Investigating Alternative Viewpoints


Solomon_Temple_PrayerMy bishop asked to visit with me again on Sunday afternoon. We spent an hour discussing my health – both mental and physical – my career, my financial condition and my blogging activities. Although he doesn’t read my blog, others in the ward do and have shared misgivings about me. I thanked him for the concern, reassured him all was well. He then offered a few pieces of advice.

Tone it down, Get it off Facebook

He suggested I tone it down on the headlines and not link my blog to Facebook. I agreed with his counsel. Here’s why. A large number of my Facebook friends are members of the Church. These are people from my present stake and former stake with whom I have grown up and with whom I have served side-by-side in various callings, including multiple bishoprics and one High Council.

I’m no longer a Correlated Mormon

If you read my bio, you’ll note I have characterized myself as an orthodox, conservative, toe-the-line or correlated kind of member. However, if you have read my blog over the years, you’ll see my content has changed, especially over the last two years. Yes, that coincides with reading the works of Denver Snuffer, Doug Mendenhall, Mel Fish and other writers with unorthodox views.

Don’t Fit the Mold of Orthodox Conservative

I’ve changed. It’s my observation that some people are uncomfortable with my change. For the most part, they attribute that to what I read. I no longer fit the mold of orthodox, conservative or correlated member. Some are a little shocked by what I read but more especially by what I write. I confess I have chosen some headlines with the specific purpose of grabbing people’s attention.

Headlines and the Ways of the World

The Bishop and I discussed this very idea of controversial headlines. He said I was using “the ways of the world” to get readers. He said as long as I’m writing about truth, there was no need to use headlines that evoked emotion or shock. Knowing he doesn’t read my blog, I didn’t want to argue the point my blog is not an official publication of the church. That should be obvious.

Downplaying our Unique History

I also didn’t want to argue my blog is my way of finding like-minded people with whom I can discuss the unique aspects of our theology. By that I mean ideas from our past on which we no longer focus. It seems the mission of the church today is to play down anything about our history that makes us unique or different. Church PR efforts paint us as just another Christian Church.

Concern for the Welfare of my Soul

This is the third time in as many months the Bishop has asked to see me. I am convinced these interviews are motivated by genuine love and concern. Yes, they may have been precipitated by a comment or two from other members of the ward or stake, but I genuinely appreciate the visits. I know he’s a busy man. I’m sure he would rather spend Sunday afternoon home with his family.

Uncomfortable With What I Share

The visits are directly related to what I write on my blog. Obviously someone is troubled about what I share enough to express it to the Bishop. They are troubled about my testimony, about my understanding of the gospel, about my mental and emotional health and about my salvation. I’m honored and grateful but disturbed what I write about makes some people feel uncomfortable.

Keeping Covenants Most Important Thing

I’d like to investigate that idea with you in this post. When asked to give counsel in a Bishopric, I decided long ago I was not so anxious about what someone believed, read, thought or wrote. I was much more worried if they didn’t keep their covenants. I was glad I was not in a position to judge someone’s worthiness, only to provide an opinion to a priesthood leader when I was asked.

Covenants Entered Into Early in Life

Like most of you, I made sacred covenants with the Lord when I was younger. It’s interesting to note the covenants made upon receipt of the Melchizedek priesthood and when endowed are both entered into when so young, at least when I look back from the view of many intervening years. Those are some fairly serious covenants to take upon ourselves at ages eighteen and nineteen.

Covenants Associated with Ordinances

My family members were recent converts when I was baptized. My parents had been members for only a few years when I turned eight years old. I remember my Primary teachers discussing baptismal covenants more than my parents. I’m not sure my parents understood the significance of the covenants. I know I didn’t appreciate the seriousness of my actions at the age of eight.

Instructed by the Stake President

I’m grateful the final worthiness interview for receiving the Melchizedek priesthood is with the Stake President. I will always remember the hour I spent with the Stake President as he taught me from the scriptures, especially section 121, about the differences between the authority and power in the priesthood. I had the same experience when I was later interviewed to be endowed.

Opposition, Temptation and Blessings

I received my patriarchal blessing at age fifteen. A barrage of temptation came upon me shortly after receiving that blessing, just like it did right after I was baptized. When it was time to go on a mission, the adversary stirred up trouble in my family in an effort to prevent me from receiving my own endowment. I have noted this pattern of opposition around sacred ordinances all my life.

What is the Next Ordinance?

It was the same when I was married to my sweetheart in the temple and when I was ordained a High Priest at age 38. I know there must be opposition in all things. Many of my readers know about the recent struggles with health and opposition from the adversary I have encountered in the past year. Based on my life’s pattern of opposition, I should be receiving an ordinance soon.

Receive Further Light and Knowledge

But wait. There are no more ordinances to receive, or are there? Upon being ordained a High Priest I felt impressed to speak with the Temple President about what we could and could not do with knowledge obtained in the temple. This was about the time Jim Harmston was circulating a document surreptitiously on the Internet entitled, “Receiving Further Light and Knowledge.”

Prayer Circles Outside the Temple

I was especially intrigued by the idea of prayer circles outside the temple. Please don’t think I’m revealing anything sacred here that I shouldn’t. It’s a matter of record that prayer circles were held outside the temple until the First Presidency asked us to discontinue the practice sometime within the last fifty years. In addition, I wanted to ask about the wording used to describe prayer.

Can’t Even Ask in the Temple

Even though it was nearly twenty years ago, I remember the temple president’s reaction as if it were yesterday. He wanted to know why I was asking about such things and seemed to be upset that I would “dare” to ask such a question. He did his best to play down the importance of what I had asked, stood up and escorted me out of his office. This interview was now over, thank you.

Proper Place for True Order of Prayer

I thought the question was innocent enough. If we were taught the true order of prayer in the temple, then any other kind of prayer would be less than true. That seemed a logical conclusion in my mind. I simply wanted to know if it was appropriate to use it in the privacy of our own homes either alone or with our spouses and if the robes of the priesthood could be used at home.Yom_Kippur_Prayer

Deceived by an Angel of Light

Doesn’t it seem kind of ironic we are taught sacred things about communicating with heaven and then told to never use those tools on our own? I know the Brethren are concerned we’ll be deceived by an angel of light, but Joseph has given us the keys by which we can identify our visitors from the spirit world. The scriptures and the temple are replete with detailed instruction.

Church of the Firstborn

Joseph was zealous in trying to teach the saints to “go on and make your calling and election sure.” His last few public sermons were dedicated to this subject and the idea that each of us needs to become prophets, seers and revelators for our own families. He spoke of the Patriarchal order and the importance of being prepared by the angels to enter the Church of the Firstborn.

Joseph Encouraged us to Seek Knowledge

These are all subjects I have been studying for years. Isn’t this the sort of thing we are supposed to seek after in our individualized study? I’m concerned to learn someone objects when we even mention such subjects and phrases in writing. It’s as if I’ve violated some secret unwritten code to not discuss such things on a blog. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m not breaking any covenants here.

Sacred Doesn’t Always Mean Secret

If what I write about makes you uncomfortable, write me directly and tell me so. You can remain anonymous if you desire. My email address is prominently displayed up there in the right-hand corner of this blog. I am of the opinion that if writing about these things causes discomfort then we are not talking about them enough. I know they’re sacred. That doesn’t mean they’re secret.

I Seek Your Viewpoint on Prayer

I was going to entitle this post, “Proper Place for True Order of Prayer” but I’m trying to follow the bishop’s counsel to tone my headlines down. You can Google “True Order of Prayer” and get all kinds of stuff, including the actual temple ceremony with the associated instruction. I know I’m not the only person to ask the Temple President my question. What’s the correct answer?

Bringing On the Apocalypse


CoronalMassEjectionI was invited to join a panel of fellow authors who enjoy writing about the catastrophes of the last days. Randy Lindsay is the author of a recent work of LDS fiction entitled The Gathering. I must be candid and tell you up front I have not yet read it. I have a copy and have perused it. I intend to read it within the next month or two. The book was published by Cedar Fort in January and is available from Amazon or your favorite bookseller. Reviews on Goodreads are favorable.

Promoting Discussion of the Last Days

The idea behind the panel is obviously to promote discussion of the last days, the apocalypse, the end-times or whatever you want to call them. The bottom line of course is Randy and Cedar Fort want to sell copies of the book, as does any author and publishing house. Inasmuch as I also have been working on a novel on the subject, I agreed to participate on the panel. I’m honored but feel a little unqualified because my own book has not even been completed yet, let alone published.

Fiction Based on Prophecy

In any event, I took a few minutes to ponder and answer the first question presented to the panel. Randy proposes to present a new question each week. It’s a good idea. If you’re interested in this subject, you might want to pop over to Randy’s blog and add your two cents. Just remember, it’s a work of fiction, even though he’s asking us to comment on the premise or doctrine behind it.  In my response to Randy when invited to join, I wrote the following rather pessimistic stuff:

“I’ve got to tell you from years of gauging interest of the Saints in end-of-the-world type stuff, it’s woefully disheartening. To be frank, most LDS folks don’t want to think about it, don’t believe it will happen in their lifetime and are terribly uneducated on the signs of the times or especially what will happen when the Savior returns.

“To most, it is all very generic: ‘Oh, there’s going to be some destruction and the wicked will be killed, but then the Savior will come and all will be well.’ They either do not understand or believe what they read in our own scriptures, especially the books of Revelation, Joel, Daniel and other key sources.”

Recent Publications on The Last Days

I admit my assessment may have been a little harsh. There are those, like my High Priest Group Leader, who is extremely interested in the Last Days. He recently taught us on the subject using the book, 65 Signs of Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David J. Ridges. The book is more than a checklist. I highly recommend it. Another LDS author I like who writes about this subject is Hoyt W. Brewster. His book is Behold, I Come Quickly: The Last Days and Beyond.

Earlier Publications on The Last Days

Of course we can’t forget some favorites from times past: Prophecy: Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther and The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund. I would be remiss if I did not include the Prophecy Trilogy from my friend Anthony Larson: 1) And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, 2) And the Earth Shall Reel To and Fro, 3) And There Shall Be a New Heaven and a New Earth. My novel, Red Sky is based on the opening scenario presented in Anthony’s first book.

The First Question to the Panel

Randy asked, “Which situation or event that is currently happening do you think most easily could result in the apocalypse?” And the response I posted over there:

My Definition of the Apocalypse

First, let’s agree on the definition of apocalypse. I’ll offer mine by expressing what it is not. The apocalypse is NOT the end of the world. Yes, it is a period of great destruction and catastrophe with billions of people killed by the natural events prophesied, but the world survives. And so do a lot of people. It is these natural events, including the close approach of another celestial body which Anthony has already described in his comments above that brings on the apocalypse.

We Cannot Bring On the Apocalypse

Second, the apocalypse is not something we can control or avoid. The Lord has warned us and warned us over and over again in so many different scriptures it is already on its way. The arm of the Lord is a phrase that has great significance. It refers to something happening in the heavens that the world will see. The Lord has told us he is returning with the armies of heaven, and with the City of Enoch, a piece of this earth that was physically removed and taken up into heaven.

We Can Observe Signs of the Times

We read terrible things in the news that are significant to LDS theology and say to ourselves, “Ah, hah. Another sign of the times,” and indeed we are usually correct. Wars and rumors of wars, economic turmoil, man’s loss of natural affection for his brethren demonstrated by deeds of atrocity, nations coming to an end, rampant wickedness, corruption, immorality and the list goes on and on. I have one thing to say about all these: “Man, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

You Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet

Obviously, Anthony and I are in agreement as this reflects what he has already stated. Even when we talk about hundreds of thousands killed by earthquakes and tsunamis, the size of these catastrophes are nothing compared to what will happen when a “great mountain burning with fire [is] cast into the sea,” or “there [falls] a great star from heaven,” or the sun moon and stars are smitten so that the sun is darkened and the moon glows red as blood with heat. Catastrophic!

Watch For Signs in the Sun

In my mind, the event that is currently happening is the sun is not following the normal pattern scientists are used to seeing for many centuries of observation. The eleven-year cycle seems to be a little out of whack. Watch the signs in the sun. Coronal mass ejections from sunspots are the thing we really need to be watching. One massive CME can produce an EMP that could wipe out power grids and communication systems all across the globe. Stay tuned to SpaceWeather.com.

You can read more about my work of fiction based on the close approach of a large celestial body under the Red Sky tab here on my blog.

The Lord is Specific in Answering Prayer


CounselWithTheLordThis is going to seem like a really random post, but I promise if you will stick to the end you will find something worthwhile. I’ve prayed about it as I do all my posts and have decided the Lord would like me to share a few things about answering prayer. First off I want to let my regular readers know my boss would not let me quit my job. We worked out our differences yesterday.

Now I Know Why The Lord Inspired Me To Resign

I’m still employed. It’s nice to be wanted but its nicer knowing when I did what I felt prompted to do by the Lord – resign from my job – it was the right thing to do. The end result was an improvement in conditions of my life. I have a new boss – the CFO – who understands techs. My associate is now an exempt employee who can share my after-hours and weekend work load.

Sometimes We Have To Hear Hard Things About Ourselves

But most important of all, I learned a very hard lesson from the CEO that the Lord wanted me to hear. He said, “Tim, I asked six people and they all said you come across as condescending, pandering and even sometimes rude.” I listened to him rant and rave about my attitude for about five minutes without interrupting him. When he was done I asked if he would like a response.

Speaking Under The Influence Of The Spirit

Receiving his permission, I spent the next ten to fifteen minutes educating him on a multitude of things wrong with the way the IT department was being managed, or the lack thereof, why it is important to tech guys to have a boss who understands tech and exactly what I did for him in the evenings and on the weekends. He had no clue. I absolutely felt the Lord put words in my mouth.

The Lord Requires Us To Be Meek And Humble

I had gone into the interview grateful that the CEO wanted to talk to me, even though he had accepted my resignation. That told me he valued my skills, talent and expertise. I had prayed and prayed about the meeting all weekend. I asked and pled with the Lord to help me be meek and humble. In my gospel study yesterday morning I was lead to read a recent conference address.

Faulty Perceptions Are Easily Reinforced

Be Meek and Lowly of Heart,” by Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy is filled with invitations to humble ourselves as the Savior did in every circumstance. Before I read the article I was filled with the spirit of indignation of being misunderstood. I knew the CEO would have a few unkind things to say about me that were based on some faulty perceptions.

Inspiration To Not Speak Until the Right Moment

But perception is reality. As I prayed that morning and asked for strength and inspiration, the Lord whispered to me to keep my mouth shut until the appropriate time. It would have been disastrous if I had interrupted the CEO when he was on his tirade. In his mind he was right. He had asked for and received six confirming witnesses. Who is going to say no to the CEO?

The Lord Put Words Into My Mouth

I am not usually one to speak passionately off the cuff, without a prepared script. But when I asked and received permission to present my views on why I could no longer sustain working in the environment I was in, I was simply blown away by the words the Lord put in my mouth and the passion with which I was speaking. The CEO’s eyes got wider and wider with each moment.

Doing Things The Lord’s Way Works Miracles

I sensed his heart had softened. I heard him say, “What can we change to make you want to stay?” I spelled out the three main requests and he made each one of them happen on the spot. We came to an agreement that I would stay on and work on my attitude to be more cheerful and less condescending to employees who I knew were just trying to dump work on someone else.

The Lord Can and Will Be Specific If Needed

Here’s my point: The Lord answers prayer. He answers prayer in very specific ways. Sometimes he tells us how he’s going to answer prayer. He is also willing to give us detailed instructions on how we can be successful in difficult situations. I know I’m not the only one who has had such an experience but this one was direct, exactly as the Lord said it would be and undeniable to me.

It Took Faith and Was a Test For My Family

As I said in an earlier post, I did not know why I felt moved or instructed by the Lord to resign from my job. Well, now I know why. The reason was so my boss and I could work out a few differences that were making my life miserable and causing me great anxiety even to the point of panic attacks early last year. This is the second time I have quit this job and been asked to stay.

The Lord Knew I Needed His Help

I feel a great sense of relief. Having someone to share a burden, someone to whom I can assign to be on-call so I can turn off my phone or ignore emails from employees working from home is a big deal to me. The stress was killing me. I’ve lost 45 pounds in the past year all from feeling like I couldn’t relax from being “on” all the time. If you work in tech I’m sure you understand.

I Get A New Boss And Am Grateful

Having a boss with whom you can talk tech is also a big deal. I never would have thought it meant so much to me, but just because tech guys use acronyms as part of their normal every-day dialog apparently some people are offended. They take it as a personal insult as if you’re talking down to them. It’s a lose-lose situation. They don’t understand or resent you spelling things out.

The Lord Is Involved In Our Everyday Lives

Well, enough about the job. My whole intent was to let you know that once again, I can testify the Lord is directly involved in our everyday lives. He knows the trials we go through. I can’t tell you how relieved I am now with this change of circumstance in my work environment. Of course I still have issues to work on, but my faith is increased mightily that the Lord answers my prayers.

Thank You For The Birthday Greetings and Gifts

On a separate note, I want to thank everyone who sent me birthday greetings, cards and gifts of my favorite kinds – books. I’ve never met you people in real life and you are so kind to me. I thank you so much, Roger, Michael, and especially Doug. I received three CD’s from Doug Mendenhall of Denise’s latest talk from Jan 31st and two more unexpected ones from last year.

Don’t Want To Be Anyone’s Oracle Chick

Because Denise has such a hard time speaking (see note below) – I have pondered transcribing her talks and editing them but would need her permission for that. I know she doesn’t want to be anyone’s “Oracle chick” but she has shared some profound things that are worth pondering. She says the Lord gave her a mission to share something. I take it seriously. So should you.

Yes, Denise Has No Veil and Sees the Lord

Yeah, I can hear you now: “It’s more important that we take the words of the prophets and apostles seriously.” Yes, of course that’s important and I do as I’m sure most of you do. But when someone has a direct conduit to the spirit world, has testified of an open relationship with the Savior, and tells us He has asked her to share something, you’ve got to be a little curious.

We Get To Know People By What They Write

I’ve never met Denise. I’ve met Doug. I count him as a dear friend mainly because I know what he has been doing with his life, what he’s trying to do and I’ve read his books. Many people have told me they love me even though they have never met me because they have read my blog posts and feel we have much in common. Well, I feel that way about Doug and his very helpful books.

Advice on How to Deal With Hearing the Voices

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have not found a more helpful book on how to deal with the adversary than Doug’s book on Conquering Spiritual Evil. It has meant the world to me. I have dealt with attacks from the adversary since my own foolishness in experimenting with drugs as a teenager opened a conduit that causes me to hear their voices almost all the time.

The Adversary’s Forces Are Well Organized

I have such empathy for those in mental hospitals, and I have met quite a few, who have such a hard time dealing with the voices. I know they are real. I hear them and I know what they want. I have learned to recognize different kinds who specialize in certain tactics. Do you realize how organized they really are? No, most people don’t even believe they are real. That is the sad part.

How to Discern The Voices Of Those Who Are Holy

Crazy? Go ahead. Call me crazy. I don’t care. It works both ways. I can also hear the voice of the Lord or ministering angels or the Holy Ghost or whomever he sends me. You want to know a secret? You don’t have to do anything special to hear the voice of the adversary or his minions. But you DO and MUST prepare your heart and mind to discern the voices of those who are holy.

Inspiration, Revelation, Dictation From The Lord

For me, they come when I write. Some call it a muse. I’m not sure I like that. I can test every line I write for truthfulness and helpfulness to others just by asking the Lord to tell me. Is it a gift? I suppose so. I like to simply call it inspiration. Sometime I feel it is revelation. I have felt like I was taking dictation – clearly lucid, never in a trance, and always in complete and total control.

The Lord Answers Prayers However He Wants

Nevertheless, such writing was always accompanied by a special warm and comforting spirit. The Lord has things he wants to tell us and needs us to know for our own good and development. He is willing to talk to us. He wants to talk to us. We are told that prayers are answered in the scriptures. I’m not going to disagree with that, but that is not the only way the Lord talks to us.

The Gift Of Prophecy and Revelation in Daily Use

Sometimes when I pray about an especially difficult problem or about an upcoming assignment to teach, speak in church or meet with someone – such as my boss – or the Stake President this Sunday, I can see in my mind’s eye how the meeting will go. My patriarchal blessing promises me the gift of prophecy and revelation. I have seen this fulfilled over and over again in my life.

Pitfalls Can Be Avoided By Always Telling The Truth

The blessing also contains wording to the effect that the Lord will warn me of pitfalls that may be placed before me by the adversary meant to hinder my progress or to destroy my faith or testimony. This is an area I wish I had developed earlier in life. The greatest blessing that has come from this wording is an absolute conviction of always telling the truth, no matter what.

A Dream Of When I Will Meet The Lord

As I grow older each day of my life, I have come to realize the value of knowing the Lord like never before. I have not seen him in this life, but have received a promise that I can and will. It came to me in a dream. I have not shared it and probably never will. It’s too sacred. It contained references to timing, specifically the remaining years of my life, which I thought very unusual.

Ask The Lord For Help to Interpret Your Dreams

I know dreams are symbolic so immediately upon waking I asked the Lord for help so I could remember it and then wrote it down. I also asked for help to interpret it. As I wrote, ideas came to me as to what certain parts of the dream could mean. That three-page documents sits in my scriptures next to my patriarchal blessing. It reminds me the Lord communicates in dreams.

Thank You For Your Prayers and Private Messages

I’ve written everything I felt the Lord desired I share this evening. I want to thank all of you who prayed for me. I got tons of private emails offering help with a job search, resume updates, places that were hiring and a ton of invitations to move back to Utah. No….. we love it here in California in the land of shake and bake. But thank you everyone for those prayers and emails.

Sometimes The Lord Will Be Very, Very Specific

I hope I’ve been clear. If not let me be as clear as I know how: I know the Lord answers prayer. I know from specific experiences in putting Him to the test. I know he can tell us exactly what to do. He often leaves us on our own to figure things out, but if our faith is great enough, and the need is great enough, he can and will be very, very specific about what to do or how to do things.

Ideas I’m Pondering For a Couple Of Future Posts

God bless you all and thank you for your readership. I have a few good posts planned. One that I think the Lord wants me to do is provide additional thoughts about Denise and Kitten and what they have shared over the years along with some thoughts on Doug’s jedi training. Sound crazy? Maybe, but I promise it will be interesting. Stay tuned. Joel 2:28 is being fulfilled in a big way.

A Note on Denise:

When Denise was ten she went into an unexpected diabetic coma for three days. With that she had a massive stroke with blood effusing into two-thirds of the left side of her brain. In their books both Doug and Denise make references to Denise having to learn to speak, eat and relearn all things she used to do before but now with the other side of her brain. The unexpected result of this traumatic illness is that she lives without a veil.

Church Administration versus Ministering


LDSChurchOfficeBuildingWhen I was much younger, I was fascinated with the administration of the church. My sister works for the church. She is secretary to an Apostle. That means nothing, really. I only mention it to bring some context to what I am about to write. I love my sister and am proud of her accomplishments. I know the church doesn’t pay much but she has stuck it out all her life.

My Desire to Work for the Church

Around the time I married, nearly thirty-two years ago, I applied for a job with the church in the Information Systems Department. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat to work for the church and help with all the technology as it is rolled out throughout the corporation – the institution?” I had a degree in computer programming and a few years’ experience designing database programs.

The Church Responds to My Request

I was surprised when I received a call from Russ Borneman (HR department I think) and Dennis Egget (IS Department) about coming up from California for an Interview. “Sure,” I said. They sent me a round-trip ticket on Western Airlines. I think this was back when the church owned a lot of stock in Western and sat on the board of directors so they got ridiculously low fares.

The Interview – Grilled by the Board

I thought the meeting a little strange. Let me tell you they grilled me. I felt like I was in a police lineup. They put me on a high-backed stool on one side of the room, while a board of about five or six employees from the IS department sat behind a long table on the other side of the room. I must have passed the initial interviews because the rest of the day was spent talking projects.

Objective: Reducing Project Life Cycles

We talked development code, specific assignments and objectives where “new” microcomputer technology could shorten project life-cycles. This was back in 1983. I believe the IBM PC had just been announced. My experience was all in CP/M and dBase coding but it was transferable. When we parted for the day I felt great and thought I had nailed the job. Boy, was I naïve then.

I Move My Family To Salt Lake

Foolishly, I moved my pregnant wife to Salt Lake, went back to the HR department of the church and asked to see Russ.

“What are you doing here?” he said.

“I’m here for the job. You said if I could get to Salt Lake I could start on the projects we talked about.”

He face said it all. It seemed to turn white as a sheet. “I’m so sorry,” he said. We gave the job to the nephew of Brother so and so” – and he named a General Authority. “He applied from another department and we have a policy of promoting from within.”

I Work for Management Systems Corporation

Sensing my disappointment, he cheerfully added, “But why don’t you go down the street to the retail store Management Systems Corporation,” (also owned by the church), “and I’ll put in a good word for you because of your experience with Apple computers. I did and I got the job but it was nowhere near what I needed to support my growing family. Maybe if I were a single guy.

Administration of a World-Wide Church

I told this story many years ago in a previous blog post. I only repeat it here to introduce a topic I’ve been thinking about all day – administration of a world-wide church. I’ve watched with interest as the church has grown in technology over the years. At first, it seemed they were slow to embrace Internet-based applications and anything not dependent on big iron “blue” machines.

The Church Needs and Uses High Tech

“Big Blue” of course is IBM and usually refers to the huge mainframes of yesteryear – the 360’s, 370’s and 390’s. I have no idea what the church uses today, if they still outsource (I doubt it) or if it’s all in-house. I don’t really care. I know they are (or were) big on Novell networks for obvious reasons – made in Provo – and I think they finally got off WordPerfect in the last decade.

Technology in MLS and LDS Tech

I am impressed with the technology of the church today. As a stake clerk I work on MLS every day. I love being able to find answers to just about anything on LDS Tech, a community of other clerks and developers, including many volunteers who give of their time and talent to support the vast and far-flung reaches of the church network. Just think about how it works for a minute.

The Church is Really Like a Bank

By the end of the day each Sunday, any authorized or interested party in the church administration or Church office building knows, to the penny, exactly how much income the church received that day. I am confident there are professional managers whose job it is to trend and forecast the state of contributions each week – and to have a report on some apostle’s desk first thing Monday.

All That Good Money Sitting There Unused

The Church knows exactly where the money is coming from, what areas are feeling the effects of economic downturn and where the fast offerings are being spent. They know exactly how much money is sitting in the missionary funds of each stake – perhaps billions of dollars going unused because many good families pay two years in advance. Others barely make the $400 a month.

Cultural History of the Book of Mormon

If you want to know more about how the church is run at the administrative level, be sure to read the Book of Mammon by Daymon Smith. He’s having a special over the next few months where you can get “The Cultural History of the Book of Mormon” for free, chapter by chapter, via PDF download. I said I was interested in church administration but not so much in our church culture.

Part Two: A Personal Experiencing in Ministering

Now I want to switch gears for a moment. I want to tell you a story about a wonderful spiritual experience I had yesterday (Saturday). I and another High Priest have been home teachers to a returned Mission President for about the last five years. Recently, this good brother contracted cancer. Each time he has a cancer treatment, he has called upon us for a priesthood blessing.

Home Teaching Can Be A Wonderful Thing

He was feeling so good before his last treatment that he felt he could forego the blessing this week. After all, he taught our Gospel Doctrine class just the day before and did a wonderful job. We received a call from his dear wife yesterday (Saturday) asking if we could come and provide a priesthood blessing. Apparently his treatment this week did not go as well as previous visits.

Called Upon to Give a Priesthood Blessing

We were pleased to respond. We alternate blessings with his treatments. He has six total, one every three weeks. I gave the first, my companion last time, so yesterday it was my turn again. Now I have given hundreds, if not thousands of priesthood blessings in my life. Some have been wonderful experiences while some were not efficacious because of a lack of faith somewhere.

Authority Versus Power in The Priesthood

I have been thinking about priesthood blessings a lot over the last few years since I have been introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer. I’ll bet you know what I’m going to say. It is the contention of some that Denver teaches the church is in an apostate condition and has been since the death of Joseph Smith. They claim he teaches the church has no priesthood authority at all.

Don’t Assume What Denver Snuffer Teaches

First of all, I want you to know that Denver does NOT teach that. I specifically wrote about sealing power on my first post about Denver a couple of years ago. He responded that he has never taught the church does not have sealing power. It is his contention that some types of authority or power can only be granted by a voice from heaven. Is that so hard to comprehend?

Being “In the Spirit” While Giving a Blessing

In any event, this is the first blessing I have given since my “episode” with the spirit on my birthday which I wrote about on my previous post. I made a momentous, life-changing decision that, for me – and for my wife – may prove to be a supreme act of sacrifice. I’ve got to tell you my heart has been tender since that day. I have been feeling especially dependent upon the Lord.

Blessing One of the Lord’s Faithful Servants

It was in this state of mind I laid my hands on this faithful returned mission president, former bishop and member of the stake presidency. I know him well and felt honored that he, or rather his faithful wife, had called us to come and give a priesthood blessing. As I sealed the anointing I began to feel something special and sacred that will be difficult to describe but which I’ll try.

Inspiration to Say Something I’d Never Said Before

I acknowledged the priesthood blessing as an act of faith of all in the room. I also acknowledged our dependence on Heavenly Father and his love for us demonstrated through His Son. Then I did something I had never done or said before. I felt impressed to say, “Acting as a conduit for the Lord Jesus Christ, we bless you to receive, through this ministration, virtue into your body.”

The Positive Energy of the Lord – His Virtue

After I said that, I could not speak for several seconds. I felt the love of the Lord for this humble man. I felt the appreciation the Lord had for this man’s years of faithful obedience, sacrifice and service in striving to build the Kingdom of God on the Earth. It was an overwhelming feeling. That is one of the things I miss most about setting people apart when I was in the bishopric.

My Personal Witness of Priesthood Power

There is a real power in the priesthood. It is enabled through our faith and though our desire to say what the Lord would have us say and do what the Lord would have us do. Don’t let anyone ever tell you there is no power in the priesthood. I am a witness that it is real. I know it’s not the ultimate power that comes from having the Lord lay his hands on our heads to confer power.

The Lord Wants Us To Be Conduits Of Virtue

Nevertheless, it is a real power, activated by faith and righteousness. I felt that virtue flow. It was a real sensation. It was a positive and uplifting energy flow that could only have come from the Lord. The Lord is the source of all virtue. It was not because of anything I had done or said. It was because the Lord has virtue to heal and wants His priesthood holders to be His conduits.

The Witness Comes in Exercising The Priesthood

I left that short home teaching visit a sobered and humbled man. Once again, I had received a manifestation from the Lord of his power. It is real. He is real. He is intimately involved in our lives. He wants to bless us. He will bless us according to our faith and righteousness. I am so grateful to be able to exercise the priesthood in behalf of others, especially those I love so much.

Part Three: Stuck in Administration of the Church

Now, my concluding point: Have I ever said how much I dislike Church Administration? I know I said at the beginning of this post how interested I was in church administration when I was a young man. I have had my fill of church administration. I would much rather minister than to administer any day. Why does it seem I’ve been stuck in administrative callings for the past 25 years?

Would Rather Be Teaching, Preaching or Ministering

I would so much rather teach or write or lead a discussion about gospel principles than to go to yet another meeting on how to do a successful stake audit or attend an organization meeting on how to plan a successful meeting or some other inane and basic principle of good planning that any person who has been in the business world or has served a mission knows over and over.

Perhaps As Much As a Year To Get New Job

I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me. I am striving to exercise faith. I know my faith is going to be tried over the next few months. I was surprised in Friday’s senior staff meeting that the CEO announced my resignation and added, “To be effective in one year.” I know I wrote that in the resignation letter but I had every expectation he wanted me out of there as soon as I quit.

Always Wondering How a Entrepreneurial CEO Thinks

Who knows? If I were a CEO, I would want to run my business as efficiently as possible. More to the point, I would want to spend as little money as possible to get the talent I need to run the parts of my business that I don’t understand, don’t have time to understand and don’t want to worry about. I think I’ve given the boss his money’s worth over the past nine years. But now…

Should I Consider Relocating to Utah?

Now it’s time to move on. At 57 years of age. Some people would say I’m done for. Nobody will hire an old man like me. “Overqualified,” they’ll say, code word for “You’re too old and will need too much money.” I know I have my work cut out for me. “Move to Utah,” some of my friends have said. Technology is booming up here.” Ah, yes, the grass is always greener…

We Are All Dependent Upon The Lord

I close with this thought. I love the Lord. I will do anything He asks of me. I have come to the point in my life where I know His voice. I’m not trying to brag. I’m trying to say it’s possible. I know when He speaks to me. I know His promptings. I have not always obeyed and have felt left on my own more times than I want to acknowledge. But I need Him now than I ever have before.

Sacrifice Can Seem Illogical And Unreasonable

Perhaps that’s why he asks us to sacrifice something that is illogical and unreasonable to most people in the world. As I wrote in my last post, what I did went against everything I have always counseled others not to do. Get a job locked down before you quit your present one. But I could not deny the Lord was asking it of me and was pleased with my response. I acted immediately.

Consequences Of Acting Rashly And Impulsively

Carol told me she wanted to respond to some of the comments on the last post and tell how she felt about my decision. Yes, it was rather cold around the house for a couple of days. She had every right to be upset with me. I encouraged her to add to the comments but she declined. She is too busy working her own magic on her blog and promoting her book, now out in paperback.

Thank You For Sharing My Life Online

It’s late and I want to get this posted tonight. I thank each of you who read my ramblings and allow me to share my life online. I’m just a simple Mormon boy coming to grips with a major paradigm shift in my life brought about by the writings of one Denver Snuffer. His books have changed my life. If you haven’t read them, I recommend you do so. You’ll never be the same.

You Want Me To Sacrifice What?


LecturesOnFaithWhen I was reading The Second Comforter for the first time I came to chapter nine where Denver wrote about sacrifice. I read Joseph’s quote from the Lectures on Faith: “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…” Most of my readers know the rest.

Sacrifice Required to Develop Faith

“I get it,” I said. “That part’s clear. It always has been. Without sacrifice we can’t know for ourselves that we would do all things required of us. We would harbor some doubt about our own willingness to lay all things upon the altar when we are asked to do so.” The sweet comfort of the spirit confirmed what I already knew. This was a true principle required of all disciples.

It Won’t be Something Easy

I also asked myself, “I wonder what kind of sacrifice the Lord will ask of me?” I sat back for a minute, pondered all the things in my life that I enjoyed and mentally checked each one off the list. They all seemed they would be too easy to give up if I were asked. So for the past two years since I read that book for the first time, I’ve been wondering what the Lord would ask of me.

Reviewing My Daily “To Do” List

Well, I need wonder no more. I found out loud and clear this morning about 7:30am. I had just arrived at my place of employment, looked over my short list of critical items, my longer list of important items and then bowed my head in prayer to ask the Lord if any items on the list needed to be rearranged. Even though it was not unexpected, I was not prepared for what I heard next.

What I heard was, “Tim, it’s time to move on.”

I stopped cold. I stilled my mind. I forgot all thoughts of prioritizing my “to do” list. I took a deep breath. I shook my head from side to side, muttered a little something like, “Wait a minute. Maybe you didn’t hear me. Let me try again.” I looked up at my white board which held my list of projects and tasks, quickly reviewed it in my mind then once again bowed my head in prayer.

My Conversation With The Lord

“Tim, you don’t even need to ask. You heard me. It’s time.”

“Oh, Lord, you can’t mean it. Do you know what this would do to Carol Anne?”

“I know Tim. This will be a test for her too.”

“A terrible test,” I said. “This is her greatest fear – loss of security.”

“I know that.”

“Do you know what my Bishop would say?

“Yes, Tim.”

“Do you know what my Stake President would say?”

“Yes, Tim.”

“You do realize how I’ve fought and struggled all my life to get to where I am now?”

“Yes, Tim. I helped you all the way. Remember?”

“I suppose you realize this goes against all the principles of self-reliance I’ve ever been taught?”

“Of course I do. Nevertheless, it’s time. Please don’t delay any longer. Make it happen.”

Resigning From a Good-Paying Job

For the next hour, amidst tears and many shakes of the head in unbelief, I composed my letter of resignation. At last it was ready. I have resigned many jobs in my life. It’s a natural part of the tech industry, especially early in your career. Sometimes, it’s the only way to move up, get ahead, get a raise or get to work with new technology. That is, by finding a new and better job.

Your Test May Go Against What You’ve Been Taught

But that technique usually works best when you’re young and have nobody depending on you. I am an old man. I am at the pinnacle of my career, well-paid, with a secure job and great benefits. You don’t just walk away from that without some other prospect in mind. It doesn’t make sense. I remember someone asking on Denver’s blog how you would know the request was from God.

—— Beginning of Quote ——-

From Denver Snuffer’s blog, 11 May 2010, under the title, “What lack I yet?” (bold and italics added by me)

I was asked this question:   “Do you know with surety IN ADVANCE of doing some incredibly hard sacrifice that it is the Lord asking it of you, or do you come to know that it is His will AS you do it?”   My response:

You will know with absolute certainty that the request came from the Lord.   The request will be difficult, or a sacrifice.

HOWEVER, whether the person recognizes at the moment or only in hindsight that it was required for them to develop the faith necessary for redemption is not universal.  Some know at the time, some only know in hindsight.  What is absolutely universal is that when the test has been passed, the faith exists.  When it does, it will be enough for redemption and the promise of eternal life.

Joseph knew he had the promise of eternal life (as recorded in D&C 132: 49) before he went to Carthage to die.  He knew he was going to die.  Death was not his great challenge, but the physical ratification of the faith which already existed in him.  The earlier trials had been enough to prove him and put that power within him.  His death was an extension of existing faith and knowledge.

The order of things is established and can be known.  The details of how it unfolds in individual lives will be specific to the individual.  Whether the person realizes the final great test is underway or not will depend on the person.  I did not.  I only came to realize in hindsight what was underway.

——— End of quote ——–

You’ll Know With Absolute Certainty

Denver said we would know with absolute certainty the request came from the Lord. He said it would clearly be a sacrifice. He said some would know in advance, some would not. In my case, I knew with absolute certainty, in advance, this is what the Lord wanted me to do. Let me tell you how I knew because most anyone can present a very convincing argument to the contrary.

How I received My Confirmation

Before I hit the send button on that resignation email at 9am this morning, I paused one more time and bowed my head in prayer. The prayer went something like this:

Making Sure I’m Not Being Deceived

“Oh, Lord, thou hast asked a difficult thing of me. Thou hast said we can know of a certainty that a request for sacrifice like this has come from thee and not from within our own minds or from some other source such as the adversary, trying to convince us to do something to destroy our lives. Oh, Lord, I need to know for a certainty that this is not advice from some modern crackpot.

I Explain the Difficult Circumstances

I continued, “This will affect my family, especially my dear wife. Her greatest fear is lack of security – loss of a job, loss of income and health insurance. If this only affected me, I would have no hesitation, but thou hast said that wives have claim upon their husbands for their maintenance. Wilt thou answer my prayer with a certainty before I do this difficult thing?”

Negative Thoughts Flooded My Mind

I paused. A multitude of thoughts flooded through my mind. All the negative things my readers have said when I have written about Denver Snuffer in my blog came through my mind. I heard the voice of my own dear wife saying to me, “And if Denver asked you to follow him to some far-away place, would you do it?” I heard my response, “Of course not. That would be crazy.”

I Saw Myself Going Through the Trial

And then, for a moment, all was still. It seemed as if eternity hung in the balance. My finger was poised above the Enter key. In my mind’s eye I saw myself going through this trial. I saw from beginning to end how it would go. I knew how long it would take to secure new employment. I knew the heartbreak, the disappointment, the financial struggle, the pain, the sorrow, the tears.

A Job Affects a Man’s Self-Esteem

I had been through it before, several times. There’s nothing worse to destroy a man’s ego than to lose a sense of purpose that comes from his job. Not having a job takes away your identity. It’s who you are. It’s how the world sees you and evaluates your worth. In an instant, I saw I would lose all that, but in the end, I would be a different person, the one the Lord wanted me to be.

All based on a Short Feeling of Peace

A feeling of peace came over me. A sense of destiny returned to my mind. This was clearly one of those moments for which I was sent to this earth. I saw myself as if I was seeing myself from a previous life. It was déjà vu if you believe in that sort of stuff. I pushed the button. The die was cast. I had sealed my fate. I knew what would happen. I knew my resignation would be accepted.

The Adversary Returned To Torment Me

“Now you’ve done it. You’ve gone and done the worst thing you could possibly do to your wife. Do you remember the counsel of your bishop early in your married life when he said, ‘Well, you certainly haven’t given her much reason to trust your judgment or provided her much security.’ She’s going to let you have it. Why, she may even divorce you. How could you do such a thing?”

Dismiss Satan and Don’t Listen to Him

Yep, that’s Satan for you. I dismissed him and went about my work for the day. Within six hours I had my answer. My resignation was courteously accepted but with a little kicker at the end: “How soon can you get your assistant trained to take over all your tasks?” In other words, “Sorry to see you go, but hurry up and get things all squared away so the next guy can do your job.”

Today is My Birthday – Happy Birthday to Me

I was expecting it so I wasn’t hurt, but it just confirmed for me that nobody is irreplaceable. I wonder how long the process of securing new employment will take this time. Last time it was seven months but I was nearly ten years younger. Today is my 57th birthday – Happy birthday to me. I didn’t have to do this. I brought it on myself. I have nobody to blame for this foolishness.

Of My Own Free Will And Choice

Since this is my blog which I sometimes use as my personal journal, let me make it clear for anybody who reads this. I did this of my own free will and choice. Just like I took the covenants in the temple upon me of my own free will and choice, I decided to accept the promptings of the voice of the Lord – or what I believe was the voice of the Lord – to accept this test and sacrifice.

We’ve Gone Through This Before

I only pray my wife will be able to deal with this. Now you may ask, “Why didn’t you talk with her about this before?” Trust me I have, many times. I told her right away today what I had done. I admire her response. She asked, “Do you still want to go out to dinner for your birthday?” I’m sure there were tears, but I only caught a short glimpse of them. We had an enjoyable evening.

Prove To Yourself That You Treasure God

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. We cannot be both spiritual and materialistic. What do you treasure? Sacrifice is a means of proving to yourself and to God that you treasure Him and His above all the things of this world.

Sacrifice Is A Major Purpose of Life

And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me.” Either we believe in sacrifice or we don’t. What you are asked to sacrifice may not be anything like what I was asked to do this morning. Nevertheless, if we are serious about coming unto Christ, you and I must offer obedience and sacrifice as asked.

When The Lord Speaks, Take Action

Even when a hundred arguments could be offered why it’s not the voice of the Lord that was heard, eventually He will ask us for something dear. Sorry folks. I know that voice. I have had too much experience to know that this is what the Lord wants me to do. He wanted me to do it today as a test of faith and an offering of sacrifice of trust in the arm of flesh to trusting Him.

The Lord Will Help Us Through Our Trials

PostScript: I’m not out of a job yet. It could be months before my replacement is trained. In the meantime, I know from past experience how to market my skills and find out who is hiring. I know what it’s like to lose a job unexpectedly. This is different. It is something the Lord asked me to do voluntarily. I simply do not know why yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out.

Mormons Are a Submissive People


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

Opposite of Arrogance and Rebellion

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

Remember Them Which Rule Over You

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

Obey Counsel of Priesthood Leaders

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

Blind obedience not encouraged

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

Examples from Disciplinary Councils

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

Restoration of Full Fellowship

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

A Willing and Contrite Spirit

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

Submissiveness Natural Result of Repentance

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

The Lord Forgives, So Should We

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

Don’t Dwell on the Sin

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

Bishop’s Counsel is Recorded

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

Counselors Provide Input for the Bishop

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

High Council Disciplinary Format Different

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

Submissiveness Shows Respect

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

The Unwritten Order of Things

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

I’m a First Generation Mormon

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

Apostasy not same as Moral Transgression

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

Apostasy Usually Decided At The Top

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

Stake President Carrying Out Assignment

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

Even Good Men Can Err in Doctrine

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

The Sanctity of Dissent

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

Blogs are For Exploring New Ideas

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

Blogging is Following Counsel of Elder Ballard

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

Seeking to Remain Informed

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

Many Prophets In Addition to Joseph

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

Seek Guidance From God in What to Study

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

Submissiveness to Local Priesthood Leaders

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

Expressed Willingness to Remove my Blog

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

Seek Learning by Study and by Faith

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

Keys to My Participation in Ordinances

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

Snuffer Reader Excommunicated for Apostasy


LDSFreedomForumI am troubled this evening as I write this short post. An online friend has been excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy because he wrote in an online forum, much as I have on my blog, that Denver Snuffer is a prophet of God. As the scripture says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” therefore, if you have knowledge of Jesus Christ, you are a prophet.

Writing Under Spirit of Inspiration

I have read Denver’s testimony of Jesus, as have many others. I concluded long ago he wrote under the spirit of prophecy and inspiration. His books have motivated me to study the gospel and to make greater efforts to live it. I have made no attempt to ask you to believe as I believe nor have I ever mentioned one word about Denver Snuffer or his books in any LDS building.

My Feelings About the Church

Let’s be clear up front. I love this church. I love the people in it. I love the brethren and sisters in my ward and stake. I would not want to do or say anything to cause them discomfort, difficulty or trouble. I love my brethren in the Stake Presidency with whom I serve on a regular basis. I know a stake financial clerk is not that big a deal, but because of it, I know these are good men.

Direction Comes From the Top

Question: What would my stake president do if he received a letter or phone call from a member of the area presidency directing him to convene a disciplinary council on my behalf? Of course he would do it. I would too if I were told to do so. Question two: What if he were given specific directions that I must remove my blog or the twenty-plus posts that deal with Denver Snuffer?

My defense Before the High Council

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I already wrote my defense to the High Council in a previous post. In it I expressed dismay that the Church would try to control the content of a blog written in good faith as an effort to follow the counsel of Elder Ballard. He asked us to be involved in the online dialog going on about the church. That’s exactly what my blog is about.

Definition of Apostasy

Apostasy, in case you’re not aware, is defined as 1) Deliberate opposition to the Church or its leaders in a clear, open and public manner. 2) Teaching as doctrine something that is not Church doctrine after being advised by appropriate authority that it’s false doctrine. 3) To affiliate with, belong to or follow the teachings of apostate sects, such as those that advocate plural marriage.

What Denver Snuffer Teaches

As far as I know, Denver Snuffer does not advocate plural marriage, nor has he expressed any intention to form his own church. I can’t imagine any Church authority proclaiming the doctrine he has taught of the Second Comforter to be false doctrine (D&C 88:68, 93:1, 97:16, 107:18-19). That leaves only deliberate opposition to the Church leaders in a clear, open and public manner.

Why Denver was Excommunicated

From what Denver shared on his blog, he was excommunicated for writing the book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. Now I wasn’t at Brent Larsen’s disciplinary council so I can’t comment about his attitude or if he asked the question, “Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” As I wrote in my previous post on the subject, if the church told me to take down my blog, I would do it.

Similar Testimonies Posted Online

I am encouraged that Daniel Roger’s blog, TheSecondComforter.com still remains. What is so different about posting your testimony of the Savior in a blog as opposed to stating it in a forum? You can read a copy of Brent’s letter of appeal at this link along with some additional insight from Brent’s wife. As always, we only get one side of the story. The Church will not comment.

Submissiveness to Authority

If you are a follower of Christ, talk to me about submissiveness. Tell me what Christ did, how he acted, what he said or didn’t say when he was confronted by those in authority. You know the answer. He was submissive. Like a lamb to the slaughter as the saying goes. Joseph used the same phrase as he went to Carthage, knowing his life would be forfeit to seal his testimony.

And Should We Die

If you’re an old guy like me, you might remember the old B/W movie about the two Mormon leaders in Mexico at the time of Pancho Villa who faced a firing squad rather than denounce their faith. It was entitled, “And Should We Die,” and was made in 1966. I remember we got ahold of a copy on my mission and showed it on the side of the church building one hot night.

It Takes Courage to be a Mormon

We had hundreds of kids and their parents come from many blocks around the church. This was in a very poor part of Central America. Nobody had a TV nor could they afford to go to town to the movie theater. I bring this up as an example of the courage it took to be a Mormon back in the early days of this Church. Now it seems the firing squad has become the local high council.

Killed for Reading a Book

These leaders were killed for reading and believing a book – the Book of Mormon. Apparently if you read and believe books written by Denver Snuffer, you now face excommunication, which in our church is looked upon as spiritual death by some. How can it have come to this? Somebody doesn’t understand what poor PR this is to cast someone out of your church for reading a book.

First Amendment Right Doesn’t Apply

I’ll conclude the way I started this short post. I am troubled by this report. But I’ll reaffirm my intention to do whatever my Priesthood leaders direct. After all, what’s a blog anyway? It’s just a way to communicate and to share feelings. It just seems a shame that we now cast out of our church those who stand up for their right to express their opinions and personal experiences.

The Church is not a Democracy

No U.S. government agency would allow such a thing to happen. We don’t kick people out of America for criticizing the workings of the government or writing a different view of history. But apparently in this church we now cast people out for reading books and expressing our opinion that the author was inspired. I guess the sin was in stating that Denver was a prophet.

This Doesn’t Strengthen the Church Members

All this does is bring more and more attention to what was an obscure local situation in a small part of central Utah. As these excommunications continue, more and more people will learn about Denver Snuffer and want to read his books to find out what all the fuss is about. As I said before, for a church that places such emphasis on good press, this seems like a bad PR move.

Then Sings My Soul


JosephSmithInLibertyJailThere is a phrase we use in our church that holds immense personal meaning for me. We hear it in talks from the pulpit and from teachers in the classroom. We hear it in General Conference. We read it in our church magazines. I don’t think it’s only a part of the LDS culture. It’s found in other religions as well. Those who teach spirituality know it. The phrase is “being in tune.” Some equate it to a feeling of being “at one” with the universe. I’d like to share its significance to me.

A Lifetime of Prayer

I don’t know how you feel when you pray about questions, concerns, problems and the “stuff” of life. I only know how I experience prayer. Except for a few sporadic months as a teenager, I have been praying morning, noon, and night since I was a child. As a missionary we must have prayed a dozen times every day, sometimes more. I’ve prayed in private and public, at church, home and in the temple. I’ve prayed in thousands of homes over the years among all kinds of good people.

A Continual Prayer in the Heart

With over five decades of practice, you would think I would have it down by now – that is, how to pray and feel the sweet whisperings of the spirit and the promptings of the Lord. Well, there have been many sacred moments where I knew my prayer was heard and answered on the spot. But mostly, my prayers are answered over time. That’s why I talk to the Lord all day long. I try to remind Him, and myself, what it is I’m striving for – what I desire and have asked of Him.

Impressions, Thoughts and Ideas

During the day, I receive impressions about what to do or how to think about something I’ve been studying and pondering. A lot of it has to do with my work, which is to manage technology for others, but I also receive ideas and thoughts that help me as I attempt to develop both my spirituality and my theology. Those are two different things. One is relationship-based and the other is idea-based. Geoff’s comment on last week’s post got me thinking about what I’m doing.

Spirituality and Theology

But that, I mean, what I’m doing with my blog. For over six years, I’ve been writing about what I thought were interesting ideas about our religion and our faith in general. Oh, I’ve been very specific on some subjects that are not anywhere near to being settled by a general consensus. For example, when I first wrote about multiple mortal probations, I was totally opposed to it and said so. When I next wrote about it, I had done some additional reading and shared new observations.

Multiple Mortal Probations

In last week’s post I mentioned briefly in the comments that I had come around to believing there just may be something to the idea. I know the arguments against MMP because I made them in the earliest post – a book review of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives. I wrote it was a doctrine of devils and quoted Joseph who said so. Then I read The Unquiet Dead and You Have Been Here Before by Dr. Edith Fiore. Still opposed, I offered additional arguments against it.

An Example from Dr. Fiore

One story from Dr. Fiore’s first book has stuck with me. I have been pondering it for months. It involved a young lady, Becky, who had trouble with migraines. It’s the first clinical example she shared. You can read it in chapter two of the book. During hypnotic regression she related a detailed experience from a past life at age sixteen in which she left home because she was bored. I won’t share all the details other than to say she was killed with a club to the head by soldiers.

Choosing the Next Mortal Experience

In the present day, she suffered from terrible migraines and was referred to Dr. Fiore because they could find no physical cause of her symptoms. The thing I keep pondering is found in the penultimate chapter of Dr. Fiore’s book in which she summarizes the death experiences of her patients, including Becky. They relate how they were met by loved ones. They reviewed what they had learned in their life. They got to choose their next mortal experience to learn the most.

MMP Labeled Doctrine of Devils

OK, that’s enough to summarize the idea of multiple mortal probations. I don’t like to call it reincarnation but suppose you could if you’re more comfortable with that word. Remember, modern-day prophets have called it a doctrine of devils. As I related in a previous post, Joseph Smith kicked a visitor out of his home in Nauvoo who claimed to be reincarnated. He said in a past life he was Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Joseph called him a liar.

A Reader’s Thoughtful Question

As reader “log” wrote in the comments of last week’s post: “I pose the same query to all who preach MMP and have not yet been answered – if the resurrection is universal (D&C 88:14-32, Alma 40:5), and if the resurrection is permanent (Alma 11:45), then how do you get MMP?” That is a great question to which I don’t know the answer other than to suggest these MMP experiences are pre-resurrection. Trust me log, I have been pondering and praying about this.

The Course of the Lord

We know that all things are present before God. In other words there is no time in the sense that we measure it here. He knows all things from the beginning to the end of our mortal journey(s). As I have prayed about this idea, I have decided one could interpret the scripture, “the course of the Lord is one eternal round” to be specifically referring to MMP until we reach perfection. In other words, we can not only choose our next life experience, but choose when it occurs in time.

Not Essential to Salvation

OK, that’s far enough out there. This is a mental exercise. This is not essential to your salvation. It does not matter if you believe in MMP or not. What matters is what you do with this life. Now I want to tie this back to the introductory comments about “being in tune.” I don’t write this stuff to be provocative. I write it because I have prayed about something and want to explore it with others. I’m not a theologian, philosopher or credentialed academic. I’m just a simple Mormon.

Most Important Thing in Prayer

Let’s consider prayer for a moment, specifically answers to prayer and the feeling of being in tune. Ponder with me the process you use in prayer to determine for yourself what truth is for you and what is important. If there’s anything I’m more concerned about when I pray, I can’t think what it might be other than to know if I am pursuing the path God wants me to follow. You can read about the importance of that knowledge in the Lectures on Faith. I’ll say it’s critical.

Lectures on Faith Are Helpful

It’s one thing to believe that God actually exists. It’s another thing to have a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. More importantly, it’s imperative that we obtain an actual knowledge the course of life which we are pursuing is in accordance with God’s will. And that, my friends, is what life is all about, at least for me. I yearn to know and do my Father’s will. I wholeheartedly desire to be obedient and submissive to what He asks, but first must know it.

Describing Spiritual Communion

For me, knowing my Father’s will has come in prayer, over and over again. I study out a subject about which I believe my Father wants me to know. I ponder it, I decide what I believe. I often ask my readers what they think. I then ask in prayer if I am on the right path and wait for that special sacred feeling I can barely describe. The closest description I have ever been able to provide is to say it feels like the world around me is oscillating and my spirit or mind with it.

Causes my Soul to Vibrate

It’s as if someone has touched my soul and made it sing. When I am in tune, I vibrate with the eternities and the cosmos. It doesn’t have to occur in prayer. It can happen in the temple, sitting in church or singing in the choir. This feeling of being in tune is rare enough I know it is from a sacred source. It requires intense concentration and an ability to “let go” and relax at the same time. The feeling is so intense and pleasurable I feel as if my spirit is about to leave my body.

Burning of the Bosom

It is almost always accompanied by a feeling of warmth in my chest. In spite of what Elder Oaks taught over the pulpit in General Conference that he did not feel caloric heat in connection with the burning of the bosom, I do. I always have. It is accompanied by a feeling of comfort and of serenity. It is what I long for because I know it is what I need. It feeds my soul. It brings peace that passes all understanding. And yet, it is but a precursor to even greater spiritual experiences.

Greater Spiritual Experiences

I have not had those greater spiritual experiences yet other than dreams, visions and the gift of prophecy as related to my own life. Some call it the mind’s eye. I have seen myself doing or heard myself saying or teaching certain things before they have come to pass, sometimes years in advance. I have seen events from the present day decades ago. They are personal and sacred but I have shared them previously on my blog, particularly as I described how I proposed to my wife.

Being Instructed by Angels

I have not seen an angel other than my parents in dreams. My father told me of seeing an angel standing at the bedside of his critically injured wife, my mother, after a car accident that almost took her life. I have related that previously in my blog. We each have different spiritual gifts, but they must be sought after and developed even if they are promised in a patriarchal blessing. Mine talks about my home being a sacred place and a fit abode for heavenly visitations. I desire that.

The Miracle of the Mind’s Eye

Like others, I have seen in vision the night of the atonement and what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. I was not taught the things Denver related in his book, Come, Let Us Adore Him. In my case, I was shown how the pain was inflicted and how the evil and unclean spirits were allowed to torture and torment Him for a few hours. The anguish was real because someone so pure and holy had to experience the feelings that come from sin, disobedience and suffering.

A Recent Experience in Prayer

My soul was touched Sunday night in prayer as I poured out my sorrows and grief to my Father over feelings of being overwhelmed by physical pain I continue to suffer each day. I asked if I would be healed. He assured me that I would be in time. Actually, what He said is that I would rise above it. In other words, the pain may not leave me, or the cause may not be discovered or removed, but I would develop strength of will and mental discipline to be able to endure it.

Why Sickness May Not Be Removed

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to be told, “I will take it away.” Perhaps my faith is not sufficient for that sort of healing or perhaps removing it would defeat the purpose of my life. Perhaps this is something I chose with Father’s counsel as the best way to learn faith or humility. Perhaps it is simply part of life. As we age, our body chemistry changes. We begin to feel less energetic or enthusiastic about tiring physical activities or brain-draining mental exercises.

Greeting Ceremony With Christ

The challenge I see for me is to use what remaining time I have left to achieve that long sought-after goal of being prepared to enter into the presence of the Lord. I am convinced it can happen in mortality. I am convinced we should seek for it. I am convinced we should ask over and over, to weary the Lord with our request to be sealed unto Him, to become his son or daughter and to hear Him say, “This day have I begotten thee.” Denver mentions there is a greeting ceremony or “Ceremony of Recognition.”

Sacrifice is Required

I have written enough this day. I have written what was in my heart. This post is not about MMP. It is about receiving the Holy Ghost as your guide, being taught by angels, coming unto Christ and being prepared to be presented to the Father. Where am I on the ladder? I asked the Lord and he told me. He even gave me the number of years before I am ready. Yes, I have years to go. Apparently there are tests and sacrifices required of me which I haven’t imagined. Will I pass? Will you?

Divine Discontent and Enduring to the End


EndureUntoTheEndThe Need for Denver’s Message

One of the main ideas Carol and I have discussed concerning Denver Snuffer is the necessity of the message he has delivered. Carol has made it clear she did not and does not feel there was or is any need for someone like Denver Snuffer to remind us how important it is to literally come unto Christ. The discussion always ends with her pointing out enduring to the end is sufficient.

Endure to the End is Sufficient

“We’ve been baptized. We’ve received the Holy Ghost. We’ve both served missions. We’ve been endowed and sealed in the temple. We try to live faithfully, accept callings and pay tithing. We try to do our home and visiting teaching although we can do better. Now all we need to do is endure to the end. That means keep going to church as long as our health permits. Right, Tim?”

An Investment in Understanding

That’s almost a direct quote. After two years I have learned to simply say, “Yes, dear.” Actually, I learned to say that a long time ago, but particularly in this situation. I’m grateful she doesn’t begrudge the money I’ve spent purchasing his books, the time I’ve spent studying what he has written or the effort I’ve put into sharing this journey on my blog. After all, she’s a writer too.

More than a Casual Reader

I suppose I’m more than a casual reader of Denver’s material. In addition to the books, some of which I’ve read two or three times, I’ve read most of his blog, bought every recorded lecture and printed them so I could study them. So that’s hundreds of hours? I suppose so. Is it time wasted? Could it have been better spent in scripture reading? Trust me, it includes that and gospel study.

Attending the Lectures

I was this close to flying up to Boise for the opening lecture. I have not been able to attend any of the five talks given so far on his current lecture tour due to conflicts with my work commitments. Carol and I have already agreed to travel up to St. George next year to hear that one in person. Well, it’s agreed we’re going, but it’s anyone’s guess if she actually goes to the lecture with me.

Denver’s Message Not For Everyone

Maybe it’s different for men. I feel driven to understand Denver’s message and to be received by the Savior in a literal, physical way while yet mortal. Carol does not. I think I’ve shared on my blog previously how I fasted before my mission for three days and the results of that fast. The Lord answered my prayer and spoke peace to my mind that my efforts were sufficient for then.

The Maturing Process of Life

I heard his voice in my mind, but He made it clear I was not ready. I had not yet been endowed. After my mission I got involved in my career and somehow the desire to receive the Second Comforter left me. I began to say to myself, as I heard in so many talks and lessons, “Enduring to the end is sufficient. Just live a good life, remain temple worthy and magnify your callings.”

The Return of Divine Discontent

I lived with that belief for over thirty years. Then I read Denver Snuffer’s books and everything changed. The feelings I had from before my mission that I should seek to enter into the presence of the Lord in this life returned. I call it Divine Discontent. I think I first heard that phrase in a talk by Neal Maxwell from October 1976 General Conference: Notwithstanding my Weakness.

Accused of Being Divisive

I suspect the scenario I just described is why some of my readers have left comments either here or on Facebook that Denver is divisive and wrong. Carol has said that his writing frightens her. I continue to do all I can to show, by my actions, there is no threat in Denver’s messages, which I now put into two categories: 1) Receive the Second Comforter, 2) Understand our history better.

Not Asked to Gather Anywhere

When I have responded to her, and some of you on this blog who have raised the same point that Denver is not asking us to do anything other than items one and two above, the response I get is, “not yet,” or as some of you have said, “this isn’t over yet,” referring, I’m sure, to the fact that he has not completed his lecture tour. “Who’s to say what he is then going to ask of his followers?”

Come Unto Christ, not Denver Snuffer

She knows I like to counter with “We’re not followers, we’re readers.” I’ve also made the point in my writings I’m not a Snufferite. My standard response is I simply want to come unto Christ. I enjoy Denver’s style of writing. I understand Carol’s point what he writes frightens some people. It means change. I’ve already addressed the idea of unity in marriage. “If ye are not one…”

Voicing that Divine Discontent

Depending on what blogs or forums you like to read, there seems to be much discontent with the way things are going in our nation, and in some cases, in the church. Some promote the idea we take a more active role in voicing discontent through dissent. Some have even suggested we go to the Conference Center as a block to cast an opposing vote in the annual sustaining process.

Investment in City Creek Mall

I never could or would do something like that. First of all, I do sustain the Brethren, meaning, I am happy with their efforts to lead this church. Maybe it’s a Utah thing, but I wasn’t upset with the church’s explanation for where the money came from to build the City Creek Center. I accept that it came from interest earned on our tithing money. For some reason, that doesn’t bother me.

Prepare for Collapse of United States

Other popular LDS-related forums seem to be advocating we get prepared for more than a natural catastrophe. There’s talk of what we should do when the government is overthrown or fails of its own accord. These people are deceiving themselves. It’s good to be involved in the political process. We know it’s prophesied the United States government will collapse.

Spreading rumors of massive violence

Some of the private emails I receive from readers are repeating a rumor that we’ve got until just shortly after Denver finishes his lecture tour before things start to get really dicey here in the United States, meaning they fear economic collapse will soon turn our nation into a land of roving gangs with no central government or police presence to control the violence. What?

Visions of Glory – One Man’s Opinion

One of the most-read posts here on Latter-day Commentary is still my book review of Visions of Glory written by John Pontius. If you read my review (Jan 2013), you know I gave it a mixed response, meaning I agreed with many things in it, especially views of the spirit world found in the first third of the book. As I wrote there, I had problems with the latter parts of the book.

God Will Fight His Own Battles

I didn’t and still don’t object to Spencer’s idea that we will experience great natural catastrophes. If there is anything I find in common with messages from the prophets, it is the prediction of global destruction to occur in the last days. That’s how the nations will be overthrown, not by any act of man. God will take care of things. He has warned us this has long been on its way.

Israel is Central to Events of Last Days

I’ve already expressed my opinion that the world, including the United States will soon turn against Israel to the point of war. I have no doubt Israel will soon act to remove the nuclear threat it sees from Iran. Because Israel will have to act alone with no support from the United States – not politically correct anymore – every nation will gather to fight against them. It’s in prophecy.

Be Prepared For These Events

When the prophesied events of the last days happen, they will be rapid. Things will dramatically change around the world in the period of just a few years. What bothers me is that most people, including most LDS, have not been listening to the message of the prophets, ancient and modern, that the best and most needed preparation we can make for the coming destruction is spiritual.

Don’t Forget Cosmological Signs

That’s why I feel that Divine Discontent is a good thing. It’s driving me to understand better what the Lord will do in these last days. If you want to say that it’s all going to start as soon as Denver finishes his current lecture tour next year, fine. I can accept that. I wonder why so many good LDS writers and bloggers exclude the writings of Anthony Larson in their pontifications.

Writings of Anthony Larson

I can understand if you don’t like the predictions found in Anthony’s books. After all, he has taken the writings of a man rejected by the scientific community and combined them with the scriptures to come up with his unique combination of what is about to come upon us. The word most commonly used by his critics is pseudoscience or ideas of man mingled with scripture.

Signs of the Times Explained

My long-time readers know I disagree. Just like I have gone out on a limb in my claims that Denver Snuffer is a prophet because he is delivering a message he says the Lord asked him to deliver, I have long advocated that LDS folks read Anthony Larson’s prophecy trilogy. It was in Deseret Book stores for years. If you really want to understand the last days, Anthony can help.

One More Writer I Recommend

I know both writers are unorthodox. I know they both have their critics, some very vocal. I might as well add to the list one other LDS writer who can best help you prepare for the last days. I’ve written about him before: Mel Fish. Mel is not the only one who teaches what he does about how to remove the influence of the adversary from your life, but he has published more than others.

How I Have Tried to Prepare

So there you have it. If I were asked whose books should I read to be best prepared for the last days and the eminent destruction which is prophesied to shortly come to pass, these are the three men I would recommend. Their writings have done more to help me understand what the Lord is about to do very soon than those of any other LDS writer. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

Promptings of the Holy Ghost

The basis for everything these men teach is found in the scriptures. In other words, if you have the gift of the Holy Ghost and the scriptures, you don’t need what these men have written. There is much disagreement about their interpretations of the scriptures. I have chosen the Holy Ghost as my guide. He has led me to the writings of these men. The spirit may lead you elsewhere.

Perhaps Only Philosophies of Men

I confess I am a weak man when it comes to understanding what I read in the Bible and other standard works. The language of the scriptures is different from the way we speak and write today. That’s why I’m grateful for what I have learned from these men who have studied and written much of what they felt the Lord wanted them to share. I feel forewarned and prepared.

Inspired Writings From Many Sources

Maybe you don’t need the interpretations of others to understand the Lord’s strange act of the Last Days. I do. I appreciate the words of our living prophets and apostles. I simply ask myself, why has the spirit led me to the writings of these particular men? The answer always comes, after years and years of reading, studying and praying: “These men were also inspired of the Lord.”

Wrapping it Up

You may say this post is all over the place. You’re probably right. What was my point? It had something to do with Divine Discontent, right? My point is the Lord may inspire you to study the teachings of other men and women besides those we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. My point is that the writings of these men have helped me in dealing with Divine Discontent.

What Drives You May Be Different

Maybe you don’t suffer from Divine Discontent. Carol doesn’t. She is perfectly happy with her life as a writer of romance novels – or whatever genre she decides to tackle. Please don’t take this as a sexist remark: Maybe Divine Discontent is a malady that only strikes men. Maybe I’m unique in that I feel so driven and have felt driven by the Lord to read the writings of these men.

My Blog feels Completed

If this ends up being the last post I ever write on my blog, I will be happy. I have shared what I intended to share when I started blogging six years ago. I have introduced you to the writings of three men whose messages I felt the Lord wanted me to receive. I have tried to explain them and in many cases, to defend them. I feel I have done what the Lord wanted me to do with this blog.

Enduring to the End

Starting tomorrow I’m back to work. My week of vacation was well spent. I re-read Come, Let Us Adore Him and made good progress on my third reading of The Second Comforter. While I’m not there yet, meaning I have not received the Second Comforter, I feel my time was well spent. I’ve appreciated everyone’s comments on my last few posts. Thanks for stopping by. God Bless.

Gratitude for Those Who Build the Kingdom


TeachingsLorenzoSnowTeaching the High Priest’s Group

I’ve been asked to substitute teach the High Priest’s Group this weekend. I always enjoy teaching but wish we had more time. After the opening section of priesthood, we get about a half hour to teach. That’s barely enough time to say hello and introduce a topic. Well, I prayed about what the Lord would have me do. He said, just discuss the key points. The brethren will participate. That’s good because I don’t want to have to talk much. Let them teach the lesson. My job is to lead or guide the conversation. Hopefully we’ll all come to the same conclusion the manual leads us to and that is “Don’t follow the ways of the world or be worldly. Live the gospel principles.”

Precious Little Time to Prepare

I’m OK with this assignment. I feel I can do it, especially after having asked the Lord what He wanted done. I’ve known about this assignment for two weeks but have been swamped with the last two weeks of my annual technical training classes. I have been burned out every night. The Lord did not say I needed to prepare any material. It’s all in the book. I’ll just ask some of the brethren to tell the story of what happened that caused Kirtland to fail and how we can avoid it. If your quorum or Relief Society group is like mine, we’ll have no problem with participation.

Just Have to Lead the Conversation

I’m grateful the Lord answered my prayer about this. I’d been concerned about preparing a whole bunch of material, having to explain the details of the Kirtland Safety Society, give some examples of speculation and why it can lead to worldliness and cause one to forget their religion. But I don’t have to do that now. I have the promise of the Lord that He will teach the lesson. I love when that happens. To me, its evidence the Lord loves me and understands my desire to be a conduit for the spirit. After all, isn’t that what the teacher really should do – just subtly guide?

A Report on Digesting Denver’s Lectures

For those who are interested, I wanted to offer a few thoughts that have come to me as I have listened to, read and digested Denver’s last five lectures. But first I want to express gratitude. I should do this in private, but sometimes it’s better to put it on the blog. Doug Mendenhall, if you read this, please accept my thanks for several things: 1) Recording the lectures. 2) Allowing me to pay for them so I’m on the list to get them right away. 3) Then sending them out USPS so I get them just a few days after they transpire. Even though I can’t be there, I feel like I was there.

Thank You for Transcribing the Talks

Second, I want to thank Denver or Stephanie for taking the time to transcribe them and then Denver for adding all kinds of stuff he intended to be in the recording but later added under the spirit of inspiration. I am just fascinated as I listen and read at the same time. The recording with voice inflection and powerful emphasis in some places causes me to delight with the way I am affected by both hearing and reading the words. And to whoever took the talks from Scribed and put them in a PDF (I won’t name you), for email distribution, thank you, thank you, thank you.

A Study Notebook to Get the Big Picture

I’ve made a notebook of the five talks so far, printed out the PDFs and put tabs at the beginning of each one indicating location. The subject of the talk given at each location is at the top of each page and I have ripped the CDs so I can sit in my favorite easy chair, play it on a podcast and highlight the talk as I listen. I stop often, pondering what I am hearing or looking up the scripture to make notes in the margins. I’ve done the same with the Elijah talk and The Road to Emmaus Talk and the Temple Talk. I think I’m missing others (First Three Words, Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom)but I’ll eventually add them to the book (Links anyone?)

A Series of Lectures for Such a Small Group

I wish I had some insightful thoughts to offer but so far, I’m still trying to figure out why the Lord asked (commanded) Denver to do this. As he said, he is paying to come talk to us. He pays for the rental of the hall if he can’t find one for free. He is paying his own travel costs. I wish he would come to California but who would come listen to him? Nobody has even heard of him. I’ve made up my mind I’m either going to St George or Phoenix to attend one of his last lectures. I can see there’s an order to what he’s doing, teaching certain subjects first. There are 132 pages so far. That doesn’t include his earlier talks – just the last five. That’s a lot of pondering to do.

A big Thank You to Denver for His Sacrifice

I know he said he does not like it when attention is given to him but I want to express my personal gratitude to Denver for doing this. He gave up his membership to do what the Lord asked him to do. As he wrote on his blog, we should be thinking about the Lord and the message He asked Denver to deliver. And again, this should probably be in a private email but I want more people to wonder who this man is and why he is doing this series of lectures. I want people to go back and see what I have written about him, then go to his blog, read it, buy his books and read them. He doesn’t need a spokesman. We don’t know each other. I just want to say thanks.

Reminder of What You’ll Find on This Blog

I know my blog readership is small. That’s OK, 200 people is just fine. It’s not even the same 200 people who come by each day. These are usually people who Googled Denver Snuffer or Visions of Glory or Excommunication or Casting out Devils or Near Death Experiences. These are all subjects about which I have written. I reached a new milestone the other day – 360 posts. This blog is becoming more of a journal. Because I get new readers every time I write, what you’ll find here are a lot of fringe LDS book reviews – and commentary on a few of my favorite authors – Denver Snuffer, Doug Mendenhall, Anthony Larson, Mel Fish and Jan Graf. Jan hasn’t written much but for those who know him, you know why I want to write about his work.

I’m Feeling Better, Thanks for Asking

For those who are interested, my health is improving. I have found a very strict psychiatrist who is making me get off the medication that was putting me to sleep all the time. You know, it’s so easy to abuse prescription medication. The Anti-anxiety drug I still take works wonders, but it works just as well in small doses. I was taking three times as much as I needed each day. No wonder I barely had enough energy to stay awake through my training classes. I have also found a local psychologist who’s agreed to take me on. He was recommended by another psychologist because he thought he was Mormon but he’s not. So what? We’re going to have some nice chats.

Visits From the Spirit World

I recognize that for those who don’t know me, reading that I’m seeing both a psychiatrist and a psychologist may cause you to wonder what could be the matter with me. It’s a long story. I’ve explained it dozens of times in emails so I finally posted most of it in a recent blog that has links to the full story. In a nutshell, back in February, something turned on my ability to see and hear dead people. It scared the crap out of me because I wasn’t ready for it. The family doctor is a good man who gave a prescription for anti-anxiety medication that really helps but it also turns off the ability. So this will be an interesting journey as the psychiatrist weans me off the drug and the psychologist and I talk about the visits from the spirit world – no big deal for some people.

Visit the Spirit World to Gain Knowledge

So if for nothing else, come back every once in a while to see if I go off the deep end or if I come up with some unique insights into what the spirit world is like, at least for me. I can also have conversations with the spirits at will but I have purposefully kept from doing that because, well, frankly, I need to learn more about it and why it started happening. Some people live with this and have no problem. For me, I’m still getting used to it. I know when they’re around and they know I know it, so I have to clear the room or the house frequently. Otherwise it’s not good. My goal is to turn this into a way to live with the presence of angels as promised in a recent blessing.

Keep Patriarchal Blessings Sacred

My patriarchal blessing says my “home will be a refuge from the ills of the world, a place where you can go before the Lord and invite Him to be with you.  It will be a sacred place; a fit abode for heavenly visitations.” It also says that the adversary will “seek to destroy you and your work,” but I suppose that applies to all of us. I am supposed to “use every possible moment in your development for the work that you have been called to do.” So what is that work? Is it just the basic job we all have to live worthily and righteously so we can return to live with God or was there something I promised to do. That’s for me to find out. I’ve pondered it for 41 years.

The End is Near and Yet…

It’s late Friday night. I’ve been up since 5:45. I went and looked for the comet but there were too many clouds. They say it is now visible with the naked eye but a backyard telescope is better. Why am I so interested in comets? Because Joseph said the Grand Sign of the Lord’s return will be seen by all the world. The world will say it is a comet of a planet. I’m of the personal opinion that the Lord will come with the City of Enoch. Isn’t that our doctrine? But I also believe it’s not going to happen right away. There will be forerunners – great destruction that will change our world and our civilization. That’s another reason I’m such a fan of Anthony Larson’s books.

Catching up to Private Email

I express my deepest apologies to those who wrote me private emails in October. The medication and the constant study of the material I need to pass completely took over my life. I could not muster the energy to respond the way I wanted. I’m slowly weeding through them. We all have lives – lessons to prepare, weddings, temple service, home teaching, family time. I hope you’ll understand. Some of you wrote some very interesting things. I’m not putting you off. Now that I’m beginning to feel better and not always sleeping, I’m confident life will return to normal.

A few Closing Thoughts

God bless you one and all. God loves each of us and wants us to love and serve each other. We each have different gifts. Many of you have shared you’re gifts with me of also being able to see or hear spirits and how to work with them. I thank you. I am almost done with “Spirits and Spiritual Interactions” by Dr. Christopher E. Palmer. I hope to finish it this weekend and write a short review both for my blog and for Goodreads. Thanks to whoever recommended the book. I know the Lord is cognizant of each of us, our situation in life and what we deal with every day. Nobody’s life is pain-free, physical, spiritual or emotional. I am certain we are supposed to learn from each other. So again, I think you for all the comments over the years – all 4,323. Cheers.

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