Friday, August 24, 2007


At the time of this post the day of fasting and prayer was up in the air. However, fasting and prayer is good advice in any season, especially when it involves so much.

My, oh my! Have we now come full circle? First let me say I have no argument with any day being designated and separated for prayer and fasting. Apparently the idea is that if we all collectively offer our prayers at the same time, after preparation and fasting, these massed voices will rise to the heavens and by their sheer mass will gain the ear of God. There are frequent scriptural references to the success of this practice. There are also as many teachings there which encourage the act. We are also counseled to seek our heavenly Father daily and as needed. Some have even chosen to fast (see Gandhi, Mahatma) on a constant basis as well. This constant line of communication is not only required, but also extremely beneficial to the Saints involved.

But, here’s the rub. Part of loving God is also to fear Him. We must understand His awesome power and uncompromising law. It is not suggested we repent. It is commanded. I submit that without repentance we have no line of communication which would be acceptable to God. Oh yes, He will hear us. I do believe ignoring repentance for the offences to Him in past action will reduce our requests to chaff in the wind. He must hear acknowledgement of past wrongs, see action to right those wrongs, and hear our sincere covenant to not repeat them. If we fail to see repentance as a vital element in our supplications we are doomed to failure.

Twenty-seven years ago, I was led to understand the above paragraph. From personal experience in the constantly accelerating quality of life I have enjoyed since, I recognized that God required repentance and acknowledgement of His power, I came to believe these things. As a result, He has given me access to many gifts of the spirit. I know that those gifts are conditional upon my constant acceptance of His word and law. They also are contingent upon my continued acknowledgment of His presence, seeking His wisdom and most important, repentance.

We are constantly reminded in every aspect of life by schools, and preachers, and government and miscellaneous other do-gooders, that we are not to be judgmental. I realize that final judgment is the province of God. I also realize that we are faced on a daily basis with decisions which must be made to conduct our normal existence. What and how much food do we eat? What show, if any, do we watch on TV tonight? Should I consider abortion acceptable behavior in our society? Which church do we join? Where do we live? What companions do we choose to associate with? Like it or not, these are judgments. Some things are good and some things are bad. It’s that simple. We must exercise good judgment in concert with the will of our heavenly Father. He gave us a mind and the agency to sort through these issues and render a personal judgment. So what has this to do with the upcoming day of fasting and prayer?

Plainly stated, I believe there are persons involved in this effort who have not demonstrated the aspects of humility and repentance sufficient to be an avenue to God. As I pointed out above, part of repentance is a public disavowal of those things which brought offense to both man and God. Since their ruminations and gatherings are secreted from the general body, I am not able to cast general accusations with documentation at current members of the hierarchy. I am certain that to varying degrees, they believe they are doing God’s work. The rest is between them and Almighty God. For Wallace B. Smith, it is quite another matter.

There are many scriptural reasons why our Doctrine and Covenants is truncated to not include those offerings from Sec. 155 on. Some may, rightfully, even exclude revelations received prior to 1984. My understanding is that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Upon the appearance of His Son, Jesus Christ, a new law was given to His followers. That has not changed. We are not at liberty to alter that law. We may not change any of it to accommodate various interest groups, men/women, minorities, sexual orientations or a reach for universal acceptance. It is the rock we may all cling to in a troubled world. I have a very close personal friend of unquestioned integrity who assures me that she did not vote to accept that revelation at the 1984 conference. In addition, she knows that there were many Saints who did not. She is a very spiritual woman who has been able to recognize the voice of God. Common consent then has become a “simple majority.” I cannot even imagine the consequences of claiming to speak for our Savior on matters which advance my personal interests. Plainly stated – “we are losing priesthood and we need to augment the supply, ergo, confirm women and enjoy broader coverage.”

If this were not enough, we have additional issues; the erection of the “temple” to enhance the image to the world, the claim to have received instruction regarding Grant McMurray as his successor and finally counseling the acceptance of the name change to Community of Christ. Not surprisingly, the “prophet” McMurray mentioned the word community no less than five times in Sec. 161, in his first “revelation.” In addition, the unconscionable silencing of priesthood members and depriving Saints in many venues of their lifelong church homes.

These are but a few of the issues which led to the horrendous split in the church. Although I doubt he was the author, I do believe Wallace B. Smith was mightily influenced to carry these deeds out without paying attention to the counsel of God and instead, heeding the words of his world view counselors.

If he were to admit these travesties before God and his fellow Saints and repent, I would fast and pray for as long as it took to reach God’s ear. In my forty years in the church, I have known many men (and women) who are humbled in the presence of their Maker. I would place my trust in them for the truth and God’s will at any time. So far, this is not the case regarding some of the individuals involved in the upcoming “day of prayer.”

Since we are nearly the same age, I can appreciate that Brother Smith probably suffers the same infirmities that we septuagenarians share. For this I pray for him. For his discernment, I also pray. For his improved relationship with God, I earnestly pray. Deep in my heart I also wish for him to view the damage done and repent.

Please join me in prayer for this man.

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Little Comic Relief From the Circus

Someone accused us of not having a sense of humor. A. Hah! B. We always consider the source.

Here is a satirical extract from the PEACE AND JUSTICE SALES MANUAL

Sample Roll Play Kit

Exalted Leader: (Imagine the voice of Ron Popiel) Tell you what I’m gonna do! I’m gonna get the name back! I’m gonna get you reconciliation! Plus—and this is only for the next 100 branches that sign up—I’m gonna promise you anything you want to hear, but you have to act today.

Pathetic member: Why the rush? Hasn’t this thing been stewing for years?

E.L.: Yeah, but we really need to act now. If you send your $1000 today I’ll throw in the complete words to "Kumbayah."

P.M.: I still don’t understand the rush. I think . . .

E.L.: But wait, there’s more!

P.M.: I need to think and pray about this . . .

E.L.: If you sign up today we will include a CD "Gaia’s Greatest New Age Hits." You wouldn’t want to miss that.

P.M.: What ever happened to “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing?”

E.L.: Passe'! This is today! We need this name back to show we care about our history. But, you drive a hard bargain . . .

P.M.: But . . .

E.L.: . . . so tell you what I’m gonna do. If you act today, we’ll let three branches on board for the price of two. Send in your branch name and $2000 and we’ll send out your solid faux gold certificate attractively framed to you and two other branches.

P.M.: I still don’t . . .

E.L.: Here, use my pen, it’s a genuine Bic roller and you can keep it.

End of satire.

Let us pray.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What's in a Name

A little history lesson:

Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 - 07:24 am:

Now that the RLDS name appears to be up for grabs I'm wondering if it will cause more upheaval in the church. (And stop me if this is just another rumour. I'm not into rumours; I think God is against them, too.) If the JCRB takes it—the name—what about the branches who don't choose to go with them? Will the JCRB and their followers go with the name and form yet one more church, with their own hierarchy, and leave the independent Restorationists to regroup? I guess this is really a two-pronged question. What about the branches who have chosen not to join up with the JCRB? I'm just sitting here in the Ozarks pondering this.


For those of you who weren't around in early June, this is the question I posted to a discussion board shortly after the news broke that several more branches had begun using the RLDS name. The truth is, many branches had begun using the name but the JCRB apparently chose that moment to make it public.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, the questions brought such a firestorm of responses that the thread got deleted a couple of days later. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have all of the posts in my email archives. One of the posts contained an email (We all remember the email, don't we?) from the JCRB secretary to a sister in which he specifically said he hoped for a lawsuit by the CoC because the case was very strong. Whose case? The Restoration? The JCRB? Ephraim's Camp? Who knows?

Fast forward to 8-2-07:

Posted on Thursday, August 02, 2007 - 05:31 am: The Community of Christ Church lawsuit against the South Branch for the RLDS name

A committee from the JCRB has been negotiating with the CoC for the name who knows how long. This can't be a surprise. Theory #1: This church was selected because they have been using the RLDS name for a while. Don't know if they are JCRB or not but MAYBE the JCRB can come riding to the rescue with a) money, b) attorneys.
Theory #2: Because of ongoing negotiations, you get to use the name only if you are JCRB. Theory #3: Variations on either of the above.
Just a couple of thoughts at 5 a.m.

The above was posted by me shortly after the "news" broke about the lawsuit. Now it seems we are engaged in a great debate over whether the branches should finance the suit. Another letter has gone out to the branches requesting opinions/assistance/feedback/you name it. And the clincher is: ONE WEEK to decide. Oh, pulease. Give me just one small break here. How long has this been in the works? When did this whole conspiracy start? Last week? Last month? How about mid nineties? Or before?

The "informal" meetings between the JCRB and the CoC have now spawned an intractable creature which is sucking the lifeblood out of us. This is not about the RLDS name. This is about the survival of the church which was founded by Jesus Christ through our brother Joseph Smith, Jr. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray for our deliverance.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Life Lessons From my Dog(s)

I'm inserting my two cents here because it's my blog and I can. Many of you are saying, "Huh, how come Cecil posts all the stuff?" Answer: 1.)Because I have created a monster and he can't stop writing. When I first approached him with the blog idea he shook his head, sighed, and responded, "Oh, I don't know, it's a lot of work. You have to be on it constantly. It's very time consuming. Are you sure you can handle all the writing and monitoring it will take?" My chirpy answer: "Oh yes, I can do it." The result is pretty evident. 2.)Because I work three days a week. Refer to answer #1. Plus I get to edit every word he writes.

That having been said, I am working on a post taken from one of my very favorite stories from the Book of Mormon, involving the great military leader Moroni. With my schedule it will probably take the better part of this week. Meanwhile, Cec is busy pecking away at the keyboard, ever vigilant and ever aware of Satan's fiery darts, which continue to rain down on us from diverse locations both from within and without our beloved church.

God bless


Life Lessons From my Dog(s)

Now don’t go and breathe a sigh of relief because you think I’m not going all serious on you. I may; or I may not. It depends on you and your relationship with animals. We take our critters very seriously. If you don’t believe it, take a look at our vet bills. Or, ask Jan how many times we have been away from our home together for more than five or six hours and left the gang on their own.

Our furry family consists of two dogs and three cats. All were secured from rescue facilities. Let’s hear a word of praise here for those who operate those shelters without any appreciable reward other than the satisfaction of rendering a service to some of God’s creatures. Each animal has an individual personality but have demonstrated a remarkable collective sense of unity as well. With little training, they eat only from their assigned bowls but share common water sources. Although not specifically trained to do so, each has mastered the art of relaxation. As a result, visitors and residents alike must take care where they sit and where they walk. In the past, we have tried to provide sleeping areas for each and found they prefer to pick their own. At bedtime, they graciously allow us to use the bedroom as well.

The reigning queen of our group is a delightful yellow Lab named Ashley. At eight years, she has lost some of the raucous enthusiasm so typical of the breed. Her desire to please has not lessened one iota in that time, but probably increased. She has a competent understanding and readiness to obey the basic commands which render a dog useful and pleasant. She has not been trained to perform useless tricks which emulate human behavior. One of her most valuable services, since we live in an isolated rural setting, is to provide a barrier between the wild and the domestic. She is adept at recognizing threats to our domestic tranquility whether they are from other animals or humans. Even though somewhat overweight, she has the capacity to convince stray cattle to find greener pastures. The largest group she faced numbered twenty-five. She limited their visit to about three minutes. For older readers I submit that Albert Payson Terhune could easily have cast her in his magnificent stories of dog heroics.

The “clown” prince of her court is a two year old Brussels Griffon/Shitzu named Gus. This guy, at fourteen pounds, has the heart of a lion and serves as our early warning system. He can hear/smell an armadillo or wild turkey at 200 yds. and raise an incredible ruckus. I do believe he came with an abbreviated learning curve but he continues to show promise. If that were not enough, he is incredibly cute. If you ever visit, he will convince you that you are the most important being on the planet. He never met a stranger he didn't like unless the stranger was driving a noisy vehicle.

The cats are cats. They allow us to live here.

Now you have some background so we may proceed to what I have learned from these unique creatures.

There is an old prayer that goes like this: “God, please make me the man my dog thinks I am.” Given my experience over the years with various dogs I find it easy to relate. They come closest to showing me the meaning of unconditional love of any living being. Their obedience, trust, faith and general forgiveness is exemplary. When it comes to my Heavenly Father, can I match them? Unlike many of us, they don’t just talk a good game, they live it. When I step on one in the hall, the attitude is: forgive me for being in the way.

When I speak, they listen and do their very best to carry out my every command. They present no objections or excuses. They are totally committed. When asked to do the impossible (remember twenty-five head of stray cattle) there is no hesitation. When I lived in Wisconsin, my neighbor had a pit bull mix named Charlie. While walking the dogs together one day by the Rubicon River, Dave commanded Charlie to retrieve what he called a “stick.” It was actually a free floating log about twenty feet long and six inches through. Charlie did not hesitate but threw himself into the water, grabbed the log in his mouth, and proceeded to wrestle it toward the shore. He had received his commission and was carrying it out. I truly believe he would have continued his struggle to death had Dave not called him back. I also believe that this is the type of fulfillment of His commandments which the Lord requires of all of us.

Last January at the tail end of the “Ice Storm Experience” we topped off the eleven days without any services (electricity, water, heat, phone, etc.) with a good old fashioned bout of the flu. My dog Ashley never left my side. She was there to comfort me, provide heat and companionship and guard over my vulnerability. Since I was busy trying to stay alive, I am sure I didn’t pay much attention or play with her. She did not become impatient because my entire focus was not on her. She waited, and when I recovered we had a high old time. She recognized that I had other matters to deal with that did not pertain to her. She did not abandon me because I couldn’t get things done in her time frame. Even Gus calmed down and became willing to wait things out. Are we as patient with our Master? Are we guilty of wanting Him to drop everything to see to our needs?

Some may see these comparisons as facetious. Some may think them trivializing our faith. I would rather search for the example of my pets and follow as best I can. I really do want to be the man my dog thinks I am. Good girl! Sit! Stay.

Cecil Moon

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Whoa Nellie!!

Now that Zion Beckons is gaining more exposure on several other sites, we are being deluged with the latest revelations of plots and sub-plots among those who would lead. I will admit to nearly reaching a saturation point with hierarchy conspiracies, Latin American intrigue, questions of Christ’s divinity, trolls promoting irritating leftist drivel, and finally the Book of Mormon, true, false or in between? To all this I say, enough!

Are we so clouded by these issues that we have lost our sense of purpose and fail to see that which Christ has directed we do? I will gladly concede that much of our leadership has gone “power” crazy. Is that an excuse to join the argument de jour? We had an elder come down from the center place this morning who preached a much needed sermon on what he referred to as the three D’s, desire, discipline and dedication. It was an important reminder of what this should be all about. I am very grateful to Brother Immer for bringing this timely message. He did not at any time make reference to our inter-Nicene squabbles and it was refreshing. Jan pointed out that it was an oasis within the perfect storm of controversies which rage about us.

I agree that we have many important matters facing the church as a whole, but I choose not to ignore Christ to get my two cents in. In all these issues, I tend to separate and dismiss those who place more emphasis on their particular position than on the sacred mission of the church. I don’t recall from scripture or revelation that Christ came to us and said: “Okay, you guys get these messes resolved and then get back to work building the Kingdom.” Of course I have opinions and observations on the vast amount of information I receive but I pray earnestly for His guidance to sort it all out and see it’s relevance to establishing the Zionic condition we all (?) seek. Ain’t I great? No, I am attempting to follow the advice I get from the scriptures.

No, I do not suggest we “just get along,” because some of the issues are far too important to be ignored. We are, in our church government, sort of a democratic theocracy, and the opinions of the every member should have an airing. Our failing lies in securing non-negotiable positions which take on an aura of gospel, when in fact they represent the will of man and not of God. I will admit to a level of intolerance for those who do not seem to understand the physical death and the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lacking that, how can anyone assume His name? For that matter, why bother?

Normally, Jan and I do not post on Sunday. It is the Lord’s day and we are instructed to make it a day of rest. This has been on my mind since I woke up and especially since our worship at the church. So, I repeat; whoa Nellie! Let us refocus on the important issues: Christ, God’s laws, and the behavior which may result in our salvation.

In His love,

Cecil Moon