I recently ran across this strange little website that had some interesting content. The website is called “Witnesses of Jesus Christ Project: Communicating the reality of Jesus’ divinity to Islam”. The homepage has two messages: one “to Islam” and another “to the radical Islamists”. The page is described as “a response to radical Islam’s call for the Christian world to convert to Islam.” Notably the project description declares it is a “private project”, “shall never be considered a Church, nor shall it offer any ordinances of salvation or accept tithes.”
Why are all those disclaimers there?
First, let me describe its founding.
The project seems to be started by an LDS man who received a revelation. On this page, there is an excerpt of the minutes from its first Board meeting. The project was said to have begun by a vision:
“Throughout the experience I was not my normal judgmental self and I was excited about the prospects of this vision. I could see the global potential of this project as a Christian grass roots movement that could unit Christianity in a way that the various denominations could not. I envisioned the officers and witnesses having opportunity to speak before numerous gatherings of Christians throughout the world, and uniting them through these special experiences with the Savior, Jesus Christ. I saw the church growing and becoming stronger and that the Christian unity that could come from this would speed the Lord’s coming. I saw the published witnesses of Jesus Christ providing a vehicle to invite others to come unto Christ.
“ ‘I cannot deny this experience and the requirements of it. I know that I must move this project forward one step at a time.’
“A dedicatory prayer was … read by the Administrator…”
Opposition and Timeline of Events
However, two years later a “regional authority” opposed it. In 2010 the opposition was removed “by a higher authority in the church”. This was described in a letter from the founder to his wife. An outline of events is quoted below:
“1. The revelation is received (in 2007 recounted above)
2. (My congregational pastor) supports
3. (My local authority) supports
4. (In 2009 the regional authority) accuses me of various forms of apostasy and demands that I “cease and desist.” The Spirit informs me that “You cannot proceed without the support of your … brethren.” Not proceeding is not the same as cease and desist – it is a delay rather than an end. This was the only time I received the Spirit’s communication in this contentious meeting.
5. I cease and desist and write a defense to the (the church world leadership) which I share with (the regional authority), but hold pending his final report.
6. (The regional authority is changed) and I receive no final report.
7. (The high church authority), the source of the cease and desist order according to (the regional authority), is sent to (Anchorage, Alaska).
8. (church business item unrelated to the Project).
9. (church business item unrelated to the Project).
10. In a private interview about the (Project), and with the constant presence of the Spirit, (the high church authority) discloses:
a. (church business item unrelated to the Project).
b. He did not issue an order to “cease and desist” (the Project).
c. He did not accuse me of any apostasy – he “did not know me, to be able to make any such accusations.”
d. He read all the (Project) web content and had only one issue with it: While I was serving as … an official of the church, and as such I could not be advocating the payment of tithes to any other entity such as the (Project).
e. He stated that I could pursue the (Project) if I chose to (and that the church had no objection to it).”
Resolution and the Project’s Continuation
Further down the letter to his wife it becomes clear that the church leadership’s main issue with the website/project was that it was possibly diverting tithing monies away from the church to this project. The founder says:
“You can see, as I have seen, that if (the regional authority) had expressed (the high church authority’s) concern accurately, I would have removed the tithing option (as it was not part of the original revelation) and the (Project) would have continued forward with no interruption.
“Another way to state this is that the Lord’s call to do the (Project) is still in place.
“At this point I am comforted by the Spirit that we are to continue the (Project) ….
“I have reviewed all of the (Project) content and intend to do the following:
“1. Remove the tithing option on the donation page while also encouraging donations only after tithing to a church.
“2. Remove the requirement for a notarized witness statement. Two or three personal witnesses will suffice.
“3. Add guidelines for personal testimonies that include faith promoting experiences.”
So the lesson is: don’t try to interrupt the stream of tithing dollars going to the Church.
So, what does this website do? What is a Witness of Jesus?
The primary goal of the project seems to be to collect witnessed testimonies of Jesus Christ. In fact, before continuing the project after it’s hiatus, the witnessed testimonies specifically needed to be notarized.
At this link, you can see the founder’s testimony was witnessed by “Garth”, “Fred”, and “Gregory Lee Coy” on 4 February 2007 and notarized by Arthur L. Flynn in the state of Alaska.
This whole idea of starting a project to collect witnessed, notarized testimonies of Jesus Christ seems a little weird to me. Read the other witnessed below and let me know what you think: