Lamanite was NOT considered to have been given the gift of prophecy, or he was not a respected source of information when he was alive.
Please don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that Mike Stroud is a “prophet”. I have a firm testimony that President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s appointed Prophet, Seer and, Revelator who holds all the keys and he is the only one that receives revelation for the church as a whole.
I also enjoy hearing of other members spiritual experiences and sharing what has helped them grow and learn. With the Come Follow Me program we are asked to have discussions instead of lessons. How can we discuss or share experiences if we are afraid that we will be labeled as extreme or potentially get excommunicated for seeking after what Joseph Smith taught we should all be seeking after and that is our second comforter experience. I have been very excited to hear the encouragement by our Prophet Russell M Nielson to seek after a relationship with the Lord, to gain power in the priesthood, to hear President Eyering encourage us to be like Enoch to call down the powers of heaven, to stop armies.
I have enjoyed reading all of the comments. I have appreciated the respect given even when people here disagreed with each other.
Love God, Love yourself and Love each other. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, His atoning sacrifice.
Did you think to ask Father in heaven to forgive you of your sin in the name of Jesus Christ? Did you do this 4 times a day for 4 years?
Did you testify that Jesus is the Christ to ones that don’t know and that by the shedding of His blood your sins are forgiven.And that the shedding of the blood of Christ is in the covenant of the Father( moroni10:33).?
Well I can say for those of us as lifers and close to retirement have all seen a culture change. This reminds me of the community of people who experience Near Death Experiences. Shunned by family and friends and their church clergy because of lack of understanding of the spirit world. Many have felt so alone they have succumbed to suicide. Our experience and study in the gospel is always personal and you are viewed and deemed a heretic if you even mentioned in public a vision, revelation or something that we absolutely preach that is possible and all of our pioneer ancestors received experienced. But a state of extreme false doctrine would pour over a room and land you right in front of a Stake President. How many times over the last 25 years did I cringe when someone would quote Mormon Doctrine as fact instead of opinion. Yet I have to sit quiet. I myself would never say someone did or did not have these experiences. Not my place. As growing up in the 60’s and 70’s these stories were faith building. Now they are Hanging words. What a political correctness faith we have become. All I can say is in the end it will all work out. BofM is true and that’s good enough for to move forward. Judging a mans personal revelation to me is fruitless nonsense. I was sickened to hear Visions of Glory was banned from Desert Book. Some of the garbage they sell slays me. Whether Spencer had the experience or not is irrelevant. The pages in that book after my daughter was murdered helped my heart to forgive and let go and for that I am forever grateful for his words he shared. Many near death experiences when put into a book get embellished but I have no doubt he had some sort of experience to be able to express what he did. As JS said we can govern ourselves and let the spirit guide
I was very saddened to learn of Mike Stroud’s excommunication, but why was his wife also excommunicated? I have heard a number of accounts of people claiming to have received a personal audience with the Savior, and after some were instructed by Him to share certain things about their experience, Church leaders told them to be quiet. What a dilemma! Obey the eternal Lord and Savior of all the world? or obey a temporary local leader?
I wrote to Brother Stroud and suggested that perhaps the biggest trial of faith of all is to be excommunicated from the Lord’s true Church on earth for being obedient to the Lord, Himself! Irony of ironies!
Moroni 7:16; Mike Stroud’s work invites me do good and believe in Christ. I feel very sad for him!