Teaching Preparedness: Advice From The Brethren
Not long ago, a senior church leader came down from Salt Lake City to Lake Havasu and had a word with my Stake President, who then called me into his office for a special meeting to discuss the activities of Roger and myself in getting people prepared.
As many of you may remember, a while back Roger and I were holding preparedness seminars to help people better understand and prepare for the events of the last days. About 6 months prior to this meeting, we had made the decision to discontinue the seminars, according to the guidance of the Spirit.
During his visit, it was conveyed that it was the opinion of the leadership of the church that the seminars Roger and I had been presenting were violating the free agency of the LDS people coming to them.
The concern was simple: Roger, apparently, had been doing such a good job at laying out all of the relevant scripture, quotes, prophecies, statements, and current events surrounding the last days that it would be all but impossible for someone to walk away from the body of the seminar and not know the truthfulness of it. Thus, by presenting them with, and placing so much truth upon them, we were violating their free agency by not allowing them to disown / disagree / leave with a reasonable doubt. We were, in effect, forcing accountability upon them, and thus making them more fully accountable for that additional knowledge than they would otherwise be ready for. ("For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish." - D&C 19:22)
I was also counseled that the manner of our presentation was not how the brethren would prefer this information be conveyed to the LDS members. They would, from this time forward, prefer to be responsible for the dissemination of that material in open public settings themselves.
What's particularly interesting about the counsel provided by this good brother is that Roger's books and this website were excluded from the guidance. Apparently, members willing to seek out this information by reading forum posts or studying books are viewed from a different perspective than those who simply sit and listen. I suspect it has to do with taking much more deliberate actions to buy the book and read it, and to participate here over the course of much time. Perhaps time is a central component. However, this is just speculation on my part.
Also, interestingly, this counsel did not pertain to us holding the same types of meetings for non-LDS members.
To this end, brothers and sisters, it is the renewed mission of this site to exercise great care in not violating anyone's free agency by confronting them with the words of the prophets and apostles. Just because it is so, and we happen to know it, does not give us the right or the authority to accost someone with that information. I was told in no uncertain terms, this is not how the brethren work, and it is not how I should proceed in the future.
Obviously, this issue has nothing at all to do with the truth of the message (quite the opposite, in fact). It has everything to do with each person's personal desire to accept more truth and light. If they are not ready, able or willing to progress, then we should not push them along. They must come at their own speed, and in their own time. I was told that we must present the information in the same manner as the brethren do it -- with gentleness, meekness, humbleness and longsuffering. We are not to inspire fear, panic, or distress as motivators. Temporal preparedness needs to be an outward manifestation of inward spirituality.