My Personal Story by Larry Tidwell
Favorite Color: Purple – Favorite Song: Same Mistakes by One Direction: Email: email@example.com – phone: US (801) 738-2838 Korea 010-7419-6301(Please text before calling letting me know who you are and the purpose of your call.)
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)
Greetings from South Korea, the Land of the Morning Calm!
Throughout my life, I have tried to get wisdom and understanding. I remember my mom taking me to the eye doctor each year before school started. Each year I had to get stronger and stronger glasses. One day, a thought entered in my mind that by the time I got to be an adult, I would be completely blind. I thought to myself, “If I am going to be blind, I am not going to be stupid.” So, I read every book I could get my hands on, from the stories in the Bible, my textbooks, the Hardy Boys and even the World Book Encyclopedia! I hungered and thirsted for knowledge. Like most people, the book that influenced me the most was the stories from the Children’s Bible I read in the 4th grade. I thought Moses was pretty cool, saving the Children of Israel by the miracles he did. I liked Noah saving the animals and the story of David and Goliath. I like those as much as the Brer Rabbit and the Uncle Remus tales I read. But I found things in these stories from the Bible that I just could not understand, like why the Israelites rejected God and wanted a mortal king like everyone else, or why the Jews killed Christ just because he said things they didn’t like.
Being a good LDS boy, I went to Sunday School and was very happy to tell my teachers all about the cool Bible stories I was reading. My teachers told my mom I knew the Bible stories better than they did. As I got older, other things I couldn’t explain cropped up, like the time my great grandpa came to see me to save me from the darkness that had enveloped my room and why that was the only time in my life I could see perfectly without my glasses. (I now know, because of what I have learned, what really happened, which is something no LDS leader could explain, but was explained perfectly by a true messenger.)
Soon, I was learning about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I liked the story of Joseph and how he saw God and Jesus and that they came out of the darkness just like my grandpa did. I could never deny Joseph’s story because it was similar to mine. How he got the gold plates was interesting; but I really wanted to see and hold the Urim and Thummim more than looking at the plates. I really wondered how they worked. My interest in the Urim and Thummim never left me and I hope someday to hold them.
While reading the Book of Mormon, more questions cropped up, like why the Lord would tell the Brother of Jared to build a boat in which the people couldn’t see or breathe. You’d think that being able to create worlds, he would have thought of a better design. I really enjoyed the story of Nephi and especially the story of the Liahona and how it guided the people to the Promised Land, based on their obedience to the commandments of the Lord. I thought it would be so cool to see it and hold it, too. I enjoyed the story of Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty. I thought he was very brave.
As I got older, I began to realize that there are good people and there are bad people. I thought that the reason why is because people learn from their own experiences and what they observe in others. I always wanted to “choose the right” like the song we sang in Primary.
I learned Spanish during my junior high and high school years and during my first year of college studying at Utah State University, with the hope of getting a Spanish-speaking mission when I turned 19. I wasn’t at all happy and very disappointed when I received my mission call. I was called to serve in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. Although I was crushed that I didn’t get to go on a Spanish-speaking mission like I wanted, I left with high hopes and an eager heart. However, my hopes were dashed as my mission president tried to run the mission like a business (go figure). He once told us that if he could, he’d fire about half of us. Looking back, I really don’t blame him. Some of the missionaries I served with were some of the most prideful and judgmental people I have ever dealt with.
But I also learned some great lessons, too. Like the time when I was a “greenie” knocking on the doors in rural Arkansas. An old lady let us into her house. She kept rambling on and on about this and that. My companion just patiently listened to her stories. She told us she knew how to play two instruments at the same time and asked us if we wanted to hear her play. My companion said, “Yes,” and while she went to retrieve her instruments, I told my companion we needed to start teaching her our discussions soon. His answer was profound. He said, “Elder Tidwell, people are more important than programs!” I was humbled and never forgot that lesson. She gave an outstanding performance, by the way!
In retrospect, my mission turned out to be the perfect place for me to go, because of the poor example of my mission president and my fellow missionaries. My mission set me up to learn about the Bible and appreciate it as well as the Book of Mormon, and to start asking questions and thinking for myself. Because of my experience with my mission president and my fellow missionaries, I returned from my mission discouraged, because I did not see them living the gospel of Jesus Christ by doing good to others. They certainly did not do good to me.
I continued my studies at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. My disillusionment continued as I observed how my now-returned missionary friends and roommates were going to church to impress their girlfriends and not necessarily to worship God. As you can see, I became just as judgmental as my former missionary friends did. At this time, the rhetoric coming out of the leadership against gay people became so vile and mean that I knew that these leaders could not possibly represent Christ. I decided to suffer through it all until I graduated and was on my own, and then make a decision about what to do about my church membership.
Towards the end of my college career, I had a great time at my fraternity parties. My Bishop found out about them and was not happy. He told my parent’s Bishop, who then told my parents. I now refer to the phone call as a call from “church Gestapo services,” because of the way they snitched on a 25-year-old member who was not even living with his parents. This just pissed me off even further and made me more determined to follow through with my plan.
Upon graduation, I got a job in Salt Lake City. I was working and on my own. It was at this time I started to implement my plan. I never went to church and dropped completely out of sight, reveling in my newfound freedom. My first job was at Sam Weller’s Rare Bookstore. I worked with Lila Weller, Sam’s wife. She showed me the bounced check that Mark Hoffman wrote to the Weller’s to pay for some rare books they had sold to him. Upon reflection about the whole Mark Hoffman affair, I came to realize that the Wellers, as well as the LDS leadership (all being priesthood holders), had been deceived. I then began to wonder what other things they might be deceived about.
My inactivity in the LDS church came at a cost as well, as I also gave up any support network available to me. I became very aware that outside of co-workers, I had no friends. A co-worker told me about a self-help course that really turned his life around and recommended that I take it. I took it and it really helped build my confidence in myself, which gave me the courage to follow through with my plan. Later, friends introduced me to an LDS offshoot church that made more sense to me than what I had experienced in the LDS Church. They taught similar principles but were far, far more compassionate than their LDS counterparts in reference to gay people and people of color. They allowed women to receive the priesthood and had the temple endowment. One of the founders of this church had been a sealer in the Los Angeles temple and thus had the “sealing power.” I felt renewed and relieved to find something that would not require me to give up two core beliefs that I knew I would never give up: Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
Soon after I joined this church, I went to its General Conference. I was the talk of the conference. It seemed that the President of the Quorum of the Twelve had had a dream about me serving with him in a future presidency. Later, his dream came true as I was called to serve as his counselor in the presidency of the Church. Yes, I became a locust! (If you don’t know what that is, read the 666 book). I served in this calling for around 15 years, with two different presidents. Eventually, we could see that our membership wasn’t growing and that what members we had had “looked way beyond the mark” and eventually completely rejected our teachings, and the teachings of Christ. Besides serving as a counselor in the First Presidency, I also became the Presiding Patriarch.
Soon after being called into the Presidency, I was tired of living a lie. I had decided to leave the LDS church, but was unsure how to properly do it. I eventually told my very LDS family about my newfound church. My family wasn’t happy. My dad screamed at me for two hours, saying some of meanest things I have ever heard directed towards me from another human being. If not for my friends, I would have committed suicide that night. My sister demanded that I leave the church or she would have me excommunicated. Within days of this experience, I formally left the LDS Church; I personally delivered a letter to the Member Services people at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City. My letter was only three sentences long: “I have not had any affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for many years. I do not wish to have any further affiliation with said church in the future. Please remove my name from your membership records.” It took around sixty days and some threats of legal action and I was finally out.
Eventually, my newfound church folded (November 30, 2010) and I was now left without a church. To be honest, I was relieved. I never sought the positions I was entrusted with, but simply served because there just wasn’t anyone else to do the job. None of us got rich off our service. In fact, it cost all of the leadership not only our money, but our time and in some cases, our relationships. But we served the best we could.
During my time serving in church leadership, I had some heart surgery, which left me wanting to experience more than just LDS teachings. I answered an Ad about a Native American retreat being held in the Uinta Mountains and went there. I had always wondered what a Nephite sacrament meeting would have been like. I liked what I saw there and for the next four years, I went to sweat lodges, did fire walking, and vision quests. I enjoyed my time with a man I called “the Chief.” One of the most important things I remember him saying to me was, “Never give your power to any created thing.” I also became acquainted with another Native American teacher that taught me that there was no such personage as Satan. He also taught me the reality of reincarnation and many of the stories, traditions, and ceremonies of the Native American people. I was a very busy “prophet, seer and revelator,” as well as a student to two Native American teachers. Then the Chief died.
In September of 2006, I accepted a job to teach English in Korea. I felt like this would allow our church members a chance to grow, by giving them a chance to serve, as I and the other church leaders had been doing most of the work. I had been working in the same line of business for 18 years and was really burned out. So, when the opportunity presented itself to work in Korea, I took it.
I found Korea to be an enchanting and cool place to live. I loved teaching the children and working with my Korean coworkers. I planned on staying only one year, but then the Great Recession hit and, with jobs so hard to come by, I decided to stay here. Then my other Native American teacher died and later, the church fell apart. Now I was alone once more, with a lot more time to think about things.
After the church folded, I was relieved to no longer carry the burden of trying to lead people and having to fulfill their wrongheaded ideas about what a church leader should be like, how they thought I should act, and what things they thought I should be doing. Now I had a choice: go back to the LDS Church, find another LDS offshoot to join, join another church that seemed good, or simply be still and do nothing. I held out the belief that one day the Lord would call others to carry on the work of gathering “the outcasts of Israel” that my fellow servants and I had failed to do. So I waited, patiently looking for the Lord to form another church.
Occasionally, I would look around the internet to see if anyone had any revelations about starting a new church. I researched other LDS-based churches, but never found anything that made sense or that I could believe in. They seemed to teach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture, or followed their vain and foolish imaginations. Nothing appealed to me and that was okay with me. I was willing to wait.
I developed a strong interest in the Twelve Tribes of Israel as a result of my service as a patriarch, and began researching them individually. One day, I came across a video on YouTube about the Native Americans having similar dress patterns as those of the tribe of Gad. I thought it was interesting. Unfortunately, I did not bookmark it and tried several times to locate it again. On July 24, 2013 (love the date here), I was chatting with a friend of mine who had once been a member of my former church. I told him that after about a year and half of searching, that I had determined that the true church was not on the Earth and that I would continue to look until I found it. Three days later, I was looking for the YouTube video I had found earlier about the tribe of Gad. Being unsuccessful, I thought I would look for some information about them on the LDS-oriented blogs out there and ran across a conversation Julie Taggart was having with some of Christopher’s naysayers. She encouraged them to read the books of the MWAW and provided a link to them. I clicked on her link to the website of the Marvelous Work and a Wonder®. To my surprise, there was the Sealed Portion and all the other books.
At the time, I had a three-week vacation and nothing to do. So I began reading. I first read The Sealed Portion, since I had always believed that the Sealed Portion would come out when the LDS church got its act together and was ready for it. I felt for years that it was extremely unfair that the Lord was withholding something from me and others who were prepared and searching for it. I felt we were being punished because of the unrighteousness of others. I figured that the Lord knew what he was doing and had resigned myself to the idea that it would be a long time in the future before it would come out. I read it that afternoon and from sun-up to way past sundown for the next three days.
I was a bit skeptical, but continued to press on until the end. It made a whole lot of sense. I then read the Sacred, not Secret book next and was blown away by the clarity of the temple ceremony. It answered the questions we had wondered about as a Presidency in my former church. That took me about two days of straight reading. Next, following the advice of Marilyn Roh, I read the Human Reality book. Four days later, I had that book done. After that, I read the Joseph Smith book. I finished that book in about three days of non-stop reading. Finally, I read the 666 book last and was amazed at the clarity of the symbolism presented there. It was the most fulfilling three-week vacation I have ever had!
When I was done reading the books, I just sat there and laughed and laughed. I knew that everything I had learned in this world was garbage. Everything. I had found that the wisdom of this (supposedly) wise man (me) had indeed perished, that all of the “wisdom” I had learned was useless in the eternal sense. I had found something that made so much more sense than anything else I had come across. I knew the veracity of King Benjamin’s words and that “all of our righteousness is as filthy rags” before God.
The only negative thing I felt in all honesty was a bit of jealousy that I had not been chosen to be the messenger, or had any part of any of this work coming out. However, I remembered the words of my favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) But as I have watched Christopher (albeit from afar), I am now grateful I didn’t have to go through the hell Christopher has had to go through.
I still wasn’t done with my reading though. I then searched out Christopher’s enemies. I thoroughly went through all of his enemies’ websites, any LDS blogs that I could find about Christopher, and even read F.A.I.R.’s criticism of The Sealed Portion. I read the articles in the City Weekly. One thing I noticed about all of them was that they each had an agenda and a stake in Christopher being wrong. But the thing that sealed the deal (and my fate) was a comment by a gentleman in one of the LDS blogs who wrote something like this: “Well, Nephi committed murder and people still followed him. So far, Christopher hasn’t killed anyone, so he can’t be too bad.” That did it for me. I knew that, although I had issues with Christopher’s conduct in those formative years (I had read his defense of some of them), I also knew that the things I had read in the books made more sense than anything else I had come across. I decided then and there I would follow the example of those who followed Nephi (even despite his failings), or other Messengers who had their flaws—to see their flaws as stumbling blocks set up for the people—and to accept the message over the Messenger.
Well, it’s now been many years since I found the MWAW and I feel I have given it enough time to observe how the MWAW has changed my life. Here are a few things I have noticed: First, I am at peace. When my family and friends look at my pictures now, they comment on how peaceful I look. I am calm and able to deal with the challenges that I face with a sense of calmness and a knowledge that the only thing that really matters is how I treat others and how I treat myself. The MWAW has not solved all of my problems, but has made dealing with them so much easier and less stressful. I have found that, although Christopher has taken away the guilt that I once had (by those things I learned from him), I don’t always have to do certain things, just because I can. (For instance, if I wanted to have sex with somebody, I could, and not feel guilty about it.)
One of my favorite teachings of Joseph Smith is, “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good, they shall in nowise lose their reward.” (See LDS D&C 58:26-28.) I tried to teach this idea to the people in my former church and now try to make the Messenger’s life a little easier by doing the same now. I try to make the best decision I can and not burden him or others with “my stuff,” but to support him whenever possible. The hardest thing for me to give up is judging myself, other people, or current events. I try to imagine living like the Real Illuminati® and feeling no sorrow, except for seeing us mistreating each other and messing up our planet. I try to become like the children I teach: humble and yet open and eager to learn.
Just in case you are coming to this page before reading the books, I want to explain my view about what the MWAW is. I can do that better by telling you what it isn’t. The MWAW is not a religion (it is as far from religion as you can get). It uses religious jargon because (unfortunately) that’s the language in which most people can hear and understand the message. It is not a spiritual path, a movement, or a philosophy. It is simply a message. There are no followers, groups, or congregations, just people who have received and accepted the message. That’s it. What you do with the message is entirely up to you.
At the LDS Institute of Religion in Logan, Utah, near the campus of Utah State University, is a mural at the entrance. The mural is titled, “The Grove Awaits.” It shows a young man heading into a wooded grove of trees. If you look really close, you will see that the young man has no face. I was told that the artist didn’t paint a face on the boy on purpose, that he did it in order to illustrate the idea that each of us has to have our own “sacred grove” experience. We each have to find the truth for ourselves, through the power of “the Holy Ghost,” the truthfulness of those things we seek. In other words, the “The Grove Awaits” for each of us. So, I hope after you receive these things, that you will enter into your own sacred grove to receive your own confirmation of the “truth of these things hidden from before the foundation of the world.” I hope that through this knowledge, you will find the peace that Christ promised you, the same peace that I have found.
As you can see, I have always been searching. Since my contact with the MWAW, my desire for knowledge has not diminished at all. I will now continue to seek “the mysteries of God until I know them in full,” until I take my last breath.
Thanks for reading my lengthy intro. Now you have a little glimpse into my journey. I hope this helps you or somehow inspires you or benefits you in some way. I wish you the best. I leave with you the departing words of Moroni from The Sealed Portion: the Final Testament of Jesus Christ:
14 And now, with my parting words unto you
I leave you my blessing and my love.
15 Yea, love one another. Do good to all.
16 Look at your neighbors and imagine them
as a child of God. Know that each of you is a
child of God, and that He loveth each of you,
and hath done all these things for your good.
17 Remember the words of Christ which have
been given unto you. Remember them, my
beloved brothers and sisters; for in them ye shall
know peace and happiness.
18 And one day we shall meet in the
kingdoms of the Father, where we shall receive
eternal life. Amen
With all of my love, always,