Apologies to Tim’s Readers


This is a guest post by Log.

rsz_geeky-apologies

I wish to apologize to Tim’s readers for my post entitled “What Manner of Men?”. While I believe wholeheartedly in the principles advanced, my capacity to observe those principles is limited, and I failed to observe them in the comment section to the post. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize to those whom I offended. I have asked Tim to take down that post.

Note from Tim: I loved the post. It is doctrinally sound. I have pondered it for several days. I have Log’s permission to repost. This is a great opportunity for us to show love to one another – online – using the principles Log outlined in the post. As I noted in one of the earlier comments, I consider Log a dear friend. I have prayed about this and feel the post should be made available.

Looking Beyond the Mark


HebrewTav1It the LDS Church today, we often hear the phrase, “Looking Beyond the Mark.” Those who read the scriptures know this comes from the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon. This is a uniquely LDS phrase, not found in the Bible. Jacob was teaching the people about Christ, who, of course, is the mark in question. Keep that in mind. Christ is the mark, not the LDS Church.

Anything that causes you to look past Christ for salvation is looking beyond the mark. Anything that takes you away from coming unto Christ is looking beyond the mark. Anyone who stands in between you and your Savior can cause you to look beyond the mark. Anything, any system, any person or any church that purports to be able to save you is deflecting your view from the mark.

From this verse, sermons have been preached, lessons have been written, actions have been justified and individuals have been condemned. Ironically, when someone focuses on coming unto Christ, and doing all within their power to respond to the promptings of the spirit, others may perceive them as engaging in a gospel hobby, accusing them of looking beyond the mark.

Here is the verse in question:

“But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:14)

Elder Cook spoke about this subject. He said, “Today there is a tendency among some of us to ‘look beyond the mark’ rather than to maintain a testimony of gospel basics. We do this when we substitute the philosophies of men for gospel truths, engage in gospel extremism, seek heroic gestures at the expense of daily consecration, or elevate rules over doctrine. Avoiding these behaviors will help us avoid the theological blindness and stumbling that Jacob described.”

Most Apostles Understand the Doctrine

Elder Cook got it … sort of. I like the phrase “maintain a testimony of gospel basics,” but I’m fairly certain he would not discount these words from Joseph when he said, “I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (TPJS, p 299)

Roy Doxy, when he was dean emeritus of Religious Instruction at Brigham Young University taught this important doctrine in the July 1976 Ensign. This one article alone answered so many questions for me back when I preparing for my mission. I have treasured it and wondered why we have not had more articles, talks or lessons like this in our correlated instructional material.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/07/accepted-of-the-lord-the-doctrine-of-making-your-calling-and-election-sure?lang=eng

The reason I think Elder Cook understands this doctrine is because he clearly points out the mark is Christ. It is only the gospel of Christ, the doctrine of Christ that saves. Elder Cook concluded, “One of the great challenges of this life is to accept Christ for who He is: the resurrected Savior of the world, our Redeemer, our Lord and Master, our Advocate with the Father.

“When He is the foundation for all that we do and are, we avoid the theological blindness that results from looking beyond the mark, and we reap the glorious blessings He has promised us. ‘Come unto me, ye blessed,’ He tells those who follow Him; ‘there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father’ (Enos 1:27).”

Source: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2003/03/looking-beyond-the-mark?lang=eng

The Doctrine Has Been Watered Down

Elder Dean Larson spoke on the same subject back in 1987. He used a sports analogy to describe the importance of staying within the circle, which he called the mark. Although He noted the importance of faith in the redeeming role of the Messiah, he said the mark was wisdom and prudence, equating it to a circle of fundamental gospel truths, providing a basis for that faith. I wish he had been as plain as Elder Cook in stating Christ is the mark to whom we should look.

Source: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1987/10/looking-beyond-the-mark?lang=eng

For a good, although lengthy analysis of the phrase, Paul Y. Hoskisson, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, published an essay in 2007 that includes the classic symbolic themes and metaphors of gospel hobbies, sin, pride, wealth, and strengths that become weakness (see Elder Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” BYU, June 1992). In other words, anything that distracts from the target, or the mark of Christ, is to be avoided.

Source: http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/selected-articles/looking-beyond-mark

From Matthew Faulconer’s blog, “Feast Upon the Word,” we read:

“…looking beyond Christ could mean a number of things. It could imply that one is looking to be saved by actions, ordinances, or even associations with other people, rather than looking to the atonement of Jesus Christ for salvation. One reason it may be easy to look beyond the mark in this sense is that it is easier to gain an assurance of our salvation through a tangible feeling or action rather than a quiet voice or a small feeling that takes time to understand.”

Source: http://feastupontheword.org/Jacob_4:1-18

Some Doctrines Take More Study and Thought

Elder Oaks offered the following in a BYU Idaho devotional 7 Nov 2006:

“My second subject of wisdom concerns looking beyond the mark. In the Book of Mormon the Prophet Jacob described a people who ‘despised the words of plainness, . . . and sought for things . . . they could not understand’ (Jacob 4:14).  He said this caused them to fall because when persons are ‘looking beyond the mark,’ God takes away plainness and gives them what they sought–things they cannot understand.

“We see this today. For example, some persons write General Authorities asking when we will be returning to Missouri or how we should plan to build up the New Jerusalem.  Others want to know details about the Celestial Kingdom, such as the position of a person who lives a good life but never ever marries.

“I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. What I do know is that persons worrying about such things are probably neglecting to seek a firmer understanding and a better practice of the basic principles of the gospel that have been given to them with words of plainness by the scriptures and by the servants of the Lord

“If we neglect the words of plainness and look beyond the mark, we are starting down a path that often leads to a loss of commitment and sometimes to a loss of faith. There is enough difficulty in following the words of plainness, without reaching out for things we have not been given and probably cannot understand.”

Source: http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2006_11_07_Oaks.htm

Seeking the Second Comforter IS the Mark

I think that’s enough detail from words of prophets, apostles, general authorities and scriptural commentary to make a point. I won’t get into the other common definition of the mark, as found in Ezekiel 9:4-6. It is the mark or anointing placed in the forehead of suffering saints who sigh and cry for the sins of those in their cities. The mark is placed there by their attending angels.

The point is this: Seeking to enter into the presence of the Lord in this mortal life is NOT looking beyond the mark. It is NOT a gospel hobby. It is NOT gospel extremism. Seeking to receive the Second Comforter is NOT something of which we need to repent. It is something we need to do. It is not spiritual blindness. It is having one’s eyes opened. The Lord is not saddened by our efforts in this area, even when they are misunderstood and result in being disciplined by others.

I suspect when scriptures or doctrines are understood differently by individuals, the tendency is to say the other person is suffering from “blindness [that] came from looking beyond the mark.” It’s a polite way of throwing one’s hands up in the air, saying, “You don’t get it, do you? Why can’t you see it the same way I do? Oh, I get it. You’re blinded. You refuse to see the truth.” With such thinking, they go on their way, feeling secure and justified in their own conclusions.

Discussion versus Contention

That’s a sad way of relating to others. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to try to understand the other’s point of view? I confess I have been guilty of impatience in relating to others, both in person and here on my blog. For that I apologize. I love discussion, but abhor contention. I am a witness that contention causes the spirit to withdraw. So does taking offense. I’m preaching to myself here.

Most of my readers know I have withdrawn my membership from the LDS Church. I’ve tried to share my reasons why. I’ve had my share of public and private dialogs and conversations about my decision. Most have tried to be understanding and kind. I appreciate that. I don’t endorse my path for anyone unless God tells you. I received that confirmation as the best for my situation.

If I come to regret my decision, feel I’ve made a mistake and desire to be readmitted by baptism to the LDS Church, I must receive approval of a representative of the First Presidency, this even though I was not placed under formal probation before I resigned. This is understandable. In my blog, I have been clear I felt the Lord sent a servant with a message from outside the hierarchy.

Concluding Thoughts Going Forward

I seek to come unto Christ. I made a decision to be baptized in a manner that is slightly different from the way it is done in the LDS Church today. I also decided to participate in the sacrament in a slightly different manner from the way it is administered in the LDS Church today. Finally, I practice an order of prayer learned in a sacred place that I feel brings more power into my life.

I like to think I have kept all the good things I had in the LDS Church. I have disagreements with the manner in which the church is trying to control those who blog as a way of learning things. I am certain of the path I have chosen. Much like Brigham Young, I studied it for years before I acted. I take that back. I acted the first night I read the message. I prayed and asked God about it.

I recognize what I have done is unusual, different, unorthodox and certainly not the path that is accepted by the LDS Church. Thus, I resigned, knowing I would eventually be excommunicated. Why? Because I will not, I cannot deny what I have learned through study and prayer. Many claim I have been deceived. Perhaps. We shall see. I thank you for your prayers in my behalf.

 

We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet


ProphetJosephSmithI attended our ward Sacrament meeting today. Because of General Conference next week, we held our monthly Fast and Testimony meeting. A majority of the testimonies were from the sisters sharing their thoughts about the Women’s meeting last night. The number of testimonies of a loving God and Savior were about equal to those of a living prophet. I appreciated that.

I’ve become more attuned lately to the expressions of gratitude for a living prophet in our testimony meetings as well as in the material we teach each Sunday. I’m obviously going through some adjustments in my thinking about prophets. Yes, I fully accept Joseph Smith was called of God as a prophet and acted as such. But yes, I also feel something was lost after Joseph.

Was Brigham inspired? Yes. Was he a prophet? I never knew the man. The people sustained him as such. The first prophet I knew was David O. McKay, but I don’t think I paid attention until the days of Spencer W. Kimball. Yes, I felt he was a prophet, else I wouldn’t have responded to his call to serve a mission. Did he speak for the Lord? I believed so. In fact, I still believe he did so.

Prophets Who Don’t Get in the Way

What about Presidents Monson, Eyring and Uchtdorf? Our opening song this morning was “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.” I always think of Joseph Smith when we sing that song. Do I think these men are prophets? We sustain them as such, or at least members of the LDS Church do so. I am no longer a member of the LDS Church. It makes me think of President Hinckley.

When he was asked the question, “Are you a prophet?” he responded, “The people sustain me as such.” I have always wondered why he didn’t just come right out and say, “Yes, I am a Prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Of course that invites the follow-up question, “Does he talk to you?” and the inevitable answer, “I believe he inspires me today,” or some words to that general effect.

At least President Hinckley went out and spoke to the media. President Monson is getting a bit old and has short-term memory loss. I hope we will see him in good spirits and good health next week. He was at the Woman’s Conference last night. I hope we will hear from him. I still pray for the leaders of the LDS Church. I desire the Lord’s blessings upon them as well as local leaders.

Deny the Sacrament for Asking Questions

I’ve tried to make it clear I hold no animosity toward my Bishop and Stake President for placing disciplinary restrictions upon me as I was going through my faith crisis. I know they were just following the handbook. But I do feel it is wrong to withhold the sacrament from someone just because they are questioning their faith and belief in the authority of the LDS Church leadership.

In fact, I have said it is an abomination and anti-Christ to do that. The handbook is wrong in this matter. To withhold the sacrament because someone is not so sure they see the hand of the Lord on the current LDS Church leadership does not seem like a good idea. I know the Lord said to not administer the sacrament to those who are unworthy, but for wondering about a prophet?

I was willing to sustain these men as prophets, seers and revelators because that’s what we have always called them. I told this to the Bishop. Apparently that wasn’t good enough. I felt as if I was being asked to bow down to them, that they were to be as Gods to me. This is wrong. Our God is a jealous God and has commanded we have no other Gods before him, especially idols.

This is What the Lord Said About That

I ask myself, as do many, what have these men prophesied lately? What direction have they offered and then followed that with words to the effect of, “The Lord required me to tell you this,” or “As I asked the Lord about it, this is what He told me to say.” And just because I ask these questions, the church handbook says I am an apostate and should be denied the sacrament?

This is part of the reason I resigned. I do not believe asking questions makes one unworthy. I do not believe the church has a right to deny the Lord’s sacrament, of which He commanded we are to partake often, from those who ask questions. So when I heard another man say, referring to baptism, “The Lord has renewed this commandment to you this day,” I asked the Lord about it.

I refer of course to the invitation from Denver Snuffer, given at the Phoenix / Mesa Lecture to go and get baptized in living waters as a sign we accept the message the Lord caused to be delivered by a servant, called from outside the hierarchy of the LDS Church. The Lord knew very well that such an invitation would separate out those who believed the Lord sent this messenger to teach us.

Centralized Control – Secret Ordinances

We each must rely upon our own feelings about how we feel the Lord answers our prayers. In my case, it was unmistakable. I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Yes, what this man has spoken is the message I asked him to deliver. Yes, you will be blessed for being baptized again.” Simple logic told me I had to keep it secret or else I had to resign from the LDS Church to do so.

One of the advantages of resigning from the LDS Church is I can now partake of the sacrament at home in the way I feel the Lord intended it – with wine. Of course you don’t have to resign to do this, but you’ll have to keep it secret because the LDS Church wants to control it. I believe the ordinance was changed and became invalid when we substituted water for wine in the prayer.

My letter from Confidential Records included the wording, “If you want to become a member of the LDS Church again, see your local unit leaders.” Of course, that would require I go back to no questioning, especially in a public format like this blog. It would also require I accept some of the doctrines and ordinances I am now convinced have been changed. That won’t be happening.

Perform Ordinances in Your Communities

The funny thing is, as a non-member, I could have taken the Sacrament today. The Church, in order to be politically correct, does not forbid non-members from partaking of the Sacrament. But if you dare raise questions about some of the history, doctrines or legitimacy of the current leadership of the LDS Church, you are forbidden to take the Sacrament. Yes, that’s anti-Christ.

I don’t want to be one of those angry former Mormons who rails against the LDS Church. I would much rather focus on what I believe is about to take place in the near future. I was once again reading the Mesa Lecture last night and noted these words, which struck me powerfully. I have always felt strongly about the idea of the disintegration of society before the Lord’s return.

“Before the Lord’s appearance to the Nephites, society broke down into tribes consisting of family and friends. Immediately before the Lord’s return we should expect something similar. Therefore, part of the preparation by God’s house for coming social chaos is likely to include some preliminary preparations by families and friends to fellowship with one another in local gatherings.”

Organize Communities to Build Zion

He indicated these communities would be completely apart from control by the LDS hierarchy. “Only by independently functioning can they hope to prepare for social chaos prophesied to accompany Zion and precede the Lord’s return.” (D&C 45:66-68) One of the things I know I am going to miss is the sense of community I once felt with my ward and stake. That is gone now.

Yes, you can say I am the one who resigned, but I promise you it was only a matter of time before I was excommunicated for apostasy. The bishop made it clear. The handbook mandates, requires, demands and states unequivocally a disciplinary council must be held in the case of apostasy with only the two possible outcomes of disfellowshipment or of excommunication.

I was labeled apostate because I was questioning why we don’t believe and teach some of the things we used to believe and teach. Because of that questioning, and because I was finding answers in the writings of a man who the church cast off, it was determined I was also apostate. You simply don’t question the Brethren in the LDS Church. If you do, you are no longer worthy.

To Bear One Another’s Burdens

I seek community. I have found some community online, but that can’t replace getting together to take the Sacrament, to mourn with those who mourn and to bear one another’s burdens. I also feel that Zion can’t be built up unless we seek to eliminate the poor in our communities. I want to participate in such communicates. I may need to travel to them since we are spread out so far.

If there’s anything I got out of the Mesa lecture besides the distinct impression from the Lord I needed to be baptized in living water, it was the idea of communities. I could see them in my mind’s eye spread all across the land. They were small groups at first, meeting secretly out of fear of discovery, just as the believers in Alma’s days had to hide from the searches of the King.

I had a reader ask me why I didn’t focus on the invitation Denver offered in Grand Junction. If you’ll recall, we were invited to organize into communities with the express purpose of learning to care for the poor and needy among us. He quoted Denver’s words in which the purpose of tithing is to bring to pass the words, “and there were no poor among them.” I share them here:

Build Zion Communities with No Poor

“So, given the fact that you are commanded to pay tithing, and some of you are unable or refuse to do so because of the particular circumstances that you see in your church of choice, and given the fact that the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves,’ I would suggest one small thing you could begin is to collect your own tithing in a group. You manage it among yourselves. You assist the poor among you.

“If you disagree with what your churches are doing but recognize the obligation to pay, then take control over the funds to do what you believe God would have done to help others. As groups of common believers, pay tithing into a common fund. Then by the voice of your own group, dispose of it by common consent so that everyone in your group knows everything that comes in and everything that goes out. Then you begin to have no poor among your group.

“You provide for those who need housing, food, clothing, healthcare, education, and transportation. Do it without a leader. Do it by the voice of your own common consent, by your own unanimous approval. Do it by united agreement. Now, if some of you who hear this decide to begin to do this you will learn firsthand in a pragmatic lab experiment just how difficult it is to become ‘one.’ You will learn how greatly this world opposes the idea of Zion.

The Cost of Discipleship Can Be High

“You will learn from the criticism of others how to suffer for your Lord’s sake. You may even be deprived of fellowship with others who do not agree it is your obligation to care for the poor, but that the church you belong to owns that right to the exclusion of your opportunity to participate. You may lose a temple recommend, or a church calling, or even your church membership. And you will learn how much churches care for money above all else.

“Even in a small group you will find challenges. You want to know how far away you are at this moment from Zion; this will tell you. If you want an accurate barometer of ‘what lack you yet?’ Then organize yourselves and you, unitedly in small groups, gather your tithing into the storehouse you maintain, and by your common consent take care of those who are poor among you. You will receive an education like none other in the reasons men fail to have Zion. The fact that men fail doesn’t excuse you from your own failing. Rise up!”

Seven Women Shall Take Hold of One Man

Now back to the Mesa lecture to conclude my thoughts. On page fifteen, we can read more about organizing communities for fellowship. Denver quoted the Lord, “There shall be a minimum of seven women to sustain the man in any vote, and if the man is married, his wife shall be one of them.” When I heard these words, I felt very sad. I wanted to participate but knew I couldn’t.

Later on the page: “If the man is married, his wife must be among the seven women. If his wife will not sustain him, he is unworthy to provide priesthood service in the fellowship.” I have thought much about this. I am in this specific situation. Once again, I am found unworthy. Not only can I not officiate in ordinances outside my home, I can’t even contribute to help the poor.

In this case, “The word ‘unworthy’ is not a statement of condemnation, but of qualification. There is nothing implied in the word about a man’s standing before God, only the fact that within the community of fellowship until the wife is prepared to support him acting outside the family, his effort should remain within his family until the wife sees value to her husband serving others.

Unworthy to Contribute, but not Condemned

“The word ‘unworthy’ was the Lord’s and therefore I do not feel at liberty to change it. But I want it clear that when He used it I had a definite understanding that no condemnation was implied. Only an orderly arrangement was given.” I can accept this definition of unworthy. It works. I can accept it because I know it comes from the Lord, not from interpreting some Church handbook.

It’s important to see that the Lord quoted “seven women” to Denver. You can see it yourself in the transcript in the middle of page fifteen. He was specifically quoting the Lord. There has been much discussion of this … “unusual” … aspect of the lecture. As Denver pointed out, the Mesa lecture has become a turning point for many individuals. I see so many who have stalled out.

Those who were expecting just another lecture on doctrine came away shocked. Those who were looking for direction from a servant of the Lord came away pleased with instructions to organize communities in preparation for Zion. I want to contribute financially and in other ways. I wait upon the Lord. Perhaps someday I will be able to do so. For now, this blog is my contribution.

Why I Resigned From the LDS Church


TMalonePic4It’s customary to write an exit letter when leaving an organization after a long period of time, so here’s mine. I have no desire to flame or insult anyone. You don’t have to read this. It’s for my own soul to find peace. I share it in the spirit of love, especially for those who have prayed for me as I have gone through this difficult transition period over the last few years. God bless you.

A Few Preliminaries

First and foremost, I want to thank the many individuals over the years who have taught me the gospel or who have allowed me to teach them. I cherish moments spent in gospel doctrine class, in Seminary, in the High Priest’s Group and in Bishopric and High Council meetings when we have been edified together. There is nothing like being fed by the Lord through the scriptures.

Second, I am at peace with this decision. I confirmed it with the Lord in prayer. In fact, it was the Lord who continually urged this action upon me for the past three or four days. I know, I know. You may say, “Well, it wasn’t the Lord urging you to resign your membership.” I disagree. It was the honorable thing to do. It saved sixteen men many hours of time away from their families.

Third, I do not feel any different. I still feel the warmth and comfort of the spirit of the Lord. You may say, give it time, give it time. I hear you. I know there are things about membership in the LDS Church I will miss, but I will not miss the spirit of the Holy Ghost because he abides with me still, as does the priesthood authority I received from my father when I was but a lad.

A Few Questions Answered

Now for a couple of silly questions: Will I remove my garments? No. They still mean something to me. Will I attend the three-hour block each week? No. I will probably only attend Sacrament meeting with Carol. I will probably have my own sacrament meeting at home for a while until I can find a group with whom I can participate. Community is important. I seek a new community.

Will I continue to pay tithing? Yes. Carol and I discussed this. It is important to her to pay tithing to the LDS Church. I would prefer to pay tithing to a group where I know it is being used 100% to help the poor. But, and I know this sounds strange, unity with Carol is important to me. This is a difficult thing for Carol. Some women would divorce their husbands for leaving the Church.

I know Carol is hurt and disappointed. She is a fifth-generation Mormon. It means everything to her. She defends it with all the passion of a she bear. I have learned not to cross her. I am grateful she attended some of the lectures. I will make no attempt to entice her to follow me. I will only love her as best I can for a man who knows so little about the romantic needs of a good woman.

Don’t Blame This on Denver Snuffer

To all those who now say, “See, I told you so. I warned you the moment you started reading and writing about those books from Denver Snuffer.” Yes, you’re right. You warned me. And you warned me and then warned me over and over again. Thank you for your loving concern. It did no good. I had a witness of the truth the moment I first read PtHG that night in January of 2012.

So am I now a follower of Denver Snuffer? No. I never was and never will be. I barely know the man. I know his writings and have been edified by them, but I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. Let no man come between you and your God. I suppose if there’s one thing I do feel different already, it is the realization that I now get my marching orders – my daily priorities – only from the Lord.

Previous to this afternoon’s letter of resignation, I was always concerned about, “What would my priesthood leaders think of this?” or “What does the LDS Church say I should be doing with my time?” Maybe that’s my own fault or failing, but it’s has been ingrained in me from a lifetime of hearing it drilled into my soul – follow the prophet. He knows the way. Thanks, but no thanks.

Follow the Prophet – Mantra Gone Too Far

I think I finally realized how bad it was one Sunday in High Priest’s group when I answered a question posed by the instructor about marriage. I simply emphasized something I know we have been taught about temple marriages – that they are conditional upon being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. This is a true doctrine. Always has been and always will be as far as I know.

You should have heard some of the comments I got from some of the brethren. And these were brethren I used to lead as the High Priest Group Leader. Somehow, it turned into a diatribe on the importance of following the prophet, that only he could interpret scripture or pronounce doctrine. It was as if they felt I was personally attacking them and their marriages. I was simply stunned.

It seems as if this has become the last stand for the LDS Church. It is a position of fear – follow the prophet. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not attacking President Monson or whoever is the current president of the LDS Church whenever you read this. I simply thank God he has given me a mind of my own, that I can think for myself and I can ask God directly for guidance in life.

Study the Doctrine – But Not Too Much

I feel as if a great burden has been lifted from my shoulders and another one placed in its stead. I am OK with that. It is the burden of life. I have simply shifted it from being overly concerned with conformity to the orthodox LDS way of thinking and acting, to now being careful to think, believe, act and live in the manner intended by my Heavenly Father. I have shifted my priorities.

Was the LDS Church holding me back? Yes and no. It’s the classic story. We are urged to study the gospel. When we do, we learn things that don’t jive with what is currently being taught or practiced in the LDS Church. We are nothing like the church Joseph organized in 1830. There are too many traditions and beliefs taught in the correlated curriculum that are simply not right.

Agency – It Only Goes So Far

I can’t tell you how many times I wrote about something I had studied and received a response, “You had better get your views in line with the Brethren or you’re going to be in trouble.” I got this over and over, from the least studied and newest member of the Church to Stake Presidents (not my current Stake President) and Bishops who read and comment on my blog. It’s amazing.

Do I hold any animosity toward the church or its leaders? No. I thank them for all they have done for me, especially my local leaders who have loved me, prayed with me, counseled me and tried to get me to conform to the orthodox ways of modern Mormonism. I am certain I have offended some of my brethren in the High Priest Quorum stake-wide with my writings. They told me so.

I understand the concern expressed by associates on the High Council and Stake Presidency in my former stake. They are concerned for their children and grandchildren. I get that. I apologize if you feel I am to blame for some of them leaving the church. Don’t put that at my feet. And for those in my current stake whose children have resigned – that was their decision and theirs alone.

Faulted for Believing Too Much

So what do I believe now? I believe in God. I know the Father lives and loves me. I know my Savior loves me and leads me. I have become more familiar with His voice over the past two years than at any time in my life. The Holy Ghost is real. He is the comforter. I appreciate that. I know God has a plan for my life that is not over. I went through hell last year to understand that.

I believe Joseph was a prophet of God. More than that, I know he was. The knowledge received of the Holy Ghost is burned into our souls. I have known Joseph was a prophet from my youth. My testimony of the Book of Mormon and other scriptures has not changed. We received the Book of Mormon the way Joseph said it came forth – translated by the gift and power of God.

Those Last Fingers of the Testimony Glove

TestimonyGloveThe restoration was real. God wanted to prepare a people for the establishment of Zion. It did not work out in the early church. The higher priesthood was taken from the earth. The authority of the Aaronic remained. I received that authority from my father. I still have it. Resigning from the LDS Church does not take that away. Priesthood is not controlled by any earthly institution.

Obviously I no longer believe the LDS Church has what it claims. It saddens me the LDS Church seeks to enforce beliefs by disciplinary measures. Some of the policies in the Church Handbook are an abomination. They can destroy families. It also saddens me to learn of manipulation from the highest councils of the Church to control the affairs of local members and local leadership.

We have often been taught, and I have taught it myself, “While the people in the Church aren’t perfect, the Church itself is perfect.” I disagree. The LDS Church was divinely instituted but is not now what the Lord will use to establish Zion. Zion was never intended to be established by a large institution. Zion is to be established in small groups where there are no poor among them.

A Few Closing Thoughts

I often hear the complaint from LDS Church members, “They leave the Church but they won’t leave it alone.” I owe so much to the LDS Church. I judged my mother harshly when she walked away from the Church after twenty-five years. I was wrong. I have since asked for and received her forgiveness. She was my age or a little older when she left. I understand now what happened.

Mother loved the gospel. She was a disciple of Christ. She taught me to love the Savior and to love to study. She could not have been more devoted to the Church and a better example for me. She taught Gospel Doctrine and performed more temple ordinances than anyone I have known. Yet in the end, she could not find community within the narrow-mindedness of some members.

Following the traditions of the fathers is a real problem in the LDS Church. It keeps the members from progressing. It’s good to safeguard some things that build family unity but not good to hold onto false beliefs and practices such as an over-reliance on “the Brethren” to tell us what’s what. That’s why my mother left after years of dedicated service. And now I have followed in her path.

A Few Notes from the Mesa Lecture


MesaHiltonI tried to do a little live-blogging to my Facebook Group as the lecture rolled forth. I couldn’t keep up. There were too many declarations coming too fast. I should not have been surprised. Carol has been telling me for months, maybe for the past year that the day would come when Denver would make these kinds of pronouncements. Carol is a prophetess. She saw this day.

Largest Audience of the Ten Lectures

The room was set up to accommodate 700 people. I looked around just as it started. It appeared to be full with only a few empty seats. I want to mention again how overwhelmed Carol and I both were at the kind remarks from everyone who introduced themselves saying they read the blog and how much they appreciated it. The Internet has brought together a very eclectic group.

The Lord has Wrested the Kingdom

Denver read D&C 84:27-28 and implied it applied to him, saying John had wrested the kingdom from the Jews. Likewise, he said the Lord had wrested authority from the First Presidency, because they consented to his excommunication – “Amen to the priesthood of that man.” That’s not a quote but was implied. By the way, this is not new. He implied this previously on his blog.

Amen to the Priesthood of that Man

Denver reminded us that the priesthood doesn’t require a church to exist. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The church requires the priesthood. He reiterated how D&C 121:37-42 works. Power in the priesthood is NOT to control. If it is used to control or compel by virtue of dominion then the priesthood or the authority of that man is lost. Persuasion and long-suffering is required.

First Presidency Lost Their Authority

“Denver referred to another visit with The Lord on May 1st 2014. He said the Lord told him a few things about the Church. He said he was one of the “least of these” through which the Lord accomplished a great work. He said it had been completed. Section 121 applied to all Church leaders. He proclaimed the First Presidency lost their authority at the last General Conference.

Church Control of Local Leaders

He retold the story of how Elder Nelson had, contrary to scriptures, been directly involved in his excommunication. He used control and compulsion in demanding his Stake President take the disciplinary action against Denver. He said the church told his Stake President to not reveal the fact they had been involved in Denver’s excommunication – and to hide what had been done.

I Will Bless Them that Bless Thee

Denver said, “The Lord told me, ‘I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee.'” Wow. This quote was quite disturbing to Carol. She turned to me and said, “He equates himself to Joseph Smith.” Of course the scripture reference is Genesis 12:3 as well as Joseph Smith History 1:33 – that *Denver’s* name should be had for good and evil among all nations.

Denver is Not Starting a New Church

“Denver reiterated he will not start a church. He said we do not need a legal organization which can be controlled and corrupted. He did say we do need to organize as a body of believers. He is discussing that now and how it will be accomplished.” Carol called it “Denver’s Community,” but I heard him say “small groups” that would only be geographical in nature – or would they?

Seven Women to Authorize One Man

Denver is now discussing the way to organize the community. He said only women should sustain men in the priesthood. *Applause* This is amazing what we are hearing. I can’t wait to read the transcript. He added the importance of obtaining power to baptize as did Alma. He also quoted JS History 1:69 saying it remains. It takes seven women to authorize a man to minister.

Use Tithing to help the Poor and Needy

He quoted Luke 18:1-14: “I wish I had the money to place an ad in the LA Times, saying ‘If you want the gift of the Holy Ghost came to this place on this date and I will be there to baptize you. Can you imagine the difference this will make among the poor and the needy to be clothed with the gift of the Holy Ghost? We can’t change the world by legislation but we can do this.”

The Right Way to Conduct Worship Services

Denver quoted D&C 50:17-25, and said “you should not waste another three-hour block of time in nonsense each Sunday. If nothing more, get together and read the scriptures or have a prayer meeting, but don’t waste your time on stuff from Deseret or published by the LDS Church.” What a direct slam on the way we conduct church meetings each Sunday. This got applause.

False Churches with False Teachers

“Denver is quoting 2nd Nephi 28, adding comments that this is our day and describing the LDS Church, especially verse 5. Oh, my. Who is going to write this up for the Trib and how soon will it come out?” He pointed out that the LDS Church teaches this today – that the Redeemer has given his power unto men and that he no longer ministers directly to members of the Church.

They Seek deep to Hide Their Counsels

“Denver is saying verses 10 through 15 are directly referring to the Church today. He told the story of the Church coming to get journals of Neal Maxwell after he died because they held details too sensitive to be revealed. They seek to hide deep their counsels. Wow.” He quoted Isaiah 29:13-15 saying it defines the Church today and is about to be fulfilled now in our day.

You Do Not Need Buildings to Meet

“You do not need buildings to meet. Tithing is for the poor. Joseph Smith only built one building – a temple.” “Denver just announced there will eventually be a temple built. The names of those baptized will be recorded. A record will be kept and deposited once a year in the temple.” This is an amazing declaration. There is to be no hierarchy. The church is a community of believers.

Forbidding to Take Sacrament is Anti-Christ

He also said, “Anyone who forbids you to partake of the sacrament in the Lord’s way is anti-Christ.” He also said we should use wine or if necessary for medical reasons, grape juice. The church should kneel with those who bless the Sacrament.” He was very emphatic that anyone who restricts a member from taking the sacrament to compel a course of action is cursed.

Defining the True and Living Church

“This is the day at long last when God can bring to pass that which he intended to have happen before he returns. The true and living church referred to the church in Joseph Smith’s day. That day passed for a season but is now upon us again. Everything from this talk – all ten segments – is being offered to you by God. The work is beginning again.” – Denver Snuffer 9-9-14

Added to the Doctrine of Christ

“The LDS Church no longer preaches the doctrine of Christ,” Denver said, because it has added the question “Do you believe the current prophet to be the prophet of God?” He then said you / we need to take action. You need to be baptized in the correct manner.” The correct manner is to be baptized using the correct words. Believing in the current prophet is not part of the gospel.

Significance of April 2014 Conference

Per Denver, “If you were ordained in the LDS Church before April 2014 you can bless the sacrament and baptize. Otherwise, you should hold a conference among yourselves to sustain those who will minister unto you.” This is an obvious reference to the date he claims to have wrested the kingdom or authority away from the Church. What an amazing claim to make.

Take Action – Be Baptized Correctly

Referring to 3 Nephi 11:20-40, he said, “This day, is this commandment renewed in your ears, in the name of Jesus Christ. You need to be baptized in the correct way, with the correct words – having authority. However improbable or unlikely any of this may seem to you, I testify it is true. It is from The Lord. These are his words. I have delivered them faithfully.” He then left.

A Witness of the Voice of the Lord

Keith Henderson bore a short testimony he had heard the voice of The Lord declare the message that Denver had delivered was true. A sister got up and said she wanted to organize a group. A brother got up and said those without their wives should excuse themselves. I got up and left. Carol had already left after the first hour. She went to the Mesa temple to think. What a day.

Note: too many people have misunderstood why the brother got up and suggested those without their spouses might want to excuse themselves. He was simply saying his wife was home in Idaho with the kids and he wanted to discuss this with her before he proceeded with any action to organize. That’s all. It was very simple. Don’t read more into it than that.

Preparing for the Final Lecture – Part Three


SnufferSecondComforterThis is part three of my notes in preparing for the final lecture in the Denver Snuffer series – “Forty years in Mormonism.” While I am trying to encourage you to read Denver’s material, particularly the previous lectures in this series, I am not trying to advocate anything other than gaining knowledge by study and by faith.

I would not have put so much time, effort and energy into studying Denver’s materials over the past few years if I didn’t feel it was valuable and useful. It is not my intent to persuade anyone to abandon their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through Joseph Smith. In fact, it is quite the contrary.

It is my hope that your faith will be increased in a loving Heavenly father and Savior who care about our happiness and salvation.

You can read the previous two parts in the links below:

Part One: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/09/08/preparing-for-the-final-lecture-part-one

Part Two: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/09/08/preparing-for-the-final-lecture-part-two

St George – Marriage and Family: 7-26-14

Carol also attended this lecture with me. The venue was hot and crowded, but the spirit was strong. We brought in our camping chairs and sat right up front in an unused corner. Carol took copious notes at both the Las Vegas and St George lectures. As Carol said to me at the end of the lecture, “I didn’t hear anything wrong with or contrary to what I already believe in this lecture. I think he gave this lecture here in the heart of the Fundamentalist Mormons to make it clear the practice should be dropped in this generation.”

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/236754403/St-George-Transcript-Marriage-and-Family

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_9-StGeorge-Marriage_and_Family.pdf

Opening Remarks in St. George:

“This is the ninth installment of a single talk, all of which is designed to remind us of what was once given in the Restoration through Joseph Smith. Much of what went on before is intended to be foundational to what comes today, and to what comes next when we finish in Phoenix. Today the topic is about marriage and the family, and as a consequence of that, I view everything before as foundational to today, because of all things that are necessary to understand before we qualify to be like God, it is having this subject understood and incorporated into how we live.”

Closing Paragraphs in St. George:

This was what we talked about in Ephraim. You need to hear all of these, and you need to hear all of them in one continuous discussion, because it’s all one. This isn’t my material, it’s the Lord’s. All we have been doing is looking at these scriptures. My volume of scripture is actually color-coded. These are the scriptures. My scriptures are color-coded with orange in Boise, and yellow in Idaho Falls, and pink in Logan, and light green in Centerville, and dark green yesterday, and purple today. You can see the Scriptures have become rather littered with markers. These talks are to help you remember. We cannot go forward until first we remember what has been already given.

This is the Gospel of Christ. This is the power of God unto redemption. This is the revelation Joseph Smith was attempting to lay out when he was taken. There is a lot left to yet be done. There is more left to be done than has been started. There is more that has not been revealed than what Joseph was able to get on the ground here before he was killed.

As we have gone forward we have preserved less and less. Now with the engines of Correlation, we are managing to trim yet further. The Gospel of Christ is not about, “Have a nice day.” The Gospel of Christ is not about being a keyhole. The Gospel of Christ is about awakening and arising. It is about you becoming redeemed from the fall and coming back to God’s presence. Thank God, that before Joseph died, he was able to lay out something in the red brick store, through ritual and through ceremony, that described walking back into the presence of God, conversing with Him through the veil, and then entering into His presence. Thank God that in addition to the scriptures, Joseph left us a ritual testimony.

But do you know why ancient Israel had their temple? It was to have ceremonies to point them to the coming of Christ in the flesh. The Latter-day Saints have been given a ritual ceremony to point them to also receive Christ in the flesh. The Israelites thought their temple was an end in itself. The Latter-day Saints seem to do likewise. But do not you do this. See the ritual for what it is: merely an invitation.

There needs yet to be another temple built. But it will be in Zion, and those who go there will meet with their Lord, because that will be His house indeed. You can build that only if you qualify to do so.

Final Paragraph from St. George:

“There is so much left to be done! Right now the only thing that can be done is to remind you of the Restoration, and that is available to all. Everyone is invited. Everyone. But don’t expect the Lord to give us anything further, or permit us to move one inch further, until we first remember what we’ve been given. Even if you are in a fallen world, among a fallen people, who are proud and who are arrogant to think themselves more than they really are, if you will love your wife, and if your wife will love you, you are in the image of God and that will be preserved unto all eternity. No matter what else you may have to go through between now and then, that’s what He’s trying to preserve. That is the image of God.”

Salt Lake – Sunstone – Cutting Down the Tree of Life: 8-2-14

Carol and I also attended this lecture. As I wrote at the time, Denver’s delivery was, as usual, confident, engaging, well presented and well summarized. He raised four specific points where the church has changed or will probably change either a fundamental doctrine or practice. First was plural marriage, next was the policy of blacks and the priesthood, next was the issue of women and the priesthood and finally LGBT issues. I asked Denver if the point of his paper was that the church past and potential future changes was or will be due to social and government pressure for fear of losing tax exempt status. I’m not sure if he answered with a clear yes, but I’m fairly certain I have read a similar affirmation on his blog. I’ve included his complete answer:

The definition of fundamental doctrine is not something that I applied to the Church, it’s what the Church has advocated (or defined) on its own (and for itself). I’m contrasting what the Church said at one time was fundamental doctrine, with what it has done to abrogate, denounce, renounce and even condemn unequivocally out of their own mouth, their prior practice. Their motivation for accomplishing that transition was the focus of the paper. I’m not trying to make a moral judgment. I’m trying to understand the events against the backdrop of why the events took place. Why change when they said it would be right or wrong (to do so), when they said it in the name of Jesus Christ, like the comment of Brigham Young that I read. I read his claim on purpose because he was stating, “I’m telling you this as my status as a prophet of God. I’m telling you this in the name of Jesus Christ, and I’m telling you this will never change,” and (it has been subsequently) changed.

And now the Church, after making the changes, has turned around and said, “We unequivocally condemn that.” That’s the purpose of the paper and also to highlight the fact that institutionally, this is a problem. The problem is that truth and love and purity does exist, but it exists primarily in a form that is not (and cannot be) institutional. According to the scriptures, there are only two ways, “there are save but two Churches only.” And one church, if it’s going to subject itself to institutional control, vagaries of the law, the pressure of the tax code, and everything else; that church will necessarily become sullied and soiled, tossed and pulled, and ultimately wind up contradicting itself. But there is another church that can remain pure, unsullied, untouched, untaxed, and unregulated. That purity can exist in your heart. That purity can be found between you and God. I think any institution is going to suffer the exact same history.

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/235706812/Cutting-Down-the-Tree-of-Life

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Cutting-Down-the-Tree-of-Life.pdf

Phoenix – Conclusion: 9-9-14

We drove in from California on Saturday, spent the day with my sister on Sunday. It rained quite a bit late Sunday and early Monday, perhaps a cleansing of sorts in preparations for Tuesday’s lecture. I am not at all certain what Denver’s subject will be for tomorrow. I don’t think he will simply summarize the previous lectures. He has asked us to be familiar with what has gone on before. Somehow, things will be wrapped up with what will be presented in the tenth lecture.

Will it be a call to action of some sort – to build an organization? I don’t think so. Denver has said he will not start a church. We are to serve where the Lord has placed us. What then, is the purpose of these lectures, besides to cause LDS leaders to fear what he has to say, that he might ask the people to leave the church and to follow him somewhere? You’ll have to be the judge of Denver’s purpose. He says the Lord asked him to present this material. Do you believe him?

* * * * * * * * * *

Bonus Material: Three other past lectures from Denver worth reading:

2012 Sunstone lecture: Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom

Summary: “Brigham Young’s brief tenure (1851-58) as Territorial Governor and Church President allowed him to wield the power of both church and state. How he used this authority reveals much about the man. During the brief reign as God’s representative and United States’ regent, his sermons reveal how precarious a challenge it presents to consolidate church and state power. His predecessor, Joseph Smith, sought to establish heaven on earth. In contrast, Governor Young had the lesser concern of establishing and operating a “Telestial Kingdom,” while aggregating power and making pragmatic decisions in the present world. This article explores Brigham Young’s Governorship as a “king’s rule,” unsuited to the American republic. It includes cautionary advice from the Book of Mormon against attempting this very thing.”

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/101288033/Brigham-Young-s-Telestial-Kingdom

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Brigham-Young-s-Telestial-Kingdom.pdf

What I like about this paper is what we learn when Joseph was referring to the “Keys of the Kingdom,” he was referring to the political kingdom or the Council of Fifty. When Joseph Smith spoke in the late-Nauvoo period about “the Kingdom,” or “the keys of the Kingdom,” he was referring to this council which elevated him to kingship. It was in this council Joseph Smith gave “the keys of the Kingdom” to his inner group of followers to permit them to perpetuate this “Kingdom of God” after his death. Brigham Young is best understood in the context of his sincere belief he possessed kingship given to him by God. His behavior and sermons reflect the conviction it was a king speaking; those who listened were expected to respond accordingly.

The Temple talk, First Three Words (Jan 2010)

This amazing little gem introduces the idea that some mortals are here to be proven and some are here to prove others. Some were Gods before they came here, willing to lay aside their exalted condition to fulfill a purpose in the Lord’s plan. God is willing to reveal to us which group we belong to, but only if we ask Him. Even then, it should not matter or make a difference how we live our lives. The risks of mortality are the same for all who are here. The purpose of this talk is to help us understand things as they really are and to give us hope and appreciation for life.

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/75128804/1st3Words-1

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/1st3Words.pdf

I like the concluding summary found on the last two pages:

First, there are those who were identified as “the Gods” before the world was organized.

Second, there were those for whom this world was designed to be a time of “proving” and testing who were not identified as “the Gods” before the world was organized.

Third, Joseph regarded those who were identified as “the Gods” to be “sons of God who exalted themselves to be gods before the world was made.”

Fourth, you cannot know the group to which you belong because there is a veil between all of us and the pre-earth existence. The risks of mortality, however, are the same for all who are here. The way back is the same no matter which group you belong to, and either can fall from their exaltation or can acquire their exaltation, depending entirely upon the kind of life they live here.

Fifth, only the Lord knows and can tell you of your pre-earth status. If you learn of that it will be only through revelation.

Sixth, nothing about this changes the risks of mortality or the obligations we owe to God while here. It should not change in any way the life you live. It may let you understand things differently, may give you more hope for things, or a deeper appreciation for some ideas, but it should not change how you understand your obligation to live your life. I am hoping, however, that it gives you a new way to view the endowment and how much more we can see within it with a little effort to open our eyes, and follow the admonition from Elohim, to “see.”

The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered (2011)

I would recommend this lecture for anyone who hasn’t heard the idea that even as late as a few weeks before his death in 1844, Joseph Smith considered the return of Elijah to be yet a future event. For those who have the Joseph Smith papers, Journals, Volume One, ask yourself why section 110 is not included in the original book of revelations. It was not found until 1852, years after Joseph’s and Oliver’s deaths.

Section 110 was recorded by Warren Cowdery, who was not a direct eyewitness to the events. He must have been copying from some document no longer extant. This account is written in the third person and describes the visit of the various messengers to Joseph and Oliver. During their lifetime, Joseph and Oliver never taught or mentioned they had been visited by Christ, Moses, Elias or Elijah in the Kirtland temple.

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/75094608/Elijah-Edited-1

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Elijah.pdf

Conclusion: “From the death of Joseph Smith until today, there has not been anything helpful added to what Joseph said on the subject. Although tens-of-thousands of words have been spoken or written about Zion since Joseph‘s life ended, none of it has brought us any closer. If anything, we are further away from it today than we were on June 27, 1844. However, I am not trying to persuade anyone about anything. You are free to believe whatever you want to believe.

“I only attempt to explain what I believe and why I believe it. You owe it to yourself to investigate these things and ask God about them. I would discourage you from accepting what I, or anyone else, have to say on the subject. Ask God. See if He will not make the matter clear to you. Perhaps if enough were able to rend the veil of unbelief, there would be reason to send Elijah and begin the final preparatory work. It only takes a few, as we have seen.”

Preparing For the Final Lecture – Part Two


PassingHeavenlyGiftThis is part two of my notes in preparing for the final lecture in the Denver Snuffer series – “Forty years in Mormonism.” The purpose of these posts is simply to review some of the material presented in the previous lectures.

In a sense, it contains my study notes. I learn best by sharing and soliciting feedback. I hope you enjoy these quotes and are motivated to read the complete lectures at the links provided.

 

 

You can read the other two parts in the links below:

Part One: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/09/08/preparing-for-the-final-lecture-part-one

Part Three: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/09/08/preparing-for-the-final-lecture-part-three

Centerville – Covenants: 10-6-13

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/177634830/Centerville-Transcript-Covenants

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_4-Centerville-Covenants.pdf

Opening Remarks at Centerville:

“…tonight we are going to talk about covenants. In particular covenants that are being referred to in a verse we find in the Joseph Smith History, verse 39. Moroni changing the content of the

text of Malachi, states in that verse to Joseph Smith on this fall equinox occasion, the words of Malachi in this way: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (JS-H: 1:39)

“Therefore we learn there is some peril if we do not have our hearts turned to these fathers. The peril, as Moroni put it, is that we will be “utterly wasted at his coming” if we fail. But His coming is not limited merely to the singular “him”–being the Lord. If you go back to what Moroni said to Joseph in verse 37 it says: “they that come shall burn them.” Therefore when He comes, they that come with Him shall burn those who are unprepared, those who are scheduled to be “utterly wasted” at His coming. And so we need to inquire into what exactly the promises were, who the fathers were that the promises were made to, and then avoid this peril of those who come to do the burning of all who are unprepared for that return. As to them, “it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Remember that in the Boise talk I said these were genealogical terms, because their family lines comes to an end at that point.

“In looking at the promises made to the fathers, I want to go back to 2 Nephi, chapter 3 and begin there. I have referred to this earlier in Boise. When we’re tracking back the covenants that were made, and we’re talking about the promises that were made to the fathers, and trying to identify who the fathers are, we get a real advantage in making that determination by what we have in Lehi’s blessing to his son Joseph. Beginning at verse four of chapter 3 of 2 Nephi, Lehi says: “For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.” As soon as you encounter the word “covenants” an alarm should go off. Because much of what is and has happened in the history of the world, is as a consequence of covenants made by God with the fathers. One of the fathers who possessed promises and covenants with God was Joseph, who was carried away captive into Egypt.”

Closing Remarks in Centerville:

“So here are the words my prophecy: That the things that we have looked at this evening, restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the seer named Joseph, the son of the father named Joseph, fulfilled the promise of Joseph of Egypt, and they are all true. I know them to be true. And you could know them to be true too. But the price you have to pay to gain that knowledge is to study what was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Otherwise, they’re just something gathering dust on a shelf. Don’t read them as if you’re trying to vindicate the religion you already understand. Don’t read them as if you’re trying to defend your current group of preferred doctrines. Read them as if you are as ignorant of the will of God as the convert you hope to make living somewhere in Florida or New Guinea or Guatemala. Because the truth of the matter is we have been devolving in our understanding from the day of Joseph Smith until today at an ever accelerating rate. And what we have left, Enoch called gross darkness.

“I bear testimony that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. I bear testimony that our Lord lived and lives. I’m one of those who can say that I am a witness of that. I have seen His suffering. I have heard His voice. He doesn’t intend that I be a solitary witness of Him, or Joseph be one. He intends for every one of you to rise up and do as James bids you to do. If you lack wisdom, ask God. He gives to you, He gives to all of us liberally. He is real. It is His work to bring this stuff to pass. The only thing that we can do is to offer to be a servant. And I am confident that I am a poor one of those. But I am His servant. I serve Him however poorly, however offensively, however inadequately. He intends to call, in the plural, servants to fulfill what needs to be done in the last days. He does intend to bring again Zion. That will be his, and not a man’s work.

“When we get together again the next time I talk, the subject is going to be Priesthood. And the time after that we’ll talk about Zion. Hopefully as a consequence of covering the subjects we do, in the order that we address them, you’ll begin to appreciate the restoration that has come about through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Hopefully you will understand Joseph’s work as only the beginning of the work of God in the last days. Much of what is left yet to be accomplished will not be accomplished unless it is through others, eventually leading to the return of the natural fruit. A proposition that remains a challenging and undone and an incomplete labor.

“The things I’ve talked about tonight were chosen precisely because they focus on the issue, the real issue involving covenants, we need to begin to understand in the last days in order to know that the covenants of the fathers and the work of reuniting His children with the fathers is something yet to be accomplished. But it is something which, hopefully, we will begin to see happen again. Joseph did not return without some success in that. Joseph was able to obtain what he sought. Now we need to do the same to save ourselves in our day.”

Orem – Priesthood: 11-2-13

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/183144071/Orem-Transcript-Priesthood

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_5-Orem-Priesthood.pdf

Opening Remarks in Orem:

“…today we are talking about priesthood. A topic which probably everyone is this room thinks they know a whole lot about, and can recite a whole lot of history, and give a whole lot of details, and explain everything there is to know about it in so far as the restoration is concerned. You all probably think you know what Joseph has said and what the scriptures tell us about priesthood. I’m going to ask you for purposes of today to assume that what you know is riddled with incompletions, omissions, and gaps in the storyline. And it is a fact that Joseph Smith never set out to ever give a comprehensive accounting of the subject of priesthood.

“He gave snippets. He gave a grab here and a grab there. In the process of doing so he left things that have been filled in by the imagination of people, but not necessarily by anyone, who like Joseph, knew what he was talking about. Therefore, as you run into new things throughout the talk today, things that you think I’m off base with, or making a mistake because it doesn’t agree with what you think you already know, I would ask you to be patient enough to hear the whole matter through today. And then be further patient enough to take it back into the scriptures, and prayerfully look at it. Because it’s just possible, in fact in my view it is probable, that you know things that are wrong and you need to abandon them. So I would ask you to be patient as we go through this today and at least try it on for size and see if something doesn’t click.”

Closing Remarks in Orem:

“The Powers of Heaven themselves have limits. This is the reason why that third form of sealing power is so rare a commodity. Because even the angels desire to inquire into it but the angels don’t possess it. It doesn’t matter if from the hierarchy of those on the other side of the veil you manage to wrestle something from them. Even if it comes from one who claims to possess thrones, or principalities, as “the god of this world” claims to hold. God says in this revelation if you can understand His words, that even His angels and those who have ascended far up, must in every case, only establish that which comes by the will and covenant of the Son and the Father. The Son because He possesses the right to do so. The Father because He is the one from whom the original covenant began in the preexistence. So don’t think because you’ve had an angel promise you something it is always to be yours. Recognize that according to Doctrine and Covenants section 132, you have to connect up with the Father’s word before you obtain an eternal covenant.

Changing topics again, I want to discuss the first meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Adam was not considered to be among those who were mortal, because Adam began life in the Garden in the presence of God. Therefore, mortals were those who had been born following the Fall of man. Those who were born in the mortal realm in that meeting began with Seth. The seven who gathered at Adam-ondi-Ahman were mortal because they were born outside of God’s presence. They were restored again into God’s presence at the meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

The fact is, that same thing that was in the beginning will be in the end of the world also. That’s the covenant, that’s the promise, and that’s the destiny, and God will surely fulfill that.

“We take a lot of comfort and spent a lot of money buying all of the stuff around Springhill Missouri, valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman because that was a place where Adam was. (D&C 116: 1.) It is the place where God will come to once again. I want to suggest that, the wicked, knavish, proud, boastful, those fare sumptuously and who seek the honors of men, will never have possession of, and be able to control or prevent the unfolding of God’s work. The words Adam-ondi-Ahman mean “Adam in the presence of the Father.” Therefore, any place that the Ancient of Days comes to, while Christ is there also, is by definition Adam-ondi-Ahman. It can occur anywhere. When it does, that will be Adam-ondi-Ahman. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if a fallen and corrupt society owns a piece of real estate. God is not bound by the stratagems of men. Nor are His purposes controlled by the vanities of men.

“And yet if they will repent, and if they will hear what the Lord has to say, He can still work with them. But if not, then He’ll work with you. Assuming that you came and are willing to hear, and assuming your heart is soft and you’re willing to take in the things that God required to be included in what I’m saying today. Some of the content of today’s talk came by revelation as recently as this morning. I’m doing this to be faithful to the things that have been asked of me, not by man or men but by God. I don’t even control the content of this material. I’m not parsing these scriptures because I think they are nice. I’m telling you what I know to be true, because it is what I’ve been asked to declare by Him whose presence I have been in.”

Grand Junction – Zion: 4-12-14

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/218988667/Grand-Junction-Transcript-Zion

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_6-Grand-Junction-Zion.pdf

An early paragraph from Grand Junction:

“…the more upset someone is about Mormonism, the more angry they are, the more emotionally connected they are to denouncing Mormonism, the easier it is to have a conversation with them. In my experience, it is easier to make a convert from an emotional critic because they care about the topic. That is why they are emotional. So I would encourage all of you to share your religion. Perhaps in the exchange you will learn something true about the faith, as well. Some of the greatest criticism leveled against our faith is based on truth, and we shouldn’t be afraid to correct our own misunderstanding when we encounter that. True religion ought to be a search for truth, even when it is uncomfortable. Shedding our false traditions can be painful, but it is necessary if you intend to arrive at last at the truth. A false religion is unworthy of a faithful man or woman.”

Closing paragraphs from Grand Junction:

“Time and time again, the location of Zion is approved by the Lord in different spots, precisely because the entirety of North and South America would be an acceptable place to build Zion. But within those general geographical parameters, it must be in the mountains. It must be among the natives who are originally here. It must be established under the guidance of someone who hails from both the tribe of Ephraim, and is a descendent of Jesse. You can read that in the Doctrine and Covenants. (D&C 133: 6.) It will surely come. There is absolutely no reason for the Lord to tell you another place to go and pollute, if you don’t rise up and bring within you the worthiness necessary, to turn at last, a place into the New Jerusalem.

“To a place where the Lord can come and dwell among you. A place where you can be of one heart, where you can be of one mind, where there are no poor among you, and where you have all things in common. Where you meet the requirements to meet with Him. There is no reason to assemble you together at any spot until then. You can do everything that needs to be done preliminarily, wherever you dwell at present. You can prepare your hearts and you can prepare your minds and can begin now to understand the difficulties. Instead of judging the failures from before, you can start to walk in the path they attempted. Then instead of judging, you can empathize with their failures. You will come to some appreciation for the fact that it is not going to be any easier for you than it was for them. You can find out what they learned when they attempted it.”

Ephraim – Christ, Prototype of the Saved Man: 6-28-14

This is the first talk I was able to attend in person. I was surprised when so many people came up to me before and after the lecture to say hello. Some I knew but many I didn’t. I heard a lot of, “I read your blog but have never commented.” I know that has nothing to do with the lecture but it’s what I remember most – how kind the people were who introduced themselves to me.

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/233544493/Ephriam-Transcript-Christ

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_7-Ephraim-Christ.pdf

Opening Paragraphs from Ephraim:

“The topic today is Christ. In the next talk we’ll be addressing the subject of coming to Christ, but in this talk today, it is about Christ Himself. You know, very often it is easy to summon confidence in the Lord when something happens in your life to remind you. When some event gives you evidence He exists. For that moment you briefly feel close to Him. But as soon as the cares and troubles of this world interfere, the moment passes, and you begin wondering, “Is it all true? Am I just believing a myth?”

“Jesus Christ came into the world unexpected, unannounced by men, unanticipated by His generation, but expected and announced by heaven. There were signs in heaven, but men were largely oblivious. When the shepherds keeping watch over the flocks by night were interrupted, it was not by an earthly herald. There was none among men. It was from beyond the veil. The Savior crept into the world with heaven noticing, but precious few of us paying attention to what was afoot.”

“It is so easy to overlook Him because of the cares of the world. I want to assure you He is real. He exists. He was a man, every bit a man as any of us. He had flesh, He had blood, He dwelt among us. Don’t doubt that. For the purposes of this talk, trust in Him, believe in Him, have confidence in His existence.”

A few closing paragraphs from Ephraim:

“When I first got an answer to prayer sitting in a barracks in New Hampshire, if I hadn’t acted on that I would never have beheld the Lord, much less been taught by Him. But I did, and I do. Whatever He still asks of me, I do. It does not matter how unpleasant I find it, or how reluctant I may be. I go and I do. You need to do likewise. It may not even make much sense to you when you’re going and doing. You may think you are offending when you absolutely do not intend to do so. You may find the people you love rejecting you.

“I lost friends and was rejected when I converted to Mormonism. Then I found a new family in the faith I accepted as a nineteen year old. After forty years I was rejected by that new family. I have laid everything on the line for the Lord twice now in a single lifetime. I cannot tell you what sacrifices He may ask of you, but whatever He asks of you, that do you.

“Let me end by bearing testimony and witness to you, that the things I’ve been saying, beginning in Boise and going on through Phoenix, the beginning date, the ending date, the content, the fact that there are 10 of them, the timeframe in which they are being delivered, the fact He wanted us to begin on the first day of the 40th year, and He wanted us to end on the last day of the 40th year, those things are not my doing. He is the author of this all.

“Hearken to the word of the Lord. End your days on this barren treadmill and rise up. There is no reason to fail when the Lord offers you His word, and even His presence, today. He will not leave you here comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. The idea this is only to happen “in your heart” is an old sectarian notion, and is false. Joseph Smith declared that, and I declare he spoke the truth.”

Las Vegas – A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit: 7-25-14

Carol came with me to hear Denver and to have dinner at his invitation with his family that evening in St. George. We both enjoyed meeting him and appreciated his invitation to dinner. I think it helped Carol to see Denver is a regular kind of guy with a family he loves and is happy to be around. I think Stephanie also enjoyed meeting Carol. They were both very gracious to us.

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/235588105/Las-Vegas-Transcript-A-Broken-Heart-and-Contrite-Spirit

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_8-LasVegas-Broken_Heart.pdf

One of the opening paragraphs from Las Vegas:

“The Israelites Moses led did not want to encounter Him. This was not because God’s presence is so terrible it drives men from Him. That cannot be true because Moses approached Him, Joseph, Abraham, Isaiah all approached Him. However, God’s presence makes every man evaluate who and what they are. Although we can lie to ourselves about how good we are, when the measuring stick used is God, we are unable to deceive ourselves. When the comparison is to God, all of us come short. Even when the Lord testifies to you that your sins are forgiven, you still recognize you fall short. To the extent a man has confidence in the presence of the Lord it is wholly derived from Him. He must strengthen you, because if He does not, we would all retire in shame.”

A couple of closing paragraphs from Las Vegas:

“If we are required to develop the attributes of Christ, how is it possible for us to do so, unless God patiently tries to persuade us to voluntarily be like Him? How can you hope to be like Him, if you refuse to be persuaded? God came as one of the weak things of this world. The only way He is ever going to invite you is through one of the weak things of this world, speaking in weakness, asking you to be persuaded. It doesn’t matter how earnest I am, I know my standing before God. What matters is your willingness to be persuaded. Over that I have no control, and want no control. I simply put the case as the Lord has put it to me, in the hopes that what He has to offer, and what He says need to be said will get through to you. Your relationship and your accountability is not to me, it’s to Him. Therefore, be persuaded. Please, for your own sake, be persuaded.”

“Look, pray to Him and realize that as you reach up to Him, He would rather reach down to you with greater enthusiasm than any of you could muster. But in order to establish the necessary conditions for our development, there was a law ordained before the foundation of the world upon which all blessings are predicated. That law is as easily accessible by the father of King Lamoni, as it is accessible to the father of the young man overtaken and falling into the fire, and into the water. It is as accessible to the brother of Jared as it is accessible to you.

“Because when the law before the foundation of the world was ordained, it was intended for all men to possibly receive of God’s fullness. If receiving of His fullness required a course in rabbinical reasoning, or an advanced theological degree, there would be almost none who are saved. But the Book of Mormon gives us account after account. What happens to those who do not possess the required soft heart and willingness to bow? They come away saying, “God maketh no such thing known unto us.” Like Laman and Lemuel, they establish for themselves, using their iron necks and their brass brows, the inability to look up to God and be saved.”

Continue on to Part Three: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/09/08/preparing-for-the-final-lecture-part-three

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