Why I Resigned From the LDS Church


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

A Few Preliminaries

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

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

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

A Few Questions Answered

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

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

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

Don’t Blame This on Denver Snuffer

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

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

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

Follow the Prophet – Mantra Gone Too Far

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

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

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

Study the Doctrine – But Not Too Much

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

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

Agency – It Only Goes So Far

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

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

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

Faulted for Believing Too Much

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

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

Those Last Fingers of the Testimony Glove

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

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

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

A Few Closing Thoughts

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

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

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

A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit


BrokenHeartMy Bishop is a wise man. He has the spirit of discernment. I know he and my Stake President asked me to not write publicly about our conversations on my blog, but things have changed. In our last interview, when I said I was ready to get my temple recommend, he said he didn’t believe me, that even though I try to be respectful, there is a spirit of apostasy in my writings.

He then placed me on informal probation, forbidding me to partake of the sacrament and to not exercise my priesthood in the church. Of course, he was only following the handbook. I think I’ve mentioned a church disciplinary council is mandatory in cases of apostasy. Based on what I shared on Tuesday, I think it’s pretty obvious I’ve made a decision now about where I stand.

I like one of the comments from a reader – Kevin - on Tuesday’s post. He asked, “In all of this Mormon-focused excitement, Tim, do you have a sense of what Denver’s talks and the 10th talk in particular might mean for the more than 99.99% of the human family that aren’t Mormon?” He makes a good point. What happened Tuesday went entirely unnoticed by most of the world.

A Message from a Prophet

I’ve previously declared Denver Snuffer to be a prophet. I know that’s a charged word in our church so it drew a lot of opposition. I stand by my proclamation, mainly because the Lord asked me to share it. Denver Snuffer delivered the message the Lord asked him to deliver. He acted as the Lord’s messenger and the Lord’s servant. I’ve heard the voice of the Lord declare it to me.

In spite of my proclamation, I don’t think Denver has ever stated he is a prophet. He has continually asked us to focus on Christ. While we may listen to prophets, we follow Christ. Something obviously changed Tuesday, because he said, the Lord told him, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee.” He also mentioned another visit with Christ on May 1st, 2014.

While my wife was horrified at what she was hearing at Tuesday’s lecture, I was delighted. I have listened to the recording a couple of times now. Along with many of you, I am anxiously awaiting the release of the transcript. Even though I was baptized as a child, I have made up my mind I want to receive the ordinance of baptism as an adult. I just need someone to baptize me.

An Offering unto the Lord

When I was a child, I’m certain I didn’t meet the requirements for baptism as outlined in D&C 20:37 of coming forward with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. At age eight I didn’t have the maturity to understand this. Now that I am older I can testify I have experienced a broken heart. Some people may not think my spirit is contrite, but contrition is proven by acts of submission.

My Bishop and I talked about the importance of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I agreed with him in principle but made certain to state my position that these must be offered to the Lord and not to any man, no matter who he is or what position he holds. It is an act of submission to obey the commandment to repent and be baptized. That submission is a freewill offering to the Lord.

In other words, the idea of being submissive or deferential to a man, no matter who he is, when it comes to matters of salvation, is an abomination to the Lord. It is idol worship. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” includes men who would stand in the place of God, be they a prophet, an apostle, a general authority, stake president, bishop or any church leader, teacher or counselor.

Church Does Not Control Priesthood

I received the priesthood from my father. The priesthood is independent of the church. It existed before the church was organized. A man is not dependent upon any organization to receive it. It came unto the earth in these latter days through John the Baptist. Unlike the higher priesthood, the Aaronic Priesthood can be passed down from man to man. The church doesn’t control it.

Therefore, I can seek out any man who has the Aaronic priesthood, and, following the pattern of praying first to receive power, he can then baptize me. The church has nothing to say about this. It has nothing to do with the church. The church cannot control the exercise of the priesthood in a private ordinance. Baptism is between me and the Lord, not between me and the LDS Church.

The promise of the Lord in 3 Nephi 9:20 is that if we offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit to the Lord, he will baptize us with fire and with the Holy Ghost. He said nothing about the laying on of hands in this verse. In my youth I went through a period of deep repentance, striving to cast off the effects of my sins. I am certain I was born again that evening, but was I baptized with fire?

An Abomination before the Lord

I’ve been thinking about the imposed discipline of being forbidden to partake of the Sacrament. I know the Lord commanded we shall not allow any one knowingly to partake of the sacrament unworthily (3 Ne 18:28-29), which caused me to ponder the meaning of worthiness. I cannot bring myself to believe my questioning and writing about the church has made me unworthy.

When I sat as a counselor in various Bishoprics over the years, I always took the opportunity to suggest to the bishop, when asked for ideas on how we could help penitent souls, that he would consider allowing them to take the sacrament, perhaps sooner than they may have “deserved” it by their actions. After all, who among us really ever “deserves” to partake of the sacrament?

Unless you know someone is engaging in fornication or adultery, forbidding someone to partake of the sacrament is anti-Christ. It is an abomination before the Lord. Forbidding to partake of the sacrament as a means to pressure someone to change their way of thinking is detestable. It is an abuse of power. It is an attempt at exercising control and compulsion by virtue of dominion.

More Than One Prophet on the Earth

When I turned in my temple recommend it was because I was struggling with the “affiliation” question. After I resolved that and felt ready to renew my recommend, the Bishop shocked me by his statement I don’t sustain the prophet as the only man authorized to exercise all the keys of the priesthood. I said I accept the prophet as the leader of the LDS church with the right to direct it.

I tried to explain it with this example: If Thomas S. Monson were to walk into any LDS Church meeting, he could do whatever he wanted. He could make any change he wanted to make. He could change the meeting to whatever format he wanted. He could ask anyone to accept a call, to teach a class, to sing a song, to pray, or whatever he felt inspired to have them do in the meeting.

Apparently that wasn’t a good enough answer. He leaned forward and said, “And…?” I accept Thomas S. Monson as the leader of the LDS Church. Can’t we have more than one prophet at a time? I believe Denver Snuffer is also a prophet, but not the leader of the LDS Church. There are many examples in the scriptures of having more than one prophet on the earth at the same time.

LDS Church No Longer Led by Priesthood

Well, it’s all a moot case now. The Church was careless with Denver Snuffer. There was no sin in his life warranting church discipline. He was morally worthy. His excommunication was an abuse of authority. As soon as the decision was made, the Lord terminated the priesthood authority of every leader involved in that decision. This is easily demonstrated in D&C 121:37.

Denver appealed to the First Presidency, outlining the involvement of the Twelve and the Seventy. The appeal gave notice to them all. The appeal was summarily denied. Last General Conference, the entire First Presidency, Twelve, Seventy, all other general authorities and auxiliaries voted to sustain those who abused their authority in casting him out of the church.

At that moment, the Lord ended all rights of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to claim it is led by the priesthood. They have not practiced what He requires. The Lord brought about His purposes. This has been in His heart all along. He chose to use Denver to accomplish it. None of this was Denver’s doing. The Lord’s strange act was not planned by Denver.

Organizing into Local Communities

Denver said he did not understand this until the Lord made it known unto him on the evening of May 1st, 2014. The Lord has done this. He is the author of this. The Lord had wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power and the glory from the LDS Church leaders. D&C 84:27-28 explains how John the Baptist was raised up to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews. It applies to Denver.

The Jews did not notice what the Lord had done through John the Baptist. In like manner, God’s house is a house of order. He sets things up according to his pattern and then tears them down in the same way. It is not God’s purpose to abandon the restoration. It is His purpose to preserve the restoration, which at this moment is in terrible jeopardy. The restoration itself must be rescued.

This is why I want to be baptized. I want to show the Lord I accept what He has done through his servant and messenger. Denver is not starting a new church. We are simply being invited to take back the restoration into communities as it was intended. We are organizing though the Internet, finding like-minded individuals who believe and want to be baptized as we read in 3 Nephi 11.

Tithing is Intended to Help the Poor

Since I no longer have a temple recommend, I see no need to pay my tithing to the LDS Church. However, since it is a commandment to pay tithing, I am seeking a community where I can help the poor with my tithing. 100% of my tithing will be used to help the poor. It will not go to pay the salaries of any church employee or leader, to build malls or to maintain any church building.

We do not need church buildings to meet in small groups or communities. We can and will meet in homes, in parks, at the beach, in the mountains or wherever we choose. Because we have the priesthood we can administer the sacrament and baptize. This is not a new church. It is simply practicing our religion the way the Lord intended it. The Internet makes it easy to organize.

There will be no hierarchy, no curriculum other than the scriptures and no formal program that must be rigidly followed in a set, three-hour block. We will not go over the same lessons every four years, drinking milk ad infinitum, but will minister to the needs of each other according to our desires to learn and the gifts of the spirit. And we can sing songs from any source we choose.

No Poor Among People of Zion

Above all, we will help each other come onto Christ. We will teach what he requires to open the heavens, to receive angels, to commune with the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, and to be ministered unto directly by the Savior, something I almost never hear about in the LDS Church. There will be no poor among us. The whole purpose is to be a people worthy of Zion.

I am already aware of a half dozen small groups, some that have been organized for months. I know of baptisms taking place with rejoicing because of the receipt of the spirit in abundance. There are those who have been successful in managing the tithing funds in such a way as to be able to remove a single mother and her children from welfare. This is truly the gospel in action.

Sadly, because I am all alone here in the Central California Coast in my acceptance of what the Lord has done through Denver Snuffer, I must travel to groups organizing in more populated areas or wait until more people in this area catch the vision of what the Lord has done. Equally sad is the fact that, for wanting to live my religion, the LDS Church will no doubt cast me out.

A Few Notes from the Mesa Lecture


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

Largest Audience of the Ten Lectures

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

The Lord has Wrested the Kingdom

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

Amen to the Priesthood of that Man

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

First Presidency Lost Their Authority

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

Church Control of Local Leaders

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

I Will Bless Them that Bless Thee

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

Denver is Not Starting a New Church

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

Seven Women to Authorize One Man

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

Use Tithing to help the Poor and Needy

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

The Right Way to Conduct Worship Services

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

False Churches with False Teachers

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

They Seek deep to Hide Their Counsels

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

You Do Not Need Buildings to Meet

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

Forbidding to Take Sacrament is Anti-Christ

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

Defining the True and Living Church

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

Added to the Doctrine of Christ

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

Significance of April 2014 Conference

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

Take Action – Be Baptized Correctly

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

A Witness of the Voice of the Lord

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

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

Preparing for the Final Lecture – Part Three


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opening Remarks in St. George:

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

Closing Paragraphs in St. George:

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

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

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

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

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

Final Paragraph from St. George:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phoenix – Conclusion: 9-9-14

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

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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

2012 Sunstone lecture: Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom

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

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

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

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

The Temple talk, First Three Words (Jan 2010)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered (2011)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing For the Final Lecture – Part Two


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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Centerville – Covenants: 10-6-13

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

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

Opening Remarks at Centerville:

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

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

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

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

Closing Remarks in Centerville:

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

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

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

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

Orem – Priesthood: 11-2-13

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

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

Opening Remarks in Orem:

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

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

Closing Remarks in Orem:

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

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

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

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

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

Grand Junction – Zion: 4-12-14

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

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

An early paragraph from Grand Junction:

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

Closing paragraphs from Grand Junction:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opening Paragraphs from Ephraim:

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

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

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

A few closing paragraphs from Ephraim:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the opening paragraphs from Las Vegas:

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

A couple of closing paragraphs from Las Vegas:

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

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

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

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

Preparing For the Final Lecture – Part One


FortyYearsInMormonismI am in Mesa Arizona as I write this. Carol and I are here for the last lecture of the “Forty Years in Mormonism” series, which will be delivered on Tuesday. As Denver wrote on July 31st, “The final talk in Phoenix will mean more if you have read or listened to the first nine talks. All ten are one talk, delivered in installments. The conclusion will presume the audience is already acquainted with what went before.” He also noted his Sunstone lecture would be helpful to read.

With that spirit in mind, I went back and re-read or listened to each of the previous lectures over the past few weeks. I thought maybe a few summary notes would be helpful to present here as my own way of feeling prepared for what we will hear on Tuesday morning. I’ll include a few opening and closing paragraphs in hopes of enticing you to read each of the lectures again if you haven’t already. Like the Lectures on Faith they are worth reviewing until we understand them.

You can read copies of the talks on Scribd. I have PDF copies of the talks that I have printed, studied and pondered. Each talk is also available on CD from Doug Mendenhall at Publishing Hope. I realize it’s a little late and most of you have either attended the lectures or already studied them. Like you, I am wondering what will be presented tomorrow. I’ll include links to the lectures from a couple of sites that will allow you to read them in PDF format.

This is part one of three. You can read the other parts in the links below:

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

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

Boise – Be of Good Cheer: 9-10-13

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/168908635/Boise-Transcript-Be-of-Good-Cheer-Be-of-Good-Courage

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_1-Boise-Be-of-Good-Cheer.pdf

Opening Remarks from Boise:

“I know of no more cheerful being in the universe than Christ. When he says: “Be of good cheer,” we ought to all accept that as our own mantra. There is nothing that any of us will ever go through that he hasn’t gone through, with a considerable greater degree of difficulty. He lived with a higher ‘specific gravity’ than any of us have ever had to fight against. And he won for each of us a prize that is potentially eternal. It will be eternal one, way or the other. But if you take full measure of what he offers it will be delightfully eternal.

“Cowardice is largely predicated upon fear. Don’t be cowardly. Don’t be fearful. Fear is the opposite of faith. For goodness sake, you’re already in the battle! You’re already going to be overtaken. The fact of the matter is no one gets out of here alive. Live this life nobly, fearlessly. When you take the wounds that come your way make sure that they come to your front! Don’t let them shoot you in the back. Go about your life boldly, nobly, valiantly. Because it is only through valiance in the testimony of Jesus Christ that you can hope to secure anything. Not valiance in your fidelity to anything other than Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is that faith must be based in Him, and in Him alone. We’ll get to that in Idaho Falls. Tonight I want to introduce some ideas that are essential to salvation coming through the prophet Joseph Smith, which we really need to become reacquainted with.”

Closing remarks from Boise:

“It’s been 40 years. This is going to be a year in which I put on display my gratitude for the opportunity afforded to me to be baptized for the remission of sins. And it will allow me to testify about those things which I know to be true. And to speak about the work remaining undone devolving upon you to accomplish. This restoration merely got its toe in the door in the day of Joseph Smith. And hardly even that. The prophecies and the promises and the time and the opportunity are upon us.

“The question is, will this generation be just as careless, just as indifferent, as the one when the last, real prophet’s voice was heard among us? When Joseph Smith could tell you, ‘I know He lives because I’ve seen Him.’ When Joseph Smith could say, ‘God commanded me that I should bear record of Him because I have seen Him.’ It has been too long, too long, between that moment and today. And it’s time now we stop running away from the conflict. It’s time for us to be valiant once again. Do not be fearful. Cowardice and fear are the opposite of faith.

“If Joseph Smith in the ruins of 1838, can write the testimony that we find in the history of Joseph Smith as an act of audacious courage and faith and confidence in the work of God that he was pursuing, despite the ruin that he saw the church existed in at that moment; if Joseph could do that, why can’t you have faith?

“I don’t care what a tattered ruin that you see around you today. Zion can come. We’re still a few sessions away from encountering important parts of that religion Joseph was attempting to restore which are really most interesting. But I’m telling you that if you stay with this over the course of the next year you are going to realize just how much of the restoration is left undone.

“There is nothing more delightful, there is nothing more delicious, there is nothing more exciting than the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. … I’m simply going to talk. But I will tell you that I know what I’m talking about. If you will ask of God and listen to the Spirit you will be able to determine whether I speak His words. I don’t think it matters if I could reveal to you all things. If you won’t believe the things I can tell you, you certainly won’t believe things I’m not telling you.

But I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t believe me. I really wouldn’t. It is so hard to be believing. This world is so acidic and this environment is so toxic. It’s very hard to believe. I think that’s one of the reasons why Christ’s account said it is a greater righteousness to believe than it is to know and to say. I bear testimony to you that Jesus Christ lives, He matters. I don’t. He can save you. I can’t. I can report on the glory of this Lord of ours but only He can dispense it. Of that I bear testimony intending to be held to account for the testimony I bear.

Idaho Falls – Lectures on Faith: 9-22-13

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/175606137/Idaho-Falls-Transcript-The-Lectures-on-Faith

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_2-Idaho-Falls-Lectures-on-Faith.pdf

Opening Remarks from Idaho Falls:

“A friend reminded me of something this week. I coined a term, he suggested the idea. It’s important that you don’t think that before you wind up in the presence of the Lord you have the responsibility of making yourself absolutely spic and span. In terms of connecting with the Lord, it is essentially a “come as you are party.” You are never going to be able to do the heavy lifting required to be clean in his presence. He does that, you don’t. He extends the invitation, you accept it. It’s a come as you are party.

“There are two parables that the Lord told, and I want to put them together to help illustrate the point. One is in Matthew chapter 22. It’s a parable about a wedding feast. The Lord in that parable talks about how the folks who were invited wouldn’t show up. Because the folks who were invited wouldn’t show up, in invitation was extended to essentially whoever was out on the streets. The folks who were out on the streets were brought in. Let’s begin at verse 8 of chapter 22, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.” He is telling a story, largely about a condition that persists whenever you find a functioning religious organization. Institutions have a way of having their own cares.

“Joseph Smith was a disastrous businessman. He created financial debacle after financial debacle. The notorious one was the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-banking Association. Anti, because they couldn’t get the bank charter. If you file for bankruptcy in the state of Utah, one of the things that one of the local bankruptcy judges has done at the discharge hearings, in order to help people feel better about themselves, is to remind people that at the time of his death Joseph Smith had a pending petition in bankruptcy. That is supposed to salve the conscience of those who find themselves in that extremity.

“The fact is Joseph was not a particularly good businessman because he didn’t care for business. He wound up giving away his inventory to needy folks, rather than trying to profit off the needs of the Saints. There was some exasperation about that in his family, among his peers, and among LDS historians. Well, we fixed that. We have managing the church, and attending to the financial interests of the kingdom (as we call it now), those that are more than qualified financially. I suspect a profligate like Joseph Smith would be unsuitable for church management today.”

Closing Remarks from Idaho Falls:

I don’t know if it’s important that anyone from Idaho Falls comes here. I don’t know if it’s important if anybody from Idaho Falls hears one word. But I do know that a testimony needs to be spoken on this ground, in this place. I know that everyone will be accountable for that. Not just those who happen to stumble upon this. I know that the Lord knows a great deal more than do I, and that very often I only figure out later what He has had in mind all along. God is moving systematically. He is taking the measure of the Latter-day Saints. His hand is about to move again in the affairs of men. We have a window. This is your dispensation. You are accountable.

Those prophecies spoken to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni in his room aren’t going to fulfill themselves. There has to be someone who has faith. There has to be someone who rises up. And when he set His hand and He invites you to join in, He wants you to know Him. When He sets that in motion, then you need to respond. Not to me, not to any man. You need to respond to Him. This is His work. He and only He will organize it. He and only He will roll it forth. But as one of the verses that we read tonight recited, there has to be a people prepared. And that requires that faith return to the earth again.

And if what has happened with The Lectures on Faith in 1921, prevented people from acquiring faith, because they misapprehend the character and nature and attributes of God from that date until today, then it’s time for you to shake that off. Rise up and lay hold upon faith again. Joseph saw the Father and the Son, he testified about them, and he described them. I’ve seen the Father and I’ve seen the Son, and they both have spoken with me. The only reason I mentioned that is to give you confidence that it can happen. It should happen to you. You should be talking to them. They can tell you what you need to know.

Do not be at all surprised if the subject about which you need to converse with the Lord consists almost entirely of a discussion about the scriptures. Do not be surprised if an angel comes to minister to you and the topic upon which the angel would like to converse involves the scriptures. Do not be surprised if the Lord authorizes someone to deliver a message and the message consists of expounding the scriptures.

On the road to Emmaus, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, what Christ did was open up to them how all things testified of Him. What all things testified of what is currently underway. Make no mistake about it, it is getting underway. I don’t care where you look. I don’t care what society you look at. I don’t care what economy you observe, what culture you observe. The earth and all of the people on her are waxing old like a garment. And do you know what they do with garments that are old? They are burned.

The way to preserve yourself consists in having faith in God. And the conditions upon which faith in God are obtained are exactly the same for you as they were for Moses, and Abraham, and all of those who have ever had faith. Joseph Smith is the latest, great example of that.

Well, it would be incomplete, and I would be remiss if I didn’t close in the name of Jesus Christ. I intend always to be accountable to Christ for the words that I deliver. I don’t set the agenda. I don’t choose the topic. I do what I’m asked to do. I say what I’ve been told to say. I hope you understand how little I matter and how much your relationship to Christ and the Father do matter. I hope you understand that His words should be clear and distinct when you hear them spoken. And you should be able to judge and you should be able to judge the matter correctly. I testify of Him because I have seen Him. I have faith in Him because I know that every word He has spoken has been vindicated in His Gospel. And the only reason we are unable to lay hold upon those blessings is because we simply do not have the faith required to do so.

Hence, at the beginning of this process this year it is necessary to spend a night in Idaho Falls on the subject of faith, using The Lectures on Faith, which I regard as binding Scripture. These were vouched for by the Prophet Joseph Smith. These are every bit as, if not more important than the revelations that follow in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. We can’t spend all the time necessary, and you can’t endure those chairs another five minutes, but pick up The Lectures on Faith. They don’t take long to read. Forget all those footnotes that have been interlineated by folks after 1921. Forget all the articles that are there in order to prop up a different definition of what the Holy Ghost is. Forget about all the drivel. In fact, go photocopy the edition that you find in the Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Transcriptions, volume 2 in 1835 and read it there. It is an astonishingly, wonderful, light filled document. As Bruce R. McConkie said, “It is scripture, it is true. “

Logan – Repentance: 9-29-13

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/177434324/Logan-Transcript-Repentance

Link: http://russellyanderson.com/DenverSnuffer/Lecture_3-Logan-Repentance.pdf

Opening Remarks from Logan Lecture:

When I became a Latter-day Saint, one of the things that typified, in those days, the Latter-day Saint, was the libraries every member had in their homes. In Exeter, which is another town in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire ward boundaries, there was an elderly woman named Sister Long. She ran, what was back then (we don’t have them anymore), The Seventies Bookstore. These were a chain of bookstores where you could purchase LDS materials. Sister Long was the proprietor of the bookstore, which consisted of her covered back porch where her inventory of LDS books was displayed. Since she was an avid reader, Sister Long read her inventory. So whenever you bought from her, you were actually buying a book she had already read, but fortunately had not marked up.

It was my understanding back then that if you were going to be a Latter-day Saint, you needed to acquaint yourself with all kinds of doctrinal and historical information about the faith. As a consequence of that, I began by reading everything I could get my hands on. In those days LeGrand Richards was still alive. The missionary discussions were largely based upon A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. LeGrand Richards had been the Presiding Bishop of the Church, and was then called into the Quorum of the Twelve. His book, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder was one of the first things I read to better acquaint myself with the doctrine the missionaries had been teaching.

I also read all of those early biographies about Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball, and John Taylor. The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, which I bought from Sister Long, got entirely used up. I recently had to buy a new one because the one I bought from Sister Long just fell apart. Now I still have it, but if you aren’t careful when you open it, it just falls to pieces in your hands. Mormons were by definition in those days, studious, careful, well read, well considered, doctrinally prepared folks who would defend the faith. Therefore, if you were going to run with them, you needed to have a religious education of your own. As a consequence of that, I began at that early stage to acquire a library, because you were not a legitimate believing Latter-day Saint without one back then.

Closing Remarks From Logan lecture:

Let me end by affirming that I have loved, loved every minute, from the moment I found the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have loved it above all else. I have learned more in the last 90 days – information flows geometrically, light grows constantly.

Nephi pondered about the things that he had seen and heard. He constantly meditated upon that, and wrote some 40 years after the fact. The revelations that Joseph Smith received, including that one that he received in the sacred grove was not all to be comprehended in the first pass through.

The things of God are of deep import. Why did God reveal what He revealed when He revealed it? Why did He reveal it in the order in which He revealed it? What was He building upon? Why in the first revelation did He go there? Why in the next did He go to that point?

“If you think Joseph’s mind wasn’t caught up in the things that he had seen and heard, just as yours should be about the things that you’ve seen and heard, then you need to think again, because the things of God are of deep import, and time and care and careful and solemn and ponderous thoughts are the only way in which you, or anyone can find them out. That applies especially to you because you control you.

“You determine how much light and truth you will receive. And it is predicated upon a law that was ordained before the foundation of the world. Anyone of you can obey it. God is no respecter of persons, and you are authorized to exercise faith in Him unto salvation. You are authorized to exercise faith in Him, until you know Him. You are authorized to see His face and know that He is; every one of you.

“If you intend to survive His return, you are going to have to be able to bear His presence. Hence, the need to talk about this material in the agenda that we are on in these series of talks. We introduced it. We talked about faith, we talked about repentance and we are going to talk about covenants next.

“I know not everybody comes to all of these. I don’t expect people to. I don’t even expect you to get the disks and listen to them. I’m trying to transcribe them and fill in with the things that I’m thinking about even if I do not give you the scriptures. They will be up on the Internet and available for you to read.

“I am introducing things. I am trying to provoke you to study. I am trying to provoke you to look into this stuff. But I cannot babysit you, and shouldn’t. I would only make you weak if I attempt to do that. You need to take this as the beginning point and go on and discover for yourself, how great things the Lord intends to do. One of the neglected volumes of scripture you need to spend some time with is The Lectures on Faith. They remain Scripture.

“I told you how the Lord vouched for Joseph Smith. The Lord vouches for Joseph Smith again. If nobody will say it, I will declare to you. If you ignore Joseph words, you ignore them at your peril. If you allow any man, or men, if you allow any committee, any institution, or organization to claim that they have the right to alter, neglect, or discard the words of revelation given by God through the Prophet Joseph Smith, they will damn you if you listen to them. And they will surely be damned for doing so. No one has the right to do that.

“God’s work is the same yesterday, today and forever. Those who would like to throw you about by every wind of doctrine are teaching you merely the commandments of men, as if they were doctrine and they aren’t! When God spoke through Joseph and we forget him, then we have no right to expect collectively, that He’s going to move anything forward for us. The first order of repentance is to remember what God gave to us through Joseph. You do that, and then you find God is perfectly willing to pick it up and move it forward. You don’t do that, and God will simply wait for you to get around to discharge the duty that is devolving upon you.

“God vouched for Joseph Smith. God spoke through him. I don’t have the right to move one of his words. But I do have the right to listen to him, to follow what came through him, and to lay hold upon the blessings that were promised as a consequence of remembering him. To remember the words of Joseph is to remember your Lord. Remember Him. And do not let anyone tell you that they hold some authority that allows them to neglect, change, discard, veto, forget, or contradict what God told you through the voice of the Prophet.

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

Coming Unto Christ Through Reading


ScriptureStudyLDSOne of the books we were allowed to bring with us on our missions back in the 70’s was Jesus the Christ by Elder Talmage. I remember reading it as part of our personal study time. The little white missionary handbook that laid out our daily schedule included one hour of personal study time but we often found time during lunch or just before we retired around 10:30 each evening.

Even with reading the book several hours each day, it took at least a month to get through it. I had to look up so many of the words that were new to me at that age. We were allowed to read The Articles of Faith and The Great Apostasy, both by Talmage, also A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards and D&C Commentary by Hyrum M Smith and Janne M Sjodahl.

Different Apostle for a Different Generation

Words are important. They convey a world of meaning. The little book that got me through Jesus The Christ was called Understanding Talmage, 1973 from Deseret Book – forty pages of words not found in the every-day language of middle-class 19-year old LDS missionaries. Talmage was on one level and I was way down on a much lower level when it came to his massive vocabulary.

Later in my life I read the Messiah series from Bruce R. McConkie. I found the books easier to read, mainly because I was older, had a college education behind me and frankly, I don’t think McConkie used quite so many erudite words. I felt a greater sense of majesty about the Savior as I read McConkie’s books, quite different from the rather scholarly approach I got from Talmage.

Except Some Man Should Guide Me

It was not until I read The Second Comforter and Come, Let Us Adore Him by Denver Snuffer that I began to feel a connection with the Savior as someone with whom I could relate. The Lord became a friend, a brother and a mentor. Something in Denver Snuffer’s books touched me in a way Talmage and McConkie could not. I’d like to investigate that difference in this short post.

I’ve read and heard many people say, “You shouldn’t need to have someone else interpret the scriptures for you. You should be able to get everything you need out of the scriptures.” Sorry, that doesn’t work for me. I’ve noted before, I feel like the Eunuch reading from Isaiah asked by Philip if he understood what he was reading. “How can I, except some man should guide me?”

Those Who Know Don’t Talk About It

I’m not saying Talmage or McConkie have not met the Lord. Goodness knows we adore Elder McConkie’s last conference talk as being a witness of that fact. On the other hand, neither of them ever came out and said, “I first met the Lord on such and such a date. He ministered to me. We embraced. I felt the wound in his side and touched the nail marks in his hands and his feet.”

There are many who continue to respond the same way to every essay I write which includes a reference to Denver Snuffer. “You can tell Denver Snuffer is a liar because God tells men not to talk about the experience when they come into the presence of Christ.” We have discussed this myth ad infinitum on this blog starting with my first post on Snuffer back in February of 2012.

Bear Witness of the Testimony of Jesus

I am a witness that God asks us to share sacred experiences as appropriate. I have been prompted by the Lord many times to relate some experience in conversing with the Lord through the veil. On the other hand, some things should never be shared, nor can they be shared because words fail when trying to relate such experiences. They are intended only to prepare us for the next life.

Perhaps I relate better to Snuffer because I’m older now. Denver and I are similar in age. He is an attorney, while I am employed as a computer professional. His vocabulary does not seem to overwhelm me. I enjoy his writing style, even though I have complained in the past about his tendency toward verbosity and replication. That skill is actually the sign of a good teacher.

Seek Balance Through Service to Others

My mother was a professional educator. My love of learning and of books comes from her. My personal library contains numerous books inherited from my mother. My sister, a librarian, has an equal number. I seem to spend all my spare time reading. Physical limitations kept me from participating in sports and kept me from following the military career exampled by my father.

The argument can and should be made about coming unto Christ through service. I fully agree, but there is nothing that can replace studying about a subject or individual to obtain a foundation upon which to build. Thus, coming unto Christ by reading is and has been my focus. I spend far more time reading than I do in service. I know that’s imbalanced, but it’s the way it worked out.

Reading and Learning Motivates Action

I’ve reviewed the Second Comforter in several previous posts. I tried to relate the points that I found enlightening. I was amazed to find multiple readers wanted to argue with me about the source. Their contention was that nothing from Denver Snuffer could be trusted, especially since the man had been cast off from the LDS Church for apostasy. That seems a little close-minded.

The book was published in 2006. Since then Denver has come out with numerous other books and multiple lectures, all focusing on the same subject of coming unto Christ. As far as I can tell his message has always been, “You can read about it all you want, but until you actually do what the Lord directs, you’ll never obtain the desired goal of entering into the presence of the Lord.”

A Book on How to Meet the Savior

I think that’s the difference I find in Snuffer’s books about the Savior as compared to Talmage, McConkie, or others who have written about the Messiah. Denver’s books invite us to action, and contain promises of results, to which he bears witness by personal examples. Church leaders today simply don’t come out and say, “I have seen him and so can you. Here’s how you do it.”

I suspect that’s the appeal of Denver Snuffer to so many like me who have long believed the promises of D&C 93:1, D&C 107:18-19 and D&C 88:68. I suppose that’s why hundreds flock to his lectures in spite of threats from local church leaders to “stay away from that apostate.” There are those who recognize not all truth comes exclusively through the LDS General Authorities.

Suffering in the Garden Came in Waves

I have written previously about my own witness of what I saw in the Garden of Gethsemane, but it was nothing compared to the witness borne by Denver in his book, Come, Let us Adore Him. I challenge anybody to read the chapter on Gethsemane with humility and then come away with anything but great adoration for the Lord and Savior of us all for what he suffered on that night.

Wave after wave of suffering, torment, grief and pain tore through his body. He healed himself using his own virtue because he was a God, even the Son of God. He suffered the pains of both those who caused the sorrow of others and those who were the victims. The greater suffering came in the second wave – that of the victims – who suffered anger, bitterness and resentments.

We Can Hear His Voice as we Read

How grateful I am to know we can have a direct and personal relationship with our Savior. He wants to talk to us, to commune with us and to dwell with us. I learned this in greater abundance through reading the words of a man now cast off by the LDS Church. Yes, I had read and knew this previously, but I didn’t internalize this until it was explained in words I could understand.

How can a man come to know the Master unless someone teaches him? How can someone teach of the Master unless they know him? There is so much out there written about the Savior. Those who have taken the Holy Ghost for their guide will recognize the Master’s voice, no matter what the source. His promises to come unto us, to dwell with us are real and can be literally fulfilled.

The Promises of the Lord to Us

One of the great promises of the Lord to us is that his work is not yet complete. What he did while upon the earth, teaching, preaching and then suffering for us, he called his preparations. For what was He preparing? He was putting into place the mechanism for us to fulfill our life’s work, which is to exercise faith in Him, to repent, and then to be baptized by water and by fire.

“You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” One of the most common topics of my private emails seems to center on the process of how one can receive the baptism of fire.

We Can Know and Hear the Voice of the Lord

The second most common topic is how we can hear the voice of the Lord. The answer lies in the first question. Once you receive the Holy Ghost, you can speak with the tongue of angels. Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

The scriptures act as a Urim and Thummim or a conduit for the voice of the Lord to come unto us. The more familiar we are with the scriptures, the more familiar we are with the voice of the Lord. We learn to distinguish that voice, oftentimes delivered to us by angels and sometimes by the Lord directly, from all the other voices we hear. We can also speak by that same tongue.

Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy

Joseph Smith linked revelation from the Lord with our own salvation. Without it, we cannot be saved. “Salvation cannot come without revelation. It is vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy.” (DHC 3:389)

I thank God for the knowledge of Christ or the testimony of Jesus that has come into my life both through studying scripture and the words of those who know Christ today. My efforts to put into practice acts of kindness and service are directed by the ongoing voice of the Lord that comes to me through the Holy Ghost. We can know Christ. We can hear His voice. But we must study.

Learn by Study and by Faith

We must understand doctrine.  We must study the scriptures.  But more important than anything else, we must seek to gain further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord directly. In this post I have focused on the importance of studying. I have strong feelings about studying because in my rebellious youth, I felt I didn’t need to study. The Lord showed me otherwise.

But there is a better kind of knowledge, one that has greater eternal impact. As Joseph said, “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.” He also declared that “the best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.”

May we do both with faith and diligent effort. God will bless us for so doing.

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