Friday, September 25, 2015

LDS Church Disavows Julie Rowe's Prophecies, But Take No Action Against Her

Remember Julie Rowe? She's an active, believing member of the LDS Church who had a NDE (Near-Death Experience) and who chose to document and discuss it in two separate books, “A Greater Tomorrow: My Journey Beyond the Veil” and “The Time is Now”. Triggering much interest and discussion was a host of end-time prophecies she published in these books. One of her more extensive interviews was aired by KTKK in Salt Lake back in June 2014; some of the material was presented in this previous post. NDEs are sometimes also referred to as OBEs (Out-Of-Body Experiences).

But Julie Rowe is back in the news. On September 15th, 2015, the Daily Mail, one of the United Kingdom's most widely-read news sources, published an article claiming the Rowe predicted the fatal flash floods that afflicted southern Utah earlier this month. The Daily Mail also claimed that Rowe's books say September 2015 will see the beginning of the end of the world, and that doom will come via a catalog of natural disasters and a series of plagues. They also claim she said that the USA will be invaded by foreign soldiers and martial law declared. Rowe also allegedly said she has she has now given up eating fish after one vision showed the world's seas being poisoned by the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. The real takeaway from this article is that Julie Rowe has amassed an estimated 10,000 "fans", and that she has contributed to an upsurge in sales of dried food and everyday essentials from specialist shops such as Emergency Essentials.

But even before the publication of this article, the LDS Church was mindful of Julie Rowe's growing reach, and concerned about the message she was putting forth. In a written caution sent on August 31st, 2015 to the various seminaries and Institutes of Religion, the LDS Church distanced itself from the material in Julie Rowe's books:

“Although Sister Rowe is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, her book is not endorsed by the Church and should not be recommended to students or used as a resource in teaching them. The experiences she shares are her own personal experiences and do not necessarily reflect Church doctrine or they may distort Church doctrine.”

On Thursday September 10th, LDS Church spokesman Doug Andersen released a follow-up statement to KUTV Channel 2 about the warning to seminary and institute instructors.

"The internal memo does not constitute an official Church statement but serves as a routine reminder to teachers from Seminaries and Institutes of Religion of their responsibility to teach from the scriptures and church leaders. People who read her books should recognize that they are personal accounts and do not necessarily reflect church doctrine."

Rowe, who lives in the Midwest (although the Daily Mail says she has a home in Tucson), responded to the church's warning in the following statement to KUTV, aired on September 10th:

"I agree that the curriculum for LDS church classes should only come from sources recognized by the LDS Church as being authoritative. My story is not intended to be authoritative nor to create any church doctrine. It is simply part of my personal journey that I have chosen to share in hopes that it can help people to prepare for the times we live in by increasing their faith in Christ and by looking to our prophet and church leaders for guidance."

Consequently, it is unlikely her local bishop or stake president has taken any action against her, except maybe to counsel her in private. She does generate some robust discussion in cyberspace, even on such pro-Mormon websites as LDS Freedom Forum. A huge five-page thread exists HERE which shows that a plurality of respondents do not believe her claims.

NDEs/OBEs are best evaluated by initializing against scripture. If the scripture does not rebut the message delivered by the person, then it can be evaluated and incorporated into one's life as needed. If it does conflict with scripture, then it ought to be discarded.

And just because an NDE prophecy doesn't occur doesn't mean there was intentional deception. Many prophecies are conditional. For example, in the Bible, Jonah was commanded to call the city of Nineveh to repentance, otherwise it would be destroyed. But Jonah got cold feet and instead decided to dabble in marine biology. After three days studying the digestive system of a large fish, he decided that he now knew more tha enough about the inner workings of fish and was prepared to go to Nineveh. He went - he cried repentance - and surprise, they repented. No destruction.

Since I resumed activity in the LDS Church last December, Stake and ward leadership have given us much counsel about the future. But none of it has been catastrophic. They sense that things are beginning to get rough, but have merely counseled us to pay tithing, become templeworthy, attend to our family histories, and upgrade our food storage. Our stake president expressed concern that Alaska could be in for some financial trouble, but since he also serves in Governor Bill Walker's administration, he would know that. The bottom line -- do what the Lord has already told us to do, and trust in Him to get us through any future tribulation that might be coming. In fact, it might be better if we prayed that tribulation might be deferred or deflected if there are a sufficient number of righteous people in our area. The latter is why we are being told to "hasten the work" and warn our friends and neighbors.


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