Remnant Family Reunion Controversy / Apology

Rock_Waterman_SayingsI must apologize here for the tone of the questions in my April 15th, 2015 post. As someone pointed out in another blog, written words can seem cold. We don’t see each other’s facial expressions, body language, or eyes. We don’t hear each other laugh. I wish I could write more like Rock, in that warm, conversational way. He’s the undisputed master of that comfortable style, in my book.

Perhaps I’ve spent too many years drafting legal arguments to the US Patent and Trademark Office Examining Attorneys – a cold-hearted crew. My mentor was a talented intellectual property attorney whom I respected. I valued his relentless editing of my work to search out and replace any emotion. So I do acknowledge that my words can seem clipped and cold. There is no need for warm expansion in legal writing, but there was here. What I intended to convey was deep concern from a position of love, but I missed that mark and caused considerable contention among a body of friends with whom I hope to be reunited someday in true community. Please forgive me.

beedanceI thank Marti for her sweet and vulnerable description of the honeycomb dance and her part in bringing that forth. As she described it, I felt that even I, too, would like to join in that simple physical outpouring of love and joy dedicated to God. She shed light on something which I, and many others, obviously misunderstood. For that, I am sincerely grateful to her. If you haven’t read her description about how the Utah version of the honeycomb dance came to be, I hope you’ll wade through the comments section of the questions post and do so. However, please understand that whatever The Lord creates, Satan copies and corrupts. There are other Asenath dance versions out there, of which I have personal knowledge, and which are absolutely pagan. It was another version, from a personal message to my Facebook account, which generated my rhetorical questions.

Descriptions of the honeycomb dance costumes, head jewels, moonlight dancing on the mesa, the presence of a mother entity and the cloud/moon signs in the night sky came directly from Samantha Corbridge and her daughters when their family visited me and my husband in our Orem home on Thanksgiving eve. Bret and my husband Ron were in the room. So no, I didn’t just make all that up, as I have been accused of doing. Bret sent me a detailed email about his planned events and activities a few days before he sent them out to any of the other speakers. So yes, I did know what was in the works, and it was not merely guesswork on my part.

I expected personal attacks for daring to ask uncomfortable questions, but was surprised by the anger, outrage and identity of some of the attackers.

I paraphrase someone in another group who wisely commented: “We can see ourselves doing to each other here exactly what the church has done to us by telling us to shut up and sit down, saying it’s fine to have questions, but certainly NOT fine to talk about them or post about them on the internet because they might cause some people to actually listen and consider those questions as being possibly valid. That’s a very familiar accusation to those who have been excommunicated recently.

We may not all agree with each other but that doesn’t make any of us an authority on the writer’s thoughts or reasons for posting the questions. But isn’t asking questions what got us to where we are right now? And sometimes, unless someone else poses the question, it never even crosses our minds to ask, let alone take such a question to The Lord. People who are willing to ask hard questions can cause us to think about things we hadn’t considered before, and that is absolutely worthwhile. Disagreeing is fine, and often produces productive discussion. Attributing motive to [and attacking] the person asking the questions is where we should all take issue.”

At this writing, four days after the original post, there are nearly 2,000 views, 120 comments and 200 Facebook shares on this site alone. So there are evidently a few others besides me who care about the issues raised in the questions. To therefore dismiss all this discussion as “silly” and something that will now please just fade quietly off into the sunset tells us all (in a warm conversational way) to just shut up and sit down.

As usual, Log, a master of synopsis, waded through all the angst and anger in the comments section of the original questions post and pinned it to the real issue in his brief comment on April 17, at 11:38 pm.

For me, it all boils down to this:

Is Bret Corbridge actually a prophet of God who speaks personally with Christ? Does he organize all things pertaining to this gathering under the direction of Christ? He says publicly that he does.

RemnantFamilyReunionIf this is true, then I need to repent, get on board, do whatever I can possibly do within my own sphere of influence to advertise and promote it, get myself over to the Remnant Family Reunion to show love, solidarity and support for the emerging Zion family, and do the honeycomb dance with my sisters.

Or is he a delusional, hallucinogenic individual who thinks he talks with Christ, but actually doesn’t? If so, wouldn’t I want to warn the people I care about so they don’t get hurt? This option seems extremely unlikely to me, since Bret Corbridge is a respected, credentialed family therapist in the business of identifying and detangling delusions in other people.

Another possibility is that we’re ALL delusional here on Tim’s blog, none of this stuff even really matters since Thomas S. Monson is the only true and living prophet on earth with all the keys – if we follow him he will never lead us astray, the call to gather will come in general conference, and Zion is a bank. That option also seems extremely unlikely to me, since the LDS church is currently in the business of creating, maintaining and enforcing delusional thinking.

But what if Bret actually IS conversing with someone who comes self-identifying as Christ and directs all the efforts of this gathering, but is not really Jesus Christ? Could this be the rush (to gather) to the pass that Denver talks about, where the man who would not wait is destroyed by the beast? In that case, my brother Bret, whom I love, is in a deadly situation and many people whom I care about could likewise be destroyed by following him into that pass.

I remember Denver saying that there WILL be a gathering, but “if some great man wants to put his name on it, then I will not gather.” Bret has worked very hard to stay in the background as, he calls himself, merely the facilitator of this event. However, by publicly quoting verbatim the words of Christ to him to organize the event and instruct others to gather, by picking the “sacred” mesa venue, by choosing the speakers and doing most of the groundwork to get the gathering off the ground, then in my mind, Bret Corbridge has essentially put his name on it.

If Denver Snuffer is a prophet, and I believe he is, then Denver’s comment about what kind of gathering he specifically WILL NOT attend has relevance to me, and generated my question to Bret about whether or not Denver was invited. The exact answer was no, he would be a distraction, and had in fact rebuked Bret.

I’m a writer, Bret’s a writer. We tend to use language with some precision. So the word “rebuke” then, also has some relevance in my mind, and generated another of my original questions.

ProphetJosephSmithJoseph Smith said he talked to Christ, and I believe him. That belief gave me a framework for life. Denver Snuffer says he talks with Christ, and I believe him. That belief frames my current life choices as I value the perspective of one who delivers a message from Christ.

Bret Corbridge says that he talks personally with Christ who leads this gathering. In my mind that would, should, make The Remnant Family Reunion holy.

I care, therefore, to determine if Christ is at the helm and actually conversing with Bret Corbridge as His messenger, or if Bret is delusional, or a pathological liar, or if Bret is talking to a counterfeit Christ. The Remnant Family Reunion was never represented as merely a social gathering by Bret, who provides the direct words he received from Christ in the information packet.

I get it that some people here just want to go to a good party, and basically don’t care whether or not Bret is on the Lord’s errand. But I care deeply, since that has been represented to be the case, just as I care deeply to know that Denver is on an errand from the Lord and is not just freelancing with his own agenda.

Whenever someone says, in effect, “Thus saith the Lord God” as Bret has done by publicly quoting Christ relative to the Colorado gathering, then in my mind that moves the whole gathering out of a good time party place and into a sacred space – a consecrated ramp up to Zion.

There should be deep reflection, pondering (questions) and prayer about how God views The Remnant Family Reunion. Nobody else was asking questions, so I did. I know that my tone could have been softer. I’m sorry you didn’t feel my love and concern, and you didn’t know how sometimes I cry myself to sleep at night thinking about all this, about you, praying for you all, loving you all.

There were some uncomfortable questions people should have been asking at the front end of Jonestown, Waco and Manti – the same kind of questions people need to ask about Denver Snuffer or any other man who says publicly that he talks with Christ and delivers a message to us from Him.

I’ll end here and move on now to other things in my life with this quote from my friend Tim Malone in his preface to my original questions post of April 15, 2015:

“I have prayed to know God’s will…. God wanted this posted.”

The Power of Wise Communication

Small Christ teachingThe opportunity to communicate has increased a thousand fold in recent years. The power of the internet has made it possible to reach one individual at a time or thousands at one time. We live in a magnificent age.

Whether we communicate face to face or online, apparently the ability to communicate effectively has diminished. In a recent poll by Dan Jones & Associates, it was found that Utah based companies complained that people coming into the present workforce are lacking some serious skills, one being communication.

A common complaint was that companies are having to spend a lot of time and money training people in “sensitivities and cultures and how to do business.” My son, an attorney, has difficulty hiring front desk personnel that know how to communicate effectively. “Sometimes they are abrupt, blunt and discourteous without even recognizing it,” he said. It does not speak well of our education or culture.

Online communication has made it much easier to get away with “blunt and discourteous” communication. Perhaps online “bullying” has contributed to the face to face intimidation we are witnessing in our schools today.

No matter the mode used, ineffective communication stunts the opportunity to be heard or be considered a credible terminal for information.

Point of View

Beliefs are determined by our education and our experience. Beliefs form our point of view. Our views change as we learn and experience new things. Our view of life is “Our Truth” and may or may not be in line with anyone else, let alone eternal truths. We hold them dear.

We, spend a lot of time defending our point of view and trying to get others to change theirs. Various tactics of persuasion are used to give authority to our “Truths” such as polls, research, higher degree of education, the priesthood, the scriptures, the Ensign and “The Lord told me”. There is nothing wrong with this, however, some methods of communicating our message is more effective than others. The question is, does my method of communication “Work” to persuade or do I set myself up to be rejected and even persecuted?

Sound Relationships

Years ago I found this helpful model which helped me to understand how relationships work. It’s called the ARC triangle. The bottom corners of the pyramid are “Affinity” and “Reality.” The top of the pyramid is “Communication”. A break in any side of the triangle is a break in the relationship. If not handled, the relationship will suffer and may not last.arc

Affinity: closeness, harmony, bond, in accord. Do you like the person? Do you want to be near them, have a bond with them?  Do they have affinity toward you?

Reality: actuality, truth, realism, real life. Do you see eye to eye?  Are your beliefs and values the same? Is your view point on how to execute those values alike, compatible or at least workable?

Most relationship breaks comes within the “Reality” arena. Points of view have changed and are no longer compatible. The further apart your “Reality” is, the less “Affinity” you will feel for each other. You no longer want to be in the other persons presence because you don’t have anything in common.

Communication: When effective communication occurs, you have the opportunity come to understand the other person’s reality, or “point of view” and it make it a lot easier to be around each other. This does not mean you have to agree on everything. When the relationship allows for some differences and has mutual respect for variation of reality, the relationship has a better chance of lasting.

However, when we stand firmly in our ”Point of View”, with intent of making the other party “Wrong”, walls go up and we become the offensive party which forces defensive tactics by the other party and “War” begins. It seems that nothing brings out strong positions like politics and religion do. Look at the death and destruction that both of these topics have caused within the human family. Under certain circumstances, it may be wise to use caution and constraint when addressing these two issues.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is “Wise” communication. It is knowing who your audience is and staying within a framework that does not “Shoot” others down by our actions, words, or tone before we have a change to persuade them to consider a new way of thinking about any subject.

Sometimes “Wise” communication is “No” communication. There are some people and organizations that will never see another view point. Often, it is because they have so much time and energy invested in it to concede.To even entertain different ideas would be too embarrassing, hurtful or literally cause their death.

Christ was the ultimate “Wise” person when it came to communication. He understood his audience and acted accordingly.

  1. In some groups, he spoke in parables. Those who had ears and hearts to hear would get the message. Those who were not ready or in tune would leave, perhaps a little confused, but no worse for wear.

  2. With his enemies, he was discreet and answered questions with questions rather than cause open contention. His followers were always watching to see how He would handle sensitive subjects.

  3. He gave credit where credit was due… giving recognition to Ceasar that which was Ceasar’s and that which was God’s to God. In other words, he acknowledged authority.

  4. There were times when Christ did not speak or respond to his accusers. He knew their intent was to “Make Wrong” or entrap.This was especially true after his arrest. “And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.” When confronted by Pilate, he did not speak. “And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.” He knew when it was futile to try and change hearts and minds.

  5. However, in other groups, those who were like minded, such as his apostles and His people on the American continent, he was more direct and open, yet sensitive.

He was “The Master” in the way he taught and communicated. He was effective in each situation he was in, careful not to openly cause contention. He was a wise teacher. He understood the power of “Wise” communication.

We Have a Little Problem

This blog, as well as many others online, have a “Point of View” on the restoration of the gospel, how the gospel is taught, how scriptures are interpreted, and how the LDS church is managed, which often runs contrary to traditional thinking. These blogs have attracted many like minded people who desire to discuss gospel issues in light of new information and a new understanding of gospel matters.

Even though we seem to have much in common, there is often much contention when issues are discussed. The “I Am Right” attitude often disrupts meaningful dialogue. That is not to say that opposing points of view should not be discussed. It is more often the manner in which issues are discussed, not the subject matter.

So often, the “I Am Right” heels are firmly dug in and the war begins. In the end, everyone goes back to their corner, with no change of thought. This happens when persuasive methods, as taught in D&C 121 (persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, kindness, without hypocrisy), have not been applied. There often is a tendency to jump to verse 43: “Reproving betimes with sharpness…” assuming the Holy Ghost will uphold this strategy before all else has been tried.

There are times when the wise response is “No” response. It is best to let them have their way, especially when you know they want to contend or entrap.

Above all, we are guests of the blog owner and that should be respected. A sour tone may repel readers, and that is not fair.

Caution To Be Considered

Another caution should be considered. It is not appropriate to be combative in private territory, whether it is in a home, an LDS meeting house, temple, or privately owned grounds. They are not a place to openly oppose their beliefs, interpretation and standards, whether we believe their understanding is correct or not. By the nature of the LDS organization, we are not their advisers and they can run things any way they please. Like it or not, those who serve as officers in that organization have the duty to abide and defend the traditional standards whether we concur with the model or not. If they disagree, they should not be holding such positions because they represent the organization.

There may be unintended consequences in digging in our heals to defend our point of view. If we choose that course, one must be willing to risk rejection. The Corporate Church has a right to cut loose anyone they feel have views which are contrary or threaten their system. That is the nature of a corporation. Unfortunately, we have recently seen much fallout for those who have openly not seen eye to eye with the traditional thinking.

An Example

For example, whether one agrees with the “Ordain Women” cause or not, marching on Church property and appearing at the door of a traditionally held “Men Only” meeting was not the way to persuade, influence, or convince the Brethren of the validity of their mission.Their forceful approach did not work and their tactics turned against them. Now they spend much time “kicking against the pricks” still loudly defending their point of view. Are many still listening or care?

On the other hand, my personal opinion is, the Brethren did not handle the situation very well either. It may have been much more productive to have given Kate Kelly an audience with one of the Apostles rather than having their position related to her through a PR department. After all, the impetus for asking them to “Ask God” if women could received the priesthood came from a review of the Joseph Smith papers. Their public response to her appeared rude and disrespectful in light of her request.

Simply put, both sides dug in their “Point of View” heels and neither side faired very well in the end.

When comments or instructions are given in a class, one must examine intent. Is it to “Make Wrong” or to teach and inform? “Make Wrong” never works and care must be given when teaching others concepts which are contrary to traditional beliefs. Like Christ’s example, understanding your audience is paramount in knowing what technique of persuasion should be used and when to be quiet. Communication can be powerful if conducted wisely.

A Communication Blunder

About six months ago, I got caught using unsuccessful communication methods when I was “Defending my Point of View” on the subject of “Follow The Prophet.” My attempt to persuade a sister that we should “Follow Christ First” was anything but successful. It caused contention. Even though we are still friends, there is an element of discomfort when we see each other. My tactic simply did not “Work”.

whats-wrong-with-this-pictureSome time later, I found this photo on Facebook and sent it to a group of friends via e-mail.The title of the e-mail was, “What Is Wrong With This Picture.” There was no more dialog concerning the photo. Several did not respond at all, while four others did. “Sorry, I can’t see anything wrong”.

This was my reply: “Where is Christ? I have a concern that through this bulletin board, children may not understand that we “Follow Christ.” We listen to the wise counsel of our leaders as they point us to Christ, but we follow Christ first. Having Christ acknowledge first on the bulletin would have be more correct.

The response was positive and met with no resistance. “Oh my, you are right. I see it now.” Seeds were planted to think differently about the subject. When the issue comes up again, perhaps they will remember our dialog. My approach was much more successful the second time around.

This is certainly a subject I would not bring up in a class. By the very nature of the subject, it would cause contention and the chances of effectively changing any point of view would be practically nil. For this subject, a one on one conversation is probably more appropriate, but not in the Church building.

May We Do Likewise

Whether we are dealing with friends, co-workers, family or members of the LDS church, how we communicate is as important or more important than the message we are trying to deliver. Broken relationships are much harder to repair than to prevent a break by using good communication skills that “Work”.

When communicating, ask yourself… “What is the fruit of my “Point of View?”  “Do I cause repeated contention?”  Also, “Do I want it to “Work” or would I rather be “Right”.

Christ is our example for using all of the qualities of influence as described in D&C 121: 40-46 and in other scriptures.

May we do likewise.

Skin in the Game

Skin-in-the-GameDear Tim,

There’s something about your new blog format that doesn’t quite sparkle for me anymore. Sure, I got used to, and miss the old uncluttered visual layout with that main topic so short, sweet and to the point in the center. But what I really miss is you: a real man standing there under his own name. You plowed the ground and showed us what vulnerable, honest, transparent and striving looks like: our brother in Christ, swimming upstream, trying to make it home to the headwaters.

Now, in kindness and generosity you hand over your hard won readership to others. Anonymous authors may truly be wonderful people with a lot of good stuff to share, but essentially they’re cowards hiding behind anonymous blog names, benefitting from your credibility by association and inclusion.

Nowadays a writer doesn’t have to actually publish with a Deseret Book imprint to set himself up with a following.  He can be “paid” by loyal blog readers who go to him for advice about what scriptures mean, instead of going to the Lord directly themselves to find out what scriptures mean. This is priestcraft.

I think it’s important for your readers to be able to see clearly who is behind which written word. Tim, you have street cred as a writer, as do all the others who put their name on their opinions at great personal cost and risk to their reputation. So who are your anonymous authors? Where have they been? What have they been doing? How have they suffered with us on the journey home? What has it cost them? What is it costing them now?

Tim, I think I understand what you’re trying to do by opening up your blog as a forum so that all can have a voice. It’s noble and generous, and I don’t doubt for one second that you’ve been impressed by the Lord to do so. But as you fine-tune that impression, in your willingness to act and obey, I have a question for you.

Wouldn’t we all be more edified and uplifted by your handing over page space only to those writers who, like you, have laid it all on the altar by taking off the blogger name masks and standing in the light under their own real name and true identity?

Tim, people can find you, call you, email you, look you in the eye and shake your hand. You’re real to us. You’re one of us. We know your name, your face, and your history as you’ve shared it. Therefore we readers can discern your motives from your past posts: Tim the man, the brother, is authentic and agenda-free.

The angst, the course corrections and comebacks, these parts of your real human journey give us confidence about where you’re heading in any particular post, because we know where you’ve been. I believe that most of us read your blog because we trust your motives and value your perspectives borne of past experience.

It’s entirely understandable that some timid readers who only venture out to comment in your blog occasionally may still be weak in their faith, terrified of peer censure, and feel the need to hide behind an anonymous name to buck up their courage to post. I get that.

But for those prolific posters who author frequent, lengthy, heavily scripture laden articles expounding, exhorting, and imparting from their own wisdom speaking to hundreds of your hard-won readers, it should cost them something: their true identity.

Whenever anyone directly or indirectly excuses their anonymity by implying that they have a significant visual leadership position in the church, or access to high-level intel which could be compromised if unveiled, or is concerned that if he “uncloaked” and people knew who he actually was they might be unduly impressed and want to follow him so it is therefore “better” to stay hidden in order to more effectively impart knowledge, understanding and wisdom, then I call it out.

Some of us have finally reached the priestcraft pain threshold. We’ve had enough of anonymous committees interpreting God’s word for us, speaking down to us, writing our lesson manuals and our history – telling us what we should do, can do, must do. The condescending tone of anonymous imparters of further light and knowledge is becoming spiritually nauseating to those sensitive Zion hearts trying to break out of the entropy cycle and move up the food chain towards the light.

At this point in the last days timeline I don’t care to hear from “anonymous” writers here on your blog, or anywhere else. I think it’s high time now, as Rock Waterman says, to put some skin in the game.

Very sincerely,
Lynne McKinley, Orem

A Multitude of Voices United as One

LargeChoirSome of you know I dedicated this blog to the Lord earlier this year. Prior to that time it was just another Mormon-themed blog. After that sacred moment in prayer, it became, at least for me, a consecrated effort to help fulfill the purposes of the Lord. I pray about every post and ask the Lord for inspiration in what I write, that it may be uplifting, helpful and encouraging to others.

Latter-day Commentary Now a Group Blog

Last month, Latter-day Commentary celebrated seven years as a solo blog by adding its first guest editor. Thus, it was reborn as a group blog. I imagine you’ve heard the expression, “the spirit pressed upon my soul.” That’s what’s been happening to me over the past little while. I have felt a constant impression to improve the blog by adding the voices of other contributors.

Competing with the Mormon Group Blogs

I have long resisted the idea, feeling no desire to compete with By Common Consent, Times & Seasons, Mormon Matters, Millennial Star, Mormon Mentality, FMH, Mormon StoriesWheat & Tares, Segullah and so many others. This doesn’t even include all the LDS Facebook Groups, especially The Hub, or the large religious themed blogs with Mormon contributors.

A few Boring Technical Details

One of the things I disliked about the free hosting service on was the inability to add any plugins. If you’re a WordPress blogger, you know how important plugins are. It requires a plugin to give readers the ability to edit their own comments, which I have now done. The only alternative is to make someone an editor. So I moved the blog off the free site and onto Bluehost.

Content AND Discussion Both Required

Yet even after I moved the blog, I could not shake the impression that maybe, just maybe, there are others out there who might want to join me in creating and sharing posts. Perhaps they have their own solo blog but would like a larger readership. Besides interesting content, a good blog needs SEO, design through themes and widgets, and time to read and comment on other blogs.

There are no Guarantees of Permanence

Because I believe the day will come when society breaks down and Babylonian commerce is no longer the driving force of this world, a blog is a temporary tabernacle. The threat of losing the Internet and electricity seems foreign here in America. Yet, the possibility of such loss is real. Thus the repository of my thoughts and your comments will always be of a temporary nature.

Blogging as a Personal Growth Process

Of course I hope such a catastrophic event will not happen in my lifetime, especially since I feel so unprepared both temporally and spiritually. In the meantime, my focus on writing and sharing in this blog as a vehicle for growth and change, has been a major blessing in my life, one which I desire to increase. In other words, I would like to have more people participate in blogging here.

An Open Invitation for Authors

In connection with this transition to a more robust version of the WordPress platform and the migration to a new hosting company, I hope some of the regular readers here will be desirous of sharing their own writings from time to time. Latter-day Commentary has a solid base of several thousand regular readers, many of whom consistently contribute with amazing, engaging dialog.

Non-exclusive Content is Welcome

Maybe you already have your own solo blogs. You don’t have to abandon that. I simply want to invite you to join with me in building a site where readers can feel safe and can connect with like thinkers in several key areas along some common themes. There is no commitment to how often you share something – one a month or several each week. It’s the dialog that makes a blog work.

A Blog is Not a Forum – It’s a Platform

Themes include the writings and lectures of Denver Snuffer, Current Events in the LDS Church, and discussion of deep gospel doctrine subjects such as Born of the Spirit, Calling and Election, Second Comforter, Visions, Dreams, Spiritual Gifts, Visits from Angels, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, Mormon History, ancient scripture, Last Days, the Building up of Zion and more.

United in Becoming a Zion Community

Maybe this is all a dream. To me, it’s a vision I have long held in my heart. I have seen the day when thousands upon thousands of consistent daily visitors come to Latter-day Commentary to learn about and discuss gospel principles that have one goal – to lead them to that meeting with the Savior in this life. I make no bones about it. That has become the focus of my life these days.

An Open, Self-Governed Community

Teach correct principles and they will govern themselves. I’m aware there are several other online communities, mostly forums, where like-minded people hang out. Many of them are private because the contributors are concerned their participation would not be understood by their family members, ward members or their priesthood leaders. I prefer open participation.

You are my Zion Community

In other words, I want to get to know you, to share with you in your spiritual growth. I don’t have a community. I attend Sacrament meeting with my wife each week, then go home and have my own sacrament, accompanied with gospel study and prayer. It is the highlight of my week. I won’t say I have entertained angels, but the worship service has been sacred and powerful to me.

And Their Numbers Were Few

I know communities have been organized and are doing well in the Utah, Idaho and Arizona centers of Mormonism. I’m aware of some in Colorado, Washington and a few back East. For some reason, there simply aren’t many here in Southern California who are close enough to meet on a regular basis. I’ll be traveling to Oceanside in a few weeks to meet with a community there.

Passing the Angels that Stand There

I’m looking for readers and authors who are not afraid to share their spiritual journeys. I want to read your stories of discovery, how you learned what the Lord required of you and how you met that intense commitment. Even though it is deeply personal and private, there are common steps we must go through to advance on Jacob’s ladder. I help you, you help me. We advance as one.

Coming into the Presence of the Lord

I know many of you are serious about coming into the presence of the Lord. I know some of you have already done so. I am aware of nearly a dozen now. This was unheard of just a few years ago. Maybe this has always been happening but individuals were forbidden to share. The saying is that by sharing, it cheapens the experience and breaks the trust between you and the Lord.

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

Why do I feel different about that? I always have. If I come into the presence of the Lord, I want you to be the first to know. I want to share with you how it worked for me, the steps I had to take and what I had to do in order to qualify for this supernal gift. I’ve shared it before and I’ll share it again. One thing that changed for me in a big way since my baptism is hearing the Lord’s voice.

Sharing Spiritual Experiences

I’m a little naïve in how I share my experience, as evidenced by Daymon’s cute little response to my last post. That’s alright. I don’t mind. I know it sounds a little hokey. People just don’t talk about hearing the voice of the Lord. The common response is, “you’re crazy,” or “you’re hearing your own thoughts or the voice of devils.” I have received dozens of private emails like that.

Walking With the Lord Each Day

Yet the more I study and the more I pray, the more I ask to know, the more I hear His voice. I can tell you it is real. He is real. I feel like I am walking with the Lord every day. I feel He is patiently waiting for me. He is guiding me along, helping me see where I need to do better in this area or that, mainly in being more loving and kind to others. Long-suffering is real for both of us.

Openness is Enabling and Powerful

Such openness and desire to share seems foreign to so many in the LDS Church. The constant focus is, “keep it to yourself.” My friend Log observed how happy I have been since my baptism. He said I was clearly acting oppressed before I resigned. I had not noticed it. I thought I was trying to fit in, to conform, to be just like everyone else and stick to the correlated material.

Opposing Views are Welcome

I have dozens or regular readers who have been with me since my early TBM days where I was defending the orthodox interpretations of scripture and history. I know Zion consists of those who are of one heart and mind but we’re not there yet. I know I have a long ways to go. I have always appreciated opposing viewpoints. If you’re not a fan of Denver I invite you to join in.

Persuasion is a Tool of the Lord

We all know contention is of the devil, but there is nothing wrong with reading a good argument and using persuasion to help others see the benefits and blessings of a certain point of view. I’ve read thousands of posts and essays on hundreds of blogs and forums over the past twenty years since my early days in participating in online Mormon mailing lists originating on BYU servers.

Come Join With Me on the Journey

What say ye? Will you join me? WordPress supports multiple levels of participation: Contributor, Author, Editor and Administrator. I’ll retain the Admin role for now. The editor role is very powerful. I hope to add more trusted editors who can contribute their own posts and moderate the dialog. Sometimes it can get a little out of hand in the space of a few minutes of discussion.

Communities Can Be Online

I invite us each to focus on coming onto Christ. Mighty prayer, offered in faith, will get the attention of heaven. Many prophets worked alone by necessity – Abinidi, Moroni, Ezekiel – but we live in a day and time when we can connect via the Internet even though we may be far apart. Will you join my community and help me build it up with the purpose of preparing for Zion?

Unite our Voices on Common Ground

Come and join. Even if you are totally opposed to all things Denver Snuffer has written, that’s okay. We have the common ground of coming unto Christ. We have the common ground of the Book of Mormon, of the revelations and prophecies of Joseph Smith and the common ground of prayer, worship of a loving and kind Father in Heaven and of a hope for salvation from our sins.

How to Get Started

If you’ve never commented here before, I’ll set you up as a contributor where I review and then release your posts. If you’re a regular reader / commenter I know, I can add you as an author. You can then post whenever you want. I only ask that you write in such a way as to invite dialog. Eventually I hope you’ll have so much fun with the community that you should be an editor.

Friends to Encourage and Help You

Salvation is an individual thing. We pass through the veil only one person at a time, usually in the privacy of our own home. It is a sacred experience. The road can be long and hard. The Lord requires obedience, sacrifice and consecration. Disciples of Christ place Him first in their lives. Once you enter into His presence, your ability to bless and lift others is magnified and sanctified.

An Assignment From the Lord

This is my assignment. I have received it from the Lord. He has asked me to do this. He has prepared me for this. A lifetime of working with and supporting technology is no coincidence. This is my offering to the Lord, which He already accepted. I invite you to share this ministry with me. I take great delight in sharing my journey and reading of your successes in return.

The Time Feels Short to Many

God bless us all. We do not know how much time is left to take advantage of technology to work together in building Zion. Many of you have told me of dreams and visions where you know, as do I, that the time is short. We feel pressed in the spirit that something is on its way. The Lord has sent His messenger to prepare the way. There is work to do in preparing for Zion among us.

One of the Definitions of Zion

And there were no poor among them. I like to think that means not just those who are no longer poor as to the necessary things of this world, but also no poor in spirit. Each of us is at different levels. But ones thing in common is our covenant to help and lift each other. Don’t come to the blog to fight and argue or prove a point. Come here to help others understand the truths of God.

The Blog Will Go On

I’ve said enough. I’ll just throw this out there and see how you respond. If nobody cares to be a guest blogger for a day or two, that’s okay. I’ll keep pressing forward. I find great joy in the experience. My every day is spent pondering on what the Lord would have me focus next. I learn best by sharing. If I can’t teach a principle then I haven’t learned it. Thanks for helping me learn.

The Facebook Group Goes On

If you prefer the dialog that takes place in private on the Facebook group, that’s fine too. If you’re not a member, just ask to join. Wonderful conversations take place there each day. There are about 225 participants there. The most readers I’ve ever had in one day here is about 6,000. The majority do not comment. That’s okay. I appreciate the visits. I hope they learn something.

Tim Malone, Camarillo CA – tmalonemcse at, 818-257-0513 (text first)

Do This in Remembrance of Me


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

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

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

Bloggers and Apostasy

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

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

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

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

4. Formally join another church.

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

Guidelines from the Church

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

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

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

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

Worthiness is the Key

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

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

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

Examples of Apostate Writing

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

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

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

Partaking of the Sacrament

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

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

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

Sacrament Restriction as Punishment

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

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

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

Invitation to Open Dialog

I have three questions for you gospel scholars out there:

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

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

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

A Few Administrative Notes

LotsOfEmailsIt seems no matter how hard I try, I am unable to keep up with the private emails asking for additional information from something I’ve shared in one of my posts, particularly those that deal with doctrine and private religious practices such as the True Order of Prayer in the home.  I still have about 35 unanswered emails from April. I apologize to those who are waiting for answers and thank you for your patience. I truly appreciate those who read my blog and take the time to write privately.

Get-Together in LA Area

I am filled with gratitude this morning. It’s 4am as I write this. I can’t sleep because of all the things I’m pondering. A few regular blog readers and contributors got together for dinner last night to discuss current events in the LDS blogging community. We chatted about the apparent ongoing rash of excommunications for those who write about Denver Snuffer. We discussed mutual experiences with private religious practices such as being born of the spirit, conversing with the Lord through the veil and the difficulties of blogging or contributing to an LDS blog.

Continued Growth of Latter-day Commentary

I continue to be amazed at the number of subscribers listed in the upper left of this blog. It keeps going up and up, sometimes by dozens per day. I’m not doing anything to promote the blog. I read and comment on very few other blogs – only those that deal with similar subject matter – coming unto Christ, being Born of the Spirit, Conversing with the Lord through the veil and being instructed by angels. In other words, stuff that the LDS Church says you should keep private and never talk about. Here’s a simple test: How would you respond if someone got up in Testimony meeting and said they had been visited by an angel, or by the Savior? They did not share what they were taught, only that they had received visitors from the spirit world.

Online  Community Seeking the Savior

That’s the kind of stuff we talk about on this blog. That’s what I write about, that’s what the readers share in the comments, and that’s the primary subject of the majority of the private emails I receive. They usually start out like this: “Brother Malone, you don’t know me but I felt impressed to write and share this with you…” and then they proceed to share some of the most uplifting and faith-promoting experiences having to do with dreams, visions, healings, temple manifestations, visits from the spirit world and sacred prayers in which they were instructed by angels or had words given to them by the Holy Ghost. They are simply delightful. Some have been labeled kooks by their ward members. Some have been excommunicated for sharing.

Moroni 7:37 Has Come to Pass

I suppose that’s one thing we all have in common. Of those who met last night, over half were no longer members of the church, one having been excommunicated within the last few weeks. He has yet to receive a valid answer from his priesthood leaders as to what exactly he did wrong. He keeps asking for an explanation of what doctrines he taught that were offensive so that he can repent. No answer. Yes, I know I’m only reporting one side of this, but it’s similar to dialogs I’ve had with other readers. Why is this church so hell-bent on casting out some of the most faith-filled and spiritual members of the faith just because they write they have been visited by the Lord, by angels, or they read works published by others who have been?

Not OK to Talk About Spiritual Experiences

Apparently it’s taboo to talk about your spiritual experiences in this church anymore. It didn’t used to be. It’s OK to talk about the approved or correlated experiences of early leaders of this church. We’ve become a church that celebrates the revelations of our founders, claims to encourage personal revelation, but discourages the sharing of such experiences. “Not appropriate,” they say. “Not correlated by the Brethren,” another will say. “You must be lying,” the most direct will say. It puzzles me. The old adage rears it’s ugly head again and again: “Those who have, don’t talk about it. Those who haven’t, do.” That’s false doctrine. If you have a visit with the Lord and ask permission to share it, or he tells you to share it, then by all means, do so.

We Have Become a Church of PC and Fear

This church has become a church of fear – members afraid of being disciplined for talking about charismatic or spiritual experiences. No, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s simply not politically correct to mention being visited by angels or hearing the voice of the Lord. “Why, that’s limited to the Brethren only,” you’ll hear. I know I do. “You can’t say that. Only the General Authorities have the right to share such things,” is another common saying. Look people, we who have been to the spirit world or have had visitors from the spirit world come to us, know such events are sacred. We understand they are intended for our own edification and instruction, but occasionally someone comes along who says the message they received was important enough the Lord asked them to share it with others – not by way of commandment but to edify and uplift.

Systematically Squelching the Spirit

And that’s where we seem to get into trouble. It’s the old Hyrum Page seer-stone incident all over again. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most bishops and stake presidents don’t know how to handle if someone were to get up and share they had received communication from the spirit world that was powerful, sacred and blessed their lives. In their enthusiasm or naivety, some new to the exciting experience of receiving revelation may want to share it with everyone they meet or from the pulpit in Testimony meeting. What do our Priesthood leaders do? They take them aside afterwards and say, “That’s simply not appropriate to share in Testimony meeting. I also don’t want to hear you’ve been sharing that privately with other members.”

Priesthood Directive – Don’t Share Revelation

That’s a real conversation. Don’t shake your head in disbelief. Yes, it really happens and is considered the responsibility of our priesthood leaders to make sure they “nip in the bud” any such occurrences before they “get out of hand.” If necessary, they warn the offending members they will be subject to disciplinary action if they don’t tone it down or learn to keep such things to themselves. Here we work so hard to get new converts, teach them they can get revelation and then chastise them when they feel led by the Holy Spirit to share spiritual experiences with others. Their only desire is to convey joy and excitement at what they have learned as well as to testify, as did Joseph Smith, that God answers our prayers in this modern day and age.

TestimonyGloveThe All-Encompassing Testimony Glove

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is apparently only one acceptable type of revelation you are “allowed” to share in this church and it must fit neatly into the testimony glove – 1) God lives, 2) Jesus is the Christ 3) The Book of Mormon is scripture, 4) Joseph was a prophet and 5) President Monson is a prophet. You may also substitute “The Church is true” for the last one or to encompass all five. Anything beyond those five items will make the Bishopric squirm and call you in for needed counsel and correction. You may think I’m kidding. I’m not. We need the enthusiasm of new converts who are not afraid to speak out about their relationship with the Savior. We need their new blood, their new life and their excitement in this church.

LDS Bloggers Now Being Excommunicated

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. I’ve preached this sermon at least a dozen times over the years here on Latter-day Commentary. It pains me to do so. I only see the problem getting worse. Some say it’s inadvertent, that the leaders don’t intend to cause new members or even old members feel uncomfortable when they step outside the “sharing” boundaries. The worst part of this epidemic sweeping our church is when a normally shy and reticent member finds the courage to tell in a blog of a sacred experience they had with reading the book of someone, member or not, from which they learned more about the spirit of revelation, how it works, how they experimented upon the word, were blessed and received revelation themselves. Yep, members are being excommunicated for even referencing the works of individuals like Denver Snuffer in their blogs now.

Following the Counsel of Elder Ballard

I’ll get off my soapbox. This is one of those posts I can’t link to Facebook because it will upset too many faithful members who are my friends. I’m trying to follow my Bishop’s counsel to keep my ranting and ravings to myself. This is the one subject that gets me riled up to no end. Just like John Dehlin has become a spokesperson for the LDS LGBT community, I have taken it upon myself to speak up for my blogging friends who are being chastised for following the counsel of Elder Ballard in which he admonished us to get involved in the Internet conversations about the church that were and are happening with or without us. So we get involved, share a few thoughts about our own spiritual experiences and get reamed for doing so. Is this any way to run a church? I’m not critical of the Brethren. I’m pointing out a deficiency in getting the directions to the local leaders.

Tim’s Up On His Gospel Hobby Horse Again

I’m done. I just gave up an hour of sleep because the Lord woke me and told me to write this. Now that’s an audacious claim all by itself, but it’s true. I have learned I can’t ignore these promptings any more, even when they come at inconvenient times in the wee hours of the morning. It has not been my desire to upset you. It has not been my desire to cause you to be offended. I’m fairly certain by now most people are aware of this problem, but then I’m always surprised by the blank stares if I bring this up to my TBM friends. They don’t see a problem. Perhaps I’m trying to steady the ark that doesn’t need steadying. I’m not trying to tell the Brethren what to do. I have full confidence in their abilities to lead this church. I love and sustain them. I’m sure they are aware of this problem. I pray for them. I am certain they are working to address this as best they know how.

Comments Open and Welcome

God bless. Feel free to leave me a comment telling me I’m off my rocker or I’ve understated the problem. Comments open.

Mormons Are a Submissive People

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

Opposite of Arrogance and Rebellion

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

Remember Them Which Rule Over You

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

Obey Counsel of Priesthood Leaders

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

Blind obedience not encouraged

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

Examples from Disciplinary Councils

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

Restoration of Full Fellowship

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

A Willing and Contrite Spirit

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

Submissiveness Natural Result of Repentance

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

The Lord Forgives, So Should We

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

Don’t Dwell on the Sin

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

Bishop’s Counsel is Recorded

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

Counselors Provide Input for the Bishop

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

High Council Disciplinary Format Different

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

Submissiveness Shows Respect

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

The Unwritten Order of Things

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

I’m a First Generation Mormon

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

Apostasy not same as Moral Transgression

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

Apostasy Usually Decided At The Top

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

Stake President Carrying Out Assignment

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

Even Good Men Can Err in Doctrine

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

The Sanctity of Dissent

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

Blogs are For Exploring New Ideas

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

Blogging is Following Counsel of Elder Ballard

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

Seeking to Remain Informed

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

Many Prophets In Addition to Joseph

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

Seek Guidance From God in What to Study

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

Submissiveness to Local Priesthood Leaders

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

Expressed Willingness to Remove my Blog

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

Seek Learning by Study and by Faith

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

Keys to My Participation in Ordinances

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


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