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.

The Last Post


HollandAtThePulpitWarning: This may not be Uplifting

I’m in another computer class this week. This makes week number sixteen this year. For those mathematically challenged, this will be 640 hours by the end of the week. I’ve got three more weeks to go – another 120 hours for a total of 760 hours. I got to thinking about when my migraines started. They started in February – about when I started all this computer training.

High Tech is for Young Folks

Maybe it’s because I’m a 56 year-old man and this stuff is fast-paced high-tech. I’m not saying I can’t keep up. I find it harder to focus so I can remember what is being taught. It was different when I was younger. There’s more stuff in there that needs to be shifted around and categorized to make room for new technology. I hope this is the last time I have to recertify my tech skills.

Keeping the Bad Guys Out

I think this is going to be one of the most enjoyable classes. It’s called “Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures.” In other words, I learn the same stuff in this class the hackers employ who want to break into my work systems. I’ve often asked myself why someone would care to break into our network. We manage several billion dollars’ worth of private jet aircraft, but so what?

Few Can Afford a Private 737

The aircraft mean nothing to me. They’re just things. I wouldn’t want one. They cost millions of dollars to house, staff and maintain each month. I would probably be worried about how I would pay for them but then I guess if you can afford a private Boeing 737, you can afford to pay for the monthly maintenance. Besides, a single charter flight can bring in half a million dollars.

A lifetime in the Business World

I hate business, always have. I thought I would be a college professor, a scientist or astronomer actually. But someone told me I could make more money to provide for my family if I learned computers so I did. I’m not sorry about my decision. I enjoy my work, especially weeks like this, but I have always wondered what it would have been like to teach or to be a research physicist.

Escape into Writing Science Fiction

That’s why you’ll find one of the main characters of my book teaches at CU. Funny thing is, he’s not happy with his job either. He wants to work for the government, because that’s where the big bucks are. He hates having to work so hard to get his programs funded and get new grant money each year. He feels stuck in his job, always looking for a newer telescope to manage somewhere.

Teaching Gospel Doctrine Class

I think I’ve written in the past I always ask the Lord what he would like me to write about in my blog posts. A couple of things come to mind. One is the wonderful experience I had substitute teaching our gospel doctrine class two weeks ago. I’ve been teaching church history since I was seventeen. This had to have been the most emotional retelling of the crossing of the plains ever.

Ephraim’s Rescue

I could barely finish the story of the rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart companies. I think it meant more to me because I had seen TC Christensen’s wonderful movie “Ephraim’s Rescue” just a few months ago. I related the story of how Ephraim Hanks ceremoniously washed his hands before each healing and how his gift grew upon him over the years. It was a sacred story.

Thinking of Denver Snuffer

But I had to think about Denver Snuffer as I taught. I know you’re going to ask why so I’ll tell you. I had the lesson divided into three – The rescue of the handcart pioneers, the crossing of the Sweetwater with the three young men who ultimately gave their lives to accomplish the task, and then part three was supposed to be spent in the scriptures, as we discuss being rescued by Christ.

We Tell Good Stories

I’ll offer the excuse of having been a high counselor for so many years in a previous stake. I love to tell stories. High Counselors, the good ones anyway, are able to take their assigned subject then shorten or lengthen the telling of their prepared material until it fits the time exactly so the Sacrament meeting ends at five minutes past the hour. I learned to do that with great expertise.

Scriptures Didn’t Get Read

Unfortunately, in the telling of the stories of the saving of the handcart companies and the story of the crossing of the Sweetwater by the three boys, I used up all my time. I never got to part three. While I received many complements of how deeply touched the members of the class were, what did I do wrong? I did not teach them from the scriptures. Not a scripture was read.

A Savior Who Rescues

It was not intentional I assure you. The spirit was felt. Even Carol said so and she does not hand out compliments easily. But the doctrine of a Savior who rescues us was not discussed. We did not as a class open the scriptures, read silently or out loud, separately or together, the scriptures that pointed out the whole purpose of why we meet in Sunday School: to learn of the Savior.

The Migraines Continue

I have thought a lot about the need to be rescued over the last seven months. I am a problem solver by nature and by training. By apparently my problem is not one that is going to be solved, or at least I haven’t discovered the solution yet. Migraines run in my family. I remember many days coming home from school finding mother lying in the dark with a damp cloth over her eyes.

Lots of Reading and Thinking

They always seemed to come to her after grading a lot of student papers. That involved reading and thinking, exactly what I am doing in my recertification classes. I’ve read that migraines can also be hereditary. Hmmm…Mother was marginal bi-polar. So am I. I am so grateful for Elder Holland’s General Conference address last Saturday. It was exactly what I needed to hear now.

Improve Skills With The Scriptures

So what does this have to do with Denver Snuffer? It made me think of something he said or wrote: that we have become a church of storytellers, and darn good ones too, but not nearly as good at opening, finding, studying and telling the story of salvation and revelation from the Lord’s scriptures. I speak this to my self and nobody else. I lack in scripture teaching skills.

Finding Answers in the Scriptures

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I know the scripture stories. I can tell them with the best teachers who have spent a lifetime in this church using such stories to illustrate points as found in approved curriculum, but what about just opening the scriptures and teaching when prompted by the Holy Ghost? Perhaps such opportunities don’t come very often in your life. Are you ready for them?

Remember, Doctrine Doesn’t Sell

It still bothers me that Denver Snuffer was excommunicated last month. It still bothers me that friends who I dearly love, who have written books devoted specifically to doctrine have seen the sales of their books drop from the high plateaus of the seventies and eighties to the low levels of almost nothing today. “Doctrine doesn’t sell,” they are told by Deseret Book sales executives.

This Blog is Six Years Old

It’s been six years this week since I started this blog. I’ve grown a lot and made a lot of friends, but I’ve discovered two things that bother me tremendously and have caused me to think deeply about both the need and the wisdom of continuing a blog like this. First, anyone who has read the blog from the beginning knows how much it has changed. I do not believe things as I did then.

I Thought All Mormons Were Conservative

Back when I was started I was naïve and immature. I believed everyone felt as I did. I thought most Mormons were conservative, believed the stories of the restoration literally and felt as deeply as I did about preparing for the second coming. I felt the return of the Lord was just around the corner. I thought God was preparing a people to meet him. I believed in a real Zion.

Close Encounter With Evil Spirits

I still do, just not in my lifetime. Some of you know back in February I had a close encounter with the devil or at least with a couple of his evil spirits. It has permanently changed my life. I am no longer the same person. I am much more emotional. I am much more sensitive. I am now hiding behind drugs. The prescriptions for anxiety and pain keep the devil away, but just barely.

Hiding Behind The Doctor’s Pills

The other day I tried an experiment to see if maybe I had convinced myself of something that wasn’t true. I stopped taking all the pain and anxiety drugs – just for one day mind you. I thought I could handle it. I was fine during the day. The head burned a little, the pain was there as it had always been, but it was manageable, at least until 1:00 o’clock in the morning. Then I knew.

The Evil Spirits Returned

I knew I would never be free from what whatever had happened last February. The evil spirits were back. They woke me up and let me know they were still there. Their presence I felt back in February may or may not have had anything to do with the drugs and alcohol my son was using. It scared the crap out of me. I took my pills, waiting for them to take effect, went back to sleep.

No Idea of the Cause

Carol kept asking me, when this pain started, asking if it had started when I began reading Denver Snuffer. No, it started in February, and as far as I can tell, is related to anything other than a more intense effort to or realization that the new material I was studying for work was a lot harder than it was the first time or the second time I went through this certification process.

Mental Illness Can Be Hereditary

I was warned in my patriarchal blessing the adversary wanted to destroy me and my work. I always wondered what that work was. I still do. But I’m not sure how much longer I’ll need to worry about it. The pain and anxiety have been getting steadily worse. I’m going to have to face the reality I have developed the same mental illness that afflicted my mother in her later years.

Time to see the Head Shrink

That’s the curse of borderline genius, they say: sometimes you can produce amazing things with wonderful God-given gifts. I feel this when I prepare and teach a gospel lesson that helps people feel the sprit. Other times, you see or hear evil spirits. What is a person to do? I guess I have done everything except what the last doctors suggested – see a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Owned by the Boss 24x7x365

I am tired of driving on the Los Angeles freeways two hours every day for a job that I both love and hate. I love it because it is so damn easy that I can do it in my sleep. I hate it because the boss owns me and made it clear in a recent conversation I am to be at his beck and call whenever he needs me 24x7x365. He also called me a grumpy old man. That hurt even if it was true.

This Blog May Suddenly Go Away

So I think I’ve said the two things I wanted to say: 1) This blog may suddenly disappear one day. What does it matter in the eternal scheme of things? Am I a better man because of this blog? Does it server any useful purpose? Have I ever or am I now helping anyone? The numbers say I get a few hundred readers a day but I think they’re just looking for news of Denver Snuffer.

Even the Very Elect Shall Be Deceived

That’s the other thing I wanted to say. 2) We are told in the last days that even the very elect shall be deceived by false Christs. Funny, I never considered Denver Snuffer to be a false Christ. What do I do with the witness, even the burning testimony I was given when I read his last book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, that it was true, especially now that he has been excommunicated?

Looking for a New Job

I’m going to look for a new job. I’ve made up my mind that it’s not worth the many hours I spend on the LA freeways to be told by a wealthy man I once respected that he owns me. Why should that matter? We’re all owned by our employer’s, especially in California where we are employed at will, meaning the owner does not have to give a reason to fire us. He simply can.

Money Can’t Buy You Happiness

I am willing to take something, anything that is closer to home, even if it’s thousands of dollars a month less. What is money anyway? Yes, that means I’ll have to move. I can’t afford to live in this beautiful city, but from everything the scriptures tell us, there will be no more beautiful cities left in a few years. I’ve been taught all my life the last days will be unbearable with suffering.

Not Your Typical Mormon Family

But the most important thing in the world to me, my relationship to Christ, has suddenly become front and center. I am not your typical Mormon. I am not a young Mormon man with a beautiful young Mormon wife and a large beautiful, happy Mormon family. Perhaps I grew up with that but that has not been the experience of my adult life. It’s just been me and Carol and Mike.

My Son Has Moved On

Mike is gone now. He is happy, or so we think, based on the things he writes on Facebook. He always was smarter than his dad and has a better job than his dad where he does things that are much more technically challenging that what I’ll ever do. I love Mike. I’m proud of him. I hope he finds a good woman to love and to make his life complete. He lives by the seaside up in Goleta.

Not Very Uplifting Writing

I don’t think I’ve ever written like this before. You can tell it took a somewhat ominous tone about halfway through. Sorry. I don’t mean to be a downer. I am simply disappointed and did not find what I was hoping for from General Conference, as wonderful as it was. There is something missing from my life, and that something is a sacred, close personal relationship with the Savior.

The Church Says I’m Deceived

And the one man who taught we could and should pursue such a relationship has been cast out by the church I love. I was never as excited as I was when I read PtHG. Then I had never been as disappointed and saddened as I was when I learned he had been excommunicated. Now I am the point in my life where I am tired of putting up with disappointment. It’s time to make changes.

ONLY Prophets Know the future

I won’t change my church. Where would I go? But I am disappointed in what they did to Denver. I have to ask if I’m crazy – one of the deceived ones we were warned about all though our youth to be wary of. “Don’t be like them. You’re special. You’re elite. You’re the chosen ones. Don’t let anyone lead you astray. Follow the prophets. They’re the ONLY ones who know the way.”

Farewell and God Bless you My Readers

God bless. I bid you adieu. Who said that in the Book of Mormon? Was it Nephi or Moroni? Oh, neither. It was Jacob. Ah, yes, wanderings in a strange land. That’s us. Cast out. How in the world can a man go without the sacrament or the temple? I guess your own home becomes your temple. You become your own bishop, therefore authorizing the sacrament yourself. Interesting.

Update: about 4pm on Wed 10-9-13: As noted at the beginning of the post, I have been intensely involved in a computer class that starts at 6am and runs until 2pm each day. When I say intense, I mean intense. This is a class on how to defend against evil people who want to steal, deny your rights as a paying customer or worse, to simply destroy or bankrupt you by wiping out your data.

Your wonderful comments

I have noted your 33 comments to this essay, and especially the now 441 comments to my previous essay.  I am deeply moved by your expressions of sympathy and compassion, especially from some who I don’t even know, in addition to the dozens of private emails inquiring after my health. I can tell you the second half of the essay above is not normal for me and ask you to excuse me.

The Influence of Drugs

It was written under the influence of hydrocodone, tramadol and clonazepam (now my spam filter is going to have to work overtime). I am so sorry if it a) made no sense, b) was not uplifting, which is always my goal and especially for c) stating that this blog may go away. As I just reread it in a more sound mind, it made me think I was going to go off myself or something. How horrible. I’m so sorry.

Can’t Run Away From Problems

I will include these last four paragraphs in comments below, then read and respond to your comments and state unequivocally I am not discontinuing this blog. There are two things I need to work out – 1) How I am going to deal with my ongoing health issue in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord and 2) How I am going to deal with my testimony issue regarding Denver Snuffer in a like manner.

The Appeal of Denver Snuffer


DenversReadersUpdate 9-11-13: Denver Snuffer has been excommunicated. You can read it on his blog.

A reader asked my opinion of a recent post about Denver Snuffer by Russell Stevenson over on Rational Faiths. Somehow I missed it even though I go there often. It’s entitled, “Housewife Danites: Denver Snuffer and the Suburban Underground” dated August 27, 2013. I had to laugh at the title and at much of the content. I like Russell’s style. So now we’re Facebook friends.

We’re going to see a lot more posts about Denver in the next few days and weeks. I suspect his disciplinary council on Sunday will not be attended by the most important person – Denver. I may be totally wrong, but the fact is we know he is starting his lecture tour on Tuesday. That’s a big clue he won’t be doing as the Stake President asked, so why show up? It’s a done deal, folks.

Update: I’ve been advised in the comments by one who knows that Denver will attend his council. As I wrote in the comment. I assume too much. To me, that’s a true sign of humility. Please forgive my arrogance for assuming otherwise. Also, remember, as the Stake President wrote in the summons, there are two options: disfellowshipment or excommunication.

Update2: There are those on the private email lists who have stated they will be fasting and praying for Denver. I feel to do the same. I was too quick to think that his case was open and closed – too quick to make him a martyr for the cause of free thought and dissent. Take what I write here with a grain of salt. Mine are only observations from afar. I do not know the man.

Russell writes about the Mormon underground which confused some of his readers. Not sure why the headline calls it the Suburban Underground, maybe someone else wrote that. Anyway, you’re going to have to wade through a lot of stuff to get to some of the meat of his comments about Denver, his appeal, why he matters and will continue to matter in at least the near future.

Confidence in the Face of Excommunication

Many people are fascinated by Denver Snuffer. I’m one of them. Yet I know I couldn’t do what he’s doing. God bless him and his family as he goes through this. Maybe it’s not a big deal because he’s expected it for so long. Perhaps the big day for Denver is not Sunday, but Tuesday. He might lose his church membership on Sunday but will teach things on Tuesday that are in his heart.

As I wrote in my last blog entry, if my Stake President said take down your blog or at least stop writing about Denver Snuffer, I would do as he asked. I expressed how much I need the temple and the Sacrament each week. Think of it. If he is excommunicated, Denver will no longer have access to those, nor the right, according to the church, to exercise his priesthood or to even wear the temple garments.

Since it is a commandment to pay tithing, if he desires to do so, it must be paid through another family member. There is the stigma in our LDS community of being shunned, even though it is a time when former members need the most love. There is the possible loss of income from former business associates who choose not to be associated with a man who has been excommunicated.

Something Different About Denver

You’ve got to ask yourself why he would be willing to give all this up. In his latest posts he hints at some of his conversations with his stake president, how he has tried to comply and yet how he cannot or will not give up the publishing contracts. Did you know that he donates all proceeds from the sale of his books to the church missionary fund? He does not promote them by the way.

There is something different about Denver Snuffer and everyone who writes about him both sees it and writes about it. We who have been following this saga over the past year or two since the release of Passing the Heavenly Gift see there are mainly two camps: those who love him and those who hate him [See my comment in response to Ray below]. Russell Stevenson writes in his post about The-Church-in-Waiting.

Denver referred to this idea a couple of posts ago on his blog, pointing out that the establishment of Zion is not and will not be brought about by an institution such as the LDS Church. That’s quite a claim, but actually quite tame compared to some of the things folks have been quoting in the many (138 now) comments on my post from the day Denver announced his summons to the world.

Something for Both Camps

I know this may seem like I’m wandering a little bit, but stick with me. It’s late, I’ve had a tough week and I’m tired. But I feel it’s important to get this posted tonight so folks will see it before this weekend. You can discount me because I’m a California Mormon but Russell Stevenson hit on something very important in his post: Denver Snuffer appeals to all kinds of Mormon folks.

I hate labels or groups, especially when it comes to people but we all do it. Take a look at what Russell is saying: He points out clearly that Denver appeals to conservative and liberal Mormons. He appeals to both men and women. He appeals to those who are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the church as well as those who are working to build the church up.

I get the impression Russell may have only recently been introduced to Denver’s writings, and had a lot of catching up to do in order to post his article with some credibility. But Stevenson does have credibility in Mormon history. Therefore I paid attention to his main point: Denver has appeal. That’s the bottom line. The man has charisma; he has confidence and exudes authority.

Wish I Could Be There Tuesday

Maybe that’s because he’s an attorney, or maybe it’s because of his claim to have met with the Savior. Not many people can or have made that claim. Denver has gone to great pains to make sure his picture is not posted in his books or on flyers advertising when he is going to speak. He has explained many times it’s because he wants to draw attention to his message, not himself.

I wish I could be there in Boise next week but I’ve got a certification class for work I can’t miss. I’m looking forward to listening to the talk I’ve already preordered from Doug Mendenhall. In many ways I envy my friends on the private discussion groups who will be there. I believe it will be an electrifying moment. Denver has a message he or someone who inspired him wants heard.

I can just see some of the opposing comments to this post now: “Yeah, we know that someone who inspired him is the devil.” Yep, some of the comments are that bad and worse, but for the most part, I’m grateful for my readers who are willingly and deliberately civil even though they disagree. I am fairly certain some from the SCMC have been adding their comments as well.

My conclusion on Denver’s Appeal

So what is that appeal of Denver Snuffer? He must be excruciatingly annoying to those who are able to poke holes in his arguments. They do a pretty good job too. Even some of his supporters have asked questions that make you wonder if he has contradicted himself or dramatically changed his beliefs or teachings between the time of his first book and his last one – PtHG.

The appeal is that he has not self-imploded like so many apostates have over the years. Note that I used the word apostate. Yes, if he is excommunicated, he can be considered an apostate from the LDS Church. In the minds of some people, that changes everything. To me, it does not make one bit of difference. I don’t see Denver as fighting against the Church but maybe I’m wrong.

Denver appeals to people who find something lacking in the LDS Church. I think Stevensen mailed it when he wrote about the idea of The Church-in-Waiting with one exception. We’re not looking to leave the church. We want the things the Lord has promised – to be taught by angels and to be invited to be a part of the Church of the Firstborn – obviously not an earthly institution.

Invitation to Dialog

Does any of this scare you? What are your thoughts? I love to read your comments. Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for sharing what you think. You help me grow. That’s why I blog. And Richard, did I answer your question? I told you I might make it public if it got too long. In short, I loved Russell’s post. It made me think. I didn’t find it offensive, I found it humorous.

Sharing the Gospel through Goodreads


TimMaloneGoodReadsI finally got around to updating my Goodreads account with a few of the book reviews I have written over the years. I have been amazed by the response of new readers to my blog. It makes me feel a little better after being dropped by ldsblogs.org. I know people have told me not to be concerned about that but it still hurts losing that extra 200-300 hits per day from their site.

Readers and Blog Hits

Why are hits important to bloggers? I suppose the answer is different for everyone. Is it selfish? Is it egotistical? Is it narcissistic? I hope not. In my case, I started blogging in 2007 before Elder Ballard asked the Saints to be more involved in the online dialogs that are taking place about the church with or without us. My inspiration was an early LDS solo blogger I followed for years.

Solo Versus Group Blogs

Jeff Lindsay was an early pioneer solo blogger I admired as compared to the multiple group blogs that existed for many years. Group LDS blogs are fine and get a lot of traffic but frankly, I found I did not agree with many of the viewpoints I considered “unorthodox,” in other words, worldly. I know that’s judgmental but I did not find myself uplifted by some of the discussion there.

I Read So I Can Write

I want people to be exposed to some of the things I have found uplifting to my faith. I find that it helps my own personal study. Indeed, that is the major reason why I blog – to motivate me to read the scriptures and study the gospel. It’s hard to write about something and not sound like a fool if you haven’t read anything on the subject. I read so I can write. I write about what I read.

Television versus Reading

I grew up without television so I have a difficult time sitting down in the evenings to watch TV to unwind. I would much rather grab a book. So I do. But because I want to be with Carol, I also grab my earplugs. Yes, it can be distracting but if I hold the book just right, I can block out the TV and focus on what I’m reading. I can’t get over the feeling that TV for me is wasting time.

Non-Fiction versus Fiction

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I usually don’t read fiction. If you look at the list of books I’ve entered so far on Goodreads, you’ll note that the majority are non-fiction and LDS-related. I am fascinated by books about the last days, the spirit world and church history. I also like to read controversial stuff you won’t find in Deseret Book as well as your orthodox LDS book fare.

Out of the Best Books

I am a firm believer in the commandment from the Lord, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” I find nothing wrong with counting my reading of LDS-related books as my gospel study time. There are lots of scriptures quoted.

Physical versus Digital Books

I think I have transferred copies of most of my book reviews over to GoodReads. That made me the #56 book reviewer this month earlier today. As I wrote in a previous post, it’s going to take me months to include every book in my library, which has recently passed the 2,000 mark. I’m from the old school. I like to hold a physical book in my hand to read. Thus I buy a lot of books.

Book Reviews Are Helpful

But just to be sure, I decided to make a list here of my reviews with links so I can compare to what I now have on Goodreads. It truly is gratifying to receive emails from individuals who have read my reviews and felt inspired to write and thank me. It’s nice to think that maybe something I wrote has helped someone else. I have so very few original thoughts. I am guided by books.

Books Reviewed on Latter-day Commentary

These are in no particular order. I just went backwards through my blog looking for book reviews and added them with links to the list here. By the way, reading a book doesn’t make you an expert on a subject, but it does help you talk intelligently or at least understand when others bring it up. Also, as I’m sure you know, in most cases, the person writing the book is supposed to be an expert, but that is not always true. We’re all still learning.

01. 6-4-13, Born of the Spirit, E. Richard Packham, 1979
02. 5-29-13, There is a way Back, Gerald Pearson, 1970
03. 5-4-13, The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
04. 5-3-13, You Have Been Here Before, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1986
05. 4-23-13, Beloved Bridegroom, Donna Nielsen, 1999
06. 4-17-13, Remembering the Covenant, vol 1, Denver Snuffer, 2013
07. 4-12-13, The Doctrine of Meeting Christ in This Life, Eric Chun, 2013
08. 3-18-13, From Darkness Into Light, Mel Fish, 1999
09. 3-24-13, The Second Comforter, Denver Snuffer, 2006
10. 2-2-13, Near Death Experiences, Part 2, containing:

  • The Gateway We Call Death, Russell M. Nelson, 1995
  • Embarrassed by the Light, Douglas Beardall, 1995
  • Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, 1994
  • NDE – Near Death Experiences, by Lee Nelson and Richard Nelson, 1994
  • Beyond Death’s Door, Robert L Top and Wendy C Top, 1993
  • Reborn in the Light, Cherie Sutherland PhD, 1992
  • Embraced by the Light, Betty J Eadie with Curtis Taylor,1992
  • Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse with Paul Perry, 1990
  • Beyond the Veil – Volume Two, Lee Nelson, 1989
  • Beyond the Veil – Volume One, Lee Nelson, 1988
  • The Light Beyond, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1988
  • The Journey Beyond Life , Michele R. Sorensen and David R. Willmore, 1988
  • The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
  • Return From Tomorrow, George G Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill, 1978
  • Spirit World Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1978
  • Life After Life, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1975
  • Temple Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1974
  • Life Everlasting, Duane S Crowther, 1967

11. 1-30-13, Near Death Experiences and Me, Part 1, Containing:

  • Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander, 2012
  • Visions of Glory as told to John Pontius, 2012
  • Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
  • To Heaven and Back, Mary C Neal MD, 2011
  • Heaven is for Real, Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, 2010
  • In His Arms by Denise Mendenhall, 2006
  • And Should We Die, Ron McMillan and Randy McMillan, 2003
  • Possibilities…Lessons From the Spirit, Doug Mendenhall, 2002
  • Visits From Beyond the Veil, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2002
  • There is no Death, Sarah LaNelle Menet, 2002
  • And There Were Angels Among Them, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2001
  • My Peace I Give Unto You, Robert Lake with Doug Mendenhall, 2001
  • The Message, Lance Richardson, 2000
  • Life After Death, Robert L Millet, 1999
  • I Stand All Amazed, Elane Durham, 1998
  • I Saw Heaven, Lawrence E. Tooley, 1997
  • Heavenly Answers for Earthly Challenges, Joyce H Brown, 1997
  • Beyond the Darkness, Angie Fenimore, 1995

12. 1-18-13, And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, Anthony Larson, 1981
13. 1-13-13, Visions of Glory, John Pontius, 2012
14. 9-10-12, Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
15. 8-14-12, The Book of Mormon: A Biography, Paul C. Gutjahr, 2012
16. 6-24-12, Teachings of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives, Anonymous, 2011
17. 5-5-12, Ten Parables, Denver Snuffer, 2008
18. 2-26-12, Passing the Heavenly Gift, Denver Snuffer, 2011
19. 3-28-11, How Americans View Mormonism, Gary Lawrence, 2008
20. 12-6-10, Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth, 1970
21. 5-5-10, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
22. 5-11-09, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman, 2007
23. 4-23-09, Shaken Faith Syndrome, Michael Ash, 2008
24. 3-16-09, In Sacred Loneliness, Todd Compton, 1997

Preparing for a Digital Afterlife


When you get old like me, you begin to think about your legacy. A good legacy is a life well remembered by loved ones and friends. In the old days, you wrote a book containing lots of good things that helped you, printed copies and handed them out to people you wanted to remember you. In today’s world, books are on their way out. Everything is in digital electronic format.

I’ve written a lot of good essays and placed them online for public viewing. I’d like to make sure they are still available long after I’m gone. That’s a difficult proposition unless you hire someone to make sure payments are made to all the right people involved in your digital identity. It’s not that I am vain; I just hope that someday I might have descendants that will treasure my words.

I wondered if it’s possible to set things up so that they will always be available without making payments. So I got to thinking about it and did a little research. Depending on how complex your online identity has become, you may not have as many concerns as I do. My blog is a bit more involved. Here are the components of what I have created and would like to keep going:

My Essays

I have original copies on my local hard drive, backed up onto a second hard drive, with copies occasionally burned onto CDs or DVDs and even copies on a couple of flash drives. Of course, I also have printed copies over the years but have neglected to put them all in a single notebook. That might be a good project for a rainy weekend when I have lots of time and ink.

I started posting my essays on Blogger in 2007, then switched to WordPress hosted on Dotster in 2009 and have just recently switched to WordPress.com after Dotster suffered an extended server failure. I also decided to go back and import all my WordPress essays back into Blogger. So now I have 290 essays in two online repositories, some with synced comments and many that are not.

The comments are an important part of my essays. I wrote many of my posts in a controversial way on purpose because I wanted the comments. Reading other’s viewpoints helps me to learn and grow. I am a very orthodox conservative Mormon and greatly appreciate those who do not see things the same way. I learn so much from those who share my religion but not my views.

My Domains

I own 3tcm.net and latterdaycommentary.com, both registered and hosted with Dotster. I can’t think of any way to keep a domain name going without payments after you’re dead and gone. The longest you can register a domain name right now is for ten years. So while it’s nice to have my own domain name today, a private domain name is not the best choice in the long run.

That’s why I decided to keep my essays in two major public blogging sites. In theory, as long as there is electricity, Google and the Internet, my blog will always be there on blogspot. I’m not so sure about WordPress.com but much prefer it as a blogging platform. Of course it’s a bit more complex with the MySQL and PHP admin requirements but offers so much more than Blogger.

Email Hosting

Besides my work email, I have my two private email accounts, tmalonemcse@gmail.com and tim@3tcm.net. I like the private domain address which I have had for over ten years. I thought I would use the Gmail account in signing up for stuff on the Internet so I didn’t have to wade through so much spam on my 3tcm account, but ended up forwarding most of it anyway.

Of course I won’t need email when I’m gone, but for now it’s a concern because so much of what we do these days is via email. I have enjoyed hundreds of extended dialogs from readers of my essays who wanted to know more but didn’t want to share that in the public comments. I was shocked when Dotster killed my email recently. I asked them to only cancel my website hosting.

DNS Hosting

For most people, this is more complicated than they want to know. Up until last week I used Dotster DNS, but when they proved to be unreliable with the loss of my websites and blog, I went with FreeDNS. That way I can control my MX record, which still points to Dotster where I host my email, while I forward my domains to wherever I decide to host them.

I will keep Doster as a registrar for now. In my opinion one is as good as any other. They all have their horror stories. When I first started ten years ago, Dotster was the best. It has declined over the years in both the number of domains registered and the number of sites hosted. But I will no longer use their hosting services – DNS or website. Their tech support was atrocious.

Website Hosting

And that brings me to the last piece of my puzzle. I can host my website on my home network and have done so in the past but decided I didn’t want to have to deal with the extra traffic and security concerns. When Dotster failed me I started looking for alternatives. I am impressed with Bluehost, HostGator and DreamHost, but am also looking at free sites.

I chose a free site called host-ed.net but so far am not impressed. They apparently require that you use their DNS servers to make your domain name resolve properly. I don’t want that. I want to use my own DNS server – FreeDNS. Host-ed is located in Germany. I think I would prefer a site that is in the United States. I also don’t want a site that forces me to run their advertising.

I miss having the control of WordPress plugins and third-party themes that WordPress.com doesn’t offer. I had my blog finely tuned with comment filters that kept me from having to wade through all the crap. I also had XML SEO plugins that brought my essays to the front page of Google searches. I can see the difference already. My traffic has decreased considerably lately.

Free Website Hosting

I’m an IT professional so I think I understand how to do a Google search, but I have yet to find a good objective review of free hosting websites. I have a friend who writes reviews of hosting services but he gets paid $50 every time someone signs up with a service he recommends. He has multiple domains, hosted with different hosts and gets paid for recommending them both.

I think I’m going to give Google Sites a go. It’s free and obviously with a well-known company. Some of the free sites I researched look like they may not be in business tomorrow. Besides, it looks like you can redirect your domain name to the site you create. If any of my readers are using Google Sites, I would be interested in knowing about your experience with the service.

I’m already on Google Plus so it seems like an easy integration with new essay announcements. I rely on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook and a few specialized blog aggregators to get the word out when I post something new. I am especially pleased with the results I have received over the years with ldsblogs.org, mormonblogs.org and nothingwavering.org. Thanks for the traffic.

Future of Latter-day Commentary

Sure hope I got my Feedburner feed changed or nobody is going to see this. I’m working on another essay about what various online LDS personalities have to say about how the modern LDS church members feel about evil and unclean spirits. I’ve got a lot of ideas for future posts that I think will be exciting, perhaps even “edgy,” but very interesting. Stayed tuned as I get the bugs worked out.

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