Cut Off From Among My people

LDSChurchHandbooks1When one is excommunicated from the LDS Church, he is provided instructions by the Bishop or Stake President as to what he can and cannot do. Given that the church just severed the relationship with the individual excommunicated you would think the instructions provided are no longer applicable. It is assumed they are given with the intention of helping the individual make their way back to baptism again within a short period of time, even as little as one year.

Instructions Provided When Excommunicated

It has been my sad duty over the years to write and deliver the notice to appear, then to write the summary of the disciplinary council for the report sent to Salt Lake, and the instructions given to the individual who has been the subject of church discipline. Frankly, I have found it a difficult process. It requires that I listen intently and take copious notes so as to capture the essence of what transpired, what was considered, what was decided and finally, what instruction was given.

Alternative Method – Administrative Action

I’m sure you know that many individuals forgo the trauma of a disciplinary council and elect to simply resign their membership. The Stake President is supposed to contact the individual and make sure they are aware of the seriousness of what they have just done. Most Stake Presidents I have worked with have been hesitant to perform this duty, and, in fact, have let it drag on for a year or more before executing that final step which cuts the individual off from the LDS church.

Rights, Privileges and Authority Removed

They are supposed to instruct them what they are giving up, such as all rights to the priesthood, to the temple, to the sacrament and any claims they may have on others such as the sealing of a spouse or even children born in the covenant. As with any individual excommunicated, they are told they may no longer wear the garment of the holy priesthood, may not exercise priesthood authority, may not speak in church, offer prayers, serve in any church callings or pay tithing.

Defending Oneself in a Disciplinary Council

For many individuals, this is a relief. For those who chose the administrative action (no council), it is fairly obvious they no longer believe and simply wanted to stop being bothered by home and visiting teachers. For those who elected to go through the formal council proceedings, one can assume they had hopes to avoid excommunication. In other words, they believe in the cause of the church, enjoyed the privileges of membership and were willing to petition to retain them.

Apostasy is a Whole Different Animal

In the case of someone accused of apostasy, the case has pretty much been decided before the council is held. Either the Stake Presidency has received instructions from the Area Presidency to “take care of it,” or they have decided on their own that the member is too much of a pain in the butt and can no longer put up with the things he or she is sharing among church members that are out of line with accepted church doctrine. Of course, they are supposed to have been warned.

Role of a High Councilor

The wheels of the church grind slowly, but they usually grind smoothly. It’s a bit of a burden to serve on a high council. Besides speaking in church each month, attending early-morning stake council or high council meetings, High Councilors are to serve as advisors to the Stake President in disciplinary councils. They are supposed to be evenly divided with half to see that the interests of the church are met and the other half to see that the interests of the individual are represented.

Apostasy Usually Decided in Advance

In reality, the high councilors probably know nothing of the circumstances regarding the man or woman being tried for their membership until a few minutes before the council begins. It’s pretty hard to represent someone being tried for apostasy when it is clear the “apostate” knows more about church doctrine and history than you do. Therefore, apostasy is usually decided based on the attitude of the individual – if he or she is willing to do whatever is asked of them by the SP.

Keep Your Beliefs to Yourself

I have now had several online friends – fellow bloggers – excommunicated for apostasy because they wrote things in their blog indicating they believed something was missing from the church. Apparently you can believe what you want about the church as long as you don’t share it with anyone else. I even had one individual in a previous stake claim he had just as much right to lead the church as the then-prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, but he also had extenuating mental issues.

I Sustain the Leaders of This Church

I think it’s a little foolish to be so “in-your-face” in your comments about the Brethren or about the Prophet in particular. Unless you are so ticked off at what they are teaching and feel they are perpetuating a myth, then you might want to hold back on the public statements opposing their actions. Lest I be accused by any of being an apostate, let it be known here and now I love the Brethren who lead this church. I sustain them and accept their leadership, guidance and direction.

Open Dialog, Free Speech and LDS Bloggers

As I wrote for many years, if the Brethren or my local leaders ever felt my blog was out of line or too provocative or placed the church in a bad light, I would gladly change it or remove it. I had even expressed that I would have no problem discontinuing the blog altogether, although of course with the Internet Way-back machine, what I have written is preserved for a long time, or at least as long as there is electricity and the server on which it is stored is not nuked by an EMP.

A Preview of Things to Come

I shared in a recent post a conversation I had with the Lord in which I asked for and received his permission to share a few things on my blog in the months to come that I have been hesitant to write about for fear of offending the leaders of this church or causing others to doubt their own testimonies and commitment to the church. I still feel strongly one should look for the good in all things, especially when you have invested a lifetime of time and money to building a good cause.

An Honest Seeker of Truth

I am going to explore a few scriptures and offer alternative interpretations of those scriptures. I am also going to be looking at a few events in our church history and noting interpretations of those events that differ, sometimes radically, of the “standard narrative” we have all been taught or grown up with all our lives. Please don’t label me an apostate or trouble-maker. I believe I am an honest seeker of truth and have felt led to these conclusions by much pondering and prayer.

Living With Difficult Church History

You may think I am parroting the views of Denver Snuffer and in fact, I will be quoting some of his insightful points, but only because he has been bold in bringing them to our attention. I did not hear about these things first from Denver. I learned them in my youth from my mother in the things she taught me and books I read, or I learned them later as I felt led to certain sources that one can find online which were not available until recently. The Internet has changed everything.

Troubling Issues in the Standard Narrative

You may ask why I choose to do this. You may wonder if I am looking to force the Brethren to take action. No, I am only looking for certain troubling issues to be addressed. I recognize that I am in the minority in this church. Some estimate that as few as two percent of the LDS members actually do any serious study of our history and the evolution of our doctrines over time. And if we are to believe John Dehlin (which I do), the Brethren have decided we are irredeemable.

Home Sanctuary – A Sacred Altar

Up until recently I was greatly concerned about missing out on the blessings of the sacrament and the temple if I were to be excommunicated from the church. With what I have learned about the home sanctuary in the last few weeks that concern about the temple has been resolved. And with what I have determined in my own mind about priesthood authority and priesthood power, remembering the Lord through administering the sacrament in my home is no longer an issue.

Bishop Holds Keys to Administer Sacrament

I know what you’re thinking, “Brother Malone, don’t you know that the Bishop holds the keys of administering the sacrament? You can’t do that without his permission.” Well, if the church cuts me off, then they no longer have any say about what I do in my own home, do they? Let me make it clear my issues with the church are not with my local priesthood leaders. I have many times expressed my love for them on my blog and will continue to do so. My issue is priesthood.

Sealing Power Received by Voice of God

The bottom line for me is I am not so sure the higher priesthood can be passed from one man to another. It can only be received by hearing the voice of God or by receiving it directly from God by the laying on of hands – the Lord’s hands, even Jesus Christ. Even if one receives this higher sealing power from the Savior, it cannot be passed on to another. Each man must receive this power for himself. I’m not saying the church doesn’t have authority because I know it does.

A Kingdom of Priests with Priestly Authority

I liken the authority of the church to that of the tribes of Israel after Moses and before the advent of the Lord in the Meridian of time. It is a priestly authority, authority of the Aaronic priesthood, or a type of authority that invites us to go and get the real thing, the power of the priesthood from the Lord and Master of the universe. I know this is quite a claim. We teach Peter, James and John gave this authority to Joseph and Oliver and I have no doubt they did. But was it later passed on?

Seek to Behold the Face of the Lord

Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were asked to choose the twelve apostles. They did so. After they were ordained, Oliver gave them this charge:

“…it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.

Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off you doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days?”

 

47 comments for “Cut Off From Among My people

  1. Log
    April 24, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    [The higher priesthood] can only be received by hearing the voice of God or by receiving it directly from God by the laying on of hands – the Lord’s hands, even Jesus Christ. Even if one receives this higher sealing power from the Savior, it cannot be passed on to another. Each man must receive this power for himself. I’m not saying the church doesn’t have authority because I know it does.

    Tim,

    I am not sure this is accurate.

    91 And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William be appointed, ordained, and anointed, as counselor unto my servant Joseph, in the room of my servant Hyrum, that my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right;

    92 That from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people,

    93 That whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curses shall be cursed; that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    94 And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph;

    95 That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph; and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery;

    96 That my servant Hyrum may bear record of the things which I shall show unto him, that his name may be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.

    123 Verily I say unto you, I now give unto you the officers belonging to my Priesthood, that ye may hold the keys thereof, even the Priesthood which is after the order of Melchizedek, which is after the order of mine Only Begotten Son.

    124 First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.

    Unless I am mistaken, the Lord is herein speaking to Joseph, not directly to Hyrum.

    This one I throw in just because it says “a,” not “the.”

    125 I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet.

    Incidentally…

    8 And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious;

    9 Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure–
    (D&C 1:8–9)

    • Moira
      April 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Is it not true that Joseph Smith Jr was ordaining his son, William, to carry on after him?

      • April 24, 2014 at 11:49 pm

        Hi Moira. Yes, Joseph gave his young son a blessing. There were quite a few witnesses who said Joseph hinted that Joseph Smith III would have the right to lead the church if he lived righteously. Obviously, things changed with the death of Joseph. His son was way too young. He and Emma were approached many times. Joseph III always said no. He would not take the lead unless he felt the Lord wanted him to do so. That day finally came. The resultant “Josephite” church, now the Community of Christ was very different from the “Brighamite” church.

    • I am not sure that is accurate
      April 27, 2014 at 6:31 am

      “I am not sure this is accurate.”

      Perhaps your confusion is in the fact that you are assuming that Patriarchal Priesthood is greater than Melchizedek Priesthood which is what Denver teaches.

      The office of elder, apostle or any other calling within the patriarchal priesthood holds the authority to seal and to administer the ordinances of salvation, including the administration of the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      These ordinances, with special emphasis on the Gift of the Holy Ghost represent the “KEYS” that unlock access to the Melchizedek Priesthood, ie, the KEYS of unlocking the Melchizedek Priesthood endowment and the calling of God’s Voice out of the heavens, etc.

      Section 124 is an excellent section for demonstrating that the fulness of Melchizedek Priesthood that was restored for the first time during Joseph’s ministry in 1831, (but had been lost by January of 1841 (124:28)), is separate and distinct from, and higher than the offices within the patriarchal priesthood, such as, elder and apostle, etc., that had been in the church from the day it was formally and legally established in 1830, with Joseph and Oliver as the first two elders and apostles. (124:95).

      • Log
        April 27, 2014 at 9:06 am

        Is it a fact that I am “assuming Patriarchal Priesthood is greater than Melchizedek Priesthood which is what Denver teaches”? Wouldn’t that being a fact require me to assume Patriarchal Priesthood is greater than Melchizedek Priesthood, and wouldn’t that fact also require me to make that assumption in association with Snuffer allegedly teaching Patriarchal Priesthood is greater than Melchizedek Priesthood?

        Or are you speaking to Tim?

        I think my confusion *now* is because there are so many assumptions being made.

        For my part, since “all priesthood is Melchizedek,” as Joseph said, I don’t assume patriarchal priesthood is greater than Melchizedek priesthood. That would be a basic logical error. My assumption, if I am making one, is that Joseph spoke correctly.

        And, if one reads all of Snuffer’s writings on the subject, one comes to understand that Snuffer, when he refers to “patriarchal priesthood” is actually speaking of what is referred to in the scriptures as the Melchizedek priesthood. That’s why he talks about avoiding confusion over vocabulary as justification for using the term “patriarchal priesthood” to cover the concept – he’s saying we don’t have the Melchizedek priesthood, which claim can only lead to confusion among members of the Church.

        http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/01/fullness-of-priesthood.html

        http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/05/power-in-priesthood.html

  2. April 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Thanks, Log. I’m also not sure what I wrote is accurate. For me, it’s a question I need to clarify. That’s why I blog. Surely I’ve misunderstood what I think I’ve read now in several places in Denver’s books, right?

    To me, this is the crux of the matter. This seems to be what Denver has been focusing on, or at least what I focused on as I read his books. Perhaps he was referring to sealing power, not the higher priesthood.

    Was it you who wrote a comment when I first started sharing what I was reading in Denver’s books two years ago, that Denver taught there was no authority in the LDS church after Joseph was assassinated?

    I always appreciate your comments because you use scripture to make your points. I’ve read just about everything Denver has written – his books, his blog posts, his lectures. What was the Heavenly Gift?

    Can it be passed on and do we still have it today? Did we, as a church, receive the promised blessings at the completion of the Nauvoo temple or were we cursed until four generations passed, as Denver claims?

    Pondering…

  3. Lori
    April 24, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Tim,

    I had a thought recently along this vein of thinking that I would like to get input on from others. Is there any substance to this idea: The difference between one asking to have his/her name removed from the membership records of the LDS Church and one being excommunicated by a local governing body, i.e. High Council (regardless of the origination of the process), is a matter of who is accountable before God for the decision?

    For the person who chooses to leave the LDS Church voluntarily, for whatever reason–offense, disagreement with doctrine, impatience for change in practices, etc., that person becomes the sole bearer of accountability before God for the action. But in the case of someone who is otherwise counted innocent before God and yet is excommunicated, the accountability for the decision is upon those Priesthood Leaders who requested and/or pursued the path?

    I always cringe a bit when I hear of someone removing themselves from the Church because I wonder if that really would be what God wants for that person. I know I cannot judge such a matter, and I am not, but I am curious about who the Lord would hold culpable between the two scenarios. I recall reading on brother Denver’s blog his response to a query about if he would ever have asked to be taken off the membership rolls. He said something along the lines of yes, if certain conditions had occurred, but that they had not. Therefore, he never resigned his membership. I wonder if that condition was a matter of if the Lord had asked him to do so. Would the Lord ever ask any of His children to make that sacrifice? Or would He allow leadership the opportunity to seek (hopefully) His will concerning the matter, then allow them to bear responsibility for the outcome?

    I know this is a complex matter. It is one that makes me painfully sad. I’ve witnessed a handful of people close to me experience being excommunicated and it was hell for all of us. And no, there was no support or love forthcoming from the ward or stake, even for those who were innocent yet still impacted by the event.

    • April 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Lori. This whole subject is sad, but is becoming more commonplace every day. Of course, I view the subject from the point of concern of a blogger. I want and need to be very careful what I write and how I write it. I am a questioner but not a doubter. I love this church and the people I serve. I am grateful to be a member and want to remain so.

      I have watched members remove themselves from the rolls of the church through administrative action. Yes, it’s sad. Most were because of the church’s involvement in Proposition 8 here in California a few years back. They chose to disassociate themselves from fellowship in the church. There was no sin or misdeed, simply a desire to leave.

      I’m inclined to agree with your point that what they did may not have been what the Lord had in mind for them, and therefore they will bear the burden of their decision. I have written many times, I am glad I have never been a bishop, only a counselor or clerk. I do not want to judge anyone as to why they chose to leave the church for any reason.

      I also agree with your point that those who are excommunicated for apostasy, but felt they were doing what the Lord asked of them, are justified in going through the difficult disciplinary process because they do so with humility. The burden falls upon the leaders to honestly and absolutely know they are doing God’s will and not bowing to pressure.

      If I ever meet with Denver and have a chance to ask him a question, I would like to know what his condition was for voluntary resignation from the church. I guess it’s a moot point now, but I am curious. I wonder if it had something to do with same-sex temple marriage or the other current issue of ordaining women to the priesthood. Don’t know.

      I have always disliked disciplinary councils except the ones that are convened to consider reinstating the member to full fellowship or to consider their request for baptism. Those have always been happy occasions in which I didn’t mind getting up at 5am. I dislike councils that go on for hours and hours late into the evening. Not a good idea.

      Thanks for the dialog, Lori. God bless.

  4. Log
    April 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I don’t know if I said that.

    As for me, history seems to bear out the negative consequences promised for failure at Nauvoo, and, as I have said elsewhere, the Lord ceased speaking to the Church in his own voice after D&C 136, which amounts to a farewell letter.

    And we don’t hear of any bearing the power and authority of the Melchizedek priesthood, which entails enjoying the communion and presence of God, Christ, the Church of the Firstborn, and the holy angels, just as Joseph did, except Snuffer and Dan Rogers (to name two whom I find credible).

    These things require an explanation. I don’t look to humans for that explanation, though. I am weary of seemingly charitable preachers offering the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

  5. April 24, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Link to testimony of Daniel Rogers, for those who haven’t read it:

    http://thesecondcomforter.com/

  6. johnD
    April 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Tim, I’m just 3-4 months into your blog, but have enjoyed following you on your journey. Maybe because we are of similar age and find myself also 40 years into my trek for further light and knowledge. My question, what’s your endgame? I mean what are you seeking? You seem almost chasing after a confrontation with the brethren! Why? Here’s why I ask, for me, receiving an audience with the Lord in this life is all that matters! I believe you feel the same? So how do you see taking this path help you achieve that end? I can understand what Denver is doing because he believes he is on an errand of the Lord, and I personally think he probably is, but why are you? This is a sincere question.

    • Good Will
      April 24, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      johnD,

      My stake president asked me “What’s your point? What are you getting at?” I felt to say to him (though I didn’t) “Where does the wind come from? Where is it going? What’s the point? I write as the Spirit moves me.” But that seemed so “pretentious”. I just knew that I wanted to discover truth — and make a record of it.

      We are all on a journey. Some of us are “recording” it. If we fail, if we succeed, at least you’ll know where we went…or how we got there.

      It’s a great time to be alive! We are very blessed.

      • April 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm

        Tim, Your words will resonate with all of those that have paid a similar price in getting to know the spirit.(I’m referring to the diligence and razor thin edge it requires to KNOW the Holy Ghost)

        It is controlled by righteousness with an exactness and it takes you places that had never entered your heart or mind to have gone. Many won’t understand what i’m referring to but it is a testament to those who are traveling it that few have traversed this pass.(i’m not referring to excommunication)

        A couple scriptures to resonate within you

        That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, MY STRANGE ACT and perform my work, MY STRANGE work, that men MAY DISCERN between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God.D&C 101:95

        For the preparation wherewith I design to PREPARE MINE apostles to prune my VINEYARD for the last time that I may bring to pass MY STRANGE ACT, that I may pour out my SPIRIT upon all flesh— D&C 95:4

    • April 25, 2014 at 12:05 am

      Don’t know if this will appear in the right place. This is for JohnD. I agree with Good Will. I am simply documenting my journey. I have questions. I write about them. Good people like Log help me find answers, then I either change my views or I adapt them to newfound knowledge. I have no end game in mind. I do feel driven. I do feel inspired. I have ideas for posts come to me in dreams and especially when I’m in the shower. Don’t laugh. It’s true.

      I write because that’s how I learn. I am not telling anybody that my writings are doctrine. I am telling everybody that I am thinking with my fingers. I will continue to proclaim my love for this church and the good people in it. I will continue to proclaim my love and support for those who lead it. I will pay my tithing gratefully, serve in callings as asked and do all I can to help my fellow Saints come unto Christ.

      I will continue to accept correction or counsel such as that offered by my bishop to remove links to my posts from Facebook. There was wisdom in his request. I know the stuff I write can be inflammatory or disconcerting for those who are used to me teaching the orthodox and correlated material in the classroom and from the pulpit. What I write in my blog is exploratory mental exercise in an effort to build faith. If it causes doubt, then I will work harder to write in an uplifting manner.

      Am I on an errand from the Lord? Up until a few weeks ago, my blog was simply a way to express myself. The Lord and I made a recent agreement about some of the things I’m going to be writing about in the near future. I’m no Denver Snuffer. I’m no John Dehlin and I’m no Rock Waterman or Damian Smith. I’m just your average First Generation California Mormon boy trying to make sense of Utah Mormon culture. I married into it and am fascinated by how different Utah Mormonism is.

      • johnD
        April 25, 2014 at 6:46 am

        Tim, I appreciate your desires and your willingness to share your journey, I think I better understand.
        The spirit has given me the errand these last 5 years of preaching “The Gospel of Jesus Christ as Restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith”. And no, I have NOT been following the correlated lessons the way we are asked. I feel at times while teaching and testifying of Christ I’m covering new ground to many, they like the cute anecdotes and awesome pioneer stories above all. BUT people are starting to get it, I was even allowed to share my experience receiving the baptism of fire and spending the night with the Holy Ghost and my witness of the Savior this last Easter Sunday in Elder Quorum. And again like you I grew up in the gospel outside of Utah, but now here I am, and it certainly is different. I grew up in the restored gospel, people here tend to feel they grew up in the restored church! It’s going way slower than I anticipated, but is moving forward, we MUST keep preaching and teaching Christ and a personal relationship with him. Oh and bye the way, I have full support of my Bishop and Stake President and their counselors, at least for now! There is Hope for our people!!

    • Chris Harrison
      April 26, 2014 at 8:18 am

      johnD, I do not believe any of us reading this blog seek confrontation with the brethren. It is the SCMC that is monitoring this site and all other members, “however well-meaning,” for anything that does not align with the brethren. Even your endeavor to seek an audience with the Lord in mortality does not align with the brethren or current correlated curriculum, but I do not believe the Lord wants us all to move through life in stoic silence. Our testimonies of the Lord’s fulfilled promise to minister to us in this mortal realm are what matters. How each of us go about that path is directed by the Spirit. I for one am grateful that many testify of this attainable communion. I pray you achieve that in this life. God is love. God is love.

  7. Good Will
    April 24, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Bro. Malone,

    I didn’t say half of what you have written here and I was ridiculed, brow-beaten and tossed on my ear by the High Council and presiding high priest of my stake for teaching “false doctrine”. The claim you make — that the high priesthood (what we call “Melchizedek Priesthood”) is conferred by the voice of God, directly, and not by man — is not tantamount to apostasy. It is apostasy, as determined by The Brethren. The entire foundation of the Church rests upon that authority.

    Either denounce your claim right now and testify that The Brethren hold all keys, powers and authority on earth from God by ordination and the laying on of hands by men…or pack your bags, you’re moving’ out!

    (At least, that has been my experience.) As someone else would say “Your mileage may vary.”

    • April 25, 2014 at 12:23 am

      Good Will: Yep, we’re talking about THE fundamental claim of the LDS church here – the Melchizedek Priesthood. I’m not doubting Joseph’s story that it was conferred by Peter, James and John even though we have no historical record other than a passing reference in D&C 128:20.

      I’m simply wondering about how the sealing power is / was received. Section 110 doesn’t say Elijah gave Joseph the sealing power. Elijah said Joseph already had it. Where did he get it? Joseph received it by hearing the voice of the Lord tell him he had it (D&C 132:46), just as Nephi heard the Lord give him the sealing power in Helaman 10:6–7.

      See, Will, I’m not teaching anybody anything. I’m just asking questions and soliciting answers, even after nearly forty years of teaching the standard narrative. Lots of good people share what they know and teach me. Some show me new insights. I’m not trying to sow doubts.

      I hope my mileage may vary. I don’t want to cause trouble for my good Stake Presidency and High Council. I love these men and serve side by side with them to make my little part of the stake run smoothly. I mean someone’s got to write those checks and track the budget.

    • marginalizedmormon
      April 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      My spouse and I have read your blog, Good Will–

      and you have made comments on several blogs we frequent.

      I keep feeling so much sorrow for you.

      I remember how it felt when our membership was threatened by an angry man 10 years ago. Somehow, we managed to calm him down. His accusations were false (we were not hurting our children, handicapped and ‘normal’ by teaching them ourselves, and we could prove it, but his own ego was involved).
      Years later he came to me in tears and told me that he had done more to hurt our family than I knew and could I ever forgive him; he was dying. I took his hand and told him that, of course, I could. He’s no longer living.
      These men are mortal, and I don’t know what causes them to do what they do.
      We now are somewhat afraid, because our vulnerable children would not be able to handle our being excommunicated. I really mean that. We know it, too. We are being very careful, but it is hard. We find ourselves watching our ‘backs’.
      Things are not easy for us at church.
      What is our ‘game plan’? Do we study history, because we love it? No–we study history, because we want Zion so desperately. We can almost taste it, but it’s SO far away. So hard to know what to do when all you can think about is the suffering in the world, and you want to alleviate it, and at church they are fund-raising for scouts and girls’ camp–and wanting our help with it. And our handicapped ones can’t participate. Oh well.
      Zion. Zion. Zion. Pure in heart. Meek. No more greed. No more gospel of prosperity. It’s not really about history so much as hope. Desperate hope.

      Thanks for reading, if you did.

      It’s hard to talk to people who see things out of Babylon’s eyes when you see things from a persepctive of WANTING Zion. You have to watch every word.
      My spouse and I have had close experiences with the Savior, too. Those experiences changed us, and they changed us years ago, and we’ve never, ever “fit” in.

      • April 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm

        My heart goes out to you and your family too marginalizedmormon mom.. Sorry, i through the Mom part on because it just sounds good. :)

      • Good Will
        April 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm

        Yes, I read your comments!

        I don’t know why my stake presidency or bishop took such an “interest” in me. No one else did! (Well, almost no one. I certainly didn’t discuss these things with anyone who wasn’t a high priest or in a “leadership” position. Could their faith be shaken by…studying history? or reading the Book of Mormon?)

        Was it my “mistake” to discuss these things openly? I don’t think so. I like to “walk in the light”. “Looking over my shoulder” and such doesn’t appeal to me. There should be no “works of darkness” in the Church.

        I, quite frankly, encountered “leaders” who would say nothing rather than admit the truth they know to be true regarding Church history. Either that, or they choose to be willfully ignorant. Somehow the trappings of “power and authority” blind (and bind) them. They have to “put on a good face”, always present the Church (and its history, doctrine, etc.) in a “good light” and, basically, become PR people to a regime that moves farther and farther from the work of God.

        Of course, some people believe all this — all the stuff Mormons have and do — is the kingdom of God. But I see it all as Wal-Mart or Marriott with another corporate name attached, virtually indistinguishable from any worldly structure that aims to achieve positive public support.

        Today I went and did “Community Helping Hands” with my children. We ate breakfast and our state representative, our U.S. Congressman, even our former city mayor came to welcome, thank and “bless” us for our efforts. Our “venue” was a vacant lot adjacent to the busiest street in town. We picked up trash. (We weren’t really “prepared” for it. We needed gloves…and better — and more! — plastic bags. And the results were negligible.) But we wore bright yellow vests! And we were seen! (I didn’t wear the vest, no longer being a member of the Church myself. No false representation here!) Within 2 minutes of serving I realized we were wasting our time. This was a big “PR” stunt. It galled me to realize that ALL the humanitarian aid and service the LDS Church has rendered over the last 25 years was eclipsed by the expenditure on that mall in Salt Lake City. (My children said “I want to see the mall!” Don’t we all?)

        I told my son (who served beside me) “Jesus warned against doing good to be seen of men. Why do we wear these yellow vests?”

        “To be seen of men?”

        “Yes. Surely we have our reward.”

      • Tim Oaks
        April 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

        Well said sister marginalizedmormon!
        I to am weary of the gospel of prosperity and hope for something better, unworthy of as I am I still hope.
        Tim Oaks

  8. Julie
    April 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I think the Church today is EXACTLY like the camp of Israel, except that we have a more complicated administrative structure. I think what we call Melchizedek priesthood today is just as preparatory as Aaronic, and if you want to define what happens in the temple as a third patriarchal priesthood, as I’ve often heard in the church, then that too is preparatory.

    The scripture in D&C 132 is clear that none of our ordinances, covenants, ordinations, etc are valid until ratified by heaven. I believe we have the fullness of the gospel, in the sense that we have access to everything we need to figure it out. But access to salvation is not the same thing as actually being saved.

    To illustrate, look at Aaronic priesthood, which everyone calls lesser, preparatory, administrative, whatever. But it holds the keys of the ministering of angels. But who converses with angels these days? The promises of the Aaronic priesthood are just as unfulfilled in the church generally as the promises of any of the other priesthoods.

    So sure, I think we “have” the sealing power, in the same sense that we “have” any priesthood. Patriarchs seal people up to salvation all the time, and the temple ceremonies do the same. Does that make it automatic? No, it has to be ratified by the Holy Spirit of Promise before it means anything.

    Maybe someone who has actually received the Second Comforter can correct me on this, but I have been interpreting that sealing and ordination as merely giving you the real thing in a binding manner, replacing or validating all the promises you’ve given up until then, rather than giving you something new. (Except maybe only temple sealers and or patriarchs are given the earthly version of the sealing power.)

    So–does the Church have the sealing power? I say yes, inasmuch as it has any priesthood.

    Am I wrong?

    • April 25, 2014 at 12:26 am

      Julie: You are right. It takes the Holy Spirit of Promise to ratify anything we do to make it binding in heaven, including my sealing at the altar with my sweetheart across from me in the LA temple nearly 32 years ago. I am still amazed that my patriarch sealed me up against the powers of evil and to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection.

      • April 25, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        I believe the Holy Spirit of Promise would have to ratify an excommunication for it to have any meaningful effect in the world to come.

        Joseph could lament in 1839, by sad experience in the early church, that “almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” (D&C 121:39).

        Unless excommunication is the will of the Lord then the presiding authority sins and offends heaven (D&C 121:37).

    • April 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      “. . . does the Church have the sealing power?”

      Regarding eternal factual truth statements, the answer can only be yes or no. (Sincere thanks to Log’s comments elsewhere.)

      “The Church” is an organization, without a physical body or spirit.

      I assume you are asking something like, “Does at least 1 member of the Church have the sealing power?”

      • April 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

        I’m going to throw a wrinkle in here. If you’ll recall this issue of sealing power was the very first thing to which Carol and I both objected upon reading Passing the Heavenly Gift in Feb 2012. In response, Denver stated, “I have never said the Church does not have the sealing power.”

        So contrary to the binary logic we’ve been discussing, why does it have to be an either / or proposition? Why can’t it be bivalent in this case? Can’t there be two different kinds of sealing power – the kind that is used in the temple, and the kind that Nephi received by the voice of God?

        I’m just asking for the sake of discussion because even after more than two years, I’m still trying to work this out in my own mind. Can’t the type of sealing power exercised in the temple be a sort of priestly or Aaronic power while the Melchizedek type of sealing power (on earth and in haven) be one that cannot be passed from one man to another?

        We’re taught the kind that is exercised in the temple must be ratified by the Holy Spirit of promise. While the other kind is between a prophet and the Lord, such as was demonstrated by Nephi and indeed by Joseph Smith, whom we know had his exaltation sealed upon him.

        Just asking…don’t anybody call me an apostate for this. I know how critical this is to a temple recommend and to church membership.

      • Log
        April 26, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        We know from the stick of Judah that Levitical priesthood is sufficient for possession of the keys of the kingdom and binding temple rites.

  9. April 24, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Please read this with sincere consideration and ears recognizing my brotherly intent-

    Prophecy doesn’t fulfill itself. Someone must arise to fulfill it.

    If I could shout from the rooftops with power and authority from the Holy Ghost I would now in hopes that you might KNOW of what and who you have within you!

    Moses, Enoch, Nephi, Lehi weren’t prophets until they did acts that are worthy or of the role of a prophet. Their acts are what made them prophets after they experimented with the spirit unto sanctification.. unto exactness *exactness because their mind and spirit became one”

    Only in that process did they find themselves fulfilling prophecy. If Moses wouldn’t have walked that path his name would not be known nor have filled the same role.

    It is the same process that applies to you in whatever role or situation we find ourselves.. The same process applies with the Holy Ghost..

    Being born into destiny is a farce and so is a predetermined path with anyone on cruise control following others instructions.. WIthIN you are YOUR OWN divine instructions.
    ….
    The Power of the Holy Ghosts words are manifested when shared.

    Only by sharing our gifts does the spirit endow both the “receiver” and the “giver”with power wherein we both grow. Stepping up and performing shows your accepting your gift but also allows other gifts to be brought to the surface. Stepping into the role in which you find yourself allows you to be called to roles in which might have been foretold or prophesied…

    Experimenting in righteous with Faith leads you to be called and elected which YOU make sure.

    May charity, christ mercy and His spirit attend these words,
    Jared Almond

    • April 25, 2014 at 12:30 am

      Amen, Jared. It takes courage, faith and a willingness to risk comfort, security and the known path when we respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Sometimes, it goes against what others around us would call common sense. JohnD’s question above makes perfect sense. I don’t know why I receive inspiration. I only know if I don’t act on it and record it, I lose my opportunity to learn, grow, become and fulfill my calling and election. I must ACT on impressions to make them sure. God bless you my friend. I pray I won’t be misunderstood by the SCMC.

  10. Chris Harrison
    April 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I admire you for your testimony and like you I share the desire to do as the Lord directs. My realization that my fear has been rooted in man and his organizations rather than solely in God has awakened me to new experiences and new desires to seek truth from God. A common thread that I see in all testimonies of those who have communed (literally) with God is that the testimony is plain, simple and direct and includes an invitation to seek the same communion. I believe that to be the most powerful form of persuasion that can be exercised by any man or woman. I thank the Lord for the internet and the ability it gives us to learn of God in real time. Maybe I’ll see you at the next talk.

  11. Ridesagain
    April 28, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I’ve followed your, Denver’s and Rock’s blogs with increasing interest. To this point, I’ve never commented on any. But now I have a serious question;

    Can a woman receive the second comforter?

    George Pace, john pontius, denver snuffer, m. Catherine Thomas, and more all teach the same thing. Seek a personal audience with the Jesus Christ. I believe this to be true and necessary. I have just never found an account by a woman. Recently on Feminist Mormon Housewives a post was written called Mormon Priestess. It says in the temple we are taught that women are forever second class citizens. Is this true? Or can/do women receive the same as men?

    • April 28, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Yes, a woman can receive the second comforter.

      See Denver’s first book (The Second Comforter) pages 35-36:

      It is not required that you have the priesthood to receive the Second Comforter. Everyone is invited to come to Him. The promises He made are clearly directed to both men and women. If you are a man, however, you will, of course, need to receive the priesthood to enter the Temple and receive the rites there. But that is incidental to receiving the Second Comforter and not required for it. The ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood are required; but those are available to all, men and women. God is no respecter of persons and is universally willing to accept all who come unto Him. The first person to receive a visit from the resurrected Second Comforter was a woman. It was some time later before the Church leaders caught up with her and got a witness of their own. Culturally we get sensitive, jealous, protective, and somewhat insecure about this. We ought to relax and accept that God is no respecter of persons. He loves us all. He set a precedent with Mary at the tomb the morning of the resurrection which tells us women are entitled to see, witness, and touch Him.

      (Emphasis in the original.)

    • April 28, 2014 at 9:19 am

      “It says in the temple we are taught that women are forever second class citizens.,”

      Ridesagain, that above statement saddens me and I feel for anyone that has felt that. This thought is a result of not understanding what is going on in the temple and misapplying them.

      What if one of the meanings or one of the things Eve is suppose to represent is your BODY… and Adam is suppose to represent your spirit?

      What if the temple is meant to help instruct you to make those two align completely as ONE and present it at the veil?

      Any man that makes a women feel less or second class has no business approaching the veil!

      They more than likely are closer to the veil of Darkness then to the veil that endows light and truth!

      • Ridesagain
        April 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm

        I appreciate your response so much! I was recently taught this by the spirit (in the temple Adam AND Eve represent us) and I am so grateful for that truth.

        Culturally, I don’t feel like most Mormons would accept that. I don’t agree with the essay, but I have many friends who do and I’m not sure how to help them. I feel like the order of the temple is even an excuse for some to not treat men and women equally. I believe the Book of Mormon when it says, ‘all are alike unto me, black & white, male and female’ (I’m paraphrasing here). But as long as women have so few models available to them showing what IS possible, I’m afraid they will not see they are living below their potential. That’s why I asked for examples.

        -ridesagain

      • April 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

        Also, another tidbit which men might have a misunderstood and think that “they” are the only husband that the temple ceremony is referring to.

        There might be a level of understanding that the Husband refers to the Savior and we “bride” need to listen to him as He listens to the Father.
        The ordinance is not suppose to be me playing one part and you playing another. This applies to me and that applies to you.

        It ALL applies to me.. and it All applies to you. You are the temple and what goes on inside the Temple ordinance is suppose to go inside of YOU.

        i can hear thoughts of the tough or strong men now.
        “what? I’m a man? I’m not a bride.. I’m don’t have a husbandman.. the law of chastity.. that has got to be a law between my wife and I.. not a law of chastity between me and the Lord. ”

        “but wait.. I do want an invitation to the wedding.. how do I get one of those.”

        btw.. i’m from Idaho and grew out of a potato farm.. ie.. meaning former tough man.. but happy to realize I need a husbandman!

    • Julie
      April 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

      I would REALLY like to see a response to that essay from DS. He keeps using the example that a woman was the first person to receive the Second Comforter, but the problem is that Mary was most likely Jesus’ wife. So I would revise the question to “can a woman receive the Second Comforter independent of a husband?” That is something that we don’t have any kind of answer for, and that FMH essay was a pretty depressing take on things. I don’t necessarily agree with every interpretation in the essay, but to be perfectly honest, I can’t think of a rebuttal that sounds halfway reasonable.

      • April 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

        what does “FMH” essay refer to?

        This might help some.. http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2012/08/role-of-women.html
        There are 6 total posts in reference to the role of women that could shed light

      • Julie
        April 28, 2014 at 11:43 am

        superlativereality, here’s the link: http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/04/the-mormon-priestess-the-short-version/

        I’ve read those posts on DS’s blog. My question still stands, though.

      • johnD
        April 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        I know it’s not as obvious, but I’ll add one more group to the discussion of the Second Comforter, a single divorced male who was previously sealed in the temple, but had that annulled at the request of the ex-wife to marry another? Any thoughts?

      • Nathan Shackelford
        April 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm

        @ johnD

        I was recently reminded … “Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead …. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED!”

        Father is BIG on ironies and paradoxes … just testify’n ;)

      • MarkinPNW
        April 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm

        Yes, before I was married, or even engaged, my wife had a personal visit, but did not turn to see him face-to-face out of her own fear (he respected her agency). She wasn’t even in good standig with the “corporate church” at the time, but he accepted her humility and visited her. That said, she still had and has all the problems and challenges of mortality until this day.

      • Mike
        April 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm

        “On the morning of the first resurrection Christ appeared in this order: First, to Mary adjacent to the Garden Tomb. (Mark 16:9–10; John 20:14.) Next, He appeared to His mother, who was in company with several other women at the time. (Matt. 28:9)” – from Come, Let Us Adore Him.

        According to what DS wrote here, if Mary’s witness of His resurrection constituted receiving the Second Comforter, it would seem the same applied to His mother and those women with her.

  12. johnD
    April 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Nathan, Thanks, Satan hasn’t got much over me anymore except of course, self-doubt!
    I’ve been reading Denver’s PHG, apparently I’ve had more spiritual manifestations than a good many of the apostles and prophets in much of church history. I’ve been repenting to the Lord mightily for my ingratitude!

    • April 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks Nathan.

      John, What Nathan is saying is the truth. It is to the least among us that He is administering to PERSONALLY. It is they who are willing to listen… It is they that need to be comforted is whom He goes to in order to comfort.
      I don’t think the image of a man navigating a yacht with his perfect family and helicopter in tow to ZIon is who the Lord imagines needs a comforter.. let a lone a second one.

      btw. John my circumstances might not be to far from your own and I’ve been assured and AM assuring the promises apply and the veil thin!

      Oh.. and by all means tell that self doubt to take a hike because that yacht driver i’m sure carries enough for both of you.

      • johnD
        April 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm

        Super, I know your right thanks!
        I’m lower than dirt! Yes but our one of the noble and great ones! Oh that’s right I am special huh!! Sweet! You proud self-righteous stiff necked Nephite! I’m lower than dirt!
        And so it goes!! :)

      • April 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        The connection with the Savior is what matters. be it Male, Female, poor, not as poor, blonde, red, pink. purple hair, divorced, married, sealed, or broken.

        Being broken isn’t such a bad. Seems like the Savior likes the broken.. especially the broken hearted.. broken leads to a contrite spirit.

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