Do This in Remembrance of Me


 

BreadAndWineOn that fateful Passover night in the Meridian of Time before Gethsemane, the Savior instituted the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The Sacrament was a change from the way His disciples were used to observing the Passover. Therefore, the Messiah gave them a commandment to do the things which they had seen him do, that is, break bread and partake of wine “unto the end.”

In the Book of Mormon, the Lord gave another commandment to his disciples, “that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily … if ye know that a man is unworthy … ye shall forbid him.” Thus, in our modern Church Handbook of Instructions, we find the same injunction. You also find there the restriction of the sacrament as a punishment.

I would like to investigate the idea of restricting a man from partaking of the sacrament as an appropriate inducement to change his way of thinking. Frankly, I disagree with this idea, and have taken many opportunities to counsel bishops with whom I’ve served, of my opinion in this matter. I was gratified when some heeded my counsel, as I served in the Bishopric with them.

Bloggers and Apostasy

Apostasy is the modern church is nebulously defined. It seems that just about anything can be called apostasy if the presiding authority does not like it. This has become especially evident in the case of LDS bloggers who write things about the church or the gospel that leaders consider offensive. The definition of apostasy from the handbook has been shared before, but here it is:

1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.

2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.

3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.

4. Formally join another church.

So if a local priesthood leader does not like the tone or direction of a member’s blog, or if other members complain to the local priesthood leader they find the blog content “troubling,” the local priesthood leader can impose punitive measures on the member in an effort to compel, coerce or otherwise control or dominate the member to change written expressions found on their blog.

Guidelines from the Church

Although I quoted these in the comments of my last post, I’ll share them again for clarification:

“Church leaders are not asking members not to blog, and they are not attacking the rights of honest explorers of faith to have these conversations in the so-called Bloggernacle.” Church Spokeswoman Ally Isom on KUER radio, June 16th

“There is no coordinated effort to tell local leaders to keep their members from blogging or discussing their questions online. On the contrary, church leaders have encouraged civil online dialogue and recognize that today it’s just part of how the world works.”-Michael Otterson, Managing Director, LDS Church Public Affairs, quoted in the New York Times June 18th.

“There is no effort to tell local leaders to keep members from blogging or discussing questions online. On the contrary, church leaders have encouraged civil online dialogue, and recognize that today it’s how we communicate and discuss ideas with one another.” -Jessica Moody, Church Spokeswoman quoted in The Salt Lake Tribune June 19th.

Worthiness is the Key

It seems to me that the Lord’s commandment to his disciples to not allow another to partake of the sacrament unworthily would require a mutual understanding of what constitutes a state of unworthiness. I’m not sure I would define what a man believes or shares in a blog, for example, as a proper manner to determine worthiness. Worthiness is determined by actions, not beliefs.

I think we would all agree a Bishop is doing the right thing in forbidding an individual from partaking of the Sacrament who is involved in fornication, adultery, incest, child abuse, rape, spousal abuse, murder, attempted murder, homosexual relations (not for being gay), robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, sale of illegal drugs, fraud, perjury, conviction of a felony, etc.

There are others such as abortion, an elective transsexual operation, predatory behavior with intent to commit bodily harm, and the list goes on and on. By the way, did you know that the charge of Apostasy falls under the category of when a disciplinary council MUST be held? But how can blogging be considered an activity that makes one unworthy to take the sacrament?

Examples of Apostate Writing

I suppose if one writes things like, “Here’s why you should leave the LDS Church,” or “How to lie through the temple recommend interview,” then yes, I think that constitutes heresy, which is the correct word for what we now call apostasy. Apostasy literally means to separate oneself from or to leave a body of believers. We use the word apostasy when we really mean heresy.

By the way, although I know it has an agenda, I don’t think the website Mormon Think is an apostate site. Heck, I even struggle with classifying Post Mormon or New Order Mormon as apostate sites. Recovery from Mormonism is a different story. Proprietors of that site make open efforts to persuade readers to leave the church. I also don’t think Rock’s blog is an apostate blog.

And since we’re at it, I don’t think my blog is apostate even though I have been told otherwise by many who feel it is. My blog is dedicated to discussing the events of the last days, one of them being the prophesied falling away of the Gentile church. Of course, that alone is a matter of contention for many who claim no such thing is prophesied in the Book of Mormon. Yes, it is.

Partaking of the Sacrament

As a clerk or counselor in a Bishopric, I suppose I’ve sat in on dozens of disciplinary councils. As a member of the High Council in another Stake, the number was not so high – perhaps ten. In the Stake Disciplinary councils, the Stake President rarely asked us for advice on what counsel or direction he should provide to the one being disciplined to help them in the repentance process.

However, in ward disciplinary councils, the Bishop almost always asked for counsel. Invariably the standards would come out: Read “Miracle of Forgiveness,” Don’t exercise your priesthood in the church, don’t partake of the Sacrament in the Church, Don’t speak up in Sunday School or Priesthood / Relief Society, Don’t offer public prayers, You’ll be released from your callings…

I almost always asked, “Why are we restricting him or her from taking the Sacrament? Don’t you think it would be helpful in their repentance process to have the Spirit of the Lord with them in greater abundance? Isn’t that what the promise of the Sacrament is all about?” The Bishop would pause, ponder and sometimes say, “You’re right. Strike that one from the list of restrictions.”

Sacrament Restriction as Punishment

I say “sometimes” because not all Bishops agreed with me. Some would respond, “I want him or her to feel the loss.” I never agreed with that but held my tongue. After all, he’s the Bishop and the one entitled to inspiration on what would help the member repent. By the way, almost all the cases in the ward disciplinary councils were related to sexual sins – fornication or adultery.

Ordinarily Disciplinary Councils involving Melchizedek Priesthood holders are handled on the Stake level, but often, almost always when the outcome was not going to be excommunication, the council would be delegated to the ward level. No sisters are subjected to the stake level councils nor are those who have not been endowed. Of course there are exceptions to this rule.

In any event, I simply wanted to post and offer for discussion the idea that restricting someone from partaking of the Sacrament when they are trying to repent may not be the best idea. Yes, we are commended to forbid the Sacrament when the individual is unworthy, but again I ask, unless you consider an individual to be in a state of apostasy, does open blogging make one unworthy?

Invitation to Open Dialog

I have three questions for you gospel scholars out there:

1. The church prohibits members from partaking of the sacrament outside of the Sacrament meeting. The handbook is clear that the Bishop holds the “keys” to this ordinance within the boundaries of his ward. In fact, the handbook states the Sacrament should not be administered at family reunions and such. Could a priesthood holder administer the sacrament in his own home?

2. The Church has substituted water for wine in the Lord’s Supper – the Sacrament. When Joseph went to buy wine in section 27, an angel instructed him that wine should be home-made. Yet we now use water. Perhaps it is because it goes against the Word of Wisdom. I don’t know. Do you think this constitutes a change in the ordinance and thus invalidates it? Why or why not?

3. Do you think it is proper for local leaders to place bloggers under restrictions that include not partaking of the sacrament simply because they disagree with the content of their blog? Isn’t this somehow a contradiction to the Lord’s commandment that we partake of the Sacrament often in remembrance of Him? Does blogging about church practices and doctrines make one unworthy?

64 Responses

  1. As to “worthiness” Christ warns his Nephite disciples against allowing anyone to “unworthily” partake as follows:

    3 Nephi 18:28-29 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

    He then goes on to specifically define “worthiness.”

    30 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.

    In other words, Christ specifically defines one as “unworthy” who has not repented and been baptized. And if one does repent and be baptized, Christ commands them to minister His flesh and blood to that person.

    Nowhere is there a list of rules that must be kept, interview questions passed, orthodox beliefs embraced, a time period served, an activity level maintained, a fee paid, or any other of the nonsense we have attached to this most holy ordinance. We’ve made up all these rules–

    and yet–

    We persist in giving the sacrament to our unbaptized children in DIRECT CONTRADICTION OF SCRIPTURE!

    Thus showing yet another way we suffer the effects of apostasy.

    4 Nephi 1:27 And it came to pass that when two hundred and ten years had passed away there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel, insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness.

    Don’t give the sacrament to the unbaptized. Seems pretty clear to me. I can’t find any scriptural list of “sins” that prevent one taking the sacrament.

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    • Sorry Adrian,

      I doubled down on you. Should have read it first. You make a great point and my point exactly.

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  2. From the Handbook: “Although the sacrament is for Church members, the bishopric should not announce that it will be passed to members only, and nothing should be done to prevent nonmembers from partaking of it.”

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  3. 1. The CHI should be ignored when it contradicts scripture like this. Period.
    2. No, that could not invalidate it, since the Lord revealed it is okay to make the substitution. However, the related change to the *wording* of the prayer on the water (along with all the other changes made) *do* constitute a change to that ordinance. Which Joseph Smith, Isaiah, and others equated to breaking the covenant.
    3. Absolutely not.

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  4. Perhaps another qwerstion you may ask, does the changing of the ordinance invalidate it make it of no affect and if it does, does it matter to whom it is given or withheld?
    Was not the church commanded to kneel for the prayer?
    I also seem to remember those blessing the sacrament use to give the sign of the Aaronic priesthood while reciting the prayer. I know nothing is said in the scriptures, as I recall, about the sign being given so maybe that two is an “add to and take from” along the way of changes and falling into apostasy.

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  5. As far as using water instead of wine for Sacrament, I come from an alcoholic family and know that even a little wine as much as a sacrament cup holds can trigger an alcoholic to crave drink again. I see it as wisdom that we switched to water. In the desert enviroment that Jesus Christ was in, water was scarce and people had to drink wine in order to get enough fluid. Also, when I drink the Sacrament water, I feel like I am being baptized all over again since I am renewing my baptismal covenant. Who gets baptized in wine?

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  6. Who does the sacrament belong to? Is it to the people? The institution? The priesthood? Is it available to non-members who are striving to live the Lord’s law as they understand it?
    If we were living in different conditions i.e., encircled by plagues, pestilence, and war would we see fit to strive to bring the Sacrament to those whom are in our little fold?
    Or would we abrogate ourselves under some belief we had no right to do so?
    Render therefore unto Caesar that which is his, render therefore unto the Bishop that which is his, and render that which is the faithful follower of Jesus Christ that which is his.
    If I raise my arm to follow and sustain the Bishop then I do that which the Bishop asks and it’s upon his head to make proper decisions. If I cannot follow him then don’t raise the arm in sustaining.
    And why would one dis-allow small children from partaking of the Sacrament — of such is the kingdom of Heaven. Little children are alive in Jesus Christ and how could one forbid one of these innocent ones from partaking of this sacred covenant. That just doesn’t have a good taste to me and it doesn’t bring me any feeling of greater faith.

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  7. Of Question 2:

    2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.

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  8. Of Question 3:
    Tim, you answered your own query. Some Bishops “felt” it was right and some “felt” it was wrong. Render to the Bishop that which is his by the sustaining congregation. I have a problem thinking either decision comes from the Lord — He isn’t so ambiguous!

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  9. I’m not a gospel scholar, but I’ll take a stab at it:

    1. Of course we would follow the Spirit, like in the case of conditions that would preclude getting to a meetinghouse (family illness, disasters, etc.). The Lord looks upon our hearts. The Lord knows our thoughts and intents and why we would choose, or not choose, to “meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus” (Moroni 6:6).

    What is the real intent behind our actions? Are we really doing things because our broken/shattered hearts and contrite/crushed spirits acknowledge our own unworthiness and wretchedness?

    2. I agree with Sara K, in that I have known alcoholics who say that even a sip of alcohol could trigger a relapse, so they are grateful that we don’t use wine. (But I don’t know if grape juice would psychologically be dangerous to some alcoholics.) I also agree with callingmichael2050, in that in times of war or famine, it’s conceivable that “bread” could be a potato, and “wine” could be 7-Up. Again, the Lord looks upon our hearts.

    3.

    Does blogging about church practices and doctrines make one unworthy?

    I sure hope not — otherwise, I’m in trouble! :)

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  10. Are you aware of anyone who has been restricted from the sacrament SIMPLY because the bishop doesn’t agree with his blog’s content?

    Or is it because the bishop believes someone is teaching false doctrine? Which is one of the definitions of apostasy in the handbook. I’m also not sure it much matters whether we call it heresy or apostasy.

    As you acknowledge, there are clearly things that could be expressed on a blog that would constitute heresy/apostasy. There are also a lot of less obvious cases. That’s why it is important that the bishop/stake president exercise his judgement righteously and under the direction of the spirit. I’m also glad that the bishop/stake president has quite a lot of latitude in the type of discipline. The whole point is to help someone repent, and just like parents with children, it’s important to recognize that different people respond differently to the same discipline.

    As for your questions #1 and #2, yes, a priesthood holder could administer the sacrament in his own home, but I don’t think he should without the permission of the bishop. On the wine, my opinion is that it could be kool-aid and still be valid. My ward sometimes has these gluten-free rice crackers because of allergies. The water/wine and bread/crackers are symbols, and what is important is the covenant we make/renew.

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    • Yes, I am aware of several individuals who are under a Bishop’s restrictions for their blogging activities. Some have commented on this blog and shared their stores, many have sent me private messages with the details. The bottom line is yes, their are being disciplined or punished specifically for what they are writing or have written on their blogs. They are considered apostates. Rock may soon join the list.

      I supposed it’s better than being excommunicated like Brent Larson and Will Carter who were unceremoniously excommunicated with three days notice after posting something that offended their leaders. If you want a current list, go here: http://www.nearingkolob.com/coordination-list-members-facing-church-discipline/ I think it needs to be updated.

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      • That’s not quite what I asked, or what you stated in the original post. You said SIMPLY because their bishops didn’t agree with the blog’s content. It matters what they wrote and if they were counseled not to.

        You acknowledged that there are things that someone could blog that would be considered apostasy (as the church defines it). So we might argue about whether certain things meet that definition, but having restrictions does not, by itself, show that the restrictions were SIMPLY because the bishop didn’t agree with the content.

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      • You can add a young man (RM) in my family to the list of those who simply read a blog (guess who) and wouldn’t state that he (The Blogger) was wrong. He lost his recommend, his calling, his right to participate in class , priesthood quorum, they simply wont call on him. The Bishop was not going to take his recommend but changed his mind after pressure from the SP to take take it. The sacrament has been reinstated for him. He has moved on to a singles ward for now. Thanks Tim for continuing on. Dave Park.

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    • I don’t think it even matters if the bishop believes they are teaching false doctrine. This is from the handbook:

      Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.

      The only thing your bishop should be worried about is if you are teaching things “as” church doctrine when they aren’t. The gospel and church doctrine are not the same thing in all cases. Much of the church doctrine is littered with the commandments of men.

      As long as you say it is your opinion and not the views of the church, then your leadership shouldn’t care what you believe, nor should you be disciplined for believing something. He isn’t to correct you on what you believe, but on what you are teaching as Church doctrine. Just say it is the doctrine of Christ or its what Joseph taught, just leave the church doctrine claim out and according to the handbook, they have no claim to correct you.

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  11. Incidentally, I followed the link to 3 Nephi 21 and reread and I don’t see how that supports the contention of the church falling away. As far as I can tell, those who repent, are baptized and come unto Him, will be numbered among His people, the house of Israel.

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    • Perhaps just a matter of interpretation. Try these thoughts, not all in 3 Ne 21:

      http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/07/3-nephi-21-12-14.html

      http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/07/3-nephi-21-23-24.html

      http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/06/1-nephi-13-33-34.html

      http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/06/1-nephi-13-31-32.html

      I’ve long been wanting to compile a list of scriptures from the Book of Mormon that show the Gentile church is the LDS Church and that it is prophesied to fall into apostasy before the establishment of Zion.

      D&C 109:60 – Joseph identifies us as the Gentile Church.

      D&C 124:31-32 – The Church shall be rejected if the temple was not completed in time (it wasn’t).

      D&C 124:27-28 – The fullness of the priesthood was taken away (the higher priesthood was lost)

      The office of High Priest belongs to the Aaronic Priesthood in ancient times. We have convoluted it with the higher priesthood.

      3 Ne 16:10-12 contains the actual prophecy that the Gentiles (that’s us) will reject the fullness of the gospel.

      It has long been my conclusion that we – the LDS Church – are the Gentiles and the Gentile Church spoken of in 3 Ne 16:10-12

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      • Verse 11 before that seems to pretty clearly indicate that those Gentiles are those who do not believe His words:

        11 Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.

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      • I see that you’re adding more scriptures here. Maybe at some point you can make a separate post of that?

        Just going down to the next set in 1 Nephi 13, I’m still not seeing anything that indicates it is the church. And from the whole chapter, it seems quite clear to me that it is not:

        35 For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.

        36 And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.

        37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.

        38 And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.

        39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.

        Also for 3 Nephi 16 – the Lord distinguishes between the unbelieving and believing gentiles:

        6 And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.

        7 Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.

        8 But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them;

        Verses 9 – 10 are a continuation of vs. 8, which is the unbelieving of the Gentiles.

        I’ll have to look at the D&C references tomorrow.

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      • Whoa, how do you get that verse 11 identifies “the Gentiles” as those who don’t believe? My brain can’t even find a way to imagine that from that scripture. It identifies the Gentiles as the group to whom the Lord’s words would go, via his servant. The unbelieving, “whosoever” fits that bill, are those to be cut off, for rejecting the message that came to the Gentiles through the servant. It’s as plain as word can be.

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      • Mike, in mormon 8:38 he asks us why we have polluted the Holy Church of God. You have to read this chapter and consider the situation of our own church. Not with a spirit of condemnation or criticism, just with an open heart understanding that we seem to fit the descriptions in that chapter to a large extent.

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      • Dustin,

        I am aware of that verse and wholeheartedly agree. But that doesn’t address what I brought up concerning 3 Nephi 21:11. That verse reads, as above: “Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.”

        In my understanding, that verse begins with addressing a group, “whosoever” doesn’t believe the words of Jesus Christ. This establishes the focus of the warning contained in the verse, this group. Then Christ clarifies which of his words he refers to that won’t be believed, a portion “which the Father shall cause him [JS] to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles…“. So Joseph Smith would bring forth a portion of Christ’s words, and the group that he would give them to are given the label “Gentiles.” Once Christ clarifies which of His words fit the bill – the words given to the Gentiles through Joseph Smith – He returns to addressing the previous “whosoever” doesn’t believe those words, when he says “they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” “They” refers to whosoever doesn’t believe, it doesn’t refer to the generalized Gentiles in the context of this verse. If anyone – be they Gentile, Jew or Israel – doesn’t believe those words, they will be cut off from God’s covenant people. I don’t see how the conclusion is drawn that the group which doesn’t believe is identified as “the Gentiles” rather than “whosoever.” That’s what I was addressing.

        Forgive me, but I’m not seeing the connection in Mormon 8:38 meant to correct this?

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      • Tim, Sorry, your analysis of 3 Ne Chap 16 as being the LDS church is wrong. I have just analyzed all 75 references in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants and my conclusion is that the term Gentiles as used in those sources does not refer to the LDS denomination. This is such a serious charge brought by DS that I went in pretty good depth on this topic, and satisfied myself that DS is wrong on this point. Nephi characterizes all men as either 1. inside the House of Israel (or covenant) or 2. Out. If you are out, you are a Gentile. Then, within the Gentile camp you have a subset of “believers in Christ” who are considered to be part of the Lord’s Church. A further, much smaller subset are those within the covenant relationship, and those of the LDS denomination (who are true and faithful) comprise this tiny group.
        The great apostasy of Gentiles is referring in every reference I have read as referring to the widest circle of Gentiles. The only scripture that references the inner circle(s) is the one that states that a prophesied cleansing will begin in the Lord’s own house. This does not however, necessarily refer to a state of general apostasy, let alone with the leadership of the LDS church, I think it just means that the unfaithful members are going to get shaken out of the church by circumstances. Likewise, the other scriptures you cite and not persuasive to me, especially when put in light with all the other references. I wish that you and those who blog here would actually read and think through all of the relevant passages on a topic like this. There’s only so many ways and times you can flog a dead horse. When you cite 3 Ne Chap 16, please read verses 5-10 before reading 10-12, and it will help provide the context for what the Lord is trying to communicate to us about the Gentiles. Best regards.

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      • Karl: Really, not a single solitary reference could tie the term “Gentile” to those believing LDS members of the church?

        Not even D&C 109:60?

        Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.

        Even Bruce R. McConkie went at least this far:

        “Israelites are called Gentiles in those scriptures which speak of the gospel going first to the Gentiles and then to the Jews in the last days. Thus the Book of Mormon came forth by way of the Gentile; Joseph Smith was the Gentile who brought it forth; and the United States is a Gentile nation. This is an instance of all men being divided into two categories–Jews and Gentiles, with the Jews being those who are descendants of the Kingdom of Judah. This categorizes the Lost Tribes of Israel as Gentiles, though, in fact, they are of the literal blood of Israel. Joseph Smith was of Ephraim, and the so-called Gentiles who are receiving the gospel in this day, before it goes to the Jews in full measure, are of the house of Israel.”

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      • “I wish that you and those who blog here would actually read and think through all of the relevant passages on a topic like this. There’s only so many ways and times you can flog a dead horse.”

        Why the condescension Karl? You think just because people think differently than you, it equates to them not thinking at all?

        Against my better judgment, I’m going to take a stab at addressing what I think is the disconnect between what you express, and what you are perceiving as being expressed by others.

        The model you present, assuming I understand it correctly, is that the Gentiles are separated into three divisions. A) the faithful inside the covenant, B) the less than faithful but still in the covenant, and C) those outside the covenant. Correct me if I’m wrong. I think this is a workable model to discuss this, by using a geographic parallel for this spiritual model.

        For the Gentiles, with its three divisions within, is America. For the faithful, Los Angeles (work with me here). For the rest in the covenant, California. For outside the covenant, the other 49 states.

        What I see Tim and others express is that God says something about “America,” and seeing themselves residing in California and possibly Los Angeles, they are saying “Hey, this America stuff applies to us.” They note that the message about America actually went first and foremost out among California, so if anything we should be taking it the most seriously. They are saying we are not excluded from America, and we can’t deflect messages to America from ourselves to the other 49 states.

        What you appear to be hearing is “This message about America is ONLY intended to be understood as California, and most specifically to Los Angeles.” What I then hear in your response is “Actually guys, it really seems to apply more to those other 49 states besides California, and it certainly doesn’t apply to Los Angeles because Los Angeles has special provisions. Come on.”

        I think you are right about Los Angeles having provisions provided for them in all the doom and gloom spoken about America. But there are still a ton of problems with California, the other 49, and America:

        – Everyone wants those Los Angeles provisions to apply to themselves, so everyone wants to identify with Los Angeles.

        – Everyone in California seems to think they already are in Los Angeles, and don’t anyone dare say otherwise.

        – Too many in California are unwilling to acknowledge they are still part of America.

        – If those in Los Angeles aren’t vigilant about staying there, they can unwittingly find themselves in San Bernardino without even realizing it.

        I do disagree with you on the idea that addresses to “America” don’t seem to apply to “California.” I think if anything, California should be taking them the most seriously, regardless of arguments about whether the message was MEANT most seriously for them, which seems to be what you argue against? I think it’s meant to be serious for all America, but California should be the ones who TAKE it most seriously. I believe Los Angeles is already taking it seriously, that’s part of what makes them Los Angeles.

        In D&C 109:60 Joseph Smith identified us WITH the Gentiles, not AS the Gentiles. Whether we are Los Angeles or California, we are still identified with America, according to him. We are part of them, and should therefore take anything addressed to them with all seriousness. I think 2 Nephi 28:21 and 24, and Mormon 8:38, among others, are included in our scriptures to remind California that they do not all constitute Los Angeles. In fact most of California doesn’t, and they should do something about that. There seem to be some rather pointed remarks in scripture aimed at California, which California just deflects to the other 49 states.

        Tim or myself or anyone else saying California (the LDS) are part of America is about raising a warning cry, for people to wake up and evaluate where they actually reside, and move to Los Angeles if they are not already there. Because the rest of the country, California included, is facing some ugly prophecies.

        (For the purposes of this model, I’m not addressing the possibility of holy men we know not of residing outside of Los Angeles.)

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        • I can’t speak for Karl, but I didn’t read his comment as saying that the warning doesn’t apply to all of the Gentiles. We all need to make sure that we are among those who believe His words.

          The thing about your analogy, which I liked, is that it’s quite clear who is in LA vs. CA. But we can’t look on the heart and see who is a believer and who is not. I don’t think it’s for us to decide who is in LA and who is not, at least not generally.

          Conversely, one of the things that bothers me about what DS says, is that he is very quick to apply not only the warning, but also the condemnation to the church in general, as well as the leaders in particular. Those that are sympathetic to DS (making sure not to call them followers!) also seem to be very quick to condemn all manner of church members, and are quite specific in all the ways that leaders and members are failing, but if a leader, whose calling it is, tells them that they are wrong, the leader is exercising unrighteous dominion, etc.

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      • “it’s quite clear who is in LA vs. CA. But we can’t look on the heart and see who is a believer and who is not.”

        I find this statement problematic, in that I think it’s self-contradictory. Was there a typo? How can it possibly be clear who is LA versus who is CA if we can’t look into the heart? That’s the most crucial measure of CA versus LA, and only the Lord has access to that.

        “I don’t think it’s for us to decide who is in LA and who is not, at least not generally.”

        This statement is what makes me think the prior one had a typo. I agree with you, it isn’t for any person to decide whether another person is or isn’t found among LA.

        “Conversely, one of the things that bothers me about what DS says, is that he is very quick to apply not only the warning, but also the condemnation to the church in general…”

        The Lord already did that in 1832, a thing which has yet to be lifted. The terms for lifting it have been provided by the Lord, but speaking collectively and not individually, the general condemnation has remained. DS is merely repeating and reminding on that.

        “…as well as the leaders in particular.”

        Leaders lead people. Those who follow them go where they go. If the leaders are in error, they will lead everyone into error. If the leaders can be shown their error and correct course, everyone they lead will have their course corrected. It’s the way leaders and followers go. That’s why the Lord so consistently sent (and sends?) prophets to correct the leaders of His people. It’s one of the most consistent themes of prophets in scripture.

        “Those that are sympathetic to DS (making sure not to call them followers!) also seem to be very quick to condemn all manner of church members…”

        I find that to be a stretch. I don’t see much “condemning” of any church members of any kind. What I do see is condemning of wickedness, of false traditions that bind us, of false doctrines that harm us. But these are words, actions and ideas. Not people.

        One funny thing is how people can’t seem to separate judgments of actions and words from judgments of a person. We are SO weak that way. When you note an error in a person’s words or actions, suddenly the person is being judged and persecuted and yadda yadda yadda. Say BY taught a false doctrine and immediately you are the devil’s child for judging him and judging everyone and everything since him, and who is anybody to judge all that because we can’t see their hearts. We fly apart like glass, as Joseph quipped. We can’t stand the least bit of heat. It doesn’t matter if you say how much you might even say you like or respect or admire a person, if you say they did or said one thing incorrect, that is the only thing remembered, and you were wrong for noting it. It’s absurd and destructive and damning.

        We have no problem noting the errors of our President and congress and demanding they fix them, but LDS leaders are sacred cows. Even though we also believe America was divinely founded. Even though we believe the structure it was built on was divinely inspired. Even though we consider the constitution to be inspired. We can point to the inspired writing of the constitution, then point out to our leaders where they are screwing up in America, but we can’t point to our scriptures and note where our leaders are screwing up in the church. Both thought to be divinely created, yet one can be led astray by its leaders and the other cannot. I can’t grasp the total mental disconnect required to be an LDS American and think like this. It’s built on too many layers of assumed tradition.

        “…and are quite specific in all the ways that leaders and members are failing…”

        Good, they should be specific. Then perhaps something can be done about it. Especially when it illuminates something about themselves, about the person making the observation. You don’t purify something by avoiding the imperfections.

        “…but if a leader, whose calling it is, tells them that they are wrong, the leader is exercising unrighteous dominion, etc.”

        I think we both know that’s a mischaracterization of the complaints generally going on, and it seems to be based on the ‘authorized authoritarian with authority’ notion. I don’t hear complaints about leaders using the scriptures to explain a person’s errors. I don’t hear complaints about all the persuasion and long-suffering and meekness going on in the leadership. I do hear complaints against leaders saying things like shut up, I’m right and you’re wrong, you’re reading the scriptures wrong but I can’t show you how to read them right, do what I say or I’ll ex you or strip you of your TR, stop asking me questions because I won’t debate the possibility that what you say has validity, etc. If you think a magic “calling” badge suddenly turns this kind of behavior from poor to virtuous and acceptable, then I don’t have the words to convince otherwise.

        Authority is an illusion, to see what a person would do if they had power. Most aren’t granted power because they abuse the illusion.

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      • Mike’s geographic comparison is fabulous and incredibly useful, by the way. (But seriously, you had to pick Los Angeles?) :D

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  12. In response to Nonrandom Set 11:14 pm comment:

    “It matters what they wrote and if they were counseled not to.” Agreed

    “…there are things that someone could blog that would be considered apostasy…” Also agreed

    “…having restrictions does not, by itself, show that the restrictions were SIMPLY because the bishop didn’t agree with the content.”

    Logically sound arguments. Too many assumptions on my part. The restrictions could have been put into place for other reasons, not known to anyone but the bishop, unless he shares it with the blogger.

    I think the Bishop has a responsibility to be very specific with the blogger about what things are objectionable and apostate. Otherwise, the charge of apostasy is invalid because it requires the individual be warned or counseled on specific courses of action as mandated by the priesthood leader. Is this making any sense?

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    • Agreed. I think the Bishop should very clearly state what is being taught that he believes is against church doctrine (or what actions are in open opposition to the church, etc.). Since we will never hear both sides of the story, we can’t be sure that someone didn’t receive that counsel. Based on my own past experience in disciplinary councils, I would tend to give the Bishop the benefit of the doubt. All the bishops/stake presidents I have known have been very hesitant to hold disciplinary counsels and only do it when they must.

      I also think your statement that, “It seems that just about anything can be called apostasy if the presiding authority does not like it.” is unfair. You followed by quoting the handbook which gives very clear definitions of apostasy. While I don’t doubt there have been mistakes and abuses, my sense is that is not true of the vast majority of cases.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My experience concurs with yours – most Bishops with whom I have served have been very hesitant to hold disciplinary councils. And I accept your observation that I am being a little unfair in claiming that what is apostasy is not well defined when it is right there in the handbook, open for interpretation by the priesthood leaders.

        My statement was based on dialogs with two particular individuals, excommunicated for apostasy, as well as a couple of others who had their temple recommends yanked without fully knowing why – or so they stated to me in private conversations..

        As you noted, we only have the one side of the story, but it’s an important side. If the recipient of the discipline doesn’t understand why they are being disciplined, then something is not being communicated very well or they’re just not understanding.

        I know, have met with, (over meals) and have heard the stories from these individuals. In my opinion, they were not given a fair opportunity to a) understand the charges against them and b) to defend themselves against the charges. I also refer you to Rock’s book for some helpful advice on disciplinary councils.

        Thanks for adding to the dialog – much appreciated.

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      • If a person doesn’t understand the “discipline” being leveled against them, how effective is it? How inspired of God was it? When you “discipline” a child and don’t explain the discipline to them, how likely are they to learn and grow and leave behind error? When a child is disciplined ineffectively, who is accountable? The child for not understanding? Or the parent for poor teaching? Does the child’s guilt in committing the initial offense somehow undo any responsibility for the failure to respond with understood discipline on the part of the parent? When the child doesn’t understand their punishment or crime, is the parent free to think themselves a good parent because in their mind they understand what they leveled against their child? Why aren’t these the type of questions being asked? If it was simply about one “side” versus another, that would require neither “side” have “authority” over another, because authority changes the nature of the relationship from “sides” to “top” and “bottom”. When one exercises authority over another unto punishment, but fails to teach the needed lessons through that punishment, the authority fails and trust is lost. We can see that everywhere except in the church, where we wear magic blinders.

        Liked by 1 person

      • au·thor·i·ty
        əˈTHôritē,ôˈTHär-/Submit
        noun
        1.
        the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
        “he had absolute authority over his subordinates”
        synonyms: power, jurisdiction, command, control, charge, dominance, rule, sovereignty, supremacy; influence; informalclout
        “a rebellion against those in authority”
        the right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another.
        “military forces have the legal authority to arrest drug traffickers”
        synonyms: authorization, right, power, mandate, prerogative, license, permission
        “the authority to arrest drug traffickers”
        official permission; sanction.
        “the money was spent without congressional authority”
        2.
        a person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere.
        “the health authorities”

        I find the whole “authority” concept very troubling.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Good one Tim concerning the precepts of men and the Sacrament. #rd Ne explains: “5 And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. 10 And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.27 Behold verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you another commandment, and then I must go unto my Father that I may fulfil other commandments which he hath given me.

    28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;

    29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

    30 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.”

    This was pertaining to the covenant of baptism. This is the worthiness portion of the scripture; not because we sin. That is why we partake of the sacrament, because we all sin. But leave it up to man to define the every little precept you can fail in to remove this blessing. Who has not sinned? Who has not repented? Do you think the Sacrament helps with our committment not to sin? Do you think the sacrament helps with our repentance? The everlasting covenant has been swept under the rug for its true meaning so long, I don’t know how many understand it anymore. Thank you for your thoughts on the sacrament, Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am convinced, after a lifetime of partaking of the sacrament, that it does indeed help one strengthen their desire to refrain from sin, and, of course, contains the promise of the Holy Ghost.

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  14. 3rd Nephi 19

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tim,

    I haven’t read what others have said here (yet), but I’m comforted that you are addressing this issue. I have struggled with not partaking of the sacrament now for the past 4 months.

    I believe that the sacrament is a divinely authorized ordinance administered by the LDS Church; that the Aaronic priests thereof authentically “hold” perdurable priesthood (practically regardless of their “worthiness” to do so); and that, as the scriptures say, it doesn’t matter what substance is used in partaking of the “flesh” and “blood” of Christ so long as it is solid and liquid (and edible!) and eaten with an eye single to God’s glory (D&C 27:2).

    Ironically, those who administer the sacrament sometimes are less “worthy” than those they preclude from partaking of it! Self-abusing priests and self-righteous bishops do not invalidate the efficacy of the ordinance. But are they “more worthy” than a someone else who simply believes the Book of Mormon when it says the modern Church will someday become corrupt (see 2 Nephi 28) and is thus “disciplined”, even excommunicated?

    Even so, those in the throes of sin and struggles, having a humble heart and sincere desire to repent, are often more “in tune” with the Spirit — recognizing its “light” in contrast to the darkness surrounding them — than those who blithely go about their business, not mired in great sins, perhaps, but not seeking the Lord’s face either.

    I can attest to the efficacy of the ordinance. I have felt the Spirit’s “loss” in my life inasmuch as I have abstained (or have been forbidden) from partaking of the Lord’s Supper…but for reasons different from, I imagine, what the Church leaders presume.

    Sometimes my children “act up” around dinner time. Sometimes their conduct becomes so egregious I must send them to their rooms.

    However, I have never had the heart to send my children to bed without supper. (I’ve heard of other parents doing so.) But I waited so long — so many decades! — to have them, to bring them into this world, that it breaks my heart to exclude them from our family’s presence, to prevent them from joining and eating with us. And, in fact, when they are “gone”, I am keenly aware that all of my “family” is not with us. I cannot enjoy my own meal in their absence. My heart reaches out to them and I bid them to rejoin us as soon as they are willing.

    The LDS hierarchy has turned the Supper and Celebration of the Lamb of God into a punative thing: an opportunity to punish and correct and discipline — something it was never intended to be. While a priesthood leader is instructed never to defile the ordinance by administering it to those who cannot appreciate it, who would abuse it for their own nefarious purposes, or who are unwilling to shoulder its full implications, excluding it from those who truly “hunger and thirst after righteousness” is a great affront, in my mind, to the King of Heaven to whose glory the ordinance was instituted.

    The Church has withheld this ordinance from me now for four months and I have respectfully declined from partaking each sabbath day, having promised to “behave” when I attend with my family. (I assume “behaving” means following their “rules”, and I have no problem with honoring how they do things. I’m a “guest”, after all, in their church.)

    I have felt the scalding shame, however, of passing the plate, as deacons and priests and other members look upon me (as they do), wondering what a “sinner” I must be! I have felt the great withdrawal of love — not from the Lord, whom I know loves me — but from them, those men who sit on the stand who ignore me, who are so comfortable and so confident that they are doing the Lord’s work (becaue they are “following the handbook”), even as they destroy souls by peddling “religion” rather than a relationship with Deity.

    It’s a very subtle, but important difference: Laman and Lemuel practiced (however imperfectly) their religion. (And I bet they even boasted of doing so, too!) But Nephi interacted with God. And, when he did, he confessed his own utter unworthiness, by comparison.

    There is a “shame” associated with partaking of the Tree of Life. It is a shame that comes from following the Master, and being despised and rejected of men for doing so (both within and without the Church). When Church leaders reject those who would come unto Christ, who wish to publically confirm their determination to do so (even imperfectly), those leaders practice a religion different from that which Jesus instituted and intended.

    Many are those who now eat who will one day be hungry and many are those who are now hungry who will one day be filled, even as they eat bread and drink wine with the Master at His table.

    Liked by 3 people

    • On the subtle difference you describe, you brought to my mind that it was Satan who offered Adam and Eve “someone to preach to you” or “religion” in response to his request for messengers from the Father. Interesting to consider some of the possible implications.

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  16. 1. Scriptural support? Specifically for bishops to deny worthy priesthood holders the privilege of administering the sacrament without their prior consent? Or is it mere bureaucratic authoritarianism, aka Handbook only? I find the current deduced interpretation from scripture to be wrestled rather lawerly from the scriptures into the most authoritarian reading possible, which I think says something. I also find interesting that we never touch verse 70 of D&C 107, especially in relation to verse 15 (it seems “keys” and “authority” are perhaps not so interchangeable, as further propounded by verse 18).

    2. It seems the Lord has made the allowance, meaning He would consider it entirely valid. However, He also seems to have an ideal. I don’t know whether meeting the ideal would increase something for us, I offer no opinion on that.

    3. I think this only addresses a symptom of larger systemic issues, and until those are resolved symptoms may change face, but will always be present and causing problems. But honestly, there’s a more interesting part to this in my mind. — Jumping off Adrian’s comments, 3 Nephi 18:28-29 seems to me to be far more about the “knowingly” aspect. Abolishing ignorance through ministration. I don’t think the take-away from those verses should be about the act of forbidding (which we tend to read with an imposed degree of compulsion), but about educating, ministry. If a nonmember is “unworthy” and going to partake, stopping them is only part of the bigger issue of educating them and ministering to them, it’s about stopping them from UNKNOWINGLY damning themselves by making covenants they don’t understand and won’t keep. If they are going to condemn themselves, at least make sure they know and understand they are doing so. Adam and Eve were “forbidden” as well, which evidently entailed no compulsion, just information of natural consequences. As for current members, ignorance about the covenants should theoretically not be the issue. Perhaps sin is acceptable grounds for “unworthiness” and “forbidding”, as the church teaches now? I don’t know. If so, repent now and then come partake. We’ve been promised forgiveness based on repentance – which doesn’t require a 6 month or even 6 second probationary period, just a sincere realignment and recommittment to God now – which no outside man can adequately judge. Men can judge actions, but worthiness is about the mind and heart. And if God accepts our repentance and forgives us, then we can surely partake worthily.

    So here’s what I find interesting: A bishop can forbid and establish a “repentance” or “probationary” period of “no sacrament allowed” all he wants, for blogging or whatever, but if you are penitent and have been baptized, then on what scriptural grounds? Penitence being to God. Damn the Handbook, God isn’t bound to uphold it one whit. He already gave us His handbook, and we took it upon ourselves to make an altogether different one. A nice middle finger, if you think about it…

    If a member has repented and been forgiven of God and partakes before that unscriptural sentencing has been fully executed, what is the bishop gonna do? Call a disciplinary council to ex you? On what grounds? Because God was a douche and didn’t listen to your bishop and forgave you too soon? Because you and God didn’t ‘respect his authori-tah?’ The church will start hemorrhaging any priesthood it has left at an amazing rate under that kind of unrighteous dominion, might as well put on my asbestos suit now for the coming burning if that turns out to be the case.

    Perhaps we should take responsibility for our own salvation and stop letting men encroach on God’s turf in our lives? Or rather pretend to, as that is more accurately the case when it comes to thinking we have power to damn anyone but ourselves. Maybe we should drop the tradition of thinking we require men to help us get God’s forgiveness, that they have power to withhold it, or withhold His Spirit. Maybe we need to stop fearing the threats of our leaders, and giving in to the illusion they have more power over us than they do (that’s where all the power of supposed authority comes from, by us surrendering it to them, which is wholly different than submission). Excommunication has no damning power in itself anyway, because it is merely removing from the earthly records, and is meant to only reflect that they’ve damned themselves, we play no role in the damning itself. Even the sealing power to loose is null if God doesn’t ratify it (like He’d trust us with THAT nuke without holding onto the failsafe, yikes). Those with real authority know this stuff. Only fools think they can damn each other and not be damned themselves.

    If God approves my worthiness, I take the sacrament, other men and their prohibitions don’t get to be a factor anymore. If God called them and they heed His voice, then they know their place and won’t overstep. If not, they can keep pretending if they want, but it’s only pious smoke and mirrors. I’m done letting men wedge themselves between me and my God.

    Liked by 2 people

    • An amazingly thoughtful and thought-provoking comment about authority, sustaining local leaders (giving them authority over us) and our relationship with the Savior. As you can probably tell, I feel strongly that the handbook has turned the Lord’s church into a bureaucratic nightmare for local leaders. It squelches the spirit, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I found them extremely helpful.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Mike for this. Amen.

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  17. Leaving. Not edifying any longer.

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    • Sorry Rick. Restricting one from partaking of the sacrament or yanking their temple recommend for what they write on a blog or Facebook just seems wrong to me and something that needs to be addressed. If we are striving to be true Latter-day Saints, not perfect, but trying, then this is also our church as well as the Church of Jesus Christ. We have a right to openly discuss how the church is run, especially at the local level where we can make a difference.

      Haven’t you ever discussed things like this in PEC or Ward Council? I have, and found it edifying. In the end, such punitive behavior on the part of local leadership only serves to drive members away and to engage in religious practice such as the sacrament or the order of prayer in their home, instead of with the community of Saints in the chapel or temple. Why do you think there are so many private or closed discussion groups about LDS doctrines and practices? It’s because they are afraid of their leaders and afraid of being judged by members of their ward or stake as being non-conformist.

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  18. Tim,
    Great discussion.
    As to 3 Nep. 16:10, the LDS church in their arrogance likes to read that scripture as applying to those who were not LDS. The Spirit says otherwise. We are the Gentiles who have rejected the fulness of the Gospel, as clearly evidenced by the Lord’s admonitions and warnings about completing the Nauvoo Temple within a certain time…which contrary to current accepted church history, did not happen.

    As to 3 Nep. 21, I suggest a much more careful reading of the Savior’s words with the idea in mind that there are but 2 churches, the Church of the Lamb and…everybody else. And who constitutes His church? He defined it as those who repent and Come unto Him (D&C 10:67). And how do we come unto Him? Nephi gave us the absolutely best treatise on this anywhere in the scriptures to date in 2 Nephi 31-32:6. The truth is that only a tiny fraction of the LDS church has entered the strait and narrow path leading to Him, because only a tiny fraction have ever experienced the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost. Currently, the church accepts the (false) doctrine that the simple act of having hands laid upon one’s head and being admonished to “receive the Holy Ghost” is the same as receiving the Holy Ghost. Receiving the Holy Ghost in reality means receiving the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, which is required to enter the strait and narrow path leading to the Savior’s presence, and therefore “strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it”. Our currently accepted doctrine is only supported by ignorance and arrogance.

    As with the Sacrament, so it is with many of our currently accepted doctrines, they have become a mass of uninspired confusion and one with authority will be required to come and make straight the ways of the Lord prior to His coming, else the whole earth will be wasted at His coming.
    JR

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    • These four words—“Receive the Holy Ghost”—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts. (David A. Bednar, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” Oct. 2010 General Conference)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, but when the book of mormon is saying there is only the church of the lamb and everyone else (in the Great & Abominable Church of the devil) it is NOT identifying the LDS denomination. The true & faithful covenant members of the LDS church are a small subset of the church of the lamb, which is filled with many true believers in Christ, but have not taken on the additional covenant relation to place them on the strait and narrow pathway. Further, unfaithful LDS definitely place themselves into the church of the devil by their bad behavior. As for Gentile rejection, the penalty for not finishing the Nauvoo Temple is not stated in the revelation, so any interpretation you place on it as evidence of apostasy is merely your conjecture. Best.

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  19. I’ll take a stab at this:

    1. A priesthood holder could most certainly administer the Sacrament in his own home. My wife and I experimented with this for a little while, and found it a worthwhile exercise. What we ultimately concluded was that we were perfectly happy to receive the sacrament from the church so long as we remain in their good graces, so we have (for the time being) ceased the practice except for the occasional exception (traveling, illness, etc.). I’ve pondered the notion of the Bishop holding keys, and for the moment the conclusion I’ve reached is that authorization from a church officer is really only necessary when an ordinance is to be recorded on the official church records. I think it’s totally legit. that they meticulously record the dates for things like baptism, confirmation, ordination, endowment, sealing, etc. So I take no issue at all with the requirement to have such ordinances authorized and performed under the direction of the appropriate presiding authority (even though I must confess I feel a little dirty using words like “authorized” and “under the direction of the appropriate presiding authority” … an issue for another time). When it comes to ordinances that are not recorded by the church, I currently believe that proper ordination is all that is needed. No one has to grant permission for me to give my wife a blessing (or for her to bless me, another practice we’ve experimented with, and adopted). Likewise I don’t have to ask permission of anyone to consecrate oil. I believe the other ‘non-recorded’ ordinances are likewise properly within the authority of anyone duly ordained, including the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, Grave Dedication, Home Dedication, Blessings of Comfort/Healing, Rebaptism (as appropriate), etc. Of course I reserve the right to change these beliefs in the future, when and if better information is presented; but these are the conclusions I’ve reached for the present.

    2. I do not think using water instead of wine constitutes an invalidating change to the ordinance, at least not so far. According to the angel, “it mattereth not” exactly what substance we use. Using wine is most definitely not a word of wisdom problem – the revelation includes an explicit carve out stating that wine is appropriate for saccaral purposes notwithstanding the general warnings about wine, strong drink, drunkenness, etc. (see D&C 89:5). The other reason I think water doesn’t (yet) constitute a damaging change to the ordinance of the sacrament is that the original procedure of the ordinance, wording, symbols, and teaching remain yet intact. The prayer has not been altered. We still teach that the water is to be drunk in remembrance of His blood. While I’ve heard some nonsensical ideas about the water now representing a “fountain of living waters,” which even though there are some true teachings and comparisons to be made about Christ as a spring of water in you welling up to eternal life, those don’t belong in the sacrament. Discarding the connection to the blood of the Savior or changing the words or procedure of the ordinance would, in my view, be a dangerous change to make and would potentially risk offending heaven; but we’ve not done that yet (so far as I can tell). Though I also note that wine seems to be preferred — when Jesus came to the Nephites He told them to fetch wine, and He very well could have told them to use anything.

    3. It is not proper at all. I believe you have the matter correct in this post – any restrictions must be based on a lack of worthiness (ie, actual bonafide sinful behavior). Though like I said in #1, I expect at some point restrictions will be placed on me and possibly my family because of our beliefs; at which point I will simply recommence the practice we temporarily experimented with and administer the sacrament privately in my home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • After reflecting on the subject over night, I have an addendum to my answer to #3:

      Any restrictions on taking the sacrament (that are based on actual sinful behavior as you’ve described) in general should be simply a matter of counsel and education; not punishment. If I were Bishop (hah!) I think I would simply explain the doctrine as outlined in the BoM and gently suggest to them that they refrain from partaking until they feel they have repented and are worthy. I would not place a time limit on it, and would even suggest that if they feel they’ve “turned from” (one of the roots of the word repentance) their sinful behavior and sought forgiveness from the Lord, then they should go ahead and commence taking the Sacrament immediately. Which is to say that I would make it entirely their decision when/if/for what length of time they abstain from the Sacrament, and I’d make my best efforts to teach them the correct doctrines so as to enable them to make a properly informed decision on the matter.

      That would be a bit different from how it’s typically done today – where practically anyone who confesses something like pornography use often undergoes a period of restriction. Certainly a “worthiness” problem, to be sure; however I agree with Tim’s sentiment that the Sacrament would be very helpful to someone trying to overcome such a thing.

      I suppose I may still explain and place the same “formal” restrictions on someone who’s behavior was such that discipline was necessary – like for any of the “really big” ones (attempted/murder, rape, incest, child abuse, etc.) But having never actually faced that decision point I am honestly not 100% sure what I’d do.

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  20. Does wine violate the word of wisdom? Depends on what you mean by the word of wisdom. If you mean D&C 89, absolutely not. Spirits = liquor (see the webster dictionary for 1828), not all alcohol. Fact: the brethren used wine for the sacrament in the temple weekly until after 1900. (I think it was 1905, don’t quote me on it).

    If you mean whatever arbitrary policy the church happens to practice today, then yes it does. However, if you don’t believe God who said that leaders’ words are only to be regarded as God’s words when they actually come from God (D&C 68:4) than breaking arbitrary policy does not imply breaking God’s commandments.

    Interestingly, those who would accuse you of breaking God’s commandments by using wine for the sacrament are the same who invalidate or ignore God’s word through Joseph. Unlike any leader since, God commanded us to accept his word revealed through Joseph as God’s word (D&C 21:5). That should give pause to any that would contradict what Joseph revealed with the words of a subsequent church president said.

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  21. Tim, Sorry, your analysis of 3 Ne Chap 16 as being the LDS church is wrong. I have just analyzed all 75 references in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants and my conclusion is that the term Gentiles as used in those sources does not refer to the LDS denomination. This is such a serious charge brought by DS that I went in pretty good depth on this topic, and satisfied myself that DS is wrong on this point. Nephi characterizes all men as either 1. inside the House of Israel (or covenant) or 2. Out. If you are out, you are a Gentile. Then, within the Gentile camp you have a subset of “believers in Christ” who are considered to be part of the Lord’s Church. A further, much smaller subset are those within the covenant relationship, and those of the LDS denomination (who are true and faithful) comprise this tiny group.
    The great apostasy of Gentiles is referring in every reference I have read as referring to the widest circle of Gentiles. The only scripture that references the inner circle(s) is the one that states that a prophesied cleansing will begin in the Lord’s own house. This does not however, necessarily refer to a state of general apostasy, let alone with the leadership of the LDS church, I think it just means that the unfaithful members are going to get shaken out of the church by circumstances. Likewise, the other scriptures you cite and not persuasive to me, especially when put in light with all the other references. I wish that you and those who blog here would actually read and think through all of the relevant passages on a topic like this. There’s only so many ways and times you can flog a dead horse. When you cite 3 Ne Chap 16, please read verses 5-10 before reading 10-12, and it will help provide the context for what the Lord is trying to communicate to us about the Gentiles. Further, for all of you who want to reject LDS authority claims because the Nauvoo Temple was not “completed on time,” please be aware that the completion time was never specified, and the penalty for failure to complete was not specified by revelation. Any interpretation of history you place on this is your own; you are free do it, as DS has, but YOU then bear the burden of proof for proving your case in this regard. So far, I hear a lot of accusations against the Brethren but little in the way of actual evidence that the leadership is in any kind of apostasy. There is a big difference between an organization that has drifted somewhat off-course and one that is actually lost. Please be careful how you use the term apostasy; it’s a loaded term. I’m reading the same BOM and I am not coming to the same conclusions as many here on this blog. Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Karl. I confess I haven’t studied it in as much depth as you but have always been impressed with that verse in 3rd Nephi 16:10 as referring to the LDS Church long before I ever heard of Denver Snuffer. I can’t see the American nation as sinning against the gospel when they don’t have it, or haven’t accepted it, especially the fullness. The Gentile nation did not reject the fullness, the LDS Church did.

      I have also been overwhelmingly impressed with the significance of 3rd Nephi 20:15-16. Maybe it’s because I live in So. Cal. and see so many of those who have crossed the border, and so many who have lived here since the days when California was a part of Mexico poised to take back what they feel is rightfully theirs. These verses I see as referring to the nation and not to the church. So there is a difference.

      Anyway, I’m not trying to argue, just pointing out that Gentiles could be both the LDS Church in some verses and the American nation in others. But I can understand your point and your good argument against the idea that the LDS Church is equal to the Gentile Church. Thanks for taking the time to present your thoughts and scriptures.

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      • It could be read as the nation had the gospel (christianity), but rejected the fulness (restoration).

        To me that’s a better reading because I think it accounts for the beginning clause of vs. 8 (“But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—”). The rest of vs. 8 and 9 are an aside, set apart by the –, so vs. 10 directly follows that “unbelieving of the Gentiles.”

        In any case, even if you read it as the church, it obviously doesn’t mean every single church member, and it certainly doesn’t necessarily mean church leaders.

        Like

  22. Here’s the problem as I see it: if one picks out a half dozen verses for support, and uses that as the axe to grind, you are welcome to that approach. However, if there are in some cases, scores or even hundreds of other references in the standard works on that subject, then if one is intellectually honest, then ALL the relevant passages must be factored in to reach a reasonable conclusion as to what is really being communicated. I see one glaring problem throughout DS PTHG writings: he loves to just pound and pound a small handful of scriptures, and ignore the 50 or 100 scriptures that seem to point to a different conclusion. I believe this is a huge problem for Denver Snuffer. When I did a complete analysis of all the scriptures on the topic of Gentiles for example, DS lost a lot of credibility for me. Either he is being dishonest in his treatment of these scriptures, or else he is unaware of the plain meaning of these passages; either conclusion diminishes his credibility for me. I love Denver Snuffer through the Second Comforter, but I think his PTHG historical analysis is an absolute mess, and completely wrong in key areas.

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    • “if one picks out a half dozen verses for support, and uses that as the axe to grind, you are welcome to that approach.”

      I am sure you would agree that this particular “axe” cuts both ways. You are certainly grinding yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m always mystified as to the word “keys. Is there a list of “keys” somewhere so we know if one is in violation of using them etc.? Where are the list of “keys” given to bishops and how do they differ from the “Big” set of keys given to the President of the Church. Is the word “keys” perhaps arbitrarily uses to exert control? Just asking.

    1. With that being said… I think it is common sense not to be willy nilly about where the sacrament is administered. The sacred nature of the ordinance should be respected, therefore a family reunion may not be the most appropriate place for it to be administered. Wisdom should always prevail.

    During the last year of my mother’s life she was unable to attend sacrament meeting, thus the Aaronic Priesthood came to her home “on most” Sundays and administered that sacred ordinance. When they forgot, she went without the opportunity. Looking back… I wish I would have had the common sense to arrange the High Priest next door to come and give her the opportunity to partake. In following the “Rules,” I denied my mother of that opportunity for many Sundays in a row, simply because she had been forgotten. (I don’t feel I needed the Bishop’s permission to make those arrangements.)

    There is strength in “like minds” joining together to partake of this ordinance in a church setting. If at all possible, attending with other saints is always the best. D&C 20:75 “It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus;”

    However….D&C 6: 32 “Varily, varily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the mist of you.”

    In particular circumstances, I see no reason why a priesthood holder should be held to the “letter of the law” as to where the sacrament is administered. If the home is considered a “temple,” what better place could it be offered. Since the family is a sacred unit, and the father, being the patriarch of his family, why not offer it… even if it is administered in a tent some place.

    Again… wisdom and righteousness should prevail. Rebellion against the standard procedure is never wise.

    2. As we know, the bread and wine are the symbols of Christ’s body and blood. Bread and Wine are certainly the best symbols to represent his body and blood since He is the “Bread of Life” Alma 5: 34 “ Yea, he saith: come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; Yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;

    The Church used new wine for their sacrament services way unto the 1900’s. In 1899, a small town in Utah County, by the name of Vineyard, grew wine grapes for the sacrament. As a teen, I use to pick tomatoes there and the little field was surrounded by the old grape vines. They still produced grapes but were not picked and were left to withered on the vine or be eaten by the birds. They were definitely not table grapes… they were a bit bitter and not sweet. I don’t know when the Church decided not to make wine for sacrament services.

    Personally I do not think the change from wine to water has any effect on the ordinance itself. I’m sure He has the power to sanctify any substitute, as it is just a symbol anyway.

    Again… wisdom should prevail when circumstances change or are different …health, lack of availability of bread, wine… or even clean water. Wine may actually be the better choice in areas where the water is polluted. (I think I would avoid Kool Aid… ha ha.)

    Staying as close to the original symbols of bread and wine (water) is prudent but no one should be denied the opportunity to partake because it is necessary to strain at a gnat.

    3. I think anything that is done or written in open rebellion could be considered “unworthy.” What I find to be interesting is those who openly rebel (and there are plenty of anti-blogs out there) are not sitting in the pews wanting to take the sacrament anyway. Counsels never target these inactive folks for reprimand, let alone ex-communication, because they are gone anyway… by the hoards, whether they take their names off the of membership roll or not. (These folks get to be on the… “let’s love, encourage and save these poor souls” list.)

    On the other hand, if you blog or comment on blogs and are an active member, love the gospel, appreciate the opportunity to take the sacrament… yet want to explore doctrine or Church policies for better understanding, clarification or correction… look out.

    Heaven forbid if you want to seek answers to the mysteries or explore the opportunity to see the face of Christ in this lifetime. And, don’t even think about disagreeing with some of the standard practices of the Church like “malls and hunting reserves.”

    Being a seeking, active member may set you up as a target for all kinds of treatment… from reprimand, admonishment, being dis-fellowshiped to the ax… excommunication. (opps… better watch my “tone.”

    No… I do not think local leaders have the right to place any sacrament restrictions on anyone who is active, who loves the Lord, who is trying to follow his teachings, even in ways that may not appear traditional. We are simply saints who are trying to reach beyond the mundane correlated discourse in our search for additional light…. in a blog setting.

    P.S. I see the statements from the PR department in June concerning bloggers is just trying to back peddle from the backlash of the Kate Kelly debacle and trying to stop the hemorrhaging. We’ll see how long it lasts.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m moving on. :) May residence in Zion be our ultimate mortal resting spot… Love for all ya all! Jared

    Liked by 1 person

  25. In the same spirit as Log, Jim and Jared, I am also going to take a break from blogging for awhile. There are multiple reasons for this, mainly having to do with not wanting to cause additional grief for my local priesthood leaders. It seems they hear all kinds if complaints from members of the Stake each time I post. What I consider intelligent thoughtful discussion others consider heresy or apostasy. I don’t want to cause harm to anyone’s testimony in any way.

    Cheers and God Bless

    Like

    • I understand why you are going to take a break but I am also sorry to hear that. It is sad that so called “frown up people” go and tattle to “leaders” and then the pressure comes back on you. The truth does and will offend people-or more succinctly, the truth cuts to the very center-and I believe you have been sharing what really is the truth. I know you are in the Lord’s hands and He will guide you through this. I wish you well and hope to see more of your blogs with what I hope is only a short break. God Speed to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I certainly respect your decision… as this is your blog.

      Question: How can one be held responsible for harming anyone’s testimony if what they believe is deeply rooted?

      If one’s testimony is strong, deeply rooted and they know what they believe to be absolutely true, no discussion on your blog or anyone else could sway them one way or the other. They would just take what they read for what it’s worth. There would be no reason to “tattle.”

      Obviously their intent is not what they claim, as they go running to your leaders. If they want to really see what apostasy looks like, there are other blogs and websites out there that fit that bill like a glove. But, there is no reason to attack those folks, because are already gone. “Let’s go after those who want honest “private” discussion and see how miserable we can make life for them.”

      These self-righteous “Do Gooders” create “Contention,” which is what they accuse your blog of creating. If my testimony was not firmly rooted in the gospel… these “Do Gooders” would be enough to make me want to “fly the coop.”

      Looks like your stake has it’s own “Strengthening the Members Committee.” They should look up the words “Busybody” and “Totalitarianism.”

      I don’t know your leaders, but a few of them need to grow some “you know whats” and tell these folks to go home and find something else to do.

      I, like “Letyourlightshine” above, hope you will be back. Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

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