Conversation With The Bishop


PriesthoodLeadersThis is a fictional account. It is based on current events, but it is NOT how things went down with my Bishop. I have promised to keep that confidential. I share it because of the intense interest in the excommunication of various LDS bloggers in the news lately, including the impending disciplinary actions against Mormon Activists John Dehlin and Kate Kelly. I do not consider myself a Mormon activist. I considered it at one time, but it always seems to lead to excommunication. Enjoy.

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“Hi Brother Malone. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, Bishop. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.”

“You’re welcome. What would you like to talk about?”

The temple. Specifically the temple recommend questions.”

“Alright, any particular question that’s bothering you?”

“Yes, it’s the one that reads, ‘Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?’”

“I’ve very familiar with that one. What’s the trouble?”

“Well Bishop, you know we’re commanded to “…seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

“Of course. That’s D&C 88:118

“Sometimes I like to read books that some members of the church would find objectionable – you know, stuff from Signature Books, and SunStone publications, that sort of thing.”

“I’m not too familiar with those, but go on…”

“I also like to read blogs and listen to podcasts that some would say are, well… not faith-promoting or uplifting…”

“Why in the world would you want to do that? I barely have enough time to read the scriptures every day.”

“I know. You’re a very busy man. I’m glad you’re the bishop and not me. We always pray for you in our family.”

“Thank you, Tim. I feel the prayers of the members. Now, what’s this have to do with the temple questions?”

“There’s this one guy in particular who has written some really interesting stuff, but he’s been excommunicated…”

“I don’t know, Tim. I wouldn’t go there if I were you. It seems like dangerous ground. Why would you read his stuff?”

“He wasn’t excommunicated when I started reading his stuff. He has some great books on how we can come unto Christ.”

“OK, yeah. I think I’ve heard of him – Denver Snuffer, right? I still don’t think I would read his stuff, but go on…”

“It started as a simple book review. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on books I read. You know I have an LDS-themed blog.

“Oh, yes. I’m well aware of it. I don’t read it but other members have told me about it. You’ve got some controversial stuff.”

“I know. I started it just before Elder Ballard asked us to get involved in the online conversations about the church out there.”

“That’s good, Tim. Tell me how reading this apostate’s book is connected to the temple recommend question you quoted.”

“Remember, he wasn’t an apostate when he wrote most of his books. It’s only his last book that got him into trouble.

“OK, fine. But he’s now been excommunicated for apostasy so I wouldn’t touch his stuff. It seems like a waste of time.”

“I never did very well in school – had trouble with lectures. Didn’t get things until I read and studied it and then wrote about it.”

“I understand. So you’re a hands-on kind of learner, right? Lots of people are like that. They have trouble with lectures and talks.”

“Good. I’m glad. Thanks. That makes me feel better. So you get why I have to not just read stuff, but need to write things out.”

“I get it Brother Malone. Let’s circle back to the temple recommend question. Are you saying this guy teaches polygamy?”

“No, nothing like that. But he’s got a lot of good points that I hadn’t considered before, things that have to do with our history.”

“OK. Is he starting a church and asking people to join? Or are you just having some trouble with the questions he has raised?”

“No, he’s not starting a church. In fact, he’s encouraging everyone to stay in the church and continue to serve wherever asked.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“Some of my blogging friends have been excommunicated simply for writing about this guys stuff.”

“And that troubles you….”

“Oh, yeah. There’s this church committee called the Strengthening the Church Members committee.”

“I guess I’ve never heard of it.”

“Yeah, I think Elder Holland or Elder Oaks called it a clipping service, but now everything’s on the Internet, so it more like a reading service.”

“You’re losing me. Why are you bringing this up?”

“Well, you know I’m a computer guy, right? That’s how I make my living.’

“OK, so?”

“Well, we bloggers are very interested in who reads our stuff, how they found us, what keyword searches they use and how long they stayed.”

“OK, makes sense.”

“We can track the visitors down to the IP address they use. We can almost pinpoint the physical address from where they read our stuff.”

“That doesn’t mean anything to me. Can you get to the point about the temple recommend question?”

“Alright, Bishop. I’m sorry. I just want to make sure you understand why I’m turning in my temple recommend.”

“You’re what?”

“Yeah. here you go.”

<Bishop looks stunned>

“I don’t know what to say. Why are you doing this? Is this because your friends have been excommunicated?

“I’m not really sure, bishop. I’m still trying to figure out my own feelings. I am kind of upset about that, but it’s a matter of honesty for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“If I were going for a temple recommend, having never been endowed, and you asked the affiliation question, I’d have to say yes.”

“You mean you agree with the stuff this apostate teaches?”

“I don’t know. But I do know I have sympathy for what my blogging buddies are going through – being ex’ed for simply reading a book.”

“OK. I can understand being upset about your blogging buddies, but you don’t know the whole story and never will. Only their leaders know.”

“Agreed. But because I like to be thorough in my research, I‘m going to attend a couple of the lectures of this excommunicated author next month.”

“I see. I’m going to hold on to your recommend. I think I need to talk to the Stake President about this. I’ve never run across this before.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry Bishop. I know I’m a pain in the rear. I just can’t answer ‘no’ to that question. I hope you’ll understand.”

“I do, Tim. I know you’re a good man. We’ve always appreciated your service over the years. Let’s get together next week with the Stake President.”

“Thanks, Bishop. I’ll look forward to it.”

When Good People Oppose Your Best Work


TMalonePatriarchalBlessingA while back I wrote an article entitled, “When Religion Comes Between Spouses.” It was my best effort at that time to share my ideas, successes and failures in dealing with a personal problem I was experiencing – and continue to experience in my marriage: a spouse who does not feel comfortable with, understand or encourage my blogging activities – for various reasons.

Stick Your Head in the Sand Mentality

I know from past experience this post is going to be difficult for a lot of people. For some reason that is a mystery to me, there are good people who simply do not want to talk about, discuss or see others write about subjects they consider sacred cows, such as what constitutes a testimony, what is a prophet, how revelation is received, who can receive revelation and if it can be shared.

Life’s Work to Teach the Gospel

I do not wish to offend. As with each of my posts, I ask the Lord to guide and bless me in the words and phrases I use. It is my desire to share in a manner that will be helpful and perhaps provide information you need to move your life’s work along. This blog is my life’s work, which is why I have approached the Lord in prayer first. I need to improve my communication skills.

This is Not a Scholarly Piece of Work

My method in writing these posts is to always write what is in my heart first, trusting the Lord to put there what He would have me say. If I were to approach the writing of my posts in the more conventional manner, I would do tons of research, find articles worth quoting, and then put my words together in a manner that uses the experiences of others who we would consider experts.

Using Modern-Day Social Media Tools

For example, my personal preference would be to cite the work and life example of John Dehlin, who has gone through this exact same experience I am about to describe, but perhaps on a more accelerated pace and with greater public attention. In other words, if you want to see how what I am about to describe has been put into practice, I recommend you find out how John has done it.

A Few Responses to Some of My Recent Posts

But since this is my blog, I’m going to cite my own examples and how I have handled it so far. Let me start by presenting an entertaining list of comments – all real-life responses – to things I have shared in posts found here on Latter-day Commentary. You can find some of them if you look, but since the blog currently has over 6,000 comments, I’ll highlight only a few of the best.

The Best Way to Build Blog Traffic

Also note some of these comments were shared in private. Like any blogger, I get tons of emails from individuals who, for one reason or another, don’t want to leave comments in public view. I can appreciate that. But as a blogger, I would always want my comments to be public with a link back to my blog. That’s the best way to build traffic – leave comments on other people’s blogs.

I’m Worried About You – Stop Thinking

Here’s an example from yesterday, a private response to my post “Allow me the Agency of my Doubts.” I may change some of the wording of these quotes slightly to reduce any likelihood of offending those who shared them: “I’m worried about you…” I can’t tell you how many emails start off with this phrase. “I plead with you…avoid speculation…” In other words, stop asking questions. This is just so contrary to the way I think, the way I study and the way I live my life.

Ask, Seek, Knock – God’s Formula

I define speculation thus: “Proposing a theory and then searching for evidence or proof of the hypothesis.” To me, speculation is the heart of the scientific method. My friend was pleading with me to stop thinking. Seriously. To stop asking questions is to stop thinking. Is that the way we are supposed to study the gospel? I find nothing wrong with speculation. It is good and the sign of a healthy, inquisitive mind, something I am certain is pleasing to the Lord. Ask, knock…

You Need to Step Back a Little…

Here’s another example from a few weeks back: “I think you need to step back and think about what you are writing lately…” That’s another phrase several people have used as they start a dialog with me. “Don’t you see how distressed your blog posts are making you? We’re supposed to be joyful in the gospel. You’re pulling away from the Lord, little by little. Satan loves that.”

Comfort the Afflicted, Afflict the Comfortable

Interpretation: What’s happening is this particular reader and others like him or her are feeling a bit distressed by the stuff I’m writing. I seem to bring comfort to the afflicted and to afflict those comfortable in the gospel. That’s not my intention but it’s becoming more evident. I thought life was supposed to be a journey. I thought we were supposed to learn new things on our journey. Why is it so hard to accept that learning new things can be an uncomfortable process? It just is.

Denver Snuffer’s Writings Not for Everyone

Carol won’t mind me sharing this one: “When I have prayed about Denver Snuffer I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can’t stand to read his stuff.” My response: “I can certainly understand that. How can the Lord confirm something to you that you haven’t studied? If what he writes makes you uncomfortable, stop reading. It’s obviously not intended for you.” The last thing I want to do is cause discomfort for my wife. She certainly has a right to her own feelings.

Honor My Agency to Follow My Heart

Gratefully, as I wrote in the comments on the last post when asked by a reader, Carol and I came to an agreement about my blog, and especially about when I’m writing something that can be attributed to an idea found in Denver’s books. She doesn’t like what I’m reading or writing, she will not read it herself and for the most part, we don’t discuss what I read or write. She finds it troubling and the source of much anxiety. Yet, she acknowledges my agency to follow my heart.

The Appeal of Denver Snuffer’s Writings

I proposed the sexist theory one time that Denver appeals to men because he cuts to the chase, doesn’t sugar-coat anything, tells it like it is, offers no apologies, and will not back down. He keeps saying we should not focus on the messenger. Sorry. I can’t help but make the observation how effective I find his delivery, his writing style and the fact that I feel spiritually fed each time I study a chapter, looking up the scriptures and pondering the new and different interpretations.

Message Appeals to Both Men and Women

I say this is a sexist theory because I wrote somewhere in the comments of a past blog post that only men would find this method of delivery I described above to be fulfilling. I was quickly corrected when a half dozen sisters in the gospel told me they felt the same way – that Denver’s method of delivery enhanced the message, made it more acceptable and memorable. So it’s not a pink / blue kind of thing. Some people simply feel threatened or scared by Denver’s message and I still don’t know why.

The Messenger Has Talent from God

I’ve been called a “Denver wannabe” by more than a few readers. I have always provided the same response: “Yes, even though I have not met him, I find the man’s style captivating. I am transported to a different world when I read his books, I seem to lose track of time and wish I could spend more hours cross-referencing his commentary to the scriptures (Use this tool: https://ref.erenc.es/ds/). I wish I had half the talent this man has in writing about the gospel and getting people to engage with his message.”

The Messenger is doing a Damn Good Job

And of course, anyone who reads Denver’s material cites the standard response, “This is not about Denver. It is about the message that we can come unto Christ, receive Him directly as in D&C 93:1 and become instruments in His hands to do whatever he needs to have done in these latter-days to prepare for a Zion people to gather.” I also cite that response, but do not hesitate to point out that for me, the chosen messenger, who calls himself a fool, is doing a damn good job.

How to Best Help Others – Honor Agency

From another friend: “I wish I knew what to say so I could help Tim.” Of course, this implies there is something wrong with Tim. I know this good man loves me. We have served together in various capacities for many years. I know what he says is an effort to comfort and to help. It also demonstrates the fact assumed by so many people who read my blog about my spiritual state.

Can’t Believe a Man Can Be So Committed

“Tim has either gone off his rocker or has gone over to the dark side. He needs to be saved. He’s fallen into the clutches of an evil man. It’s those apostate books he’s reading. They have warped his brain and changed his thinking. He’s not reasoning straight. He has thrown out all that is good in his life and his hell-bent (another favorite phrase) on seeing this through to the end.”

Rotten Fruits Are Being Made Manifest

And finally, from a Stake President of another stake, far, far away: “Snuffer is an apostate, who has been excommunicated from the Church. He is, as all apostates, following in the pattern of Sherem, Nehor, and Korihor, and will in all probability become more like Amalickiah. At the end of the day I stand by the Brethren. Snuffer and his followers are on a dangerous road and the rotten fruits of his work are being made manifest.” I have heard a lot about bad fruit lately.

Show Us Evidence of the Rotten Fruit

One good sister left me a Facebook message as follows: “I have not seen anything good come from Denver. He has destroyed three beautiful families that I know personally. ‘By their fruits, ye shall know them.’ I responded: “Can you tell me more about what happened in how Denver messed up these families? Have these other families gone through divorce or something because they can’t talk about what the other is reading or believing?” Several other readers asked her the same question. Her response was to repeat her original statement or accusation – no elaboration.

Responses Based on Fear – Not Love

Although I could go on and on, I think that’s enough examples to make my point. What do all these arguments have in common? They are all based in fear. You can see they claim to be based on loving concern for me. They will either say that directly or imply it by the way they phrase their words. But deep down inside, their responses are based on a fear, an insecurity, that maybe, just maybe, they are wrong or they are missing something in their own confidence and strength.

Update 5-18-14: A wise man kindly pointed out the fallacy of my conclusion. Although it may appear to me that each of the responses or comments I have cited above are based on fear – and perhaps they are – the problem is I have judged those who have taken the time to respond to me. Whether they are fear-based response or not is not relevant. If the individuals I have judged think or perceive I have judged them to be fearful, there can be no hope of building a bridge between us.

Update (continued): I have failed to put myself in their shoes, so to speak. Usually, nobody bothers to respond unless they do indeed love you, or at least have a spirit of love and concern in their hearts. If there were no love for me present, they would simply ignore their feelings of concern and go on to something else. I have need to repent, and, to state it positively, I now repent of having judged my friends of being fearful. I have returned loving concern with judgment. I am sorry.

Change is Difficult to Watch – It’s Threatening

Oh, they will deny it if you confront them. Or, if they are honest like my good wife, she will say, “You’re damn right I’m afraid of Denver Snuffer. I’m afraid of what he has done to you. I’m afraid of what he writes. It’s false doctrine.” Carol has only read chapter one of PtHG with me. That was enough for her. She also quotes the “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Before we agreed to stop talking about Denver, I would ask, “What fruits? Tell me what evil he has done.”

First Response to Change is Always Fear

But that would only lead to an emotional, fear-filled response about me getting excommunicated, her losing her promise of celestial life, eternal marriage and no father for her son. I mistakenly read to her Lynn’s painful comments from last week’s post. Her response: “That’s exactly right. Are you willing to throw it all away all because of the writings of one crazed lunatic you don’t even know?” Sigh. When will I ever learn to stop sharing such quotes? It’s that pink-blue thing.

You’re asking for Excommunication

And finally, “Tim, are you trying to get excommunicated? Why are you egging on the Brethren? Don’t do this to your local leaders. It’s not fair to them. They have done nothing to you. If you are really hell-bent on going down this path [there’s that phrase again], perhaps an open letter to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles might be more appropriate.

Shooting, Shooting but Missing the Target

“Your poor Bishop and Stake President are going to get whiplash from all this–they will just be confused and hurt.  You’re shooting and shooting, but you’re missing the target.  Aim for the real culprits if you feel you must keep firing away like this.” And this is from a long-time reader whom I know loves and cares about me. He’ll recognize this but it’s too good not to share.

Must Work With Local Leaders First

Here’s my response: Your advice is good but the wheels are already in motion. I am meeting with the bishop this Thursday and the Stake President sometime next week. I thought about an open letter to the First Presidency, but the handbook precludes that. We are specifically directed to work with local leaders first. I don’t have a beef with the General Authorities. My issue is what this church has become or what we collectively have caused this church to become.

The Real Issue – Things We Have Lost

“It’s a place where we’re discouraged from studying the gospel in small non-family groups in homes. Otherwise we can only study in groups at church. It’s a place where prayer circles are not allowed in the home. It’s a place where the true order of prayer is not allowed to be practiced in the home. It’s a place where we are not allowed to display or reveal spiritual gifts such as prophecy, tongues, visions, revelations or healings – only annointings, no charismatic healing.

No Longer Taught Meat of the Gospel

“It’s a place where we are no longer taught or allowed to seek: Being born of the spirit, baptized of fire, calling and election sure or the Second Comforter. I can go on and on but I think you’re familiar with the list and know the source. The particular issue I brought up in my post is the Fullness of the Priesthood. I apologize if it looks like I’m trying too hard to pick a fight with my Bishop and Stake President. I’m only doing what the Lord has asked me to do.

Open Letter to Leaders Waste of Time

“I hope this won’t hurt the Bishop and Stake President. I know they’ve already got too much on their plate but what else can I do? The church requires it this way. An Open Letter to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve will do nothing. It will get no response. It will be ignored. I think we both know this already. I am not trying to get excommunicated, but I am prepared for the eventuality – emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and with my wife standing at my side.”

Not Seeking Change – Just to Help Others

I hope what I’ve shared is helpful to someone. I know it will seem like foolishness to some, but I hope you got the final message. As I wrote in my agenda notes for Thursday’s meeting with the Bishop: “I’m only doing this because I felt the Lord ask me to do so. I don’t question why and I don’t know why. The real question is, “Do you think I am being deceived or am I being led by the Lord?” Is standing up for my right to write book reviews on my blog worth my membership in the church?

This Thing Was Not Done In a Corner

A note on openness: Some have criticized me for sharing this ongoing saga, including reports on what I have discussed with my bishop here on my blog. They say such lack of secrecy or privacy demonstrates unworthiness so that the Lord will never honor me with spiritual manifestations of any kind because I don’t know how to keep things secret. Thanks for your criticism. It has been duly noted. I disagree. All I want to do is document my fight for the right to write book reviews. I pray my openness will help others who are being excommunicated for simply reading a book.

Dates for Denver’s Remaining Lectures

Ephraim – June 28, 2014
Las Vegas – July 25, 2014
St. George – July 26, 2014
Phoenix area – September 9, 2014, this will conclude the 40th year and will take place on day 365.

All talks will be in the morning.

Note on Comments

The WordPress spam filter is being wonky again. I check for blocked comments as often as possible, but if yours gets blocked and you want a quick response, text me at 818-257-0513 or shoot me an email at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. Thanks for the dialog. I always appreciate comments.

Concluding Testimony at my Disciplinary Council


MartinLuther95ThesesI shared my testimony in our regular monthly testimony meeting this morning. I wanted to make sure the Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency present – he’s also in our ward – heard me say I sustain the general authorities and local authorities of the church. Of course these words were in addition to sharing comments reflecting my love of my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

Covering All the Bases

Carol asked me afterward if I did that to offset whoever it was that complained about my blog a few months ago. I assured her I was sincere, but yes, I wanted the whole ward to know of my feelings for those who lead this church. I continue to sustain them with my prayers and with my money. Yes, I know my tithing is used to pay their salary. It also helps pay my sister’s salary.

Follow the Bishop’s Counsel

As far as I know, I’m not under any priesthood leader’s watch list for an impending disciplinary council, but a few of my friends and fellow bloggers have been surprised, so I’m being careful. I’m doing my utmost to follow my Bishop’s counsel to keep my headlines non-inflammatory and to keep links to my posts off Facebook. Those links are apparently where I got in trouble before.

It’s Tough to Be a Bishop

I continue to be appreciative of my Bishop’s opening remarks when he called me to talk the first time a few months back. He said our chats – there were two follow-ups – were motivated out of love. I know I’ve shared this before but I believe him. Our bishop is a good man. I love him and appreciate all he does for our ward. It takes a lot of time to manage the largest ward in the stake.

If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear

Specifically because some of my fellow bloggers were surprised at the rapidity of the course of events surrounding their disciplinary councils, I want to be prepared, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually in case I get surprised. In one case the good brother was notified on Sunday he was to be tried for his membership and was excommunicated 72 hours later on Wednesday evening.

Course of Action Planned in Advance

I’ve written my defense before the High Council in a previous post. Obviously it was imaginary, a defense based on years of observation of disciplinary councils in which I have participated as a High Counselor, a Bishopric Counselor or a clerk. I hope this will never be needed, but in that same spirit, I’d like to have my closing testimony prepared in the event I am allowed to share it.

How I Dislike Disciplinary Councils

In case you don’t know, there’s no guarantee you will get to say anything at your disciplinary council. Seriously. I know what the handbook says. About the only thing they have to let you say is how you answer to the charges – innocent or guilty. Don’t you just hate the whole concept of a disciplinary council? I do. It doesn’t seem right to have such things in the church of Jesus Christ.

Our Decision That You Be Excommunicated

But then, what do I know? I’m just a lowly member, happy to be here, grateful to serve. So with that in mind, and since I use my blog as an auxiliary personal journal, here is what I would like to say if I ever hear the words, “Brother Malone, our decision is that you be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Is there anything you would like to say?”

Shared Desire to Do the Will of the Lord

“Thank you President. I’ll be brief here. Thank you to my brethren of the High Council for their service. And thank you, President, for your thoughtful and prayerful consideration of my case. I know this is painful to you, not because you’re losing a financial clerk, but because I know you are a good man, with a desire to do the will of the Lord. I’m grateful we share that same desire.

Excommunication Difficult on Family Members

“There’s no need to go over the details of my case. The decision has been made and I sustain your action. I suspect the decision was made at a higher level in the church, but that doesn’t matter. I am no longer a member but will continue to attend with my wife for whom I pray night and day. This chain of events has been painful for her and a source of resentment and frustration.

Apostasy – Simply Writing a Few Book Reviews

“I will not be appealing the case. I have never seen it do any good for anyone else. Besides, I have no intention of seeking rebaptism. I was excommunicated for apostasy – for simply reading a book and sharing it with others. I felt led by the Lord in the entire process. I was introduced to the book in the temple. I prayed about the book in the temple and was answered in the temple.

My Issue is With Interpreting Church History

“The book has changed my life. It clarified for me many things I already suspected or believed. I know my path is not for everyone. There are fundamental differences in the way we look at the church. I suspect it will always be so. This is not a personal issue with you, your leadership, or anyone in this room. My issue is with the Brethren in Salt Lake, always has been and will be.

The Priesthood Was Taken From Israel

“I will continue to pray for them, but am no longer allowed to sustain them, meaning they will not accept my tithing. It won’t be missed. I will continue to love them. They are good men who have taught and inspired me. They have done a good job in leading this church. You may think me deceived and naïve, but I feel sorry for them. They are stuck. They cannot escape the past.

Gentiles Shall Reject Fullness of the Gospel

“I don’t want to offend anybody so I won’t say anything more. My reasons are on my blog and will be amplified with greater clarity now that I am free to share more openly. I hope you won’t consider my blog to be anti-Mormon because it’s not. I am not an enemy of this church. I love the church and pray for its success, but believe things about the church that are no longer taught.

Prophecy and Traditional Narrative Differ

“For the record, I refute the charges that I do not sustain the Brethren. Perhaps it’s semantics. I simply disagree with some of their interpretations of history and scripture. I’ve been told I need to repent until my thinking is in line with what the Brethren teach about those certain events in our history. I appreciate the invitation. I know it’s offered with love and concern for my welfare.

Testimony of Church History Not Required

“I’ll conclude with words I wrote privately to a long-time reader who was troubled by my blog: Thank you for your love and concern. My mind is made up. I choose to believe things about our history that are not taught in our church or are taught in a manner that leaves out key elements. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to have a testimony of church history to come unto Christ.

The Purging of the Two Percent

“Let’s focus on what is important – to know Christ. I love this church for the renewed focus we have on the Savior. I have watched it happen in my lifetime. I pray that priesthood leaders will leave good men alone who are striving to come unto Christ but don’t believe some of the history. But recent evidence shared with me privately indicates the purge of men like me is accelerating.

The Truth Will Set You Free

If the church continues on this path, they will alienate and lose the strength and backbone of the priesthood brethren who faithfully pay tithes and administer in wards and stakes in the church. Can the church afford that? Perhaps – perhaps not. God bless us each in our pursuit of the truth. It is the truth that sets us free. When I finally accepted the truth of our history, I indeed felt free.”

This Could Never Possibly Happen

I don’t want to end on a negative note. Other than the interviews with my Bishop and the private correspondence with several bloggers who have recently been excommunicated for apostasy, this is all speculation and supposition. You may say it’s a product of my imagination. “You’ve been under a lot of stress, Tim. Nobody at Church headquarters even knows or cares about your blog.”

Strengthening Church Members Committee

That may be true. I hope the book reviews I write on my blog and what I choose to believe about the contents of those books has nothing to do with the status of my temple worthiness or church membership. Recent evidence from others is contrary. The SCMC is real. They really do determine that certain authors and bloggers are a threat to the church and need to be disciplined. It happens.

We Pay People to Read Member’s Blogs

God bless us all to stay in the good graces of the members of the Strengthening the Church Members Committee. I know I have communicated with a few of them. One is a Facebook friend and a blog follower. He is also a church employee. I have lots of church employees who are friends and read my blog, but this individual is vehemently opposed and vociferous in his opposing comments.

Lo Que Será, Será

I served my mission in Central America. They never used this phrase, but I like to use it. It fits in this case. I do all I can to follow what I believe is the will of the Lord. I know there are consequences of being misunderstood. After I have done all I can to make things clear to those who want to know the truth, all I can do is wait. I used to mock sites that said they had the truth of church history. Now…

As Always, Comments Open

What do you think? Is it possible the church is on the lookout for bloggers like me who write about church history in a way that differs from the standard narrative? Is it possible the church is out to squelch opposing viewpoints from among their own members? Am I a wolf in sheep’s clothing? My patriarchal blessing warns me about such individuals. Do you find my blog offensive? I’d love to read your views.

True Order of Prayer – Part Two


Adam-and-Eve-Kneeling-at-Altar-PrayingLast week, I dedicated an altar in my home and prayed according to the true order of prayer as I have been taught in the temple. It was an amazing experience that opened up a whole new world for me. My only disappointment was that it was not shared with my wife, or at least not until today. This post will be another journal entry, meant to document, not argue merit or propriety.

Tweeting General Conference Together

As suggested by one of my readers, I fasted today for those who would be speaking in General Conference. I was not disappointed. Carol and I had a blast sitting side by side watching the conference on the Internet and adding our comments to Twitter, using the #LDSConf hashtag. I’ve done it for years but this is the first time Carol has done that. The time flew by quickly.

Family Council to Discuss Plans

In between the sessions of conference we held a family council to discuss our plans for the family reunion in June and attending Denver’s St. George lecture (date not yet disclosed). I would say this was the longest family council we have held in thirty-one years of marriage. I am pleased to report there was no arguing or hard feelings, which may be a first for Carol and me.

Developing Talents as Writers

You see, both of us are stubborn and determined about what we believe and what we want to accomplish or achieve with our lives. Carol is determined to be a good writer and has come a long way in the last few years. She amazes me and frankly, has blown me away with the talent she has developed. In our writer’s group meeting Friday, everybody loved her latest chapter.

Sharing My Prayer Experience

While we didn’t start with prayer, we started with the understanding that I would share with her what I had experienced last Sunday. I asked her permission during the morning session of Conference. I know that sounds strange, but she knew what I was asking. I was asking for her time and undivided attention. I knew she hadn’t found time yet to read my post from last week.

Kindness, Patience, Love Unfeigned

I have learned there are only three tools at my disposal to get my message across. Neither I nor the Lord work through force or by demanding. That’s the quickest way to invite the spirit of the adversary into your home. The three tools are 1) Kind words, 2) Patience and long-suffering and 3) Love unfeigned. God has commanded us to love our wives with all our hearts. Think about it.

Carol is a True Believing Mormon

Carol is concerned about being led astray. I don’t blame her. That’s one of the reasons I married her. She is as TBM as you can get (email me if you don’t understand that acronym). For Carol, the mantra to follow the Brethren IS the gospel. She will do whatever she is asked by those who preside over us in the church, both locally and from Salt Lake. She’s an amazing LDS woman.

I am an Uncorrelated Mormon

For me, I have become more and more open and uncorrelated over the years to the point where I am now totally uncorrelated (email me if you don’t understand that concept). Do you see the problem? We are at opposite ends of the spectrum of orthodoxy. I’m the one who has changed. I make no bones about it. I have been led on this journey by the Lord and could not resist His love.

A Mother Who Taught Me

Let me see if I can give you an example to help you understand. In my gospel study and prayer, I had the advantage of not having to go through the shock many of my friends have suffered when they learned the true history of our church. Thanks to a mother who knew and taught me, I also knew all the warts of the church from my youth. I knew I belonged to an imperfect institution.

True and Faithful to the Church

I have been documenting my faith journey online for seven years. Frankly I was shocked at the reaction of some of my readers who kept asking me, “How can you be true and faithful to this church when you know what you know about the history?” My answer has always been, “I love the Lord and know He would not give me more than I could handle.” That has been my secret.

Don’t talk about it at Church

By that I mean this: Because I asked, the Lord led me to material over the years that helped me to understand and be able to explain what happened in our history that was different from what the official narrative of the church has been. He also told me to keep it to myself or limit it to my blog and to NEVER teach what I had discovered within the walls of any LDS Church building.

Wait for the Right Time

By following that direction from the Lord, my testimony has been strengthened and my peace has increased day by day. The focus in my journey has been to draw closer to the Lord, to prove myself obedient to His will and to do the hard things asked of me, which is primarily to keep my mouth shut about the things I was learning until the time was right. Well, that time is now here.

We are not Forced to Believe

Now, let’s return to the family council. My objective was to convince Carol to go with me to Denver’s lecture in St. George. I knew the only way I could do that was if the Lord revealed it to her. She needed to know she was safe and that I was on her side. This is such a serious issue that it could easily cause marriage partners to go their separate ways. I will not allow that to happen.

My Responsibility to Teach My Wife

I also know I cannot be exalted without Carol. She is my queen. I cannot go before the Lord in the world to come without my sweetheart. If I have not taught her the truth, it is my own fault and the Lord will hold me responsible. And she must be willing of her own free will and choice to come forth when I call. She doesn’t have to unless she wants to. I want her to be by my side.

Afraid of Denver Snuffer

So I taught her and addressed her concerns with love and patience. The Lord put words in my mouth. I knew what to say and the right way to say it. This is a gift I appreciate and have always attributed to the Lord. It is one of the functions of the Holy Ghost to help us know what to say in difficult situations. This was one of those situations. Carol is afraid of Denver Snuffer.

Denver Snuffer labeled an Apostate

From the day we read together the first chapter of his book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, she made up her mind that he was an apostate and was going to get excommunicated. She wanted to have nothing to do with him. It only made it more difficult to talk about him and what he has shared when he was excommunicated last year. The phrase, “See, I told you so” was heard in our home.

Sealing Power in LDS Church

I’ve done my best to share with her what I was learning. It has always been difficult because of the poor first experience she had. You can read about it in my first post about Denver in 2012. She is convinced Denver has taught the Church does not have the sealing power. My mistake – I misunderstood the message of his book until later, and because he clarified it for me online.

Sealing Power Key to Exaltation

This is a touchy subject. Imagine what that does to a woman who relies on the reality of that sealing power to give her everything for which she has ever hoped and dreamed – to be united with her family for the eternities. This has been the main thing we have discussed over the years as we have talked about Denver’s books, which of course I have done in our home for two years.

How Sealing Power is Received

I am still not sure I can fully explain how it works. All I know it is different from the official narrative. I also know the higher sealing power cannot be passed from one man to another. Sealing power is received ONLY the way Nephi received it – by hearing the voice of the Lord. This is a hard concept and goes contrary to the fundamental core of what the Brethren teach.

Apostasy for What you Believe

In other words, if you teach this, you are an apostate and can be excommunicated. I have never and will never teach it inside an LDS church or while on an assignment such as home teaching. I also will not share it with anyone unless I am asked. When I met with the Bishop three times over the last few months he didn’t ask if I believed what is found in Passing the Heavenly Gift.

Grounds for Excommunication

He knows I won’t teach it in the church. I don’t want to get excommunicated. The Lord has allowed me to share it only on my blog and it still brings out the worst in people as we discuss it. The big question is: can a man be excommunicated for believing this doctrine even though it is clearly taught in our scriptures? He can be and men are being excommunicated more and more.

Excommunicated for Reading a Book

Only today I received yet another private email in which one of my readers told me he received a call from his bishop after the first session of Conference informing him he was to appear before a stake disciplinary council this Wednesday at 7pm. What is his sin? He was excommunicated for simply reading and sharing on his blog what he has read of Denver Snuffer, Daymon Smith and Rock Waterman.

Private Discussion Groups

Why do you think most who read Denver’s works and want to discuss them stay in members-only discussion groups? It’s sad. I told the Lord I wasn’t going to do that and that’s what I finally got his authorization on last week – to openly teach this doctrine more clearly on my blog in the months to come. Yes, I will probably be excommunicated. I am at peace with that. Carol isn’t.

Teaching With Love Unfeigned

This is getting long. Let me wrap up. For two hours I taught Carol. For two hours she listened to me. She was upset several times. I did not reciprocate because I understood her fear. With love unfeigned I continued to teach her. She had her back to me for a while. That’s never a good sign. Finally she turned to me, trusting me and listening with her heart. I knew it was time to pray.

True Order of Prayer with Carol

The last session of conference started, preventing us from doing so. As soon as it was over, we went to our home family altar, offered the signs of the priesthood together then knelt down to pray. Well, I prayed, she listened. I again used the second sign of the Aaronic priesthood as I prayed. I told her it would be a short prayer and it was. It was specifically about Denver Snuffer.

We Don’t Want to be Deceived

I told the Lord WE didn’t want to be deceived. I asked the Lord to make it known to Carol if it was alright that we attended his St George lecture together. I already had my answer. The prayer was specifically for Carol. As I related in my post last week, the answer doesn’t have to come right away. I asked for the Lord to answer Carol’s prayers. She says she has been struggling.

Gospel of Jesus Christ in Action

I know I have shared a personal and what many might consider a private story, not appropriate for a blog post. I disagree. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ in action. The purpose of my post is to share my witness that the True Order of Prayer can and should be used in our homes. It is also intended to be practiced as a family, or at least as husband and wife who have been endowed.

If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine

We arose from our prayer and hugged, then went downstairs. I broke my fast with a wonderful meal Carol prepared. I then tried to answer some more of the emails that have been flooding my inbox over the past week. I know the Lord will answer our prayer when Carol is ready. It may be months. But I am so pleased we are doing this the way the Lord directed me. We must be united.

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?

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.

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.

Life in the Church for an Old Guy


StuffIBlogAboutI wrote this yesterday after my tech class was over for the day. Would have published it last night but we went to the local Community Writers Group to learn more about how to be a good poet. Ah, the things we do for love. Somehow, it looks like our empty-nest years are going to be filed with lots of reading and writing. I’ve got a library of over 1,000 books about halfway read.  By the way, this is more of a post of just a bunch of personal reflections. Skip it if you want.

Just a Normal LDS Guy Who Blogs

From the day I started this blog six years ago, I’ve always tried to make it clear that I’m just a normal LDS guy, happy with the church here in California, including the orthodoxy that seems to bug some people to no end. I’ve also tried to make it clear from the beginning I like the controversial stuff that can easily have multiple points of view without any of them being absolutely correct. It doesn’t bug me to have an absolute answer of exactly the way things are supposed to be.

Thanks For Reading My Blog

If I haven’t said it before, please let me express it now: Thank you for sticking with me. I know I have some long-time readers from way back when. But according to the stats, most have subscribed or visited for the first time in the last year or so. For that reason I sometimes give a quick summary of why I write and what you can expect to find on this blog. I get about 200 visitors a day. Most of you read a couple of posts then move on. That’s OK. I hope you find what you need.

What You’ll Find Here

If you don’t want to take the time to read my “About me” tab, in a nutshell, I’m an old guy in the church, grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, love the doctrine, or at least the idea of studying the doctrine, love to read other’s points of views on the doctrine, do not consider myself a scholar, but am interested in the controversial stuff (I think I said that). I’ve gone back and forth from orthodox conservatism to libertarian, constitutionalist to even being a little liberal on some important issues.

Why I Write – Because I Read

I write because I feel the need to share my thoughts. We have one son who lives up the coast, my wife is a published author and I am a computer guy with some free time late in the day and in the evenings. I don’t watch TV, prefer to eat at home rather than eat out, am forever buying and starting books, and sometimes even finish them in a short period of time. I think I have some eccentric or weird viewpoints of life.

Last Days Seem to Be Closer

For example, like many of you, I feel the end days are near, even upon us, perhaps much closer than we think. I know the gospel is supposed to go into all the world before the Lord returns but it seems to me that it is doing that through technology. I believe we are in for some catastrophic events in the near future. I am a follower of the Electric Universe theory of science. Most scientists don’t know what it is and would vehemently disagree with many of the components.

Connection to the Spirit World

I believe in the reality of the spirit-world, seem to have some sort of gift or unusual sort of connection where I can sense the presence of those from both sides, especially the dark side, and can constantly hear their thoughts if I don’t tune them out. I can pick and choose someone nearby and have a conversation with them. I don’t do this on a regular basis. It’s kind of spooky and I haven’t figured out what good it does so I don’t pursue it. Lately, they’ve been bugging me, causing me anxiety with strong feelings of panic and tremendous constant headaches.

Healing – But Not Just the Body

I’ve sought all the typical Western healing modalities with no success. I’ve pursued and am still pursuing alternative healers and have decided it’s time to seek psychological help. I’ve got nothing against it. I know they go to school a long time to become certified in how to help people work through their problems so I’ve visited a few in the hopes of finding one that can understand what I’m going through. I’m meeting another one for the first time this Thursday.

We Need to Heal the Spirit Too

Of course, most psychologists would say I have a psychosis with this idea that I’m bothered by spirits around me. It’s too bad he’s not LDS. There are few in California, so I’ll have to explain why this is such a big deal to me. I’m specifically doing this because my home teacher said in the latest blessing I should pursue every avenue of healing the Holy Ghost brings to my mind. This is one of them. Besides I look forward to telling my story. I’ve shared it in previous posts on this blogs including links to documents detailing specifically what happened.

Publishing a Book – Not an Easy Goal

Did I mention I’m a big fan of Anthony Larson and his prophecy trilogy of books? I am. I’ve written dozens of articles about the stuff I’ve found in his books and on his blog. I think what he has written explains so much about what is going to happen. I hope he gets some credit for having foreseen it once it comes to pass. I’ve been writing a fictional book about a few characters who deal with the events he describes in his books. So far it seems to be fairly well received. We shall see.

Controversial LDS Authors I Like

Some of my favorite authors are Anthony Larson, Doug Mendenhall, Mel Fish, and lately, Denver Snuffer. I have read most of what Denver has written and am in the process of reading the transcriptions of his recent lectures. I have purchased the audio recordings / CDs and have enjoyed listening to them but want to understand better the scriptures he uses in the lectures, thus the transcriptions. Would love to write a review of each lecture, especially his latest on Priesthood.

Boise: 9-10-13, Be of Good Cheer
Idaho Falls: 9-22-13, Lectures on Faith
Logan: 9-29-13, Repentance
Centerville: 10-6-13, Covenants
Orem: 11-2-13, Priesthood

My Thoughts on Denver Snuffer

I understand he has five or six more lectures next year and hope to make it to at least one in either St. George, Las Vegas or perhaps in Phoenix in about a year. In the meantime you can find these lectures discussed ad infinitum on the private Denver Snuffer forums found about the Internet. I’m grateful for these smart people, many who know him, who have some radically different viewpoints than I do about what he teaches. I happen to think he’s a pretty good teacher and am sorry he was excommunicated but that doesn’t bother me. I know truth when I hear it.

We Invest So Much In Temporary Knowledge

I’m finishing up a technology recertification year this week. I just did the final tally. My employer was gracious enough to allow me to attend 94 days (752 hours) of Microsoft, VMWare, CompTIA and other technology classes this year. I now have sixteen exams for which to prepare. Some of the exams are five hours. I haven’t heard it called this, but in my book, it’s like getting a Master’s degree in Network Administration. I’m not looking for a new job but it’s nice to bring my knowledge current in the small world of technology I inhabit. There are so many others. Not bad for an old guy. No high-five’s until I’m done.

My Work in Technology Mixed In

But what will the technology certifications matter in the end? They are already outdated. It’s the hours studying doctrine I need to increase. For that reason I printed out each of the five lectures from Denver Snuffer today. Having already listened to then, I know there are some amazing things in them. 132 pages so far. Denver has stated the content was given to him by the Lord, something he wanted us to know for our times. No matter what you think of Denver Snuffer, that is quite an accomplishment so far and he still has I think five more lectures to do.

Personal Religion Brings Happiness

Carol and I continue to read the scriptures every night before our nightly prayer. Some nights the readings are short. Other nights the discussions are deep and heart-felt. We love this church and gospel both. You may wonder how I can say I like to read what Denver Snuffer has to say about things, but it doesn’t bother me. The Church has blessed my life and I am extremely grateful. It brings me happiness, friendship, fellowship and opportunities for service. God bless our prophets, apostles, bishops and Stake Presidents. None are perfect, but I’m amazed at the hours they put in. I know the General Authorities get a living allowance, but I work and have worked all my adult life in bishoprics. I know these men love the Lord and the Saints.

Summary: Just some personal thoughts

I guess my point is I want to make it clear someone can read the writings of an excommunicated member and still remain faithful and love this church. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. There is nothing in the temple recommend interview that asks if you read books from former members.  The only question that comes close is “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”  No matter how you slice it, I can’t see how reading books by former members could put one in that category. What do you think? Will the day come when we’re called to account for what doctrinal stuff we read?

Personal Evidence of Casting Out Devils


JesusCastingOutDevilsI could have put some benign headline on this post, but who would read a story labeled, “Miracle in Agoura,” or “Man stops taking drugs cold turkey?” I want to make a point with the headline and I hope it catches your attention. This story needs to be told in this modern day and age. Evil spirits are real. I have personal knowledge that I allude to in this post. The healing described is real and is common, or at least it’s common for those who believe such things can and do still take place in this skeptical world we live in. Please take off the cynical glasses for a few minutes.

Going Cold Turkey Can Taste Oh So Good

It was 3:40pm California time when I start this, published at 7:30pm. I’ve been up since about 4:50am. Now these facts by themselves mean nothing, but consider this. Today is the first time in over eight months I haven’t taken any pain or anxiety medication since the morning dosage. By now, I would usually be climbing the walls, especially without the afternoon dosage of Clonazepam. Just ask Carol. I’ve been impossible to live with unless I’m on a regular morning, afternoon and evening schedule of drugs prescribed by a half-dozen doctors. [I was wrong. See added paragraph below.]

Clonazepam – To Stop Panic Attacks

For those who don’t know, Clonazepam is a strong benzodiazepine which is the preferred treatment for panic disorder, and anxiety. It sedates, relaxes, and has hypnotic properties. Oh, by the way, one of the main side effects is it makes you want to sleep a lot – for hours and hours. It’s basically hard to get anything done if you’re on this prescription drug, which I have been since last February. 2mg is a high dosage. Most people start at a half mg or one mg at the most. But the high dosage was needed to counteract the powerful anxiety I experienced constantly.

Tramadol – A Psychotropic Drug

Clonazepam is on the controlled substance list along with the other two medications I usually take about this time: 50mg of Tramadol, an opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain. If you know anything about pharmacology (and why should you know unless you are studying to be a doctor or are one) you’ll know that Tramadol ups the serotonin in the blood, popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. In other words, people take these drugs to help them feel better emotionally. It’s used as a psychotropic drug.

Vicodin – Another Pain Killer

I’m sure you’ll all recognize the third painkiller I usually take in my afternoon cocktail of drugs. It’s Hydrocodone, usually called Vicodin, another opioid-based pain killer. It’s also used to treat moderately severe pain. It contains a narcotic. In other words, it is addicting. It also has some other not so pleasant side effects, such as constipation, dizziness, and feeling nauseated. These are just the three main drugs I have listed among the dozen I take each day and have now since February. Before that, I rarely, if ever took prescription drugs of any kind for any reason.

Not Good Advice to Suddenly Stop Drugs

Now, why have I been taking these powerful narcotics and other such drugs for the past eight months? And why do I say that this morning was the last time I’ll need them or will take them? How can I be so confident? No matter what it is that has happened to make me so self-assured, shouldn’t I wait a few days before writing something like this? Every doctor I know will tell you to ease off the prescription drugs slowly, especially if you’ve been taking them for so long. [Update 11-8: The doctors are right. Go slow.] I’ve got a story to tell that could take a couple of posts, but I’ll try to summarize it in this short post. To keep a promise, I would need someone’s permission to write any more detail. By the time you finish, I hope you’ll understand why my confidence is so high that I have been healed.

The Short Answer

Here’s the short answer for regular readers of my blog: I paid a visit to a dear friend who was in Southern California for a few days. Fortunately, he just happened to be visiting twenty miles from my home here in Camarillo. Some of you may recognize him. His name is Jan Graf and he is from St George Utah. I have been waiting twenty years to tell his story since I first met him in 1993. The man is a healer and I mean that in every sense of the word. Or if you prefer, he is a man blessed with the gift of healing. He readily acknowledges the source to be Jesus Christ. Jan, or rather the Lord, healed me today. I don’t need those psychotropic and pain pills any more. Of that I am confident.

Pain to Keep Me From My Work

By the way, the pain pills were to treat the constant, and I mean absolute non-stop headaches. Some call them migraines, but migraines come and go. This was a constant pain. Along with the constant desire to sleep from the Clonazepam, I could not focus, concentrate or maintain my attention on things for more than a few seconds without experiencing severe pain. The CAT Scans and the MRI’s, along with all the blood work found nothing out of the normal. I kept asking the doctors if there wasn’t some test they missed of if I couldn’t get another opinion on the ones they had already taken. It did no good. They all agreed I was perfectly healthy.

For Those Wondering About the Backstory

Again, for regular readers of my blog, they know the story, but I’ve written it out and shared it so many times that I’ve placed it online. You can read it on my website on the above link. You know I asked at the beginning of the post to put your skeptical viewpoints aside for a while. I know many of you are experts in treating people with mental illness. I’ve been told it’s harmful for anyone to suggest mental afflictions like the ones I was experienced can be caused by evil or unclean spirits. I understand. I’ve visited with many of you looking for answers. All I can say is as of this morning I was in severe pain and anxiety and tonight I am at peace and feel no pain.

An Alternative Technique that Works

I met Jan in 1982 when my son was acting up in school. Our local bishop advised us to take him to see a new doctor he had just heard about. It turns out the man was no doctor at all. He was someone trained in a new technique named about the man who discovered it, or as he likes to say, had it revealed to him. I believe him. I felt so excited about what I discovered I wanted to shout it to the world. I could see how this could help so many people if they just knew about it. I wanted to write a book that explained how to learn and practice the technique. I found an early booklet of a seminar he conducted in Las Vegas when he was just getting started. I learned others do similar work and taught myself how to do self-diagnosis.

Planned to Write a Book on the Technique

Instead I took a few weeks and wrote a short blog (about 15-20 entries) where you can read about my introductory experiences with the Graf Technique at my other blog. Again, I was so excited about this technique – and still am – that I met with Jan and Gretchen and published the interview at this link. Jan’s web page can be found here: http://grafstressmanagement.com/ I hope he writes his story some day. I have read a really old draft he gave me and found it fascinating how he discovered things step by step. I still have it in my possession but cannot share it since he provided it in confidence.

Evil Spirits Can Be Cast Out

I want to keep this short so I’m not going to say much more than this: If I were to continue with the Western medicine way of dealing with this issue, I would NEVER be healed. I would be in pain and unable to function. I would soon go onto government disability and would be in my grave within a few years. You can argue that I have been healed by my faith and I won’t deny that my faith has a part of my healing. But I would never have known the source of the pain or malaise, discovered through the Graf Teachnique. I have three missions in life, revealed to me by the Lord. One of them is to bear witness that we can cast out evil spirits even in this day and age and have them cast out of us.

Western vs. Eastern Methods

Update 11-8-13: Not sure where to put this but I wanted to, oh, there’s no other way to say it…I was wrong about going cold turkey with the drugs. If you are working with a doctor who has prescribed psychotropic drugs (anti-anxiety in my case), don’t just drop them and expect to be fine. I know this admission extremely reduces the bold claims of the post. I felt like I was on top of the world for about 24-30 hours, then the anxiety began to return. For those that can accept it, I felt like I was being visited by an evil spirit and that this spirit was hammering away at me, getting me to doubt that I could go without the Clonazepam. I fought, I prayed, I cried. In the end, I had to go back to that one just to function. Dang!

Strength From God to Do His Work

You can ask me anything you want about this experience, how it came about, why I think its real and not all in my mind or anything else you want. All I know is I am free tonight whereas before I was in bondage and unable to perform the work the Lord sent me to this earth to do. I can now continue with what I started and intend to finish: 1) Publish my book based on Anthony Larson and his Prophecy Trilogy. I call it Red Sky for now. And 2) Finish my review of everything I have studied about Denver Snuffer. Last night I listened to the three-hour talk he gave in Orem last Saturday. All I can say is Wow! Trust me. You want to know what this man teaches.

Note: You can read a story about what happened to a man who does similar work here: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2013/02/18/excommunicated-for-priestcraft/

When Religion Comes Between Spouses


SnufferBooks

Picture of most of my Denver Snuffer book and CD collection (may be missing a few CDs).

Over the years, I’ve read with interest many stories of conflict between husbands and wives where one spouse was a believer in a religion and the other wasn’t. It always hurt my heart to read such stories. Some even made me cry to think of two people who loved each other enough to marry and start a family who are now quarreling over religious beliefs and commitments. This sort of story is more common than you may think, or perhaps those who experience are more prone to share.

Not Important to Their Marriage

Inevitably, my response was, and you’ll think this uncaring, “Well, you knew what you were getting into. Why did you marry him (or her) without working this out first?” I know many people who either a) don’t care what the other spouse does when it comes to religion or b) don’t care what religious beliefs the children are exposed to later on. In a sense, they have it easy. They simply don’t care and religion is not an issue. It’s not important to either one of them. In other words, neither holds strong religious beliefs, so it doesn’t matter or bother either of them.

Unequally Yoked Is A Real Issue

What if one or the other spouse does care deeply about their religious beliefs? Worse, what if for the most part, the couples agree on just about everything else? They have so much in common when it comes to what they believe about God, religion, doctrine, church history, family, prayer, worship, discipline, service and all kinds of other things that matter in raising a family. I’ll bet you can see how that could raise some concern, even be the source of some heated arguments.

Sudden Interest in What the Other is Reading

Let me give you a modern day example. A loving couple, married more than thirty years, never really interested in what kind of books the other was reading before, discovers their spouse is now reading the sort of books that some might consider controversial in a religious sense. I’ll make an even more personal example, especially for those who know us. What I’m describing is happening right now and has been happening for the last six months to a year to Carol and me. I guess I’m not really looking for advice but I’ll bet there are a lot of you who have gone through something similar. This is more of a journal entry of what’s happening in my life these days.

Determining Orthodoxy in LDS Publishing

I’ve always said my blog is mainly about book reviews that deal with the last days. For those who have followed my blog you know that’s true. I confess the subjects of some of my books are controversial or are non-orthodox. In other words, they weren’t published by Deseret Book – who rarely, if ever will publish a book not found in the home library of an apostle or other church leader. I’ve forever been a bit of a rebel. My sort of publisher was always Bookcraft, then Signature Books, and now most of the LDS books I buy are self-published, meaning no LDS publisher would touch them.

Unorthodox Books Reviewed (Some not LDS)

Some examples of books I’ve recently reviewed are Visions of Glory, (Cedar Fort), Conquering Spiritual Evil (Doug Mendenhall), And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood (Anthony Larson), The Unquiet Dead (Dr. Edith Fiore), You Have Been Here Before (Dr. Edith Fiore), Beloved Bridegroom (Donna Nielsen), From Darkness Into Light (Mel Fish), The Second Comforter (Denver Snuffer), Teachings of the Doctrines of Eternal Lives (Anonymous), Passing the Heavenly Gift (Denver Snuffer), Shaken Faith Syndrome (Michael Ash), and on and on…

Passing the Heavenly Gift

I’d like to focus on one book in particular because of the contention it has caused in our home: Passing the Heavenly Gift by Denver Snuffer. PtHG was one of the most fascinating and one of the most infuriating books I have ever read. As most of you know, ultimately, it got Denver excommunicated. I have other books in my home from excommunicated or disaffected members that don’t seem to bother Carol, specifically books from D. Michael Quinn or Grant Palmer. I also enjoyed Rough Stone Rolling (Bushman) and No Man Knows My History (Brodie).

Note: Please don’t put Bushman in this category of authors. He is a faithful temple worker.

Direct Opposition to Existing Belief

I first read it in February of 2012. Unsurprisingly, as with any book about which I feel strongly, I asked my wife to read it with me. I thought the natural place to start would be back at chapter one. That was a big mistake. All it did was get her riled up. She would not read past the end of the chapter and will not listen to me read excerpts from other chapters or even from his other books, including his wonderful books on the Savior, The Second Atonement or Come, Let Us Adore Him, both wonderful exposes on the Savior and how we can draw closer to Him. There was something in chapter one that convinced her Denver Snuffer was an out-and-out apostate.

Not the Right Book at the Right Time

I apparently made a big mistake. While I may have been ready for PtHG, Carol was not. As I read PtHG, I had a spiritual experience. I’ve related this before. It spoke to me. It answered so many of my questions that had been on the shelf for so many years. I had not had a spiritual experience like that since my early youth, perhaps from the days when I was preparing for my mission and reading doctrine and history ten to twelve hours a day. I loved the book. I wanted to share it. I thought the dearest person in my life would surely be understanding and sympathetic.

Conflict in Past Religious History

You’ve got to understand a little bit about Carol. She’s no dummy. I wouldn’t have married her if I wasn’t impressed with her gifts and abilities when it came to knowing the church, how it worked, the history, the doctrine, the culture – oh, Carol exudes the culture of the LDS Church since her ancestors crossed the plains. But not me – I’m a first generation Mormon. I’m an old California boy whose maternal ancestors were Presbyterian preachers and paternal ancestors were Baptists Ministers. I have a lot of strong feeling in my blood about religion, but no LDS culture.

The Book is Divisive and a Sifter

That shouldn’t have anything to do with how we view books like Passing the Heavenly Gift. But I found the opposite to be true. I was excited about the book. It got me enthused. It caused me to want to study more, to read more, to pray more and to understand more of Mormon history. I was shocked to discover it had the opposite effect on Carol. I quote: “Yes, Denver Snuffer scares me. I can’t explain my fear. If the Brethren came out and said Denver Snuffer is the next big thing, to listen to and follow him, then, I’d be all over that.” I’ve left out some content. You may find it strange we communicate in writing as husband and wife, but you’ve got to realize Carol is a published author, works all day at writing and was simply responding to an email from me.

There Is No Such Thing As A Snufferite

I have read almost all of Denver’s books. I have listened to almost all his published lectures. By the end of the week I will have finished his last four lectures from Forty Years in Mormonism – Talk 1 – Boise (Sep 10), Talk 2 – Idaho Falls (Sep 28), Talk 3 – Logan, (Sep 29) – Talk 4 – Centerville (Oct 6). I’ll be listening to them in the afternoons after I finish yet another week of early morning Microsoft certification classes from 6am to 2pm – as long as I don’t fall asleep. Many who have been following my blog know I am also seeing a psychiatrist in the afternoons as recommended by my primary physician. We’ve tried everything else to get rid of seven months of constant, and I mean constant migraines. But that’s the way of Western medicine, isn’t it?

Motivated to learn and study the Gospel more

Yes, I know there have now been two or three rebuttals published. I have not yet read the rebuttals. I have always said I am not a scholar or an apologetic. I will leave that to those who love to argue logic. I understand the game but refuse to play it. Carol says she lives her life by her gut feeling – which explains why she was not ready to read PtHG – It would not help her. She didn’t need or want it. The book helped me. I needed it. I wanted it. I had been looking for something like that book for many years. Please note: I am not any less of a believer in the church, in the apostles and prophets and their right to lead us or in the existence of the sealing power in the temples. I simply want to learn more.

We Need to Understand Priesthood Keys

By the way, this is probably my 20th post on some aspect of Denver Snuffer. Obviously I feel he has something special and unique to offer. No, he does not take the place of President Thomas S. Monson. No, he does not have keys to lead this church (as far as I can tell). I am certain the Lord would let us know if something were to change in that area (Amos 3:7). I believe Denver has a mission – perhaps more than one – that has been revealed to him. He performed one mission that got him excommunicated – publishing a controversial book. He is now performing another mission, providing us with about 25 hours of lecture on some very important aspects of priesthood doctrine. I am looking forward to his next talk. I truly wish I could be there. Due to work, I will probably not be able to make it to any of his lectures except maybe St. George.

We Worked Out our Differences

And for those of you who are wondering how Carol and I worked this out, I will share this. It got so testy for a while I put all his books and CDs in a box and put them away. I refrained from saying, “Well, here’s something I remember reading Denver saying about that…” This morning we came to an agreement. Even after I had her read this post, she confesses she is still afraid that Denver will “steal me away.” I have no idea where she thinks I would go or what I would do but I never professed to understand women except for one thing – they need lots of reassuring. Carol is no different. Perhaps I should be the one who needs to be reassured as her career grows, as she publishes more books and realizes her dreams but I see my role as to encourage her, to do nothing to hold her back, including pay for publishing classes, seminars,  conventions, etc, which I gladly do. I want to see her succeed as a published author (if she could just figure out her genre).

God bless You Who Deal With Similar Issues

I have seen divorces as a result of disagreements over religion, especially when it comes to how to discipline children or budgeting. These are the most difficult areas to make a marriage work. I remember my own inadequacies and failures in this area. They left me feeling awful, like I had failed at the most important mission of my life. At times I felt like the meanest father in the world. At other times I felt like the weakest man in the world, unable to lead my own family in righteousness. I don’t know any perfect families. I am grateful my son is still alive and a productive, seemingly happy member of society in his own home. We gave him up to suicide, mental insanity, drugs and alcohol many years ago. The answer was to put his name on the prayer role as often as possible and to continue to pray for him every morning and night, which we have done all his life, but especially the last fifteen years since his drug / mental issues first showed themselves. (Write me privately at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com if you want to know the story of how his drug addiction sent me to the hospital twice in February of this year).

Trust in the Lord as you Seek Knowledge

I pray that something as silly as the reading of a book will never get in the way a working relationship with your loved ones, be it the Book of Mormon or some anti-Mormon book. Think about it. Some General Authorities have to be assigned to read them so they’ll know what’s in them. How would you like to be that GA? Not me. If someone in your family wants to read the works of D. Michael Quinn, Denver Snuffer, Mel Fish or anyone else that write about the church but is not published by Deseret Book, please don’t let that desire or fear get in the way of your marriage. Trust the Lord and your love for each other. I wish I could have Carol tell her side of this story. I’ll bet it would be very different. Maybe someday she’ll oblige us. I’m confident it will be focused on her fear of losing me to the dark side.

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