Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thoughts from Brother Dale

{Editor’s note: This is a continuation of yesterday’s post by brother Dale Volskay.}

Allow me to discuss this bit farther… In 2006, a resolution was offered at the very beginning of the first business session which threw total havoc into the entire conference. I was not at this meeting due to a doctor’s appointment, but I heard about it as soon as I arrived. Last year's CRE Conference was handled like a grade school activity, and after the conference was completed, I proceeded to review what took place. I wrote a paper on that subject and the above underlined portion which says “conferences that do not provide voice and vote—are an affront—etc—I question. Please look at my paper, and decide for yourself: I named it “Decisions of Early Conferences: Decisions of the Early Conferences — pre – 1900

In reexamining the report on the CRE conference that I did, I wanted to do some further study on the “where as” that was stated in the Resolution presented by Rudy Leutzinger. Just for the fun of it, I will write out the references of the Resolutions that he quoted in the fifth whereas.

This ‘whereas’ states: “such conferences have been specifically discouraged by General Conference Actions (adopted April 6, 1868. NO. 87: “That all private members, male and female, have a right to vote on all questions that the elders may deem of sufficient importance to bring before the church. [Note: “All questions that the ELDERS MAY DEEM OF SUFFICIENT IMPORTANCE TO BRING BEFORE THE CHURCH] ---Now the sentence continues: (Adopted April 9, 1873; No. 145.
Whereas, the String Prairie and Nauvoo Districts conference at its last session, as published in the Herald, adopted a resolution expressive of their opinion, to the effect, that none had a legal right to vote on the business before the body except elders, or Melchisedec priesthood; and
Whereas, the General Conference of 1868, resolved and decided affirmatively, “That all private members, male and female, have a right to vote upon all questions that be brought before the General Conference;” it is hereby
Resolved: that this conference considers the action of the String Prairie and Nauvoo District conference, on the suffrage question, premature, and disrespectful to the entire body, and that said conference is hereby respectfully requested to reconsider and rescind said resolution at their next quarterly conference session.)”
{Then Br. Leutzinger continues with his resolution:} as disrespectful to the entire body of the Church; and here Br. Leutzinger goes to his next whereas (#6 in his resolution.): Where as, the Joint Conference of Restoration Branches provides voice and vote to all members of the Church of Christ and has received endorsement of a growing number of branches and . . .”

Let’s take a closer look at what has been quoted here: If I am understanding this correctly, the String Prairie and Nauvoo district made a resolution to put ALL questions before the General Conference. In doing this the district did not quote resolution #87 correctly and tried to show that the “ELDERS” had said ALL Questions, when in actuality #87 says: “Questions that the Elders may DEEM of Sufficient Importance to bring before the Church.”

I feel very strongly that many times, those who are knowledgeable will present things as above to a conference, knowing very well that people not only do not have time to think about what is being said, much less taking time to carefully examine things when they are in a stressful situation as they were that day, in the conference. A careful reading of the “Whereas” above, as I re-read it does not support the idea that the conference of 1873 embraced the “voice and vote of the people on ALL questions before the conference." Rather, as I read it, the General Conference was reprimanding the district conference for its “disrespectful resolution”, thus the decision of #87 remained as the Elders Deem Sufficient to bring before the Church.

If I am correct in putting this together, then the first sentence of “Whereas #5 (such conferences have been specifically discouraged by General Conference Actions) is incorrect! This is misleading to say the least.

Can some one give greater guidance on this? [This was written April 2006] ---- end of paper -----

How many times have we had such notations pulled on us, either knowingly or unknowingly, not understanding what issues that were being presented? The resolution above is an outcrop of the resolution mentioned in this conference (2007). Fortunately this resolution was not called before the conference.

Time was at a premium and the Conference just did not have much of it. Bro. Paul Gage did the best that he could under the circumstances. He was very patient with the group and only once did he raise his ire. He recognized that there was an attempt to take over the CRE. His remarks were, “that without a doubt the time would come that CRE would join with the JCRB, but it would have to be through a gentle spirit and not by a hostile take over." He concluded by saying, “that the CRE was needed and would continue, as there were many Branches that would not join with JCRB, but would continue to have contact with the CRE." From this point, I noted a change in the discussions, but there is still one resolution that I will mention that might create future problems. Here is the final as amended: "Whereas: the Seventy are currently the highest authoritative missionary arm in the church and, Whereas: there are many boards and committees attempting to spread the gospel throughout the world and, Whereas: there has been some overlap in the work going out, therefore be it resolved: that the CRE ask the Seventy to work with all boards and committees involved with the missionary work, to find and employ ways to direct the work throughout the world under one umbrella." (This passed) On the surface this sounds great. There is only one problem for the CRE. The Seventy as a whole all support and work under the umbrella of the JCRB. They may deny this, but look at the record. What happens if one of the boards has a project going on that the Seventy does not want or like, and since the Missionary Boards are funded through the CRE Treasury, who controls the dispensing of funds for the most part, and the Seventy decide to “block” that effort? Can we see the turmoil and conflict that will take place? To further complicate the problem, there is another question whether there will be enough funds in the General Operations to publish the 6 editions of the Tidings Magazine. It was moved that in order to publish all six editions that the Treasurer could draw upon the Funds from the missionary arm of the CRE to pay the publishing costs. This passed. If money is sent to the missionary councils, can we be assured that it will be used as our intentions for sending it will be honored? It’s a possible problem being raised by this action.

The Wednesday morning session was used to elect new offices for the coming year. I will list them here: Chairman: Richard Neill; Secretary: Aaron Smith; Treasurer: Steve Mapes; Historian: Jim Daughtery. As for the other councils and different orders; I will just list the number of people: Aaronic Council: 8 ; Coordinating Council: 7 ; Education Council: 8 ; Stewardship council: 2 ; Youth Council: 8 ; Evangelism Council: 7 ; Publication Council: 7 ; Elders council: 10 ; Women’s Council: 7. This is a grand total of 68 people. Of this number, as I gaze over the list, I would guess that at least 39 without question favor the JCRB over the CRE. Several others could be called into question, but since I am not familiar with them I will not list them with that number.

Another interesting comparison we have 6 men who are serving on councils in each conference. Some of those are serving on the same councils in each conference. To me that is called “conflict of interest”.

The CRE has an Aaronic Council, where the JCRB has the Aaronic absorbed in their membership and provided by the “Joint Activities Committee”. In the CRE Council, a resolution was drawn up that requested that they be allowed to combine their operation (FARM) with the JCRB “to facilitate more effectively the unity of our Aaronic Brothers . . .” Here again we see that the emphases was placed on “combining” the two conferences together. This resolution was not brought up to the floor in either conference due to the time element.

As stated last year, the JCRB is a duplicate of the same organization, using in many cases the same personal in each conference. I am glad that there are no Military secrets involved, we’d lose the war. We may have anyway, depending upon which side you want to win . . . .

I want to point out that not one resolution was presented or written up in any of their “quorums” that suggest or even hinted that the Seventy should be organized.

In all, the conference went a lot smoother this year, but still had its rough edges, warding off all the amended resolutions thus using up the time CRE had on hand. For this reason, many refused to come to conference this year, especially from any great distance. Part of it was the costs involved, but most was the fact that we only had a 3-day conference.

There were several resolutions that we did not cover in this writing. All were similar in content and typical of a Conference in action . . . . One, which was too lengthy to put into writing, is called “Restoration Branch Defined” and is basically the same that POZ and JCRB has issued. I feel that down the historic road this will come back a bite the CRE . . . .

At the beginning, I said this was going to be long and asked forgiveness for the length. Thank you for reading the whole article, for I believe it will be revealing to all who complete it. Once more allow me to repeat myself—not that I am that good, but only blessed by the Lord to be able to see what is taking place. For us to not know our history is to bind us into repeating it .

Once more, God Bless you all and thanks for your sharing with each of us.

Dale Volskay

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thoughts From Brother Dale

The following document was generously furnished by brother Dale Volskay for inclusion for your consideration.

I awoke early this AM and was not able to go back to sleep, and thought about all that has gone on with the “Church” over the past several years, especially with the “conferences." I felt that I should post more of my feelings that I have received over the years, for I feel that the Lord has given me some of that Gift that I told you all to exercise. This is going to be a long post, so forgive me for the length.

What has come upon us has been going on for many years. I was ordained an Elder in 1965 and 2 years later elected as Presiding Elder in my home congregation. The first “battle” I got involved in was the “New Church School Curriculum.” Having come up with the old quarterlies, I was appalled by the fact that no one could obtain information about what was being written. It took 2 years to get that information, and by that time, I was fit to be tied. Why the secrecy? It did not take long to find out. I sought information from those who served on committees, and one group was the "Mothers of Israel."

I moved to Independence in 1972, and this was still going on, but winding down, and the "Church" was not being taught what I was taught as a youth. It gets worse.

To slice and shorten history, let me say that many things transpired between that period of time and the period we are dealing with now. My tenure as an Elder has been nothing except to disagree with what has taken place; strangely enough I am still at it.

In 1992, the idea of the Elders Conference was taking shape. Working for the RLDS Church put me within the limelight of several things. For one, the person heading this up was at one time one of my bosses, and I was not overly fond of him, yet knew not why. I had reservations about him, which is now history. I refused to join the beginnings of the CRE for that reason, but I “bad mouthed” the situation and repeated several of the happenings, until my wife jumped my case for passing secondhand information. I was able to serve on the Evangelism Council in 1995 even though I was not a member of the conference. At that time it was organized much differently than today. I attended my first conference in April 1996, and frankly I thought it might have merit.

In fall of 1990 and early spring of 1991, I was given an experience that I know came from God that changed my life once more. This experience was pertaining to the office of Prophet of the Church, which I will not go into at this time. I served in this council until April 2005 which was finally the last straw and decided I did not need to fight this battle any farther. The handwriting was on the wall, so to speak.

In 2003, there was a great push to bring “unity” to the Restoration Branches, so the Auditorium was rented by certain individuals and we held a huge Sacrament Service. One would have thought they were witnessing a General Conference of the late 1960’s or so. It was very impressive. That is, until near the end of this service, the Patriarchs hesitated to see if anyone had a ‘message’ to bring to the congregation. There was one, and it has divided the entire body to this day. Why? Very few in that congregation understood the term “General Assembly," and they certainly did not understand how one was to be called, or what it was for. Personally I had an ill feeling, and told my spouse that that just split this church. Check the history of our movement and you will see that I could say “I told you so,” but I won’t say it.

The Patriarchs worked for 2 years to get this organized. If we study the duties of the Patriarch, we find that they have no responsibilities to get involved in organizational proceedings, except by council if sought. In this case, we can see that this was basically ignored, and out of that, several men were chosen to serve as a “Stewardship Fellowship Committee.” But in the discharging of duties, it appears that the Patriarchs were very much involved in the proceedings. Be that as it may, what was done is done and is now history. We cannot go back and change that, but here again is an example of not knowing what the “law of the Church” says. All I will say is people do not know.

Out of all this then came the dividing of the conference week, sharing the last half with the Patriarchs. No one could, or would, deny such a request. The “General Assembly” was held at the Auditorium. It was not conducted as a General Assembly, but as a series of prayer services. No business was conducted and the people came together and prayed their hearts, and I will say that when you get a bunch of Saints together in prayer, you have good comradeship and unity.

The dividing of the week has set precedence. From 2005 through 2007 the week has been shared with what became the JCRB movement, and neither group has been able to conduct much business. What can be said? In this proceeding, the JCRB has taken a forceful stand uniting people behind it by giving the people voice and vote. In its organizational proceedings, it has copied the CRE format completely, just changing the names of its committees. It has sought to win over all the persons holding high office of priesthood, and has succeeded in this to a great extent. They now have all the Seventy involved; the Patriarchs have embraced and used their influence to promote. There have been those who sought to seek wisdom, but have been pushed aside as if we have run out of time.

This movement has been allowed to send representatives to both the CRE and the JCRB. When there were objections, those in leadership shrugged shoulders and claimed, “Well, the elders elected them."

Look at the resolutions now being brought before the CRE in their meeting in the next two weeks. They were originated within the JCRB. This came about by a resolution being presented at the last CRE conference {look at its contents and see if you can tell what body presented it}:

“Resolved, that the CRE call a general gathering of the elders to meet in worship and study to consider the matter of succession in Presidency; and be it further Resolved that the gathering seek in solemn fasting and prayer, the mind and will of God in these matters [James 1:5; D/C 41:1,2 and 46:3b.c], and be it further Resolved, that this body report back to the 2008 CRE and Joint Conference of Restoration Branches (JCRB).”

There then follow 4 resolutions concerning Lineage and the office of President (Prophet?) of the Church.

When a group is overcrowded with members of another group, can one not see the problems created? More especially when that group is a bunch of priesthood who has very little idea of what is taking place? This is what happened to us while in the Institutional Church in the 1970’ and 1980’s.

I have often said that “If we do not know our history, we are bound to repeat it." I made a report in 2007 on the conference. I’d like to share an investigation that I did on one resolution that took place on Tuesday, April 4, 2006, in the CRE conference. There will be names included, but this is found in the CRE Bulletin on page ‘Section 6-13’ and headed as a “Motion to set the proposed CRE agenda aside." Although this happened in 2006, I made a report in 2007 that contains what happened in 2006:

Conference of Restoration Elders April 2007

This conference started with the Sunday AM services at the Waldo Sanctuary and after the noon meal, it continued to organize itself. This year, they had the parade of flags, which is always impressive. After the conference was organized, and the Elders seated by the credentials committee (with 53 Elders), Br. Paul Gage was sustained as Chairman and Steve Ferdig as Secretary. They then entered into discussion of the budget. With few problems with the outlined budget as printed, it passed, and other resolutions were then introduced, but not acted upon. The most interesting was the four resolutions from the JCRB concerning the lineage of the Smith Family and the office of Prophet. Also a resolution was passed to meet with the Elders who could not document their ordinations with the intention of accepting them as a body. The CRE is looking at a budget of $302 thousand total with only a little over $40,000 for the CRE office and leaders. The balance of that is caught up in the missionary councils, with the ARM (Africa) budget of $143,650, according to the minutes.

The CRE had at least 4 sessions with the "quorums." (The JCRB had none) It is interesting that the CRE is still hassling over the credential guide lines—about 3 years' worth now. They are attempting now to put all information of ordinations, etc. on a data base, and if your name comes up in the future, they will feed the computer and you’re in without a hitch. They are still trying to define a “Restoration Branch” and are reaching back to the Pastors of Zion and the Joint Conference of Branches for a definition. If they continue to whittle away at it, they will find that according to that decision almost any ordination will be okay as long as it is to the office of Elder. When this was discussed, they kept going back to the 1876 Rules of Order and Debate. Their reasoning is that in this writing (1876) the Branch had the most authority. What apparently is not thought out is the fact that over the years the Church continued to grow. In the 1860’s, there were very few in the leadership positions, and on top of that there were no funds to conduct much business from headquarters. Most of these leaders were self sustaining. The leadership had to depend upon the local Presiding officers to lead the sheep. As the Church grew, so did the need to oversee the work and have more leadership from the top.

There was a mention of the fact that one branch in the state of Illinois (DeKalb) resisted the General Church authorities and refused to follow, and to cut a long story short, they got by with it as the leadership gave in. I have been looking for that in our Church History, and would like very much to make a study of that to see what this was all about. For that reason, all I can do is mention that it was mentioned. I suppose its reason was to show that the “branches” have the most authority. If this is so, then if we have 25 branches, it would stand to reason that we have 25 different heads and a whole handful of theories to sort out. Not sure what we would do with that.

One of the many prevailing formats to come from these “quorums” was the fact that each had resolutions that instructed the CRE to work with the JCRB in one way or another. One resolution came forth that stated: “Whereas, conferences that do not provide voice and vote to all members of the church are an affront to the entire body of Saints, therefore be it resolved that the CRE merge with the JCRB retaining the responsibility in education and directing the priesthood.”

{Editor’s note: we shall pause here in the Dale Volskay correspondence and continue with the balance tomorrow.}

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Church of Believers

The following post was submitted by our friend Patricia Ragan. Read it carefully. Read it twice if you have to; it's powerful. Thank you, Trish.

Some of us keep in contact by email. We are not a branch. We are people at various stages of spiritual learning trying to discuss what we see happening. Some of us are the walking wounded, having felt the fiery darts of Satan, as shot at us by other "saints." It is our goal to stick to the scriptures as our guide, and feast upon the words of Christ. If we are not wearing and using our Ephesians 6 armor, we are going to DIE, a spiritual death. I see us as picking up the wounded as we see them fall, and offering a safe haven. But we are all wounded. We have all been traumatized by what we have seen happen to the church.

Our church is splintering as was foretold: The true church would have to flee into the wilderness. Nephi said that in the end there would be only two churches. One of Christ and the other of the devil. Jesus said, [Matthew 24:24] For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

This false church will have to be a mirror image of the true church, otherwise there is no way we could be deceived. If a false Christ waltzed into the Vatican, the elect would not be deceived. If the restoration is true, which I believe it is, then the false church—a unified and huge church—will have to look very much like the true one.

All this unity that man tries to arrange is a unity among people, and other churches, not a union with Christ. When we, as individuals, are one in Christ, then we will be one with others, who are also one in Christ. The reconciliation, that is often spoken of, is not some massive movement of churches asking forgiveness from other churches. It is an individual being reconciled to Christ. It's all about Jesus. It's all about falling in Love with the King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

I believe that God restored his church, but that it was weakened very early, and that much of what we have today is merely a structure of what it should have been. The following revelation and warning was given in 1834:

[Sec 100:2a] But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour, unto the counsel which I, the Lord, their God, shall give unto them.
[Sec 100:2b] Behold, they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour, and by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet; and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it for ever and ever.
[Sec 100:2c] But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them, for they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;
[Sec 100:2d] and inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

It looks to me as though the world prevailed against the church, not the other way around.

I think we HAVE started our trek into the wilderness. I think there are true believers throughout the world, throughout many different denominations who have heard the call of Christ--who have answered, and to the best of their ability, have obeyed. The true believers have had that baptism of fire and spirit.

The baptism of the Spirit, as described in 2 Nephi 13 and 14 is a life-changing event. Our lives, afterward, are never the same. They can't be. We have been awakened; we have felt the breath of God. I have NEVER heard a sermon about 2 Nephi 13 & 14. Priesthood that I've talked to are afraid of it. We need priesthood who boldly go to Christ and ask for knowledge about this experience. Those priesthood become the TRUE priesthood when they have experienced this baptism of fire.

I am not a “Pentecostal.” I've never spoken in tongues or been "slain in the spirit." I don't seek "manifestations." I am someone who cried out to God and banged on his door asking questions. I wanted to KNOW Him. Like Enos, I cried unto Him until I felt his forgiveness come over me as a cool, fresh breeze. When I read His Word, it is alive. I love to read the scriptures. They wrap themselves around me in love and peace and joy.

I see the bickering and fighting becoming more and more harsh until the Anti-Christ, or false Christ arises. I'm beginning to see the picture: Those who give their lives to this dictator, will live in an imposed peace—a satanic peace because they will have handed over their agency to him. Then they will say "Peace and Safety." Isn't that what Satan wants, to force us to love, not God, but himself, as the "most high."

The only true peace, my brother, is the peace of Jesus Christ—the peace that passeth understanding—the peace we have in Him. When His law is written in our hearts, We are written in his palms. In His Law we find His comfort.

Patricia Ragan

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (10)

Given the ebb and flow of events in Independence, I normally have little difficulty finding subjects for the “rant.” I must be still aglow from being covered up with grandkids. They were, literally, covering me up at both locations I visited. What the attraction is in a gnarly old man I can not imagine. They apparently don’t see that. They deliver unconditional love and affection on a full time basis to nearly everyone they encounter. The great grandchildren seem exceptionally drawn to the father of their grandpa. They love their church, their little friends, their parents, their siblings and are agreeable on just about every subject except stewed tomatoes and broccoli.

Since I maintain that we can learn from everyone, I find the lessons they teach especially compelling. They understand acceptance. I, like my brothers and sisters in the faith, often wish to hurry things along and see the fulfillment of the gospel promise in my lifetime. I ignore the Savior's words of coming in His time frame. While resisting the seductive promises of the hierarchy, I recognize the importance of the law and the promises of God, as opposed to plans drawn by the men in charge. They (the little ones) honor their parents and elders and yield to them for direction at the expense of their own selfish interests.

They honor the truth. They are transparent and expect adults to be. When a four year old questions an ugly black mole on one’s head, it is an honest question. The reply is (and was) expected to be forthright and honest. In the exchange, someone said, “That’s not polite.” I disagree. These kids can ask me anything. I recognize no malice but rather a desire to satisfy an honest curiosity. How else can they learn?

They greet life with a positive outlook and a cheerful heart. Here I speak not just to my grandkids, but to small folks in general. How many times in a supermarket have I passed a child with a sour looking parent obviously troubled by who knows what, who invariably returns my smile with enthusiasm. Any little joke or funny look provokes laughter and reveals the purity within. That evidence of inner joy is uplifting to all and repays the difficulties of raising children.

It is this malleable clay which we shall use to mold the future of our families, church, and communities. More important, they shall become the foundation of the body of Christ’s believers if so led. The New Testament is replete with examples of Christ bending to share Himself with children. They, recognizing His goodness, flocked to Him, and He, recognizing their goodness, responded in kind. Have we learned to do as much?


In my absence, I had hoped that things would settle down and we could all love and trust one another in the pursuit of the Zionic condition so necessary for our continued success. Instead, I found we escalated our mistrust. The hope of forming a legitimate forum beyond the congregational level seems to be slipping from our grasp. The dreaded “name” situation seems to have cooled down somewhat but I am sure it will rear its ugly head again. Selfishly, we have the idea that our problems are unique to our generation. We have only to turn to our scriptures to find ancient peoples getting right with God and then when He is not needed to suppress an opposing army or to feed the multitudes, they turn to other gods to worship. We are no better. I believe the villain in the piece is “praying for.” We pray for healing. We pray for blessing on the food. We pray for the gifts of the Spirit.

When, in our prayers do we acknowledge His power? When do we recognize His majesty? Do we take seriously His omnipotence? It is only through Him and the sacrifice of the Son that we can have any hope of eternal life. It is only when we recognize our pathetic tiny role in the scheme of things that we, too, can be raised beyond our highest expectations. God is not some egomaniac looking for sycophants to boost His self worth. He is looking for those of strength and humility to help with the effort. This is not an offer of part time employment. It is a full time job; but, oh, the benefits.

So, let’s pause and take a deep breath. Let’s spend some time thinking about who the Boss is here. Let us make certain that every thought and action is in accordance with those things which we have learned and if in doubt, learn more. To study and learn the will of God is a certain path to banishing fear and enabling us to serve Him as He dictates.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon