It was the beginning of the Passover in 1967 when two strange, tall men with suits on came to the front door of my home, the type of men that could easily be mistaken for CIA or FBI agents.
At the time I was being nursed by my mother when these Americans knocked on the door.
My mum and dad were practicing Methodists and belonged to the Epping Methodist Church where they were married.
I was born on the 16 th of December 1966, in the Stem of Jesse, a private wing of Queen Victoria Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. I was the first born of five boys, their names: Peter Michael, Warren James, Christopher Gregory, and Troy David .
My father's name is John Joseph Bernard Seppings and my mother is Margaret Florence Tickner Noble. In those days, my dad was working as an accountant for IBM while my mum stayed home, responsible for the house duties. That was the Australian custom back then-dad was the breadwinner and mum the housewife.
These two men identified themselves as Mormon missionaries and asked if they could share a message with my mum. She invited them in and they taught her about the Book of Mormon.
They told her this book was another testament of Jesus Christ and that it was written by ancient inhabitants that lived in the Americas, and that the American Indians were descendants of those people that migrated from Jerusalem some 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
These Mormon men said the indigenous were part of the lost tribes of Israel and of the tribe of Manasseh-their customs were to build great temples like Solomon and the evidence of which can be seen today in Mexico, Central and South America as the ruins of Jewish Temples that the Mayans, Incas, Aztecs and other lost tribes of Israel had built.
As my mum listened to these Americans, she pondered in her own mind if what they were saying was true. After they left, she prayed and asked the Lord if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith had truly restored the Gospel after the Church had fallen away from its original principles and into apostasy.
As she prayed, the Holy Ghost made manifest to her the truth of the Book of Mormon. Shortly after, my mother was baptized into the Mormon faith, but my dad never joined the church. Our mum raised us in the LDS church and I was eight years old when I was baptized.
Life was tough being a Mormon where I came from. The locals were always cruel to me-I got into many fights with the neighborhood bullies, there was never a dull moment. Then, when I reached my teens, things become even more difficult. I think the biggest problem was the ignorance of these Australian youth towards the Mormon faith. Also, there were some children with fathers who had fought in the Vietnam War. I think some of them were influenced by their fathers, who were often quite affected from what they saw or experienced in that war, and often reacted with violence and bigotry.
But still, I endured with my faith and my mum made sure her sons attended church every Sunday. I was called into the Priesthood when I was 12 years old. I became a deacon, teacher and priest. Then at 18, I advanced from a priest and became an elder.
Unfortunately, I did not have a high education at the time because I had been kicked out of school when I was 15 for acting irresponsibly in an archery class. I had been warned the week before by my physical education teacher to aim for the targets while shooting, and not people. But being young and immature, my mates dared me and I stupidly aimed my bow at a pedestrian that was half a kilometer away and led to my expulsion.
When I returned home early that day, my dad was furious and told me that if I didn't get a job the next day, I would be out on the street. So, I forgot about school and found an apprenticeship as a carpenter and after I finished my carpentry apprenticeship, I went out alone and worked as a sub-contractor. I learned at a young age to work hard and earn a living.
At the age of 21, I met a young woman named Sandra Canon. She was Chilean and a member of the Mormon Church. Sandra's parents had migrated from Chile to Australia during the time when the Chilean dictator, General Pinochet, was in power and murdering and terrorizing the people protesting inustice in that country.
Sandra and I lived in Melbourne, Australia, for the beginning of our marriage. I had five beautiful daughters with Sandra. My first children being twin girls, Cerise and Candice, and then a short 11 months later, our third daughter Emily was born.
It was a chaotic time for our young family as it was like having triplets to care for (for one month each year, these three girls are all the same age). Hannah was the next addition to our family, born in Perth, Australia, and then the youngest member, Pamela Rose arrived.
Unlike my dad, who had five boys in the family, I broke with tradition to have five beautiful daughters.
I was a bit of a rebellious child when I was young-a real prodigal son. But becoming a father changed my life and I wanted to sincerely repent for things in my past. I suppose I was a victim of my environment, like my ancestor Ned Kelly.
And this is probably what led to some of the financial problems I had in Australia. Joseph Smith, my mentor, also had to claim bankruptcy in Kirkland, Ohio, so I suppose I am not alone in this matter.
I wanted to be pure and innocent again, like a child, and one day, I decided to make a confession of my sins to the bishop. Shortly after, that same year, in 1991, an LDS apostle had come to visit Australia; his name was Russell M. Nelson (he was also famous as the inventor of the artificial heart called the Java 7).
I will never forget the experience I had when I went to hear him speak. While Nelson was addressing the members in the conference, I was sitting up front and incredibly excited to see a Church General Authority. All of a sudden, as he was speaking of his role as an apostle that held the keys of the authority, like the apostles of old, the most amazing thing happened to me-a candle appeared in my heart and the flame started flickering. Then, the Holy Ghost spoke to me, as pure intelligence in my mind, and said this man truly held the keys, the same keys as the apostles of old.
Later, I opened up the scriptures and it landed at the verses found in Matthew 16:15-19. In this passage, Christ said to Peter that because the spirit of God revealed to Peter that he was the Messiah, that upon Peter would Christ give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.
I knew the Lord was speaking to me at that moment in the conference by saying I would one day also be anointed with those keys for receiving such a strong witness. The candle and flickering flame in my heart was the sign of an anointing, as spoken of in Revelation 11:4 and Zechariah 4:2.
Shortly after, Sandra, my daughters and I migrated to the west of Australia and settled in Perth. My mum come one time to visit us there and said that all the family back in Melbourne missed us and wanted us to return to Victoria. My mum also said that my Uncle Edgar, my dad's oldest brother, was put into a nursing home, so I thought it would be the right thing to do to take my Uncle Ed into my home and look after him. I decided for this reason to return to Melbourne with Sandra and the girls. We chose to live near Whitehorse Rd. in Doncaster.
The first week in our new neighborhood we decided to check out our new chapel. Like always, meeting new people and adjusting to a new church congregation is an awkward thing at first, but after a short while, we felt at home.
To my surprise though, we were meeting in the same chapel as the daughter and son-in-law of the apostle Russell M. Nelson. It was so amazing to me because we had left Melbourne only a couple of days after seeing the apostle and my receiving of such a strong witness-this seemed like such a privilege to be able to meet his immediate family.
I believe this was no coincidence but the Lord's will, and it would prove to be true later, as I will share with you how this apostle's son-in-law, Michael Ringwood, would become instrumental in preparing me for my holy anointing.
Bishop Ringwood, who was then the bishop of the ward (something in itself that was a bit of a miracle as this chapel was a result of recent expansion in the Church) only served as a Bishop in Melbourne for six months because, as fate would have it, his family was called back to Utah to be with his sister-in-law who was dying of cancer. The six months that Bishop Ringwood served only allowed sufficient time for me to receive my anointing before he had to depart.
The Bishop came and visited my house one day and it was so amazing for me because I wasn't accustomed to having a Bishop come to my home, especially when he was a unique bishop being the son-in-law of an apostle. But it was through inspiration he received that he chose to visit me. He said the time had come for me to prepare to receive my patriarchal blessing and be sealed for time and eternity in the temple.
It was so overwhelming for me to hear a member of the apostle's family calling me to prepare for my sacred endowment (especially considering the inspiration I had received when I had heard that apostle speak).
As he told me these things, I confessed all my sins and he said to prepare my family to be sealed in May or June. I was so excited that God had found me worthy to be endowed and anointed.
The end of May was coming up and our time to prepare for the temple was running out as Michael and his family were preparing to leave Australia. Then, on the 31 st of May 1994, the church was shocked by the news that the Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, had died. That night, a great whirlwind came through Utah and hit Brigham Young University and the surrounding area of Provo. Over $8 million in damage was caused by the great wind and thunderstorm.
The wind had done $1 million dollars worth of damage alone to BYU University-the hardest hit was the CIA recruitment center on the campus. Another victim of the storm was Steve Young, a descendant of Brigham Young and a well-known professional football player, whose house suffered quite a bit of damage as well. A great tree in his front yard, that was at least 100 years old, was torn out of the ground from its roots. In fact, in Utah that day, many big old trees were ripped out of the ground by their roots.
Later, it was made manifest to me by the Lord the meaning of this windstorm ripping out the great tree of Steve Young. Steve Young is a descendant of Brigham Young and a great athlete as was Jacob's brother Esau. Obadiah 1:1-21 prophesizes of Brigham Young selling his birthright to the U.S. government to fight on the Mexican border after the death of Joseph Smith, which fulfilled the prophesy of Salt Lake being Mount Esau. Thus, Steve Young represents Esau the tree represents the lineage of Brigham Young, and the windstorm represents the judgment that ripped out the roots of Brigham Young's power and authority over the Gentiles when the Gentiles were ripe in iniquity and established the abomination of desolation in the Church. I saw in a vision the keys going to heaven with Ezra Taft Benson and the land of Utah was cut off from God. Then I saw the brother of Esau, Jacob, receive the power and authority, as prophesied by Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi 16:10-16. This literally happened when Ezra Taft Benson gave me the keys in Australia and then Christ commanded me to bring the true, original Gospel that was not corrupted by capitalism, to the remnant of Jacob, the Lamanites here in the Americas.
A couple of days later, Sandra and I went to visit the Patriarch of the Church to receive our Patriarchal Blessings. He called me in on the 11 th of June. I will never forget this special day. His name was Percival Davis, and he reminded me of a famous Australian movie. It was about a boy who adopted a baby stork and how he named the stork Mr. Percival. I imagined my Patriarch as a great stork, carrying me, a man-child, in a diaper. Just like that which Isaiah 66:7-8 prophesies of.
As the Patriarch laid his hands upon my head, I felt the baptism of fire upon me-it was so wonderful. I felt as though a holy bridge had connected me with the Lord as his hands were pressing down on my head. I felt the love of the Savior come all over me, from head to toe, as the Patriarch was blessing me. I felt I was in an open vision-I saw things, unspeakable things that I still remember vividly today.
When he had finished his Patriarchal blessing upon me, I felt so changed. I felt truly born again of the spirit. No words could ever explain the power and spirit that was upon me while I was being blessed.
A few short days later, Sandra, my daughters and I went to the temple to receive the seal upon our heads and our sacred anointing. It was an unforgettably special day as we traveled over 16 hours from Melbourne to Sydney, overnight and when we finally arrived, I hadn't slept a wink.
I was praying and reading scriptures on the bus the whole trip. As we came to the driveway of the temple in Sydney, it was nearly 5:00am in the morning, and as I looked at the stones of the temple, it was as though the temple was alive, like the very walls of the temple had a spirit in them. I was literally looking at spirit.
Later, I would realize what I was seeing from the Doctrine and Covenants 131:7-8, which states. There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; we cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.
As we went to park, I rushed up to the front doors of the temple overwhelmed with excitement. When I entered into the building, I saw the concourses of angels blowing their trumpets and rejoicing. Just like the verse in Luke 15:10-32 says about the prodigal son, likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. I was lost and now am found.
Then I was taken to receive my holy washing and anointings. As I was washed and anointed, the Psalm 23:5-6 entered into my mind: . Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Shortly after, in the Celestial room, I received a vision from Ezra Taft Benson. He told me the wind that had hit Provo was the sign that God's judgment was upon the LDS Church, as prophesied by Joseph Smith in D&C 112:21-26:
Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day or wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemied against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.
Ezra Taft Benson told me that day in the temple that the Lord was well pleased with me this day and said that the keys that he held were now upon me. And I would lead and direct Israel in these last days.
After arriving home, I told my wife that we needed to leave Melbourne and move to Sydney to live near the temple. Unfortunately, I was met with all sorts of resistance-like always, a man's foes will be that of his own household, as Christ said.
Both my mum and Sandra's parents were not in favor of the move, but still I insisted our family leave, as I wanted to obey the Lord and be close to the temple. Again, my father-in-law, instead of being happy for us in our decision to move, made a great commotion and began screaming at Sandra, which resulted in her crying.
It was then that I realized I could not tolerate witnessing this abuse and manipulation anymore, having seen how much it was taking place and how it was affecting Sandra and her role as a wife and mother. I remember I confronted my father-in-law in his living room and began to pour my soul out to him. I told him how for the past seven years I had watched Sandra suffer and cry and at times even react with violence towards me. I said there were times that Sandra would terrify me and our household when she would become hysterical. I was stabbed with a butcher's knife, hit in the head with cast-iron pots, and hit by a hammer.
I told him that all this erratic behavior stemmed from the verbal abuse she received from him (her father). I needed to let him know what effect his relationship with Sandra was having on our family. Shortly after, I left and our family prepared to go to Sydney.
7 months had past since our departure from Melbourne and our new life in Sydney. I was attending the Temple daily and it seemed life could not get any better, as our family and my spirit thrived there.
I spent quality time daily with my daughters-we would wake up early and have a ritual Book of Mormon reading time. Every Monday was our family discussion night. We set up the living room with a long dining table and each week someone in the family was nominated to be the chairperson. We took minutes and discussed what we could do as a family to improve the unity at home. Each person was given the opportunity to speak and share their opinions on what they would like to see happen within the family setting.
Every Friday night was our daddy-daughter date night. Once a week, I would take out one of my daughters for some special time with dad-whether it be going for a milkshake, to watch a movie, etc. These were some of the Mormon family values I practiced in Sydney. Our family life seemed it couldn't get any better.
I was soon called as a ward activities chairman. It was then that my eyes truly opened to the corruption that was going on within the leadership of the church. Common words used to describe what I witnessed during this time are "unrighteous dominion."
I could not understand why there was so much red tape or (modern Mormon) bureaucracy. Every time I felt inspired to magnify my calling, I felt resistance from every level in my ward. I did not understand why this was so.why as Mormons we did not unite and help each other develop. Instead, what I saw was jealousy, backbiting, envy, malice, and slander.
One night I poured my soul out to the Lord and asked God why it was that my ward was so dysfunctional. I decided to go to a temple service. While I was there, I felt a great weight upon my shoulders, I started to cry and pleaded with the Lord for help. The Holy Ghost then whispered to my and said, "the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields. The Lord has looked down upon the saints and seen a great complacency amongst them."
When I returned home that night I shared my experience in the temple with my wife. I remember feeling such despair for the Church as the members and leaders seemed to be more caught up in money and materialism rather than with the Lord's work and building up the Church.
This took place in 1995, and the big issue in the world was the bombing in Oklahoma on the 19 th of April. I began to feel empty towards the members in the church. It seemed as though the Church was held together by conformity and habit, and not by the love of God. The spirit was desolate and people were merely attending to be seen, to be marked on the attendance list as opposed to truly seeking the spirit.
One day I was reading Mormon 8:28-41. This passage of scripture opened my eyes further as to what was wrong with the Church. Moroni says God reveals the last days to him in a revelation and sees the state of the Church. He says how the spirit of God has left our Church and is defiled because of pride and envy. Moroni sees the Church leaders rise up in pride and envy, which has corrupted the church. (See Mormon 8:28).
Moroni also says that the Holy Church of God is polluted by hypocrites that love money, power and material possessions more than they love of God. (Mormon 8:36-39). It was these verses that answered my questions of why the members were so cold and complacent.
By this time I felt as though the end was right even on the doorsteps. I prayed daily to the Lord to know what He wanted from me now, as I felt hindered in my spiritual development in the Church and that I was lost and without direction.
Then, one night, I was walking down the hallway in the Mormon chapel when the phone started to ring. I checked to see if anyone would answer the phone, but it seemed no one else was around. I answered it and there was an American Mormon calling by the name of Duane Pederson.
He asked me if I knew of anyone in the ward who could put him up for a few nights, as he had nowhere to stay. I told him not to worry and to come down to the chapel and I would organize something for him. The next day he arrived and I took him to my home to stay with our family.
When I arrived at home, Sandra made a face I will never forget-it was clear she was not pleased with having this guest stay in our home. She pulled me aside and told me she was sick of me inviting people into our home and helping them, and that she wanted our guest Duane to leave immediately. (In the past we had invited other people into our home in times of need, like my Uncle Edgar).
I remember pleading with Sandra to calm down and have a little bit of compassion, but the more I spoke, the more anxious she became. Not knowing what to do, I went into the backyard to pray and I asked the Lord to soften Sandra's heart and free her from the spirit that was denying her from loving thy neighbor as thyself. It was shortly after that prayer that I witnessed a miracle.
Sandra had a change of heart and accepted Duane. I was so relieved, as I felt condemned at the prospect of just kicking this man out on the street because of my wife's selfishness.
A couple of days passed and Duane witnessed to me about his experiences in Utah. He shared his testimony of the prophecies of Daniel, especially about the abomination of desolation.
I remember the night we conversed until 4 in the morning the new names used in the temple, like Dan and Nimrod--these names were rejected of God as being abominable but yet the Church had started to use them. As he spoke, the greatest miracle in my life had happened. I was standing up at the time and Duane was about 5 feet away from me, when all of a sudden, a beam of light came above my face and Jesus Christ appeared. I will never forget this most marvelous experience of my life when I saw the face of God.
He then spoke to me and said, "Daniel, the Church is in apostasy." I remember then falling to my knees and crying in a loud voice, "Father, forgive me for I was deceived." And as I was crying, the love of God came upon me and it was so glorious. I felt God's love and the fire burning in my soul-it comforted me and changed the tears of sadness and despair into tears of joy.
Sandra awoke while this was occurring and came into the living room. She saw me on the floor crying and became angry with Duane, thinking he had brought this upon me. I pleaded with her to calm down and explained my experience-that I had seen the Lord and he had told me the Church had fallen into apostasy. Sandra looked at me with great fury and demanded Duane leave our home as he had put a spell on me. I said to her, "No, no Sandra, it's true. I can prove it with the scriptures." This actually further enraged her and she demanded Duane leave immediately.
What happened next in my life was terribly devastating and would cause my much pain and suffering.
My wife Sandra called the Church leadership, seeking the counsel of those leaders for how to deal with my "situation," and ultimately conspiring with them to have me arrested and committed to a mental institution. I was stunned by the betrayal. I was strapped up and forcibly given medication. I refused and said they had no right to violate me, but they "insisted" and pulled down my pants every two hours and injected me with mind-altering and numbing drugs.
I have never felt so betrayed and violated in all my life. I remember hearing Sandra coming to visit me-I was standing at the door where a little window with wire and laminated glass separated us-and saw her talking with the doctor. As she approached the door, she said "look at you. you are a despicable sight for a human being." I was stunned by the words she was saying, that she had no compassion for me in her heart, just violence and oppression.
I asked her how she could do this horrible thing to me, taking away my freedom; that this was the cruelest thing she had ever done. On this occasion, she did not stay long; she just wanted to check to see if her mind-altering drug treatment had brainwashed me to believe "all is well in Zion."
I would not respond to her as I knew what the consequences would be if I told her that the Church leaders were in apostasy and had been exercising unrighteous dominion, like what she was doing to me at that moment, taking away my free agency to think for myself.
Not long after, I was released and sent home, but only on the grounds that I never would mention again that God had called me as an anointed servant of the Lord and that I would not claim the Mormon leaders were in apostasy.
For the first time I realized how I never really knew my wife, nor the level of betrayal she was capable of. Instead of obeying the temple marriage ceremony, which states she would hearken to my counsel and be as Eve in subjection to her husband, she became as Gollum (a hobbit named Smeagol from the Lord of the Rings) who transformed in a gray violently possessive and possessed person, all because of a motivation to be in control.
The character Gollum achieved that control through the violent act of fighting, and eventually killing, his own brother, but in doing so transformed himself into someone possessed with the devil. If Sandra and the Church leaders believed that what they did to me was of God, how could one explain her conduct, her violent rages, as not being of the devil? Would Christ behave in such a manner? Or would he act with charity and respect?
The other question is what would Lehi or Abraham have done if their wives (both named Sarah) committed them into asylums when they each shared their revelations from God-both Lehi and Abraham were told to leave into the wilderness, where both were blessed with intelligence from God? Is it not possible that God could command a holder of the priesthood of this generation to flee Babylon and not take the number of the beast? I have always believed that behind every great man is a great woman, and these men and their loyal and believing wives prove that.
In Proverbs 31:3 it says;
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroys the anointed men of God.
After being free for two weeks, I began to wake up to everything that had happened to me; how I was robbed of my dignity and free agency. I spoke to Sandra of my disappointment in her, that her conduct was unacceptable and that her actions would subject to God's judgment--God had awoken me to the truth and that the justice of God would intervene.
The things that transpired within those two weeks confirmed to me Sandra was going downhill rapidly and It just seemed like no matter what I tried to do, her violence became progressively worse. I remembered when we had an autistic man visiting our home, coming to our Monday family night as he was part of our compassionate service for disabled people.
I hoped that he would somewhat soften Sandra's heart to have more charity towards people and I also thought that getting to know this man would be a great experience and lesson for my daughters in having compassion for the handicapped. The girls loved George and seemed to take on the motherly role in inviting and welcoming George to participate in our activities and sing-a-longs, and understood his differences, that sometimes he would say things the way he saw it but without the intention of hurting people-that's just how he was. But Sandra seemed to have much difficulty with this man and any form of charity work such as this. One time in particular, George had observed that Sandra's conduct towards another guest we had in our home with a mental disability was inappropriate and told her what he saw. He said, "you shouldn't talk like that to her," which provoked Sandra to react in an unacceptable manner as she began to assault this autistic man who was over 50 years old. The girls and I witnessed this and were in total shock, as George yelled for Sandra to stop. She continued to attack him, hitting him repeatedly in the face and I grabbed George, calmed him down and took him home.
This was the last straw-I approached the Bishop of my ward and he merely counseled me to have more tolerance and patience. I couldn't understand how the Bishop could discern this woman worthy when she was constantly acting on violence in our home, towards guests now.
I enjoyed having George and guests like him visiting our home, as well for the benefit of my daughters encouraging them to have understanding and compassion for people with differences-these are Christ-like traits that I believed were vital for my daughters to learn and employ. Sandra, unfortunately, wanted to provide a totally opposite example for her children. This woman, an educated, bright and religious woman, was incapable of showing mercy, compassion or understanding for those in need, including Duane and George, and this was the example she wanted to set for her daughters.
I was awakened to the reality that the Church was definitely in apostasy again. That the spirit of God had ceased in the Church, especially amongst the leaders, to discern truth. It seemed that the Bishops inspiration was to turn to a manual that recommends sending their members to psychiatrists and using mind-altering drugs to suppress unwanted behavior of beliefs rather than resolve the problem through the inspiration of God. I told Sandra that it was confirmed to me that the Church was in apostasy and that my manifestation of Jesus Christ was of God and that he commanded me that I should leave Australia because soon judgment was going to come upon this land, of fire and brimstone, and I had to flee from the wickedness that Australia had become.
I told her that I would be going to the Promised Land with or without her, sincerely hoping that she, too, would awaken and choose to follow her husband. But as Lot's wife would not hearken to the counsel of her husband and turned back to Sodom and Gomorrah, which caused her to turn into a pillar of salt, so had Sandra followed this woman's path.
She then grabbed my wallet and insisted that there was no way she was going to let me go, and began to remove my bank card from my wallet so that I could not withdraw funds, and to rob me again of my free agency. I quickly grabbed my wallet from her hand and in so doing, accidentally scratched her arm as I reached for it. She then called the police and had me arrested for assaulting her-by this time I felt like Joseph of Egypt, who was falsely accused by Potiphar's wife of rape to turn around the truth because he had denied her advances.
When we went to court, as we were walking up the stairs to the courtroom, I told Sandra, "the pit of my stomach is sick." I could not believe she again was betraying me and bearing false witness that I assaulted her after all the years that I had been patient and tolerated her violence, trying to work through it. Once in the courtroom, it was obvious that Sandra felt she had accomplished her goal of scaring me from leaving, using the state forces to manipulate the situation, so she told the judge to drop the charges. We went home together, where I then said, she could do whatever she wanted, but as for myself, I was going to obey the Lord and I was determined to go and would not be intimidated by her threats or violence.
I will never forget her reaction to my words. This woman that I had created 5 children with, that I had gone through the temple with and been sealed to for eternity, screamed and told me there was no way I was going to leave, ran into the kitchen and returned with a ten inch knife and a hammer clutched in her hands. She swung the hammer at my face, narrowly missing my young daughter Hanna's head.
As I fell to the floor, she reached out, swinging the large knife at my chest. I was able to grab her hand and stop her from stabbing me, but I was still vulnerable to her as she had her full weight on top of me and was pushing the knife into my chest.
My daughters' faces were full of terror as they stood next to Sandra, watching their mother attack their father, crying and pleading for her to stop.
Again, Sandra transformed into a Gollum like creature, turning gray in her terror and rage. I shouted at her to look at our daughters, to see how traumatized they were seeing her so violent; I begged her to calm down and stop the violence. She looked at our daughters and realizing what she had done, dropped the knife and ran from the room screaming.
In a moment of peace I inquired of the Lord what I should do. The scriptures opened up to a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants (132:50), which held my answer:
Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you, Go therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac.
I knew I had to be careful from that point on with my choice of worshipping God according to the dictates of my own conscience-that Sandra and the Mormon Church had become a threat to my freedoms and liberties. What I ask though is how can the church advocate the 11 th Article of Faith when they now violate it themselves? Greater the light, greater the condemnation.
We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may.
In Joseph Smith's declaration of the freedom to worship God, found in the Doctrine and Covenants 134:4, he states:
We believe that religion is an institute of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion ; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul .
I then realized that my faith was to be tested-either I obeyed my Lord or give my strength to a woman, as did the great Lord's anointed Samson, who fell after he gave his strength to his wife Delilah.
The pain of sacrifice is nothing, I told myself, in comparison with an eternal damnation for not trusting in the Lord. I opened the bible to Mark 10:28-30 and the spirit of the Lord pierced my heart as I began to read:
Then Peter said; we have left all, and followed you my Lord. And Jesus answered and said, verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospel's, that will not get in return for his acts of faith and sacrifice an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
Now the Lord opened my eyes and I could discern in the spirit what Christ and the Prophets were saying. The veil had been taken from my eyes and I read in the spirit and the Lord guided me and helped me to understand his will.
As it is written,
If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-33.
It was apparent to me that I must obey my Lord and sacrifice my family, seeing that I no longer had the respect of being the head of my home, the Patriarch of my posterity, and that my wife Sandra had taken the decision to fight against the Lord's anointed and suppress me.
The only thing left in my house was the desolation of the spirit, which had withdrawn because of the violence. And so, as Nephi would say, I will go, I will do, the things the Lord commands, I know the Lord will find a way, he wants me to obey.
I then prepared my passport without any of my family knowing of my activities. Sandra had helped to turn my father and mother against me; my dad insisting that if I tried to leave he would report me to the US embassy to try and stop me.
I remembered a verse from the Bible, which said:
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division; for from hence forth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Luke 12:51-53.
This is how my family remains today-now in 2004, my brother Peter and his wife are fulfilling these verses. His wife, also full of a spirit of violence, punched my mother.
My brother Peter has been in conflict with my mother and father for approaching my daughter (whom I have not been able to communicate with since I left Australia-not by choice) and telling her that her father (being myself) loves her and is trying to contact her.
Sandra made a pact with my parents that they were to never speak of me or mention my name in the presence of my daughters, otherwise she would refuse the right of my parents to see their grandchildren, threatening to rip the girls from their lives as well. My brother Peter argued with my parents on how this kind of behavior is not promoting of Christ-like family values and that they had betrayed their own son through participating in Sandra's extortion.
I have never felt so hurt or betrayed by my own mother who has repeatedly denied me the opportunity of talking with my daughters, or even just telling them that I love them, miss them and think of them often. It shouldn't matter whether or not I have a different religious belief from them. As a woman that claims to be a temple recommend holder practicing Christ-like values, this is definitely contradictory to the family values taught in the Mormon faith.
This began back in 1996 when I called from Utah to Melbourne and spoke to my daughter Candice on the phone (she had been left alone in the house while Sandra had gone to study in the university and infuriated Sandra to the point that she decided to cut off all communication with between myself and my daughters). When I first left Australia, I called Sandra numerous times and pleaded with her to come to America with our family and live with me, but she would not. She preferred to stay in Australia and could not bring herself to make the same sacrifice I did, and ultimately, she cut me off from ever speaking to my daughters.
This was a very painful time for me; like Job who was condemned by his own wife, I too, was condemned.
I remember going into the wilderness in Southern Utah and crying for hours for the pain of missing Sandra and my girls. I had written a psalm while I stayed there in the Navajo Indian Reservation.
This is My Sacred Sacrifice : The Lamentations of Daniel
1. And it came to pass that I, Daniel, lamented many days, yea, I had exceeding great sorrow, for I had left my first love. In my pangs, I cried unto the Lord to lift this great burden of sorrow that had brought me to despair, because of the absence of my family. Oh Lord, I will not see my baby born. I cried even as Abraham cried unto you Lord when Sarai, his wife, was taken away by the Pharaoh.
2. Oh how great the trial of my faith, dear Lord, even to that which I cannot bear, for I am stripped of everything, even my dignity from whence I lost in the incarceration and those mind-altering drugs that were used on me.
3. Yea, Lord, I cry, I cry unto you Lord. I have sacrificed everything for you Lord. But God, I cannot bear the burdens of the absence of my family. They are a part of me. I love them God. Oh, Lord, please forgive me, looking back as Lot's wife did, Lord. I am but a worm, less than the dust. See Isaiah 41:14.
4. I am in sackcloth and ashes. My heart is in deep pain. I cannot sleep. I wrestle with the pain. I have fasted many days. I have become a beggar; my feet are full of sores. I will not stop lamenting. I walk in the wilderness of Utah, in the Valley of the gods. I am cold, and my knees are feeble. My brother messenger persecutes me. I feel faint from the pain and supplications of my lamenting.
5. I climb on top of the mountains of Moab. I lay in the caves of the Navajo desert. I pour out my heart in mighty prayer on the top of the cliffs in Blanding, Utah. A wild dog licketh my face as I pray. The crows swoop down on me and cry out at me. There is no end to my misery.
6. Oh, God, I see no end in sight to the pain I feel. I cannot keep looking back my life before. I sweep dust in my face and dust in my hair. I love you Lord, God, above all that I can bear.
7. I am less than the dust. I am but a speck in the sand. But Lord, I bear the sacrifice. Please Lord, come to my errand. I can only serve you and nothing else. Please Lord; return thy servant to thy house.
8. I love you, Lord. I have tried to fight a good fight and endure to the end. Patience and long suffering, is there no end!
9. Oh, God, please do not leave me alone in this dark and dreary world. Please, Lord, do not forsake me. Enlighten me to go on. Strengthen my faith, my hope and my charity. Lighten my load, make my burdens light. Lord, there is no end to your chastening unto me.
10. Oh, God, hear the words of my prayer. I am as Job, smitten with affliction. I feel the pain of Jephthah, who vowed with you to sacrifice his only child, his daughter. See Judges 11:30-40.
11. Yea, even the apostle John hath prophesied of my lamentations.
12. Verily, verily, I say unto you that ye shall weep and lament but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
13. A woman, when she is in travail hath sorrow because her hour is come: but soon she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. See John 16:20-21.