Saturday I was in Idaho Falls. After the conclusion of the talk my wife and I drove home. We went to church with the family Sunday morning, then she and I drove back to Logan on Sunday evening for the talk there.
Three talks have been given. There was an introduction, and then discussions about faith and repentance comprised the first three topics. The Centerville talk, this coming Sunday, will be about covenants.
There are about 7 1/2 hours of material covered to this point. This is about 30% of what will be covered. My original estimate of 25 hours seems to be about right at this point. I'm hoping to get another talk in before the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year time frame and then not do another one until the Spring. If another can be fit in after Centerville and before a winter break, then this will be 50% complete. That would be a wonderful accomplishment.
Now that three are done, I have learned how challenging it is to drive and speak in two venues in a single weekend. The only other time I expect that to happen will be in Las Vegas and St. George.
There continue to be warnings coming from the leadership about attending these talks. That seems to be attracting unwanted attention. The size of the audience in Boise and Idaho Falls was about the same. Logan was larger. Centerville should accommodate 500, but I'm hoping there will be empty seats. If the church continues to oppose, discuss, announce and call attention to this it will drive up curiosity. I don't like that.
Here's what happens. When someone who has been warned that I'm "apostate" comes and listens, they hear something that doesn't sound like it is apostate. It seems rather more faith promoting and sincere than rebellious and angry. That produces another round of distrust of the church that is altogether avoidable if the church would just be quiet. Opposing won't work. Ignoring is the best tactic. I'd recommend that the leadership and those stake presidents and bishops who want to prevent people from coming to hear me never mention my name. That way I can come and go unnoticed by those who are not interested enough to search out what it is I am doing. Let them sleep. I'm not trying to steal anyone. But people can be alienated by the false and unwarranted criticism being cast my way.
If what I am doing is of God, then that will show soon enough. If it is not of God, then it will fail of its own accord. Nothing needs to be done. The best approach is to allow the matter to unfold as it will. In the end, we will all know whether this is something the Lord has required of me, or if I am just another one of the long list of pretenders.
I give this advice in all sincerity. Smaller venues and a more intimate and informed group would be better Larger crowds, who are interested in a carnival atmosphere will be disappointed. I discuss scripture and doctrine. Deseret Book told me, "doctrine doesn't sell."
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