Living at Bountiful

 

Kevin Romer’s Testimony - The Work of the Bishopric and the Unfolding of Zion

            “You have sensed a great need for the office and calling of a Bishop. It is not yet time for that office to be filled, but he is among you and is now being prepared. Until then, my Remnant people, you must continue to be more steadfast in obedience to the Law of Temporalities.” Doctrine and Covenants R-146:4 (April 6, 2003)

            In April of 2003, Lois, Annie, Andrew, and I were house-hunting in Jackson County, preparing to move to the Center Place from California. We felt the inspiration of the Spirit that now was the time for us to return, having left this area in 1983. In preparing to gather, we asked ourselves the question, “Should we wait for a bishop to be called” as we believed the Doctrine and Covenants required we lay all before the bishop before we gather. Lois made a statement that hit me hard: “What if you are the bishop?” Ultimately, we found a house and moved in July of 2003.

            In September of 2003, President Frederick N. Larsen called me on the telephone and asked if he could come and speak to Lois and I. Time felt as if it had come to a stop. Lois’s comment came immediately to my mind. All I could think of was to negotiate with God, “If you want to call me to additional work in the Church, anything would be fine, but not to be a bishop. Nevertheless I will do whatever you want.”

            President Larsen came over that evening and shared with Lois and I his experience and conviction that the Lord wanted me to serve as Presiding Bishop in the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was convicted by the Spirit that it was God’s desire for me to serve in that capacity, however I had great concern about the coming forth of Zion and my ability to serve in such a way that God’s plan would be accomplished. It seemed to me in all my studies that prior efforts had failed to bring about the conditions necessary for Zion to be. Would it be different this time? Would God’s children respond in such a way to His call that Zion would be? In our day?

            I discussed these concerns with President Larsen and he suggested I pray about it and come into his office the next morning. I made my concerns a matter of continual prayer that night and long into the early morning hours. I arose the next morning and went downstairs to my office and knelt down in prayer again, petitioning our Lord concerning whether things would be different this time in the Church and whether the Saints would respond to His call for the unfolding of Zion and all that was required.

            It came time to drive to the Headquarters building to meet with Brother Larsen. Having received no answer from the Lord, I determined I had to go even not knowing what to do. I headed north on 291 Highway and as I was exiting onto Truman Road, I felt the Holy Spirit descend upon me in mighty power. As the car began upon the exit ramp and was beginning to face east, the vail parted and I saw in the distance, out in the east, a Zionic Community. The Lord made known to me that it had been built by this Remnant people and He was pleased.

            With tears flowing down my face, I quickly tried to pull myself together so I would not cause an accident. With an assurance I had not previously had, I went on to meet with Brother Larsen. I shared with him the answer I had received to my prayers and then accepted the call to become the Presiding Bishop of this Church.  

            The vision the Lord shared with me has come true. The Saints have responded to the Law of Consecration in such a way that we have been able to move forward with several “Zionic Development” efforts, including a community in Eastern Jackson County, due east from Truman Road and 291 Highway.

The Brian Williams’ Family Testimonies

           When we started coming out to Bountiful to ride around, I could immediately feel the Spirit as soon as I turned off of H Highway onto Zion’s Way. This made me want to ride out there and visit all I could. As soon as I left Bountiful and got back on to H highway, the Spirit wasn’t as strong. Annie and I desired that Spirit so much that moving out here was not difficult for us, as the Lord opened avenues for this to happen. What would have been difficult is not to have moved out here. Brian Williams

I remember as a nine year old girl, being at the Campus pool. I would be hanging on the side while my friends played Marco Polo. I was thinking about Zion. I thought to myself that, when I was in college I would be building Zion. I wondered what I would do. Do I actually have to BUILD something? How do you build Zion? Would I need to cut my hair and break my dishes like the Saints of old? It was something I longed to do, but didn’t fully understand, but I had a dream of Zion, even as a girl.

            College came and went, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that Brian and I heard of Bountiful. It was joyful to hear about, but a part of me was also heartsick, thinking there would be so many people wanting to live there that there would be no room for our family. That wasn’t the case though, and we are now privileged to be living here. Living in Bountiful is no doubt a great responsibility, one that I was willing and ready to take on as a child, an opportunity I have been waiting for all my life. I still have long hair and all my dishes, and I still don’t know exactly what the Lord will have me do to build His Kingdom, but my family has stepped out in faith to be living in Bountiful, and we feel blessed to be a part of this Zionic endeavor. Annie Williams

            When I first thought of Bountiful, I didn’t like it, but then, after living here awhile, it is pretty good. I think the best part is the lake, and that Bountiful is full of the Spirit and God is a part of it. The people here are very nice and I love Church and Sunday school. I used to complain about going to Church, but I don’t anymore. Kyle Williams                                                                                            

           Before moving to Bountiful, I didn’t feel the Spirit. After moving, I now feel the Spirit and feel closer to God. Ethan Williams

Ralph and Marci Damon’s Testimony

Our desire to be a part of Bountiful began long ago, even before we were married to each other. Greg and Marci were excited about the prospects of living in a community of Saints. Greg, being in the Bishopric, was able to see the progression of looking for, and then later purchasing, land in eastern Jackson County. They had several discussions about living in Bountiful. Both were eager to do whatever they needed to do to be part of this community. Talk of Bountiful became a weekly, if not daily, occurrence. Greg’s desire and heart was so much in Bountiful that, at his death, there was no doubt that part of his ashes should be sprinkled at Bountiful. Joshua joked that his dad was the first resident in Bountiful.

Ralph and Bonnie had a similar desire to be a part of Bountiful. Bonnie was so thrilled about being part of this wonderful adventure that she was the first one to give a check to the Bishopric; she wanted to guarantee she had a spot in Bountiful.

When we got married and were discussing our “combined” families and what we should do to accommodate our new family structure, there was much discussion about what kind of house to have, but never where it should be; that answer was already known - Bountiful. We were blessed to be the second family to be living at Bountiful. The fulfillment of our two families’ dreams.

Both of our families had earlier consecrated, but with our new combined lives, we felt that it was important to consecrate again. We had the privilege to have Bishops Dan Keleher and Jerry Sherer at our home in Bountiful to preside over our re-consecration service. The next day, Brother Keleher shared with us his experience when we were having the closing prayer. We had gathered in the living room and were holding hands, forming a circle. While Brother Sherer was praying, and the rest of us had our heads bowed, Brother Keleher felt a presence in our midst. When he looked up, he saw Greg and Bonnie standing just outside the circle, holding hands and looking at us. He said both of their expressions were that of being very happy with what they were witnessing.

We are blessed to experience the joy and peace of being at Bountiful. We experience the beauty of God’s creation in the changing of the seasons and the wonder of His creatures as we hear the owls, see the bald eagles, and hear the cries of the four legged animals. We treasure the early mornings and the quiet evenings when we see the sun rise in the east and then marvel at the beauty of the night sky as it slowly comes upon us. We experience His love in the smiles of our brothers and sisters as we see them daily. And we experience the unending peace that fills our hearts each time we drive into Bountiful. We invite you to come, join with us in the Bountiful life.

Fred and Betty Williams’s Testimony

            I remember how excited I was when I heard Brother Larsen give the Remnant Revelation 146, especially verses 5a and b. “I have given into your hands that property known as the “Gathering Place.” It has come to pass, not only by much sacrifice and zeal of you my people, but by my design. Assemble and worship in that place often and I will be in your midst. This is only the beginning of many such endeavors to gather my people to the “Center Place of Zion” and prepare them for the day of my coming.”

            This was really exciting to me, that this was to be only the first of other gathering places that the Lord was preparing for His people. I began to wonder what might be the next place He had in store for us. Then, in 2005, we received Remnant Revelation 149 and how thrilled I became when I began to study verse 3a: “Anticipation of community building now lies before you, and steps to that end must be taken with care and thoughtful deliberation. The gathering of my people will soon come by direction from the First Presidency, but preparation by the Bishopric for implementation must be in place.”

            In April, 2006, we received Remnant Revelation 150. After it was approved, I began studying it, especially verse 6a which reads: “As an ensign to the world and a demonstration that man can live together in peace and harmony with his neighbor, exercising stewardships, utilizing inheritances, and not being unduly influenced by Babylon, it is necessary to provide for close community living. To that end, as it has been revealed previously at the Kirtland Assembly of 2004, preparation for a community of my people should be developed utilizing land in Eastern Jackson County.”

            Betty and I never thought that we could be in such a community, that only the rich could afford living there. In 1995, we opened our heating and cooling business. Many times during the slow season, it was the work that we did for the Church and church people that paid the salaries for our employees. God has always been there for us and has now allowed for us to be in this beautiful, peaceful place.

            We have always had a vision of Zion, believing that the time would come when we would all work together and live in the same area, and that we could all attend Church together.

            We know that Brother Larsen is the true prophet of these latter days and believe that the Scriptures of the R-Revelations are inspired of God. When the opportunity to move to Bountiful came, we felt that God was directing us and we responded to that call.

            I remember when people would ask my father of his testimony concerning questionable revelations. He would say, “The Scriptures are my testimony. If the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants are for anything, so am I.”

            We are here, at Bountiful, today because we believe it is in harmony with the Scriptures. May we never give up on our hope for Zion.

Curt and Dawn Hoover’s Testimony

            As a child, I can remember sitting on my Father’s lab and learning about Zion. Even though my family did not live in Independence, I was taught that someday I would be there and would live in Zion. I was taught that, from the littlest job to the largest job, all would do their work to their best ability. It would be a shining city.

            The time to gather for our family was in 1985. We made sacrifices, leaving both our families in St. Louis and traveling with two small children, ages almost four years old and a one year old. God blessed us greatly. Soon after, my parents and my brother Fred and sister Janice followed. Later my brother Duane arrived. Our children attended CPRS as soon as their doors opened.

            When the talk of Bountiful began at Conference several years ago, our soul’s filled with excitement. We drove past the property many times when it was just a corn field with a small track into the land area. When lots became available, we decided where we wanted to live.

            We are not yet living at Bountiful. Until our home in Independence sells, land for our home has not yet been broken. But we spend much time there. We have a garden with fruit trees. We have joined with Kevin and Lois Romer to steward the fruit orchard. We have put many miles going back and forth to see our land. A lot of sweat equity has been spent at Bountiful. When the drought of 2012 hit, we, with the Romer’s, watered approximately 500 fruit trees by way of a water tank on a tractor and five gallon buckets. We seeded our acreage by walking it with a hand spreader around our necks.

            There is beauty at Bountiful and a feeling of peace that cannot be explained. You have to feel it for yourself. Even our dog feels is as she does not want to leave when we have to head to our home. We don’t want to leave either. We cannot wait until we are able to live permanently at Bountiful and work even harder at our farm. We anticipate greatly the future.

           

The Sean Purvis Family Testimony

Our testimony starts with a desire to move to Bountiful, but with the realization that it was not really going to be possible for our family. It seemed too costly and out of our reach. We had spoken with many people about Bountiful after the land was purchased and we were really excited about the idea ofbe a part of that endeavor.

Sean had attended the Aaronic Priesthood Assembly in 2011 and was approached about purchasing land and building out at Bountiful. He declined, saying it was not possible. He was approached again with the idea of building out at Bountiful at the Aaronic Priesthood Assembly in 2012. This time, he did not dismiss the idea so quickly (We only have one explanation for the change in his answer). We agreed to a meeting with Bishop Kevin Romer to figure out the specifics of what it would take for our family to make this move to Bountiful a reality. Several days before, and even on the morning of the meeting, Sean considered cancelling, saying that there was no way this was going to work.

We were pleasantly surprised by the information we received at the meeting and knew that maybe this could be a possibility. Within a few days of that meeting, we had everything worked out and Bishop Romer told us to “put on your running shoes, you have a lot of work ahead of you.” He wasn’t kidding. Ten months later, in January of 2013, we moved into our new home at Bountiful.

I cannot tell you how many times we thought this would never be possible for us. We prayed for guidance throughout this process and we know that the Lord was with us every step of the way.

It is such a blessing being a part of the community out at Bountiful! The kids have more freedom to explore, they have gained “Grandparents,” and the site of deer or turkey out the window is no longer a surprise, but still a marvelous sight to see! We have been so blessed and we are looking forward to serving the Lord in any capacity as we strive to strengthen this community and to build Zion.

The Jerry Sherer Family Testimony

A few years ago, before our call to gather, the Lord spoke to us through President Larsen at a reunion to make preparations to gather. This we did, but living on family farms all our lives made it difficult to look at city living. At the Kirtland Priesthood Assembly when the Lord told the Church to purchase land in eastern Jackson County, we were thrilled because we knew we wanted to be a part of this new community.

            Living in Bountiful has brought a joy to our hearts that is difficult to verbally express. The love we have for those we live near has continued to grow beyond measure each time we gather to worship or fellowship. A sense of oneness is
felt as we share in work, study, worship, and play. A common phrase, “We’ve got your back” fits our sense of community as we look out for each other and care for each other. The children have been adopted by all of us as we become a part of their lives and they a part of ours.

            Most importantly, living in this Bountiful community constantly brings to the forefront of our lives our desire to build the Kingdom, to be workers for the Kingdom, and to live in Zion in our lifetime.