Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) January 27, 2005
Southern Baptist Minister, Lynn Ridenhour, issued a tearful public apology Saturday to the Mormons for the actions of his ancestors in persecuting and driving the Mormons from Missouri in the 1800's. Speaking at the invitation of the Ezekiel Seminar in Salt Lake City on Jan. 22, 2005, Ridenhour read a prepared statement which was warmly received by the audience of 160 predominantly Mormon participants, who embraced him and offered their forgiveness in turn.
Ridenhour's statement said that though he was raised and trained to speak against the Mormons as a cult, he came to see that while their beliefs are different, they are not a cult.
Having discovered in his family history that his Missouri ancestors "were involved in the Mormon War, running the Mormons out of the state," he took occasion in his speaking engagement to offer the apology on behalf of his ancestors and to ask for forgiveness.
Ridenhour presently resides in Independence, Missouri, where he leads a charismatic revival that includes an honored place for the Book of Mormon.
The "Statement of Repentance" was read in the course of a lecture titled, "I'm looking for a church," in which he itemized five aspects which all turned out to be features of the LDS Church at the time of Joseph Smith: Manifest presence of God, taking God out of the "box", prophetic, welcomes signs and wonders, worshippers.
Ridenhour told of going through accounts of Mormon History and documenting the number of manifestations of the various gifts of the spirit, from speaking in tongues, to raising the dead, healing the sick and appearances of angels. He also told of his experience reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. "It was like being born again -- again!" "The Book of Mormon is more Baptist than the Baptist hymnal," he said, referencing the core Baptists doctrines propounded there.
He was recently contacted by a key leader figure in the Pentecostal church who asked him if he really believed in the Book of Mormon, and then confessed that he too has been a believer for many years, but has not been able to come out of the closet because of his position in the Pentecostal church. Ridenhour has scheduled a time not long from now to have this minister come to Independence and go on record publicly as a Book of Mormon believer. Being over some 168 congregations, his confession ought to turn some heads.
At the end of the conference, Ridenhour, along with his ministerial partner, John Bayley -- also a Book of Mormon believer and Mormon lover -- ministered to the group assembled, performing several miracles of healing and giving "a word of knowledge" to numerous people who were astonished at the accuracy of the words of inspired wisdom being spoken to them that were so specific and timely for their unique situations. One LDS woman spoke in tongues as she was filled with the Holy Ghost, which was then interpreted to her great joy and weeping. Not all who sought healings were healed on the spot, but were promised they could be healed.
This was around the 18th Ezekiel Conference to be held, and the first time they had this kind of open manifestation of such miracles in their midst. The conferences commenced about three years ago because of many people being touched by an account of a ten-year-old girl who died from a diabetic coma and returned from death without the veil, who apparently has continued to have near daily encounters with Jesus on a level of familiarity surpassing what most people have in a best friend or parent. The purpose of the ongoing conferences is to teach about the gifts of the spirit and foster their identification and development in the lives of people for the blessing of mankind.
This was the first conference that Ridenhour attended, having been introduced to conference founder and director, Doug Mendenhall by John Bayley. Doug met John in December 2003. He was in Independence doing a conference, in which three speakers had canceled. Not knowing what to do, he said "the Lord said to go anyway and he would provide." Once there, he saw John Bayley, didn't know him, and said "the Spirit told me to go ask him to speak." He did, and Bayley gladly obliged.
Bayley has been a regular speaker since that time, beloved by those who attend, who find great humor in the fact that he is a black man with beaded hair. "He's like Samuel the Lamanite of Book of Mormon times," said one conference goer, inasmuch as he is non LDS coming among them to stir them up to repentance and remembrance of their birthright, to be better LDS than they have been. "Wake the sleeping giant" was the message of both Bayley and Ridenhour.
Ridenhour and Bayley spurred the conference attendees to awaken their fellow Mormons to return to the glory days of the prophet Joseph Smith in which the gifts of the spirit were a vital part of their daily lives, sometimes continuing all day and into the night in great outpourings in their midst.
Bayley said he was given a word of the Lord regarding the Mormon church the second morning of the two-day conference. He said that the Lord was not pleased that so many had been excommunicated by the shepherds who were supposed to be tending the flock. He said that the Lord will be very displeased when he returns if he finds any outside the fold who are supposed to be in, and that those responsible for their removal will themselves be removed if this is not remedied.
The word he gave promised that if the church would restore those who had been removed, they would become three times more powerful and grow three times as large. Bayley himself has been disciplined by his Christian brothers, being removed from a position of high leadership because of being a "Mormon lover."
Ridenhour said that the "two sticks" prophecy in Ezekiel is not just about the Bible and the Book of Mormon becoming one in the hand, but that the people of the Bible and the people of the Book of Mormon will become one as well.
"In Old Testament times, God manifest his glory in the cloud, but not his person. In New Testament times, God manifest his person but not his glory. In our day, he is going to manifest both his glory and his person."
The above article by Sterling D. Allan is published at http://www.greaterthings.com/EzekielConference/press_releases/January24_2005/
Full "Statement of Repentance" by Lynn Ridenhour
Lynn Ridenhour's Winepress Ministries
John Bayley -- Jammin in the Rhythm of the Holy Ghost
Ezekiel Conference -- independent coverage
Denise Mendenhall -- Recovers from Coma with No Veil - Ten-year-old girl dies from a diabetic coma. She chooses to come back, but has no veil upon returning. She converses freely with Jesus, sees auras, travels in the spirit, sees departed and pre-born spirits.
The Mormon Purge - Documenting the plague of Excommunications in the early 1990's of hundreds of conservative Mormons.
Doug Mendenhall firstname.lastname@example.org
Ezekiel Conference founder and director
Sterling D. Allan -- GreaterThings.com
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