This article below was written in 2002. At that time our family was still officially members of the RLDS church. The testimony below was a warning to unite through music, singing praises to the Lord. But we didn't, and the Lord pruned the branch. To my surprise the pruning was taking place right then without our knowledge. These communications with the Spirit were showing me what He was in the process of doing. Soon thereafter, the Lord led us to this re-reorganization of His church.
In April of 1999 I had a vision. A branch was before me like the one above. It was formed into a "T" and the weight of the right and left branches had caused it to split. I said in the vision, "I will speak out against all evil." I understood the vision was the church with its right and left wing saints--extreme on both sides and that division is ripping down the center of the church causing great strife. I pondered the vision for a couple of days, wondering why God had shown me such a thing.
We just "gathered" back home to Missouri after 32 years in what seemed like exile. And it's planting and pruning time. The lilacs are in glorious bloom at our new home. There is no doubt that God sent us to this heavenly 4 acres. I've tried to grow lilacs in every place we've lived and finally gave up. We had no idea of just how beautiful this place was when God sent us here. We only knew this was the place and we were determined to get here regardless of the timing. We moved home in the dead of winter. December 31, at 11:45 p.m. (1999) we drove into the driveway with trucks and loved ones staying up all night to help us beat the big snow storm that was coming. And now, after that very chilly homecoming, and to my joy, spring has more than covered that cold reception with six huge scroungy-looking bushes bursting out with a most marvelous fragrance. As I pass by those lilacs, my favorite flower, I thank God because I know He had them planted and grown just for me--when He knew He would send us here to help in His work of the redemption of Zion. It was like a "Welcome home" for me, and as I write this, the Spirit bears witness that is just what it was. And it's hard to keep the tears from coming. But those bushes hadn't been trimmed since they were planted it seemed.
Now I pondered the vision, and with pruning in mind, I asked my companion (without telling him the vision), "What would you do if you had a branch on a tree that was splitting down the middle?" His answer was, "Cut it off." Then I told him the vision, and we both acknowledged that God is ready to prune this branch of the olive tree, lest it continue to split and cause a total loss of the entire branch.
God uses nature to show me how things really are. He did it again. I noticed that the far right and far left branches were dying because of the split. When it's pruning time, those dead shoots--those who serve their own agenda will be severed. Like the photo, our church is dying because of the split. Can it be denied? But Jesus' promise is sure. He's coming to set this church in order. It's pruning time!!!
issues have arisen since:
The 1998 RLDS World Conference made history. "About 5,000 visitors from 35 counties, including 2,800 delegates," attended the week-long sessions, in which two women were ordained to the highest office in the church except for the First Presidency. The Quorum of Twelve is the "final extension of the ordination of women that the 1984 conference approved."
"The first women
ordinations were in November 1985. The church now reports 5,028 ordained women --
nearly a quarter of its 19,188 ministers -- with 341 women functioning as local
pastors." Friday, March 27, 1998,
The Kansas City Star
We are a house divided--a splitting branch, emotionally torn on issues that only Jesus in person can answer. Unlike other denominations, we can't just split and forget about our mission--to build Zion. Saints on both sides of the issues have a common goal, and they both love Jesus. And Independence is the place. Both factions can't exist here because there must be peace for the City of Zion to rise up. We will become one or none existent.
Both camps on the issue of women's ordination have their own testimonies that they believe are right. Whether the testimonies are genuine, or only emotional, no one has a right to challenge another's beliefs unless led by the Holy Spirit in love. I find that spirit woefully lacking when this issue comes up. Regardless of what one believes, the issue, for a Jesus lover, is black and white--either God wants women in the priesthood, or He doesn't. Now that doesn't mean He wouldn't tell the leadership to go ahead and ordain them if He didn't want them in. Since when did everything go like God wants it? Noah lived that one!
We know God gave away 116 pages of the Book of Mormon to show Joseph Smith Jr. who had the wisdom to direct the work, and it wasn't Joseph. God said "NO" twice before He gave in. I don't think God likes to have to repeat Himself like that. Now are we to suppose that when He said "Yes", that wisdom had changed His mind? I don't think God's wisdom grew any, but Joseph's did.
And when Samuel was told to ordain a king over Israel, is that what God really wanted? God could see down the line that it would eventually destroy Israel, and it did. Did God look down the line in our church, and give the OK for women's' ordination on the same principle--because we, our church, needed a lesson in wisdom?
Women's ordination has been very distasteful to me. The voice of Jesus told me in an administration in 1975 that He hasn't called women into the priesthood because of the great work that He has called them to do--to raise up sons and daughters to Him in love so great that nothing can stop them from accomplishing the purpose He has for them. And for nearly 23 years I've held that position--that Jesus doesn't want women in the priesthood--and believe that, except that last year the Lord gave me a different slant on it which is that sometimes He does things He really doesn't want to do. And He can get angry in the process like when He was so mad at the Israelites in Sinai, Moses argued with Him about not killing all of them. Jesus was to angry with them and Moses that Moses was allowed to only see Jesus. backside. It's a dangerous thing to do to anger God! Duh!
One day last year the Spirit got my attention by asking me, "Janice, who gave the quails to the Israelites in the desert?" Well, I had my answer right there. If you know the story, then you now know the outcome of this issue of ordination of women.
So where can we look for an unfailing, authoritative answer to what God really wants? In God's Manuel. If the issue is so important that the body splits over it, then it must be written in the Holy Word. Matt. 24:51-55 tells of God sending angels to set His house in order -- to cast out wicked priesthood who beat the other priesthood servants of the Lord. And we have witnessed this prophecy of beatings in ample fulfillment. Isaiah told us over which issue the judgment would come upon His people. And who beat up on whom? If you don't know, then you were not being beaten up.
"Say unto the righteous, that it is well with them;
for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! for they shall perish;
for the reward of their hands shall be upon them.
And as for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. Oh, My people, they who lead thee cause thee to err,
and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead,
and standeth to judge the people."
Isaiah lived and wrote this prophecy in the 700s B.C. This scripture wasn't speaking to the Jews, for there was never any question of where a Hebrew womans place was to be. Even today in modern times, there is a division at the Wailing Wall for male and female. Who then, is "My People?"
Joseph Smith saw the church of the future would need to be cleansed. The Spirit revealed through him:
"And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send One Mighty and Strong, holding the scepter of power in His hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words, while His bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the House of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God ...
And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off out of the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High, therefore it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest, as you will find recorded in the 2nd chapter of 61, 62 verses of Ezra...." Church History Vol. 1, p. 260, (The second portion"And they..." was printed in Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 673, 674)
Harmony In The Lord
There will be unity between the two factions. The two sides can come together, if they will just start singing together. And it has to start somewhere! It will start there. Or God will prune the branch!
I had a vision in which I was looking at the buildings in Independence. They represented to me, the work of kingdom building in the lives of the saints. They were dull brick buildings, old and worn from the battle of the winds whipping their sides. The Lord told me that we have the power now to build the kingdom if we will just start singing. Remember, that before Israel went into battles that were won with great power, they sang! It's time to stand up and just sing folks! Sing together about Jesus. That's all that matters at this point--and any point. He'll come to hear us sing if for nothing else--it will be such a turning point in our life as a church--singing instead of fighting and backbiting! Jesus Christ appreciates humor. He's a peace-loving soul, and doesn't give a whip about where we were yesterday. He's concerned about today--what we want to do today--this minute and the next. He can take care of the rest.
As we sang in that vision, those dirty old building began to take on new siding. Beautiful blue-gray slabs of marble began to cover up the old worn out bricks. The city became the most beautiful place I've seen on earth. That's Zion folks! It can begin now if we will just sing together and forget each others' business--just take care of our own.
I had a final vision which revealed the end results of this double sided issue of women's ordination. It's printed in a book titled, God's Quickenings and quoted here.
t was 5 a.m. when I walked downstairs into my office to use my new computer for the first morning since our son finished assembling it. This marvelous 10GB, 350MHz-Pentium II, lightning-speed machine was put under my hands, I have no doubts, by my Master. It caused me to wonder what privilege and opportunities lay ahead for me in kingdom building with it.
As I sat viewing this massive system--complete with keyboard controls for TV, phone, radio and a CD player--I felt like a kid sitting behind the controls of a UFO, ready to fly out into the universe. All I could think was "Wow!"
The backup copy of the system was zipping into its final bytes on the tape, and as I waited I turned on the CD player. Beautiful soothing music swelled into the room, lifting me with it. In this praise worship I was filled with gratitude for the gifts of God to humankind. Immediately my thoughts were directed to the evening before when my companion and I attended a roast for a retiring judge. The highlight of the evening, for me, was the last speakera young woman who could be another Carol Burnette, but is the Speaker of the Missouri State House of Representativesa first in history.
I admired her gifts greatly and as I was caught up in this beautiful music, my soul was quickened to think on the love and respect God has for gifted women who desire to serve in righteousness. And I felt that the great division that exists in many churches over the ordination of women would be suddenly swept away when the Lord comes to take His people under His wings of love.
As the music saturated my soul I could feel the future of peace and love with divided brethren who had now become united, and all things were suddenly in loving order under the Lord.
Oh, that I had words to express the peace and total harmony that I saw with spiritual eyes as the souls of many were one, dancing, swirling as it were, in spirit, one eternal round of joy and love, completely united in God's Spirit. I pray that day will come quickly. Until then it is good to remember that in God is love--that we are commanded to love each other unconditionally as God loves us. And He said, "Be still and know that I AM God."
UPDATE 2011: The Lord pruned the branch. In 2002 God sent a great grandson of Joseph Smith, Jr., Fred Neils Larsen, to lead the body until the time when Restored Israel will come in greater numbers and build up the New Jerusalem. And like the example of Jesus' coming wherein the Jews expected their Messiah to come as a conquering king with blaring trumpets, God again chose another quiet way. And today people again don't recognize the Lord's pattern of how He works. God has sent one who has the lineal right to lead, (through his mother, as is the Jewish law), but many don't recognize the hand of God working. It's a true test of the Spirit's leading.