Looking into the LDS Church from the Outside


WhyIResignedWhen I decided to stop writing in my blog on a regular basis last month, I felt a great burden had been removed. I felt free to think, ponder and pray about my course in life without asking if the Lord wanted me to share my thoughts on any particular subject. I kept my feelings and beliefs to myself and appreciated the idea that I’m just another sojourner on this earth travelling with you. I began to feel less stress, less pressure and fewer impressions or ideas on which to elaborate here.

In many ways I’m no different from you. We have a lot in common. I think we both believe there is purpose in life. We get excited about some things that happen to us as we move through each day and annoyed at others. From past experience I know my audience is vast and wide. Most of my readers are LDS or former LDS. Most are believers in God, a personal God who knows and loves us individually. I especially appreciate many readers have kept in touch with me privately.

Changes in Church Handbook

LDSChurchHandbooks1A lot has happened in the world over the past month that caused me to want to post some ideas as it relates to the last days. The Paris attacks and the change in the LDS handbook both had me wanting to share a few comments but I resisted the urge. I enjoyed a much needed break. Things even seemed to quiet down at work. I still manage the day-to-day operations of my department and move several projects along, but for the most part, I feel less stress in my daily schedule.

I think my health has improved. After spending a week in the hospital and losing fifteen pounds, I began to feel my energy pick up in a way I haven’t felt in several years. This blogging break seems to have been good for me. I moved the blog to WordPress.com, which is free, and off the very expensive site, Blue Host. I miss the plug-ins, and there are still a few missing photos to be restored but I am happy I was able to transfer most of the history and photos to this free format.

My Meeting with the Bishop

our-bishopI also discovered something very interesting about myself and my personal growth. In the last month I have listened to the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, The New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants and am just finishing Genesis. Instead of thinking and pondering on my 75-minute daily drive to and from work, I have been listening to the scriptures on lds.org. There’s something different about going through them that fast. Time seems to be compressed.

I also met with my bishop in the last month. I wanted to confirm two things – that I was welcome to attend and that I could sing in the ward and stake choirs, which I had missed very much over the past year. I came to a slow realization I had made a mistake in some of the posts I directed to my Bishop and Stake President last year. I might be LDS today if I had not written those posts. But what’s done is done. I’m now on the outside looking in and have been for over the past year.

Social Stigma of Being an Apostate

preserving-the-restoration1If you’re interested, I’d like to share with you a few thoughts over the next little while about the idea of becoming a member of the LDS Church again. I know this may be a real shock to some readers so let me explain. If you’ll recall, and as far as I can tell, Denver never once advocated we resign from the LDS Church. I may be wrong, and if so, feel free to point that out. I think I did that on my own, believing I could not be baptized and remain a member of the LDS Church.

“Why,” you may ask,” would you want to become a member of the LDS Church once again?” There are plenty of reasons, the primary of which is to be fair to Carol. She feels she was cheated out of something when I resigned. I did not ask her. I told her. That was a foolish mistake. I knew what her response would be had I asked and I was determined to do what I felt the Lord was asking me to do. Of course many said I was deceived, but I assure you I was not deceived.

Purpose of Life is to Gain Experience

brighamyoung.jpgI made my decision about several years of study and prayer. I like to compare what I did in leaving the LDS Church as similar to what Brigham Young did in joining the LDS Church. He was in no hurry and neither was I. He studied, attended meetings, read, prayed and participated with the saints – mainly with his own family – in the LDS worship practices. When I decided to be baptized I seem to recall reading in the Church Handbook that baptism is a sign of apostasy.

Note I was not baptized into any existing or new church. I chose to be baptized as a token or sign between me and the Lord that I believed he had sent a teacher in our day with a message the LDS Church – the Gentile Church – had fallen away or had apostatized from the original format and intended purpose for which it had been established. I was not baptized into the Church of Denver Snuffer. I am not a follower of Denver Snuffer. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the same.

Perhaps the Church Won’t Want Me

latemple_small.jpgBesides restoring to my wife what was taken from her without her consent, I believe I can do more good from within the LDS Church than I can from outside the Church. I miss the temple. Of course I recognize it will probably be years before the First Presidency decides I am worthy to have my temple blessings restored. Perhaps they will decide I can never have those blessings restored. After all, when I resigned, I did so fully acknowledging the severing of temple links.

I will be happy with simply being baptized again. You and I both know that once an individual dies, their family members do their temple work all the while reciting the phrase, “it will all work out in the end. God will make it right. If they are worthy, they will have the blessings of the temple for eternity. If not, they will receive what they have earned or are worthy of receiving.” I suspect most LDS folks, including many leaders, don’t know the mind of the Lord on this matter.

I Enjoy Attending the LDS Church

SLCSealingRoom.jpgUnlike many stories I read online and that have been shared with me in private emails, I have not had a bad experience in the LDS Church. I enjoyed my fifty-plus years as a member. I enjoyed my mission. I enjoyed going to the temple. I enjoyed serving in many callings over the years, especially the twenty-five years in various bishoprics and on the High Council. I love to teach the gospel and miss that. If baptized again, I doubt I would ever be given a call to teach or lead.

Incidentally, according to LDS doctrine, Carol lost nothing when I resigned. Just as children lose nothing when the sealing of their parents is cancelled, they still have the blessings of the sealing ordinance. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the LDS Church about the temple, what the ordinances represent and how they work. Probably the least understood concept, even among long-time High Priests who should know better, is the Holy Spirit of Promise in eternal marriage.

Lots of Questions to Work Out

baptism-saratoga-springsGo ahead and call me a fool if you like. I am aware of hundreds of people who were baptized as I was, who did not leave the LDS Church. They continue to serve in callings in the church and at the same time hold sacrament meetings at home and invite others to be baptized as a token they accept what the Lord has done and is doing in these last days. I have a lot of things I need to work out with the bishop before I can be baptized again, such as, “What is the Gentile Church?”

Did the Saints accomplish what the Lord asked of them in Nauvoo or were they cursed as the Lord said they would be because they did not complete the temple before Joseph’s death? Just what exactly is the higher priesthood and is it something that can be passed on from one man to another? Why do we have Joseph teaching ALL the prophets of the old testament after Moses received the higher priesthood directly from the Lord. Is that the ONLY way it is received?

Good People Who Are Disciples of Christ

carl_bloch_the_christWhy does the Church Handbook take precedence over the scriptures when most of the general body of the LDS Church has never seen it and certainly has never voted on it as binding upon them as a church? How in the world can the LDS Church punish the children of apostates when such action goes directly against the second article of faith? I have dozens of additional questions like these I am seeking to answer before I can answer the baptismal questions about LDS leaders.

I am in a unique position of being an outsider looking in at the Church after more than fifty years of being a members of that church. My views have changed considerably in the last year since I resigned. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of the people in the church. I feel most are still my friends. Most seem to be genuine in their love for me. I believe most are true followers of Jesus Christ and want to please Him. My concern is with those who declare what is doctrine.

Life is Unfair, But You Knew That

life-is-unfair1Why is there suffering? And why is life so unfair? Why do some have bigger burdens than others? Why do so many people live in poor war-torn countries?

One possibility is that the abused deserve their abuse—that perhaps they were an abuser in a previous life.  This kind of thinking, even if true, can enable abusers—“You totally deserve my abuse, who am I not to fulfill God’s will?”  This is the dark side of Hindusim–“we have a caste system because God wills it–we brahmins are on top because of our exceeding righteousness in the past life and you losers are living in squalor because you weren’t as righteous in the last life.”  Even modern prophets seers and/or revelators can fall victim to this kind of thinking:

“This privilege of obtaining a mortal body on this earth is seemingly so priceless that those in the spirit world, even though unfaithful or not valient, were undoubtedly permitted to take mortal bodies although under penalty of racial or physical or nationalistic limitations….”  Harold B. Lee

On the other hand, was Jesus abused because He was an abuser?  What about Abinadi, Paul, Peter, and Joseph?

There is another possible explanation why people endure horrible things in life:  Before the earth is created, God says, “I have to respect free will, and some jerk is going to be an abuser.  Who will volunteer to take this douche’s abuse?  Who will volunteer to starve in Africa? Under the volunteerism explanation, it really flips around the question of who the elect really is, and all of us might be found wanting.

[Never mind, we’re totally the elect, not those other guys who are suffering.]

Either explanation is possible, maybe some are abused as punishment and others volunteered for abuse.   We can’t judge.

I suggest a third possibility: some of the abused neither deserved it nor volunteered for it.  Life isn’t fair, and that might be part of the test–can we love and accept a God who set up a rigged game?

Look at the 9th parable in 10 parables. My interpretation of it is, basically, those that followed Lucifer in the premortal life are invited back into the kingdom. Many who were righteous were upset by this and walked out on God. The test is not what we think it is.

From the 9th_Parable:

After the days of the competition ended, a great feast was called. For the feast, the King invited not only those citizens who participated in the games, but also those who had fled the city rather than participate. Those who had remained loyal and participated in the games were troubled by this.

“Why are those who rejected your plan allowed to be among us?” they inquired.

“For a wise purpose,” said the King.

Many of those who participated resented the presence of those who had fled. Some who fled returned in anger, urging those who stayed to join them in their anger at the King. Some who did not do well were persuaded by the arguments of the returning dissidents.

The great feast turned into a great argument among the residents who stayed and those who had fled. Eventually the people divided themselves into two groups. In one, the King was beloved and his plan was held in esteem. In the other, the King was resented, or worse, hated. They found fault with the King, with his plan, and with the uproar caused among the citizens by the King’s great folly.

When the body was divided, the King addressed them all with these words, “I have been working for some time to determine who I can trust among our people and who I cannot trust. Using wise counsel I have adopted this great plan to decide the matter.

“I knew when the competition was devised it would divide the people. I knew, too, that some would flee rather than participate. I also knew if I invited back to a feast all of the citizens, both those who stayed and those who fled, that it would result in a great division. This was my purpose all along.

“We are faced with many challenges. Some are in forms which you do not understand. They will test all of us. I must know before we confront the coming challenges who I can trust to remain loyal in my kingdom. Today I know.

The game is rigged. On purpose. And not because God is incompetent. God wants to see who will not be upset if He rewards people unfairly.

11th-hour-workersMatthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

when-life-isnt-fairBut why? Why is the test about enduring unfairness rather than testing who will obey the commandments the most?

When we perceive that we are treated unfairly, we seek compensation to make up for our unfair treatment. We think it will be just if something is taken from the person who has more and given to the person who has less. Well, maybe we only think it is unjust if we are the person who has less. (When we have more, we pat ourselves on the back and assume that we totally earned it.) This motivation is at the heart of those who seek revenge for mistreatments, either real or perceived.

In the eternities, God offers us everything. He wants to share His glory and power with us. But what if that isn’t fair? Why should someone who didn’t do the same awesome righteous works as I did get the same reward? Why should a laborer who showed up at the 11th hour get the same pay as I did for working all day?

And more importantly, what can I do to stop this slacker from getting a reward he doesn’t deserve? Well, God did give me His power, right? So I can use that to make his eternal reward less than mine. Although it might be hard, since he also has God’s power, so if I break any of his stuff he can fix it. But I could probably find ways to make his eternal reward less rewarding. One way (maybe the only way) I could do him harm would be to tempt his children into doing wickedness.

At this point I have become a devil.

This might be why only the best of feelings (charity) can prevail between people if they will enter into a true order of prayer—prayer doesn’t become a true order just because the person praying repeats signs and tokens while wearing symbolic clothing. A true order of prayer means that a person has received the power to ask any blessing they want from God. People will only get this power if they have the best of feelings toward their neighbor (charity). People without the best of feelings might ask God to curse their neighbor as compensation for unfairness.

So life is unfair because God cannot save people who are upset by unfairness, or those who will not forgive their neighbor.

Here’s the 9th parable in it’s entirety:

OlympicCompetitionThere was a King who loved his people. He also loved the competition of games. He called his advisory council together and asked them how he might improve the health and vigor of his people. They considered the matter and decided upon a great plan.

The King called his city together and told them of a great competition he and his council had devised. “All the city would compete,” he announced. They would proceed in turns to go into the coliseum and compete on the field. All were welcome to watch before or after they participated, but all would have to compete. The competition would test the citizen’s loyalty, while also improving the lives of the citizens.

“I haven’t the strength to compete. I am old and past my day and cannot hope to win in competition with younger men,” said one.

The King responded, “Not all the competition will be of strength, some will be of intellect, some of patience, some of music. It will develop the skill of each individual from my kingdom and will improve every citizen.”

“I refuse,” said the one. He and those who agreed with him departed in anger.

The day arrived and the competition began. Men, women and children all entered in turns into the coliseum. Some sang, some threw spears, some lifted heavy weights, and some recited poetic works of beauty and wisdom. The people not competing at any given time would watch from the seats. They gained as much from watching as they did competing.

Many were reluctant or afraid entering the competition, but found when they competed their fears were unfounded. Some believed it would be fun to compete. However, upon entering the competition failed to do as they hoped, and regretted their poor efforts.

After the days of the competition ended, a great feast was called. For the feast, the King invited not only those citizens who participated in the games, but also those who had fled the city rather than participate. Those who had remained loyal and participated in the games were troubled by this.

“Why are those who rejected your plan allowed to be among us?” they inquired.

“For a wise purpose,” said the King.

Many of those who participated resented the presence of those who had fled. Some who fled returned in anger, urging those who stayed to join them in their anger at the King. Some who did not do well were persuaded by the arguments of the returning dissidents.

The great feast turned into a great argument among the residents who stayed and those who had fled. Eventually the people divided themselves into two groups. In one, the King was beloved and his plan was held in esteem. In the other, the King was resented, or worse, hated. They found fault with the King, with his plan, and with the uproar caused among the citizens by the King’s great folly.

When the body was divided, the King addressed them all with these words, “I have been working for some time to determine who I can trust among our people and who I cannot trust. Using wise counsel I have adopted this great plan to decide the matter.

“I knew when the competition was devised it would divide the people. I knew, too, that some would flee rather than participate. I also knew if I invited back to a feast all of the citizens, both those who stayed and those who fled, that it would result in a great division. This was my purpose all along.

“We are faced with many challenges. Some are in forms which you do not understand. They will test all of us. I must know before we confront the coming challenges who I can trust to remain loyal in my kingdom. Today I know.

“All those who have been loyal have been identified. They will remain in my kingdom. All those who have rejected my plan, or spoken against me in hatred, will be removed from my kingdom. Those who leave are free to follow their own course. However, they cannot be among my people any longer, for they have been tested and failed in their loyalty.”

It required a battle to remove those who were to be exiled. Many argued they had endured all the King had asked and only spoken ill of him when the disaffected exiles returned. They claimed it was unfair to have been put through this final test of loyalty after allowing the return of the exiles. They argued a feast that included those who refused the King’s request was unfair. It rewarded all alike; the loyal and the disloyal. They claimed their final disloyalty came only as a result of their original loyalty later proving to be of no value, since even the exiles came to the final feast.

Others complained that the King was mad. His whole course was destructive of a people who had once lived in harmony and peace. They claimed it was the King who should be thrown in exile; not the citizens who were discomforted by the King disturbing their peace.

Still others complained the King was never honest with them. Had they known this was to be the result, they would have been loyal throughout. They thought it unfair he kept his counsel to himself and thereby lulled them into disfavor.

Yet others complained the King gave them too hard a test. It was unfair. Although they had passed the test, they had family members and friends who failed and if these whom they loved had failed they would refuse for their loved ones’ sake to remain with the King.

Some even said that the original test was supposed to improve the citizen’s “health and vigor” and not their loyalty. It was unfair to claim to test for one virtue when actually testing for another.

And finally, some claimed there could be no future test coming for which this test of the citizens would prepare; that the only thing this great plan tested was the patience of the citizens. If there is some great future test coming, then the King ought, in fairness, to share that information with them rather than to hide it and make claims which cannot be proven.

lingdom-of-peaceAll the arguments were unavailing. The King expelled them all. When the kingdom was set, and none but the loyal remained, the King again called a great assembly of his people. To all those who remained the King announced, “I discovered long ago the power to make my kingdom last forever. I am now prepared to share the secrets of all I know with my people. From this day forward you will no longer be citizens in my kingdom, but you will be kings and queens, sharing with me in life which will never end.

“Before making you all kings and queens with me, I needed to have a people who would live in peace together.

Immortality without peace among us would be a great punishment and not a great prize.

“All of us who remain in this kingdom have lost friends, family members and others whom we love. However, all who remain will be able to live in peace, forever.”

The King did as he planned from the beginning. He and his counselors were able to find those who could live in peace, and for whom life would endure in peace forever.

There is not now, and never has been, a kingdom more stable, more happy, more at peace, and more enduring than this King’s. Though he ceased to reign as a king, he continued to be loved above all others. For he was the one who brought to life the happiest people of all.

Opening the Conduit to Heaven

the-heavensI read a lot of blogs. You probably do too. What or who we read can tell us a lot about each other. I’m especially interested in keeping in touch with those who are on a journey similar to mine. Below are a few blogs I check on a regular basis. Although I don’t spend a lot of time there, I also check in from time to time on the top four LDS group blogs at the bottom of the list just to see what’s being discussed.

Denver Snuffer Pure Mormonism – Rock Waterman
To the Remnant – Adrian Larsen In 200 Words or Less – Will Carter
The Gospel According to Scoot Just and True – Spektator
Anonymous Bishop Bare Record of Truth
Thoughts on Things and Stuff 77 Truths – Bret Corbridge
2nd Witness Upward Thought
The Perfect Day My Journey to the Fulness
Latter-day Spence – Clean Cut Thoughts from Salem – Russell Anderson
By Common Consent Times and Seasons
Mormon Stories Podcasts Wheat and Tares

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned anything from one of my recent favorites. It’s not even on my blogroll: The Gospel According to Scoot. Today I’d like to share something from Scott that has just made my day and my week. I’ve been pondering a post – this one – for a long time. I knew it was coming. I knew I wanted to study the subject and post it. Scott helped me nail this one down.

My Interview With Denver Snuffer

Over the past few months, I’ve been elaborating a little on the subjects from my interview with Denver back in May. At the bottom of this post you’ll find Denver’s answer to question eight. It was a difficult one dealing with the subject of leadership. Although I asked it poorly, I used the example of the discussion we were having on this blog about the Asenath honeycomb dance.

hosts-of-heavenWhat I asked in my question was what I believed at the time about what was happening with these dances. Of course, those in attendance at the retreat know that what was presented was nowhere near what I described in my question. That doesn’t mean that such practices aren’t happening. It just means I have no personal knowledge, so I shouldn’t have used the example.

Long-time readers know this blog is not and never was dedicated to the insights of one man. This blog has explored writings from dozens of Mormon authors. It just so happens that the Mormon author whose works I have been reading for the past few years are so prolific, I have felt a desire to share many insights. There are nine posts from the interview so far. The first is an overview.

5-13-15: A Visit With Denver Snuffer 5-21-15: The Fullness of the Gentiles
5-27-15: The Snuffer Interview – Part Two 5-30-15: Reconnecting to the Fathers
6-6-15: They That Come Shall Burn Them 6-13-15: Baptizing with Power and Authority
6-16-15: Reorganizing the Family of God 6-28-15: A Wild Man Hath Come Among Us
7-4-15: Opening the Conduit to Heaven

Conversing With the Lord

jacob-altarNow on to what I learned from Scott Stover about opening the conduit to heaven. First, from personal experience, I can tell you it is real. We can literally open a conduit to heaven. I have done so. Contrary to what some have written here on this blog, it is something over which we have some control. When we approach the heavens correctly, our prayers are heard and shared.

In response to prayer, like Scott, I have received revelation, as I’m sure many of you have, and have recorded it in my revelation book. As I have shared before, images, scenes, words, phrases, sentences and whole paragraphs have come, almost as dictation. Most of what I have received I have not shared, nor have I ever felt a desire or the right to do so. They are personal and sacred.

On the other hand, when I have asked the Lord for enlightenment on a specific subject with the clear understanding up front that I desired to share it, He has been most generous. The insights are my interpretations of what I have received, meant to inspire, encourage or otherwise prompt you to take your own questions to the Lord and receive direction and inspiration for your life.

Knowing the Voice of the Lord

isaiah-recording-revelationAs Scott shared in his latest post entitled, “Come Unto Me #2 – Scriptures,” the key to hearing and knowing the voice of God compared to our own voice or that of the adversary is found in Moroni 7:11-19. This should be no surprise to anyone. “According to this revelation, there is a grand key whereby we may know that the voice we hear is the voice of the Lord.

“If the voice: 1) Encourages the worship of Christ, 2) Promotes charity, humility, and the power that comes only from them and 3) Does not engender a desire for control, compulsion, or dominion (D&C 121:34-46), …then it is His voice.” Did you know you can use this same formula to ascertain if someone is sharing ideas that contain eternal truth when they write responses to blog posts?

As my regular readers are probably aware, or at least those who read the comments in response to some of my posts, especially those that address some observation I share about an insight I have gained from Denver, there is great opposition to just about anything that comes from the man. That is a sign to me, along with what I hear from the Lord, that he is speaking the truth.

The Gift of Discerning of Spirits

heavens-glory“There always did, in every age, seem to be a lack of intelligence pertaining to this subject. Spirits of all kinds have been manifested, in every age, and almost amongst all people. … All have their spirits, all have a supernatural agency, and all contend that their spirits are of God. Who shall solve the mystery? ‘Try the spirits,’ says John [1 John 4:1], but who is to do it? The learned, the eloquent, the philosopher, the sage, the divine—all are ignorant. … Who can drag into daylight and develop the hidden mysteries of the false spirits that so frequently are made manifest among the Latter-day Saints?

“A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power and baneful effects. …

“As we have noticed before, the great difficulty lies in the ignorance of the nature of spirits, of the laws by which they are governed, and the signs by which they may be known; if it requires the Spirit of God to know the things of God; and the spirit of the devil can only be unmasked through that medium, then it follows as a natural consequence that unless some person or persons have a communication, or revelation from God, unfolding to them the operation of the spirit, they must eternally remain ignorant of these principles…”

Source: Joseph Smith, HC, vol 4, pp 571-581 – Editorial in Times and Seasons, April 1842

Use the Keys God Has Given Us

Where there is no vision, the people perishA man or woman can go astray from the path approved by the Lord at any time in their life. The path I have chosen, to withdraw my membership in the LDS Church so I can experience greater freedom of expression in what I share here on my blog, is NOT the best choice for others. The important thing is to KNOW you are on the right path. Of course, the only way to know is to ask.

As you can imagine, I have been told over and over by loving, well-meaning individuals that I have been deceived in my prayers and in the confirmations that have satisfied my soul. All I can say is God bless you. My path is not for you. For those who say Joseph was a fallen servant or Denver is a false prophet or fallen servant, I say, you believe what you want and act accordingly.

Don’t let my confidence in my path dissuade you from your confidence in yours. They don’t have to be the same. As long as what we are doing encourages the worship of Christ, promotes charity, humility and kindness toward others, and does not produce a desire for compulsion or control or dominion over others then we’re good. Teach me of Christ and I will listen. God bless.

Opportunities to Go Off the Rails

Question Eight: A follow-up to the last question about the need for leadership in this movement can be illustrated by a recent post from Keith on the Recorder’s blog. In there he noted some people are submitting names of children baptized as young as five years old. The scriptures specifically teach the age of accountability is eight years old. He also noted the fact that some baptisms are being submitted for recording as having been performed by a woman. He quoted, again from the Phoenix lecture, your statement about priesthood being confined to men because of the Fall. You elaborated much on the idea there are so many opportunities for believers to go off the rails. I see it all the time when we discuss doctrinal questions on my blog.

For example, the worship of Mother in Heaven is a subject about which some people feel very strongly. They advocate a practice – a sacred dance – in which the objective is for a manifestation of divine favor. Specifically, they look for, expect, and report they have experienced the presence of Heavenly Mother in their ritual. This is similar to what happened with the children of Israel when Moses was up on the mountain for forty days communing with the Lord. In the end, Moses wore himself out because he had to judge every little thing that came before the people. What is the right way? How will the Lord provide leadership for His people who are awaiting His return? I’m looking for a practical answer here, not idealism.

A Few Comments on Heavenly Mother

ANSWER (Denver): For those who think they can please and appease a Heavenly Mother by that sort of innovation, I think they will be very surprised when they finally have an opportunity to meet Her. She may not be at all the soft, kindly, genteel little old lady some people imagine. She may be tougher by far than our Father.

Do you imagine for a moment that Lucifer would have been cast out of heaven without the Mother consenting, approving, and advocating? Do you think for a moment that could be the case? Do you think that those who were cast out with him had some weak-willed woman weeping at their departure? Do you think She wasn’t protecting Her Family, and approving the compulsory exile? I don’t talk about Her, but I think there is a lot of imagination about Her that needs to be reined in. When Her fearful presence is revealed the fools will then shut their mouths. Stop rushing forward because what you find in your impatience may condemn you and your foolishness.

Gifts Are An Open Conduit

Gifts are an open conduit. What flows through the gifts will include opposition. Just because you have a gift doesn’t mean that this gift is not equally accessible by the opposition as it is accessible by God. “It must needs be that there is an opposition in all things.” (2 Ne. 2:11.) You can’t bring about righteousness without there being an opposition in all things. So how do you avoid mistakes when you allow something to influence you through your gift that actually comes from the adversary pretending to be the source of light? The pretentions of the Bringer of light, the Light Bearer, which is what Lucifer’s name means, do mislead.

road-to-emmausWell, to avoid mistakes, first of all, I would look to the scriptures as a standard against which to measure any new revelation given to you. If you look at Christ on the Road to Emmaus, and you look at Moroni’s lectures to Joseph, everything communicated was scripture-based.

I’ve given a more comprehensive restatement of the Restoration than anyone since Joseph, but have almost entirely confined it to the scriptures and statements attributed to Joseph. That measuring standard is where you first find the anchor needed to keep the truth. People who don’t read their scriptures are subject to all kinds of foolish presumptions about things that aren’t there. If you go back and look at the exact wording, sometimes the foolish presumption is not justified by the actual language and content of the scripture you think justifies what you are doing. Study and compare everything to the scriptural standard. The more familiar you are with their language the better equipped you will be to recognize truth.

Personal Worthiness a Requirement

Second, personal worthiness. We have to live our lives in conformity with the light that we have. We cannot ignore commandments, or excuse ourselves from departing, and expect that we can avoid deception. If we are willing to disobey and excuse ourselves, then we become unable to distinguish the light from the shadows. It’s just the way it is. If we lie to ourselves, we love a lie. And if we love a lie we’re going to be deceived by lies. We make ourselves open to lies, we make ourselves willing to accept them.

We have to rely on light and truth and the Holy Ghost. D&C 45:56-57:

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

The way you do that is by knowing what is in the scriptures with some considerable care, living according to the truth that you have, and allowing the Holy Ghost to become your guide, even if what you hear from the Holy Ghost challenges, disappoints, or even frustrates you.

The Strong Man Model is Flawed

(Tim): Do you want to address the part about leadership? I know it was kind of an add-on. It didn’t quite fit.

(Denver): Yes, the narrowness of the question at the end was delightful, because it allowed me to avoid that. But I do think the work that I have been doing, the lectures that were given as part of a single talk, and the stuff that I am trying to remind people of, it’s all in the scriptures. It is all in the foundation of the Restoration. I don’t think that “leader as micromanager” is an answer to anything and failed in Joseph’s day. “Teacher” as someone who brings material to your attention, allowing you the freedom then to choose, is good and worked for Enoch and Melchizedek.

prince-of-egyptIf people engage in the sort of inordinate wickedness Moses found when he came down from the mountain—if that is practiced anywhere among those that are responsive to my message, they simply won’t be gathered. They will be left behind. Those that are patient and humble will inspire the confidence of angels who will do the gathering, and they will be gathered. Gathering won’t be because some boss manages to whip people into line. They need to be given the freedom to get out of line. And then once out of line, they must be permitted to go their way.

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question eight: http://3tcm.net/question-eight.pdf


A Wild Man Hath Come Among Us

OgdenKraut.comI remember the excitement in the online world when the document “Further Light and Knowledge” made the rounds among the early Mormon Internet reading groups. I’m an old man so I remember Mormon-L and other such groups where communication was not like it is on Facebook or blogs. It was more of a mailing list where people shared documents. We read them then offered our opinions and observations.

I think it came into my life just after I had been ordained a High Priest some twenty years ago. I down-loaded and printed it, studied it, marked it up, prayed about it and then did a foolish thing. I went to the Los Angeles temple President (Glen Walker) to discuss it with him. His reaction was astonishing to me. He quickly escorted me out of his office saying, “Prayer circles are only to be held inside the temple.”

jim-harmstonThat always bothered me. Frankly, I didn’t believe it. When I prayed about it, I felt otherwise. It was many years before I found the courage to pray in my home as taught in the temple. I learned long ago prayer circles were regularly conducted outside the temples in homes and stake centers until banned in 1978. I guess the Brethren felt the people couldn’t handle it. Looking at Jim Harmston, perhaps they were right.

Opening the Portal to Heaven

I have always been a rebel and I know it. I have always questioned why we do things a certain way. I guess it started in elementary school. I am a kinesthetic learner, although I didn’t know it at the time. I simply couldn’t sit still for lectures. Unless I was doing something with my hands, I was not learning. I am still that way today. My work on computers today is hands-on. I learn new skills only by practicing.

Tribune File Photo James D. Harmston.

Tribune File Photo
James D. Harmston.

Shouldn’t it be the same way with spiritual skills? Adam and the patriarchs built altars. Why don’t we? What is significant about altars? Does it mean something to heaven when we build an altar and then consecrate it to the Lord? I think so. What about a home altar? Why are we not taught about this in the LDS Church today? Do the Brethren not trust us? Apparently not. Yet they were common in early Utah.

I confess I was attracted to the writings and activities of Jim Harmston. Here was a man who was holding study groups in his home. The Brethren became so concerned they published an edict that such groups were not to be held, mainly because it could lead to experimenting with spiritual things that could open the portals of heaven and hell. Guess what? In this case, the Brethren’s warnings were are still are correct.

Watch Out for False Prophets

Jim Harmston is dead now. Died of a heart attack a few years back. His movement, the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ, based in Manti, has all but died out. We called them the Manti group and spoke of them in hushed tones. They were onto something. Jim claimed heavenly visits at the altar. He went past the will of the Lord when he instituted polygamy and then predicted a day that the Lord would return.

TLC_redbrickstoreWrong. Big mistake. False prophet. I can see why people compare Denver Snuffer to Jim Harmston. Denver has declared he has met with the Savior. Not once, but many times. He claims he has communed with the members of the Church of the Firstborn. I believe him. He says he is doing the work of the Lord. He declares the heavens are opened. He has declared we will need a temple to be sealed to the Fathers.

Hmmm…what makes him different from Warren Jeffs of the FLDS and whoever is leading the AUB today? Or one of the many dozens of offshoots that are all insignificant and failing or failed? There may be thousands who have read Denver’s writings and thousands who have been baptized. The Brethren are obviously concerned about him as evidenced by the recent “Boise Rescuemeeting with Dallin Oaks last month.

How can one know for themselves that the work being conducted by Denver Snuffer is approved by the Lord? It seems to me it will always be a small minority of people who adhere to what he has shared, but maybe I haven’t caught the big picture let. I confess I’m a fledging when it comes to what Denver has said is possible. I have not been in the presence of the Lord, nor do I expect to be for many years to come.

40-years-in-mormonismPoor deluded Tim. He says the Lord has confirmed to his soul that Denver is a prophet. Yet, not even Denver has made such a statement. In last month’s interview, I asked him about his use of the phrases, “Servant, “Witness” and “Messenger,” all words he has used to refer to himself. In his answer, which seemed to be offered in humility, he said he is naught but a teacher – “at this point.” More Hmmm…

Please don’t tell me I’m obsessed with Denver. I’m just trying to analyze the remaining questions from the interview. I can’t wait for the next one in which I asked him about dancing on the Grand Mesa and calling for Mother in Heaven to manifest herself. His answer leaves no room for doubts. Some early students who listened to what Denver had to share have now turned away. But that’s for the next post.

Prophet, Servant, Messenger, Witness or simply Teacher…

Question Seven: I have heard you say, and read in many places in your books and on your blog, you dislike the public attention received as a result of performing the assignments given you by the Lord. You’ve been emphatic we should not replace one idol with another. Yet the people look to you for leadership. For example, in the Phoenix lecture you provided some direction on tithing, the sacrament, ordinations, worship or fellowship groups, and in particular, the requirement that the approval of seven women is needed to sustain a man in performing ordinances in public. You also said a man was unworthy – the Lord’s word – if his wife will not sustain him.

SnufferiteIn the Jewish tradition, when questions arise, everyone turns to the Rabbi. In the LDS Church, local leaders consult the handbook or turn to a General Authority for help with difficult procedural questions. You have stated you don’t like the term used by some – Snufferites – to describe those who read your writings. You have made it clear every man should have a sufficiently strong relationship with the Lord to get answers to procedural and doctrinal questions. Yet, you are the one the Lord sent as a servant, witness or messenger to declare the orderly dismantling of the established hierarchy. Does that not make you a prophet and de-facto leader?

Search the Scriptures for the Role of True Leaders

ANSWER (Denver): Let me clarify. I view my role only to be a teacher at this point. I hope to remain in that role alone. But I would hasten to add, that if you search the scriptures to look at what role was occupied by Enoch and the success that he had in his day, the only thing he claimed to be was a teacher and a preacher of repentance. That’s it. The success he had was not because he was some great dictator, it was because he was a teacher that provoked people to repent.

Melchizedek, Joseph Smith clarified, was not a king of a city, or king of a country, he just preached. He was a teacher and a preacher. He preached and the people, according to the Book of Mormon who heard him, Alma clarifies that they were wicked people, but they repented. (Alma 13:17-18.) And because they repented they were able to gather and live the principles that brought them together.

kirtland-temple-teachingI think the idea of a strong central leader is no more likely to succeed in our day than it was in Joseph’s. At the end, when Joseph lamented that the people were depending too much on the prophet, and they were neglecting the duties that were devolving upon themselves, therefore they were darkened in their minds. (TPJS, p. 237-238.) It was too late. In 1842 when he made that comment in the meeting of the Relief Society, it was too late. The moment had passed. They were dependent upon him. I try to learn from earlier examples and not repeat the same errors. If there are errors to be made, I want them to be new ones, not a repetition of the same old ones that caused the failure before.

The Strong Man Principle – Doomed to Fail

The responsibility of preaching the Gospel is to take the burden and put it upon the individual; to have the individual connect to God. One man being saved and saying, “I’ve got a pipeline to God, and so now I get to be your boss,” won’t save him nor those who listen to him. But someone who says, “God is willing to speak, and does speak to every one of you,” and who teaches to encourage you to use the gifts that God gives every one of us, that teacher may help others. All individuals have gifts, and curious though some of them may be, all of us have some kind of gift. Use it to reconnect to God. And then build upon that to have your life filled with light and truth.

denver-snuffer-booksI really think it is unnecessary to build a new canon of scripture when we haven’t paid enough attention to the canon of scripture we have already. We need to plumb the depths of the volumes that we have been given and figure out what they are saying, because they say whole lot more than we have drawn out of them as yet. What I’ve talked about in the 10 lectures and in the 14 volumes I’ve written is the scriptures. Hopefully it serves to remind people of what the scriptures actually do contain, because they are plentiful. And I think the only role I would carve out for myself is a teacher.

Epilogue – A Few Closing Thoughts

Denver’s answer here was rather short. I suspect there is so much more that he could have shared. His humility is evident, at least to me. I like the man. Carol does not. She sees what he has done or is doing as divisive. I see it as fulfilling a deep-seated and long-held request from the Lord to understand Zion and how I can participate in the bringing forth of the latter-day Temple. Lord, I ask to be used in this area.

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question seven: http://3tcm.net/question-seven.pdf


Reorganizing the Family of God

the-divine-councilIn the Boise rescue, Elder Oaks spoke much of the temples as evidence of the fruits of the LDS Church. They are beautiful buildings aren’t they? So many resources are poured into these edifices. As President Hinckley once taught, the buildings of the church are not income producing, and constitute a major expense. A lot of tithing money goes into maintaining these buildings, including the wards and stakes.

For over forty years I went to the temple on a regular basis. I went there with thousands of family names my mother had gleaned from years and years of family history work. I performed countless baptisms, inititories, endowments and sealings. I am not alone in my participation in temple work. The focus was always on doing something – proxy ordinances – for family members they could not do for themselves.

While studying the early history of the LDS Church, I noticed a major adjustment in my thinking about the purpose of the temples. I kept wondering about the idea of being “sealed to the fathers.” More and more I found I was contemplating exactly who the fathers were or are. Even after a lifetime of family history research, members of our family could never find family records back any earlier than 1650.

Salvation, Resurrection and Exaltation

CityOfZionI am fairly certain there are some individuals who have been able to trace their family history back to the earliest known records of civilization. I believe I even recall someone telling me they found proof they were related to an individual named in the Bible and could therefore trace their lineage back to Adam. I suppose that’s the ultimate goal of family history research, to find every single ancestor back to Adam.

Growing up in the church I recall being taught we will not be able to complete the family history work that needs to be done because the records are lost. The Millennium is the time when all this work will be completed, because family members will come to those who are living, tell us who they are, when and where they lived and accompany us to the temple while we perform those saving ordinances for them.

Eventually, by the end of the Millennium, everyone will be found, everyone will be sealed and everyone will be joined to the fathers. The objective of life, as I have been taught and believe, is to prepare for a glorious resurrection. That’s individual salvation. But what about exaltation? That only comes about when we are organized by God into His family and participate in ordinances not found in LDS Temples.

Set in Order the House of God

zion-city-of-enochWe need a temple to which Christ can come and reorganize the family of God through an ordinance that seals us to the fathers. As I have written previously on this blog, I hope to be alive when that temple will be built. I hope to contribute to the building of that temple, either financially or with my labor. I want my name to be on the books to be found in that temple. I am grateful to Keith for compiling those records.

Eventually, someone will come along, and “…set in order the house of God, and arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God.” This is found in the last part of D&C 85:7. I have no idea who this person is, but I want my name available to him on the books that are to be found in the temple.

Because “… they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among the unbelievers, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaketh, he will also fulfill.” That promise is found in later verses of the same section (D&C 85:9-10).

Why Christ Will Come to His Temple

Question Six: You proclaimed Jesus Christ has revealed Himself to you. You declared you have seen Him, embraced Him and have been given specific assignments of things to teach, which you have done at your own expense in publications and lectures. The focus of these teachings is the establishment of Zion. You have counseled those who wish to prepare for Zion to institute fellowships for gathering and practicing the principles of Zion, specifically to use tithing as a means to help the poor. You have taught there is to be no new church, no legal entity to receive and centrally manage funds and property, yet you acknowledge the need for a temple.

A new website has been established for a central recorder, where those who have been baptized are encouraged to submit their names. The purpose of this gathering of names is to present them to the Lord in a temple. You said in Mesa, “We do not need numerous temples, but we will need one to which Christ can come. We will not need to perform endless work for the dead until first there has been a covenant made for us. We must be first connected to the fathers in heaven. Only then can we do something to liberate the dead.” You have already taught much on the sealing to the fathers, but will you take a moment to elaborate on the difference between the visit of Christ to an individual and the visit of Christ to a temple yet to be built?

ANSWER (Denver): Yes, I can. Individual salvation and promises of eternal life are just that, they are individual. A restoration of the family of Israel requires more, including cooperation and interrelationships that will be formed by God Himself. Promises made to individuals give the individual hope. If you take the vision of the redemption of the dead in D&C 138, he saw a vision where:christ-in-spirit-world

There were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality; And who had offered sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, and had suffered tribulation in their Redeemer’s name. All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. (D&C 138:12-14, emphasis added.)

All of them. These were the righteous. They were in Paradise and all of them were worthy, they had been given hope of a glorious resurrection. Not only did the Savior give them hope before death, He visited with them in the spirit world during the time between His death and His resurrection. But that did not get them reconnected to the fathers in heaven, nor did it even get them resurrected, because it goes on to say in the transcript of the same vision:

…from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead. (D&C138:30, emphasis added.)

So the righteous who departed this life firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, who had offered sacrifice in the similitude, many of whom had seen Him in the flesh, who witnessed Him and were ministered to by Him, and given authority by Him, in the spirit world, remained in the world of the dead to preach to the dead. They were NOT resurrected.

Joining the Family of God by an Ordinance

Only the organization of God’s family through a temple and associated rites, results in finishing the family of God in the House of Order. IF this were to be done it would allow the recipients to follow the results achieved, or allowed the results achieved by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which are described in D&C 132:37. Abraham Isaac and Jacob:

…did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.

carl_bloch_the_christNote that in D&C 138:41 Abraham, the father of the faithful, Isaac and a Jacob were also there in the spirit world among the dead seen in the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead. In verses 41-22 of 138, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were there. But in the revelation recorded in 1843 they were sitting on thrones. They were not left behind in the spirit world proselytizing. Instead they are sitting on thrones.

The difference between these two categories of the righteous are the differences between individual salvation, which gives hope of a glorious resurrection, on the one hand, and reorganizing the family of God which must occur by an ordinance in a temple to be acceptable to God, on the other hand. This was why the command was given to build the temple in Nauvoo. And why God offered to restore to them the fullness that they did not achieve.

We need to let God take the lead, and then we need to patiently await each step along the way. This is the stuff of which the prophecies speak, and it is the stuff that will be fulfilled. But the rites and the ordinances necessary to accomplish that? People in this generation don’t even have a clue how that necessarily has to roll forth. But rest assured it will. God intends to set His house in order. He alone will do this.

Sources for the Interview:

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question six: http://3tcm.net/question-six.pdf

Baptizing With Power and Authority

TimBaptism2aCroppedA month ago today I spent a few hours with Denver Snuffer. I am grateful for the time he took to answer some of my questions, allowing me to record and publish his answers. I asked the Lord for inspiration in which questions to ask. They came after much study and prayer. The question addressed in this post starts off with a summary of the previous four. They are very direct. If you haven’t read his answers, I recommend you first do so. He was just as direct in his responses.

Some of those responses, summarized in the opening paragraph below, are difficult for most orthodox LDS folks to accept. They are stark in their claims that something new is afoot in the heavens and now upon the earth. In question five, I wanted to know how the last lecture in the series of ten lectures, 40 Years in Mormonism fulfilled the title of “Preserving the Restoration.” Specifically, I wanted to know how being baptized again would help in building up Zion today.

The Key to Receiving the Holy Ghost

alma-baptizes-helamI find it interesting that Denver’s post yesterday touched on this very subject of Baptism. Take a moment to go there and read it. Then consider carefully the answer to this question below. I have addressed the subject of power at least a half dozen times on this blog in the past. Each time the idea of power in the priesthood comes up, it seems everyone has a different idea of what it really is. Power in the priesthood is real. Authority was restored and will never be taken from the earth again (D&C 13).

You decide what kind of priesthood is being addressed here. Do you have it? Do you exercise it? Has it been exercised in your behalf in helping you connect with heaven? Did the Holy Ghost fall upon you after you were baptized? If not, I suggest you seek this baptism again. Go out and find someone who knows how to administer it properly as demonstrated by Alma in the Book of Mormon, by first obtaining power in the priesthood. Authority without power has no real effect.

Question Five: You have proclaimed God has ended the way he works with his children on the earth today. You have announced yourself to be a witness of this fundamental change. You have declared yourself a second witness of the many works of God through the prophet Joseph Smith. You have reaffirmed the importance of the Patriarchal Priesthood, the law of adoption or sealing to the Fathers in the family of God. You have announced the LDS Church can no longer claim to be led by the priesthood of God, virtually making it no different from any other church today

Yet the title and focus of the last lecture in the series “Forty Years in Mormonism” is “Preserving the Restoration.” You have counseled those who have accepted this message and you as the Lord’s servant, witness or messenger in this great change, to be baptized. Specifically, you quoted 3 Nephi 11:26–27 and said, “I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command … confirmed again today.” Thousands of individuals have been baptized at your invitation. Will you elaborate on how your declarations and baptismal invitation preserve the restoration, as opposed to tearing it down?

waters-of-mormonANSWER (Denver): All—universally—all of the various iterations of Mormonism are less and less like the foundation and we need to return. If you go back to what I said about baptism you will find that on the topic of baptism, there is an example taken from the Book of Mormon in which Alma, who had been ordained in the court of King Noah, he was chosen precisely because he was wicked. Alma, who probably had a line of authority compromised by wicked men. He went out to baptize Helam. Before he did so, he asked heaven to give him the power to baptize. He got the power to baptize, and he baptized Helam.

What I suggest in that talk, is that everyone who has been ordained in the LDS tradition, who fits in the category President Boyd K. Packer in General Conference lamented—we have done a good job with spreading the authority of the priesthood, but we’ve done a poor job of getting power in the priesthood[1]— therefore we must go out and obtain from heaven the connection that gives power in the priesthood. The temple rites tie together “power in the priesthood” with conversing with the Lord through the veil. It is an appropriate connection. I explained all this in the lecture on Priesthood given in Orem, Utah. Accordingly, it is necessary for now those who are to baptize others to get the power from heaven. Let us have them go out and baptize again with power from heaven, so we know it is done with God’s power and not done merely relying upon an authoritative tradition lacking in power that cannot be accepted by heaven.

The Purpose of Renewing Baptism

JosephBaptizingOliverThe evidence of Alma’s authoritative baptism was the outpouring of the Spirit. There have been those who have been baptized and spent their life in Mormonism, or some other sect of Mormonism, who say they never felt like they had the confirmation of the Spirit. They have gone out, sought for, obtained power from heaven, been re-baptized, and the ordinance has had an effect upon these people.

The purpose of renewing baptism is to take what may be a hollow gesture, performed by people who have authority but no power, and turn it into an event with power that connects people to heaven. This is how we can renew the Restoration, like it was renewed in the days of Alma, through Alma and the model of the Book of Mormon. That book answers so many doctrinal imponderables for us today.

Why do we have authority and no power, as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles in General Conference lamented to the Church? It’s because we are not doing what we should be doing. It’s not necessary to have a revolution that divorces us from the Restoration. It’s necessary to have a revolution that connects us back to the Restoration and its beginnings.

baptism-saratoga-springs[1] “We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.” The Power of the Priesthood, April 2010 General Conference. The talk contains interesting admissions about how Correlation revolutionized the Church: “During those years of correlation, the whole operating face of the Church was changed. The entire curriculum was restructured. The objectives and relationships of the organizations one to another were redefined. The key word during those years of correlation and restructuring was priesthood.” He presumed this was a good development, not the catastrophe President David O. McKay predicted. President McKay was, however, correct. Elder Packer cannot recognize that the lack of priesthood power is attributable in part to the assertion of improper control over others in the name of priesthood.

Link to Sources:

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question five: http://3tcm.net/question-five.pdf


Q & A with Tim Malone, Author of Latter-day Commentary

ldc-blog-imageQ: How has your perception of Latter-day Commentary changed since its inception?

In many respects, the direction of this simple blog has turned completely around. When I started blogging almost eight years ago, my intent was to help combat what I perceived to be a plethora of misinformation out there about the doctrines I knew to be true, or that I grew up believing. I now find myself presenting reasons why what I originally thought was false doctrine may indeed be worth considering, especially since early documents support that Joseph originally taught it.

In other respects, the intent and focus of the blog has not changed at all. My intent was to share my gospel study and learning experiences. I have always appreciated teaching, have taught the gospel all my life and enjoyed making lesson plans or outlines of subjects and then fleshing them out with scriptures and quotes. That has not changed. What has changed is my perception of the truth. I have had to jettison some false beliefs that were based solely on tradition. Gratefully, I was prepared. I frequented many LDS group blogs for several years before I started my own.

Although I felt prompted and inspired to start the blog and made it a matter of prayer, I do not say the Lord told me to start the blog, only that I find a way to bring greater motivation to my life in the area of gospel study. I have shared many talks and lessons on my blog that I also gave in the gospel doctrine class or delivered from the pulpit over the years. Sometime last year I felt to dedicate the blog to the Lord and let Him use it for His purposes. Things changed radically. I found myself led to invite others to share the audience I had built up over seven years of work.

ds-blog-imageQ: You’ve had both positive and negative feedback from readers about some of the content regarding DS and the work currently underway. What was your initial reaction to his writings? Can you elaborate on the challenges of retaining your faith in light of recognizing discrepancies in the traditional narrative of the church?

I appreciate both kinds of comments from readers, especially those who can and do form cogent arguments in response to what Denver has written and what I have tried to explain in my own words. I am not always successful in understanding all the intricacies of the doctrines put forth. I may be seeing only a small part of what is being presented in the post and entirely missing how such a radically different view affects families and individuals in situations dissimilar to mine.

My initial reaction to Denver Snuffer’s work was positive. It was a revelatory experience. When I tried to share what I had read with others, I was saddened by how negatively they reacted. It was especially difficult as I tried to discuss what I felt was enlightenment from the Holy Ghost with my wife, who I consider my equal in our knowledge of church history. After all, she served her mission in Independence Missouri, with a Mission President teaching the standard narrative.

On the other hand, my mission president was a convert and always encouraged the missionaries to “push the envelope” in our studies. He did not shy away from inspiring us to reach out and understand the mysteries. He would say, “They are only mysteries because you haven’t studied them.” It’s funny that both our Mission Presidents were CES employees but Carol’s had a much more traditional or orthodox approach to the history of the Church, especially the Nauvoo period.

Retaining my faith in God, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and most of the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants was not difficult. I confess the idea that Section 110 may be of dubious authenticity was difficult for me at first. But when I compared Section 27 side by side with the original, and saw how it had been “expanded” under Sidney’s pen, I made a more careful consideration of section 110, took it to the Lord in prayer and came away satisfied.

40-years-in-mormonismQ: Are you still digesting the material laid out in the DS lectures last year, and if so, what specifically do you find to be significant?

I most definitely am still digesting the lectures and will be for years to come. I re-read lectures three and four again this past week, pondering carefully the enticing nature of how Denver has presented repentance. So many people I know try to “white-knuckle” it through repentance by using the “moving away-from” model as opposed to what Denver presents in a “moving toward” model. I have always favored that approach. It has always worked for me. I fully endorse it.

I’ve studied the lecture on covenants at least four times now and am just beginning to understand the significance and all-encompassing nature of what is found in that short lecture. I think it’s about twenty-two pages if I’m not mistaken. Yet I learned why the earth will be wasted at the Lord’s coming if we are not sealed to the fathers, as well as came to a better understanding that everything the Father is doing in our day is to fulfill that covenant he made with the Patriarchs.

I have had it reconfirmed to me once again how important it is that we are sealed to the fathers, the Patriarchs, and that this must be done in a temple, like the one Joseph was trying to get the Saints to finish in Nauvoo but which did not happen. There is not a temple found on the earth today which is acceptable of the Lord where He can come and seal us to the Fathers in that binding ordinance that is referred to in section 124 – a place to restore that which was lost.

I am still blown away by the priesthood lecture. I think I’ve read it six or seven times now and am still learning new things each time I study it. There was so much I thought I knew about priesthood that was simply wrong. I’m grateful to have been in attendance at the Mesa lecture. The idea of Preserving the Restoration resonates with me. I have seen so much understanding disappear from that we taught when I was growing up in the church in the sixties and seventies.

ds-interview-part1Q: Your recent interview with DS offered an opportunity for clarity on a variety of topics. How did this interview come about and did you find what you were looking for?

Although I could not attend the early lectures due to work commitments, I made it known on my blog I planned on attending the later lectures. I received an invitation from Denver to meet with him for dinner on the evening of one of the lectures. I suppose he wanted to meet this individual who had written so much about his writings over the preceding eighteen months. Carol and I had dinner with Denver and his family the night before the St. George lecture. We parted as friends.

This year, I celebrated ten years with my employer by taking a two week vacation, something unheard of for a computer guy in a small company. I wanted to make the first week a working vacation. I arranged interviews with several fellow bloggers and readers. On Wednesday, Carol planned an endowment session at the Brigham City temple. Obviously I would not be attending with her. I asked the Lord if there was someone else we wished me to add to my interview list.

He suggested Denver. I asked. He accepted. I asked if he would prefer the questions in advance. He agreed. I used to interview CEO’s and Marketing VP’s for a software newspaper I published years ago so the format was very familiar – sort of like a deposition. After Denver agreed, I went to the Lord for the questions. He provided. So the questions asked were what the Lord wanted to have expounded. I wasn’t necessarily looking for any particular answers. I wanted to understand some of the more controversial points from his lectures. Most of his answers were from PtHG.

As you can imagine, I have a lot of online and offline dialogs with readers about what Denver has written. I have no idea why they seem to think I know what is on his mind. It still amazes me how many people either haven’t or will not read his material. They will read what other people have said about it but won’t read it themselves. This astonishes me. If there’s one thing Mormons are supposed to be good at, it’s having an open mind about writings that are extra-Biblical. In other words, we want people to read the Book of Mormon in order to understand us better.

Yet, so few will take the time to make a formal study plan, combined with prayer in an effort to understand the doctrines behind the writings and lectures. I think some of the questions I asked in the interview were brought up in an effort to get people more interested in going to the source. If there’s anything I wanted to accomplish, it was to get people to seriously read, ponder and pray about the lectures. But so many have made up their minds. They are closed. It is so sad.

ConqueringSpiritualEvilQ: You’ve written a lot on the subject of NDE. What has contributed to your interest on this particular topic? How would you characterize common elements found in many NDE based on what’s been revealed about life after death?

I am by no means an expert on NDEs. I have had two dreadful near-death experiences in my life. Both times I was met by beings of darkness. The first time was in my youth. I opened the portal through my own foolishness. It woke me up big time. It turned me around. It caused me to fear for my life and to seek to repent, which took a tremendous amount of effort to accomplish. It was nearly a year later that I came into the presence of the Lord, which I have described on my blog.

The second NDE was a couple of years ago when my son opened a portal in our home at 2am in the morning while doing drugs and porn with a fellow druggie. I’ve posted the story and shared it with those who have asked. I was mislead by a well-meaning individual who told me I could deal with the dark spirits by asking the Lord to bring them into my aura so I could get them to repent. Yeah, right! It was one of the most foolish things I have ever done in my life. I still suffer pain.

My interest in NDEs is a result of having the portal to the spirit world opened in a manner that was not at all pleasant. I suppose only those who have experienced being sucked into that world, even for a moment, can understand the resulting interest in trying to make sense of the things discovered or actually remembered, by entering into such a realm. There are things revealed to your soul that this world denies. One seeks to find others who have been there and can relate.

true-order-prayer-imageQ: Your posts on the True Order of Prayer resonated with many people. The prayer circle was a more prominent fixture in worship (both inside and outside of temples) until May 1978 when the First Presidency restricted its use to certain settings. How have your prayers in this manner affected your relationship with the Lord and/or the Powers of heaven?

I still have a long way to go in this area. I am focusing on altars in my personal study these days. I want to know the history of true altar building, why the Patriarchs built altars, how they built them – no hewn stone – and if there is significance to where they are placed. I wish I had land of sufficient size where I could dedicate a private space to building an altar for worship. In the meantime, I asked the Lord if I could substitute a dedicated home altar and received his approval.

There is something powerful about altar worship. What we learn in the temple is significant. For me, a prayer at the altar is so much more powerful than my usual morning and nightly prayers. I find repetition does not enter into my heart or mind when I pray at the altar. I am filled with desire and am given the words to say. These prayers at the altar have changed my life. It is clear the powers of heaven pay attention when we go to the trouble of praying at a dedicated altar.

At one time in the history of Mormonism, it was acceptable practice to have a home altar. It was a sign of commitment to one’s religion to gather the family together at the altar for worship. I use my altar when I partake of the sacrament in my home. It is so sad to read how such practices as altar worship and partaking of the sacrament in the home are now considered apostate. Joseph Smith would not be welcome in the LDS Church today because of “apostate” worship practices.

Think about what we learn in the temple from Adam’s example with an altar. When he prayed at the altar, he opened a portal to heaven. He received messengers. This is a true and powerful form of worship. Ask yourself why we are taught about prayer in the temple if it was not intended for us to go home and practice this in our own home. Yes, I recognize some have been deceived and have received false messenger, but we have got to learn to deal with this if we want to progress.

posts-on-evil-spiritsQ: You’ve shared experiences in which you’ve come into contact with malevolent spirits and the distress they can cause. Were these experiences connected to prayer? What is your view on possessions recorded in the New Testament versus certain mental disorders in our day as possible possessions?

I think my answer to the NDE question above would have probably been a better fit here. The spirits were not invited, but conditions were brought about that caused them to make themselves known. It is not a pleasant thing to come into the presence of spirits who intend to do you harm. The prayers involved were after the fact, as in, “O Lord, save me from these evil creatures who desire to take away my light and life. O Lord, remove the fear from my heart and give me faith like unto Moses to command them in the name of the Son of God to leave my presence forever.”

I have written at least two dozen posts answering that very question about emotional and mental disorders being caused by evil and unclean spirits. I will refer people to my blog for answers. I will also encourage you to read Doug’s book on Conquering Spiritual Evil. It seems the majority of people today do not want to believe such creatures exist in our day and age. They consider the idea of evil spirits to be a throwback to less enlightened times. Think again people. Think again.

tim-malone-baptism-postQ: You’ve written extensively about your reasons for resigning from the church while acknowledging that leaving the church is not the path for everyone. Are you finding that many people are choosing to stay notwithstanding their belief that something new is underway?

My decision to resign was due to my unique circumstances. I served in leadership positions in my current and previous stakes that made it hard for some people to accept what I was sharing on my blog simply as part of my gospel study. I have had former stake presidents, high councilors and missionary companions who now serve as mission presidents write to castigate me for what I have done in reading and writing about Denver and his books. What are they so afraid of? They are afraid for their children. I don’t blame them. They are trying to hold their families together.

My writings were a threat to them. I understand. That’s why so many went to my Bishop and Stake President asking them to rein me in. Because I served in a somewhat public position at the stake level, I felt it best to quietly resign instead of go the excommunication route. When the Bishop put me on informal probation for apostasy, I saw the handwriting on the wall. I knew I wanted to get baptized and to write about it on my blog. Why waste the time of sixteen good men? Others felt the desire to go through a disciplinary council. I had been through too many.

why-i-resigned-imageI do NOT recommend anyone leave the church to be baptized. If you want to be baptized, go ahead but don’t announce it like I did. My mission in life is different from yours. I am aware of several thousand who have been baptized. By the way, if anyone baptized reads this and has not yet submitted their name to Keith for recording, please do so before the deadline of July 1st. I wanted my name on that permanent record that will be presented in the temple when it is built. I want the Lord and the powers of heaven to see I am not ashamed to stand up and be counted.

I recognize I am a bit of a rebel, a risk-taker and a troublemaker. I am not afraid of doing what I feel the Lord has asked me to do. I know so many of my friends in the LDS Church are upset with me for what I have done and am doing. My answer is always the same. I spent just as much if not more time investigating the writings of Denver Snuffer as Brigham Young did when he investigated Mormonism. Hundreds of hours in study and prayer have led me to where I am today. No LDS Leader can say I didn’t follow the prophet – search, ponder and pray. I did.

The standard answer – I know, because I have received it in so many private emails from friends in my current and former stakes – is that I have been deceived. They shake their heads and make references to “even the very elect.” Fine. You think what you will. I understand. I tell you I am more certain of my path in life now than I have ever been at any time in the past. But my path may not be for you. Do as you feel directed by the Lord in prayer. There are so many who are doing a marvelous work in their wards and stakes by sharing truth quietly and with discretion.

One final word: please stop telling me over and over how important it is to focus on the Lord and not on Denver Snuffer. Don’t you think I know that? Everything Denver is doing is inviting us to rise up and come unto Christ – to come into His presence. I have a calling, an election and a sure promise as to that blessed event in my own life. I have years of work ahead of me. I know what I am doing and why I am doing it. Denver is a servant, a teacher, a witness. He cannot save you or me. We must come into the presence of Christ for that. Wake up people. I get it. Do you?


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