Are Mormons Required To OBEY Church “Leaders”?

Logo, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Apparently, there is a growing number of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are confused about what a prophet is and isn’t. Because of this whole world-wide coronavirus pandemic, many of these members are claiming that “the prophet” has told us to wear masks, and other such nonsense claims. These people are sowing dissension within the church and even going as far as declaring that the members, like me, who refuse to wear the mark of the beast to enter meeting houses, are actually tares and should be removed from callings and the church.

So, I have collected a couple videos to help illustrate my argument that “a prophet is only a prophet when speaking prophetically”. In other words, if he, the president of the Church is not saying ‘sayeth the Lord’, or equivalent, he is just giving his opinion. For instance, when President Russel M. Nelson announced changes to the priesthood structure, shortly after being named president, he in fact claimed the change were divinely revealed. He was acting as a prophet.

This is a video released by the Church of Jesus Christ itself that teaches us exactly what a prophet is:

This second video is produced by a member of the Church by the name of Scott Woodward. I’m sharing it because it explores the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints concerning the words church presidents say and whether they are meant to be obeyed or whether they are simply the opinion of the man who said them.

Please watch and share them with your member friends and family.


Timcast IRL – Largest Teacher’s Union APPROVES Teaching Marxism, CRT, In Schools w/Asra Nomani

This is pretty scary stuff here. If you have school age children, keep them out of the public school system.

Released From Church ‘Callings’, Is Excommunication Next?

Logo, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

My ward conference was two weeks ago. I was barred from attending in-person, but watched it live via the private YouTube stream. When the members were asked for any opposing votes to the offices of Stake President, Bishop, and Priests Quorum President, I raised my hand, even though I was in my home alone.

The at home members were then instructed to notify the stake president if we had an opposing vote. So I immediately wrote a short and sweet email to the stake president, whom I was opposing, notifying him of my opposition to those callings.

Fast forward to Saturday May 1, 2021, and I come home to a voice message from the bishop, whose callings I voted opposed to. Telling me that my own callings had to be “switched out” to someone else the following day, because I wasn’t attending.

Attending what?!!!

I tuned in the fallowing day to my ward’s sacrament stream on YouTube, and sure enough, I was release with a vote of thanks, presumably. (The camera never shows the congregation, despite the fact that I personally programmed it’s ability to do so, it’s the operators decision.) My callings weren’t specifically mentioned, but I consider it a valid release.

Anyway, I am an open book, so here is my official response I offered to the bishopric via an email with the subject line “Thank You For “Releasing Me” LOL”:

“Hi Bro. Carter. I just want you to know that I have received the voice mail you left me. Thank you for “releasing” me from these callings. I now know, without any doubt, that you are in fact releasing people as a personal vendetta and penalty for opposing you, even when we are 100% compliant, as I am. I had suspected, but now I have the proof.

“First of all, I need to point out that I do not oppose my release. After-all, I did ask to be released a few times since November 18. It’s pretty obvious I cannot perform the duties of either of those callings if I am forbidden to enter the premises.

“For my release, I say thank you.

“I do contest your decision to do so without consulting me in person, and for the excuse you used to release me. In the voice mail you claimed that if I wasn’t going to attend, I needed to be switched out.

“Attend what? I have literally been attending every meeting and activity that I have been made aware of and am permitted to attend. I have even been hosting the Aaronic Priesthood zoom meetings, of which I have been the only attendee since you allowed in-person meetings, even though those meeting are supposed to accessible also through Zoom, which they have been, I know because I have been hosting them.

“What else was I supposed to “attend”? Neither you nor the stake presidency have rescinded or retracted your unrighteous requirement to wear a mask inside the Holbrook meeting house, yet. As soon as you or they, or your replacement, or their replacements, do start to allow all members to enter the meetinghouse without a mask, I will be attending in person.

“Our current instruction from the stake presidency, and you personally, is that masks are required in Malad Idaho Stake meetinghouses, and those who attend in-person meetings inside meetinghouses without a mask are disrespecting those who do wear the mark.

“As unrighteous and evil as that directive is, I am compliant with it. Since I will not wear the mark of the beast, I comply with your, and the stake presidents, instruction by “participating from home”.

“You are penalizing me for doing exactly what I have been told to do.

“As you are 100% well aware, your position, and that of the stake “leaders”, on this matter, directly opposes and contradicts the instruction, direction, counsel, and guidelines provided by president Russell M. Nelson, the first presidency, the apostles, and the general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued clear back in May of last year.

“Which are as follows:
“If you are sick, stay home. If you have to leave while sick, wear a mask. To avoid getting sick, avoid people who are coughing and sneezing.

“Anything more than that comes from the devil, anything less of that comes from the devil.

“Repent now before it’s too late. Invite us all to enter the meetinghouse of our Lord and Savior, who invite ALL, members or not, mark or not, to come unto him, whether we wear a mask or not.

“I remind you, yet again, that no other man on Earth has authority to dictate what other people have wear in order to hear the words of Christ, or partake of his holy sacrament.

“Come back unto Christ. Stand once more in the holy places of the spirit of Christ and the true gospel and doctrine of Jesus Christ and his rightful Church.

“Eventually, the meetinghouses will once again be opened to in-person meetings. At this point, the question isn’t will it happen, but whether God has to release you to get it done. If you are up-to-date with your Come, Follow Me lessons, then you will learn this week that you should have never cast any of us out from our meetings, especially the sacrament meeting.

“Please make amends with all of us whom you have wronged, by the requiring of the mark of the beast in order to enter into the Lords house, by publicly apologizing and formally rescinding and retracting the requirement to wear a mask in the Lord’s meetinghouse in Holbrook, and invite all of us, who you’ve cast out, to return, with or without a mask, to partake of the sacrament and of His words, and declare that it is not disrespectful to others to not wear a mask.

“I leave you with one final request, please watch and read Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s speech titled “What Is Truth” from his Church Educational System devotional of Jan. 13, 2013.


“The speech covers many of the false doctrine and snares that you and the other stake leaders have fallen for this past year.

“Remember, you can always repent, change your eternal course back to Jesus Christ and truth.

“You may also find this video from the Church helpful, it’s titled “What is Revelation”:

“Hopefully it will help you recognize false claims of prophecy and the false prophets who make them.

“It is my testimony that David Jensen is not a prophet, and he is not receiving revelation for the Church, as it is recorded that you have wrongfully claimed.

“When the Holbrook meetinghouse is once again open to everyone, as God has always wanted it, I will once again attend in-person meetings, and I’ll see you there.”

I truly hope he repents.

What is Truth

Truth is being removed and ignored in the world today. This speech was given nine years ago, and speaks to today’s trials like prophecy. This is a master class of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It has a long reach across many of the most important modern day concerns.

Here is the transcript as hosted at

My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear young friends, I am grateful for the privilege to be with you today. It always lifts my spirits to be surrounded by the young adults of the Church, and you inspire me to declare, “Let Zion in her beauty rise.” As you are living all around the world, you represent in a beautiful way the future and strength of the Church. Because of your righteous desires and your commitment to follow the Savior, the future of this Church looks bright.

I bring you the love and blessing of President Thomas S. Monson. The First Presidency prays for you often. We always ask the Lord to bless, keep, and guide you.
The Blind Men and the Elephant

Well over one hundred years ago, an American poet put to rhyme an ancient parable. The first verse of the poem speaks about

six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and then describes to the others what he has discovered.

One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake.

Each is describing truth.

And because his truth comes from personal experience, each insists that he knows what he knows.

The poem concludes:

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!1

We look at this story from a distance and smile. After all, we know what an elephant looks like. We have read about them and watched them on film, and many of us have even seen one with our own eyes. We believe we know the truth of what an elephant is. That someone could make a judgment based on one aspect of truth and apply it to the whole seems absurd or even unbelievable. On the other hand, can’t we recognize ourselves in these six blind men? Have we ever been guilty of the same pattern of thought?

I suppose the reason this story has remained so popular in so many cultures and over so many years is because of its universal application. The Apostle Paul said that in this world the light is dim and we see only part of the truth as though we are looking “through a glass, darkly.”2 And yet it seems to be part of our nature as human beings to make assumptions about people, politics, and piety based on our incomplete and often misleading experience.

I am reminded of a story about a couple who had been married for sixty years. They had rarely argued during that time, and their days together passed in happiness and contentment. They shared everything and had no secrets between them—except one. The wife had a box that she kept at the top of a sideboard, and she told her husband when they were married that he should never look inside.

As the decades passed, the moment came that her husband took the box down and asked if he could finally know what it contained. The wife consented, and he opened it to discover two doilies and $25,000. When he asked his wife what this meant, she responded, “When we were married, my mother told me that whenever I was angry with you or whenever you said or did something I didn’t like, I should knit a small doily and then talk things through with you.”

The husband was moved to tears by this sweet story. He marveled that during sixty years of marriage he had only disturbed his wife enough for her to knit two doilies. Feeling extremely good about himself, he took his wife’s hand and said, “That explains the doilies, but what about the $25,000?”

His wife smiled sweetly and said, “That’s the money I got from selling all the doilies I’ve knitted over the years.”

Not only does this story teach an interesting way to deal with disagreements in marriage, but it also illustrates the folly of jumping to conclusions based on limited information.

So often the “truths” we tell ourselves are merely fragments of the truth, and sometimes they’re not really the truth at all.

Today I would like to speak of truth. As I do, I invite you to ponder a few important questions.

The first question is “What is truth?”

The second, “Is it really possible to know the truth?”

And third, “How should we react to things that contradict truths which we have learned previously?”
What Is Truth?

What is truth? During the closing hours of His life, the Savior was brought before Pontius Pilate. The elders of the Jews had accused Jesus of sedition and treason against Rome and insisted that He be put to death.

When Pilate came face to face with the Man of Galilee, he asked, “Are you a king?”

Jesus replied, “For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”3

I don’t know what kind of man Pilate was, nor do I know what he was thinking. However, I suspect that he was well educated and had seen much of the known world.

I sense a certain weary cynicism in Pilate’s reply. I hear in his words the voice of a man who may once have been an idealist but now—after a great deal of life experience—seems a little hardened, even tired.

I don’t believe Pilate was encouraging a dialogue when he responded with three simple words: “What is truth?”4

To amplify, I wonder if what he really was asking was “How can anyone possibly know the truth?”

And that is a question for all time and for all people.
Can Anyone Know the Truth?

Now, can anyone know the truth? Some of the greatest minds that have ever lived on this earth have attempted to answer that question. The elusive nature of truth has been a favorite theme of history’s great poets and storytellers. Shakespeare seemed especially intrigued with it. The next time you read one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, notice how often the plot turns on a misunderstanding of an important truth.

Now, never in the history of the world have we had easier access to more information—some of it true, some of it false, and much of it partially true.

Consequently, never in the history of the world has it been more important to learn how to correctly discern between truth and error.

Part of our problem in the quest for truth is that human wisdom has disappointed us so often. We have so many examples of things that mankind once “knew” were true but have since been proven false.

For example, in spite of one-time over­whelming consensus, the earth isn’t flat. The stars don’t revolve around the earth. Eating a tomato will not cause instant death. And, of course, man actually can fly—even break the sound barrier.

The scriptures are filled with stories of men and women who misinterpreted “truth.”

In the Old Testament, Balaam could not resist “the wages of unrighteousness”5 offered him by the Moabites. So he convinced himself to believe a new truth and helped the Moabites get the Israelites to curse themselves through immorality and disobedience.6

The apostate Korihor, after leading many away from the truth, confessed that the devil had deceived him to the point where he actually believed that what he was saying was the truth.7

In the Book of Mormon, both the Nephites as well as the Lamanites created their own “truths” about each other. The Nephites’ “truth” about the Lamanites was that they “were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people,”8 never able to accept the gospel. The Lamanites’ “truth” about the Nephites was that Nephi had stolen his brother’s birthright and that Nephi’s descendants were liars who continued to rob the Lamanites of what was rightfully theirs.9These “truths” fed their hatred for one another until it finally ­consumed them all.

Needless to say, there are many examples in the Book of Mormon that contradict both of these stereotypes. Nevertheless, the Nephites and Lamanites believed these “truths” that shaped the destiny of this once-mighty and beautiful people.
Human Nature and Truth

In some way we are all susceptible to such strange thinking.

The “truths” we cling to shape the quality of our societies as well as our individual characters. All too often these “truths” are based on incomplete and inaccurate evidence, and at times they serve very selfish motives.

Part of the reason for poor judgment comes from the tendency of mankind to blur the line between belief and truth. We too often confuse belief with truth, thinking that because something makes sense or is convenient, it must be true. Conversely, we sometimes don’t believe truth or reject it—because it would require us to change or admit that we were wrong. Often, truth is rejected because it doesn’t appear to be consistent with previous experiences.

When the opinions or “truths” of others contradict our own, instead of considering the possibility that there could be information that might be helpful and augment or complement what we know, we often jump to conclusions or make assumptions that the other person is misinformed, mentally challenged, or even intentionally trying to deceive.

Unfortunately, this tendency can spread to all areas of our lives—from sports to family relationships and from religion to politics.
Ignaz Semmelweis

A tragic example of this tendency is the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician who practiced medicine during the mid-nineteenth century. Early in his career, Dr. Semmelweis learned that 10 percent of the women who came to his clinic died of childbed fever, while the death rate at a nearby clinic was less than 4 percent. He was determined to find out why.

After investigating the two clinics, Dr. Semmelweis concluded that the only significant difference was that his was a teaching clinic where corpses were examined. He observed doctors who went directly from performing autopsies to delivering babies. He concluded that somehow the corpses had contaminated their hands and caused the deadly fevers.

When he began to recommend that doctors scrub their hands with a chlorinated lime solution, he was met with indifference and even scorn. His conclusions contradicted the “truths” of other doctors. Some of his colleagues even believed that it was absurd to think that a doctor’s hand could be impure or cause sickness.

But Semmelweis insisted, and he made it a policy for doctors in his clinic to wash their hands before delivering babies. As a consequence, the death rate promptly dropped by 90 percent. Semmelweis felt vindicated and was certain that this practice would now be adopted throughout the medical community. But he was wrong. Even his dramatic results were not enough to change the minds of many doctors of the day.
Is It Possible to Know the Truth?

The thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if nobody believes it.

We can say west is north and north is west all day long and even believe it with all our heart, but if, for example, we want to fly from Quito, Ecuador, to New York City in the United States, there is only one direction that will lead us there, and that is north—west just won’t do.

Of course, this is just a simple aviation analogy. However, there is indeed such a thing as absolute truth—unassailable, unchangeable truth.

This truth is different from belief. It is different from hope. Absolute truth is not dependent upon public opinion or popularity. Polls cannot sway it. Not even the inexhaustible authority of celebrity endorsement can change it.

So how can we find truth?

I believe that our Father in Heaven is pleased with His children when they use their talents and mental faculties to earnestly discover truth. Over the centuries many wise men and women—through logic, reason, scientific inquiry, and, yes, through inspiration—have discovered truth. These discoveries have enriched mankind, improved our lives, and inspired joy, wonder, and awe.

Even so, the things we once thought we knew are continually being enhanced, modified, or even contradicted by enterprising scholars who seek to understand truth.

As we all know, it is difficult enough to sort out the truth from our own experiences. To make matters worse, we have an adversary, “the devil, [who] as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”10

Satan is the great deceiver, “the accuser of [the] brethren,”11 the father of all lies,12 who continually seeks to deceive that he might overthrow us.13

The adversary has many cunning strategies for keeping mortals from the truth. He offers the belief that truth is relative; appealing to our sense of tolerance and fairness, he keeps the real truth hidden by claiming that one person’s “truth” is as valid as any other.

Some he entices to believe that there is an absolute truth out there somewhere but that it is impossible for anyone to know it.

For those who already embrace the truth, his primary strategy is to spread the seeds of doubt. For example, he has caused many members of the Church to stumble when they discover information about the Church that seems to contradict what they had learned previously.

If you experience such a moment, remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything, at any time and every place.

You will find even those who still claim that they have evidence that the earth is flat, that the moon is a hologram, and that certain movie stars are really aliens from another planet. And it is always good to keep in mind that just because something is printed on paper, appears on the Internet, is frequently repeated, or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.

Sometimes untrue claims or information are presented in such a way that they appear quite credible. However, when you are confronted with information that is in conflict with the revealed word of God, remember that the blind men in the parable of the elephant would never be able to accurately describe the full truth.

We simply don’t know all things—we can’t see everything. What may seem contradictory now may be perfectly understandable as we search for and receive more trustworthy information. Because we see through a glass darkly, we have to trust the Lord, who sees all things clearly.

Yes, our world is full of confusion. But eventually all of our questions will be answered. All of our doubts will be replaced by certainty. And that is because there is one source of truth that is complete, correct, and incorruptible. That source is our infinitely wise and all-knowing Heavenly Father. He knows truth as it was, as it is, and as it yet will be.14 “He comprehendeth all things, . . . and he is above all things, . . . and all things are by him, and of him.”15

Our loving Heavenly Father offers His truth to us, His mortal children.

Now, what is this truth?

It is His gospel. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life.”16

If we will only have enough courage and faith to walk in His path, it will lead us to peace of heart and mind, to lasting meaning in life, to happiness in this world, and to joy in the world to come. The Savior is “not far from every one of us.”17 We have His promise that if we seek Him diligently, we will find Him.18
Our Obligation to Seek for Truth

But how can we know that this “truth” is different from any other? How can we trust this “truth”?

The invitation to trust the Lord does not relieve us from the responsibility to know for ourselves. This is more than an opportunity; it is an obligation—and it is one of the reasons we were sent to this earth.

Latter-day Saints are not asked to blindly accept everything they hear. We are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth.

Brigham Young said:

I am . . . afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security. . . . Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates.19

We seek for truth wherever we may find it. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that

Mormonism is truth. . . . The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or . . . being . . . prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men.20

Yes, we do have the fulness of the everlasting gospel, but that does not mean that we know everything. In fact, one principle of the restored gospel is our belief that God “will yet reveal many great and important things.”21

The Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ came about because of a young man with a humble heart and a keen mind seeking for truth. Joseph studied and then acted accordingly. He discovered that if a man lacks wisdom, he can ask of God and the truth really will be given unto him.22

The great miracle of the Restoration was not just that it corrected false ideas and corrupt doctrines—though it certainly did that—but that it flung open the curtains of heaven and initiated a steady downpour of new light and knowledge that has continued to this day.

So we continually seek truth from all good books and other wholesome sources. “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”23 In this manner we can resist the deceit of the evil one. In this manner we learn the truth “precept upon precept; line upon line.”24 And we will learn that intelligence cleaves unto intelligence, and wisdom receives wisdom, and truth embraces truth.25

My young friends, as you accept the responsibility to seek after truth with an open mind and a humble heart, you will become more tolerant of others, more open to listen, more prepared to understand, more inclined to build up instead of tearing down, and more willing to go where the Lord wants you to go.
The Holy Ghost—Our Guide to All Truth

Just think about it. You actually have a powerful companion and trustworthy guide in this ongoing search for truth. Who is it? It is the Holy Ghost. Our Heavenly Father knew how difficult it would be for us to sift through all the competing noise and discover truth during our mortality. He knew we would see only a portion of the truth, and He knew that Satan would try to deceive us. So He gave us the heavenly gift of the Holy Ghost to illuminate our minds, teach us, and testify to us of the truth.

The Holy Ghost is a revelator. He is the Comforter, who teaches us “the truth of all things; [who] knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.”26

The Holy Ghost is a certain and safe guide to assist all mortals who seek God as they navigate the often troubling waters of confusion and contradiction.

The Witness of truth from the Holy Ghost is available to all, everywhere, all around the globe. All who seek to know the truth, who study it out in their minds,27 and who “ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, [will know] the truth . . . by the power of the Holy Ghost.”28

And there is the additional, unspeakable Gift of the Holy Ghost available to all who qualify themselves through baptism and by living worthy of His constant companionship.

Yes, your loving Father in Heaven would never leave you alone in this mortality to wander in the dark. You need not be deceived. You can overcome the darkness of this world and discover divine truth.

Some, however, do not seek for truth so much as they strive for contention. They do not sincerely seek to learn; rather, they desire to dispute, to show off their supposed learning and thus cause contention. They ignore or reject the counsel of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “Foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do [generate contention].”29

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we know that such contention is completely inconsistent with the Spirit upon whom we depend in our search for truth. As the Savior warned the Nephites, “For verily . . . I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention.”30

If you follow the Spirit, your personal search for the truth inevitably leads you to the Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ, for He is “the way, the truth, and the life.”31 This may not be the most convenient way; it will probably also be the road less traveled, and it will be the path with mountains to climb, swift rivers to cross, but it will be His way—the Savior’s redeeming way.

I add my witness as an Apostle of the Lord, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. I know this with all my heart and mind. I know this by the witness and power of the Holy Ghost.

I ask you to spare no efforts in your search to know this truth for yourself—because this truth will make you free.32

My dear young friends, you are the hope of Israel. We love you. The Lord knows you; He loves you. The Lord has great confidence in you. He knows your successes, and He is mindful of your challenges and questions in life.

It is my prayer that you will seek the truth earnestly and unceasingly, that you will yearn to drink from the fount of all truth, whose waters are pure and sweet, “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”33

I bless you with confidence in the Lord and a deep-rooted desire to rightfully discern truth from error—now and throughout your life. This is my prayer and my blessing, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Revelation From God

Just three weeks ago, the man, who was called of God to be the bishop of the ward I attend, stood up before the congregation and declared that another man, holding the position of stake president, was receiving revelation for the church and the ward, and pledged his sustaining support.

This is a serious transgression. My local church leaders are deceived and leading members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints astray.

We believe there are only two forms of revelation, prophetic revelation and personal revelation. Heavenly Father speaks to us through a living prophet, or directly to us individually. In fact, the Doctrine and Covenants, a compilation of modern scripture revealed to us through living prophets, of the Church of Jesus Christ, teaches, particularly in section 28, that only prophets, presidents of the Church, have authority to receive revelation for the church.

All members of the Church can receive personal revelation, but that revelation is personal and private to the individual to whom God has given it. While bishops and stake presidents, as members of the Church, are able to receive personal revelation, the way they manage the affairs of their respective callings, or positions in the Church, are limited to inspiration and faith in accordance with the gospel and doctrine of Jesus Christ.

The timing of the release of this video is, to say the least, impeccable. I would say miraculous.

Two Pertinent Speeches From 10 Years Ago

Yesterday, I watched a talk by the living apostle Dallin H. Oaks from 2011 titled, “Truth and Tolerance”, which I found quite pertinent to the situation unfolding in the Malad Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ll link it below. Today, I was presented with another, “Healing the Sick”, also presented by the same apostle.

You may not be particularly interested, at this time, in these topics, but I still want to share them. They are posted on the Church’s YouTube channel.

Healing the Sick – 2010
Truth and Tolerance – 2011

Why Do My Local LDS Leaders Refuse To Declare The Gospel Of Jesus Christ?!!!

Are my local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “leaders’ possessed by demons?

This is a copy of the intent to sue that I sent my local bishop. Not only did he refuse to assert ANY of these statement, he actually declared the Malad Stake president local prophet, and pledged his sustaining support!!!

“Greetings Brother Carter. This is Brother Campbell.

“This is my notice of intent to sue you through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s processes. You may all ready be aware that I will be suing Brothers Jensen, Ward, and Sperry of the Malad Stake presidency.

“You and your bishopric will not be excluded from those proceeding unless I see specific public repentance from you this Sunday, March 7, 2021.

“You will need to declare, from the pulpit, ward-wide email, and signed bulletin board affidavit that will stay posted in the meeting house lobby for the remainder of your tenure as bishop, that:

“(1) You renounce any and all authority to deny entry and/or participation to any child of God into sacrament meetings, Sunday school classes, and other ward meetings and meetinghouse gatherings;

“(2) All children of God are welcome to attend Holbrook Ward meetings and gatherings effective immediately;

“(3) Masks are not required at any Holbrook Ward meeting, gathering, or other activity, both inside the meeting house as well as outside;

“(4) You apologize for your fear mongering toward the Holbrook Ward by allowing masks (the mark of the beast) to be required in the house of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and insinuating that such masks have the power/ability to keep the members safe from sickness and/or death;

“(5) You apologize for your refusal to teach and preach faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has the power and authority to protect us from any and all infirmities if we just have the faith to allow him to do so, since this global pandemic started;

“(6) It is not disrespectful to ward members and other meeting attendees, in any way, for unmasked members and other children of God to attend the same meetings, gatherings, et cetera;

“(7) The Holbrook ward is a sanctuary for the whole community to come and learn of Jesus Christ and His healing attributes, both physically, mentally, and spiritually;

“(8) The Holbrook Ward priesthood should stand ready and willing to receive the sick, the afflicted, the infirm, the fearful, et cetera, to lay hands upon them and administer the miracle of healing, so that no member of our community, near and far, should fear their mortal afflictions or the eternal well-being of their souls;

“(9) You will never allow the doctrine of the adversary to infiltrate the Holbrook Ward causing fear and division, as it did this past year, ever again;

“(10) You apologize for the division and contention that you sewed into the fabric of the Holbrook Ward.

“You know, all the things you should have been declaring since the most recent coronavirus scamdemic began over a year ago.

“I know you have the potential to be a good man again. I have a testimony of receiving the same promptings, during blessings, ver batum, as the words you spoke. I know you are capable of receiving personal revelation. You have been lead astray, and I know you know it.

Come back to the fold.

“The remedy I will seek is excommunication. There’s no hope for Brothers Jensen and Ward of the Malad Stake presidency, but I do have hope that you, and the rest, will do the right thing, finally, and work to bring unity to the Holbrook Ward, through your repentance (changing your course toward Jesus Christ), that the Holbrook Ward may shine as a light and a beacon to the other wards in the stake, and the world.

“The crimes the Holbrook bishopric and the Malad Stake presidency have committed against me and other members of the Holbrook Ward particularly, are beyond ample to warrant the excommunication I seek, but correcting your eternal course back to Christ and His doctrine this Sunday, I’m sure, will go a long way to exonerate you in the inevitable investigations that will ensue.

“You didn’t “release” me from my callings, so that is commendable. At least it seems that you still recognize that callings come from God, and are not executive decisions that can be denied or released by men holding leadership positions. Lesser men, would have fallen to Satan’s temptation of “releasing” those of us who were clearly complying with the stake presidency, as wrong and unjust as we all know it to be. At least you didn’t stoop that low. Thank you for that hope.

“Please restore faith and unity to the Holbrook Ward. Please restore my (our) trust in you and the office of bishop.

“Please choose the right.

“I hope this letter of intent may be recorded as a similitude of Captain Moroni’s letter to Pahoran, censuring, but faith affirming and alliance building. If not, I worry Holbrook loose more than a wayward bishop.

“You are not currently listed as defendant in my case(s) against the stake presidency, but if you refuse to declare the statements and take the actions requested in this letter of intent by the end of Sunday’s YouTube stream, I will proceed with my charges against you, and the rest of your bishopric.

“I recommend beginning your fast, if you haven’t all ready.

“Also, if you are not going to make these changes, I recommend seeking the church equivalent to legal counsel, and directing your correspondence to me through them.

Brother Campbell”

This was not the first request I made for him to preach the gospel of Jesus to the ward, I have admonished him to do so several times since November 18, 2020, when the stake presidency officially announced that non-mask wearers were ‘disrespectful’ and no longer welcome in sacrament meetings, and other church activities, in both email and telephone conversations.

Well, what’s done is done. It’s up to the real prophet now. I only hope that when the First Presidency acts, it will be more favorable to the teachings of the Church and Jesus Christ.

For all you members of the Holbrook Ward, and Malad Stake, who have been sitting on your own letters of concern, and charges, send them. I know the struggle. I sat on mine for 3 months, but then I was reminded of the story of the little girl whose brother had set a trap to catch a bird. Her father heard her earnest prayer for God to save the birds. Later that night the father approached her to explain that sometimes God doesn’t answer prayers the way we expect him to, etc. The girl expressed her confidence that her bother would not catch a bird. When the father questioned her faith on the matter, she informed him that after her prayer, she had gone out and smashed the trap herself.

I for one will be doing all that I can to smash this false, anti-Christ, doctrine of fear and the false God of health and safety the local bishop and stake president have unleashed in the local Church of Jesus Christ.

I’ll keep you informed as each stage of the coming process unfolds. If you wish to help, get your letters to the First Presidency.

2021-03-07 Idaho Coronavirus Facts Weekly Update

2021-03-07 Idaho Coronavirus Facts Weekly Update
Idaho Coronavirus Facts Weekly Update as of March 07, 2021 at 5PM Population* (2010 Census): 1,567,582 Total Test-Positive Cases: 172,931 Total Deaths of Test-Positive Cases: 1,879 Test-Positive Cases per Population = 0.11 That’s just 11% Deaths per Test-Positive Case: 0.01 That’s just 1% Deaths per Population: 0.001 That’s just 0.1% Sources: Idaho Department of Heath And Welfare United States Census Bureau *United States Census Bureau estimates Idaho population in 2020 is closer to 1,787,065 Note: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates only 6% of nation-wide deaths of test-positive cases can be attributed to Covid-19 as the primary contributing factor of the death.

Idaho Coronavirus Facts

Weekly Update as of March 07, 2021 at 5PM

Population* (2010 Census): 1,567,582
Total Test-Positive Cases: 172,931
Total Deaths of Test-Positive Cases: 1,879

Test-Positive Cases per Population = 0.11 That’s just

Deaths per Test-Positive Case: 0.01 That’s just

Deaths per Population: 0.001 That’s just

Sources: Idaho Department of Heath And Welfare
United States Census Bureau
*United States Census Bureau estimates Idaho population in 2020 is closer to 1,787,065
Note: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates only 6% of nation-wide deaths of test-positive cases can be attributed to Covid-19 as the primary contributing factor of the death.

2021-02-28 Idaho Coronavirus Facts Weekly Update

Idaho Coronavirus Facts

Weekly Update as of February 27, 2021 at 5PM

Population* (2010 Census): 1,567,582
Total Test-Positive Cases: 171,140
Total Deaths of Test-Positive Cases: 1,860

Test-Positive Cases per Population = 0.109 That's just

Deaths per Test-Positive Case: 0.01 That's just

Deaths per Population: 0.001 That's just

Sources: Idaho Department of Heath And Welfare
United States Census Bureau
*United States Census Bureau estimates Idaho population in 2020 is closer to 1,787,065
Note: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates only 6% of nation-wide deaths of test-positive cases can be attributed to Covid-19 as the primary contributing factor of the death.
Idaho Coronavirus Facts
Weekly Update as of February 27, 2021 at 5PM
Population* (2010 Census): 1,567,582
Total Test-Positive Cases: 171,140
Total Deaths of Test-Positive Cases: 1,860
Test-Positive Cases per Population = 0.109 That’s just
Deaths per Test-Positive Case: 0.01 That’s just
Deaths per Population: 0.001 That’s just
Sources: Idaho Department of Heath And Welfare
United States Census Bureau
*United States Census Bureau estimates Idaho population in 2020 is closer to 1,787,065
Note: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates only 6% of nation-wide deaths of test-positive cases can be attributed to Covid-19 as the primary contributing factor of the death.

Idaho Coronavirus Facts

Weekly Update as of February 27, 2021 at 5PM

Population* (2010 Census): 1,567,582
Total Test-Positive Cases: 171,140
Total Deaths of Test-Positive Cases: 1,860

Test-Positive Cases per Population = 0.109 That’s just

Deaths per Test-Positive Case: 0.01 That’s just

Deaths per Population: 0.001 That’s just

Sources: Idaho Department of Heath And Welfare
United States Census Bureau
*United States Census Bureau estimates Idaho population in 2020 is closer to 1,787,065
Note: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates only 6% of nation-wide deaths of test-positive cases can be attributed to Covid-19 as the primary contributing factor of the death.

Time Magazine Reveals Massive Fraud & Conspiracy By Elite Cabal To Control 2020 Presidential Election

These gadianton robbers are brazen. They want a parade and honor for the crimes they have committed. This is exactly what they did in 3 Nephi.

So here is the article archived here as it apeared on the above link by 4:15PM on Friday February 5th, 2021.

The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election
Illustration by Ryan Olbrysh for TIME
By Molly Ball
February 4, 2021 5:40 AM EST

A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing.

The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before Election Day, 75% of Americans voiced concern about violence.

Instead, an eerie quiet descended. As President Trump refused to concede, the response was not mass action but crickets. When media organizations called the race for Joe Biden on Nov. 7, jubilation broke out instead, as people thronged cities across the U.S. to celebrate the democratic process that resulted in Trump’s ouster.
Reactions Throughout the U.S. After Biden Wins Presidential Race in Unprecedented Election

A second odd thing happened amid Trump’s attempts to reverse the result: corporate America turned on him. Hundreds of major business leaders, many of whom had backed Trump’s candidacy and supported his policies, called on him to concede. To the President, something felt amiss. “It was all very, very strange,” Trump said on Dec. 2. “Within days after the election, we witnessed an orchestrated effort to anoint the winner, even while many key states were still being counted.”

In a way, Trump was right.

There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.

The handshake between business and labor was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted. For more than a year, a loosely organized coalition of operatives scrambled to shore up America’s institutions as they came under simultaneous attack from a remorseless pandemic and an autocratically inclined President. Though much of this activity took place on the left, it was separate from the Biden campaign and crossed ideological lines, with crucial contributions by nonpartisan and conservative actors. The scenario the shadow campaigners were desperate to stop was not a Trump victory. It was an election so calamitous that no result could be discerned at all, a failure of the central act of democratic self-governance that has been a hallmark of America since its founding.

Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result. “The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program.

For Trump and his allies were running their own campaign to spoil the election. The President spent months insisting that mail ballots were a Democratic plot and the election would be “rigged.” His henchmen at the state level sought to block their use, while his lawyers brought dozens of spurious suits to make it more difficult to vote–an intensification of the GOP’s legacy of suppressive tactics. Before the election, Trump plotted to block a legitimate vote count. And he spent the months following Nov. 3 trying to steal the election he’d lost–with lawsuits and conspiracy theories, pressure on state and local officials, and finally summoning his army of supporters to the Jan. 6 rally that ended in deadly violence at the Capitol.

The democracy campaigners watched with alarm. “Every week, we felt like we were in a struggle to try to pull off this election without the country going through a real dangerous moment of unraveling,” says former GOP Representative Zach Wamp, a Trump supporter who helped coordinate a bipartisan election-protection council. “We can look back and say this thing went pretty well, but it was not at all clear in September and October that that was going to be the case.”
Biden fans in Philadelphia after the race was called on Nov. 7
Biden fans in Philadelphia after the race was called on Nov. 7
Michelle Gustafson for TIME

This is the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group’s inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum. It is the story of an unprecedented, creative and determined campaign whose success also reveals how close the nation came to disaster. “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated,” says Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group. “But it’s massively important for the country to understand that it didn’t happen accidentally. The system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.”

That’s why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.

Sometime in the fall of 2019, Mike Podhorzer became convinced the election was headed for disaster–and determined to protect it.

This was not his usual purview. For nearly a quarter-century, Podhorzer, senior adviser to the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union federation, has marshaled the latest tactics and data to help its favored candidates win elections. Unassuming and professorial, he isn’t the sort of hair-gelled “political strategist” who shows up on cable news. Among Democratic insiders, he’s known as the wizard behind some of the biggest advances in political technology in recent decades. A group of liberal strategists he brought together in the early 2000s led to the creation of the Analyst Institute, a secretive firm that applies scientific methods to political campaigns. He was also involved in the founding of Catalist, the flagship progressive data company.

The endless chatter in Washington about “political strategy,” Podhorzer believes, has little to do with how change really gets made. “My basic take on politics is that it’s all pretty obvious if you don’t overthink it or swallow the prevailing frameworks whole,” he once wrote. “After that, just relentlessly identify your assumptions and challenge them.” Podhorzer applies that approach to everything: when he coached his now adult son’s Little League team in the D.C. suburbs, he trained the boys not to swing at most pitches–a tactic that infuriated both their and their opponents’ parents, but won the team a series of championships.

Trump’s election in 2016–credited in part to his unusual strength among the sort of blue collar white voters who once dominated the AFL-CIO–prompted Podhorzer to question his assumptions about voter behavior. He began circulating weekly number-crunching memos to a small circle of allies and hosting strategy sessions in D.C. But when he began to worry about the election itself, he didn’t want to seem paranoid. It was only after months of research that he introduced his concerns in his newsletter in October 2019. The usual tools of data, analytics and polling would not be sufficient in a situation where the President himself was trying to disrupt the election, he wrote. “Most of our planning takes us through Election Day,” he noted. “But, we are not prepared for the two most likely outcomes”–Trump losing and refusing to concede, and Trump winning the Electoral College (despite losing the popular vote) by corrupting the voting process in key states. “We desperately need to systematically ‘red-team’ this election so that we can anticipate and plan for the worst we know will be coming our way.”

It turned out Podhorzer wasn’t the only one thinking in these terms. He began to hear from others eager to join forces. The Fight Back Table, a coalition of “resistance” organizations, had begun scenario-planning around the potential for a contested election, gathering liberal activists at the local and national level into what they called the Democracy Defense Coalition. Voting-rights and civil rights organizations were raising alarms. A group of former elected officials was researching emergency powers they feared Trump might exploit. Protect Democracy was assembling a bipartisan election-crisis task force. “It turned out that once you said it out loud, people agreed,” Podhorzer says, “and it started building momentum.”

He spent months pondering scenarios and talking to experts. It wasn’t hard to find liberals who saw Trump as a dangerous dictator, but Podhorzer was careful to steer clear of hysteria. What he wanted to know was not how American democracy was dying but how it might be kept alive. The chief difference between the U.S. and countries that lost their grip on democracy, he concluded, was that America’s decentralized election system couldn’t be rigged in one fell swoop. That presented an opportunity to shore it up.

On March 3, Podhorzer drafted a three-page confidential memo titled “Threats to the 2020 Election.” “Trump has made it clear that this will not be a fair election, and that he will reject anything but his own re-election as ‘fake’ and rigged,” he wrote. “On Nov. 3, should the media report otherwise, he will use the right-wing information system to establish his narrative and incite his supporters to protest.” The memo laid out four categories of challenges: attacks on voters, attacks on election administration, attacks on Trump’s political opponents and “efforts to reverse the results of the election.”

Then COVID-19 erupted at the height of the primary-election season. Normal methods of voting were no longer safe for voters or the mostly elderly volunteers who normally staff polling places. But political disagreements, intensified by Trump’s crusade against mail voting, prevented some states from making it easier to vote absentee and for jurisdictions to count those votes in a timely manner. Chaos ensued. Ohio shut down in-person voting for its primary, leading to minuscule turnout. A poll-worker shortage in Milwaukee–where Wisconsin’s heavily Democratic Black population is concentrated–left just five open polling places, down from 182. In New York, vote counting took more than a month.

Suddenly, the potential for a November meltdown was obvious. In his apartment in the D.C. suburbs, Podhorzer began working from his laptop at his kitchen table, holding back-to-back Zoom meetings for hours a day with his network of contacts across the progressive universe: the labor movement; the institutional left, like Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace; resistance groups like Indivisible and MoveOn; progressive data geeks and strategists, representatives of donors and foundations, state-level grassroots organizers, racial-justice activists and others.

In April, Podhorzer began hosting a weekly 2½-hour Zoom. It was structured around a series of rapid-fire five-minute presentations on everything from which ads were working to messaging to legal strategy. The invitation-only gatherings soon attracted hundreds, creating a rare shared base of knowledge for the fractious progressive movement. “At the risk of talking trash about the left, there’s not a lot of good information sharing,” says Anat Shenker-Osorio, a close Podhorzer friend whose poll-tested messaging guidance shaped the group’s approach. “There’s a lot of not-invented-here syndrome, where people won’t consider a good idea if they didn’t come up with it.”

The meetings became the galactic center for a constellation of operatives across the left who shared overlapping goals but didn’t usually work in concert. The group had no name, no leaders and no hierarchy, but it kept the disparate actors in sync. “Pod played a critical behind-the-scenes role in keeping different pieces of the movement infrastructure in communication and aligned,” says Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party. “You have the litigation space, the organizing space, the political people just focused on the W, and their strategies aren’t always aligned. He allowed this ecosystem to work together.”

Protecting the election would require an effort of unprecedented scale. As 2020 progressed, it stretched to Congress, Silicon Valley and the nation’s statehouses. It drew energy from the summer’s racial-justice protests, many of whose leaders were a key part of the liberal alliance. And eventually it reached across the aisle, into the world of Trump-skeptical Republicans appalled by his attacks on democracy.

The first task was overhauling America’s balky election infrastructure–in the middle of a pandemic. For the thousands of local, mostly nonpartisan officials who administer elections, the most urgent need was money. They needed protective equipment like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. They needed to pay for postcards letting people know they could vote absentee–or, in some states, to mail ballots to every voter. They needed additional staff and scanners to process ballots.

In March, activists appealed to Congress to steer COVID relief money to election administration. Led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, more than 150 organizations signed a letter to every member of Congress seeking $2 billion in election funding. It was somewhat successful: the CARES Act, passed later that month, contained $400 million in grants to state election administrators. But the next tranche of relief funding didn’t add to that number. It wasn’t going to be enough.

Private philanthropy stepped into the breach. An assortment of foundations contributed tens of millions in election-administration funding. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative chipped in $300 million. “It was a failure at the federal level that 2,500 local election officials were forced to apply for philanthropic grants to fill their needs,” says Amber McReynolds, a former Denver election official who heads the nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute.

McReynolds’ two-year-old organization became a clearinghouse for a nation struggling to adapt. The institute gave secretaries of state from both parties technical advice on everything from which vendors to use to how to locate drop boxes. Local officials are the most trusted sources of election information, but few can afford a press secretary, so the institute distributed communications tool kits. In a presentation to Podhorzer’s group, McReynolds detailed the importance of absentee ballots for shortening lines at polling places and preventing an election crisis.

The institute’s work helped 37 states and D.C. bolster mail voting. But it wouldn’t be worth much if people didn’t take advantage. Part of the challenge was logistical: each state has different rules for when and how ballots should be requested and returned. The Voter Participation Center, which in a normal year would have deployed canvassers door-to-door to get out the vote, instead conducted focus groups in April and May to find out what would get people to vote by mail. In August and September, it sent ballot applications to 15 million people in key states, 4.6 million of whom returned them. In mailings and digital ads, the group urged people not to wait for Election Day. “All the work we have done for 17 years was built for this moment of bringing democracy to people’s doorsteps,” says Tom Lopach, the center’s CEO.

The effort had to overcome heightened skepticism in some communities. Many Black voters preferred to exercise their franchise in person or didn’t trust the mail. National civil rights groups worked with local organizations to get the word out that this was the best way to ensure one’s vote was counted. In Philadelphia, for example, advocates distributed “voting safety kits” containing masks, hand sanitizer and informational brochures. “We had to get the message out that this is safe, reliable, and you can trust it,” says Hannah Fried of All Voting Is Local.

At the same time, Democratic lawyers battled a historic tide of pre-election litigation. The pandemic intensified the parties’ usual tangling in the courts. But the lawyers noticed something else as well. “The litigation brought by the Trump campaign, of a piece with the broader campaign to sow doubt about mail voting, was making novel claims and using theories no court has ever accepted,” says Wendy Weiser, a voting-rights expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU. “They read more like lawsuits designed to send a message rather than achieve a legal outcome.”

In the end, nearly half the electorate cast ballots by mail in 2020, practically a revolution in how people vote. About a quarter voted early in person. Only a quarter of voters cast their ballots the traditional way: in person on Election Day.

Bad actors spreading false information is nothing new. For decades, campaigns have grappled with everything from anonymous calls claiming the election has been rescheduled to fliers spreading nasty smears about candidates’ families. But Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories, the viral force of social media and the involvement of foreign meddlers made disinformation a broader, deeper threat to the 2020 vote.

Laura Quinn, a veteran progressive operative who co-founded Catalist, began studying this problem a few years ago. She piloted a nameless, secret project, which she has never before publicly discussed, that tracked disinformation online and tried to figure out how to combat it. One component was tracking dangerous lies that might otherwise spread unnoticed. Researchers then provided information to campaigners or the media to track down the sources and expose them.

The most important takeaway from Quinn’s research, however, was that engaging with toxic content only made it worse. “When you get attacked, the instinct is to push back, call it out, say, ‘This isn’t true,’” Quinn says. “But the more engagement something gets, the more the platforms boost it. The algorithm reads that as, ‘Oh, this is popular; people want more of it.’”

The solution, she concluded, was to pressure platforms to enforce their rules, both by removing content or accounts that spread disinformation and by more aggressively policing it in the first place. “The platforms have policies against certain types of malign behavior, but they haven’t been enforcing them,” she says.

Quinn’s research gave ammunition to advocates pushing social media platforms to take a harder line. In November 2019, Mark Zuckerberg invited nine civil rights leaders to dinner at his home, where they warned him about the danger of the election-related falsehoods that were already spreading unchecked. “It took pushing, urging, conversations, brainstorming, all of that to get to a place where we ended up with more rigorous rules and enforcement,” says Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who attended the dinner and also met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others. (Gupta has been nominated for Associate Attorney General by President Biden.) “It was a struggle, but we got to the point where they understood the problem. Was it enough? Probably not. Was it later than we wanted? Yes. But it was really important, given the level of official disinformation, that they had those rules in place and were tagging things and taking them down.”

Beyond battling bad information, there was a need to explain a rapidly changing election process. It was crucial for voters to understand that despite what Trump was saying, mail-in votes weren’t susceptible to fraud and that it would be normal if some states weren’t finished counting votes on election night.

Dick Gephardt, the Democratic former House leader turned high-powered lobbyist, spearheaded one coalition. “We wanted to get a really bipartisan group of former elected officials, Cabinet secretaries, military leaders and so on, aimed mainly at messaging to the public but also speaking to local officials–the secretaries of state, attorneys general, governors who would be in the eye of the storm–to let them know we wanted to help,” says Gephardt, who worked his contacts in the private sector to put $20 million behind the effort.

Wamp, the former GOP Congressman, worked through the nonpartisan reform group Issue One to rally Republicans. “We thought we should bring some bipartisan element of unity around what constitutes a free and fair election,” Wamp says. The 22 Democrats and 22 Republicans on the National Council on Election Integrity met on Zoom at least once a week. They ran ads in six states, made statements, wrote articles and alerted local officials to potential problems. “We had rabid Trump supporters who agreed to serve on the council based on the idea that this is honest,” Wamp says. This is going to be just as important, he told them, to convince the liberals when Trump wins. “Whichever way it cuts, we’re going to stick together.”

The Voting Rights Lab and IntoAction created state-specific memes and graphics, spread by email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, urging that every vote be counted. Together, they were viewed more than 1 billion times. Protect Democracy’s election task force issued reports and held media briefings with high-profile experts across the political spectrum, resulting in widespread coverage of potential election issues and fact-checking of Trump’s false claims. The organization’s tracking polls found the message was being heard: the percentage of the public that didn’t expect to know the winner on election night gradually rose until by late October, it was over 70%. A majority also believed that a prolonged count wasn’t a sign of problems. “We knew exactly what Trump was going to do: he was going to try to use the fact that Democrats voted by mail and Republicans voted in person to make it look like he was ahead, claim victory, say the mail-in votes were fraudulent and try to get them thrown out,” says Protect Democracy’s Bassin. Setting public expectations ahead of time helped undercut those lies.
Amber McReynolds, Zach Wamp and Maurice Mitchell
Amber McReynolds, Zach Wamp and Maurice Mitchell
Rachel Woolf for TIME; Erik Schelzig—AP/Shutterstock; Holly Pickett—The New York Times/Redux

The alliance took a common set of themes from the research Shenker-Osorio presented at Podhorzer’s Zooms. Studies have shown that when people don’t think their vote will count or fear casting it will be a hassle, they’re far less likely to participate. Throughout election season, members of Podhorzer’s group minimized incidents of voter intimidation and tamped down rising liberal hysteria about Trump’s expected refusal to concede. They didn’t want to amplify false claims by engaging them, or put people off voting by suggesting a rigged game. “When you say, ‘These claims of fraud are spurious,’ what people hear is ‘fraud,’” Shenker-Osorio says. “What we saw in our pre-election research was that anything that reaffirmed Trump’s power or cast him as an authoritarian diminished people’s desire to vote.”

Podhorzer, meanwhile, was warning everyone he knew that polls were underestimating Trump’s support. The data he shared with media organizations who would be calling the election was “tremendously useful” to understand what was happening as the votes rolled in, according to a member of a major network’s political unit who spoke with Podhorzer before Election Day. Most analysts had recognized there would be a “blue shift” in key battlegrounds– the surge of votes breaking toward Democrats, driven by tallies of mail-in ballots– but they hadn’t comprehended how much better Trump was likely to do on Election Day. “Being able to document how big the absentee wave would be and the variance by state was essential,” the analyst says.

The racial-justice uprising sparked by George Floyd’s killing in May was not primarily a political movement. The organizers who helped lead it wanted to harness its momentum for the election without allowing it to be co-opted by politicians. Many of those organizers were part of Podhorzer’s network, from the activists in battleground states who partnered with the Democracy Defense Coalition to organizations with leading roles in the Movement for Black Lives.

The best way to ensure people’s voices were heard, they decided, was to protect their ability to vote. “We started thinking about a program that would complement the traditional election-protection area but also didn’t rely on calling the police,” says Nelini Stamp, the Working Families Party’s national organizing director. They created a force of “election defenders” who, unlike traditional poll watchers, were trained in de-escalation techniques. During early voting and on Election Day, they surrounded lines of voters in urban areas with a “joy to the polls” effort that turned the act of casting a ballot into a street party. Black organizers also recruited thousands of poll workers to ensure polling places would stay open in their communities.

The summer uprising had shown that people power could have a massive impact. Activists began preparing to reprise the demonstrations if Trump tried to steal the election. “Americans plan widespread protests if Trump interferes with election,” Reuters reported in October, one of many such stories. More than 150 liberal groups, from the Women’s March to the Sierra Club to Color of Change, from to the Democratic Socialists of America, joined the “Protect the Results” coalition. The group’s now defunct website had a map listing 400 planned postelection demonstrations, to be activated via text message as soon as Nov. 4. To stop the coup they feared, the left was ready to flood the streets.

About a week before Election Day, Podhorzer received an unexpected message: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wanted to talk.

The AFL-CIO and the Chamber have a long history of antagonism. Though neither organization is explicitly partisan, the influential business lobby has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Republican campaigns, just as the nation’s unions funnel hundreds of millions to Democrats. On one side is labor, on the other management, locked in an eternal struggle for power and resources.

But behind the scenes, the business community was engaged in its own anxious discussions about how the election and its aftermath might unfold. The summer’s racial-justice protests had sent a signal to business owners too: the potential for economy-disrupting civil disorder. “With tensions running high, there was a lot of concern about unrest around the election, or a breakdown in our normal way we handle contentious elections,” says Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer. These worries had led the Chamber to release a pre-election statement with the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based CEOs’ group, as well as associations of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, calling for patience and confidence as votes were counted.

But Bradley wanted to send a broader, more bipartisan message. He reached out to Podhorzer, through an intermediary both men declined to name. Agreeing that their unlikely alliance would be powerful, they began to discuss a joint statement pledging their organizations’ shared commitment to a fair and peaceful election. They chose their words carefully and scheduled the statement’s release for maximum impact. As it was being finalized, Christian leaders signaled their interest in joining, further broadening its reach.

The statement was released on Election Day, under the names of Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and the heads of the National Association of Evangelicals and the National African American Clergy Network. “It is imperative that election officials be given the space and time to count every vote in accordance with applicable laws,” it stated. “We call on the media, the candidates and the American people to exercise patience with the process and trust in our system, even if it requires more time than usual.” The groups added, “Although we may not always agree on desired outcomes up and down the ballot, we are united in our call for the American democratic process to proceed without violence, intimidation or any other tactic that makes us weaker as a nation.”

Election night began with many Democrats despairing. Trump was running ahead of pre-election polling, winning Florida, Ohio and Texas easily and keeping Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania too close to call. But Podhorzer was unperturbed when I spoke to him that night: the returns were exactly in line with his modeling. He had been warning for weeks that Trump voters’ turnout was surging. As the numbers dribbled out, he could tell that as long as all the votes were counted, Trump would lose.

The liberal alliance gathered for an 11 p.m. Zoom call. Hundreds joined; many were freaking out. “It was really important for me and the team in that moment to help ground people in what we had already known was true,” says Angela Peoples, director for the Democracy Defense Coalition. Podhorzer presented data to show the group that victory was in hand.

While he was talking, Fox News surprised everyone by calling Arizona for Biden. The public-awareness campaign had worked: TV anchors were bending over backward to counsel caution and frame the vote count accurately. The question then became what to do next.

The conversation that followed was a difficult one, led by the activists charged with the protest strategy. “We wanted to be mindful of when was the right time to call for moving masses of people into the street,” Peoples says. As much as they were eager to mount a show of strength, mobilizing immediately could backfire and put people at risk. Protests that devolved into violent clashes would give Trump a pretext to send in federal agents or troops as he had over the summer. And rather than elevate Trump’s complaints by continuing to fight him, the alliance wanted to send the message that the people had spoken.

So the word went out: stand down. Protect the Results announced that it would “not be activating the entire national mobilization network today, but remains ready to activate if necessary.” On Twitter, outraged progressives wondered what was going on. Why wasn’t anyone trying to stop Trump’s coup? Where were all the protests?

Podhorzer credits the activists for their restraint. “They had spent so much time getting ready to hit the streets on Wednesday. But they did it,” he says. “Wednesday through Friday, there was not a single Antifa vs. Proud Boys incident like everyone was expecting. And when that didn’t materialize, I don’t think the Trump campaign had a backup plan.”

Activists reoriented the Protect the Results protests toward a weekend of celebration. “Counter their disinfo with our confidence & get ready to celebrate,” read the messaging guidance Shenker-Osorio presented to the liberal alliance on Friday, Nov. 6. “Declare and fortify our win. Vibe: confident, forward-looking, unified–NOT passive, anxious.” The voters, not the candidates, would be the protagonists of the story.

The planned day of celebration happened to coincide with the election being called on Nov. 7. Activists dancing in the streets of Philadelphia blasted Beyoncé over an attempted Trump campaign press conference; the Trumpers’ next confab was scheduled for Four Seasons Total Landscaping outside the city center, which activists believe was not a coincidence. “The people of Philadelphia owned the streets of Philadelphia,” crows the Working Families Party’s Mitchell. “We made them look ridiculous by contrasting our joyous celebration of democracy with their clown show.”

The votes had been counted. Trump had lost. But the battle wasn’t over.

In Podhorzer’s presentations, winning the vote was only the first step to winning the election. After that came winning the count, winning the certification, winning the Electoral College and winning the transition–steps that are normally formalities but that he knew Trump would see as opportunities for disruption. Nowhere would that be more evident than in Michigan, where Trump’s pressure on local Republicans came perilously close to working–and where liberal and conservative pro-democracy forces joined to counter it.

It was around 10 p.m. on election night in Detroit when a flurry of texts lit up the phone of Art Reyes III. A busload of Republican election observers had arrived at the TCF Center, where votes were being tallied. They were crowding the vote-counting tables, refusing to wear masks, heckling the mostly Black workers. Reyes, a Flint native who leads We the People Michigan, was expecting this. For months, conservative groups had been sowing suspicion about urban vote fraud. “The language was, ‘They’re going to steal the election; there will be fraud in Detroit,’ long before any vote was cast,” Reyes says.
Trump supporters seek to disrupt the vote count at Detroit’s TCF Center on Nov. 4
Trump supporters seek to disrupt the vote count at Detroit’s TCF Center on Nov. 4
Elaine Cromie—Getty Images

He made his way to the arena and sent word to his network. Within 45 minutes, dozens of reinforcements had arrived. As they entered the arena to provide a counterweight to the GOP observers inside, Reyes took down their cell-phone numbers and added them to a massive text chain. Racial-justice activists from Detroit Will Breathe worked alongside suburban women from Fems for Dems and local elected officials. Reyes left at 3 a.m., handing the text chain over to a disability activist.

As they mapped out the steps in the election-certification process, activists settled on a strategy of foregrounding the people’s right to decide, demanding their voices be heard and calling attention to the racial implications of disenfranchising Black Detroiters. They flooded the Wayne County canvassing board’s Nov. 17 certification meeting with on-message testimony; despite a Trump tweet, the Republican board members certified Detroit’s votes.

Election boards were one pressure point; another was GOP-controlled legislatures, who Trump believed could declare the election void and appoint their own electors. And so the President invited the GOP leaders of the Michigan legislature, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate majority leader Mike Shirkey, to Washington on Nov. 20.

It was a perilous moment. If Chatfield and Shirkey agreed to do Trump’s bidding, Republicans in other states might be similarly bullied. “I was concerned things were going to get weird,” says Jeff Timmer, a former Michigan GOP executive director turned anti-Trump activist. Norm Eisen describes it as “the scariest moment” of the entire election.

The democracy defenders launched a full-court press. Protect Democracy’s local contacts researched the lawmakers’ personal and political motives. Issue One ran television ads in Lansing. The Chamber’s Bradley kept close tabs on the process. Wamp, the former Republican Congressman, called his former colleague Mike Rogers, who wrote an op-ed for the Detroit newspapers urging officials to honor the will of the voters. Three former Michigan governors–Republicans John Engler and Rick Snyder and Democrat Jennifer Granholm–jointly called for Michigan’s electoral votes to be cast free of pressure from the White House. Engler, a former head of the Business Roundtable, made phone calls to influential donors and fellow GOP elder statesmen who could press the lawmakers privately.

The pro-democracy forces were up against a Trumpified Michigan GOP controlled by allies of Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair, and Betsy DeVos, the former Education Secretary and a member of a billionaire family of GOP donors. On a call with his team on Nov. 18, Bassin vented that his side’s pressure was no match for what Trump could offer. “Of course he’s going to try to offer them something,” Bassin recalls thinking. “Head of the Space Force! Ambassador to wherever! We can’t compete with that by offering carrots. We need a stick.”

If Trump were to offer something in exchange for a personal favor, that would likely constitute bribery, Bassin reasoned. He phoned Richard Primus, a law professor at the University of Michigan, to see if Primus agreed and would make the argument publicly. Primus said he thought the meeting itself was inappropriate, and got to work on an op-ed for Politico warning that the state attorney general–a Democrat–would have no choice but to investigate. When the piece posted on Nov. 19, the attorney general’s communications director tweeted it. Protect Democracy soon got word that the lawmakers planned to bring lawyers to the meeting with Trump the next day.

Reyes’ activists scanned flight schedules and flocked to the airports on both ends of Shirkey’s journey to D.C., to underscore that the lawmakers were being scrutinized. After the meeting, the pair announced they’d pressed the President to deliver COVID relief for their constituents and informed him they saw no role in the election process. Then they went for a drink at the Trump hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. A street artist projected their images onto the outside of the building along with the words THE WORLD IS WATCHING.

That left one last step: the state canvassing board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. One Republican, a Trumper employed by the DeVos family’s political nonprofit, was not expected to vote for certification. The other Republican on the board was a little-known lawyer named Aaron Van Langevelde. He sent no signals about what he planned to do, leaving everyone on edge.

When the meeting began, Reyes’s activists flooded the livestream and filled Twitter with their hashtag, #alleyesonmi. A board accustomed to attendance in the single digits suddenly faced an audience of thousands. In hours of testimony, the activists emphasized their message of respecting voters’ wishes and affirming democracy rather than scolding the officials. Van Langevelde quickly signaled he would follow precedent. The vote was 3-0 to certify; the other Republican abstained.

After that, the dominoes fell. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the rest of the states certified their electors. Republican officials in Arizona and Georgia stood up to Trump’s bullying. And the Electoral College voted on schedule on Dec. 14.

There was one last milestone on Podhorzer’s mind: Jan. 6. On the day Congress would meet to tally the electoral count, Trump summoned his supporters to D.C. for a rally.

Much to their surprise, the thousands who answered his call were met by virtually no counterdemonstrators. To preserve safety and ensure they couldn’t be blamed for any mayhem, the activist left was “strenuously discouraging counter activity,” Podhorzer texted me the morning of Jan. 6, with a crossed-fingers emoji.

Trump addressed the crowd that afternoon, peddling the lie that lawmakers or Vice President Mike Pence could reject states’ electoral votes. He told them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” Then he returned to the White House as they sacked the building. As lawmakers fled for their lives and his own supporters were shot and trampled, Trump praised the rioters as “very special.”

It was his final attack on democracy, and once again, it failed. By standing down, the democracy campaigners outfoxed their foes. “We won by the skin of our teeth, honestly, and that’s an important point for folks to sit with,” says the Democracy Defense Coalition’s Peoples. “There’s an impulse for some to say voters decided and democracy won. But it’s a mistake to think that this election cycle was a show of strength for democracy. It shows how vulnerable democracy is.”

The members of the alliance to protect the election have gone their separate ways. The Democracy Defense Coalition has been disbanded, though the Fight Back Table lives on. Protect Democracy and the good-government advocates have turned their attention to pressing reforms in Congress. Left-wing activists are pressuring the newly empowered Democrats to remember the voters who put them there, while civil rights groups are on guard against further attacks on voting. Business leaders denounced the Jan. 6 attack, and some say they will no longer donate to lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s victory. Podhorzer and his allies are still holding their Zoom strategy sessions, gauging voters’ views and developing new messages. And Trump is in Florida, facing his second impeachment, deprived of the Twitter and Facebook accounts he used to push the nation to its breaking point.

As I was reporting this article in November and December, I heard different claims about who should get the credit for thwarting Trump’s plot. Liberals argued the role of bottom-up people power shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly the contributions of people of color and local grassroots activists. Others stressed the heroism of GOP officials like Van Langevelde and Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, who stood up to Trump at considerable cost. The truth is that neither likely could have succeeded without the other. “It’s astounding how close we came, how fragile all this really is,” says Timmer, the former Michigan GOP executive director. “It’s like when Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff–if you don’t look down, you don’t fall. Our democracy only survives if we all believe and don’t look down.”

Democracy won in the end. The will of the people prevailed. But it’s crazy, in retrospect, that this is what it took to put on an election in the United States of America.


Correction appended, Feb. 5: The original version of this story misstated the name of Norm Eisen’s organization. It is the Voter Protection Program, not the Voter Protection Project. The original version of this story also misstated Jeff Timmer’s former position with the Michigan Republican Party. He was the executive director, not the chairman.

This appears in the February 15, 2021 issue of TIME.