As I went through volume one of Remembering the Covenant, I marked passages I thought were interesting, remarkable or controversial. I thought to myself, “I would love to discuss these quotes someday with others who have read Denver’s works.” I realize all the quotes I am about to share can be found on his blog, are all from over three years ago, and have comments there.
However, this is my blog and I wondered what some of my current readers might think of them. I still find it amazing that I did not know about Denver’s writings for so many years. It was only in the last eighteen months that I have enjoyed his books and his blog. I am not introducing these as original thoughts, so it’s not plagiarism. I simply want to see if they elicit intelligent discussion.
The date listed and linked is from his blog. The page listed is from the page in volume one of Remembering the Covenant. I thought I would do this on occasion but after doing this first one, I realized I only got through the first two months. We’ll see. If it proves popular – discussion added beyond the original on his blog – I may continue the series. His stuff is worthy of reconsideration.
12 Feb 2010 – page 7: Church of the Firstborn
The Church of the Firstborn exists on the “other side” so to speak. You qualify to get there by how you live here. But you have to be invited into that church by the “angels to whom is given power” to extend that invitation.
16 Feb 2010 – page 11: I am content to let you disbelieve
In response to a critic of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, and you do not. I’m content to let you disbelieve. Why are you not content to let me believe? One of us is clearly mistaken, but I am content with both my belief and your disbelief. Of the two of us, I think your hostility toward my position reveals an underlying insecurity about your confidence in your position. I am prepared to be everlastingly judged on the basis of my beliefs. I insist the Lord has every right to hold me accountable for what I believe, do, think, say and how I behave.
20 Feb 2010 – page 16: Their creeds are false
I am a Latter-day Saint because I believe the doctrine. I am not a traditional Christian because I believe their creeds are false and they teach for doctrine the commandments of men. Unless someone comes to believe that, there is no reason to leave a traditional Christian denomination and become a Latter-day Saint.
21 Feb 2010 – pages 17-18: Acceptance of homosexual marriage
…the LDS Church cannot prohibit or limit homosexual marriage practices anywhere. Not even in their own marriage ceremonies. For to do so would invade a “fundamental right” of the persons involved. …ultimately the Church’s position on the “fundamental right” of homosexuals to be employed and housed without discrimination, using the coercive force of the government to protect that “right” against employers and property owners, will be the same reason the government will force the LDS Church to be coerced into acceptance of homosexual marriage.
23 Feb 2010 – page 24: Ceremony of Recognition
In the book I refer to the “ceremony of recognition.” This ceremony has a specific order. It begins with an embrace. The headnote (written by Elder McConkie) says “hands, feet and side” as the order. The text, however, refers to the side, then the hands and feet. That ceremony, so far as it is appropriate to do so, is explained in the text of The Second Comforter.
24 Feb 2010 – page 27: Angels…evidence of a firm mind
…a member of the First Presidency … said that if he ever saw an angel he would “jump out the window.” I think there is a tendency to avoid discussing any contemporary occurrence of the miraculous in our individual lives within the Church because of the frequent association of such things with deceivers and the deceived. In contrast to that fear, Moroni affirms that angels appear only to those with “a firm mind.” (Moroni 7: 30.) How odd it is that we have this juxtaposition: On the one hand, in our day it is viewed as being evidence of a weak mind, or dubious character, and on the other Moroni asserts it is evidence of a “firm mind.” One or the other has to be incorrect.
24 Feb 2010 – page 28: We prefer our miracles at a distance
Today we prefer our miracles at a distance. When we do accept the occasional miracle, we want it to be separated by culture, time and reduced to written accounts from the deceased. We think it’s safer that way. Society trusts that when the miraculous has been reduced to history alone it can then safely be the stuff from which PhD’s and theologians extract the real meanings. After all, our scientific society only trusts education, certification and licensing; not revelation, visitation and ministering of angels.
26 Feb 2010 – page 35: Opinion polling and focus groups
I do not challenge the right of the leaders, whom I sustain, to make decisions. But, if I could make a scourge of ropes and drive the social scientists out of the Church Office Building, I would. I think opinion polling and focus group results are worse than meaningless, they are misleading. It is an exercise in followship, not in leadership. If you see a trend through polling, and jump in front of it, that does not make you a leader. It makes you a clever follower.
01 Mar 2010 – page 41: Making lists of commandments
It is not possible to list all commandments. In one sense there are only two: Love God. Love you fellow man. All others are extensions of those. If you love God you will do what He asks of you. Whenever something comes to your attention He would have you do, you do it. Your individual path back to God will begin with following the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At some point, however, you will find that individual service and obedience to God’s will for you will create disharmony between you and others.
Can’t be avoided. If you’re following Christ, you will find the same things He found. Helping someone in need will take you away from Church meetings on occasion. You can’t make a list and keep it, because as soon as you do the list will interfere with loving God and loving your fellow man. So the whole matter can be reduced to this: Follow Christ, receive the ordinances, accept the Holy Ghost, who will teach you all things you must do. Any list beyond that will inevitably result in conflicts and contradictions.
02 Mar 2010 – pages 44-45: The word of the lord spoken to you
Salvation consists in getting the word of the Lord spoken to you as a promise of eternal life. When you obtain that word, it cannot be broken. It becomes a “commandment” of the Lord’s which cannot fail. This is the kind of commandment we should seek. Instead of focusing on a list of things to do or not do, I would commend to you the idea of getting from the Lord those words which will assure you eternal life. Not His words spoken to others found in scripture, but words spoken by Him to you. If you obtain this from Him, then you have a sure promise, though the heavens and earth pass away. This more sure word guarantees you, by covenant from Him whose words cannot fail, that you will be granted life with Him.
03 Mar 2010 – page 48: Doctrine books do not sell
…the decline from the time of President Kimball to today is more than significant, it is catastrophic. I believe the only reason to convert to our faith is our doctrine. Since the Church has de-emphasized doctrine, the trend of lowering missionary success has confirmed my belief in the necessity of teaching doctrine. Not just in the Teach My Gospel program, but in every aspect of the Church, from Sunday School and Primary to Stake and General Conferences. Doctrine is what distinguishes us. Deseret Book has actually told me that “doctrine books do not sell.” They are interested in fiction, which can be read in one or two settings.
05 Mar 2010 – page 53: I didn’t want to be a Mormon
As a convert to the Church I know what attracted me to become a Mormon. It had nothing to do with the formulaic discussions of the missionaries, slick marketing or good arguments. It had to do with doctrine. I DIDN’T WANT to be a Mormon. Quite the contrary. But I knew I should become a Mormon because their doctrines came from God and answered questions other faiths could not begin to answer.
06 Mar 2010 – page 56: The Mysteries of Heaven
There is a system by which men learn the mysteries of heaven and are saved. That system is set out in Alma 12: 29–30:
-First, angels are sent to prepare men/women.
-Second, they are allowed to behold the Lord’s glory.
-Then they converse with the Lord, at which point they are taught the things which have been prepared from the foundation of the earth for their salvation.
-All of which is driven by the man/woman’s faith, repentance and holy works.
This is in keeping with Joseph Smith’s revelation about those chosen to become a member of the Church of the Firstborn. They are chosen by the holy angels to whom the keys of this power belong. (D&C 77: 11.) If this isn’t happening, then faith does not exist on the earth any longer. (Moroni 7: 37.) Ministering angels are an indispensable part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why those keys were restored so early on in this dispensation, and are so widely disseminated into the Church membership. (See D&C 13 and D&C 107: 20.)
07 Mar 2010 – page 60: The institution (church) is doomed
The scriptures and the Lord do NOT make them omniscient. As a group the Saints do. That is the first great error, and it is not the leader’s error but the saints’. I’ve seen many, many mistakes made by the Brethren. But I loved them and sustained them and have refrained from being overtly critical of them. It is not an institution which will be saved. Indeed, the institution is doomed to be confined to this world, and not pass into the next. But, it is the individual who will be saved. Individuals, however, must receive what the institution offers to obtain salvation. Therefore respect for the church is necessary. It’s role is essential. It’s authority from the Lord.
11 Mar 2010 – page 70-71: It’s YOUR Eternal Salvation
When it comes to the subject of one’s eternal salvation, I can’t understand why someone would simply trust others and leave it to them to tell them what is necessary. I should think everyone would study this matter night and day, and reach their own conclusion about what is important, what is not, what will save, and what is simply foolishness. Joseph said he advised all to go on and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of God. Alma said about the same thing in Alma 12: 9–11. When it comes to sacred knowledge, the absence of curiosity and relentless inquiry is evidence of apathy and indifference.
21 Mar 2010 – page 97-99: On a Scale of 1 to 10
Before a discussion begins about gospel subjects, I think it is always helpful to first find out how important the subject is to the person with whom you are speaking. Oftentimes there is a disconnect between how important the two parties view the subject being discussed. To illustrate the point, I’m proposing a completely arbitrary method of ranking an issue on a 10 point scale of ascending importance as follows:
1. Completely meaningless
4. Somewhat significant
6. Very significant
8. Very important
10. Essential to salvation
23 Mar 2010 – pages 102-103: Near-Death Experiences
Some have used NDE’s to become guru’s and sell books or give talks. That may detract from getting more light and truth. The thing about growing in light and truth is that it is always directly connected with the humility of the person. Humility or openness to new ideas and greater understanding is required to move from wherever you may be at present to a position of greater truth. It is that openness to new ideas which is indispensable to gaining knowledge of God.
Closed minds, particularly those that may grow out of religious experiences or beliefs, are not benefited by what great things God has to offer in the continuing education of His children. Joseph Smith once commented that it will be “a great while after we have left this life before we will have learned” enough to be saved. It is not all to be understood in this life. Openness to ideas and further instruction is necessary to continue in the path of truth and light. A NDE may open one’s eyes to some truths, but the fullness of what is to be taught or gained from God is not given in a single experience or in a brief tutelage from missionaries. It is a lifelong quest.
Continue on with Part Two – A Few More Quotes From Denver Snuffer