Of all the comments in my recent posts on Priesthood, this one got me thinking, pondering and praying. I have split Darin’s comment into a few paragraphs. I was especially interested in the third paragraph because I have heard it before from someone I love dearly. I don’t find Darin’s comments offensive. In fact, I’d like to share my conversation with the Lord about them.
On 5 June 2014 at 9:33pm, Darin said
“You quote Snuffer as though he was Joseph Smith or the prophet, be careful. You can see why Snuffer got in trouble. People begin quoting him like he was in charge and was The Prophet. This is not good.
“You have some good ideas, but I implore you to follow the twelve and the FP, as they will lead you in the ways of salvation. Be careful in not going beyond the bounds the Lord has set.
“So if all this does not happen to us in this life are we just damned? Should I live my life in depression because these things have not happened to me or even some of the most righteous people I know?
“I am not a new comer to all this, meaning I have studied and thought and prayed on these things for years. I am not saying you are totally wrong, but straying a little can take you far off the path. There is great wisdom in staying with the main part of the church and its appointed and known leaders. Best wishes to you.”
Endurance to the End is Enough
I’ve heard Darin’s excellent point in the third paragraph phrased this way: “Can’t we just endure to the end? The Lord doesn’t want to talk to me. I’m not a prophet. I’m just a regular member of the church. I’ve been baptized, endowed and sealed in the temple. I go to the temple as often as I can. I try to fulfil my callings and be kind like the Savior. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”
We Determine How Well We Endure
As far as I have been able to determine, the answer is up to us. We determine what it means to endure to the end. We decide if there is more to the temple than we have received. I know the Lord is pleased with any efforts we make to follow His example. Any relief we can give to the poor, the hungry, the suffering is met with appreciation by the Lord and our Father in Heaven.
Use Temple Instruction at Home
Isn’t it possible there is more to the temple than we receive there? What if the Lord intended for us to practice some of the things we are taught there, such as the True Order of Prayer, in our own homes? Is that going beyond the bounds the Lord has set? And, by the way, who is it that determines what those bounds are – the Lord or the Prophet? Should they be one and the same?
Here are the Keys of the Priesthood
When I prayed about a response to Darin, the Lord reminded me of section 121, which has been a part of the dialog in the last two posts. The phrases that came to mind are found in verses 41-42: “…by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge…” Then the Lord surprised me with some additional insight.
The Powers of Heaven Defined
Part of the dialog on priesthood revolved around the word “powers.” We have discussed not just power in the priesthood but powers of heaven. What are the powers of heaven? We determined there are at least angels, archangels, principalities, powers, dominions, thrones, cherubim and Seraphim. Above those are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, which we strive to be.
How to Relate to True Messengers
The thought that occurred to me in prayer was this: How do I relate to the powers of heaven? We teach the right way to deal with our fellow man is by using the guidelines in verses 41 and 42. If you back up and look closely at verse 36, or parse it, as someone we know is wont to say, you’ll find it includes instructions on how to relate to the powers of heaven, including true messengers.
The Way of Life and Salvation
After all, isn’t that the first step we should be taking – to receive true messengers from God? As far as I remember, it is these messengers who will lead us in the way of life and salvation. Have I prepared myself to receive true messengers? Do I know what I would ask of them if given such an opportunity? Would I be kind to them, gentle and meek? Will I persuade them to help me?
Do Not Violate Sacred Obligations
Going back to the title of my post, you will note I’m discussing some aspects of the temple in this post. In fact, I have discussed the temple many times on my blog, including the True Order of Prayer. As I pointed out in that post, I asked the Lord if it was OK to share my thoughts on the subject. The Lord said yes. To me, that was evidence I had not violated any sacred obligations.
Blogging as a Gift of the Spirit
I feel the same way with each of my posts lately. I pray about each one of them. I ask the Lord what he would have me share. I seek inspiration as I write. I believe writing in an informative, uplifting and inspiring manner is one of the gifts of the spirit we should seek. I know some people are uncomfortable with some of the things I share. Again, who is setting the bounds?
Testimony of Jesus Spirit of Prophecy
Now for my responses to Darin: Yes, I do quote Denver Snuffer as if he were a prophet of the Lord. That’s because anyone who has a testimony of Jesus and speaks in His name under the power and influence of the Holy Ghost has the spirit of prophecy and is therefore a prophet. I know what you mean by THE prophet. Perhaps we could discuss this to better understand.
Would God that all were Prophets
Just because President Monson is an inspired man whom we sustain as a prophet, seer and revelator does not mean that there are no other prophets. This is obvious because we also sustain the other members of the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers and revelators. Does that mean only they can receive revelation?
God Speaks to Many People
Of course they’re not the only men to whom the Lord speaks. We agree they are the only ones the Lord will inspire with direction binding upon all members of the church. But this doesn’t mean there can’t be other prophets who deliver messages from the Lord. It is up to us to decide for ourselves if we accept messages from others who claim they have a message from the Lord.
Don’t Put Limits on the Lord
I know this is a hard concept for members of the church to accept, but it is true nonetheless. I know what you’re thinking. Follow the Prophet. Amos 3:7. If the Lord has a message for us, he will deliver it through the President of the Church. Wait a minute. Not so fast. Don’t put limits on the Lord. I know he doesn’t want us to be confused. That’s why we have D&C section 28.
Write Not by Way of Commandment
The story of Hiram Page, the seer-stone incident, is instructive for all who write under the spirit of inspiration or revelation. In D&C 28, Oliver was taught “…thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church…” He was instructed to take Hiram Page aside and teach him this principle.
Write by Way of Wisdom
I’m glad we had this little incident early on in our church history. It has helped tremendously when others have claimed to speak on behalf of the Lord by way of commandment. And that’s the key here. What Denver Snuffer shares in his books, on his blog and in his lectures, as far as I have been able to tell, is not by way of commandment, but by wisdom, for us to consider.
Lead us to the Lord’s Scriptures
Just because I can quote Denver Snuffer doesn’t mean I can’t also quote President Monson or any one of the fifteen men who lead this church. Besides, quoting Denver isn’t so hard. Anyone can do it. Just look up a keyword on his blog and there you go. I quote Him because I find his words to be enlightening, uplifting and instructive. They have turned me to the scriptures.
Controlling What Members May Publish
You wrote Denver got into trouble because people began quoting him. I don’t think that’s why he was excommunicated, unless you know something I don’t. He was cast off because he would not withdraw Passing the Heavenly Gift from publication. You can read the letter from his stake president on Denver’s blog. Even his stake president referred people to Denver’s blog for details.
Press On Until We Meet With the Lord
I finish this post the way I started, by referring to that third paragraph in Darin’s comment. I hear you, Darin. I don’t think we should choose to live in depression if we feel our prayers haven’t been answered and we haven’t been visited by the Lord. I think we should continue to humbly petition the Lord to help us prepare to come into His presence either in this life or in the next.
Appetites and Passions, Not What we Write
I appreciate the reminder from Darin to not go beyond the bounds the Lord has set. I’d like to open the dialog with that thought. It has been on my mind a lot lately, ever since two fellow bloggers were excommunicated for referring to PtHG and writing they found good in the book. I feel the same way. I found wisdom there. Is Denver’s book beyond the bounds the Lord has set?