My Journey

(Deep breath) Ok, let me tell you where I’m coming from :

My wife told me a little while ago that my mind must be a scary place. I thought about it for just a minute and decided that it wasn’t as scary with an insider’s view. She told me this one day as we were talking about the world and the direction its moving in. I definitely have my opinions on things, and as I read and discuss issues with people, my opinions and beliefs become reformed or refined.

You are what you think and believe. I can honestly say that my beliefs have changed over the last several years. I am very different from my self of 5 years ago. And my self from 5 years ago is very different from my self of 10 years ago. I once had a very wise man tell me that if I am in the same place several years from now, I wasn’t progressing. (In my best Yoda voice) Standing still, there is not. The older I get, the more I realize the truth to that concept. You are either moving forward or backward. You are either gaining light or losing it. You are either BYU or the UofU. Wait… not that last one…

Do or do not. There is no try.

Do or do not. There is no try.

I used to work at Wal-Mart with all my high school buddies. I worked there for several years while I was in high school and my first year of college before I left on my mission. This was way back when white people worked there. I can remember 3 minorities: an Indian (dot), a black guy, and Hassan was from somewhere in the middle east. These were care-free days. I went to school and work and the remainder of all my time and energy was spent with my friends. We weren’t very aware of the outside world and all it’s complexities, and that was good. That was how it was supposed to be and I wouldn’t change a thing. We were good kids, didn’t get into any trouble, and had a heck of a good time.

When I turned 19, I served as a missionary in Chile for 2 years and taught people about Christ and his gospel. It was the most defining 2 years of my life and I wouldn’t change that experience for the world! I can truly say that every good thing that has come into my life today can be traced back to my days of service in a foreign country speaking a foreign language. The friendships and bonds forged with the Chilean people and my fellow missionaries in the fires of work and a common, righteous cause will endure forever. The only thing I can think of to compare it to might be guys who serve in the military together. I don’t think I will ever be able to adequately describe how I feel. I guess you just had to have been there.

The only words that might do it justice is this scripture:

Moses 7: 18

18 And the Lord called his people aZion, because they were of bone heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

Looking back, I can say I was naive. Not foolish. Not stupid. Just inexperienced. I thought that most people worked more or less like I did. I looked at people in the best light. I didn’t really think there were ‘evil’ people out there. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would choose to be evil. Knowingly hurting someone or choosing to do something that would benefit yourself by trampling over someone else was foreign to me. I thought everyone’s conscience worked. I’m not saying that I never did anything wrong, but evil….. that did not make sense to me.

To illustrate, I didn’t even really believe in evil spirits or Ouija boards or anything like that. Looking back, it was naive of me to think that, but I must say, not entirely unhealthy. As a teenager, I once had a coworker tell me about a seance thing they did with an Ouija board and some of the scary things that proceeded. I just listened, and after I walked away I remember thinking how full of crap she was… and that stuff like that doesn’t happen. Maybe if I’d been a more diligent student of the scriptures as a teenager, I would have recognized the dangers that are in this world.

I realize now that the scriptures were written for us today to help us with the challenges we would face. As the years go by, the scriptures and their stories become more and more relevant.

As I’ve matured and through life’s experiences, I feel like the scales are falling off my eyes. The world isn’t so Willy Wonka anymore. And recently, as I’ve actively sought to learn the truth about several matters, I’ve been stunned at the preconceptions I’ve held that I no longer believe are true. There are plenty of wonderful things this life and this world have to offer, and we should seek after those things. But what I’m saying is that there is definitely evil in this world. It is there. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. We need to be aware of it and we need to fight it.

I believe that we lived before we came to Earth. I believe we prepared to come here to our earthly ‘test’ and that we were schooled in eternal principles that would help us get through the maze of choices in life. We would be expected to make our own choices and we will be held accountable for them. Choice, agency, our ability and freedom to choose good or evil, is a key principle of this life. We will be judged by our actions and inaction in the next life. Having limitations put on our agency – restricted freedom to choose good or evil for ourselves – is contrary to God’s plan, and thereby contrary to nature.

The scriptures teach us about a war in heaven. It was not a war as we know wars, but a war of ideology, a battle of good and evil. Those spirits who sided with Christ are those who inhabit the earth. Those who rebelled are Satan and his followers. The battle of good and evil continues today. Satan still seeks to destroy the agency of man, as he did before. False religion and oppressive government are his weapons against us today.

References to War in Heaven:

Abr. 3: 24-28

D&C 29: 36-38

Isa. 14: 12-20

Rev. 12: 4-9

In the previous life, there were no neutral spirits. We all had to choose a side. In the last 2 years, it has become very apparent to me that the battle continues. It has also become apparent to me that each of us must choose a side. We must each decide what is good and what is evil. My litmus test is this: if it restricts agency, it cannot be good and will lead – if not immediately, then eventually – to evil. That is the way of the devil.

So, going back, the major epiphany I had through the experiences of life was the realization of real evil and how and why it exists. Along with this realization came the understanding of secret combinations – or conspiracy.

All throughout history, evil men have exerted unrighteous power over the subjects of the Earth. They have formed oppressive governments, caused wars, and murdered for the purpose of power, wealth, and ego. These evil men have always existed and they exist today. They come from both poverty and privilege. Governments and wars are still used today to further the agendas of evil men. Satan inspires bad men to do bad things. Bad men are the tools in his hands. He uses them and their indulgent desires to continue his war with the spirits who did not side with him.

(Great Reagan observation: Governments, not individuals, cause wars)

I believe anything that restricts my freedom (or anyone else’s freedom) to choose my own destiny – as harmless as it may seem – is not good. Good rulers don’t destroy freedom, they champion it. Those who are in favor of the removal of power/agency from the individual are in opposition to God’s laws. Men who further this abomination are either evil or beguiled. Either way, they are wrong and must be opposed by good men willing to serve.

Now, don’t confuse a consequence with a restriction of agency. Consequences are a natural byproduct of agency and one cannot exist without the other.

We know that in these perilous times Satan will deceive the very elect. We know that many will be lulled to sleep by the lies of the Deceiver saying, “All is well in Zion.” All is not well. There is a battle raging. He wants us to leave him alone to do his work. We must wake up and choose a side (do not misunderstand what I mean – not a party, a side).

I am a God-fearing man. I believe that I will be accountable for my beliefs and actions one day. That is why I am constantly seeking further light and knowledge. Truth is where my allegiance lies. If I discover truth that opposes a previous belief, I will change my ways. I have no allegiance to any political party or ideology. Winning for the sake of winning is not of interest to me. I am interested in truth and righteousness. I am interested in upholding and fighting for the principles that allow my understanding of the purpose of life. I will stand up for agency, religion, and freedom.

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