Allow Me the Agency of My Doubts

PeterJamesJohn

Update: A better title would have been: “Please Allow me the Freedom to Have Questions.” The word “doubts” causes people to think you are not a believer. I am a believer, yet I still have questions I want answered. I recognize it is my own responsibility to find answers to my questions but these particular questions are related to some of the fundamental truth claims of the Church, in particular, if the Church has the Fullness of the Priesthood and if it can be transferred by the laying on of hands. I addressed and sent this to my Bishop and Stake President.

I don’t know if you care what I am about to say, but I feel the need to share it. I have asked the Lord in prayer to bless my words that they will help you understand why I do what I do and have done what I have done on my blog especially over the past few years. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and hope it helps you to understand me better in light of the posts I have written that may have come to your attention.

I Have Loved Serving in This Church

First, let me express my love for you. I hope that doesn’t make you uncomfortable. I admire both of you tremendously. I know what it takes to be a Bishop or a Stake President – not first-hand, of course – but after more than twenty-five years of serving in Bishoprics, on a High Council and as a Stake Clerk, I know it’s time-consuming, at times heartbreaking and a lot of spiritual work. I have loved serving in this church all my life or at least from when I was a full-time missionary.

I Write a Blog at Elder Ballard’s Request

You both know I have been writing an LDS-themed blog for the last six or seven years. For the first five years I assumed a mission to defend the faith, to offer what I felt was the orthodox or standard narrative to combat falsehoods about the church I found on the Internet. I felt justified in what I was trying to accomplish when Elder Ballard asked members of the church, especially young people familiar with technology, to get involved in the on-line dialog about the church.

Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil

A little over two years ago I was introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer, who, in case you haven’t heard of him, is a now excommunicated attorney from Utah who has written a series of popular LDS-themed books dealing with the subject of coming unto Christ. He has testified of the literalness of D&C 93:1, that we can Converse with the Lord through the Veil, meet the Savior in this life, receive Him as the Second Comforter and have Him introduce us unto the Father.

Passing the Heavenly Gift and Excommunication

It was his most recent book, Passing the Heavenly Gift that got him in trouble with the church and resulted in his excommunication when he refused to withdraw it from publication after being requested to do so by his Stake President at the behest of Elder Nelson. President, I don’t know if you are familiar with this book or of others in the stake who have read it (there are many), but I know you are Bishop, based on your response when we discussed my blog a little bit last year.

Uplifting Addresses from Priesthood Leaders

It is not my intention to teach you anything. Such is not my prerogative or right. I simply want to bring up two recent talks from President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland in our consideration so I can set the stage for what I am about to share. I assume you are familiar with them. The first was rather recent. President Uchtdorf delivered his address in October General Conference of 2013. The other from Elder Holland was from the previous spring’s General Conference in April 2013.

Teaching the Standard Narrative

They both deal with the issue of faith, testimony, doubts, and being accepted in this church in spite of having questions about some aspects of church history, which I confess I now have. I never thought I would confess such a thing to a priesthood leader. I have always seen myself as a stalwart member, convinced, convicted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and what we teach as the “standard narrative” in regards to our church history. I want to focus on that idea.

We Simply Don’t Have All The Information

In President Uchtdorf’s address entitled, “Come, Join With Us,” he states, “… this Church … honors personal agency … we respect those who honestly search for truth. “ He then said, “We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of Church history … there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question. Sometimes … we simply don’t have all the information … Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the ‘facts’ really mean.”

There is Room For You In This Church

President Uchtdorf concludes, “It’s natural to have questions … regardless of the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church …” He writes more, but the main points I wanted to share include his words that we can have differences of opinions as to what the facts of our church history mean. He also declares that in spite of those differences, all are welcome here. I’m going to ask you a specific question in regards to that invitation and how it applies to me.

Hold Fast To What You Already Know

But first, let me turn to Elder Holland’s April 2013 talk entitled, “Lord, I Believe.” In Elder Holland’s thoughtful, comforting, and compassionate way, he says, “In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited.” He adds, “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.” He invites us to demonstrate integrity toward the faith we do have and truth we already know.

Honest Declarations of Doubt and Faith

Elder Holland continues, “I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage that is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! … Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another.” He mentions the importance of being kind to others and ourselves as we work through our doubts.

I am Asking for Help With My Doubts

Elder Holland concludes with this observation: “When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help.” He reminds us to do so with real intent, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God. He concludes with his testimony that we will receive help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief and quotes the Savior when he said, “Be not afraid, only believe.” He says he has the conviction of the “more sure word of prophecy.”

Following the Bishop’s Counsel – No Facebook Links

With the background of those two recent conference addresses, please let me now get specific. Bishop, when you called me in last year to chat, I wanted ever so much to talk to you about my doubts, but not once in our three visits did the spirit prompt me to do so. We talked about my health, about my love for my son, about my marriage and just a smidgeon about my blog. You counseled me to soften my headlines and to take the links to my blog off Facebook, which I did.

Temple Interview Loyalty and Affiliation Questions

My temple recommend expires in July. As we all know, there are two questions in the interview process that test for loyalty to the Brethren, specifically to the Prophet, and test for “affiliation” or “sympathy” toward any individual whose teachings are contrary or oppose those accepted by the Church. I’d like to address those two questions with a question of my own first. If I were to express a doubt about one of those questions, would I still be found worthy of a recommend?

Doubt About the Fullness of the Priesthood

RichYoungRulerIn other words, does what President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland taught in General Conference apply to the temple recommend process or was that just talk? If I were to tell you that I have some doubt about the fullness of the priesthood being upon the earth today, would you take away my temple recommend? What if I were to tell you I read the works of Denver Snuffer, a man who has been excommunicated for apostasy, and that I enjoy many of the points he has made?

Example of How Another Brother Was Treated

Before you answer my question, let me share with you what happened to one of the readers of my blog who answered those questions pretty much in the way I have just proposed. I share this with his permission. This individual, who is an Elder’s Quorum Instructor, went in for his temple recommend interview. He was honest in his responses and apparently his bishop had no problem with what he had to say so he signed the recommend and sent him on to see the Stake President.

To Sustain the Church President as the Prophet

After a few moments of cordial introductory chit-chat, they began the interview. When asked if he “sustain[ed] the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator…” my friend responded as follows: “I sustain him but I don’t believe certain things that are being taught in our church today.” I’m sure you can imagine the bells that are now going off in the Stake President’s mind like, “Why did the Bishop sign this man’s recommend?”

Asking Questions – Asked to Be Taught – A No-no

So the stake president asked my friend to elaborate. He said, “There are some things I don’t understand about the higher priesthood. What is the fullness of the priesthood? How do we know that we have it in the LDS Church today?” I’m sure you can guess the Stake President was just a little bit aghast. According to my friend, he was livid. He said, “The Stake President took my recommend and then intimated they might have to consider disciplinary action against me.”

His Wife Feels She Has Lost Everything

He was immediately released from his calling. I quote now from his comments on my blog, “It has been a month and the word is getting out in the ward. I sit in the testimony meetings and my wife cries and mourns her loss when loving TBM husbands testify of their wife’s love or of their children’s innocence. She cries in Gospel Doctrine class when the discussion is following the prophet and “criticizing” the brethren is discussed. In my wife’s mind she sees that all is lost.”

Members Blame Him for Taking Away Her Hope

“She feels she now has no promise of celestial life, eternal marriage, no father for her children, all is lost since GOD’s oracle on earth has damned me to hell for my unbelief. Fellow Saints console her openly and cast sideways glances towards me grimacing. Priesthood leaders currently counsel together to strategize damage control ideas, or how to protect the flock and my family from me or my influence. In fact, the Relief Society is now bringing funeral meals.”

Leader Tells Son to Beware of His Own Father

I found this outrageous scene so unbelievable I just had to call him to confirm. We spoke for about 45 minutes on Wednesday. It was a delight to speak with him. He was not downcast or unhappy in any way. He expressed love and sympathy for his priesthood leaders. He said he understood why they reacted the way they did – that it was typical for his area there in Northern Utah. He said the Stake President called his 17-year old son in to warn him against his father.

Unrighteous Dominion is Alive and Well Today

At this point my jaw just about hit the floor. I could not believe what I was hearing. Did we belong to the same church? Does this Stake President not realize what he has just done to this man’s family, his marriage and his testimony? Talk about spiritual abuse and unrighteous dominion. This Stake President was the epitome of a priesthood leader who had no clue about the right way to help a fellow priesthood brother who had simply asked an honest question.

Persuasion, Long-Suffering, Gentleness, Meekness, Love

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

My Blog is All About LDS Book Reviews

President, Bishop, if you haven’t read my blog, and I don’t expect you to have done so since you are both such busy men, you would know it is mainly about writing LDS book reviews. I started out reading Denver Snuffer’s books a few years ago and have written book reviews about just about all of them. I have not advocated anybody believe what he has shared. I have simply done these reviews because he is a controversial fellow and I was asked my opinion by others I trust.

I Seek Deep Understanding – No Cursory Overview

However, in order to understand the books more completely, I had studied them extensively, both because the subject matter is intensely interesting to me – how to come unto the Savior – and about the early history of our church. President Uchtdorf may have been referring to Denver Snuffer’s books when he mentioned there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question. It’s OK to have a difference of opinion as to what the ‘facts’ really mean.

I Want The Temple To Be A Part Of My Life

I’d like to conclude with a few thoughts and then ask one final question. I plan to go to the temple today to participate in our quarterly stake chapel and endowment session. I love to go to the temple. I love to serve in the temple. I love to be with the members of our stake. I love to serve in my present calling as Stake Financial Clerk. I hope my service is helpful. I’m grateful the temple has been such a big part of my life for almost forty years. It has blessed my life.

I Only Teach Authorized Correlated Material

I love this church. It has blessed my life since I was a little boy. I loved serving a mission. I have always loved teaching the gospel to the saints from the pulpit or in the classroom. I always make certain I stay within the boundaries of the authorized correlated material found in the manuals. I love the Brethren. I sustain the General Authorities. I’m grateful to be able to pay my tithing. I know it pays their salaries, including my sister’s salary, who is Elder Perry’s executive secretary.

I Will Serve Wherever I Am Asked

President, I have tried to serve faithfully in any calling or priesthood assignment I have received. I try to be a 100% home teacher. I love visiting Brother and Sister Harris each month to provide priesthood blessings as he finishes up his cancer treatments. I miss teaching the saints. I loved being a primary teacher, a High Priest Group Leader, a ward missionary, Bishopric counselor, ward clerk, and in my previous stake, High Councilor, Seminary Teacher and Mission Leader.

Only Desire To Build The Kingdom of God

My only desire is to build the Kingdom of God on the Earth and contribute to the preparation of this Kingdom for the return of the Lord. I have never had a problem with tithing and love to be able to contribute in this manner. I strive to keep my temple covenants to give of my time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed me to the building up of the Kingdom of God. I love my wife and strive to do everything to help her find happiness, especially as we worship.

 Permit Me Agency of My Doubts and Questions

Here’s my concluding question: If I confess my doubt, or my question really, about what the fullness of the priesthood really is and if it is found on the earth today, will expressing this doubt preclude me from being found worthy of holding a temple recommend, serving as a stake clerk or will my confession cause me to face disciplinary action? I have thought about this and written about this previously here in my blog. Why am I making this confession? In order to be honest.

Others Are Punished For Asking Questions

God bless you Bishop and President. I hope you will look kindly upon the confession I share. Is there still room for me in this church, as Prsident Uchtdorf has declared? I do not look upon my questions about the priesthood to be doubts, really, but simply questions. I want to be taught. What is the fullness of the priesthood? Is it the same as the Melchizedek priesthood? Is it the same as the patriarchal priesthood? Does it contain the sealing power like Nephi received it?

124 comments for “Allow Me the Agency of My Doubts

  1. Nonrandom Set
    May 9, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Tim,

    Would this not be better expressed in person, in private? Of course, everyone is entitled to their doubts, but expressing them publicly, especially in what seems like an attempt to get others to share those doubts, rather than an attempt to alleviate them would probably make most people question the sincerity of the doubter. I think what Elder Holland said about real intent and full purpose of heart is key.

    Just to me clear, I’m not questioning your sincerity, only saying that in a similar set of circumstances it would be natural for someone to wonder, so it might be something for you to think about.

    I’m also troubled by your reliance on one side of the story regarding this man who lost his recommend. I’m sad for him, but it just doesn’t seem like that can be the whole story. Not to say it couldn’t have happened, but it just doesn’t pass the smell test. Also, if it did happen, the right course of action is not to publicly agitate against the church. Not mentioned in the story is whether this man even wants to overcome his doubts. Seems like that would make a big difference.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 9, 2014 at 7:42 am

      “smell test”?

      Are readers supposed to know what that means?

      If there’s smoke, there’s a fire.

      Such as–

      if a man loses his job, he must have done something wrong?

      If a couple has a handicapped child, they must have done something wrong?

      Just curious.

      I think the man may have been guilty of being too trusting–

      I know women who have been asked to divorce husbands/fathers who were not ‘active enough’. There are those who think that is acceptable; there are others who think it is egregious.

      Are you one of those who thinks that is acceptable?

      ‘wants to overcome his doubts’–

      wants to overcome . . .

      doubts–

      how about wanting to know His Redeemer?

      Doubts about what? I have asked you questions about definitions–

      and you haven’t answered, so I don’t expect you to answer–

      but you do sound suspiciously like an ‘old guard’–

      don’t talk, don’t think, don’t feel–

      smile at the leader; cuff a few of the people under you now and again–

    • May 9, 2014 at 9:06 am

      “Not mentioned in the story is whether this man even wants to overcome his doubts. Seems like that would make a big difference.”

      Of course he wants to overcome his doubts. That’s why he asked the question in the first place and to a man he thought had an answer for him.

      This is our greatest burden.

      We think we can go to an “authority” on questions like this. We think they have all the answers for us. We think they know more that we do. That they have spent countless hours figuring it all out for us. They haven’t. They’re just like you. Blind, deaf, and dumb (speechless). They just have the unfortunate pressure placed upon them to be your “authority” figure. Moses anyone?

      There is never a satisfying answer from men. Just condemnation, fear, and scholarly ramblings.

      Go to God. He will provide what you seek. There will be no fear, no darkness. He will give you light and intelligence which is his glory. There is fullness there. You will be changed by your answers.

      Be ready.

    • May 9, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Nonrandom,

      In regard to your mentioning Tim’s usage of the man who lost his recommend….It feels like there is a pervasive attitude that anyone who has a ‘bad experience’ with their leaders must be in the wrong. Of course we will never hear the Church’s side of the issue. The thing that concerns me is the number of these types of issues coming up. That seems to indicate to me this is a pattern, not just an isolated incident.

      In terms of the ‘right course of action’, I didn’t think Lynn’s actions were inappropriate. I did not sense a public agitation. I think the actions of the ward at this time will prove to be more of an agitation against the church. When will we follow the teachings of Christ and practice what we preach?

    • May 9, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I would have to disagree with you, Nonrandom. It is keeping our feelings secret, for so many years, that has let it get this bad. So many people feel like Tim and don’t know what to do about it. Most are being punished for their doubts. How ridiculous is that? The fact that Tim is willing to share such personal feelings allows other the courage to share too. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. It has always been that way. That is why we even have the church today. If Joseph had remained silent, too insecure or too afraid to voice his doubts…

    • May 9, 2014 at 11:01 am

      Hi Nonrandom Set: I can see that the idea of putting this post on my public blog has offended / frightened / insulted / upset a lot of people. Since you are first in the comments and asked why I did it, I’ll explain and hope I don’t have to repeat it multiple times to others down the line.

      Answer: I was asked to do this by the Lord. You are now welcome to put me in the category of fool as some have done privately. You are also welcome to write, “The Lord would never tell you to do that. You have been deceived. It shows disrespect, and a desire to draw attention to oneself.” My only response, “Sorry. Maybe he wouldn’t tell you to do what he asked me to do, but this is my test, not yours.”

      As I said, you are welcome to think what you want. I have no desire to change anyone’s thinking at this point. I tried to give plenty of clues in advance. Some people got it, some people didn’t. I did what I did and am happy with the results, meaning, I know in my heart, I did what I felt the Lord has asked me to do. I feel confident and prepared by the Lord for whatever happens next. If I am to be disciplined, so be it. That’s OK with me.

      I have no desire for anyone to share my doubts. That’s up to them. My doubts are mine and will be answered by the Lord when He is (and I am) ready for the answer. You are correct – real intent and full purpose of heart is the key. Thank you for pointing that out. Do you doubt the intent of my heart? Do you doubt my commitment to this course of action? Do you question the purpose of my heart in taking this action?

      I also knew that multiple people would question my reliance on “one side” of the story. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that one. That’s why I called Lynn and spoke with him directly for 45 minutes about what happened, what is happening and what he is suffering. Do you want to call him? I’ll be happy to give you his number. I asked his permission. He said he was wide open and willing to share with anyone.

      I also am curious what you could have meant by the “smell test” but I see someone already asked that below so I’ll look for an answer further on in this dialog. Again, if you want to ask Lynn if he wants to overcome his doubts, leave him a message on the previous post. he was ignored by about 120 comments there even though I implored readers to pay attention to what he had shared. Nobody bothered.

      As always, we will never hear the full side of things. His priesthood leaders will not say a word. You can figure out who his stake president is, look him up and call him but that won’t get you anywhere. So you have exhibited the same attitude I have seen from at least a dozen people in public and private comments already. it goes like this: “Since we don’t have the full corroborating story, Lynn MUST be wrong.”

      Thanks for your classic comments, Nonrandom set. You’ve displayed the same mindset I have seen every time I have written about another who has been disciplined in our church. It’s always the same – The individual being disciplined MUST be wrong. The church could NEVER be wrong. I find this attitude offensive to the spirit of Christ – to not judge until you talk to the individual involved. I did, why don’t you?

      • Nonrandom Set
        May 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm

        Tim, your post did not offend, frighten, insult or upset me. My comments were sincere and were not intended to offend. I don’t think I particularly represent the “classic” Mormon mindset – I’m divorced, have quite a few struggles living the gospel, and I have several unorthodox views about the church/gospel. But even if I do represent that mindset, a lot of people share that mindset, and dismissing me isn’t going to build the bridge you’ve talked about.

        I made sure to specifically say that I didn’t question your sincerity, so I don’t think I need to say anything further there. My point was only that in general, it would be easy to misinterpret a public post expressing doubts, as well as a defense and last testimony to an as-yet-never-occurred disciplinary council, as insincere. I invited you to consider that. Of course, it’s your choice whether you want to do that.

        My smell test comment was obviously not clearly expressed. But here I also explicitly stated “not to say it couldn’t have happened.” My point is only, as you have yourself stated, we don’t and will never have the whole story. Without the full story, I think it’s best not to judge either side, and especially not to jump to the worst conclusion. I don’t think I judged this brother. My talking to him will not give me the whole story, and I don’t doubt that you have accurately conveyed his side. Were we hearing some leader’s side of a disciplinary counsel I would have the same attitude and express the same concern. I have the same feelings about non-church situations as well – stories in the media, legal accusations, etc.

        I have expressed in other comments my belief that the church, and more specifically in this case, leaders and member can and are wrong. I am quite certain that there individuals who have been wrongly excommunicated from the church. I have also expressed my belief that it is counter-productive to excommunicate individuals who are sharing what may be considered apostate beliefs on blogs. I understand in the case of very public individuals with published works, though I don’t feel strongly about that.

        Further, my comment about the right course of action was merely to say that in any situation, humility and meekness leads to better results, most especially for the person who was wronged. I have too often jumped to anger and offense in my own life, so I know that lesson from both sides. For example, if someone has done something that would offend me, it always turns out better if I go to that person in private, rather than to express my anger to others.

        I feel like you have wrongly accused me of an attitude offensive to the spirit of Christ (which I undoubtedly have on many occasions, but I don’t think in this case). I have always strived to leave constructive comments that don’t attack other’s motives or them personally. I thought you were interested in a dialog – I’m sorry if I was mistaken. Perhaps there is really no bridge to be built.

      • May 11, 2014 at 1:49 am

        This is for Nonrandom Set’s comment from Friday night (5-19-14) at 7:14pm: I owe you an apology, or better said, I want to offer you an apology and ask your forgiveness. I was wrong to accuse you of an attitude offensive to the spirit of Christ. I assumed you had judged Lynn of having committed a sin and that the Church could never be wrong.

        I felt indignant because I have seen this or read this so many times in others, including those who I think should be more willing to give an individual the benefit of the doubt. Who knows, I may be totally wrong about Lynn and what he has shared. At the time I was feeling rather strongly the Lord wanted me to believe Lynn and the phrase, “your reliance on one side of the story” caused me to feel that Lynn has been judged and found lacking because He was honest in the interview.

        You said, “I thought you were interested in a dialog – I’m sorry if I was mistaken. Perhaps there is really no bridge to be built.” I hope it’s not too late. I am interested in building a bridge. Let’s start over. I will not assume that you assume Lynn must have done something to bring this upon himself and ask you to consider knowing more about Lynn’s story. He has shared much with me. I know why he said what he said in the interview. He did what the Lord asked him to do. That took courage. Like me, he knew what the results would be. He did it anyway.

        I offer this apology for lumping you in with a lot of other people who have the mindset of guilty before proven innocent, and ask your forgiveness for making that assumption about you. I don’t know you that well and was out of line in writing that about you in my comment. By the way, in regards to the bridge: the purpose of the bridge is to focus on discussing Christ and how we can come closer to Him, in spite of differences of opinion about Denver Snuffer and his writings. Thank you for reaching out from your side of the bridge. I hope you will accept my gesture from this side in the spirit of true disciples of Christ.

      • Nonrandom Set
        May 11, 2014 at 9:36 pm

        Hi Tim, I’m afraid I was a little indignant myself and my comment about dialog and bridge building was snarky. Sorry.

        I have always appreciated your blog – even when I don’t always agree – because of your openness and your respect for other’s opinions.

        Yes, let’s build a bridge. I think we (as in all of us) should start by not using the words Snufferite or Brethrenite. Let’s also not assume motives, of those expressing doubts or of church leaders. We all make mistakes and most of them are honest.

        Also, just as a note, the reason I am generally skeptical of some of the church discipline stories (besides the fact that I’m an auditor and it just comes naturally) is that my experience has been so different. Pretty much all of my direct leaders have been wonderful people who are doing their best. That’s not to say that they all are or that these stories are impossible – I just think that if they do happen, they are extremely few and far between, which to me is not representative of the church. But I am working on being less skeptical (at least when I’m not at work).

      • May 11, 2014 at 9:56 pm

        Likewise, all my priesthood leaders over the years have been just as kind, compassionate and concerned about following the handbook as you could ask for. Of the excommunication stories Carol and I have personally investigated through in-person or phone interviews, most have occurred in Utah with only one here in Southern California. I suppose that’s a natural result of demographics.

        I’m going to go with your observation that disciplinary actions are few and far between. I think I have just noticed them more lately because I have been looking for them and people write me because they know I am collecting such stories, although I don’t want to do what Lavina Fielding Anderson did (compiled and published priesthood abuse stories in The Mormon Alliance) : http://mormon-alliance.org/ I thought I read recently where she gave it up and was baptized again (anybody know?)

    • Chris Harrison
      May 9, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      ok

    • Chris Harrison
      May 9, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      What is the whole story? We’ll never know. Secret combinations and unrighteous dominion prevent the sharing of such information.

      We will only get Lynn’s side of the story because Lynn is much easier to attack, accuse and marginalize than the stake president, high council or the SCMC. My belief is that many saints are afraid of what their peers will think if they do raise their voices in disbelief.

      Silence is consent.

      When I ask for the whole story from the church I get a fuzzy primary tale complete with apricot blossoms, beehives, cricket munching seagulls and an admonition to follow the prophet.

      Or else. My TBM wife tells me so every time I say the word “prophet”.

      My moment is coming. My recommend expires at the end of this month. I can answer all questions with a “yes” or “no” except for this one:

      7. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree 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?

      If I answer “no” I am a liar.

      Yes, I have affiliated myself with Denver Snuffer by reading his books. Yes, I have affiliated with Dr. Melvin and Gwena Fish by speaking with them on the phone and reading Dr. Fish’s books such as “Healing the Inner Self and Becoming a Being of Light” and “The Power of Unconditional Love.” Who doesn’t want to be a being of light and love others unconditionally?

      Yes, I have affiliated with Lynn and Tim. Yes, I am friends with a Baptist man that is more Mormon than I am (and you know what the Baptists believe!). Yes, I agree with Denver Snuffer on many points in his books and talks. Yes, I affiliate with the Boy Scouts who allow homosexuals to associate within the ranks. Yes, I affiliate with the Church which supports the Boy Scouts.

      Yes, I affiliate with my lesbian, tattooed and pierced sister and her partner. Yes, I support my promiscuous brother who has fathered multiple children all over this land. And finally, YES!!! I’ve even watched some Kirk Cameron movies!!!

      Well then, president, guilty as charged. I affiliate and agree with all kinds of individuals and groups that don’t share the church group think. Now what? I can’t enter the temple? Great, then I guess I can’t do my church job which will result in me looking for other work. Because everybody knows that a temple recommend means you’re honest, trustworthy, reverent, obedient, competent, accomplished, good looking, etc. Maybe I should just lie to keep my job. Beat me with a few stripes and I’m good.

      With all that being said, I have a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. If that’s good enough to get the wayward surfer dude off the street to repent and be baptized why isn’t it good enough for the guy who has been an honest and faithful member of the church his entire life? It seems to me that it should be good enough – but it isn’t.

      To me, the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Book of Mormon are more important than the writings of Snuffer, Malone, Fish, Monson, Nelson, Packer, Dyer, Romney, Talmadge, Kimball, Uchtdorf, Quinn, Twain or Tolstoy.

      What is the whole story?

      Truth.

      Allow all of us, including Lynn, the agency to doubt.

  2. Log
    May 9, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Tim,

    To dare to question the authority of authorities in an authoritarian hierarchical power structure is to molest them and invite an answer by power and not reason, particularly when it is done publicly, since all authority in the end rests upon the consent of the governed.

    Authorities have an inherent conflict of interest – if one asks them whether they have the authority they claim, of course they must affirm they do. Therefore, it is utterly pointless to ask them.

    I offer a worthless opinion. I think this is the fulness of the priesthood.

    D&C 50
    26 He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.

    27 Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.

    28 But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.

    29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.

    30 But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.

    I think the fulness of the priesthood is “all power in heaven and on earth.” I think it is to receive all things whatsoever one asks in the name of Christ. I believe each person who repents with all their heart, calls upon the name of the Lord unto the remission of their sins, enters into the covenant of obedience with God, is baptized as a witness of this covenant, and is then sanctified through the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, receives a taste of this power at that time, receiving all things whatsoever they ask for. I believe this is a sign to the newly-minted saint, that they may know that what they have and are experiencing is real and not merely the frenzied effects of a fevered mind.

    I believe that to ask if the Church possesses the fulness of the priesthood is to commit a category error – this cannot be an institutional possession by its very nature.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 9, 2014 at 7:43 am

      interesting observation. I agree.

    • May 9, 2014 at 10:11 am

      “I think the fulness of the priesthood is ‘all power in heaven and on earth.'”

      I agree. Can’t get any “more full” than that.

      Tim, like Russell below, I don’t quite understand why you want to bring up something (“the fulness of the priesthood”) that is not asked about in the questions.

      • May 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm

        Hi Eric,

        Sorry for the confusion. Lynn and I have been discussing the priesthood in a private email exchange. He asked me about the term “fullness of the priesthood.” We were discussing a few of Denver’s posts on the subject here:

        http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/search/label/fullness%20of%20the%20priesthood

        I think several people have also conflated two events: Lynn’s interview with his Stake President described in the comments in the previous post and my letter to my Stake President and Bishop (this post).

        I brought up priesthood in general as one of the things I am studying. I would not bring up ANY questions in a temple recommend interview. My answers are always yes or no and NOTHING ELSE. I do not ask questions in a temple recommend interview.

        Again, I apologize for confusing things, but I still think it’s a valid question. I am still looking for an answer: Is the Fullness of the priesthood found on the earth today? How do we know?

        God bless.

      • May 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        We can’t begin to answer the question if we don’t know the correct meanings of (1) “the fulness of the priesthood” and (2) “on the earth.”

        And although someone may pray about it, get the answer to the above meanings, and then try to tell us about it, the rest of us could be skeptical and we’ll still be stuck at square 1…

  3. May 9, 2014 at 7:25 am

    If a Jew has no one to quarrel with, he quarrels with God, and we call it theology; or he quarrels with himself, and we call it psychology. Or he quarrels with the psychoanalyst, and we call it literature.

    Two Jews and three opinions are better that three Jews with no opinions. Passionate arguments are better than passionless acceptance.

    – Elie Wiesel

    Note that the name Israel literally means struggled with God.

    Abraham debated the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah with God.

    Jacob wrestled with an angel.

    When the Lord threatened to consume the children of Israel after the golden calf incident, Moses countered, then “blot me out of thy book which thou hast written.”

    Even Tevye the milkman in Fiddler on the Roof declared to God: “Sometimes I think, when it gets too quiet up there, You say to Yourself, ‘What kind of mischief can I play on My friend Tevye?’ ” Tevye remained a friend to God even as he and his family and neighbors were driven out of their shtetl Anatevka.

    Jews come to know God through their struggles and quarrels with God.

    Judaism is a robust religion that encourages and thrives on spirited debate.

  4. Farm Boy
    May 9, 2014 at 7:38 am

    The wonderful confluence of the first two comments posted served to answer several of my own questions.

    As to whether or not this blog post should be a public posting – one person having the courage to ask questions publicly frequently gives structure and understanding to many others who feel the same, but haven’t found the way to ask the questions. Not to embarrass Tim, but the way he humbly asks, teaches me. My own approach to problems like this is much more blunt and direct, more “speak truth to power”, were I to have posed these questions I have no doubt but that I would invite the heavy handed response Tim is trying to avoid.

    A huge light went off in my head at the conclusion of Log’s comments. I’m still piecing it together, but the gist of it is this, the Church is not the Priesthood, but the Priesthood may be found in the Church. To use a construction metaphor, JS made sure we had a true foundation, and there is enough strength in the bearing walls to hold the building. Not every wall is a bearing wall, and not every support in that wall has to be perfect, we just need enough to carry the weight.

    I appreciate the post, and both your comments – you help me grow.

  5. May 9, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Tim,

    Great letter….Are you going to give it to them personally?

    I clicked on your link to “more sure word of prophecy”…..In part, found this

    “Having one’s calling and election made sure is not attained easily. Speaking of this, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “When the Lord has thoroughly proved [a person], and finds that the [person] is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the [person] will find his[/her] calling and election made sure” (TPJS, p. 150). The Prophet indicates that this was the case with ancient prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, John, Paul and others (TPJS, p. 151).”

    That line, “When the Lord has thoroughly proved a person and finds the person is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then………” jumped out at me.

    I have read this statement so many times, but the Spirit gives light and understanding. Serve HIM at all hazards. Not any one else. I must prove myself to HIM. Regardless the cost. Nothing I hadn’t already heard, but just enough knowledge to cement another puzzle piece into place.

    I love how the Lord teaches us! God bless.

    • May 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Yes, I sent the letter in an email to my Stake President and my Bishop. I should have sent it at 5AM when I finished the post but did not get it sent until I got to work and after the senior staff meeting (about 10:30 I think). I do not know if they will see it before tonight’s chapel session. Who knows, someone may meet me at the door and say, “Hey, you’re not allowed in here! You have doubts or questions. You’re not worthy of a temple recommend.” I’m kidding (at least I think I am).

  6. Russell Anderson
    May 9, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Tim,
    Why would you even bring up the question of the “fullness of the priesthood”? The church claims to have the priesthood and anything that Snuffer has talked about doesn’t discredit that idea. The fullness that was promised in D&C 124 to be restored in the Nauvoo temple never happened. But why should that affect your temple recommend interview? You can still fully sustain the leaders of the church as they lead the LDS church. They don’t claim to lead The Church of the Firstborn.

    • May 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Russell,

      As I mentioned to Eric above, I only brought up priesthood in the letter as an example of something I am studying. Lynn sent me an email with a whole bunch of great questions on the priesthood so I had the subject on my mind as one of the doubts or questions I’m dealing with right now. I obviously need to go back and read the Orem transcript on priesthood to understand “fullness of the priesthood” better. Maybe you can help me out and summarize it for me.

      It seems to me there are three levels of priesthood – a Telestial level (Aaronic or Levitical), a Terrestial level (Melchizedek?) and the Celestial level (Patriarchal?) I could be totally wrong on these. I invite someone who knows, anyone who has received it from the Lord, to teach me directly. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks. God bless.

      • May 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        I assume you’ve already read about the “three grand orders of priesthood” in TPJS 322-3…

      • May 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm

        For Eric: Read it a long time ago, but I’m going to look at it again. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • Russell Anderson
        May 11, 2014 at 7:32 am

        Yes the details of the priesthood as Denver brings out in his Orem talk are very interesting. And I am sure you will not fund much support from any priesthood leader with many of the ideas such as: the keys are not all that important, priesthood is a fellowship, above the Aaronic level we need to get priesthood from God. But on the point of the “fulness of the priesthood” there can’t be any challenge to what D&C 124:28 has to tell us.

        28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.

        The church did not have it in 1841 and there is no recorded instance of it ever being received. So the church today simply doesn’t have it.

  7. May 9, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Wow! Powerful! Wonderful! You stated my thoughts exactly. You have courage, my friend. A LOT of courage. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m learning. Thank you for being such a great example. I wait impatiently too hear of their responses. You will be in my prayers.

  8. sfort
    May 9, 2014 at 10:01 am

    If we take what happened in the conference of the Morley farm in June of 1831where 23 Elders received the Fullness, we have a written ensample. It is the voice of the Father that ratifies and bestows the Melchizidek priesthood. It can only come from him. This is how the ancients received it. We rejected it as displayed in Sec. 124 and ratified by the Lord by his rejection. There is a dispute between Denver and Watcher whether or not this is the Patriarchal priesthood or not, but nonetheless, this has the power over the elements. It also acompanies the Law of Consecration and Zion which do not exist. The restoration is not complete. We are waiting for furthur light and knowledge. Joseph never denounced doctrinal inquiry, nor did he cause it to be a membership question. “Let them worship how, where or what they may”. Nothing should be a memership question except trying to put the prophet under legal scutiny or voluntary dismissal as demonstrated during the early days of the church. All else are the precepts of men. We are baptized under covenant with the Lord. When man or religion tries to fuse itself with that covenant, only confusion and doubt will follow.

  9. Adrianne
    May 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Dallin H. Oaks talk stuck out to me while listening to this last conference. It was mostly his tone on certain phrases that really struck me. It’s like he let everyone know that the fullness is not on the earth. Without directly saying it. …Interesting enough. Maybe I’m just reading into things. I don’t know.

    Ultimately, all keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals and how those keys will be used. We are accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred on Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but the scripture states that all that was conferred there were “the keys of this dispensation” (D&C 110:16). At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection.

    • May 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Dallin H. Oaks talk stuck out to me while listening to this last conference. It was mostly his tone on certain phrases that really struck me. It’s like he let everyone know that the fullness is not on the earth. Without directly saying it. …Interesting enough. Maybe I’m just reading into things. I don’t know.

      Since Elder Oaks gave several specific examples of priesthood keys that the Church does not possess one can safely conclude, at a minimum, that the “fullness of the fullness”[*] of the priesthood has not been restored.

      * Note: I say “fullness of the fullness” for the benefit of those who believe the Church already does possess a fullness (even though I don’t think a less than full fullness could ever be a fullness). Clearly there is more yet to come. That’s not a bad thing; that’s exciting!

  10. Rick
    May 9, 2014 at 10:39 am

    We believe in being honest, true, …

    It seems the TR interview has turned more “legal”, if you are honest and expose some of your doubts or thoughts, well, you might just cook your goose. So, plead the Fifth and only answer Yes or No appropriately.

    Wow, did the SP ever overstep his bounds in talking to the son. Wow.

    It appears our agency is being put to the test. We all know how we sided before, I think the church will find out just where people stand when their agency is put on the line.

    This is where Tim is, and many others too. I hope it doesn’t go that far, but if it does, many will seek The Church of the Firstborn.

    Or you can plead the Fifth…

  11. marginalizedmormon
    May 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I feel saddened to think of the wife who is crying and getting sympathy–

    She needs someone to give her a stiff talk about covenants, about the seriousness of marriage and tell her to stop idolizing the concept of the celestial kingdom.

    You know, the idea of kingdoms or degrees of glory is just one way of describing the many mansions ‘our Father’ has for those who love Him.
    But if anyone puts the mansion ahead of the relationship with God, he/she is, I believe, in peril.
    This wouldn’t be the first person who would divorce a spouse for not being in the church, and I fear she will find, when she reaches the ‘pearly gates’–

    that she will be turned away for her own unfaithfulness to her husband.

    It sounds brutal, but if a person puts acquiring a certain status (the celestial kingdom, which we have been taught to seek)–

    above a relationship as sacred and inviolate as marriage, she is in peril.

    And yet she is getting casseroles. YIKES! Someone needs to straighten that lady out. She needs to hold up her head and have some dignity for crying out loud. She needs to turn to the Lord and repent of her idolatry.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 9, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      I apologize for responding with a knee-jerk; it sounds angry when I re-read it–

      I want to be a peaceable follower of Christ. My words sounded aggressive. Still trying to overcome the natural ‘man’.

  12. May 9, 2014 at 11:47 am

    First of all there is a word left out of this sentence, my love. “I sure you can imagine…” under the heading To Sustain the Church President as the Prophet. I believe it should be “I’m sure you can imagine…”

    Second, and I’ll stand by this to the end, you can’t know what was actually said in a temple interview between the interviewee and the interviewer. You can’t know they were punished for asking questions. You only have the word of someone you don’t know personally. For all you know, he could be blowing smoke to garner your sympathy and add fuel to your fire of indignation. Enough said.

    Thirdly, the writings of Denver Snuffer are NOT widely read. I would estimate only a handful of disaffected Mormons looking for something to grasp onto have read them and have fallen madly in love with the ideas he presents that causes people to doubt what they’d always held as the truth. Can this be from a loving Heavenly Father? You decide. I’m not saying more on this man. You know my feelings. And Snufferites, don’t jump down my throat. We’re all entitled to believe whatever we want. Correct? Don’t hate me because I’m not interested in reading Snuffer. (This will stir the pot, aye what, my love.)

    Fourth: “…that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”

    Does this man unite or divide. Your honor, I rest my case!

    Fifth: It’s not “funeral meals,” it’s compassionate service meals. And they do it because they have compassion. Do they judge? Absolutely. But your friend should have seeked answers to his questions NOT in a temple interview situation. Of course, if what happen is true, then it’s upsetting, but understanding. Yes. The stake president should have had compassion and not gone all Terminator on the guy. I do have compassion and regret his hurt and that of his family’s.

    My anixety is for you, my love. Yes, I’m a narrow-mind, brothrenite-blind-follwoing-stuck-in-early-church-history-lore-beliving TBM with a trusting heart that my Heavenly Father will not lead me astray if I stay on the right path and, Heaven forbide – listen to the prophets. Forgive me for being inflexible in your eyes and the eyes of your readers.

    But riddle me this, Batman. If I do right all my life, follow the brethren after seeking and receiving my own revelation that they are leading me right, study the Gospel according to modern revelation and the standard works, do good to my neighbors, serve my brothers and sisters of the church and community, pay tithing, fulfill my callings to the best of my ability, will I be denied eternal life because I didn’t question some juicy tidbit of church history scandals, and ask how could this church be true if Joseph Smith or Brigham Young did X,Y, or Z? Or does that make me a blind-following-fool?

    Tell me Mr. Wizard, is there a church out there that has teachings like ours, that has a temple to receive saving ordinances, or teach the gospel according to Jesus Christ? If there is, let me know.

    You are a faithful man and I know you have concerns. And you have your agency to question. I have trusted you for nearly 32 years so far. Can you grant me my worry and my unreasonable but…

    I leave that opened ended for now.

    Go ahead people. Have at me. Do you worst!

    • May 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I think somebody is not getting a date night tonight. :P

      That said, Carol, you have said all the right things. You are doing the right things, like most Latter Day Saints, I think we all want to choose the right, love our neighbors, serve etc… and compassionate service is huge in that area. That is why we women do it so well. I think the thing that you might be missing, and I say “might” is that DS hasn’t come to destroy, but to tell us we can be doing more, in a more constructive way.

      Why is it that there are so many LDS women AND men on anti-depressants? It’s an astronomical percentage. I think it is partly because we know there is SO much expected of us and there is NO way we can do it all. DS is saying you don’t have to do more, you just have to do it right, and in the right way you will grow closer to God than you ever imagined.

      I was introduced to his books while in the midst of a terrible, debilitating disease. I had just about given up. So many things were going wrong in my life, because of the way this disease works. A friend told me about Denver one night, out of the blue, and after he’d left I could NOT stop thinking about DS. The Spirit was working so strong inside me and I could not let it go for some reason.

      I called my neighbor and asked if I could borrow a book, any book, that DS had written. I wanted to read his words for myself so I could get him out of my head once and for all.

      I have always been very close to the spirit. In fact, it’s one of the things pointed out in my patriarchal blessing, that I would easily recognize the spirit and the things of God. (that’s summarizing) The book my neighbor had, of all the ones to choose from, was removing the Condemnation, which is a super heavy, doctrinal book of study for the Book of Mormon. Now, remember, I’m sick, my brain doesn’t work well for long periods, I suffer with fatigue and exhaustion and a hundred other things etc… but I went to town on this book and felt the spirit so strong on my life that I could not deny it. I hungered, and I mean, hungered for more. Because of DS’s books I look at my illness in a completely different way. I am at peace with my life, and yet I love the Savior more. I love the Book of Mormon more.

      I have now bought and read all his books but a couple. He has changed my life. Did Denver come to stir the pot? Maybe. Is that a bad thing? Well, it says somewhere in the scriptures that Jesus will come with a sword and wreak havoc. John the Baptist stirred the pot, and let’s not forget Samuel the Lamanite, Lehi, Jonah etc…. Throughout all time, ordinary men have been sent to stir the pot, to stir the saints up to righteousness. Maybe that is all this is. I think so.

    • May 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Please don’t call anyone “Snufferites” or any -ites for that matter.

      That’s very “narrow-mind [ed], brothrenite (sic)-blind-follwoing (sic)-stuck-in-early-church-history-lore-beliving (sic) TBM” of you.

      Definitely no date night.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 9, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      To anyone who might want to try to ‘mediate’ or ‘moderate’ between husband and wife–

      I am very definitely a bystander–

      My husband and I both have lots and lots of questions, but we have powerful testimonies of God (and experiences), and we have been told to ‘stay in the church and be wise and quiet and serve’–

      One of us is a ‘lifer'; the other is a ‘convert'; we both served missions.

      Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever come between a husband and wife.

      EVER!

      We’ve been married considerably longer than you have–

      and one thing we realized a long, long time ago was that we had to put our relationship before anyone or anything else, except God.

      Only God comes first. No children, no church, no friends, no jobs, no . . . thing else.

      So, I would recommend that you DO have a date tonight. Do something very special for and with each other. Get away from all of this stress and tension and do something that builds both of you.

      Marriage is always filled with ups and downs. We’ve probably had more downs than ups–

      heartaches over children have probably troubled and dogged our marriage more than heartaches in the church, but we’ve had a few–
      there were times when we just shook our heads and wept over treatment by priesthood leaders (usually because ‘we hadn’t handled a child correctly’ in the opinion of a leader.)

      Interesting, though. Father in Heaven told us to leave it alone. Stay away from the conflict. Bear our pain by taking it to Him.

      We did. A young bishop’s counselor observed a bishop abusing us over our children 10 years ago. I saw the pain in his eyes. I felt the bullying and lack of spirit from the bishop. He said nothing, though. At one point I thought he might, but his eyes reached out to mine with, “I understand this man is out of control; bear with it.”

      Guess what. That bishop is dead (after apologizing to us years ago)–
      and that counselor is now our bishop, and we couldn’t have a more loving, less judgemental one. He thinks our family is great.

      The wheels of the Lord’s justice do grind slowly to give us time to be refined and learn patience.

      In the meantime, I still mean what I say about that wife of the other brother. There are women out there who have stood by men who have done unspeakable things. She needs to stand by her man. She will have heavy regrets if she does not. Marriage is sacred by the standards of any religion, and ours holds it no less sacred than any other. The idea that a woman should leave a man who is no longer officially a member is repugnant. I hope that didn’t sound angry, just firm. Perhaps she has no intention of leaving him, but if she continues to weep openly in church and accept casseroles, she is not being very loyal to him. Even if he IS in the wrong.
      So, those of us who are still in the church or who are no longer in the church and may not completely understand our spouse’s feelings about any particular thing–
      need to celebrate and strengthen our marriages, if we have the blessing of being married. Sometimes it’s my husband who needs to calm down; sometimes it’s me. But bishops and SPs come and go, and until death (and eternity anyway), our companion is ours to love and to hold close.

      Go enjoy something that isn’t controversial, Carol and Tim.

      I am a stranger to you, but I take Mosiah 18 VERY seriously about bearing the burdens of other members of the church. I am not bearing your burdens, of course, but I covenanted to do that and to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. I believe powerfully in marriage, and so I am encouraging you to strengthen yours in the middle of this discussion.

      I am not sure that fits in any of the categories, but it may fit in around the edges in a fuzzy way. Go and do something that builds your marriage.
      Please. No truth seeking is ever worth destroying a relationship. No devotion to a system of religion is worth destroying a relationship.

      • May 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        Love you guys…all of you. I SO appreciate these comments. Carol and I DO have a date night tonight. I’m leaving the Burbank airport where I work at 5:30pm. Carol is carpooling in with a good friend (the Relief Society President) from Camarillo where we live. We are going to meet at the temple for a stake chapel session at 6:45 and an endowment session at 7:30pm. I can’t think of any place I’d rather be tonight. I still hope (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that they let me in after what I wrote and sent to the Stake president.

        I hope people keep asking me why I did this and I’ll keep telling you – because I was asked to do this by the Lord. Keep asking me why I made it public and I’ll keep answering – because the Lord asked me to do so. Why else would I stay up all night? I started at 11pm and finished at 5am. It’s funny, I feel fine even after only two hours of sleep. We’ll see how I feel about 8pm in the middle of the endowment session.

        Thank you Marginalized Mormon. I appreciate your counsel. God bless.

    • May 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Carol,
      I’ve been reading Tim’s blog for a while, and this is the first time I’ve noticed you have commented. I can feel the love and concern you have for him. I can relate to having differing opinions when it comes to spiritual matters with my own spouse. I know of the struggles it can cause, and I know the faith required to press on in love and unity.

      I don’t think for a minute, that you will be denied anything if you do all those things you mentioned. I don’t think that anyone who honestly follows the commandments of Christ as given by our Prophet and Apostles will be held back.

      I have been in your position as a TBM, for most of my 36 years. I have looked across the aisle to the ‘weirdos’ who seemed to be ever searching in places outside the church. I had always thought the answers were within the Church. I always thought since they were there, if I wasn’t getting the answers, I wasn’t doing my part. I must have been lacking in faithfulness. Over the last few years, my eyes were opened to a new perspective when I sought for a more personal relationship with my Lord and Savior. Yes, Snuffer was a part of that. Your fourth point of whether he unites or divides, I venture to say could also apply to our own Church leadership. Do they unite or divide? I would suggest unity or division depends not on who is delivering the message, but rather who receives the message and how they attempt to apply it.

      I think we all have our own path. I don’t think one is better than the other. The Lord will direct all our paths for our good. We are each of us individuals. Each with a specific plan tailored by God to fit us perfectly if we will allow it. I think it is necessary that there be other ways/methods/ideas. That doesn’t mean one is right or wrong. I think what we will be held accountable to, and either blessed for or condemned for, is how we act and treat each other in relation to what God has revealed to us. There is supposed to be opposition. It helps us more than we can ever realize. I think that we need to show unconditional love and charity especially to those whose views differ from our own. But it is also important for all people to feel validated. Tim’s blog has helped my feelings be validated and accepted in a culture that would otherwise reject. For that, and others like him, I am eternally grateful. It helps to give me voice, to organize my own thoughts, and enlightens my mind and understanding, it has helped me seek direction from on High. I am a ‘seeker’ and I am thankful the Lord has provided me opportunities to grow and stretch. Not everyone is like me, and they don’t need to be.

      I think we need to in these situations focus on those things that unite us, not divide us. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ. There is nothing like it in all the world. We should all be acting in accordance of what it means to bear that name. If we focus on Him, and do as He would do, we will all be just fine.

      It’s good to hear from you. Sounds like Tim is a pretty lucky guy. God bless you.

    • May 9, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Carol: First off, I love you. Second, thank you for posting this comment on my blog. I’m glad you did. I greatly appreciate it. You know how important my blog is to me. I’ve expressed how many times it helps me to grow and causes me to study the gospel. We’ve had enough discussions about Denver over the past two years that we both recognize we will never be united on what he has to say. I can live with that.

      I’m not trying to force you to believe anything I have written or shared. I shared what I feel is interesting or inspiring. You decide your response. And, by the way, I support you in whatever response you make, even if it’s to throw dishes at me or want to kick me out of the house. I understand, or at least I think I do. I know you find the man annoying.

      I fixed the typo. Thanks for pointing it out. There’s always one, isn’t there?

      I totally agree with you about Lynn. There’s no way, even after he and I spoke on the phone for 45 minutes on Wednesday as to what was actually said in his temple recommend interview. I may have gotten some things wrong from what he told me. You can read what he did share publically in the link after this paragraph. He describes what happened after the Interview, after losing his recommend and what life has been like since then.

      http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/05/04/concluding-testimony-at-my-disciplinary-council/#comment-24022

      Lynn and I talked about getting together at the Ephraim or the St George lectures. I know you haven’t spoken with him and I’m fairly certain you don’t want to. It’s not important. All I know is I have appreciated his comments over the last few months, appreciate that his brother called me and recommended that Lynn and I have a phone conversation and that I felt an immediate bond of friendship as Lynn and I talked on the phone.

      So, no, I don’t know why Lynn’s Stake President took away his temple recommend and no, I don’t know that it was for his answer to the question about sustaining President Monson. I only have his word on that, but I have no reason to disbelieve him. I trust Lynn even though I haven’t met him. I don’t know why other than I felt the spirit whisper to me that Lynn was telling the truth. Call it the spirit of discernment, but I believe him.

      As far as adding fuel to my fire of indignation, yes, you’re right. The whole post is based pretty much on what Lynn has shared. But you’ve been with me when we’ve interviewed others who have suffered from unrighteous dominion including Jan Graf and Mel Fish. What about the stories you have told me of unrighteous dominion by bishops to members of your own family? I don’t know Carol, but I’m not making this stuff up. It really is happening.

      OK, I’ll accept your point that the writings of Denver Snuffer are not widely read. I stand corrected. He doesn’t release publication numbers but he has released blog hits. The last time he did a few months back I believe the number was somewhere around three million. That’s pretty amazing. You know that even after nearly seven years and counting my old blog I only have about 500,000 hits. I know he said his publisher is able to provide for his family mainly with the proceeds from Denver’s books – what Denver doesn’t contribute to the church.

      I’ll also accept your characterization that there is only a handful of disaffected Mormons “looking for something to grasp onto and fallen madly in love with his ideas” who have read his books. Yeah, it’s probably only a few hundred – maybe a couple thousand at the most, if I had to guess. Maybe someone else like Doug, who records his lectures, might have a better idea how many people read Denver Snuffer’s materials.

      You write he causes people to doubt what they’ve always held as the truth. No, it’s up to the individuals to do what they will with the information he presents. I know you’re upset that I have “latched onto” his writings and I’m sorry it distresses you. You asked me to decide if what I have read in Denver’s books and blogs is from a loving Heavenly Father. OK, I’ve decided.

      I decided the night I read Passing the Heavenly Gift in Feb of 2012 when the spirit whispered to me that what Denver was sharing was true and helped answer so many questions I had in my mind for so many years. I can see the very mention of Denver Snuffer upsets you terribly. That’s OK. You’re entitled to feel the way you do. I take no offense and understand. His material is not meant for you.

      Somebody already mentioned in a comment below that the term Snufferites is frowned upon both by Denver and by those who read his material.

      I’m sorry if I’ve given you cause to feel that I hate you because you aren’t interested in reading Denver Snuffer. If I have ever implied that or said anything like that I apologize. The last thing in the world I want to do is to cause you to feel any feelings anywhere near to “hate.” The idea saddens me terribly. I’m sorry you feel that way. Feelings of hate have no place in a marriage. If you feel such feelings from me then perhaps we need to have a talk with a marriage counselor. I had no idea I was causing you to feel such powerful harmful emotions.

      You are correct we are all entitled to believe whatever we want. I appreciate you allow me that privilege. I also appreciate you quoting Moroni 7:13. I think we’ve already agreed that we’ll never be able to agree on how the kind of things Denver writes fulfills a spiritual need I have while it apparently causes you fear and anger. So just to reiterate, what Denver writes is not for you. Don’t let it bother you, or the fact that I enjoy his writings.

      I’m grateful for the feelings that have come into my heart over the last two years as I have read his witness of Christ and his witness of the things of heaven. I have found myself more motivated to do good, to read the scriptures, to be a better home teacher, to be a better husband and father (I have much repenting to do there) and to come unto Christ and Heavenly Father through prayer, fasting, pondering and gospel study.

      Yes, it’s quite obvious that the writings of Denver Snuffer divide people, including spouses.

      Thank you for the correction about “Compassionate Service Meals” as opposed to “funeral meals.” Perhaps it’s a Utah thing. I don’t know. I try not to judge people by what they call things. I’m not sure who you’re referring to when you talk about judging – the Stake President, my friend Lynn or who.

      You write that Lynn should have sought for answers to his questions someplace other than his temple recommend interview. That seems kind of cold, maybe even a little harsh. Shouldn’t a priesthood leader take all the time that is necessary to help someone who has questions get them answered? Isn’t that what the Savior would do? I know Bishops and Stake presidents are busy and imperfect men. Perhaps the Stake President could have said something like the following:

      “Lynn, I can appreciate that you have questions about the priesthood. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we schedule a time to get together next week to go over those questions? For now, let’s finish this interview with the worthiness questions so we can get you back to the temple. Everyone occasionally has questions. President Uchtdorf made that clear in last October’s Conference talk. What do you say – will that work for you?”

      I sense your anxiety for me. That’s why I married you. You know I’m a pie-in-the-sky kind of guy – or is it called blue-sky myopia? Anyway, I’ve always appreciated your down-to-earth real-life view of how things are, from how we budget our money to how we live the gospel. Thank you for being my equal partner in this.

      I don’t think you’re narrow-minded or stuck in “early-church-lore” or even a “Brethrenite” kind of person. I’m glad you’re a TBM and hope you don’t mind me mentioning that acronym the other day. Again, that’s why I married you. I was a heathen Californian and you have quite the history and ancestry of members of the church running in your blood. Besides, you’re obviously a very passionate woman and I love a woman who knows what she wants and stands up for it. I learned that early on as I watched you stand up for Mike as a she-bear.

      There’s nothing wrong with listening to what the prophets have to say, as long as we pray about their counsel and determine for ourselves that what they are teaching is what will help us find our way back into the presence of our Heavenly Father. Carol, I don’t think anybody is calling you inflexible, either me or any of those who read this blog. You are solid as a rock when it comes to standing up for the church and I love you for that.

      We’ve had this discussion about enduring to the end before. No need to go over it again here. We both agree that if we live our lives faithfully, study the gospel, serve our neighbors, pay tithing, help the poor, fulfill our callings to the best of our ability and do all within our power to be good members of the LDS church, we have the promise of eternal life.

      Enduring to the end is the key – being kind and tolerate is another. Having a testimony of church history is not what gets us back into the Savior’s presence. It’s loving as he did, with kindness, compassion, tolerance and sweetness. Jesus taught us to be meek, long-suffering and patient with words to match. You know that’s something I’m always working on and praying about in our nighty prayers.

      There is no church out there like the LDS Church that has temples, is authorized to collect tithing, preach the gospel, publish the scriptures and minister the ordinance of the sacrament. I’m grateful to be a member of this wonderful church and enjoy participating with the saints each week in remembering the Savior, learning the gospel and in honoring the Lord on the Sabbath day.

      Thanks for allowing me the agency of asking questions – that’s how I learn – by asking questions. Some people call them doubts until they are answered, but really, all they are is just questions, right? I can certainly grant you freedom to worry and be concerned for me. You don’t need my permission for that. I’m honored you love me enough to put up with my questioning nature. I love you for your solid, trusting nature. See you tonight.

      • May 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

        Every day I am more and more grateful to the Lord for the privilege that is mine of having a man who walks the same paths, shares the same values and searches with the same intensity. I will admit I have gone through one marriage that was not that way, but we did not part ways because of gospel questions. Thankfully the Lord blessed and guided me to one who would walk hand-in-hand with me through the questions and answers. My husband and I are on the “watch” list, but to us, there are worse things that could happen to us. At least we can weather this together. We love the Lord, seek truth wherever we can find it and give thanks every day for those opportunities.

    • May 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      “Does this man unite or divide. Your honor, I rest my case!”

      Indeed the case is rested as to who divides. Please read Matthew 10:34-end. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/10.34?lang=eng#33

    • Lynn Bernhard
      May 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Carol, Bless you. All that I have said is true. There is no back story, I was TBM until last year when the brethren openly stated that homosexuality for some is not a choice shattering my TBM beliefs based on other church leaders teachings. I struggled deeply with the implications. A friend kindly reminded me that my faith ought to be centered in Christ and not man. I sought solace in the scriptures and in testimonies of authors writing about Christ. I read Talmage, Pontius, Eddershiem, Skousen, and others. Brother Denver was just one of many however Denver’s talks on Faith and Priesthood led me to answer the question 7 honestly but in the affirmative. The rest is recent history. What Tim did not expound upon in detail was the extent to which I am learning to love and be grateful for all experiences that I strongly believe GOD intends for me to have. I have no animosity towards any man for what has happened, I am a little surprised by the reactions of friends and neighbors. I told Tim I am happy that there are people there for my wife in her sorrow I am glad she has a community to support her. I feel I allow her the liberty to feel and believe the way she does, I try to understand her fears, and I pray for her happiness. I pray for you. I believe GOD makes no mistakes and all his creations are perfect just the way they are right now, right here. Moment to moment we are exactly as GOD intended for us to be. I believe my wife is perfect just the way she is in the present. GOD allows us agency to choose and the consequences follow leading to godly sorrow or joy will follow each of our choices. I have missed the mark many times and I know godly sorrow and I know joy as well. I relate to Tim and others because when I read Brother Denver’s admonitions and I crossed the ideas with the scriptures I felt great joy, a pure knowledge which greatly enlarged my soul without hypocrisy and without guile. Brother’s Denver’s mystical testimony of the living Christ is filled with great power and moved my soul to action to seek the LORD now. Sometimes I wonder if some confuse fear with godly sorrow when learning truths that challenge one’s worldview. I have recently learned that “Mystic” is one of my spiritual archetypes. In my soul I am ready to pay any price to know GOD. Tim is a mystic as well, and it will be difficult for you as he walks his path into GOD’s presence because GOD requires everything a man holds dear. It has always been that way and will always be so. I pray to GOD he never has to choose between you and LORD. Mystics do and say “crazy” things sacrificing all for perhaps a glimpse into the bosom of the Father. Oh the joy. In some cases the mystic then crazily shouts from the wall, “Come, he lives! You can see him too! The way is before you in the scriptures, come let us follow HIM!” Shalom

  13. May 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for these thoughts Tim. When I eventually find myself in the same situation these ideas (I hate to call them arguments) will come in handy. I don’t want to get excommunicated either but I won’t back down on what the Lord has given me. The things you’ve written are true – it is inexcusable for any leader in the church to discipline someone for their doubts/questions/beliefs if those beliefs are not being used to attack the church. I find it interesting that Sterling McMurrin, who was agnostic but wanted to stay in the church was personally defended from excommunication by David O McKay himself. So apparently it’s okay if you don’t believe in God but if you don’t believe in telestial men then you’re worthy of damnation.

  14. Log
    May 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    “Does this man unite or divide.”

    Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

    John 7:43 So there was a division among the people because of him.

  15. Steve
    May 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Carole,

    I would recommend that we follow no man, not GA, not Denver, only the Lord. However, I would suggest we listen to their words with the Spirit per D&C 50 and if they speak by Him both will be edified. Joseph warned the members’ minds were darkened because they depended upon him too much. they were not doing their duty before God.

    Perhaps JST Mark 9:40-48 also applies.

    Steve

  16. marginalizedmormon
    May 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    *hee, hee*–
    There is no more blessed sleep than sleep in the temple. *chuckling*

    There were years when we went to the temple with not enough sleep; we were always sleep-deprived in those years, and the temple was the ONLY place we could find peace, and only one of us could go at a time, because one of us had to be with the children; it was necessary. It became a standard joke between us, “did you have a good nap?”–

    It sounds wonderful. This is definitely an ‘aw’ moment. I remember the bliss we felt when we could, finally, leave our remaining children and go to the temple as a couple, because the child who needed our constant supervision was being cared for elsewhere.

    Bliss. Quiet. Peace.

  17. Karl
    May 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Tim, I have some serious questions to ask you. Suppose, hypothetically that an individual, being inspired by Denver Snuffer (or John Pontius, etc) presses forward on the straight and narrow pathway and actually obtains all the promises the Lord can give in mortality? What has the individual learned? First, that the promises of Joseph Smith are true, and that the process to Eternal Life actually works. Now do the issues of what was is or isn’t there in the modern Church matter at this point? All points doctrinal or historical may still matter ultimately, but honestly, if you have the promise of Eternal Life from God himself, wouldn’t this override the importance of knowing everything at this point in our journey? I visualize it this way: Denver Snuffer was very helpful to get people moving along the straight and narrow pathway. But, since PTHG it seems that many are taking their eyes off the pathway to start arguing all sorts of doctrinal and historical issues. I don’t suggest these are trivial, but let’s not get carried away by being distracted from the real goal, which is to press forward, being led by the Holy Ghost, until we actually obtain the promises. These promises are independent of the church organization. That is, the church and the leaders can help us get on the path, but you and I have to actually do the heavy lifting of making progress until the veil parts and we actually find ourself in the presence of the Lord. This is a generic process to a degree, but the further you ascend the more individualized the effort becomes. The Holy Spirit does and will allow very individualized (and at times very painful) tutorials to teach us specifically what we need to maximum our progress. I believe strongly that we have not taught well the doctrine involved in actually coming to Christ. The church teaches a watered down version by insisting that this consists of completing a checklist of Mormon To Do items to get reconciled to God. This is nonsense. Coming to Christ is nothing more nor less than yielding the natural man to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and being willing to submit completely to the Lord’s will (which is to bring us back to at-one-ment with Him). We owe individual’s like Snuffer and Pontius a great debt of gratitude that they have shown that our emphasis in the church has been incorrect, and our focus should have been on Coming to Christ by allowing the Spirit to transform us into His image. But now, quite frankly, the be diverted or sidetracked in this pursuit (even by Snuffer himself) by jumping on the skewer of doctrinal or historical doubt is at the least unfruitful and unproductive, and at worst actually unfaithful. Bro. Malone, everyone in the church who has seriously studied the doctrine and/or history has a ton of doubts, believe me. However, I think that the way to cope is to be patient. And frankly, even if egregious errors have been made in these areas by the authorities, then they are temporarily mute because Snuffer, Pontius and others bear witness that the pathway is open, and any individual is free to go as far as they desire, and that’s all that should matter at present. Now, having been successful if the Lord then asks you to take up the public cause to go toe to toe with the authorities, then do it. In regards to the “fullness” of anything in Mormonism, I always substitute the word “sufficient.” What we have is “sufficient” to get us to the destination that we desire with full purpose of heart. Whether there is a 3rd level of priesthood is an interesting question and I will presume to have an answer directly from the Lord when the time comes, but I’m really putting my priority and energy into the pursuit of obtaining that personal interview. There are a ton of questions, problems, contradictions all through the doctrine and history of this dispensation. If you want a completely mind blowing experience, read Harrell’s book Development of Mormon Theology. You won’t know what to think about anything after that–trust me. But I still believe, because of the Holy Spirit, that the pathway is open and the way home is still there for those that really want it above all else. And those of you that are disaffected from the church: I empathize with the difficult circumstances and offenses you have taken from leaders. I do not doubt these things are real, but I plead with you to try to forgive and forget and get back onto the narrow course that leads to Life. You don’t need any leader to point the way. You can make your own connection with heaven and allow the Lord to pull you back to Him. The Holy Ghost can light the path and the way, that is what I am currently experiencing. Peace.

  18. May 9, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I love you guys. I really do. As I have read your comments my heart reaches out praying you will receive the blessings, answers and peace you both desire. Next week I plan on beginning to lay out in my blog my understanding as I have been taught by the Lord regarding melchizedek / church organizational priesthood keys / authority and heavenly endowed patriarchal priesthood. I can fully sustain all ecclesiastical leaders and know they officiate in the saving ordinances (which is a priesthood invitation to receive the actual associated endowment) and direct the affairs of Christ’s kingdom on the earth. I also believe that those ordinances lead us to the heavenly church of the first born and the actual endowments officiated only by Christ himself and no other gate keeper. The roll of the kingdom of god on earth is to lead to the ordinances which lead us individually to Christ’s heavenly church of the first born. There is no conflict. There is an intentionally guarded/protected path that leads the sincere, intentional,single minded devotant back into the arms of the Father and the Son.

    • Karl
      May 10, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Yes, I think you are right on this. The earthly institution is there to help guide us into the pathway that leads to the fulness, which is bestowed directly from heaven. The church and leaders can help us move onto the path, and give us encouragement, but the actual movement back to God’s presence must be our connection, by the Holy Ghost, which empowers us to make it back to Him. Anyone in or out of the church that discourages us by getting us off the path or slowing down, or stopping before the completion (“don’t seek the mysteries”), does not understand the Plan. The modern Church disemphasis of following the straight and narrow path to actually obtain, in this mortal life, all the possible blessings, is doing a great disservice to the members, by causing members to cease striving to obtain the promises that could be theirs, in this life. Any leader that would discourage any member from receiving the full blessings is in fact creating a stumbling block that the faithful member should ignore, without regard to his ecclesiastical office.

  19. S.Smith
    May 10, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Describing what the fullness of the Priesthood is, may be too large of a task for a blog comment. And whether the church has it or not is ultimately a faith-based question that relies on personal revelation to be definitively answered–just as knowing whether Joseph Smith truly received angelic visitations (as he claimed) and eventually the fullness of the Priesthood at one time or another, or not, is likewise ultimately a faith-based question that can only be answered by personal revelation.

    But there does seem to be one central question being discussed on the subject at the heart of the matter of whether the church does (or can) possess the fullness of the Priesthood. That is, can the fullness of the Priesthood be given or passed on by mortal men?

    In the link you provided, it seems Denver’s answer is – No, it cannot be passed on from mortal man to mortal man. Denver has some good things to say on the fullness of the Priesthood, particularly as it relates to being the highest of the three orders. But on this question he pits himself against the teachings of Joseph Smith:

    “It is the Father who confers and ordains a man to the highest priesthood.”

    Joseph Smith in contrast taught that Abraham received the last law / fullness of the law / fullness of the Priesthood under the hands of Melchizedek – a mortal man (not God the Father):

    “Abraham gave a tenth part of all his spoils and then received a blessing under the hands of Melchesideck even the last law or a fulness of the law or preisthood which constituted him a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck or an endless life” (WJS, James Burgess Notebook, 8/27/1843)

    If you believe one of them, which do you believe? Joseph or Denver? It seems they are mutually exclusive, are they not?

    Is it really only the Father that can bestow the fullness of the priesthood as Denver seems to be suggesting? or did Abraham really obtain the fullness of the Priesthood under the hands of a mortal man – Melchizedek – as Joseph claimed? (and by implication, other mortals who possess the same power and authority of Melchizedek would presumably likewise be able to bestow the fullness of the Priesthood upon others, the same way Melchizedek did).

    I believe Joseph on this one.

    Consequently, I find the Church’s claim to the fullness of the Priesthood plausible. If Joseph Smith held the fullness of the priesthood, or same power and authority that Melchizedek held, which I believe he did, then he could presumably give others the last law or fullness of the Priesthood which would constitute them Kings and Priests after the order of Melchizedek.

    And historically, we see just that – Joseph ordained Brigham Young and others Kings and Priests after the order of Melchizedek, and thus it seems gave them the fullness of the Priesthood or last law that constituted them as such… which could then theoretically perpetuate to the present day.

    While still ultimately faith-based and a sure knowledge of authority being passed down in unbroken succession requires personal revelation, if you believe Joseph over Denver on this important point (that mortals can bestow the last law or fullness of the Priesthood to others), then the Church’s claim to the fullness of the priesthood suddenly seems very plausible.

    • Karl
      May 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

      It is ironic that Snuffer has posed a conundrum for himself, by what his position is on the “fullness” of the priesthood. Snuffer claims that he did, by following the pathway, make it all the way into the Lord’s presence, at which time he presumably received the fulness. However, he argues that the “fulness” was lost in Nauvoo, which presumably would restrict or make impossible a person’s advancement to make their way back to the Lord’s presence. This is a contradiction that Snuffer has never addressed.

      • Log
        May 10, 2014 at 11:52 am

        I would not be surprised if Snuffer never addresses a contradiction which presupposes both an argument, and a presumption, which Snuffer doesn’t make.

      • May 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm

        I assume the fulness was removed from the church but it also didn’t stop Hyrum from receiving it either. Abraham also. And Joseph Smith. The same thing happened in Moses’ time when the people rejected the Lord and the fullness was taken away. Didn’t stop David, Elijah, et cetera from receiving everything they were capable of receiving. The promises are always offered to anyone on an individual level no matter how corrupt the society around them may be. But the saints were offered a chance to become a covenant people with God and rejected it. They could have received the fullness as a people united if they would have accepted it. But God is no respecter of persons.

  20. S.Smith
    May 10, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Describing what the fullness of the Priesthood is, may be too large of a task for a blog comment. And whether the church has it or not is ultimately a faith-based question that relies on personal revelation to be definitively answered–just as knowing whether Joseph Smith truly received angelic visitations (as he claimed) and eventually the fullness of the Priesthood at one time or another, or not, is likewise ultimately a faith-based question that can only be answered by personal revelation.

    But there does seem to be one central question being discussed on the subject at the heart of the matter of whether the church does (or can) possess the fullness of the Priesthood. That is, can the fullness of the Priesthood be given or passed on by mortal men?

    In the link you provided, it seems Denver’s answer is – No, it cannot be passed on from mortal man to mortal man. Denver has some good things to say on the fullness of the Priesthood, particularly as it relates to being the highest of the three orders. But on this question he pits himself against the teachings of Joseph Smith:

    “It is the Father who confers and ordains a man to the highest priesthood.”

    Joseph Smith in contrast taught that Abraham received the last law / fullness of the law / fullness of the Priesthood under the hands of Melchizedek – a mortal man (not God the Father):

    “Abraham gave a tenth part of all his spoils and then received a blessing under the hands of Melchesideck even the last law or a fulness of the law or preisthood which constituted him a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck or an endless life” (WJS, James Burgess Notebook, 8/27/1843)

    If you believe one of them, which do you believe? Joseph or Denver? It seems they are mutually exclusive, are they not?

    Is it really only the Father that can bestow the fullness of the priesthood as Denver seems to be suggesting? or did Abraham really obtain the fullness of the Priesthood under the hands of a mortal man – Melchizedek – as Joseph claimed? (and by implication, other mortals who possess the same power and authority of Melchizedek would presumably likewise be able to bestow the fullness of the Priesthood upon others, the same way Melchizedek did).

    I believe Joseph on this one.

    Consequently, I find the Church’s claim to the fullness of the Priesthood plausible. If Joseph Smith held the fullness of the priesthood, or same power and authority that Melchizedek held, which I believe he did, then he could presumably give others the last law or fullness of the Priesthood which would constitute them Kings and Priests after the order of Melchizedek.

    And historically, we see just that – Joseph ordained Brigham Young and others Kings and Priests after the order of Melchizedek, and thus it seems gave them the fullness of the Priesthood or last law that constituted them as such… which could then theoretically perpetuate to the present day.

    While still ultimately faith-based and a sure knowledge of authority being passed down in unbroken succession requires personal revelation, if you believe Joseph Smith over Denver on this important point (that mortals can bestow the last law or fullness of the Priesthood to others), then the Church’s claim to the fullness of the priesthood suddenly seems very plausible.

    • Log
      May 10, 2014 at 8:38 am

      I’m not sure it’s yet between Joseph Smith and Snuffer. How one parses this single, and perhaps incomplete, account of Joseph’s sermon (such as “the last law, the fulness of the law, or priesthood” making priesthood equivalent to the fulness of the law and having no reference to the fulness of the priesthood) makes a difference, and whether Joseph appointed another successor, other than Hyrum, according to the requirements of D&C 43:4, also makes a difference. Hyrum, Joseph’s duly appointed successor, who was given the keys by which he may inquire and receive an answer (D&C 124:91-96), was, of course, slain with Joseph. We might be tempted to say Hyrum was an example of the fulness of the priesthood being passed from man to man except the Lord explicitly says he had, by this time, taken the fulness from the Church (D&C 124:28), and we have no record of him coming to restore it.

      In the mouths of two or three witnesses shall the truth of every word be established. Without witnesses, there’s no claim to even examine.

      • Log
        May 10, 2014 at 9:00 am

        Indeed, describing what the fulness of the priesthood is seems, to me, to be a crucial prior concern to answering whether or not the Church can possess it or confer it. If the fulness of the priesthood is that a man receives all things whatsoever he asks in the name of Christ, then we know immediately Brigham didn’t have it – he would pray and not be answered, he said.

        Let us assume the fulness of the priesthood is, indeed, the ability or right to receive all things whatsoever one asks of God in the name of Christ. If the passing of the fulness of the priesthood from man to man was possible and necessary for “succession,” then that actually answers the “succession” question as well, which, to me, is a farcical concern – Brigham was elected President, therefore he was, in fact, President, whether his prayers were ever answered or not. No need to invent “transfigurations” to overcome the requirements of D&C 43.

        But not having the ability to receive all things whatsoever one asks in the name of Christ also means one is not purified from all sin. Why, therefore, should I care – in the slightest – whether any other man is purified from all sin? Why should not my sole concern be whether I am purified from all sin?

      • Log
        May 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

        I misspoke slightly.

        D&C 124:28 For there is not a place found on earth that [the Most High] may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.

        It is not clear from this whether the fulness of the priesthood is, or can be, an institutional possession.

        If, indeed, the fulness of the priesthood is the ability and right to receive all things whatsoever one asks in the name of Christ, which ability and right is solely bequeathed upon them who are purified from all sin – meaning they are not carnal, prideful, egotistical, malicious, short-sighted, self-aggrandizing men, but are rather filled with charity, light, and joy – there could possibly be ritual requirements involved, say, like baptisms and laying of hands and washings and anointings and a dramatization of the heavenly council that one participates in and a symbolic joining of the sexes into a perfect union, upon completion of which the qualified candidate has the heavens open unto them and stands in the actual and literal council in the heavenly temple in the presence of God, Christ, and all the holy angels, and is promised that all things whatsoever they ask shall be given. Maybe. If so, then all that the institution can do to perpetuate the fulness of the priesthood is provide the necessary rites. No sinner can have the fulness on this view, even if they have received the rites.

        If this is possibly correct, and I stress the IF, then all this nonsense about succession is truly moot, and is only a concern of them who are not founded upon Christ. I do not go to the history books to validate my faith, because my faith does not depend upon whether any who have come before have measured up to their responsibilities, but is founded upon the revelations of God to me. I do not concern myself with the legalistic wranglings of faithless scribes and pharisees concerned with proving the authority of their preferred parties by visible transmission of unseen power through earthly rites given by one who was acknowledged by all to have gotten his authority from God himself, to the intent of validating their efforts, on historical grounds, to exercise control and compulsion upon the souls of men.

        I do not require people to agree with me to validate my position.

      • Log
        May 10, 2014 at 11:19 am

        … Incidentally, on this view, the fulness of the priesthood is called, in the scriptures, the Melchizedek priesthood.

        D&C 107:18-19
        18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—

        19 To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

        Spiritual blessings, as opposed to outward ordinances.

        Also:

        JST, Exodus 33:20
        20 And he said unto Moses, Thou canst not see my face at this time, lest mine anger be kindled against thee also, and I destroy thee, and thy people; for there shall no man among them see me at this time, and live, for they are exceeding sinful. And no sinful man hath at any time, neither shall there be any sinful man at any time, that shall see my face and live.

        And:

        TPJS, p. 171
        The next great, grand Patriarch [after Enoch] who held the keys of the Priesthood was Lamech. “And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years and begat a son, and he called his name Noah, saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.” (See Genesis 5:28-29.) The Priesthood continued from Lamech to Noah: “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them and behold I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:13.)

        Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that He talked with him [Noah] in a familiar and friendly manner, that He continued to him the keys, the covenants, the power and the glory, with which He blessed Adam at the beginning; and the offering of sacrifice, which also shall be continued at the last time; for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the Priesthood, under the directions and commandments of the Almighty in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation, therefore all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at any former period, shall be had again, bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets; then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable offering to the Lord. “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord.” (See Malachi 3:3.)

      • May 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

        None of us (I don’t think) require people to agree with us to validate our positions.

        However, perhaps one advantage of knowing who agrees with whom regarding terminology is that those people can then continue the conversation (more productively?) amongst themselves (while recognizing that they are merely opinions).

        For example, it might be easier to discuss whether “evolution” is a true principle when all discussants agree on the definition of “evolution.”

        (This is rhetorical) Is there any gospel-related definition that people here actually agree upon? “Prophet”? “Testimony”? “Sealing power”? “Priesthood”?

  21. marginalizedmormon
    May 10, 2014 at 11:24 am

    @anyone who is interested–

    I think it’s important that it be known that some of *us* (I include my husband and me)–
    have had many of these same questions and answers without being acquainted with or reading anything, especially by Denver Snuffer. I will admit that I am wary of any writing by ‘man’, including books by general authorities–
    though we take it on a case by case basis, prayerfully.
    That might seem extreme, but my husband and I have focused on the Book of Mormon. After hearing Ezra Taft Benson urge us to make a through and continuing study of it, we did. And it changed our lives, our minds, our attitudes, our perspectives.

    So, it’s not just those who read Denver Snuffer who are having these concerns and questions about Jesus and Zion.
    I admit that I, obviously, participate in some Mormon blogs–
    I think the one thing I can’t quite agree with Denver Snuffer on (as I’ve read comments about him on blogs) is that he emphasizes seeking a personal interview with Jesus–
    and I tend to focus more on following Jesus in a hope that He will seek me out.
    I used to think, “the church will take care of the poor”; well, I don’t anymore, at all. I focus on the poor and needy; I pray for them every night–the children all around the world who are orphaned and hungry, and I have done all I can do to ‘help’, though it is miniscule.
    I figure that if I do that, Jesus will want me to see Him eventually.
    I would say more, but I dare not–about seeking to help those who are hungry, etc.

    I think it seems kind of vain for a person who has plenty to eat to talk about finding Jesus all the time when that person isn’t looking for hungry people to feed.

    But that is just my opinion.

    As for the TBM business; we both used to be TBMs, and the Book of Mormon shook us out of that–

    The Book of Mormon led us to Jesus and led us to want to follow Him, really and truly, as He reached out to the poor and hungry and helpless–

    A person doesn’t need Denver Snuffer (or any living man, including apostles, however nice they might be, all of them) to feed the poor and find Jesus by doing it.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

      I also think it’s somewhat vain to worry about priesthood power when a person (man or woman) doesn’t use his/her power of whatever kind to help the weak and poor and hungry and vulnerable young–

      I mean, that’s sort of like rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic–

      this is our time to prepare to meet God; better to do it by taking care of people than by worrying about where we will sit at the table and who will sit next to Jesus.

      Same thing with degrees of glory or kingdoms; why should we concern ourselves with that when there is hunger and suffering all around us? This is our time to deal with that, however much we can, not worry about what kind of jewels will be in our ‘crown’.

      • Log
        May 10, 2014 at 11:59 am

        I personally find it interesting that those who presumably understand what it is to be marginalized and sincerely cry for people to be out doing well would simultaneously seek marginalize others who wish for power to be out doing good.

        After all, the entire purpose of power, or priesthood, is to do good.

        6 And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest…

        Alma certainly did not think this a vain, or, in other words, empty desire.

        Alma 29:1
        1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

        Neither did Abraham.

        2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.

        After all…

        Moroni 10:25
        25 [I]f there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.

    • May 10, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” – Joseph Smith

      • marginalizedmormon
        May 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        I’ve had that quote go around and around in my mind for so many years now–
        since I believe Joseph Smith was the real deal–
        it means a lot to me–

  22. Joshjosh
    May 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Tim, this has been one of my favorites of your recent posts. I read humility and sincere questioning throughout this post. I would hope that as long as you are on the unsure/doubting side that discipline wouldn’t be necessary. I’m not suprised by Denver’s excommunication. He wasn’t questioning/doubting; he was teaching. Good luck on your quest.

  23. marginalizedmormon
    May 10, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    @Log, I think you are taking offense where no offense is intended.

    You think I am marginalizing those who want to talk about power?

    Well, I think that maybe I am thinking about Jesus when he told James and John to stop worrying about their positions (he probably was also telling their mother that)–

    I don’t see how any of the scriptures you are using state that men and women should be worrying about this. I, likewise, think women shouldn’t worry about it–

    goodness brings power–

    you can’t stop someone with faith who is righteous from doing good–
    but I don’t really think that Abraham and Alma and Moroni would disagree with me–

    what is the point of having power if a person doesn’t use it to bless others?

    But, as one of the old apostles said, “when people are hungry, they don’t want to hear the gospel”–

    So–

    I think we are going around and around in circles here–

    Worrying about priesthood power is a first world/developed nation religious problem, I fear.

    Can you assure me it isn’t? If people are well enough fed, then they start to worry about their station in life, whether in religion or industry or government–

    And I have not said why I am marginalized, ever–though I am. But I don’t know how my saying what I did is marginalizing anyone; how can it?

    There seem to be quite a few men (and women) who are very concerned about power from God, no matter whether they be questioners or non-questioners.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 10, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      @Log,

      I am sorry if I have sounded defensive; that is wrong. Carnal “woman” there.
      You did sound defensive, but you have no need to be. For all I know you read all the scriptures on power as you hand out bread to the hungry, so why is what I said offensive?
      There are, however, some whom I have seen who do the ‘jots and tittles’–
      and aren’t caring for the poor–
      And that’s a personal thing, and probably not mutually exclusive; a person can, I suppose, worry about priesthood and power and where it is and how to get it and still care for the poor and hungry and weak–

      But, IF a person spends all his/her time focusing on what he/she wants, then that could border on being unconcerned about others, couldn’t it? Just throwing out the thought–

      Also, if I assume correctly (and assuming may be a bad choice here) what you are using Moroni’s words for–

      if a person spends his entire life taking care of the needy but doesn’t have priesthood power, you honestly believe he or she will meet Christ and say, “I’m sorry; you should have worried about getting power first and then fed these poor people; your charity is of no effect.”

      I just don’t think that’s how it works. I maybe used to. When I was a TBM I thought that temple work was more important than feeding the poor; I really, honestly did. So I understand the sort of mentality I am discussing here–
      now it seems to me vanity. Now, I’m not saying that temple work doesn’t have value at all–
      but I just keep hearing what Jesus said to the rich, young man–
      “you done all the right things; you’ve kept all the commandments, but give all you have to the poor now”–
      and he went away sorrowing, right?
      Well–
      All the righteous, good LDS men have done all the right things and have their priesthood, but–
      ?
      What next? What now? Who will take care of the poor and hungry and needy–
      And then that poor woman (who never had the priesthood) or the poor man who didn’t know about it . . . who fed the poor and cared for the sick . . . will go off sorrowing when they meet Jesus?
      This doesn’t add up, Log.
      I don’t WANT to worry about the priesthood. I think that it is the business of each person whether he/she wants the priesthood; I, frankly, don’t–want the priesthood–
      but I think it is the business of each man or woman how he/she treats the poor and hungry and sick within his/her circle and means–

      King Benjamin seemed to think it was very important. And, for all we know, Abraham had already fed all the poor, and there were none left.
      Have a sense of humor, Log. All right?
      But I perceive I stepped on a sore toe–
      (no more teasing, I promise)

      • marginalizedmormon
        May 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        sorry about the multitude of grammars and typos; I don’t really speak that poorly, but I seem to be writing poorly later–

        fingers getting old (all too true)

  24. Log
    May 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    None of us (I don’t think) require people to agree with us to validate our positions.

    Yes, some of us do have that emotional need.

    However, perhaps one advantage of knowing who agrees with whom regarding terminology is that those people can then continue the conversation (more productively?) amongst themselves (while recognizing that they are merely opinions).

    Here’s why, when discussing the matter of “the fulness of the priesthood” and whether “the Church” “possesses” it, terminology doesn’t matter – it can be handled in the abstract, without knowing what the content is.

    D&C 124 is clear that the Most High God had removed “the fulness of the priesthood” from among the people. The command was to build the Nauvoo temple so that the Most High God could have a place to come and restore it. We also know in the mouths of two or three witnesses the truth of every word is established. We also know God doesn’t change. We also know, from D&C 110, what happens when God accepts a temple built unto his name according to his commandments, and we also thereby know what happens when he comes to it. There are no witnesses – no documentation – that the Most High God came and restored anything at Nauvoo, nor any time thereafter.

    Against this, some have sought to establish that disjointed claims of apparently random spiritual manifestations at the dedication of Nauvoo establish that God actually accepted the temple. Yet, one notices in the proffered accounts that no two witnesses seem to agree on any particular manifestation, and nothing like D&C 110 happened – at all. And subsequent facts of history rather bear out that the people were most definitely moved out of their place.

    Therefore, there is no claim to examine. Whatever “the fulness of the priesthood” is, there is no basis for claiming the Church possesses it, to say nothing of having a basis to claim that the Church even can possess it.

    • May 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Okay, too much wishful thinking. :) Rewording: Ideally, none of us should need to require people to agree with us to validate our positions.

      Going back to Tim’s original post, “Here’s my concluding question: If I confess my doubt or my question really, about what the fullness of the priesthood really is and if it is found on the earth today . . .”

      In the context of Tim’s question, doesn’t “the fulness of the priesthood” need to be defined so that we could answer whether or not “it is found on the earth today?”

      • Log
        May 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

        Well, if someone has something better than my worthless opinion (comment #2), I would like to hear it.

  25. sfort
    May 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Log,

    You don’t need validation, but truth is truth and you have written it. When manifestations come, and come more frequently, we shall be on the precipice. Our spirits need to be amenable to revelations coming from sources outside the general belief systems of the masses.

  26. Log
    May 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    There is a perspective I keep trying to reduce to the written word, only to fail time and again.

    Oh, what a conundrum the opening of the Book of Mormon ought to cause to those who suppose that by hitching their wagons to the right organizational horses, their exaltation is assured; what a conundrum the Bible ought to pose for those who suppose that since God need not tolerate uninspired leaders among his people – through controlling birth and death and … well, the limits of this control are nowhere explicitly stated – therefore he does not tolerate uninspired leaders. How do you suppose the Flood became necessary? How do you suppose the Jewish church – who had the keys of the kingdom until John, be it remembered – reached its terminal state of corruption by the time of Christ? Has God anywhere, in his own voice, said his servants cannot lead you astray? Why then do you believe that? Why do you suppose there are repeated warnings from Christ to them whom he should choose to lead in his Church in the scriptures?

    If, as President Packer says, we are really good a distributing priesthood authority and really bad at distributing priesthood power, why is it thought doctrinally impossible that priesthood ordinances can be authoritative, even if nobody has priesthood power? Is it not a statistical certainty that some ordinances would be being performed by powerless but authoritative priesthood holders?

    • Log
      May 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Oh, what a conundrum D&C 109:60 ought to pose to them who prefer to think the Gentiles spoken of in the scriptures never means us.

      • Log
        May 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm

        … never means us, that is, unless the reference is complimentary.

  27. May 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Hope date night went well for you Tim. Did they let you in?

    • May 11, 2014 at 1:15 am

      Hi Alfa: Thanks for asking. Yes, we enjoyed the chapel session and the endowment session. We got to see one of the new movies – new actors, new emphasis on certain words and phrases, different reactions to Satan – boy, Eve sure made it clear she thought he was creepy – and different music. But in the end, the purpose of these new videos is to keep us awake and entertain us while we are being taught the same thing. It doesn’t matter. The teaching should come from the spirit and not from what we see on the screen. It was good to see some on this blog there and to hear from a member of the Stake Presidency in the chapel session. That always makes these quarterly sessions special.

      Since Carol added comments to this dialog – I think this was her first time visiting my blog without me asking her – and I responded, I wanted to add some additional details that came as a result of attending the temple. We talked about the covenants we make and how the male and female covenants of obedience are different. Boy, did we talk about the differences. I want you to think about the HUGE difference between those two versions and what a tremendous amount of faith it requires for the woman to make that covenant. I know it was changed in 1990 but I still think it takes a lot of faith – perhaps more than the man – for a woman to make that covenant the way it is worded. I’ll explain if I can:

      By the way, I am meeting with the Bishop next week to talk about this post. I continue to receive private emails from readers questioning me for publishing what should be a private letter to my priesthood leaders. I stand by what I wrote to Nonrandom Set in my first comment above (to whom I owe an apology, which I will be writing next). I repeat it here: I made it public because the Lord asked me to do so. Now I know that takes a lot to read and not say to yourself, “OK, this one’s a kook – he says he’s talking to God and God’s talking back.” Yep, I confess. I talk to God about my blog and he answers me. And – I think I also said this above, maybe not – you can easily say, “Now we know he’s being deceived ‘cuz God would never tell him to make such a letter public.”

      As I wrote in one of those private email responses: “I’m sorry I can’t reveal the whole story until it’s completed. I’ve always wondered when I have heard people say – referring to private spiritual experiences – ‘I can’t tell you what he told me. It was for me and is not important for you.’ Yep, this is one of those situations. Until this is all over and the results are obvious, the Lord asked me to not share certain things in advance.” I’m not trying to be evasive. I’m tying to be obedient. It’s hard enough to make sure the voice to which I’m giving heed is the voice of the Lord, I am also doing all within my power to follow his instructions and to make sure I’m not confusing His voice with my own or with the suggestions from the adversary. They all run concurrently through my head. The real trick in prayer is to isolate and tune in to the right one.

      Anyway, the point I wanted to make is this: As a result of attending the temple last night, Carol and I had a lengthy discussion today about what I have done, why I did it, what might happen as a result of what I have done and what we can expect from each other as we go through this experience together. I had a powerful, emotional moment as I was helping Carol edit some of her writing (she teaches writing classes now or is in the process of becoming a certified writing instructor). As I was proof-reading one of her pieces aloud while she made corrections, I was overcome with what the spirit revealed to me about Carol and why it is that I love her so. It reminded me of why I married her and what a special daughter of God she really is. I am so privileged to share this life with Carol. I’ve watched her grow so much over the past few years.

      We talked about the whole idea of disciplinary action in the church, the concept of believing someone even when you have nothing but their word, how the spirit of discernment works and how the Lord answers prayers. I shared with her more detail of my sacred experience with the true order of prayer, my offer to the Lord of giving him my blog for his use (I know that sounds presumptuous and silly to some people but it was an offering from the heart and the Lord accepted it). I then shared with her how the Lord answered my prayer with a specific request in response to my general offer that he could use my blog however He would like. As I read Lynn’s comments on my previous post, the Lord whispered to me, “I want you to write about what Lynn is doing.” It was that simple. It was confirmed to me when Lynn’s brother called me the next morning. This was no coincidence. This was what the Lord wanted.

      So that’s why I wrote this post on which I’m commenting now. I called Lynn, asked for more details about what he’s going through, asked permission to share his story, received it and then began to write it. As I was writing it, the spirit whispered, “write it to your bishop and stake president.” I did not question. I’ve been doing this long enough now it has become second nature to hear what I think are unusual requests in what or how I write a post. Yes, there was a little bit of conversation in which I said, “but my priesthood leaders have nothing to do with Lynn’s predicament. They are not his priesthood leaders.” If he Lord were in the room with me and I could see His face, I would have received one of those looks: “Tim, don’t you think I know that?” I’ve seen it in my mind’s eye before. So I just did what He said and this post is the result.

      Final point which was the original point: I asked Carol point-blank what she would do if I were disfellowshipped or excommunicated. I asked her if she would divorce me or kick me out of the house. She cried. We discussed other married LDS folks we know who have struggled with having one of the spouses suffer disciplinary action. Her response was so comforting to me. She said, “Don’t expect me to throw my temple recommend down in support of what you are doing, but yes, I support what you are doing even though I don’t understand it and disagree with it.” She then referenced the temple covenant, in fact, quoted it to me verbatim and said, “I’ve made a covenant to give heed to your counsel as you obey the Lord.” We closed our discussion with her sharing this encouraging warning: “You had better be following the Lord on this.”

      Now it was my turn to cry. With Carol’s love and support, I can do what the Lord has asked me to do. I can’t tell you what that is until it has been completed. All I can say is, God bless Carol for her faith in me and her willingness to support me in spite of having no witness from the Lord as I have. She has only my word. It is my duty to be sure I am doing what the Lord has asked me to do EVEN IF IT GOES AGAINST WHAT MY PRIESTHOOD LEADERS TELL ME TO DO. And that, my friends is probably what is going to happen. Enough of this saga for tonight. It’s late. Happy Sabbath and Happy Mother’s day. God bless.

      • J
        May 11, 2014 at 5:22 am

        I hope someday for a husband as worthy of my trust, and that I can be as good a wife. Thanks for being a great example.

        I want to add that after the initial rush of excitement about Denver Snuffer’s writings passed, I found myself more interested in whether people were actually having success approaching the Lord the way he described. Your testimony, Tim, and the testimonies of others you’ve linked to, have been very inspiring to me, and given me a lot of hope. I am very eager for the results to “become obvious.”

        Thanks for everything, and god bless!

      • May 11, 2014 at 8:42 am

        Tim, this is beautiful. I have been blessed (or cursed) to read something and search for its scriptural counterpart. I firmly and adamantly believe the admonition to liken the scriptures to ourselves. Years ago, I underwent a challenge to identify types of Christ, (as all things are a type) and was amazed how each BOM prophet is a type of Him. Likewise, we can be likened to any of the groups of people therein. Your comment is full of them.

        When you said the Lord does not wish you to reveal everything right now, I thought of the many times the Savior said “Tell no man until……” That seems to be His way.

        When you wrote of Lynn in relation to your priesthood leaders, I thought of the many times a someone says they don’t know why the Lord has told them to do something only that it “is a wise purpose in Him which I know not”.

        When you spoke of Carol’s faith and her temple covenants, I thought of Lehi (crazy Lehi with his visions) and the faith it must have took his wife to listen to and believe him. I was reminded more recently of Emma and Joseph, which is probably an even better example. Emma was a saint for sure, and had a rich abundance of faith (before she was able to make any covenants). I think it’s wonderful she is so supportive.

        It’s inspiring to me to watch the Lord’s hand work in the lives of those who love and trust Him. It is evident He is working in yours. Thank you for sharing what He wants you to. It has enriched my life.

      • May 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm

        Tim,

        Thanks for sharing so much. I have a hard time sharing very much, so I appreciate you putting yourself out there. I feel to share with you some thoughts on the covenant of obedience that I recently came to understand — I was in the celestial room, and I asked the Lord why the difference. As I pondered the subject, the words from D&C 121 came to my mind. Then the explanation came — since it’s the “nature and disposition of almost all men” to abuse authority as soon as they have “a little” bit of it, is it possible that this covenant is a test? Who would be better qualified to judge a man, than his wife who has submitted to his “authority,” and allowed him to “suppose” he has some authority? I’d share more, but not sure I can put it into writing without it being overly long and convoluted. Perhaps we’ll talk sometime :). Anyway, love you brother. All the best.

  28. May 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Tim,

    I had hoped to see you find your way out of the grasp of Denver Snuffer’s influence. I’m sorry to see that you are hardening your position.

    From what I’ve read of your writings in recent days you are taking up the cause of a few people you’ve had contact with who may have suffered at the hands of uninspired local church leaders. The common thread in all of this is Denver Snuffer.

    I don’t doubt that church leaders at all levels can make mistakes. It is part of what we have to deal with in mortality. We live and breath in a fallen world.

    A question needs to be asked: Is it smart for you to take up their cause and square off with your local church leaders?

    Your church leaders don’t know the circumstances or the people you are supporting. Put yourself in the shoes of your Bishop or Stake President. All they can see is that you are supporting individuals who have been excommunicated.

    A few years ago, prior to Denver Snuffer’s books, what would have done as Bishop or Stake President if someone like you are today appeared in your Ward or Stake?

    There are a couple of things that come to mind as I have observed you since you read Denver Snuffer’s PTHG.

    Joseph Smith taught two important principles that I hope you will take to heart and think about carefully:

    1. “Nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 205).

    2. “That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly that that man is on the high road to apostasy, and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 156-157).

    Denver’s basis thesis is that church Joseph Smith restored failed for reason Denver outlines in his book PTHG. Denver declares that in all likelihood the church today does not have the fullness of the priesthood.

    None of this can be proven. It is the way Denver sees history. As persuasive has Denver can be, all that he says is undone by the simple fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the Heavenly Gift. This can be proven.

    The apostles and prophets from Joseph Smith’s day to the latest hour have manifestations of the Spirit. In addition, the same is true for the general membership of the church. I know this to be true because I have experienced many manifestations of the Spirit–and so have you Tim!

    Does the church today have everything that Joseph Smith sought to restore? No, it doesn’t. Zion was not established in its fullness but we have the promise it will be (D&C 100:13).

    The Lord leads his apostles and prophets. The manifestations of the Spirit are with us and so are the manifestations of satan.

    I sustain the Lord’s appointed leaders and therefore I *eschew the influence of Denver Snuffer and anyone who chooses to support his teachings. I hope you will do the same.

    *eschew means to deliberately avoid using; abstain from

    • Log
      May 11, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Tim says the Lord asked him to write and do as he has done.

      Do you, Jared, know that the Lord did not ask Tim to write and do as he has done?

      If you do not possess such knowledge, is not your seeking to counsel him presumptuous?

      And if you agree with Snuffer that the Church has thus far failed to bring forth Zion, then… well, you agree with Snuffer that the Church has failed to bring forth Zion.

      And is it your position that “manifestations of the Spirit” is equivalent to “the heavenly gift” or “the fulness of the priesthood”? What do these things mean to you? What do you mean when you use the terms?

      As an aside, did not Caiaphas, the high priest who ordered Christ taken and delivered to the Romans to be slain, prophesy? Was that not a manifestation of the Spirit? Did this mean the heavenly gift was with the Jews who slew the Messiah?

      I notice further you do not deal with D&C 124, nor the established history of the Church.

      And one wonders where, exactly, the contradiction between “supporting” Snuffer’s teachings and “sustaining” the Lord’s appointed leaders is. Does one “support” Snuffer’s teachings by noting the Lord himself said the Most High had taken the fulness of the priesthood, and there was not a place on earth where the Most High could come and restore it? Does one “support” Snuffer’s teachings by noting there is no record of the Most High coming – anywhere, or at any time – to restore the fulness of the priesthood? Does not our own history show that the people were moved out of their place? Has God changed his nature? Why, since the people were driven from Nauvoo, does the Lord no longer speak to the body of the Church in his own voice through the leaders we sustain?

      Are not the canonized scriptures the united voice of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, binding upon all from the least to the greatest, for doctrine and reproof? Are our histories true? If Snuffer’s teachings conform in all things to both scriptures and the known history of our Church, are we – you and I – not also bound by those teachings, because, forsooth, they are our teachings? If we are so bound, then if there is a contradiction between “supporting” the scriptures and the known history of the Church and “sustaining” our leaders, then there is a deeper problem than you are admitting.

      Since it is the official position of the Church that all opinions are equally worthless, tell us what you know, and how you know it. Testify; bear witness to your experiences. Be straightforward in dividing what you know from what you merely suppose, or assume.

    • Toni
      May 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      “2. “That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly that that man is on the high road to apostasy, and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 156-157).”

      Interesting background about that. It appears that Joseph was speaking of “church” (lower case – church did not mean a hierarchy to obey at peril of eternal damnation in those days).

      “Joseph Smith did not say these words to church members who were critical of their leaders. He said them to church leaders–to apostles and seventies–who were critical of church members. He warned leaders of the church not to put themselves above others, not to condemn others, not to find fault with the church, not to say that members are out of the way while leaders are righteous.” (Paul Toscano)

      I got it from here, which has a link to the original source: http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=477656#p477656

      • Toni
        May 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        I apologize. That came from a private forum. Only members can access it. Had I realized that, I would not have posted the link. Here is the original source: https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V26N01_111.pdf

      • May 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

        Toni-

        Did you know that Paul Toscano was excommunicated?

        Also, it doesn’t really matter who Joseph Smith was addressing–leadership, members or both. The principle he taught is universal.

    • May 11, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Hi Jared. I’m not going to do a point-by-point reply. I apologize and hope that’s not disappointing. I simply want to express my love for you and appreciation for what I know you are trying to do – and are doing – on your blog. I’ll always remember our phone conversation of a year or two ago when you asked about my experiences in reading Denver’s PtHG. I believe you said you had read “Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil” many years earlier. Anyway, I felt we had a bond or connection going there. I’m not sure what happened since that time.

      Well, I suppose I do know. You said so yourself. I continued to read, study, pray about, fast and ponder in the temple all I was reading in Denver’s books and on his blog. I felt my spiritual life deepen and found great fulfillment in what I was experiencing as my prayers became more lengthy – only because I had so much to talk about – and my time in the scriptures increased every day. I could not find enough hours in the day to study and verify for myself all I was absorbing. I was getting by on five hours of sleep each night but not really noticing it.

      Can we throw out Denver Snuffer for the sake of this dialog? He is a bone of contention for many people, including my wife, as is obvious to anyone who read her comment on this post a day or two ago. What I am doing, what I am going through, what I am trying to accomplish, has nothing to do with Denver Snuffer. It has everything to do with trying to increase, strengthen and fortify my spiritual bond directly with the Lord. I am not trying to hold myself up for an example because I am a poor one. But I am trying to document the process of coming unto Christ because a) he asked me to do so and b) it helps me to truly commit.

      Now to the real point I want to make. It has to do with sacrifice. Jared, I have no beef against this church. I am not a dissenter. I love this church and the people in it. I love to go to the three-hour block of meetings each Sunday. I told my wife today on the way home, “I can’t believe how fast the time goes while we’re in church.” I love Sacrament meeting. I love Gospel Doctrine class and being taught by someone I home teach, a former Mission President over Taiwan Taipei. I love being taught by my fellow High Priests in the third hour, most of the same brethren whom I served as their HPGL many years ago. In short, I am happy with the church and happy to be in church each Sunday.

      I am not criticizing the church. If I come across that way to anybody, I apologize. That is not my intention. I don’t want to leave this church. I simply have questions that are a natural result of reading and studying the doctrine and history of the church. I’m sure they will be answered soon enough and they are not nearly as important as loving the people with whom I worship and those whom I am called to serve. Like I have shared many times, I don’t always know why I write or share some of the things I do, and this post is especially mystifying to many in my ward – they have told me so, and have shared those same feelings with my wife. I only know I feel it is what the Lord wants me to do. The bottom line on this post is – “Can I have questions and still a) keep my temple recommend, b) keep my calling and c) keep my membership?”

      That’s all I’m trying to get out of the bishop when I meet with him on Thursday. He and I may or may not meet with the stake president after that. It’s not a big deal. I meet with the stake president all the time. This will just be in a more formal setting – to determine if having doubts – or questions – is the same as being an apostate. I don’t want to be an apostate. I just want the freedom to have questions and explore them publically on my blog without having everyone freak out that I’ve gone all anti or apostate on them. People, get a grip and relax. I asked a Facebook friend who once served with me on a High Counsel and is now a Stake President at BYU-I if he had problems with his students asking questions in his classroom. Of course not. He encourages his students to ask questions. Well, that’s all I’m doing – asking questions.

      I can’t figure out why so many people are shocked, dismayed, angry, outraged, or upset with me for asking these questions and encouraging dialog in a public format – my blog. Every question should be valid, no matter who is the original source – even if they are a known anti-Mormon site such as Mormon Think or someone who causes people to fear to no end because they think he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – Snuffer. What am I doing that is so upsetting to some people, and, in this case, to you in particular, Jared? I am not attacking you. I am not defending Denver. He just happens to be the source of some of my questions, and they are some damn good ones. Surely we can’t all be full of self-doubts about our understanding of the gospel, the facts of our history or especially about our standing with the Lord, can we? I mean can we?

      Sorry, Jared, it’s late and it looks like I’m rambling. Please accept my expression of love for you in spite of the fact I did not answer each of your points. I love you my brother and pray the Lord’s blessings upon you. My only desire is for each of us to be happy with our lives, to use our gifts and talents in the service of the Lord and to bless those with whom we work each day, no matter what kind of work we do. I want to be a better light unto the world, but I am not the light itself, I am supposed to be a reflection of the light and that light is Jesus Christ. Back to the bridge – He stands at the center of the bridge. People like Denver Snuffer and other annoying people like him stand at one end and we stand at the other. We each have to use the bridge to get to the Savior who holds the damn bridge together. All will come crashing down if we don’t accept Him as the proprietor and the bridge-keeper.

      In proofing my comment, I see I used “damn” twice. Sorry, I’ve slipped back into the days of my youth when I used that word and a few other choice ones like it every time I got passionate about a point I wanted to make. My point in this post is still simple – give me the freedom to ask questions. I need you – my readers – to make this work. My learning process doesn’t work without you. Unless I read other points of view and ponder different ways of looking at things I become myopic and even dysfunctional. I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. I only know I hope good people like you, Jared, will not be offended (although that is your right) by considering the difficult questions just because they come from Snuffer. I know we share the same goal because that’s the name of your blog: LDS Alive in Christ. You want people to wake up to Christ. Let’s share this journey together even if it means considering we may be wrong in what we have believed all our lives – as long as the Lord confirms it for us.

      With much love – God bless, and cheers from your friend – Tim

      • May 12, 2014 at 6:23 am

        Tim-

        Thanks for you response. The reason I am here, attempting to persuade is evidence of the bond you referred to. I feel a genuine brotherhood with you and others who frequent your blog.

        I don’t communicate nearly as well as you do. I want you to know I am not angery or disturbed in the least. I share many of the same thoughts and feeling as you.

        I don’t have time to write all I would like this morning so I am going to refer to a few blog post I’ve written that I hope will be useful to you and others. I am not trying to advertise my blog. I’m trying to bring a few ideas and thoughts to you and others that I hope will be informative and helpful. If you don’t want them on your blog, please delete them.

        I not sure the code I have will work to link to them. If it doesn’t work properly, please delete the mess it will make.

        1. Thinking More Deeply About “Opposition in All Things”

        2. Using the Book of Mormon to Navigate Problems in Church History

        3. Are Church Leaders More Fallible Than We Have Hitherto Supposed?

        4. Are We Living in the Day Prophesied by Heber C. Kimball?

        I’ll close by expressing my love for you and your wife, and others who have been reading my words.

      • Steve
        May 12, 2014 at 8:45 am

        My learning process doesn’t work without you. Unless I read other points of view and ponder different ways of looking at things I become myopic and even dysfunctional.

        It seems there could be a very big problem occurring then. Over time as your focus has increasingly narrowed on Denver Snuffer and his teachings, your readership (or at least those who are commenting) has increasingly narrowed, to the point where the comment section is largely a sounding board for Denver Snuffer supporters and those disgruntled with the Church in ways Denver promotes. This point of view is shared by an almost negligible percentage of members of the Church, and yet judging by the comment section of your blog you would think this is a Church-wide controversy and discussion, or at least some large portion of members share such views. It is not so, and those moderate voices that used to show up more frequently on your blog, voices like Jared, are increasingly ostracized and you are being left with a skewed narrow sounding board of group think.

        If reading other points of view is your aim, and is necessary to your learning process, getting that from your own comment section is going to result in some very skewed learning. How do tiny extremist cults form? How do small groups of people come to believe such “out-there” things, when they have a world of evidence teaching them otherwise – obvious and clear to those outside of the group? It occurs because they cut off the outside sources and voices (or see them as no longer valuable or authoritative) in favor of a narrow obsession and being a sounding board to this prized extremist ideology one to another, and everyone in the small group then has each other convinced.

        Can’t you see it happening here? I challenge you to step back and take a good look to evaluate if something like this may be happening here. Or even better, take a full break from the group of people you frequently speak with here (Denver supporters), and give some real time to other voices who have devoted a years of study to these very same subjects (church history, the fullness of the Priesthood, etc.) and see if your perspective does not begin to quickly change (works from Andrew Ehat and Michael Quinn for example, and there are many others).

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 12, 2014 at 7:57 am

      @Jared,

      I have nothing to say concerning Denver Snuffer; I haven’t read any of his books or listened to any of his lectures.

      But you seem to have the idea that LDS church members are, by and large, more spiritually gifted than the rest of the world.

      How many non-LDS Christians do you know? I know quite a few, and I can tell you that many of them have spiritual manifestations/miracles/wonderful happenings in their lives and do much good, as much good as anything I have ever seen come out of a group of latter-day saints–
      the idea that *we* LDS have the fullness, because there is good here is a weak argument in the face of the much, much good being done in the world by non-LDS Christians, Jews (yes, Jews), Muslims (yes, Muslims), Bhuddists, etc.

      • May 12, 2014 at 10:00 am

        marginalizedmormon–

        I agree that other faiths have blessings from the Lord and do much good.

        That said, I would add that the Lord called Joseph Smith to be prophet and brought forth the restoration of the plan of salvation through him.

  29. Log
    May 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

    There is a real problem that I don’t think is being acknowledged, neither is it being properly addressed.

    This is the way the Church dealt with those who erred in doctrine in the days of the Apostles.

    24 ¶And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

    25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

    26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

    27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

    28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

    A loud-mouthed know-it-all began preaching his erroneous and incomplete doctrinal views boldly at church – rather than cast him out, they took him aside and explained to him his errors.

    Today, we cast them out without explaining their errors.

    Which of these two outcomes most closely conforms to the requirements of D&C 121?

    D&C 121
    41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

    42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

    43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

    44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

    Commanding a heretic to be silent, on pain of excommunication, does not qualify as “correction,” unless by “correction” we mean what an abusive parent means when he takes the switch to his child’s backside.

    Most of us have seen abusive parents who command their children, and when their children ask for an explanation, the parents sanction the children, sometimes harshly. Why does the abusive parent choose to sanction the children rather than answer the plea for justification? There can be many explanations, perhaps, some of which are less negative than others, but generally it is because the parent’s motivations in issuing the commandment would not pass scrutiny: the parent, in issuing the command, failed to conform to their own internal knowledge of righteousness, impressed upon their soul by the light of Christ, and conforming to the standard of D&C 121. The parent wants things a certain way, has the power to make them be a certain way – through threat of emotional or physical violence – and used it – and, often in such situations, the children are compelled to “kiss the whip”, which is an offense against the dignity of the children, and against justice. Such is the way of the world; such is the way of the Gentiles. This is not how things are supposed to be in the household of God.

    Luke 22
    25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

    26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

    27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

    If you have read your Nibley (say, The World and the Prophets), then you may recognize some of the behavior of today’s LDS church in his description of how the primitive Christians coalesced into the Catholic religion. The Apostles – the source of heavenly knowledge – were betrayed and slain, so no more did they hear the word of the Lord; apologists, ashamed of the teachings of the Church, perverted doctrine to conform to the reigning philosophy (science) of the age; loyalty tests (interviews) were deployed; doctrinal tests (creeds) were devised; power and not persuasion were the order of the day; the gifts of the Spirit faded until there were no more inspired men among them, and the hearts of men were bound down by false and vain teachings for millennia, giving rise to crusades, inquisitions, and all manner of evil.

    The Prophet taught:

    E[lde]r (Pelatiah) Brown has been the cause of this subject being now presented before you. He, one of the wisest old heads we have among us, has been called up before the High Council on account of the beast. The old man has preached concerning the beast which was full of eyes before and behind and for this he was hauled up for trial. I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter-day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be trammelled. It don’t prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine. The High Council undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown because of his teachings in relation to the beasts, and he came to me to know what he should do about it. The subject particularly referred to, was the four beasts and four and twenty Elders mentioned in Rev. ch 5 v. 8. The old man has confounded all Christendom by speaking out that the four beasts represented the Kingdom of God; the wise men of the day could not do any thing with him, and why should we find fault, anything to whip sectarianism and put down priestcraft; a club is better than no weapon for a poor man to fight with,

    Joseph defended the man, whose intent was to defend the kingdom of God. The liberal and forbearing spirit Joseph displayed in the face of doctrinal error appears in short supply today. Judgmentalism is instead what we find. Why wasn’t Joseph judgmental? Because Joseph had charity and pure knowledge. He had the answers to the questions people had. He knew the truth. He had the fulness of the priesthood which is, minimally, the ability to ask of God and receive an answer – if he didn’t know the answer already, he could get it. His ego was not threatened by others’ false beliefs or claims – he had very little, if any, ego to bruise, because such is the effect of the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Snuffer wrote PTHG, by his own account, to defend the kingdom of God, and to reclaim the sheep which were lost and gone astray. His book has had that effect, by many accounts, leading many to return to the Church, or to remain in the Church despite the failings of the institution – indeed, there is no justification in the book for voluntarily leaving the Church. If the powers that be thought he was in error, they should have taken him aside and explained his errors to him – instead, they commanded him to be silent on pain of excommunication, and, when in conformity with his binding agreements he refused, he was cut off.

    Heresy is not punishable in the Church, as a sop to Joseph’s magnanimous example and explicitly stated principle with Pelatiah Brown. But what the Gentiles are doing now is commanding heretics to be silent, and, when they aren’t, then such lack of compliance is held to be “apostasy.”

    Mosiah 17
    5 And it came to pass that the king caused that his guards should surround Abinadi and take him; and they bound him and cast him into prison.

    6 And after three days, having counseled with his priests, he caused that he should again be brought before him.

    7 And he said unto him: Abinadi, we have found an accusation against thee, and thou art worthy of death.

    8 For thou hast said that God himself should come down among the children of men; and now, for this cause thou shalt be put to death unless thou wilt recall all the words which thou hast spoken evil concerning me and my people.

    9 Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands.

    10 Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day.

    11 And now king Noah was about to release him, for he feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him.

    12 But the priests lifted up their voices against him, and began to accuse him, saying: He has reviled the king. Therefore the king was stirred up in anger against him, and he delivered him up that he might be slain.

    This example is instructive on many levels.

    If they had pure knowledge of errors in the contents of PTHG, they should have produced it and corrected Snuffer – that’s D&C 121. But they didn’t correct him – they commanded him to shut up on pain of excommunication. And that leads one to suspect they don’t have pure knowledge. If they had the fulness, they could ask and be answered.

    But I am reminded of Tom Phillips, a man who received his second anointings under the hand of Elder Holland, if I recall correctly. Tom is the guy who sued President Monson recently in British court for fraud, claiming the Church teaches scientifically false claims in order to get tithing moneys. He wrote a letter to Elder Holland before he left the Church, posing many vexing questions, centered in Church teachings which contradict science, that he wanted the answers to, as they were breaking his belief system. Elder Holland, rather than answering Tom’s questions, merely verbally wrung his hands.

    If Elder Holland had the fulness of the priesthood – minimally, the ability to ask and be answered of God – then if he had more to offer his friend, to whom he was sealed, to pacify Tom’s concerns about reconciling the doctrines of the Church with the prevailing philosophy of the age (science!), he would have given it to him, right?

    Well… I don’t know. I know if I was able to answer those questions – because Tom’s not the only one who has them – I would have. But maybe Elder Holland was commanded not to, or maybe he doesn’t have the ability to ask and be answered.

    In place of pure knowledge we are substituting the exercise of raw power. That rather argues against us possessing the fulness.

    The voice of the Lord has not gone forth among the people since January 1847 (D&C 136). This also argues against us possessing the fulness.

    Where is the man in the Church who claims to have the fulness?

  30. Log
    May 11, 2014 at 11:29 am

    There comes a time when we must be weaned from suckling on our mother’s teats.

    It is, I believe, gross error to insist that those who are of age must continue at their mother’s breasts rather than pursue meat.

    How is it that one who has been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost fails to recognize that the reason he is not filled with light, love, and the joy of the Lord as he was in the day of his redemption is because his eye is not single to the glory of God?

    How is it that one who has been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost fails to recognize that the gift of redemption comes not by way of loyalty to, or veneration of, servants of God, but rather by way of laying down one’s life on the altar of prayer – exercising faith in mighty prayer until one’s heart is consumed by heavenly fire, one’s soul doth expand with redeeming love, and the bands of death and the chains of hell broken from around one’s soul?

    • May 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Log-

      Your are a person, male or female, of many words. From what I am able to tell you are a supporter of Denver Snuffer and not of the LDS church’s leadership. Is this correct or not?

      • Log
        May 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm

        Your judgement of me does not reflect my understanding of myself – that is to say, I think you’re incorrect – but, of course I would say that.

        I am rather a supporter of the demonstrated historical fact that the Lord is able to raise up prophets unto the people from outside of the priesthood hierarchy; that is the plain testimony of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I am not a supporter of double standards or special pleading – for example, “allowing oneself to be excommunicated” cannot be evidence against the Snuffer without simultaneously being evidence against Jesus Christ. Likewise, “causing divisions” cannot be evidence against Snuffer without simultaneously being evidence against Jesus Christ. And not being a member of the priestly hierarchy of the Church cannot be evidence against Snuffer without simultaneously being evidence against Jesus Christ. To bring men upon unequal grounds in judgement is to demonstrate oneself unjust.

        To have believed Jeremiah (or any of the other prophets, including Lehi), one need not have rejected the authority of the Elders. It is not necessary to fail to sustain the Brethren as prophets, seers, and revelators, holding the keys of the kingdom, in order to believe Snuffer.

        On the other hand, I am very leery of this attitude.

        1 Nephi 17:22 And we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them, and hath led us away because we would hearken unto his words; yea, and our brother is like unto him. And after this manner of language did my brethren murmur and complain against us.

        I have asked you several questions, and I await your answers.

  31. sfort
    May 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks Log for rational thought, using the scriptures to sustain it. The mind only moves in the direction it chooses. Oh that we all could seek to be led not by our wills. Denver would say he doesn’t need defending and seeks no noteriety. However, logic will come to his aid as you aptly presented. The Church has paralleled the U.S government and the ones meant to guard our constitution. Both have made excuses for changing the structure.

  32. hermanaclark
    May 11, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I should know better than to bring up the correlated lesson material on this blog, but did anyone get the Gospel Doctrine lesson about the prophet Balaam today?

    I’m giving Denver Snuffer the benefit of the doubt here. Let’s say he is a prophet from outside of the Lord’s chosen people, like Balaam. In the beginning he was doing and saying God’s will. Then he decides to not heed The Lord, then the donkey talks to him, then he goes to Moab, blesses the Israelites, but then tells the king how he can weaken them. He ends up being destroyed along with the people he helped to try to destroy the Israelites.Sorry for the Reader’s Digest version, but it’s late and I’m typing on an IPad.

    Isn’t the problem with Denver the fact that he is showing, not only disaffected members, but also the enemies of the church how to weaken the Saints by attacking their history and their leaders?

    Did anyone else make this correlation from the correlated material?

    • Log
      May 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      What Snuffer has done is provide a possible narrative in which God is dealing with us as he ever has his chosen people. Ultimately, it takes the distasteful stuff from our history which our enemies have claimed invalidates our claims to divine authority and turns it on its head – it rather vindicates the prophecies of the scriptures concerning the trajectory of the Church. The problem is, however, that the narrative he constructed conflicts with the correlated vision of the history and future of the Church, which entails that God superintends, and ever has, every decision the upper echelon makes, and micromanages the Church safely into the millennium (broadly speaking).

      Unless our enemies wish to agree Joseph Smith was a true prophet and the Book of Mormon is scripture, Snuffer has given no aid nor comfort to them.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 12, 2014 at 8:05 am

      are saints being ‘weakened’, or are they being humbled by those who post alternatives to the church’s official narrative?

      I would say *we* LDS need to be humbled.

      • marginalizedmormon
        May 12, 2014 at 8:06 am

        that was supposed to be ‘pose’ alternatives–

        Why is it that LDS are so afraid of being told they might need to repent–

        all of *us*?

        That is really quite frightening and makes me think that *we* aren’t worthy of blessings until we put on sackcloth and ashes and do some public repenting–

    • May 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      We have met the enemy, and he is us. – Pogo

  33. EKB
    May 11, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    All of these comments make me wonder, who is the man who will rise up and commune with Jehovah again? It is one thing to feel after the Lord and hearken to his whisperings…but to commune as did Joseph and John the Baptist and Adam. Would that not be the fullness? I stand in awe at the price needed to be paid–I mean aren’t we all idiot Gentiles to some degree who exert dominion over each other? Who is willing to lay that down to commune with God? It’s easy to talk about on a blog and even desire it, but to release our human nature is daunting in the moment of trial. I feel frustrated at the lack of gentleness displayed by Lynn’s SP and then I turn around and yell at my kids…with a lot of force. This is hard stuff. God bless us to overcome ourselves.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 12, 2014 at 8:09 am

      I always rejoice when a fellow LDS realizes how proud and stiff-necked we LDS are–

      we need universal repentance for so many things. We need to be horrified at the things our ancestors did (or didn’t do); we need to be horrified at how Babylonian our lives and works are–

      etc.

      I want to be; I do it in my personal life all the time, as does my companion–
      but I find that it is rare to find another LDS who understands that we are not ‘the elite’ force of God.

      We are human; we are Gentiles; we are lost; we need a Savior. We need Him yesterday. And He was there yesterday; He is there now–
      but we seem to think that if we go through the motions, we don’t need to have our hearts broken and our spirits contrite–
      no; we are the mighty Mormons; we are better than that–
      YIKES!

  34. Ryan
    May 12, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Hi Tim and Carol – Thanks for your comments on this post and for allowing us a window into your life right now. We, the readers, are seeing this from all different perspectives and I think that whether we are TBM or unorthodox – for lack of a better term seeing as how “orthodoxy” I think depends on whether we’re talking about Joseph Smith’s teachings or the present-day teachings of the church – we’re watching somewhat with bated breath.

    This comment from Tim to Alfa (http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/05/09/allow-me-the-agency-of-my-doubts/#comment-24718) rather blew me away on many levels. Bravo to Carol for coming on and leaving the comment she left and bravo to her for the following: “Don’t expect me to throw my temple recommend down in support of what you are doing, but yes, I support what you are doing even though I don’t understand it and disagree with it.”.

    Everyone that comes here to read Tim’s posts and to follow the comment threads has a different experience and story to tell that I think we should all reverence. These are sacred things we’re talking about and what goes on inside a person’s heart and between a person and the Lord, whether TBM or unorthodox, should be treated with care by outside observers, the same way that (I think it was) shylohw said no one should come between a husband and a wife. No one should insert themselves between a person and their Lord. With that said, we should also speak up (with meekness) when we’re concerned that someone is going off track. I think of Ammon when his brothers felt like he was being carried away unto boasting. I think Ammon was sincere when he said it was boasting and glorying in the Lord. But I also think his brothers’ concerns were honest and not judgmental.

    While reading what Tim said about the Lord prompting him to talk about Lynn’s story and also to address this post to his bishop and stake president, I believed it. And not only that, it had something of a hallowed feel to it, because I caught a glimpse of the Lord’s feelings about everything that’s going on. As I’ve read Tim’s posts lately, they’ve had a particularly important and personal meaning and significance to me, because I’ve just recently come close to deciding to do something similar to what Tim is doing right now. I wrote out full responses (probably 12+ pages in a Word document) to the temple recommend interview questions about sustaining leaders and supporting or affiliating with those whose teachings are contrary to the church’s. I was going to send it to my bishop before my temple recommend interview.

    For now I’ve decided to give it another 2 years without rocking the boat or testing the hearts of my local priesthood leaders. I feel like there are some things I want to do first before I go there. I anticipate facing a similar situation as Tim’s within the next couple of years. But I want to do it all according to the Lord’s will and timing for me. In the meantime, I watch with great interest as someone (Tim) goes through a process that I anticipate going through over the course of the next 1-3 years. All of this is meant to try our hearts deeply. The Lord wants to try us to see how far we’ll follow him in the path that he set out as he came into conflict with the authority of his day. We all need to make the sacrifice of all earthly things. But it must not be done in haste. It must be done in order and wisdom according to the Lord’s will.

    We find ourselves in the same place the Lord did 2000 years ago. There is again an institution with authority. We presume much about our history, about what we have, about what or who we are. The Jews claimed Abraham as their father. Those in authority believed they sat in the same seat as Moses. Our leaders believe they sit in the same seat as Joseph Smith, with the same rights, powers and privileges. We believe we’re a chosen generation. Chosen for what? Chosen for the glories of the fathers of old? Or chosen to repeat the mistakes of the Jews of old – that the world may know that no one is above another in any generation of the history of the earth. That we are equally flawed, equally prone to the same vanities and idolatry. But also that we are endowed with the same potential and the same rights to make a living connection with the Lord who giveth liberally and upbraideth not, without respect to persons.

    The glory will not come in being lifted up in the eyes of the world, a chosen and a royal generation, with unprecedented rights and privileges. The glory will come in the great struggle of our hearts, not fighting against each other, but fighting against our own (universal) vanities and pride. The Lord is no more likely to come to me in my prejudices and judgments toward the brethren than he is to come to the general authority who is taken in the pride and vanity and idolatry of his office in the church. We’re equally damned. And we’re equally blessed and chosen if we abase ourselves and seek the face of the Lord in meekness and with child-like yearning.

    • marginalizedmormon
      May 12, 2014 at 8:13 am

      intelligent words; I try very hard, knowing that it is important, not to think of the works of those who are in leadership positions–

      whether I admire them (idolatry, trusting in the arm of flesh) or question them (judge not)–

      I am in error.

      So, they are there. Like other people are there. Living out their lives–
      and their relationships with God are theirs; mine is mine–

      good words–

  35. May 12, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Tim, here’s perhaps a possible way to partially answer your “concluding question” in your original post:

    As you know, last Conference, Elder Oaks said, “We are accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred on Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but the scripture states that all that was conferred there were ‘the keys of this dispensation’ (D&C 110:16). At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection” (bold added).

    Therefore, IF you believe that all of the priesthood keys are necessary to have a “fulness” of the priesthood, then although “the fulness of the priesthood” is not yet defined (by the Lord to the people on your blog at least), you have your answer as to whether Elder Oaks feels “man on the earth” has it currently.

  36. sfort
    May 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    The fulness as defined by events not keys. The Morley Farm, Zion, Law of consecration, Nephi’s power over the elements. These events accompany. You can spin keys all you want, but it is the power that displays the fullness. Great posts MM and Ryan. You delineated how I feel. Thank you

    • May 12, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Tim, you can delete my May 12 6:45 am comment. Apparently Michael A. Cleverly already mentioned this in his May 9 post. (Sorry, Michael — duplicating your thought was unintentional.)

      Okay, instead of “keys,” how about this:

      There are other priesthood powers that have not been given to man on the earth, including the powers of creation and resurrection.

      Therefore, IF Tim believes that all of the priesthood powers are necessary to have a “fulness” of the priesthood, then he may have his answer.

  37. sfort
    May 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Let us discover what powers were had in June 1831, because the fulness was apparent. If we divide fulness into parts, we will never know when it arrives . In Visions of Glory, we had to learn how to use it. And it took some time. The Priesthood today is preparatory as Joseph spoke concerning the Priesthood delivered by PJ&J. We do not have the fulness. Greater things than these shall ye do. We are not doing them as Christ delineated. We are in a lull. I really don’t know what Priesthood Oaks was referring???

  38. Log
    May 13, 2014 at 8:46 am

    2 Nephi 26:32-33
    32 And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.

    33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

    Taking the name of God in vain is as simple as appending his name to an action he has not directed, such as taking it upon oneself to command a heretic to be silent, and doing so while making mention of the name of Christ. Envy can be with respect to temporal possessions, but it can also be that dark jealousy which characterizes the reaction of the spiritually dead to reports of the blessings of the humble followers of Christ. Malice is the desire to do, or to see, harm or misfortune come to others. Contend means, at its most simplest, “contest.” Whoredoms means to be unchaste – either sexually or spiritually.

    Now we get to the word du jour – iniquity. Iniquity means “injustice”. Bringing men upon unequal grounds in judgement, or judging after the sight of one’s eyes or the hearing of one’s ears when sitting in the place of God is iniquity. And those do not exhaust examples of iniquity.

    Mormon 8:36
    36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

    Isaiah 59:4
    4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

    Vanity means emptiness, or, in this case, empty words, platitudes. But there will come one who does not judge wrongly but judges by the Spirit, not the vanities and lies of the traditions and creeds of the people.

    2 Nephi 21:3
    1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

    2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

    3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.

    4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

    D&C 113
    3 What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?

    4 Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.

    The Lord warned the men whom he should call to lead in his Church.

    JST Luke 12
    49 And the Lord said, I speak unto those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household, to give his children their portion of meat in due season.

    50 And they said, Who then is that faithful and wise servant?

    51 And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season.

    52 Blessed be that servant whom his Lord shall find, when he cometh, so doing.

    53 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

    54 But the evil servant is he who is not found watching. And if that servant is not found watching, he will say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants, and the maidens, and to eat, and drink, and to be drunken.

    55 The Lord of that servant will come in a day he looketh not for, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him down, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

    56 And that servant who knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not for his Lord’s coming, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

    57 But he that knew not his Lord’s will, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom the Lord has committed much, of him will men ask the more.

    I leave it to the reader to find the meaning of verse 54. Suffice it to say it should cause problems for them who suppose their leaders cannot lead astray or do wrong in the service of the Lord. Even it should cause problems for those who suppose supporting iniquity in the service of the Lord is justified in the eyes of the Lord.

    The people who shall come after us will not do as we have done.

    Zephaniah 3:13
    13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

    • Log
      May 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

      D&C 84
      7 And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;

      8 While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.

      9 And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth.

      Who is “called of God and appointed”?

      • Joseph
        May 13, 2014 at 9:29 am

        “that man, who was called of God and appointed” was the presiding Bishop who was called and appointed to oversee allotments and inheritances in Missouri at the time according to the law of consecration.

        That Bishop was Edward Partridge, who at the time was neglecting his revealed duty and putting “forth his hand to steady the ark”.

        D&C 85:1-9

        This section is an extract from a letter of the Prophet to William W. Phelps, who was living in Independence, Missouri. It answers questions about those Saints who had moved to Zion but who had not followed the commandment to consecrate their properties and had thus not received their inheritances according to the established order in the Church.

        1 It is the duty of the Lord’s clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop;

        2 And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances.

        3 It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God.

        4 Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church.

        5 Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts.

        6 Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying:

        7 And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;

        8 While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.

        9 And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth.

      • Log
        May 13, 2014 at 9:52 am

        I have heard that before – and I find no support in the scripture itself to warrant such a unique and singular identification. The Lord is able and willing to name transgressors.

        D&C 66
        3 Verily I say unto you, my servant William, that you are clean, but not all; repent, therefore, of those things which are not pleasing in my sight, saith the Lord, for the Lord will show them unto you.

        10 Seek not to be cumbered. Forsake all unrighteousness. Commit not adultery—a temptation with which thou hast been troubled.

        That’s one example from many. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to discover more throughout the D&C.

        And it doesn’t seem the Lord sent one mighty and strong, &c, and neither did Partridge seem to fall by the shaft of death as a tree struck by lightning.

        Or, so says the Church: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/06/steadfastness-and-patient-endurance-the-legacy-of-edward-partridge?lang=eng

        But, as an aside, are not leaders in the Church called of God and appointed? And where does say in D&C 84 that “[he] who was called of God and appointed” was given the task of arranging by lot the inheritances of the saints? It rather seems that task is going to be given to the one mighty and strong, &c.

        Or, to be more plain – your interpretation doesn’t fit the facts of history.

        • Joseph
          May 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

          More accurately you should have said, “your interpretation doesn’t fit with my opinion about how this section should apply to history”

          Remember, this section is an extract from a letter. In full context the meaning is quite clear.

          Edward Partridge repented, and therefore did not have to fall by the shaft of death. It’s hardly the only prophesy in the D&C that didn’t come to pass based on circumstances that came up after the prophesy.

          But if you want to use this scripture in an attempt to undermine modern Church leaders, you can get in line with the many apostate sects that have come before you and have done so. And then if you like you can apply “one might and strong” to the new apostate ‘prophet’ flavor of the month like those before you have also done (perhaps Denver Snuffer?) to assuage your conscience living in self-deception. Lawyering the scriptures to justify faithlessness to the living oracles of the Church is not new.

          It’s clear to me from this and previous comments, that you’ll go to any and all lengths to justify yourself; I don’t think further conversation will go anywhere.

      • Log
        May 13, 2014 at 11:58 am

        In the hopes of finding the commenter Joseph’s judgement and open reproach of me justified, I researched the matter and I cannot admit that the commenter Joseph’s interpretation can reasonably be said to be the only, or even the most likely, possible reading.

        After all, if I am wrong, I want to know it. On the other hand, if the Church erred in canonizing D&C 84 by leaving out material which would have made clear its one single unique true meaning to which all must assent or be cast out as apostates, as the commenter Joseph is essentially claiming, then I want to know that too.

        I found the original – http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-a-1-23-december-1805-30-august-1834?p=247#!/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-a-1-23-december-1805-30-august-1834&p=247

        I leave it to the reader to judge content of the letter written by Joseph, and whether the Church has erred in not canonizing more of it as the commenter Joseph claims.

        I trust my view is plain.

  39. Log
    May 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    By the by, about the one mighty and strong – D&C 84 does not limit it to any mortal man. I have seen someone make an argument for the Apostle John as being the one mighty and strong. Snuffer has aired the possibility that it may be Christ himself. Frankly, I take no position on it – at all. But I do know that it is leadership which is “called of God and appointed”.

    Frankly, why the identification of a man or men who are “called of God and appointed” as a leader or type of leader in the Church should be thought controversial is only understandable if I first assume that the leadership cannot err. But the scriptures are replete with warnings to the leaders and about erring leaders.

    *Shrug*

    • Log
      May 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      “Wait a minute, Log – even supposing the commenter Joseph’s position were correct, doesn’t that imply that Edward Partridge was, although one of the ‘living oracles’ of the Church, erring in his official capacity, thus vindicating your own position that those who are called of God and appointed are, clearly, leadership in the Church?”

      Well, Log, I suppose it does. What a dreadful idea.

      • Julie
        May 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

        *chuckle*

  40. sfort
    May 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    The letter written to Bishop Partridge said the Lord “will” send one mighty and strong. Why would this letter be future tense if it was sent in the present? It obviously was not Bishop Partridge.

    • Log
      May 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Well, the letter wasn’t to Edward Partridge; it was to W. W. Phelps. And, oddly, Partridge is not mentioned by name therein. In fact, there is apparently no reference to Partridge.

    • Joseph
      May 13, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      sfort, you should really take the time to read the full letter that Log linked to. As Log pointed out, it was to W.W. Phelps, not to Bishop Partridge, that the letter was addressed. What Log didn’t point out to you, which he/she also realizes, is that I wasn’t suggesting Bishop Partridge was “the one mighty and strong”, rather he was “that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark”

      Log is right that “Partridge is not mentioned by name” in the letter, but it is entirely misleading to say “there is apparently no reference to Partridge”. This letter is from Joseph (in Kirtland) to W.W. Phelps (in Missouri) concerning the Church in Missouri. Early in the letter, Joseph specifically points out that “the bishop” is “the man that God has appointed… to organize and regulate the church and all the affairs” there. This bishop, the presiding bishop, in Missouri at that time, is of course Bishop Partridge.

      If you read the full letter, you’ll see the text we have in section 85, is Joseph Smith’s response to the thoughts/questions he supposes (“fanc[ies]“) Phelps might be thinking. Joseph summarizes W.W. Phelps supposed thoughts/questions as:

      My God, great and mighty art thou, therefore shew unto thy servant what shall become of all those who are assaying to come up unto Zion, in order to keep the commandments of God, and yet receive not their inheritance by consecrations, by order or deed from the bishop, the man that God has appointed in a legal way, agreeably to the law given to organize and regulate the church and all the affairs of the same.

      Or in other words – God show unto me (W.W. Phelps) what will become of those who come up to Zion (Missouri) to keep the commandments, and yet don’t go through the Bishop (the one God has appointed) to consecrate and receive the proper inheritance by order and deed thereafter. Or in other words again, what will happen to those who come to keep the commandments but choose not to live the law of consecration like we were told to.

      Joseph then says,

      Bro. Wm., in the love of God, having the most implicit confidence in you, as a man of God, having obtained this confidence by a vision of heaven, therefore, I will proceed to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart, and to answer the questions.

      Joseph then proceeds with the text we have now as D&C 85, which response could be summarized as, “The Lord’s clerk should keep a record of everything going on in Missouri including keeping record of those who do and do not choose to live the law of consecration, and those people who choose not to live the law of consecration should not have their names (nor their fathers’ or children’s names) listed with the people of God. The spirit whispers to me that one mighty and strong will be sent to set everything in order, to organize the inheritances of those who are still found listed in the book of God (those who chose to live the law of consecration); while that man who was appointed (“the bishop”, as referenced at the beginning of the letter; aka Bishop Partridge) who is trying to steady the ark (rather than do the thing which he was appointed to do) shall fall by the shaft of death. And at that time, those whose names are not found in the book of God (those who chose not to live the law of consecration or have otherwise apostatized) will not receive an inheritance with the Saints.”

      Joseph then proceeds in the letter (after the D&C 85 excerpt ends):

      “Now, Brothr. William, if, what I have said is true, how careful had men ought to be what they do in the last days, lest they are cut short of their expectations, and they that think they stand should fall because they keep not the Lord’s commandments”

      Which I understand to mean, ” If this impression/prophecy ends up being fulfilled, people in these last days should be very careful about what they are doing, because even though they think that by keeping all the other commandments (other than the law of consecration) they are going to be okay; they’d be wrong, they will fall because they did not keep all the Lord’s commandments.

      It is interesting to not that Joseph Smith said, “if, what I said is true”, which seems to be implying that Joseph believed some or all of the impression/prophecy may have been conditional. And since Bishop Partridge did not fall by the shaft of death, it seems at least that part of the prophesy was. His repentance and return to righteousness was apparently sufficient to avoid this fate.

  41. sfort
    May 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Corrected. What I meant to say, it was contemporary and the one mighty and strong would be in the future. Thanks for the correction

    • Log
      May 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Ah yes, I see your point.

      What would be more interesting to me right this second is if we can find contemporary evidence that Partridge was, indeed, putting forth his hand to steady the ark of God.

      Anyone got a reference?

      • Log
        May 13, 2014 at 6:57 pm

        I ask because the Lord is not shy about naming names.

        D&C 132
        54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.

        If he meant Partridge, I would expect him to have named Partridge. It’s not definitive, but suggestive.

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