‘Dear Brother Featherstone’ (Part 1 of 2)

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Christ, Christology, George S. Rasmussen, Jesus Christ, LdS Temple Theology, Mormon Studies, Theology, Vaughn J. Featherstone

by George S. Rasmussen
During the summer of 1982 my wife and I received the following unsolicited letter from Vaughn J. Featherstone, a member of the LDS First Quorum of the Seventy in Salt Lake City. In his letter Featherstone questioned us closely about a report he had received, apparently from a third party, expressing concern for our ongoing investigation of Mormon claims. I will post our reply to Mr. Featherstone’s letter as Part Two.

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
The First Quorum of the Seventy
47 East South Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

June 30,1982

Mr. and Mrs. George Rasmussen
Tempe, AZ

Dear Brother and Sister Rasmussen:

Your decision to leave the “Mormon” Church and join another Christian church has come to my attention. Someone has said, “Though argument does not change belief, the lack of it destroys belief.” I understand that the removal of the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants was your major concern. Let me raise some questions, in love, that you should ask yourself before making this choice that has eternal consequences. Possibly you would want to be as thorough in your investigation of a new found “faith” as you were in your study that led you out of the Church.

It is my understanding, Brother Rasmussen, that you served a mission for the Church and that you were married in the temple. Lest what I write next seem too simplistic, please continue on. Your concern over the Lectures on Faith is one I have personally come to grips with. Those faced with such concerns have used the principle in Book of Mormon, Key to Conversion. That is, go back and again read the Book of Mormon, pray and ponder over every page, then ask, “Could Joseph Smith possibly have written this?” I am a special witness that Joseph Smith’s testimony is true. I bear a sacred testimony and would do so with my life, if necessary, that he was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true.

Vaughn Featherstone at the 1984 Minneapolis Regional Confernence

Vaughn Featherstone at the 1984 LdS Church Minneapolis Regional Conference

Now, to the possibly less simplistic questions I would ask myself if I were you:

1. Where does the Nazarene Church pastor receive his authority? Trace it all the way back to the beginning. Your normal thoroughness would dictate this.

2. Have the pastor explain and teach you the church’s concept of God, the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Have them teach you their concept of the Holy Ghost.

3. Ask your minister about the doctrine of the Nazarene Church regarding the myriads of souls who lived in ages past that have died without ever hearing of the Nazarene Church, or even of Christ. Have him explain the interpretation of the scripture, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead if the dead rise not at all?” Does this church practice baptism for the dead? Only one Church that I know of does and you understand why (I Corinthians 15). Ask your minister to explain the three degrees of glory talked about by Paul, again in I Corinthians 15.

4. Ask him if he would continue to be a pastor in the church if his salary were discontinued. As you know, we do not have a paid ministry.

5. Have the minister explain the term Melchizedek as mentioned in Hebrews 7:1-6, Hebrews 5:6,10, etc., etc.

6. Ask the minister if he pays a tithing. As you know, our stake presidents, bishops, and General Authorities do. Are the people in the church tithed?

7. What is his interpretation of Isaiah 58:6-9? Does his church have a fast and an offering?

8. You understand the Bible. In Ephesians 4:11-13, we are to have apostles and prophets in the Church till we all come in the unity of the faith. This has not happened yet. Also, all the other officers including evangelists (patriarchs).

10. Ask the minister if his church has “sealing” powers as mentioned in the 16th chapter of Matthew. I testify to you, in the name of Christ, that there is no other church on the earth that has sealing powers that can seal a man and woman together for time and all eternity.

11. Does the Nazarene Church have a missionary program to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people? It should if it is the only true and living church of Christ on the earth. (See Matthew 25 the last few verses).

12. What does Malachi mean by “turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers?” You know but the minister doesn’t. Over the years you have been taught the hidden treasures of knowledge-the Word of Wisdom, sealing powers, the plan of salvation, genealogy and temple work, etc. etc. These things are common to you, but not so with the minister.

13. Show me another church that even approaches the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ welfare program. You know that we teach self reliance, thrift, and independence.

14. Ask him about temples in his church and what takes place there. Ask him to tell you about the “coat of skins” that clothed Adam and Eve.

15. Ask him to explain where his church received the baptismal prayer, the sacramental prayers, and determine how shallow or deep his understanding is of the sacrament.

16. What mode of baptism is used? “Buried with him in baptism,” as in Colossians 2:12?

17. Have your minister explain what you already know:
Daniel 2:28-35,44 The stone is this church

Ezekiel 37:15-19 Two records

Isaiah 2:2-3 You know where the mountain of the Lord’s house is. Does the
minister?

Genesis 49:22-26 Who is the seed of Joseph which will be “separate” from his
brethren “unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills?”

You know, but the minister does not.

Isaiah 29:4 & 11-14 The Angel Moroni delivering the Book of Mormon.

Now, I could go on and on taking scriptures from the Bible that you both understand but the ministers do not. You have had the Pearl of Great Price all along. Don’t sell five generations of a birthright for a mess of pottage. Look into your souls. Have you faithfully lived the Word of Wisdom? Have you faithfully paid your tithing? Were you regularly attending meetings in the Mormon Church? Is your life free from transgression? Are you pure in your thinking? Were you faithfully holding quality family home evenings, family prayer, and personal prayers. Were you keeping every covenant you made in the temple? Only you can look deep in your hearts and make certain that there is not a “real” reason other than the “reason given” for leaving the Church.

President Heber J. Grant said, “If you get on a hobbyhorse it will ride you right out of the Church.” It doesn’t matter whether it is the Lectures on Faith, the Word of Wisdom, the Equal Rights Amendment, or any other hobby.

My friends, think back on the Book of Mormon. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Nephi, Jacob, King Benjamin, Ammon, Alma, Samuel, Mormon, and Moroni. These and all the other prophets in the Book of Mormon were some of the greatest prophets who ever lived. What a tragedy it would be to remove the prophets and teachings of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price from my life or from yours. I know that these prophets lived and that the Book of Mormon is true.

It is my opinion, learning of your story, that your experiences with your faith in Christ are valid. No church on the earth believes in Christ, the literal, physical Son of God like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We know he was sired by God, our Heavenly Father, and that Mary was his mother.

Under separate cover, I am sending you a copy of a book I have written, Charity Never Faileth. Perhaps it will share with you my love and tender feelings for the Church.

Vaughn J. Featherstone (left) takes in a 2009 Young Men's address by LdS President Thomas S. Monson

Vaughn J. Featherstone (left) takes in a 2009 Young Men’s address by LdS President Thomas S. Monson

I remember hearing the story of a bishop who was released after six years of service. He felt lonely and unneeded. He said that Satan tempted him, saying, “Read the Doctrine and Covenants and I will prove to you that it is not true.” He said that Satan took him through the Doctrine and Covenants, page by page, and raised every question he could. When the bishop laid down the Doctrine and Covenants, he said his testimony hung in the balance and he was no longer absolutely certain that it was true. He knelt down in prayer and pled with the Lord to help him know whether or not it was true. He said, “I pled like I never had before in my life. Then I went back and read again the Doctrine and Covenants, only this time the Savior took me through it. Every page confirmed that it was divinely inspired and I had regained my testimony.” Then the Lord revealed to this bishop that a change was being made in the stake and he would be the new stake president. A few weeks later he was called as stake president.

Please, my wonderful Latter-day Saint friends, this is a test. Do not fail. All eternity is hanging in the balance.

I am sending a copy of this letter to your stake president so that someone can visit you and be available to respond to whatever questions you may have.

Sincerely and with great faith,

Vaughn J. Featherstone

– Go to Part 2 –

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