Mormons Are a Submissive People


Jesus-Rich-Young-RulerI’ve noticed a constant theme over the past few years as I have written about those who have been excommunicated from our church. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence the subject has come up so many times or if I have sought it out. I’d like to explore the idea of submissiveness with you in this post and get your opinion as to what the right attitude should be towards this.

Opposite of Arrogance and Rebellion

I’ve told you I pray about my posts. I’ve also mentioned to specific individuals privately this post was coming. These good people are worried about me. I know they love me and have expressed concern I’ve been dealing in territory they say causes them discomfort. Rebellion and arrogance are the opposite of submissiveness. I’ve had experience with both as a young lad.

Remember Them Which Rule Over You

I’m not going to address the scripture in Ephesians 5:22 of wives submitting themselves to their husbands. I’ll leave that to others. I prefer to center my remarks on the scripture in Hebrews 13:7, which reads, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

Obey Counsel of Priesthood Leaders

I note in the Topical guide the word remember is replaced with the word Obey. If I recall correctly the Topical guide was compiled by Elder McConkie and Elder Packer. I believe we can safely surmise the word obey can be used in the place of the word remember, at least in this case. In short, we are to remember and obey the word of our priesthood leaders who preside over us.

Blind obedience not encouraged

That’s probably the crux of the matter. Some of my readers find it troublesome to think anyone could or should come between us and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. They can quote scripture and words from the Brethren – so can I – indicating how important it is to confirm all we receive from our priesthood leaders for ourselves. In other words, avoid blind obedience.

Examples from Disciplinary Councils

Put another way, we are to submit to their counsel, especially when it is given in love with concern for the salvation of our souls. Perhaps I can best illustrate with a few examples from disciplinary councils in which I have participated over the years. Don’t worry, I’ll provide no specifics; mention no names nor identify anyone in any way so you may think you know them.

Restoration of Full Fellowship

I have been blessed that the majority of these disciplinary counsels have been convened to consider bringing the member back into full fellowship after a period of disfellowshipment or excommunication or. I am pleased to report that most of these councils have resulted in positive outcomes. Tears and hugs all around have usually been expressed at the end of the proceedings.

A Willing and Contrite Spirit

In discussing as a bishopric or High Council what is different in the second council, it invariably comes down to a matter of attitude. We note the contrite spirit, the willingness to do as advised, the demonstration they have done as counseled over the year or years – I hate to see a disciplined member go more than a year without sacrament and temple blessings. They are different people.

Submissiveness Natural Result of Repentance

In other words, they have learned to be submissive. I have specifically heard penitent individuals express words to the effect of, “Bishop (or President), what would you have me do? I will do whatever you ask, anything you say to get my membership back or to be considered a member in full standing again.” There is no pride, no thought for self, only a desire to please their leaders.

The Lord Forgives, So Should We

Of course we ask them to relate their feelings about the Lord. We ask about their prayers. We ask if they feel forgiven. We ask if they feel the Love of their Savior. We ask about their efforts of restitution, if they have asked forgiveness of those they have harmed, used or abused (often a hard thing to do). We ask about their scripture reading, their gospel study and other habits.

Don’t Dwell on the Sin

If you have never gone through a disciplinary council, you may think this intrusive. We don’t dwell on the sin. We don’t rehash details of the sin. We focus on their efforts of repentance. I think my first disciplinary council was in 1989 as an executive secretary. Ordinarily the clerk attends but he was unavailable so I was asked to take notes and write up the report to Salt Lake.

Bishop’s Counsel is Recorded

I can only recall one council in which we decided the individual was not yet ready to be returned to full membership status. They obviously had not taken the bishops counsel seriously. We always provide a written record of what the bishop feels inspired to ask of them as evidence of their willingness to repent. That is his right and responsibility as a sustained common judge in Israel.

Counselors Provide Input for the Bishop

Having sat on the side of the table in which my duty is to provide counsel to the Bishop or Stake President, I have noted their response. With some leaders, it’s just a poll to see what we think, especially if it’s a cut and dry case. With others, the priesthood leader is genuinely interested in what we have to say. I have always appreciated that, especially when I was a new in the calling.

High Council Disciplinary Format Different

Remember, in a Stake Disciplinary council half of the High Council is to speak on behalf of the member. The member is allowed to have witnesses speak on his behalf and if I’m not mistaken, to have members of his family present to be at the proceedings, as long as they are reverent. The format is given by revelation. You can read about in in section 102 of the Doctrine & Covenants.

Submissiveness Shows Respect

Now, let’s return back to the idea of submissiveness and respect. I’ve always struggled with the habit we have in our church of standing when a General Authority of higher authority comes into a meeting. To me, this smacks of hierarchy worship. That’s not to say I don’t follow it. I do. When I conducted sacrament meetings and a member of the Stake Presidency entered, I stood.

The Unwritten Order of Things

When sitting in Bishopric training meeting or High Council or Stake PEC, I note that we always deferred to the presiding authority as the last to speak and having the final ward. We usually expressed our opinion from youngest to eldest. It’s just the unwritten order of things that Elder Packer discussed in his talk offered so long ago on the subject, which many said they disliked.

I’m a First Generation Mormon

I suppose it’s the natural man in me, the rebel of a first-generation Mormon. I come from a long line of Baptist preachers and Presbyterian ministers. I attended the Presbyterian Church with my mother until I was five years old and still remember the pomp and formality of the worship service. Dad was a lapsed Baptist. I have many living relatives I love who are ministers today.

Apostasy not same as Moral Transgression

I want to conclude with a short discussion of the difference between a disciplinary council convened for moral transgression as opposed to one convened for apostasy. I’m alarmed we have seen more of these apostasy councils lately. It wasn’t that way as I was growing up in the church in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Apostasy usually brings up visions of rebellion, arrogance and pride.

Apostasy Usually Decided At The Top

However, in cases I have investigated first hand, I found none of these were present on the part of the individual who was excommunicated. Of course I wasn’t there so I can’t say for certain, but I have interviewed them or read their account of the proceedings and their letter of appeal. I sense a difference in the actions of the presiding authorities – their minds made up in advance.

Stake President Carrying Out Assignment

This was clear in the account of Denver Snuffer. There is no doubt his stake president was told by members of the SCMC in Salt Lake what needed to be done with no room for negotiation. In other words, the decision was made. The stake president was simply under orders to carry out the formalities of discipline. I feel the same thing happened with Mel Fish and with Brent Larsen.

Even Good Men Can Err in Doctrine

This quote from Joseph reminds me of my friend Paul Toscano: “I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (HC 5:340)

The Sanctity of Dissent

Paul wrote a book explaining his side of things, “The Sanctity of Dissent.” The more I think about it the more I agree with Paul. I believe we have a right to disagree with the interpretations of scriptures and doctrines as offered by our General Authorities. I believe we should be able to share that on our private blogs without fear of reprisal or punishment from church officers.

Blogs are For Exploring New Ideas

Of course, as I have written many times, I would not dream of teaching my personal ideas or interpretations from the pulpit or in the classroom. I sustain the Brethren and their right to declare what should be taught uniformly throughout the church – but NOT to censor what we write in private or semi-public, such as a blog. Our blogs are not official word of the church.

Blogging is Following Counsel of Elder Ballard

That’s why I wrote in my previous post how it troubles me when we are punished for trying to follow the counsel of Elder Ballard to be involved in the online dialog about the church and our doctrines. We want people to understand us, even if we differ somewhat from the standard or orthodox interpretation of the official doctrines that are presented by teachers in our classrooms.

Seeking to Remain Informed

For those who have expressed concerned I have gone apostate because I enjoy reading, writing about and discussing the writings of certain individuals such as Denver Snuffer, Max Skousen, D. Michael Quinn, David John Beurger or just about anything from Signature Books, please don’t think this affects my testimony of the fundamentals of this church. My testimony is intact.

Many Prophets In Addition to Joseph

I revere Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. In spite of his flaws, he was a prophet of the Lord in these latter days. But don’t take away from me my right to call Denver Snuffer a prophet as well. I accept the Book of Mormon as the Word of God, intended to be a warning for our day. Again, please don’t take away my right to read and discuss the writings of Denver Snuffer on my blog.

Seek Guidance From God in What to Study

As I’ve written many times, I love this church and love the people in it. I love to serve in the small capacity in which I am asked, be it as a home teacher or in my current calling as the Stake Financial Clerk. I seek the guidance and direction of the Lord each day in what I should read and study in addition to the scriptures. I feel lead and am grateful for that still small voice to my soul.

Submissiveness to Local Priesthood Leaders

I like to think I am a submissive individual. I try not to take any offense when corrected by my priesthood leaders. I try to welcome it with a cheerful attitude. I know they love me and have my best interests at heart. As I’ve always said, I would remove my blog in a heartbeat if they said it caused people trouble or caused them to doubt their own testimonies of God and of our Savior.

Expressed Willingness to Remove my Blog

I wonder if the day will come when that changes. This is probably getting repetitious to my regular readers. I am growing. I am learning. I am seeking the face of the Lord. I do not feel this blog is being written by commandment of the Lord but by suggestion and a desire to follow the counsel of prophets and apostles. God bless them, especially those who suffer effects of old age.

Seek Learning by Study and by Faith

God bless you my brothers and sisters. May you seek learning by study and also by faith. I strive to do both. I will not leave my eternal salvation to what I hear taught each week in the three hour block of meetings. It is simply not enough. It is my personality and learning method that I must write and share as I read. Otherwise I do not feel a commitment or internalization of what I read.

Keys to My Participation in Ordinances

Please, rest assured, I intend to be and remain submissive to the direction of my priesthood leaders. Unless the Lord tells me otherwise, I will do as they direct. I sustain them and grant them authority over me. At this point in my life, the spirit directs I should do so. I want and need the sacrament and the temple. These brethren hold the keys of those blessing in my behalf.

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45 Responses

  1. Tim, I have been reading your comments as of late and must say its great to feel your passion for our Lord Jesus Christ. Its nice to share grand kids and meatloaf recipes…. but when does the silent majority in the church finally stand on the wall with Samuel and say enough with any and all political agenda. His kingdom is not a democracy but a monarchy. I am learning that to be contrite is not enough. As you know this word actually means to be crushed…on the floor in fetal position metaphorically (maybe even literally) stripped from all pride and submissive to Him. When we get to this state the learning begins. Its been so long since we knew each other. God bless you and your family. Andy Morgan

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    • Hi Andy. It’s Roy Moore from Monroe. I’ve been one of Tim’s fans for quite along time and am pleased to see you are too. I echo your comments and say ‘amen’ to Tim’s perspective. I wish we could sit down and talk; kind of difficult now that you’re in CA.

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    • Hi Andy. So good to read your comment. Your dad was a stake missionary in 1962 and taught the gospel to my family along with President Walker of the Glendora stake. Of course, he was then our bishop. I remember your family with fondness. There are a half dozen pictures of you and your family in my Book of Remembrance. I think my mom was our cub scout leader way back when. Thanks for being my friend. It was good to find you on Facebook and reconnect after all these years. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree. God bless.

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      • Tim, I wish we could really talk..I appreciate your time and dedication. Roy its also good to hear from you….I hope you and your family are well. I am teaching Gospel Doctrine class in San Rafael, Ca…we have over 900 members, around 75 active, 7 full-time missionaries. With so much diversity and levels of church experience (or lack thereof) in this class I have presented the “shelf.” I know this is not new but seems to work. When a question cannot be resolved in someones mind it goes up on the shelf… Pre-earth life rewards, polygamy,same sex attraction, mark of Cain, how big was the city of Enoch, coffee, whatever…what is crystal clear to some is muddy to others. I am so grateful for the Church…it is the vehicle that helped me find the Gospel of Christ and the life saving ordinances. I do not fully understand how one blanket press release statement can negate volumes of past authorities testimonies..(another one for the shelf)…but down deep I do know. The most important Prophet (besides Christ Jesus) is not a dead Prophet. I have memorized the lectures of Joseph Smith by Truman Madsen… I love Joseph Smith and miss Pres. Hinkley. However, the most important Prophet today is Thomas S. Monson “so come what may.” Your Brother on the wall…and thanks for listening. Andy

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      • Andy, As you know, here in ‘Mormon pioneer country’ there is little thinking outside the box. The past 5 years has been a renaissance for me, having found many hidden truths and treasures in the scriptures and with the aid of good people, such as Tim. At 52 years of age, I completely trust my inner conscience (with the aid of the Holy Spirit) to guide me as I ponder upon the writings (both blog and book) shared by many. Mormons laugh at the warnings by other faiths ‘not to read the Book of Mormon, that’s how they get you’; but some Mormon leaders, using the same tone, warn members not to read blogs or books by certain people because ‘that’s how you get led into apostasy’. That might be true is some cases, but bread and milk causes starvation for many who are mature enough to handle the raw truth (polygamy, succession crisis, curse-of-cain doctrine, mountain meadows massacre, the Lord won’t allow the prophet to lead the members astray, etc).

        My testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration has never been stronger. Isaiah’s prophecies are unfolding at the speed of light and I perceive major changes coming upon this world we live in. While I respect, sustain, and pray for my local church leaders as well as President Monson, I take full responsibility for my individual salvation. Or in other words, I do not rely on the arm of flesh for my connection with Heaven. I plan to continue studying the gospel with a voracious appetite, utilizing all sources available. I pray that Tim and others don’t succumb to pressures from the leaders of this Church(TM) because it will affect so many truth seekers who are sparsed about in various places and conditions, squelching the personal growth of many. May we not have fear and trembling for any earthly being, only for Almighty God.

        Your brother,

        Roy

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  2. Tim, my friend, your voice is greatly needed so I hope you don’t let fear of reprisal from ‘the arm of flesh’ defeat your mission. Remember the ‘church’ is everyone that repents and comes unto Christ (D&C 10: 67). The ultimatum of cutting off communications with the ‘church’ to stay in good standing with The Church(TM) is unacceptable to me. Can we lay it on the alter when the time comes? With friends like you and Andy Morgan (above), I think I can.

    Keep the faith.

    Your brother,

    Roy Moore

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    • Hi Roy. Today the spirit whispers to be that I need to do what will keep me in good standing with those who hold the keys to the sacrament and the Temple. Today (who knows about tomorrow), that means I would remove the blog if asked. That for me would be the ultimate test of submissiveness. Since I haven’t been asked, it is only a “what if” situation at the moment. Tomorrow I may feel differently. Trust me, it is a matter of prayer every day. Nobody wants to be deceived. Today I sustain “The Brethren” as prophets. However, I also feel Denver is “a prophet” (lower case). I see no disparity between the two at this point.

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  3. Hi Tim,

    Interesting musings. I looked up some bible commentary on the verse you cited in Hebrews, and the actual Greek & Hebrew words put a different construction on that verse. (http://biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/13-7.htm)

    The link above is really interesting to read, but I’ll summarize here: the verse is talking about remembering martyrs, honoring them for their sacrifice, and living the way they did. It has nothing to do with living leaders. (The commentary cites Herbrews 13:17 for that topic: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/13-17.htm))

    And I’m feeling a little stirring to write about Ephesians 5:22 . . . hmmm. ;) I’ll let you know if I do.

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    • Hi Annalea, Thanks for sharing those links. They help add context and deeper understanding. I had not considered Heb 13:7 as a reference to those who had died as martyrs. You’re right, it doesn’t support the idea of submissiveness to living leaders as I have been taught and believed. As always, you’ve got me thinking with your helpful contributions.

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  4. Mosiah 3
    19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

    The amazing thing about reading Denver Snuffer is I have never felt the Holy Spirit ratify his second comforter experience. I know what the Holy Ghost feels like and the absence of the spirit is stark. I am grateful for the council of the modern day prophet and apostles as they guide us to the veil through these stormy last days.

    Much is said in the church about position. I have come to realize that the only position that matters is what side of the Lord will you be on when he stretches out his hand to welcome you home.

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    • Janet, stick by what you believe and feel in your heart. That’s one of my favorite scriptures. I also love my Brethren in the Twelve. My sister is Elder Perry’s secretary. I listen closely every opportunity I have to hear them speak. I also like what you wrote that the only position that really matters is where we are when the Lord stretches out his hand to us. Denver Snuffer has said the same thing – that he is not important, but his message to come unto Christ is important. In that sense, it is the same as what we hear from our Apostles and Prophets. God bless.

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  5. Thank you for this timely post, Tim.

    It reflects the soul searching those of us are experiencing who have had a witness that Denver Snuffer’s words are commissioned by our Savior.

    When one receives an admittedly surprising and unexpected, yet undeniable witness of that nature, (I was completely skeptical at first), what does one do with that?

    Especially when faced with a choice to 1) submit to the authorities who must, by the nature of a hierarchal corporate organization, enforce that hierarchal power structure (I get it) or 2) be seen as rebellious by staying faithful to the witness one has received as to the nature of Christ’s ability to speak to anyone and command them to share it. (And being cut off from what we are taught are saving ordinances as part of the backlash.)

    If one has no such witness about Denver Snuffer and Christ, then this is a very cut-and-dry scenario. But I know what I have received and cannot deny it, neither dare I, and if the Lord’s servants demand that I deny what I’ve received from the Lord: either I am deceived or they are. No one desires this situation. Yet here we are.

    I am glad Christ knows all our hearts. And He knows what He has told & shown me. And He knows each of your hearts, as well. So who am I to judge what others have received? (Who’s to say the Lord is NOT directing this ex’ing campaign?) And who are they to judge what I have received? (They know not my heart. )

    Therefore I choose proceed with the belief that I have not been deceived, until further notice. I must be loyal to Christ first and only. Admittedly, that looks different for each person, and I accept that. (You mean our experiences with Christ are not correlated? *gasp!*)

    There is no excuse for ill feelings on either side, however, and I hold none towards those who feel I’m completely deceived. I simply pray that we can all be allowed to beg at Christ’s Mercy Seat together. .. not just those who fit the Corporate mold.

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  6. I loved this post. I feel the same as you do. Completely. About everything. I love reading your blog and it is so nice to know there are people out there who feel just as I do, because you are much better at expressing it in a logical way than I am. :)

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  7. It’s so funny to me to read that there are people who feel an “absence” of the spirit when reading DS’s books. I’ve never felt the spirit more. I’ve been more inspired to study the scriptures, be a better spouse and parent and to choose the right, since I’ve started studying his work, than I have in years. I feel like I learned about him at the perfect time, when I needed it the most. I feel the spirit so strong while I read “The Second Comforter” that I bawl clear through it. It just amazes me and makes me wonder why we all have such different experiences.

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    • Feelings of fear lead to, and are sometimes confused with, feelings of the “absence” of the spirit.

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      • Lemuel – Exactly! How profoundly true. Trust in that spirit which leadeth to do good (and which confirms truth) and fear will not rule over us. We will be filled with the spirit when we find truth, even if that truth is contrary to the traditions of our fathers.

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      • yes, agree absolutely. thank you.

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      • Sometimes for good reason, though. If I pondered deeply on the idea of cheating on my wife, I would feel both fear and the absence of the spirit. It’s hard to separate emotions from promptings, at least it is for me. Any advice?

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      • The Holy Ghost enlightens our minds. That is what he is. Light. He’s not emotion. He’s inspiration and knowledge. For example, when I read DS’s books, and I read a particularly inspirational passage, it’s like my mind opens up and I can see exactly how it pertains to me, whether it’s a scripture, his advice, or explanation of something. It’s THEN that I feel emotional, with the realization that the Lord is speaking to me, telling me how I need to improve and where my weaknesses are through those words. It’s a profound “ah ha!” moment, and it makes me want to tell everyone about it. It’s hard not to, but we don’t throw our pearls down for just anyone. :) So, it’s normal to feel emotion, but that comes after the enlightenment and knowledge. It is what fills our heart after we learn something absolutely amazing. This is what I think anyway.

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      • Lemuel,

        I would enter into my closet or other secluded space and bow down upon the earth and pray with all the energy of heart to obtain an answer to that particular question, and remain on my knees until I had received it. After all, it is an experiential question you are asking, and one that is vitally important. You may see why it is the kind of question that men’s answers to you won’t help you – because no amount of explanation can communicate the sensation of sight to one who is born blind; in this realm of discourse, we are all born blind.

        Don’t go to men for what God is the proper source of.

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      • Well said. I’m working on that.

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      • Lemuel,

        You are not alone in that. I am on medication for anxiety and mild depression and it is always hard for me to tell the difference between promptings and emotions. . I struggle with it all of the time. I know that when i get sudden bursts of knowledge, then they are from the spirit. That’s why it is important to ponder, pray, and wait. If it is from the Lord it will feel good. If not, then you will forget it. I think that knowledge is the key. Look for the light. It always feels right.

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    • Here’s a thought: All our lives, we are taught that the sky is blue. We learn our colors and it is easy to identify the sky….Then we take a physics course. No, the sky is not blue, it is actually every color except blue. It only appears blue because of its absence. So, yes, we go on saying the sky is blue, but with a new perspective of understanding, we have a depth to that knowledge that surpasses someone who has not yet taken physics….

      Point being, we are all at different levels. I find that the Church, its history and doctrine are riddled with controversies. When we are prepared, and in an appropriate ‘place’ to receive revelation, we are able to make sense of those controversies and they actually build faith and testimony. (Whereas if we are not prepared, it can destroy faith and testimony). Perhaps someone who feels an ‘absence’ of the spirit when reading any material is not prepared to receive it, or it is not time yet. Perhaps their foundation is not yet complete (line upon line, precept upon precept).

      That’s actually a good and wonderful thing. Heavenly Father won’t hold us accountable to knowledge we have not received a witness of, and He will not give us a witness until we are ready to receive it. If I am questioning anything to read or not, I don’t ask “Should I read this or not?”, rather, “Is it time for me to read this yet”.

      Sometimes a ‘no’ answer or absence of feeling the spirit is only such for a certain amount of time. It doesn’t always mean the answer will be ‘no’, or that there will be a lack of the spirit. Timing has a large part to play in God’s will for His children.

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      • Wow! Perfectly said. Great explanation. And it is something I already know, but it’s always good to hear it again because we may hear it in a different light or context. The human side of me is still amazed by by people, and there are times when I want to “make” people feel what I feel, (human weakness, I know) but we all know that is not possible. And that is why we’re here. To see if we’ll “get it” on our own. Your comment reminds me to be more patient, not only with where others are in their progression, but where I am too. Thank you!

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      • Shyloh, very good metaphor :)

        You remarked “Heavenly Father won’t hold us accountable to knowledge we have not received a witness of, and He will not give us a witness until we are ready to receive it.”

        A while back, I posted an RE: which included a YouTube that really caused me to think! Its a short 15 mins, but so worth it, powerful. I mention it again here because of your comment quoted above…I understand what you are trying to say, but I also feel there that there is something slippery about it. I mean, you’re right, but … somethings missing for me.

        I guess for me I do see God as holding us accountable for knowledge we have not received because a man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge, and there are consequences for our lack of knowledge. Yes, he is a loving Father who allows according to the desires of our heart, but it is up to us to desire, and we can not grow and develop here or in the eternities without gaining knowledge … which makes us accountable for the knowledge we obtain, and do not obtain.

        Margaret Heffernan: The Dangers of “Willful Blindness”

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      • Nathan,

        Wow, excellent video clip! Really giving me something to think about. I guess a better way for me to explain it is that I think it’s a good thing we don’t receive more than we are ready for in that if we did, we would be accountable if we sinned against it. But I agree, we will be held accountable for what we never (strive to) obtain. I suppose that is rather a sin of omission rather than commission. More-so, what I’m trying to illustrate is a principle I heard in a talk by Michael Wilcox:

        http://ibelievepodcast.com/804/when-prayers-seem-unanswered-interview-with-michael-wilcox
        Text format follows the video, and the part I refer to is Mike’s 4th response.

        He talks about there needing to be a ‘pocket’ or holding place for answers.

        I think as long as we are striving to learn, and seeking those answers, we will be led to those materials or individuals to help us along that journey. Sometimes we are required to wait. I do agree that those who never seek will come under condemnation. Especially those who have covenanted to do so.

        I am also reminded of Helaman 7:23-24
        23 For behold, thus saith the Lord: I will not show unto the wicked of my strength, to one more than the other, save it be unto those who repent of their sins, and hearken unto my words. Now therefore, I would that ye should behold, my brethren, that it shall be better for the Lamanites than for you except ye shall repent.

        24 For behold, they are more righteous than you, for they have not sinned against that great knowledge which ye have received; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them; yea, he will lengthen out their days and increase their seed, even when thou shalt be utterly destroyed except thou shalt repent.

        Thanks for the great insights!

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      • Shyloh, I did look at that link, and read the 4th response :) It is as I thought you intended to initially share, and as mentioned I agree in spirit to what you are saying. Wilcox describes perfectly how Father tends to no only parent in the day to day, but also in the experience that is generations. Life truly is the endowment experienced. Good stuff. I learn so much listening to other’s perspectives. While we differ in some ways … its always good :) Thanks!

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  8. Tim, thank you for your efforts. If the Holy Spirit tells you to pull your blog at the request of your brethren. Do what the Spirit directs, and we’ll all miss your presence and blog and always be grateful for your couage and insights. Maybe you can create new one sans-Denver? I have gone before my bishop already once for reading and sharing beliefs with Brother Denver, my wife is worried I am apostate. I testified of Christ and the restored Gospel and stated honestly and boldly that I have read Denver’s writings crossing them with scripture and I agree with an individual whose teachings are contrary to those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being the man he was he smiled and said “You’re not apostate.” I will be just as honest during my upcoming temple recommend interview. Come what may, I will be honest. I will never choose to separate myself from the saints, but what does one say when your priesthood leader says “You cannot read this or that, you cannot think or believe this or that, or you cannot teach your family this or that?” Thoughts, feelings…?

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    • Lynn, I believe an individual when they say they will never separate themselves from “the Saints,” although, frequently I have seen the Saints separate themselves from individuals who say some of the things you are saying. It is very spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically challenging for individuals to hear and experience the things you are saying, and then maintain that relationship. Because in essence, your statements challenge the very spiritual stability of their “comfort zone.” “You mean I can’t rely on another man’s testimony, my financial contributions … but, but I hold a current temple recommend!”

      In their eyes you are either lying, deceived, a heretic. in which they are not going to want to maintain a relationship with you, or you are telling the truth, in which that places them on very borrowed, unstable ground … which, without repenting in the true sense, leaves them to end the relationship they have with you. Sure, they may have “pity” for a short period of time while they either sort things out, or consider you a “service project” to be saved … but when the dust all settles, with few relational exceptions, you will find yourself alone with Christ. He wasn’t kidding when he described the Christ-path…and few there be that find it.

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  9. I would love to have that answered too! I feel the very same way, Lynn. How do you answer temple recommend questions and not feel like your are being slightly dishonest when answering certain questions? I just went through that. I did not mention DS or his books or how I feel about them. I was a chicken, I guess, but I am not at the point where I want to rock the boat. Is that dishonest or just being safe?

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    • Something I’ve been thinking about, as I recently went through that too, But, I am okay with it….The question:

      “Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?”

      DS’ teachings are right in line with the Church. They are meant to lead to Christ. Because he has been excommunicated has not made him an anti-mormon. He still talks and preaches of Christ, and Christ-like attributes and behaviors. Infact, he still donates ALL profits of his books to the building up of the Church (via the Church mission fund) The other question:

      “Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?”

      I can honestly say that I sustain them. I pray for them, and I serve in my calling which assists in my support to local leaders as well. The wording here recognizes the President as The Prophet, and recognizes the 12 as prophets. It does not specify the 15 of them are the ‘only’ prophets. But recognizes The Prophet as the only one who has and is authorized to use the keys.

      I really like this definition from lds.org about the Melchizedek Priesthood: “The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the president of the high or Melchizedek Priesthood, and by virtue of this position, he holds all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on the earth. This office or calling is held by only one man at a time, and he is the only person on the earth at that time in whom all the powers and keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood are functional”.

      I can completely sustain President Monson as the only man holding all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on the earth.

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      • Great comment. I have been mulling this around in my mind for some time. But do I feel these men are actual prophets in the truest sense of the word? That is what stumps me just a little bit. Do I feel they are the same kind of prophet Joseph Smith was? No. I don’t. And that is what bothers me. I want them to be, But maybe they are as “prophety” as they can be, with the authority they do have. I can accept that, but I’m pretty sure that is not what the temple recommend question is asking when is asks if I believe they are prophets, seers, and revelators.

        I wish they would share experiences they have with the savior, as Joseph did. (if they have them). That was Joseph’s whole platform. I want to believe that Christ is still visiting his apostles. I would LOVE for one of them to finish the Joseph Smith Translations of the Bible. Why has no one done that? Think how wonderful that would be! I sometimes feel they are too passive, but maybe that is just my own weakness showing through. It’s not that I want them to preach fire and brimstone… I just want another Samson the Lamanite, or another Nephi, or another Joseph, and maybe that is what we have and I am just not recognizing it?

        I absolutely sustain and support the of leaders of our church. Maybe my questions can be answered by reading their words more often and listening to conference more closely. When they speak, I do feel the spirit, but I can say the same for my gospel doctrine teacher. Sigh. Any answers?

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      • I think of 2 situations:

        One anciently in Jacob 3 7-9
        7 And also it grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you, before your wives and your children, many of whose feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God, which thing is pleasing unto God;
        8 And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul.
        9 Wherefore, it burdeneth my soul that I should be constrained, because of the strict commandment which I have received from God, to admonish you according to your crimes, to enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded, instead of consoling and healing their wounds; and those who have not been wounded, instead of feasting upon the pleasing word of God have daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds.

        The other in our dispensation with Joseph Smith. (I fail to find the exact source) But, both times, we have prophets prepared to deliver glorious messages to the people, but, because of the lack of faithfulness of some of the members present, that message is withheld.

        I experienced this first hand at my own ward conference. I had fasted, prayed, and prepared to receive something special. But, our Stake President told us ‘we’ were having a difficult time, so we spent 2 hours talking about pornography. I was so disappointed, I know what you mean about feeling the spirit from the gospel doctrine teachers.

        I would love to say that our prophets today have visions, but I doubt we would ever hear of them. Brother Packer has also recently talked about what he feels as improper to even ask another of the Brethren if an occurrence of witnessing the Savior has taken place, that it was too sacred an experience to even inquire of.

        Interesting that the scriptures teach in regard to the ‘mysteries of the kingdom’ that D&C 42:65–Behold, thou shalt observe all these things, and great shall be thy reward; for unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but unto the world it is not given to know them.

        JST Matthew 7:10 (KJ 7:6)–And the mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves; for it is not meet to give that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they trample them under their feet.
        D&C 42:61–If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things–that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.
        D&C 71:1–Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel, the things of the kingdom, expounding the mysteries thereof out of the scriptures, according to that portion of Spirit and power which shall be given unto you, even as I will.

        From these scriptures, I gather that those sacred things that the Brethren experience won’t be talked about because of the indifference of many of the Saints. That they might indeed be trampled. It also assures me in my belief that I need to stop looking to the Brethren for light and knowledge, and seek that from Its Source directly.–God is the one who reveals these things.

        1 Nephi 10:19–For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

        Jacob 4:8–Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.

        Alma 26:22–Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing–unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

        Yet, ironically, it’s as if we are counseled not to seek to understand the mysteries because it’s almost viewed as unsafe to do so.

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      • You point out some really great scriptures. All of which make perfect sense, although I didn’t get the feeling we shouldn’t search or understand the mysteries of God, but to be ware of what we ask for, because if you seek, you just might find. LOL

        But you have given me some great things to ponder over. I think I am just frustrated lately. I have been a member my whole life, served a mission and all that. I’m tired of primary lessons for Sunday School.(the teachers to a great job with what they have though. At least in my ward) I just want something more, which is why I have loved DS books. But his books aren’t easily shared if people know who he is, and as soon as you say he was excommunicated…. well, I’m sure you know, so I don’t cast those pearls out too often, but keep them to myself. The only spiritual experiences I share are with close friends and family.

        There are too sides to every coin, and both sides are valid and most of the time, obvious. It’s just a frustration. ;/ How do you argue both sides when you agree with both sides? What a conundrum.

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  10. Good discussion. I found the following article a bit ago and thought it was very interesting. I’m not looking to leave or anything, so don’t be afraid of the title, but it’s got a section about the temple recommend interview: http://staylds.com/docs/HowToStay.html

    I want to read and learn all I can about everything – to develop my relationship with the Savior, and also so I can talk to others in love – others struggling with things. I don’t think the fear-based culture is very helpful.

    I was thrilled to read this talk going around:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/uywdxih3rjqgwo2/HeberUT-SacMtgTalkOnTestimonyPreserving.pdf

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    • Goodfighter, I read the SacMtgTalk and browsed the stay LDS article. Its great that you want to read and learn all you can :) You have an incredible path before you … where ever that leads.

      For myself, and many that I speak with, I can tell you that this is not about leaving a church, but finding and experiencing Christ and Father, here, now, in mortality. It is not about reconciling the “benefits” of an LDS membership as much as it is experiencing the fulfillment of Father’s covenants; literally, as apposed to metaphorically receiving these in the form of the sacrament (TM) or in the temple endowment (TM).

      I sincerely wish you well, with all you are and will face. The challenge is that the Church / Corporation is true, and is led by a man who holds a position (sustained by you) as prophet, and he does in fact hold a priesthood office. All of which is true … Father has gotten pretty good at backup plans and being rejected :)

      I can tell you that these two experiences 1) church or religion as man was given when we collectively rejected “true messengers” and God’s covenants through Joseph and 2) that of receiving all that was available through Joseph, whose entire life testified of a direct relationship between Father and Son … these two experiences will begin to look more and more different as the days move on.

      And … I couldn’t agree more, seek Christ, seek Father, stay away from fear :)

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      • Thanks so much for your reply. (This is still me, I changed my username, didn’t look right.) I am excited/overwhelmed about all these things I’m learning. I read and study a lot but I can’t put much into words like you all can. I have so many questions. So many dots I’d like to connect.

        Are you familiar with any of Philip McLemore’s articles? Here’s his most recent – it’s in 2 parts. He has helped me understand a great deal.

        https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/hindering-the-saints-taking-away-the-key-of-knowledge/
        https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/hindering-the-saints-taking-away-the-key-of-knowledge-part-ii/

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      • I’m not sure if you going to see this … buried way back here. But I just wanted to share that I did take a look at both those articles. Very insightful! A couple years back, some friends at the time, went and listened to Philip. My friends were at different places in their lives, and on their path … so they had mixed responses. I’m pretty open to life experiences and I know that his previous articles had really spoken to me. He certainly was a stepping stone along the way …

        What I wanted to add, is that from those articles, I linked to a podcast that Philip and a couple other individuals did. I’m not totally sure where you are on your path. And I feel like I can share this as I am only relating the experience of Nathan Kline (from the podcast shares), which effectively illustrates a powerful transition that individuals must experience along this life transition that is seeking and receiving Christ.

        In the podcast Nathan discussed being a clergy (Mormon) in the military. I guess previous to that he had been a veil worker in the temple. In an experience that was working with all this PTSD, truama, etc. He got to a point where he felt that if he could just experience the temple, go for an endowment session, he felt that he could receive the comfort, knowledge, etc. that he was desperately seeking (sorry if I’m totally goofying up his experience) … but the point was that, since he had been a veil worker for so long he had basically memorized the entire endowment. Now … in the moment that was all of this he was going through he decided to find a quiet place he could be alone, and in that space, experience the entire endowment. Needless to say the experience was extremely powerful for this individual. If someone hasn’t experienced this “shift” in experience, that is transitioning from going TO the temple, verses experiencing the I AM of the temple experience, the podcast is certainly worth a listen.

        I know that for a significant period of time DS has talked about the temple only being an invitation. There is certainly something to that. Searching, pondering, reclaiming and manifesting the experience that is the endowment is so worthy of our attention. As completely screwed up as all this nonsense (condition of the church, church history, this person says this, this person says that) … for those raised in the church, or whose spiritual platform is the LDS church … there is still an experience available, via the language, content, metaphors, schemata … even ordinances that is the LDS endowment.

        Additionally, as suggested by this individual and discussed during this podcast, there is something extremely intimate and revealing about reclaiming this experience and placing it properly back in its rightful perspective…the kingdom of God is within you. This entire mortal experience IS the endowment metaphor, and there is no way that individuals can’t not be experiencing it.

        God loves all his children! And certainly the Church (TM) is not the only way by which individuals will and can come to Christ. We often forget that one of the greatest sermons in the BOM on faith and receiving Christ in mortality (Alma 31-32) was given to a group of individuals who had been kicked out of the church.

        I simply offer this suggestion for members whose spiritual perspective is based on the LDS lens (ie. metaphors, phrases, language, etc.). The endowment that is the LDS experience, is certainly NOT the destination, but there are many keys offered … pick one up, no matter where you are in life, place it in the door and turn :)

        Thanks again, for the article suggestion.

        PODCAST
        http://mormonmatters.org/2012/12/17/144-145-the-kingdom-of-god-is-within-you-believing-it-trusting-it-accessing-it/

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  11. God’s People—This Time Around It Is Us!
    by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

    Applying Isaiah’s prophecy to ourselves for our profit and learning, we immediately confront a number of inconvenient truths. God holds us accountable for the misfortunes that befall us as a people. While we may attribute today’s troubles to freaks of nature, a poor economy, human error, obdurate enemies, and so forth, to God we have set in motion an escalating series of covenant curses. Israel’s ancient declines into apostasy precipitated world wars and the loss of privileges or covenant blessings for those generations. That historical pattern serves Isaiah as an allegory of an End-Time scenario. If we miss that point, then his prophecy is of little use to us.

    Isaiah teaches that our chief sins are the injustices we do to each other and our idolatry before God. Injustices may take many forms: inequality, graft, enmity, evil speaking, persecution, oppression, tyranny, and so forth. We worship idols when we set our goals on the things of this world, stealing away our hearts and minds. The effect is spiritual blindness. We assume we are right with God, while our religion becomes but a substitute for the true covenant relationship God requires. This isn’t enough to save us in the coming “Day of Jehovah.” Still, there is a redeeming side. Isaiah predicts that a few individuals will respond to God’s invitation to repent.

    6. 8. 2010

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  12. The Role of Ephraim in Isaiah’s Prophecy
    by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

    Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Ephraim consists mostly of censure. Ephraim lives in the past, acting as if former glories were current ones: “Woe to the garlands of glory of the drunkards of Ephraim! Their crowning splendor has become as fading wreaths on the heads of the opulent overcome with wine” (Isaiah 28:1). The king of Assyria—a new Flood (Isaiah 8:7–8)—will invade Ephraim’s land: “My Lord has in store one mighty and strong: as a ravaging hailstorm sweeping down, or like an inundating deluge of mighty waters, he will hurl them to the ground by his hand. The proud garlands of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden underfoot” (Isaiah 28:2–3).

    Ephraim plows the same ground over and over, never moving beyond the basic principle of “line upon line and precept upon precept” to personal revelation (Isaiah 28:9–13, 24–29). Its prophets, too, are drunk: “These too have indulged in wine and are giddy with strong drink: priests and prophets have gone astray through liquor. They are intoxicated with wine and stagger because of strong drink; they err as seers, they blunder in their decisions” (Isaiah 28:7). When God “lays in Zion a stone,” many don’t believe it: “Scoff not, lest your bonds grow severe, for I have heard utter destruction decreed by my Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, upon the whole earth” (Isaiah 28:16, 22).

    2. 22. 2012

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  13. Tim,

    Have you ever read my article, entitled, “The doctrine against dissent”? If not, I recommend you read it and the comments that follow it. It may give you further ideas. Here’s the link:

    http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-doctrine-against-dissent/

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    • I have read the post, which I found, for the most part, illuminating. I also found myself disagreeing with some of the early verbiage about the reasoning behind the word dissent, but you explained that rather well noting the difference of dictionary definitions in Joseph’s day and ours. Still, and perhaps this is my own unique definition, I believe a man can dissent and NOT wish the institution to change, which I did not see presented as an option in your excellent post.

      He can participate as he sees fit or withdraw as he sees fit, just as the institution does with his membership – it can bestow membership status and it can take it away. Thus, I am a dissenter in some, perhaps many ways, in that I disagree with a great many things that are done or taught in our church. Yet, I do not desire or ask the church to change. That is not my prerogative. On the contrary, I sustain it and uphold it – the church – the corporation sole – and those who lead the institution, because it suits my needs and I find much good in it.

      Therefore, I am submissive and give assent to my local and general leaders to govern me in regards to ecclesiastical matters. I give them that right and authority each time I raise my arm to sustain them and – think of the fifth covenant in the temple – when I was endowed in the Los Angeles temple in 1976. I am grateful to be able to do so. I am happy to do so. I openly express my love for these men and my desire for the Lord’s blessings upon them. Yet, I can still dissent from some doctrines or beliefs they – and I – teach from authoritative sources.

      For the record, even though I have stated it elsewhere many times on my blog, I never have and never will teach inside an LDS church building many of the things I discuss here on my personal blog, which in no way represents official doctrine. What I write here are musings, ponderings and ideas about spiritual growth that come to me as I seek, ponder and pray to know and understand God’s will for me. Frankly, I do not care about God’s will for other men, because for them, it could be, and most likely is, different.

      I sincerely appreciate the many comments, including yours, my friend and fellow blogger for many years. I do not read your blog regularly, but when I do, I am always enlightened. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment and link to your excellent post on dissent, including the discussion on disciplinary councils, especially comparing current practice as outlined in the handbook with what Elder Oaks taught from the pulpit. By the way, in practice and from my experience, many of the Melchizedek priesthood cases are pushed back down to the Bishopric level.

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  14. It’s kind of funny. Every time I sit down to write a comment on this post I find myself writing a very negative, nasty comment–so I delete it. I don’t like being negative and nasty, and neither does the Lord. But I also generally feel inclined to call a spade a spade.

    Are Mormon’s submissive? That’s like asking if the Pope is Catholic. Most Mormons are like most everybody else; they want to be told what to think, say, and do. This really isn’t a good thing. This isn’t taking personal responsibility. And in a church where the oracles seem to be conspicuously missing, one risks a lot in being this way.

    I’ve been reading Denver’s last talk on Priesthood after reading and highlighting all the others. Wow! “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Anyone who cannot see that Denver Snuffer is a true prophet-messenger after reading all five of his lectures has got to be smoking something. I mean, come on! Denver Snuffer is a modern John the Baptist. He is designed to be rejected and crucified by the establishment so he can, in this way, overcome the kingdom of the Gentiles, wrest the keys from them, and begin a new last dispensation—a dispensation of ZION. It’s as obvious as day.

    Only this time there isn’t going to be just one Joseph the Seer, there are going to be hundreds and then thousands of them. The Lord just needed a few folks like John Pontius and Denver Snuffer to bravely step in and help hand-start the propellers. This airplane is really going to FLY this time! In Joseph’s day it never even got off the ground. This time, though, things are going to be much different, to put it mildly.

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  15. http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html

    Certainly this little gem has been discussed before? … while Anderson labels the two who come to town as “swindlers,” interesting that in the previous sentence there were many “strangers” (Hebrews 13:2) who would frequent the area. For all these swindlers were trying to “cover up,” the truth they uncover is quite revealing :)

    “The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.”

    The things “a child” can learn from simple children’s stories … and that in the end it takes a child to state the obvious.

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  16. Reading through the Second Comforter by Denver Snuffer – page 234, he cites to Mosiah 3:19 that says we are to become like a child and submissive is one of the attributes.

    Denver then says: “It does not say you should submit to men. There is nothing about following a man in the concept of “submission.” As used here, submission is not just an unanchored term, abstractly applied to anyone or anything. It is submission to God.”

    The discussion goes onto page 235 and is worth a read.

    Just thought I’d share.

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