In the fall of 2008 I had taken a second job as a night watchman at an academy that specialized in treating and educating teens with depression, anxiety, social issues, and learning disabilities. My job was to ensure that that the residents stayed in their sleeping quarters at night, or get them help if needed.
I would have long, quiet nights where I had the opportunity to read, study and learn various things on the Internet throughout the night. It was here that I eventually discovered The Sealed Portion, the Final Testament of Jesus Christ.
I was raised in the LDS Church throughout my childhood in the 80s, then into the 90s. I was accepted into BYU after High school, then served a mission in the Dominican Republic at the age of nineteen. It was on my mission where I began to really appreciate the scriptures, especially the occurrences of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. It intrigued me, I loved to find new chiasmus structures all throughout the Book of Mormon.
I enjoyed finding symbolic teachings in the Book of Mormon and would often read and ponder about things I had learned while working nights at the academy. I had always felt that there was a lot more to learn from the LDS endowment as well. I recall asking ward bishops and temple presidents what the meaning was behind the symbolic nature of several scenes from the LDS endowment, but never being able to get answers that made sense. I would think about these things during those long nights at work.
I came across many interesting things regarding lost and hidden scriptures on the Internet. Some things I found were obvious fakes and forgeries. Others were apocryphal books that weren’t canonized into the modern-day Bible. One of these many long nights I came across something that would change my life forever. I had found a website that had a downloadable copy of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. I had seen other publications online that had claimed to be the “real” sealed portion, but their authenticity was easily discounted. Except for one. The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon, translated by Christopher Nemelka.
I had never heard of Christopher before, and found his last name to be unique and almost strange. I was hesitant to continue reading what I thought might be another fake, but the more I read, the more I realized it was no fake, nor forgery. The more I read the more amazed I was at how it kept answering questions I had in the back of my mind from the LDS Temple Endowment to the Book of Revelation.
This led me to find the other books that had come from Christopher. I read “Sacred, Not Secret” and was amazed to find that every question I had ever had about symbols and tokens in the LDS Temple Endowment were explained with perfect clarity, and it all made perfect sense! Then I read the next book I found on the website, which had also come from Christopher, the book that explained every symbol and odd thing found within the Book of Revelation. And it all made perfect sense!
I was excited to share everything I had learned from the books I had read with friends and family, but that’s when the issues began. I couldn’t comprehend why something that we as an LDS people had been looking forward to for so long, the eventual release of sealed portion of the Book of Mormon and the clarification of the Book of Revelation mentioned in the Book of Mormon, was making people so angry! Anyone I shared the books with would immediately dismiss them as nonsense.
It was such an odd reaction from people that it was depressing. I felt I had a true glimpse into what many people I had taught on my mission had gone through as they discovered and shared the Book of Mormon with their Christian and Catholic families. I now understood what it would have been like when Joseph Smith had shared his translation with the world and the pushback and criticisms that came shortly thereafter.
I met Christopher at a symposium at the Salt Lake City Library in the winter of 2008. I felt like I had known him all my life, even though it was my first introduction face to face. The people at that symposium were kind and very nice to me and I became good friends with several people almost immediately.
From then on, I had question after question, and the answers couldn’t come fast enough. I would have lunch with the people I had met at the symposium from time to time. Sometimes Christopher would join us for lunch, but not too often. He was funny, likeable, and humble all at the same time. I found Christopher to be very kind person.
I had finally found what I had been looking for, real answers that made real sense. It made so much sense to me that I would end up sharing the things I had learned with the bishopric, as I was the second counselor in the bishopric at the time. After affirming my belief in the books from this work in an email to the Bishop and Stake President, I was quickly released from my calling as Second Counselor in the Bishopric, and then my Temple Recommend was taken away. Eventually all the negative feedback I had received from friends and family when I tried to share these books with would eventually put me into a tailspin of stupid decisions as I hungered for validation. I would eventually become a doubter for many years, and became critical of anything that Christopher would say.
I made several bad decisions that had very negative effects on my family, but I loved my wife and children dearly, so I would eventually let go of all the amazing truths I had found in favor of raising my kids in peace and quiet with the Church. It made my family happy, the calm returned to my life, but I could never deny that everything I had learned from this work trumped anything I would ever hear or learn from attending Church on Sundays, or during LDS General Conference meetings.
Years went on, and I could never completely remove myself from the work as it continued to teach me things I couldn’t find anywhere else. I would follow Christopher’s journals, watch the videos that were released on YouTube, and I would attend events here and there.
I eventually would come back to full fellowship with the LDS Church, as I wanted to support my son’s decision to serve a mission. I wanted to be with him for his first experience with the Temple Endowment. I found that no matter how hard I tried to discount the work though, it always made more sense than any of the myriads of talks and lessons I would get from the Church.
So here I am today, coming up on about sixteen years since I had found the sealed portion. I love the people and friends I’ve made in the Church. I love its culture. I love that I’ve always been accepted by the members. But I cannot deny that the books of this Marvelous Work and a Wonder are real.
What I have learned from this work has made so many things clear to me. It’s amazing how simple it all really is. This work has taught me that it’s not the callings, the tithing, the offerings, the talks, and all the other required by the LDS Church as what it considers to be the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s simple. Be kind to others. Treat others the way that you would want to be treated. Christ’s yolk truly is easy and not heavy to bear.
I now see what I could not see before. I now understand that the true gospel is just doing your best to do the simple things Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Found word-for-word in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I’m doing my best to no longer look beyond the mark, but just follow the simple code of Humanity by treating everyone with love and acceptance. A clarity that I found though this Marvelous Work and a Wonder. And it just keeps getting better. I keep learning the mysteries of God, line upon line, precept upon precept through this work
Feel free to reach out to me. I’ve been through a long journey. I’d love to share my experiences and how I dealt with the challenges of accepting this work and continuing to be a member of the LDS Church. I want to help any in need of support as they discover the real truth in all things. It’s a tough path, but it really is worth it.