We Cannot Hasten the Work


HastenWorkI’ve wanted to write this post all week, but I’m glad I waited. It has given me a chance to ponder Denver’s latest lecture last Saturday in Grand Junction Colorado. No I wasn’t there but listening to Doug’s recording was just as good as being there. I suspect there may be a few things on the CDs and in the transcribed lecture that probably won’t be in the final MP3 when it’s fully edited.

Lectures Will Be Available Free Online

For those who don’t know, and it’s no secret, Denver has said he will post the lectures as MP3 recordings available for free on his website when the lecture series has been completed. I buy Doug’s recordings because I want to get a jump on what was taught and compare them to the transcript. It takes a lot of pondering to understand the messages contained in those lectures.

Join One of the Online Discussion Groups

I make no bones about it. I am enthralled by the messages being delivered. I am also grateful for the online discussion groups that have added so much to my understanding. They discuss things I had not thought of. They are anxious to put into practice the concepts being taught. It is exciting to associate – at least online – with people so willing to help each other experiment on the word.

The Internet May Not Last Forever

I feel a little lonely out here in Southern California, away from the Mormon corridor, but find great comfort in the blessing of the Internet. Take advantage of this means of communication while we still have it. The day is coming and it may be soon, that we will lose this marvelous invention which allows us to find and keep in touch with people anywhere who think alike.

Can’t Answer All the Emails

I apologize to everyone who has written me a private email message of encouragement or with questions or asking for advice or just wanting to chat. I get overwhelmed each time I post one of these and am frankly astonished by the response. I never expected to have so many readers. It has grown tremendously in the last few months. I thank you each for your kind readership.

I’m Open to Chatting by Phone

I stand by my offer in the upper right corner of my blog. If you want to chat, shoot me an email with your phone number and I’ll call you. Otherwise, it may be days or even weeks before I get all the emails answered. I’ll usually answer comments in the blog before I get to the individual emails. I prefer to be out in the open with communications about this phenomenon taking place.

Hastening the Work – the Surge

Obviously, by the title of the post, you know two things: 1) Denver discussed the concept of hastening the work in his latest lecture and 2) It goes contrary to the current focus of the LDS Church, which has been in full swing since October 2012 when President Monson announced the lowering of the missionary age to 18 for men and 19 for women. You know the results:

Baptisms per Missionary

Year Qty of Missionaries Qty of Baptisms Baptisms per missionary
2013 83,035 282,945 3.41
2012 58,990 272,330 4.62
2011 55,410 281,312 5.08
2010 52,225 272,814 5.22
2009 51,736 280,106 5.41
2008 52,494 265,593 5.06
2007 52,686 279,218 5.30
2006 53,164 272,845 5.13
2005 52,060 243,108 4.67
2004 51,067 241,239 4.72
2003 56,237 242,923 4.32
2002 61,638 283,138 4.59
2001 60,850 292,612 4.81
2000 60,784 273,973 4.51
1999 58,593 306,171 5.23
1998 57,853 299,134 5.17
1997 56,531 317,798 5.62
1996 52,938 321,385 6.07
1995 48,631 304,330 6.26
1994 47,311 300,730 6.36
1993 48,708 304,808 6.26
1992 46,025 274,477 5.96
1991 43,395 297,770 6.86
1990 43,651 330,877 7.58

Most new Missionaries are Sisters

I’m sure you also know the majority of those responding to the call, at least from the United States, are sister missionaries. And they are doing a marvelous job. We have them in our homes and delight to share in the spirit of enthusiasm and dedication they bring. I am always blessed to remember my own mission experience with fondness as I visit with these sister missionaries.

Social Media and the Church

I am grateful to pay my tithing and offerings to the LDS Church. I fully support the work of the Church. I pray for the success of the missionaries. I love the new focus on teaching, the new focus on family history work, and the incredible strides the church has made in Social Media. I don’t want to embarrass him, but my friend Larry Richman does a wonderful job in this area.

I Love the LDS Church and Faith

I love this church. In the immortal words of Steve Benson, cut me and I bleed Mormon. I like nothing better than to teach a Gospel Doctrine class, a High Priest’s Group Meeting or to speak at the pulpit in front of my ward or stake. I miss my days on the High Council but am grateful to serve as a Stake Clerk. I am pleased and happy to share my time and talents to help my leaders.

The Lord Has Called Other Prophets

So why am I so adamant in declaring that Denver Snuffer is a prophet of the Lord, or at least a true messenger? How can I possibly say that and answer the temple recommend question that is specific to keys only being held by the prophet and the one about sympathizing with apostate groups? 1) Denver has not declared his keys and 2) He has not asked us to follow him anywhere.

Readership of Latter-day Commentary

I know my readership is comprised mainly of others who feel as I do about Denver. I also know I have a few readers in the Church Office Building – and the Administration Building. If you don’t know the difference look it up or ask – you should know these things. My local leaders do not read my blog so this is not written for them. I desire only to serve them and cause no trouble.

Forty Years in Mormonism

I am looking forward to meeting Denver when he comes to St. George sometime in the next few months. Doug has said there will be lectures in Ephraim, Las Vegas, St George, and Phoenix. Maybe he wasn’t supposed to share that but he did. And that should wrap up this lecture series, “Forty Years in Mormonism.” So far, I have simply been blown away by what I am learning.

My Own Forty Year Search

I can identify with the period of forty years. It was forty years ago that I first began to study the doctrine of Calling and Election. It was forty years ago I received the Baptism of Fire and of the Holy Ghost. It was forty years ago I received visions of my future ministry, some of which has yet to come to pass. I can tell you the Lord is very specific about certain future events and places.

The False “Strongman” Model

So why did Denver teach the work cannot be hastened? You’ll have to discover that for yourself. Download the Grand Junction lecture and read it. You will learn more about Zion than you ever did by studying it in Primary, Sunday school, Priesthood or Relief Society. I know I did. You’ll want to focus on the concept of the false “Strongman” model. It was a real awakening for me.

Zion Must Be Ready To Receive Christ

The Lord will not return until Zion is ready to receive Him. Remember, he comes with Enoch and that portion of the earth that was taken up. The City of Enoch must return and the Lord will come with them because He made it His abode forever (Mos 7:21). The key to the return of the Lord is having a people prepared to receive Him – a people who are equal and have no poor.

Follow the Prophet – He Knows the Way

You’ll also want to read or listen to the lecture to understand why Denver says our current mantra or emphasis on following the prophet, drilled in to Primary children in song and to adults is a false dogma: “The Lord will not allow the Prophet to lead the people astray.” Yes, Denver teaches this is false doctrine and I agree with him. You’ll find it on pages 4-5 of the last lecture.

Connect with Christ Directly – No Intermediary

I know this is a shock and causes a strong reaction among lifelong faithful members of the LDS church. The correct doctrine is we must connect with Christ ourselves. There is no intermediary between us and our Savior. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. A true prophet will invite you to come unto Christ and will do nothing to stand in your way of making that important connection.

Be Competent in the Things of God

I conclude with these words from page 2 of the latest lecture: “The glory of God is intelligence. The ‘rest of the Lord’ is the fullness of His glory, or in other words light and truth. Or in other words, it requires a people who are competent in the things of God, who have an understanding that will reach unto heaven.” I offer you that challenge: Are you competent in the things of God?

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

God bless us all to become so if we not already. Learn how to open the heavens and walk the paths of God. I promise you he is willing to speak with you, to show you His paths, and bring you along on your journey until you are ready to enter into His presence, even in this life. “I exhort you to go on. Continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure.”

The Lord Hastens the Work

In case I wasn’t clear in the post, it is not us that hastens the work. There is nothing we can do that will change the Lord’s timetable other than preparing ourselves by becoming a Zion people, among whom there are no poor, neither poor in goods or poor in spirit. The angels will gather people into groups when they are ready. Zion will not be brought about by an organized institutional effort.

A Serious Denver Snuffer Study Tool

I forgot one more thing I wanted to bring to your attention. Michael C. has created a wonderful set of cross references to all the scriptures used in Denver’s lectures. You can find it at this link: https://ref.erenc.es/ds/ I have perused it and found it to be extremely useful. You can also download it. Take a look. Every book, every paper, every lecture and even every blog post has been indexed. What a work of love. God bless you Michael.

 

The True Order of Prayer


GardenRoomMuralI’m not sure if I can write the things I feel in my heart right now. I am simply overwhelmed with emotion. I’ve asked the Lord’s permission to share this and He said yes. It’s a sacred experience to me. I hope the spirit bears witness. I’ll give you a little bit of background first, share what the Lord allows me and conclude tomorrow with what He asked me to write on a different subject.

A Forty-Year Search

On Sunday, I culminated a forty-year search for understanding of The True Order of Prayer. Yes, I was seventeen when I first learned about this, even before I was endowed. You see, my parents were both incredibly active in Temple service. Mother’s life work was to do her family history. I have her patriarchal blessing where it’s stated it was her calling and election. She made it sure.

My Mother’s Calling and Election

Before she died, mother published multiple books of family history, genealogy and research on some 25,000 ancestors. She and my father personally did most of the ordinances for them in the Los Angeles temple. I was blessed to do hundreds, perhaps thousands of those names as well. I only last year gave up the last 250 names to the temple to be done. I need to dig up more names.

A Mother’s Love for the Temple

I feel mother’s spirit with me now as I write this. She was with me the day I was endowed. She was so thrilled to look over at me sitting there in the Garden room as I sat next to my dad. We did two sessions that day just to be sure I understood what I was getting into. Trust me, because of her teachings and example, I understood it and loved it. She prepared me in so many ways.

Prepared For the Temple Endowment

I grew up feeling very comfortable with the concepts of the temple. Mother shared many things with me that perhaps she shouldn’t have, but I can say she didn’t break any covenants as she did. She taught me to love the temple. She gave me copies of published and unpublished talks about the temple long before I was endowed. We discussed what went on in the temple many times.

We Can Talk About the Temple

I am going to say something that may be bothersome to you. I disagree with the way the church has ingrained it into our minds that we can’t talk about the temple except in the temple. I have sat in many Gospel Doctrine and High Priest Group Meetings where even long-time temple workers were hesitant to say anything of detail even when the lesson was specifically about the temple.

The Internet Changed Everything

Well, the Internet has changed everything. Everyone knows you can find multiple copies of the entire temple ceremony online at various sites. Tell me you haven’t Googled it yourself and saved a copy on your local drive for study and comparison between the new films, the 1990 version and the various pre-1990 versions out there. I was endowed in the good old days – 1976.

Brigham Young taught the following:

There are four penal signs and four penal tokens and should I want to address the throne to enquire after Ancient things which transpired on planets that rolled away before this planet came into existence I should use my new name which is ancient and referred to ancient things. Should I wish to enquire for present things I should use my own name which refers to present things and should I want to enquire for future things I would use the third name which refers to the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood or is the third token that is given and refers to the Son.

Original Source: Seventies Record, Book B, 28 Dec. 1845, LDS archives, typed copy.  Online Source:  Click here for one. There are at least five other online sources for this quote. It is not a secret.

Your Home Should be a Temple

I have already thanked the individual who gave me the final key to making the true order of prayer work for me in my own home. Yes, you can use what you learn in the temple in your own home. Please, tell me why we’re taught about it if we’re not to use it ourselves to rend the veil and converse with the Lord? I’m sharing this in an open public forum with the Lord’s permission.

Treat the Temple With Respect

Now the church may not agree with what I’m about to share. I may get another one of those calls to come see the Bishop. So be it. I’ve made up my mind that when the Lord asks me to share something, I’m going to do as He asks, come what may. I am very familiar with the handbooks. I know what the policies are about treating the things of the temple with respect. I am doing so.

Dedicate your Altar to the Lord

First, dedicate your home if you haven’t already done so. Then, dedicate a specific location or object or area in your home to serve as your altar. I know some people have built altars for their homes. The reason you must dedicate the altar to the Lord is because it will be used to open a conduit. If it’s not dedicated to the Lord, the adversary will use it. Remember, it opens a portal to heaven.

Offer Up The Signs

Next, offer up the signs of the priesthood as you have been taught. Make sure you are standing as you do so. Face the greatest source of light or the temple. I face SSE to the LA Temple. That’s nice because it’s also the direction of the rising sun. I perform this ordinance out loud. When done, kneel down, follow Brigham’s instructions above in which sign you use and pray out loud.

Opening the Portal

Now, don’t expect the portal to open immediately. In my experience, it opened outward first, meaning, I knew my prayer was reaching the heavens. I knew it was being heard and recorded. Also don’t expect an answer right away. Be content with the peace and joy that fills your soul as you worship the Lord in your own home, which can and should be more sacred than the temple.

Fasting Gives it More Power

For me, the response back came the next day – Monday. By the way, since Sunday was a Fast Sunday for our stake, I was fasting for several things. I was fasting for one of my home teaching families as we gave the father another priesthood blessing. I was also fasting for a conversation I had scheduled with one of my readers. It is he who gave me the final key I needed – stand up.

This is Serious Stuff – It Works

By that I mean stand up when you offer the signs to the Lord. Then kneel down to pray using the sign and name you desire as instructed by Brigham Young above. I had been doing it wrong for so many years because I was not standing when offering the signs. I had also not dedicated my altar to the Lord. Because of that Satan had sent visitors through the portal who tormented me.

My Testimony and Witness

OK. I’ve taught you – now for my testimony and witness. I now know for myself this works. I asked something specific of the Lord yesterday and this morning, he answered me with distinct clarity of what I should do and write for my next blog post. There is no doubt this works. I used the second sign as I prayed. I have received inspiration all my life, but this was powerful.

My Calling and Election

In other words, I can now say the Lord asked me to do something specific. I have an assignment from the Lord. I have a calling. I know what it is. It was confirmed to me this evening. It is also my election, meaning it is what I choose to do, come what may. The Lord has asked it of me and I will do it. I am rejoicing because of the power with which it came to me this evening in prayer.

Now I Know For Myself

Please don’t leave a comment telling me I’ve violated my covenants. I haven’t. Please don’t leave me a comment telling me to take this page down. I won’t. Things have changed now. I know what my mission is. This is my calling and election. I intend to make it sure. It is fulfillment of my patriarchal blessing. I have wondered about certain things in there for years. Now I know. Now I know.

We’re on Each Other’s Team

I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air
So there
I’m kinda older than I was when I revelled without a care
So there

And you know, we’re on each other’s team
We’re on each other’s team
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
We’re on each other’s team
And you know, and you know, and you know

Update (9:20pm 4-1-14)

Because so many people have asked for additional detail, I’ve included a response to one reader in the comments below. It’s rather lengthy but I simply can’t answer all the emails I have received, so I’m answering them in this way. I’m overwhelmed by the response and thank everyone for the emails. I express my love for each of you and pray the Lord’s blessing on us all that we’ll be prepared for what’s happening in the church today.

A Dialogue About the Devil


BothPlayedSatanInTempleFilmsI spent way too much time on this dialogue about the devil to not share it publically. I know. It’s a terrible subject to contemplate. Why are we discussing these ideas when there are so many other areas of light that would be more worthy of our time and attention? You can skip this if you want. We all have to be selective about where we spend our time and energy.

I open it up for public discussion, or more likely, for public correction. See if you can spot and correct any false doctrine here.

Hello Brother Malone,

I have no scriptural reference for my thoughts I share with you regarding Lucifer but wondered if in your studies and readings you have heard this scenario before. We are taught Lucifer was esteemed as per the Savior in the pre-existence before his apparent fall. Is it possible he did not fall and that like the Savior he chose to accept the calling of being Satan as Jesus accepted the calling of being Savior, that the great council was more about a communal and loving discussion re the finer points of the Plan of Salvation?

Is it possible the war in Heaven was a discussion about who would accept the callings especially with regard to the third who would accept their calling and leave the presence of the Father? That we all wept because the task associated with our brothers and sisters who were part of that third meant that they were to act in a manner contrary to the light and love given by Heavenly Father?

I do not glorify Lucifer/Satan or the third, his and their countenances are contrary to the light, I do not argue this point. However I am dubious of the conveniently packaged plan taught year in and out and it just begs the question in fact a few questions re the pre existence and what else was there? My thoughts are more feelings than scriptural but I want to intellectualize it this way (and then he itemized his thoughts below). I do not teach or verbalize any of these thoughts as I don’t have scriptural backing but if you have any thoughts on this matter I am interested to know. Thanks for your time.

And my response:

Hi Robert,

I’ve pondered this for the past week. I confess I had not thought about this previously. I don’t have much to add to the way you have described your own ponderings. I will simply respond to your individual items and see where that goes. First some general thoughts as I pondered your first few paragraphs.

Was Satan always Satan? For this world, he is the only one we have ever had. No, he was not always Satan. We know from scripture he “fell from heaven” and became Satan. I think we both know he was Lucifer before that, a light-bearer, also a Son of the Morning and one of the first born. Will he always be Satan? I don’t know. According to D&C Section 76, his ultimate fate is not revealed.

Did he choose to become Satan? Yes. Did the third part (note I did not say one third) of the hosts of heaven choose to come to earth without bodies? Yes. The scripture says they were “cast down to earth,” but I think they were happy to come. I know that sounds strange but they truly wanted to follow Satan and believed in him just as we chose the Lord’s plan, really the Father’s plan, and accepted the difficult task of coming to earth with mortal bodies and no recollection of our past.

And here’s the detailed Q&A we went through in our Dialog. Robert’s points are numbered 1Q, 2Q, etc. My answers are 1A, 2A, etc. I hope you enjoy the back and forth as much as I did. I really had to do some thinking. This is all off the top of my head.

A Dialogue About the Devil

1Q. Moses 1:39  paraphrased Heavenly Father’s glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I take this to mean all of His children, the third and Lucifer included. Has He therefore failed before it all began? Unlikely

1A. Interesting point. I had never considered this. It makes sense. I believe we will all one day be reunited with those who were cast out and came to earth without physical bodies. We will then sit down together and decide what we learned and if we could live together in peace, no matter if we came to this earth to experience mortality or as one of the spirits that followed Satan. I suspect there will be another “war in heaven” as some cry “Unfair, unfair. We came to earth and suffered all that mortality required and now these who did not are offered the same reward – to live together in peace eternally?”

Jesus and Satan are Brothers (duh)

2Q. Lucifer was considered to be an equal with Jesus. How does one son go AWOL and contrary to the will of the Father while the other continues to do the will of the Father?

2A. It was a matter of choice. Even leaders seek leaders or mentors, someone we want to emulate. God was not surprised. He knew one of his sons would become Satan. I’m sure there were many vying for the position. Some people like to distinguish themselves by opposing light and good out of stubbornness and spite. I’m sure it took eons for Christ to become who he was and for Lucifer to become who he was, just as it took eons for us to become who we are (still hidden).

Choosing to Become the Devil

3Q. How does one become so enraged in the presence of the Father that his desire to thwart His work and glory means he becomes Satan?

3A. Again, it was a matter of choice. He was proud and extremely knowledgeable, but not as “intelligent” as the Elohim and the Savior. Intelligence is light and truth. He had light in the beginning but apparently forsook what was truth. He had most of his power stripped from him when he was cast out, but still retained his knowledge. He wanted power. He craved power. He was selfish, self-centered, demanding and the most proud. He was enraged when his power was stripped from him and he was cast out. Did he agree to this role? He took it upon himself.

More Than One Satan

4Q. When Lucifer became Satan, who was Satan before him?

4A. I have no idea

Satan Has Not Always Been Satan

5Q. If “as man is, God once was”, then it is not possible that Lucifer has been Satan all of this time.

5A. I agree with your conclusion. Besides, it’s supported by scripture. Lucifer became Satan.

Some Choose to Follow Satan

6Q. How do a third of His children decide that they agree with Lucifer and will be on a winning team if they follow him?

6A. Ah, that’s a great question. We assume the war in heaven was strictly over agency. Perhaps it was also about who would fulfill what role or what families would get what gifts and privileges. We teach we are placed in this life, in both time and location, according to what and how we did in the pre-mortal realm. In other words, our opportunities here are a reward for performance there. The “third part” were convinced, and most of them still are, that they will prove the Father wrong. Of course, he’s already been proven right, since Christ fulfilled his mortal mission. He now continues his mission as he works with each of us to help us complete our mortal lives.

No Unclean Thing in God’s Presence

7Q. Is being in the Father’s presence indicative that not everyone is happy? Unlikely because no unclean thing can dwell in His presence.

7A. Hmmm…I had to think about your logic there. It’s true that no unclean thing can dwell in Father’s presence. If we are ALL to be brought back to be judged, are the spirits that followed Satan considered “unclean”? Or is unclean only something that applies to those who have passed through this mortal existence and remain in their sins, unrepentant when they return to God? So there’s no doubt not everyone would be happy to dwell in the presence of the Father or the Son.

One Eternal Round and MMP

8Q. Moroni 10:34 and Alma 11:43 both speak of the spirit and body being reunited AGAIN, what impact does that have on the Plan of Salvation as we know it? The spirit and body are reunited as per doctrine but “again”?

8A. Well, unless you want to start discussing multiple mortal probations, I assume AGAIN means just what it says – as we are now. Our soul is the combination of our spirits and bodies united. They are united now. They will be separated when we are dead and then united AGAIN when we are resurrected. But who says we can’t come back for a second, third or another opportunity in “one eternal round” until we have advanced and learned what we need to become resurrected and exalted?

A Few Links to MMP

For more information about Multiple Mortal Probations, you can peruse these four previous posts to see how I’ve come full circle. Please, if this idea bothers you, then just ignore it. MMP is not central to our salvation. As I’ve said many times, what we do here and now in this life is all we need to be concerned with. Oh, and to really understand some of this stuff, you must read Denver’s Tenth Parable: The Great Competition, which I wrote about in All Are Invited to the Feast.

The Unquiet Dead

You Have Been Here Before

Eternal Lives, Past Lives and Reincarnation

 The Doctrine of Eternal Lives

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?

LDS Members Persecuted For Reading Books


KeepCalmReadABookIn light of the excommunication of several LDS Church members recently for apostasy, and one in particular for simply reading a book, I’d like to discuss a couple of the temple recommend questions, which the church makes available on their website. The two questions deal with sustaining our leaders and agreeing with individuals who teach or write what is not found in the official curriculum of the church. In other words, those who go beyond the basics in their writings.

Standard disclaimer: This is all my opinion

Please remember I’m not a scholar, theologian, attorney or an expert at philosophical arguments. I’m just a regular old member of the church who likes to read books and write book reviews. The temple recommend questions I linked to above are from LDS Tech, an official LDS website. Technically, they are the questions on the Melchizedek Priesthood Ordination Record, but are almost exactly the same minus two questions about keeping covenants and wearing garments.

Deviating From Temple Recommend Questions

I know this has been discussed in many forums and websites, notably on the Stay LDS site. I’m not sensing a purge going on, but wonder why more and more of my readers and online friends have written me privately about their discussions with Bishops or Stake Presidents. They are being asked probing questions that go beyond the specific ones that are supposed to be asked in the temple recommend interview. By so doing these leaders are not following the Handbooks.

This is the Kingdom of God on the Earth

It has been standard policy for over thirty years that leaders “…should never deviate from or go beyond the specific questions contained in the temple recommend book…(First Presidency letter, 5 January 1982).” Let’s take the easy question first. I consider it cut and dry because it deals with the kingdom of God on earth, NOT the kingdom of God in heaven. If you keep that distinction in mind, you should have no problem answering yes to the question without any elaboration at all.

This Earthly Kingdom is Only Temporary

“Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?” The church is an earthly institution. According to section 65, the purpose of the church is to prepare us to join with the Kingdom of Heaven. The church is the Kingdom of God on the earth. It is temporary. It will be absorbed into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The LDS Church Has Certain Keys

Therefore, I have no problem affirming that the man we sustain or uphold as the President of the earthly institution holds priesthood keys or authority to preach the gospel, publish scripture, collect tithing, build and maintain temples and meetinghouses and perform, through delegation, a myriad of other tasks and activities that will build the Kingdom of God on the earth. I also affirm that permission or those earthly keys can be and were passed on from the prophet Joseph Smith.

Difference Between Authority and Power

This includes the right to perform ordinances, including the exercise of the sealing power, albeit a limited kind of sealing power, that are invitations to go and get the real thing. Everyone knows this from the prophet and apostles on down. President Packer has taught this repeatedly – there is a world of difference between earthly authority to act in the church and heavenly sealing power. Earthly sealing power is not the same as heavenly sealing power. You and I should know this.

Seek Ratification From Holy Spirit of Promise

Don’t confuse the Kingdom of God on the Earth with the Kingdom of God in Heaven. Don’t forget what we’ve been taught about the Holy Spirit of Promise. Our ordinances are simply not complete until they are ratified by the Holy Spirit of Promise. I’m concerned too many leaders in our church don’t understand or teach this. I know this because so many members don’t get it. We focus way too much on getting people to the temple without teaching them what to do after that.

Keeping the Church Free From Polygamy

I’m going to skip down to the other, more troubling question: “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?” Everyone knows why this question was placed in the interview process. It was and is still intended to weed out those who practice plural marriage. It was not included to keep us from reading non-LDS books or going to lectures.

Criticized and Disciplined For What One Believes

I wrote previously how deeply troubled I felt upon learning of online friends being harassed by being placed on informal or formal probation or officially disciplined through disfellowshipment and even excommunicated – all for reading a book or going to a lecture. This is crazy. This is wrong. This is not righteous exercise of priesthood authority. It is unrighteousness dominion. No LDS leader has the right to tell a member of his congregation what he should or shouldn’t read (see discussion in comments).

Trying to Control Reading Material is Wrong

In the selected policies of the church, we are encouraged to read the King James version of the Bible as opposed to other editions, to read the church magazines and to read the weekly lesson material assignments in advance. Other than that, I could find nothing in the handbook that says “Though shalt not read anything from Signature Books,” or “Thou shalt only buy and read books from Deseret Book.” It especially does not refer to reading D. Michael Quinn or Denver Snuffer.

We Have the Right to Read What we Choose

So what if they have been excommunicated from the church? Big deal. We’re all adults here. If I want to read what Michael Quinn had to say about our history, then that’s my prerogative. Yes, I know it’s contrary to what we’re taught in the official curriculum, but that’s the beauty of it. I get other viewpoints and additional information to help me understand our history. The same thing goes for reading Denver Snuffer’s Passing the Heavenly Gift. It’s just a man’s different opinion.

Multiple Points of View is Healthy

I’ve received private emails from readers who say they have been persecuted for reading Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman, a faithful LDS member and temple sealer. Why are some LDS leaders afraid of opening their minds to other possibilities and interpretations of our LDS history? So what if it differs from the official material we receive in the classrooms on Sunday or in Seminary, Institute and church university religion classes? That just seems so closed-minded.

The Temple Recommend Question is Flawed

Paraphrasing the second temple recommend question we’re discussing, it could be read as “Do you agree with any individual who teaches a different version of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” In my opinion this question is wrong and should be changed to simply read, “Do you practice plural marriage?” Strangely enough, the doctrine of plural marriage is still accepted by the church and found in our scriptures. We just don’t teach it.

The Church Has Already Given Guidelines

This is my blog so I’ll express my opinion a little more forcefully as if I were speaking directly to some Bishops and Stake Presidents who have excommunicated some of my readers. I would tell them to seriously back off and stop prying into the personal reading habits of their members. It’s none of their business. That 1982 letter included this line about sex: “you…should never inquire into personal, intimate matters involving marital relations between a man and his wife.”

Let the Members Work Out Their Own Doubts

I wonder if we need another letter from the First Presidency stating, “Do not ask your members what books they are reading or if they are attending lectures that are not put on by the church.” If a member says no to the second question we’re discussing, then leave it alone and go on with the next question, even if you have heard stories that the member is struggling with the standard narrative of the church when it comes to our history. Let them work it out with their own agency.

Not All Members Fit Into the Same Mold

I know these leaders justify their inappropriate questioning in the guise of love, claiming they simply want to help their members, but they do more harm than good when they try to mold all members into their idea of what a good Latter-day Saint should be like as far as what they read. Sure, we can all preach against the evils of porn but are we going to tell our sisters they can’t read romance novels? You would have half the church up in arms over that, including my wife.

Inappropriate Reasons to Deny a Temple Recommend

Just because a person reads Denver Snuffer and happens to agree with some of his viewpoints is no reason to deny them a temple recommend. Reading Denver Snuffer does not make someone an apostate. I’ve written about apostasy previously here on my blog: It’s defined as deliberate and open opposition to the Church or its leaders, teaching as doctrine something that is not Church doctrine or to belong to an apostate sect, such as those that practice plural marriage.

Temple Recommends Not Used in Heaven

A temple recommend is simply an earthly receipt used by the LDS Church to show that you have paid tithing. You’re not going to need a temple recommend in heaven. They’re not used there. Trying to control what a man believes about our history is not righteous behavior. Threatening a man with church discipline because he tells a few friends his opinion of a book and recommends they also read it is simply not right. Leaders who do this are abusing the priesthood of God.

Face it: We Failed the Test in Nauvoo

To say that someone needs to be disciplined because they have a difference of opinion over how to interpret a document is the worst kind of priestcraft. If this really is the Kingdom of God on the earth we will be looking for ways to include more people, not exclude them for what they read or believe. We’ve got to stop being so sensitive about what happened in Nauvoo. We failed the test, didn’t build the temple in time and suffered hardships for the next four generations.

The Gathering of the Elect of God

With the passing of our last patriarch, Eldred G. Smith, those four generations have passed now. The Lord has put forth his hand again and is gathering the elect through the angels. They are ministering to men and women upon the earth, teaching and preparing them to come into the presence of the Lord. There are many members of the LDS Church quietly doing the Lord’s bidding as asked by Him or as assigned by His angels. This is contrary to the traditional hierarchal institution model.

The Angels Are Inviting and Teaching

I’ve written enough. I hope you can tell I’m a little bit passionate about this subject. I simply cannot believe the church I love and have been a member of all my life would persecute its own members for claiming to have received the Lord or assignments from angels. It’s almost as if the church is jealous of its own members who exhibit spiritual gifts that bless and edify others. The hierarchy of the church cannot control who joins the Kingdom of Heaven. The angels do that.

I’m Interested in Your Feedback

What do you think? Is it right for LDS leaders to deviate from the temple recommend questions? Is it OK for them to ask you what kinds of books or authors you read? Should they be allowed to ask you what you believe beyond the first three basic testimony questions? If you would rather share your story privately, feel free to email me at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. God bless us all.

A few links to articles on the Temple Recommend Interview process:

Wikipedia article on LDS worthiness interviews

An Ensign article on being worthy to enter the temple

Frequently asked questions from lds.org on temple interviews

Excerpt from the 1982 First Presidency letter from Upward Thought Blog

Article from The New Era on Temple Recommend Interview

Lesson from Young Men’s manual on Recommend Interviews

Lesson from Temple Preparation class on Recommend Interviews

The Lord is Specific in Answering Prayer


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

Now I Know Why The Lord Inspired Me To Resign

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

Sometimes We Have To Hear Hard Things About Ourselves

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

Speaking Under The Influence Of The Spirit

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

The Lord Requires Us To Be Meek And Humble

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

Faulty Perceptions Are Easily Reinforced

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

Inspiration To Not Speak Until the Right Moment

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

The Lord Put Words Into My Mouth

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

Doing Things The Lord’s Way Works Miracles

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

The Lord Can and Will Be Specific If Needed

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

It Took Faith and Was a Test For My Family

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

The Lord Knew I Needed His Help

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

I Get A New Boss And Am Grateful

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

The Lord Is Involved In Our Everyday Lives

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

Thank You For The Birthday Greetings and Gifts

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

Don’t Want To Be Anyone’s Oracle Chick

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

Yes, Denise Has No Veil and Sees the Lord

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

We Get To Know People By What They Write

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

Advice on How to Deal With Hearing the Voices

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

The Adversary’s Forces Are Well Organized

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

How to Discern The Voices Of Those Who Are Holy

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

Inspiration, Revelation, Dictation From The Lord

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

The Lord Answers Prayers However He Wants

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

The Gift Of Prophecy and Revelation in Daily Use

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

Pitfalls Can Be Avoided By Always Telling The Truth

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

A Dream Of When I Will Meet The Lord

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

Ask The Lord For Help to Interpret Your Dreams

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

Thank You For Your Prayers and Private Messages

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

Sometimes The Lord Will Be Very, Very Specific

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

Ideas I’m Pondering For a Couple Of Future Posts

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

A Note on Denise:

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

Church Administration versus Ministering


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

My Desire to Work for the Church

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

The Church Responds to My Request

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

The Interview – Grilled by the Board

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

Objective: Reducing Project Life Cycles

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

I Move My Family To Salt Lake

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

“What are you doing here?” he said.

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

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

I Work for Management Systems Corporation

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

Administration of a World-Wide Church

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

The Church Needs and Uses High Tech

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

Technology in MLS and LDS Tech

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

The Church is Really Like a Bank

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

All That Good Money Sitting There Unused

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

Cultural History of the Book of Mormon

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

Part Two: A Personal Experiencing in Ministering

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

Home Teaching Can Be A Wonderful Thing

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

Called Upon to Give a Priesthood Blessing

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

Authority Versus Power in The Priesthood

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

Don’t Assume What Denver Snuffer Teaches

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

Being “In the Spirit” While Giving a Blessing

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

Blessing One of the Lord’s Faithful Servants

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

Inspiration to Say Something I’d Never Said Before

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

The Positive Energy of the Lord – His Virtue

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

My Personal Witness of Priesthood Power

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

The Lord Wants Us To Be Conduits Of Virtue

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

The Witness Comes in Exercising The Priesthood

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

Part Three: Stuck in Administration of the Church

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

Would Rather Be Teaching, Preaching or Ministering

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

Perhaps As Much As a Year To Get New Job

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

Always Wondering How a Entrepreneurial CEO Thinks

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

Should I Consider Relocating to Utah?

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

We Are All Dependent Upon The Lord

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

Sacrifice Can Seem Illogical And Unreasonable

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

Consequences Of Acting Rashly And Impulsively

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

Thank You For Sharing My Life Online

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

You Want Me To Sacrifice What?


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

Sacrifice Required to Develop Faith

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

It Won’t be Something Easy

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

Reviewing My Daily “To Do” List

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

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

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

My Conversation With The Lord

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

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

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

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

“I know that.”

“Do you know what my Bishop would say?

“Yes, Tim.”

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

“Yes, Tim.”

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

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

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

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

Resigning From a Good-Paying Job

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

Your Test May Go Against What You’ve Been Taught

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

—— Beginning of Quote ——-

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

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

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

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

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

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

——— End of quote ——–

You’ll Know With Absolute Certainty

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

How I received My Confirmation

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

Making Sure I’m Not Being Deceived

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

I Explain the Difficult Circumstances

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

Negative Thoughts Flooded My Mind

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

I Saw Myself Going Through the Trial

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

A Job Affects a Man’s Self-Esteem

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

All based on a Short Feeling of Peace

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

The Adversary Returned To Torment Me

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

Dismiss Satan and Don’t Listen to Him

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

Today is My Birthday – Happy Birthday to Me

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

Of My Own Free Will And Choice

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

We’ve Gone Through This Before

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

Prove To Yourself That You Treasure God

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

Sacrifice Is A Major Purpose of Life

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

When The Lord Speaks, Take Action

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

The Lord Will Help Us Through Our Trials

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

Snuffer Reader Excommunicated for Apostasy


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

Writing Under Spirit of Inspiration

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

My Feelings About the Church

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

Direction Comes From the Top

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

My defense Before the High Council

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

Definition of Apostasy

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

What Denver Snuffer Teaches

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

Why Denver was Excommunicated

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

Similar Testimonies Posted Online

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

Submissiveness to Authority

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

And Should We Die

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

It Takes Courage to be a Mormon

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

Killed for Reading a Book

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

First Amendment Right Doesn’t Apply

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

The Church is not a Democracy

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

This Doesn’t Strengthen the Church Members

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

Keys, Keys, We’ve Got Keys


KeysOfTheKingdomI re-read Denver’s Orem talk on the priesthood again tonight. I picked up some clarifications about sealing powers (pages 35-37) but found myself struggling with his discussion of keys (pages 32-34). The printed version of the talk is a little different than the recorded version. (Might be less on Doug’s page.)

The Keys of the Kingdom

I remember this section specifically in the recorded version because it sounded like he was doing a little dance and jingling a ring of keys from his pocket or something. If you were there, tell me what he did. He said, “keys, keys, we’ve got keys,” in what sounded like a theatrical voice.

Discussion of Section 128

The thing that got me thinking and what I want to point out is his emphasis on items other than keys that he spoke about in this section. He mentioned dispensations, rights, honors, majesty, glory and “power of the priesthood.” And then he astounded me with this amazing quote:

Dispensations and Rights

“Now you tell me, you declare to me, what are your dispensations? (I have one, and Joseph had one, but do you have one also?) Tell me what your rights are. Can you even tell me what your keys are? […] You tell me what they are.” Who is he talking to here – you, me, the Brethren?

Understanding Keys is Important

“Stop proclaiming that you own them, and tell me in plainness so as to persuade us all they both matter to salvation and you understand them enough to explain exactly what they are!” […] If you got them and they affect salvation, you ought to understand them.” OK, that makes sense.

Honors, Majesty, Glory and Power

“If you trust you need to have them for salvation, then you should be able to explain them; because a man cannot be saved in ignorance, after all. […] Tell me what your honors are. Tell me what your majesty is. Tell me what your glory is. Tell me what the power of your priesthood is.

Keys Alone Are Not Sufficient

“Because if keys alone were sufficient, I rather think that Joseph Smith who understood what he was writing, would not have gone to the trouble of parsing through the words: dispensation, rights, keys, honors, majesty, glory and power, if it was all speaking to exactly the same thing.”

Denver Snuffer Claims a Dispensation

The subject of keys was introduced as he read section 128, verse 21. But did you catch what he said? Denver said he had a dispensation. I can barely explain what a dispensation is, or at least what I’ve been taught it is, and here Denver Snuffer claims he has been given a dispensation.

We Hardly Comprehend Things of God

Page 33: “You hardly comprehend the things of God. You simply do not know how great things God has done for us. You remain content to allow conceit and foolishness to lead you from error to error without any fear that you are losing your souls.” OK, now he’s really got my attention.

You Must Receive Revelation

Page 34: “…the things of God are not to be taken lightly. Nor are they given to you merely by study. You also must receive revelation in order to understand revelation. The scriptures are a launching point to take your mind upward. You must commune with God to understand the things of God.

The Institution Will Not Save Us

“No man, or committee or organization will ever save you. Nothing some financial institution managed by lawyers, bankers, managers, businessmen and professors offers will matter in the afterlife. The only things which will matter there will be what you secure for yourself from the Powers of Heaven while you live here.” Wow. He lays it on the line here, doesn’t he?

Denver Wants to Get Us Thinking

Before he leaves the subject of keys and launches into an amazing presentation on the various kinds of sealing powers, he says something that I know some people will find offensive. But I want you to consider it and tell me what you think. Is he being controversial here on purpose?

Temple Recommend Worthless at Judgment

“When the Judgment comes, you will not be able to hand a Temple Recommend to your … Judge and have him respect a mere man’s judgment of you. All that document proves objectively is that you paid money to the church. It is a receipt.” I’ve never looked at it like that, have you?

Dare to Ask How Tithing is Spent

“And you don’t even know what your money got used for, because you do not even dare to ask the question of your leaders about how the money was spent.” Wait a minute, we do know and they have told us. The money is used to build temples, meetinghouses and operating expenses.

Subjective Nature of Temple Questions

“For the rest of the Temple Recommend questions, they are merely subjective in nature and allow the vain, the misled and the blind to announce their purported ‘worthiness.’ All of that is a mirage which will pass away when you depart this life.” OK, good point. They are subjective.

Invitation to Dialog

Disclaimer: These are simply a few of my study notes as I try to understand things I deem to be important. I have obviously quoted the words of a man who has been cast out of our Church for teaching these and other similar things. I am not trying to teach them to you. I am not asking you to believe these statements. I simply want to discuss them in an effort to understand them better.

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