The Necessity of Being Baptized Again


VenturaHarborMarinaParkI am being baptized this Sunday morning in the Ventura harbor. I am 57 years old. You may ask why this is necessary if I have already been baptized when I was eight years old. I am not being baptized into a church. I am not currently a member of any church. This ordinance is between me and the Lord, a symbol of my desire to be obedient to words delivered through His servant. Here are a few reasons why I have chosen to be baptized again, at this late stage in my life:

1) I want to show the Lord I accept the message delivered by his servant.

2) I believe the words used should be “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ …”

3) I believe the person who baptizes should pray mightily to receive power to baptize.

4) I believe the LDS Church has lost the commission to baptize. It needs to be renewed.

5) I believe the ordinance of baptism for the living should be performed in living water.

6) Denver quoted the Lord, saying, “This commandment has been renewed today.”

Everything that follows is taken from the tenth lecture delivered last week to support these points. I knew I had to act upon the message delivered as a sign of faith and in order to show the Lord I wanted the promised blessings. I confirmed with the Lord in prayer he has accepted of my preparations as found in D&C 20:37 of offering Him a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He has promised me additional blessings I cannot share once I act upon what he has commanded.

Source: Preserving The Restoration, Denver Snuffer 9-9-14 Lecture 10 Mesa, AZ

Baptism is a Sign of Acceptance

“Baptism has always been required from the days of Adam until the present. Baptism is always the sign of acceptance of what God is doing in each generation. If He acts again now (and He is), then we need to recognize that and respond. Baptism is a mandatory sign of penitence; turning and facing God, and then walking in a new path. From the days of Adam, it will continue through the end of the millennium. Whenever there has been believing people upon the earth, they have always been invited to perform the ordinance of baptism as a sign of their faith.”

“…true religion, when it is present on earth, always exists as a community of believers. Community is required. If we don’t have a community then we cannot be willing to mourn with those that mourn. We cannot comfort those that stand in need of comfort. We cannot stand as a witness to one another of God at all times and of all places. (Mosiah 18: 9) We cannot bear one another’s burdens that they may be light, (Mosiah 18: 8) as is required by the Gospel and by the covenant of baptism. None of this can be done without fellowship between believers. – page 12

Use the Words Given by Christ

Christ gave the baptism prayer, word for word. This is in 3 Nephi Chapter 11, beginning at verse 19. “And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet. And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him. And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven. And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize.”

Christ did not touch them, He said to them, “I give you power to baptize.” Although the record is incomplete, these disciples in all likelihood had previously been ordained. But Christ was renewing His church when He came. All that was needed to obtain the power to baptize was (and is) for Christ to tell you. – page 13 “…and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.” – Page 16

Authority Received From God in Prayer

How then does the authority to baptize come? Well, once John the Baptist came and laid his hand on Joseph, we have had a practice of continuing to lay hands on one another to confer Aaronic Priesthood, and we ought to continue to respect that tradition. But before any of you baptize any other of you, get Christ’s “word” for yourself through the Spirit. It is the same thing Alma did in Mosiah chapter 18. If you go to Mosiah chapter 18, verse 12, before he baptized, Alma “stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart. And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him.”

He got the authority to baptize by the Spirit. If you are going to use the priesthood to perform a baptism, no matter what the Church has told you, no matter what quorum leaders and respected others, including your own father perhaps, have taught you, before you do so, ask God to give you the authority. Get the “word” from Christ through the Spirit, just as Alma did. His example is in the scriptures to teach us the way. We have lost it, and need to reclaim it. If you get power to baptize, you get it from Him and you are not dependent on someone else. But get the power from Him. Power is required. It must come from Christ. The pattern must be followed. – Page 14

The Church has Lost the Commission

John the Baptist when he restored the authority, in Joseph Smith History, verse 69 said: “which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”

The Gospel of repentance is turning to face God. Baptism by immersion is for the remission of sins. John’s declaration does not say that this authority will not ever be taken from the church; it says it will not be taken from “the earth.” It was restored to remain on the earth. No matter what happens among those that choose to abuse one another, it needs to be preserved by a faithful few so that it does not cease from the earth. It is still here, though it has been much neglected and it has been much abused. But with you, renew it, using Alma’s example. – Page 14

Performed with Authority and Power

After Alma repented, but before he used any authority to baptize, he asked God to give him power. God, seeing penitence on the earth, respected it, and poured out His Spirit upon him so that Alma could baptize with power. The proof of that was found not merely in what Alma experienced with the Spirit empowering him to perform the ordinance, but also in the effect the ordinance itself had upon both Helam and Alma who himself went into the water at the same time. The Spirit was poured out upon them. Renew the power to baptize in this same manner. Alma and Christ’s disciples got authority from Christ’s “word” spoken to them by the power of the Spirit.

Likewise, we need to have a renewed community. Not an organization, but a fellowship. Not a hierarchy, but a group of equals. The community needs to be renewed. Men who have been ordained already, should renew this in the manner just described in the example of Alma. Have a community of believers. Be accepted by them. But before acting ask God to pour out His Spirit to give power. – Page 15

Living Ordinances in Living Water

Continuing then with what Christ said in 3 Nephi Chapter 11, verse 22: “And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water…”

I would recommend if at all possible that water for a living ordinance be performed in living water. I would not perform this in a font constructed by man. I would use the things God created. You are trying to connect to God. Use what He created. I recognize that there may be circumstances where that becomes impossible. … I would recommend when you go stand in the water that it be living water. – page 16

This Commandment is Renewed Today

I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command recorded in the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God, and confirmed again today! “And there shall be no disputations  among you,  as  there  have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another.”

Do it in this way. If someone disputes and says, “They ought not be doing it, and you ought not be doing it,” leave it alone. Don’t fight. Don’t quarrel, but invite, persuade. If they are not persuaded, let them go. If you invite and they will not come, let them go. If you entice, if you entreat, and they say, “We will not hear your entreaty,” then let them go. There is no need to harbor ill will and to fight with people. – Page 17

Like Unto the Waters of Mormon

Update: Carol and I went to scope out the exact spot for the baptism. We decided Harbor Cove Beach would be better than Marina Park Beach. It’s a short walk and the water is calm behind the breakwater. We have been there many times in the twelve years we have lived in Camarillo. It is about 15-20 minutes from our house. There will probably be a few families there Sunday morning about 11am when we arrive for the baptism, but that’s OK. After two days of searching, the spirit confirmed to me this the right spot.

For those attending the baptism in Ventura this Sunday 21 Sep 2014, we are meeting at my home first for the sacrament and a prayer meeting at 10am. Address: 2481 Balmoral Ct, Camarillo CA 93010. We will then drive the 15-20 minutes to Harbor Cove Beach. You are welcome to attend the baptism as a witness and are welcome to join us in the prayer meeting at my home first.

We don’t expect more than a dozen participants and witnesses. This is not being done as part of an organized community. I asked someone to come baptize me and a good brother who happened to be approved by a Utah community volunteered since he is in LA this weekend. I am grateful and took him up on his offer. Others heard about it and decided to join us, some from far away.

HarborCoveBeach

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.

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.

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus


Jesus_Heals_Young_ManRemember the Savior

One of my goals this year is to remember the Savior in a more tangible manner. To me, that means being able to relate the stories of Jesus from memory. The best way to know the Savior is to meet him. The next best way is by study and by faith. Since I haven’t met the Savior yet in this life, I’ve decided to do the next best thing – write in my own words what I know about Him.

A New Story Each Week

The beauty of this project is that I get to pick and choose what I feel inspired to tell in each post. I don’t promise to write every week, but I’m going to try. My apologies to Yoda – I’m not a Jedi Knight. You know the line, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Therefore his sage advice, a nice line from George Lucas, is not reality yet. I’m not quite at that level today. Some days I get too busy.

Jesus Christ is Real

It’s kind of funny I would think of Yoda in this first post of what I hope will be a regular series. Yoda is a small but powerful, inspiring and motivational character. However, he came from the imagination of George Lucas. On the other hand, Jesus Christ is a real person. The evidence of his existence is so great that only the most skeptical persons claim he is but a myth or legend.

Third of World is Christian

Jesus, while not small – I’ve been told He is about 6’2” or 6’3” by those who claim to have seen him – is also a powerful, inspiring and motivational individual. There are more people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ than any other person who ever lived on this earth. According to the 2011 Pew Report on Global Christianity, a third of the world population today is Christian.

Jesus Has Power Over the Spirits

One of the most remarkable attributes of the Savior, and the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Him, is His power over the adversary. Specifically, when I think of Jesus, I think of the many examples we have of Him healing those who are afflicted by evil or unclean spirits. I define evil spirits as those never mortal. Unclean spirits are the dead who hide from the light.

Definition of Evil Spirits

To be even more specific, evil spirits specifically chose to reject a mortal experience. They are not neutral. They follow Lucifer, or the devil, and do his bidding. They are controlled by him. There are those who believe these spirits can repent, believe in Christ and experience mortality. I’m not convinced this is possible, although I’ve studied arguments for each side. I remain open.

Difference of Unclean Spirit

I use the term unclean spirits because that’s a phrase found in the scriptures. It defines those who were once mortal, have died, yet have not found peace and rest in the light of paradise. They are for one reason or another, tied to something, someone or some idea in this life. They either do not believe in Jesus Christ or do not want to believe. They are lost, confused and miserable.

Yes, They are Like Ghosts

Because they have not gone to the light, they wander the earth, seeking whatever it is that keeps them bound, unable to experience it without a physical body. For this reason, they seek to find mortals who are willing to let them co-habit their mortal bodies, or just hang around with them. No, I can’t prove it and neither can you unless you can see into the spirit world all around us.

Example of Power Over Fear

You may ask why I think of such a negative concept as evil and unclean spirits when I think of Jesus. Why not think of His many examples of teaching, showing love, kindness, tenderness and mercy? Trust me, as the year rolls on, I will relate those stories and how they have affected me. Today, I start by proclaiming the power of Jesus over fear, one of the principal tools of the devil.

Prophets Saw Christ Healing Others

In the Book of Mormon (1 Ne 11:31), Nephi was shown a vision of the life of the Savior. I find it interesting he was careful to bear witness of seeing “multitudes of people who were sick, and were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits…And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.”

Afflictions Can Affect the Mind

I can relate to this verse. It speaks to me. I have been sick many times in my life. Afflicted is the right word to use when speaking of diseases. I define a disease as a sickness that lingers or will not go away. I note carefully that Nephi saw devils and unclean spirits in association with those who were sick and afflicted with disease. Such affliction can affect the mind as well as the body.

Jesus Went Around Healing People

To me, it is wonderful to know that healing the sick and afflicted is one of the main things Jesus did as he went about teaching the multitudes. What greater good can you do for someone than to heal them? I can think of only two greater gifts. One is the gift of the resurrection and the other is the gift of eternal life, which is the promise of sharing all that God has. He wants us to have that.

Faith in Christ Helps Healing

Later in the book of Mormon (3 Ne 17:5-10) Jesus asks the people to bring Him their sick and afflicted. Note carefully the words He used, “…I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.” When I am sick or afflicted as I have been for most of the past year (constant headaches), I do all the medical experts tell me. But ultimately, healing is a matter of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Afflictions Can Draw us to Christ

I have learned a lot in this past year of affliction. It’s easy to say, “Oh, it’s just part of life. It’s simply the result of too much close work with the computer for the last thirty-five years.” Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. I look upon it now as an opportunity for me to develop greater faith and specifically faith in Jesus Christ. I never thought I would say this affliction is for my own good.

God Chastens Those He Loves

Yet that’s how I feel now. We can read many places in the scriptures the Lord chastens those he loves (Heb 12:5-11, Prov 3:11-12, Rev 3:19, D&C 95:1, D&C 101:2-5, D&C 136:31). I confess it’s hard to feel loved when my head aches so much I can barely concentrate sufficiently to get my work done each day. I’ve always wanted to lose weight. I’ve lost thirty or forty pounds now.

Sometimes We Hinder our Healing

Maybe my subconscious mind is trying to help me. Maybe this pain is the only way the Lord could answer my prayer. I share with Him my goals. He knows I want to be healthy so I can serve Him and provide for my family. There’s a lot more I could do like be more consistent in exercise and diet. I wonder if I haven’t been fighting against the Lord’s efforts to bless me.

My Personal Witness

You may ask why I attribute this affliction to the adversary and not to some natural cause. Oh, I’m sure the day will come, once the headaches go away, it will be easy to look back and say, “You’re better now because you lost weight, or because we found the right combination of drugs or because you changed your diet,” or some other logical, Western, left-brained explanation.

Fasting May be Required

This affliction started with an event that convinced me the adversary was involved. You can read my story at this link if you haven’t already. I feel like Job in a small way. I am also convinced my healing will be the result of a newfound or enhanced faith in Jesus Christ that I did not have before. Faith is an amazing thing, but sometimes, it takes fasting to get rid of some afflictions.

Story of Jesus Casting Out a Spirit

That’s the first story I want to tell. It can be found in Matt 17:14-21 or Mark 9:14-29. It’s the story of Jesus casting a deaf and dumb spirit out of a young man, just one of several similar instances we have recorded in the scriptures. Casting out devils is evidence of the power, love and mercy the Lord has for us. It is one of the signs of his divinity, witnessed in vision by Nephi.

The Disciples Failed to Cast Out Spirit

One day, Jesus came down from the mountain with some of his apostles. They found a large group of people gathered around some of his disciples. Jesus asked what the commotion was all about. A man answered him and explained he had asked the disciples of Jesus to heal his son, but they were unable to do so. Jesus seemed a little exasperated. He commented about a lack of faith.

The Young Man had Seizures

Jesus then asked to have the afflicted young man brought to him. As soon as the young man saw Jesus he fell down and “wallowed foaming.” Some have interpreted that to be an epileptic fit. Jesus asked how long the young man had been like this. The young man’s father said the boy had suffered like that since he was a child. He described how the boy would fall into the fire or river.

Fear Can Hinder Faith to be Healed

This father was beside himself with grief and pled with Jesus to help his son. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to those that believe.” The man said, “Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief.” The father was frightened for his son. He wanted to believe Jesus could heal his son, but had already seen the disciples of Jesus fail in their attempt. Fear had killed his faith.

The Young Man is Healed

Jesus then rebuked the foul spirit by saying, “Thou deaf and dumb spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.” In modern language we might say something similar to this: “I command the evil spirit in this young man to leave his body and never come back.” The young man stopped thrashing about. Some of the people said the boy looked like he might be dead.

Jesus Admonishes Fasting

But Jesus took the young man by the hand and helped him stand up. The scriptures say the young man was never afflicted again. Later, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast the spirit out of the young man. Jesus explained it was because of their unbelief. In other words, they didn’t have enough faith yet. “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

What We Can Learn From This

From this and many other similar stories, both recorded in the scriptures and in our early church history, we learn two important things. First, it takes a lot of faith in Jesus Christ to cast out evil spirits. Second, it may require subduing our own bodies through fasting both to make our own spirits more sensitive and to show the Lord we are serious about wanting the blessing of healing.

Done In The Name of Christ

I have both seen spirits cast out of people and have cast spirits out of myself and others. Some say it requires priesthood. I disagree. Women can cast out spirits. The scripture teaches it takes faith. It says nothing about requiring priesthood. All it requires is faith in Jesus Christ. Casting out spirits is not something we should fear. Hollywood movies make the process look horrible.

Some People Have Gift of Healing

More and more people are coming to an understanding of how this works. It is a real sign of faith in Jesus Christ. Some people have the gift to heal more powerfully developed than others. I have seen much evidence of natural healers who were successful because of their faith. They always used the name of Christ. He honored their faith. I am grateful for this powerful story of Jesus.

An Invitation to Open Dialog

As always, your comments are welcome. Healing is one of my favorite subjects to discuss.

Denver Snuffer Excommunicated


PassingHeavenlyGiftDenver Snuffer recently posted the news on his blog that he has been excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy. It was not unexpected by most who are familiar with his writings. This morning, before I learned the news, I received the email below from a reader regarding Denver and my many posts about what he has written. I asked for the writer’s permission to share it here on my blog so I could respond publically. He agreed.

My response to a private email on Denver

Warning: If you have any feelings of love, support, friendship or sympathy for Denver Snuffer, this email will make you sit up and think as it did me. The writing is strong and passionate. [Update: see comment below: Strong writing is protected speech as it is opinion about a public figure.] Let’s please be clear up front these are not my words. It is my intention to defend against these claims, based solely on what I have read of Denver Snuffer and my feelings as a follower of Jesus Christ. Denver doesn’t need me to defend him, but I feel the desire to do so.

Loss of Temple Recommend Over Reading a Book

Now that the excommunication is official [see my note below], and even though I’ve already addressed it in two previous posts, I recognize my public expressions of sympathy for Denver Snuffer, whom I have never met, could conceivably disqualify me for a temple recommend. The question is “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

Update: The church has not and has said they will not comment on Denver’s official status as a member of the church. Therefore, I have no problem with reading his material, listening to his recorded lectures or attended meetings at which he speaks. I can answer the temple recommend question truthfully that I do not support, affiliate with, or agree with any … individual whose teachings are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the LDS Church.

Divisiveness Over Denver’s Book

Here is the email, with some identifying information left out:

—— Start of email ——–

“…the last thing I want to do is to pick a fight with a Snufferite.  Nevertheless, I saw your blog, so now I am commenting, as I can’t understand how you think the way you do.  I am not a fan of Denver Snuffer.  I was introduced to Denver Snuffer’s work by a former friend of mine … who is a friend of Snuffer.  We are no longer friends, mostly because of disagreements over Denver Snuffer.

Denver is Labeled a Liar

“I have his Second Comforter book, and find the THEOLOGY impressive.  In fact, I find almost ALL of Denver Snuffer’s theology impressive.  I actually AGREE with the idea of a second comforter experience while in the flesh, but that is not impressive in the sense that it is actually more common than we think, as a lot of mundane people out there have had it.  And so, Denver Snuffer’s claim is not a unique one or a special one.  What is unique, and what makes him a liar is the fact that he claims a commission from the Savior.  He is out of order.

Claims Denver Is Seeking A Following

“I HAD the book PTHG but quickly disposed of it after I read it (not impressed).  It as well is very useful in certain aspects but I didn’t want to own a copy, to be frank.  It is his worst book.  Not the facts presented in the book, but the interpretation of them.  It made me irritated that Denver Snuffer is capitalizing on certain facts to gain a following.  Yes, I stand by that statement.”

Says Denver Vilifies the Lord’s Anointed

“He vilifies the Strengthening of the Members committee.  He vilifies the Lord’s anointed that has received revelation on Snuffer’s need to be disciplined.  And sorry [but] Snuffer publically vilified his own stake president for his own political gain, in hopes that he could affect the outcome of his trial.

Calls Denver Snuffer a False Prophet

“I’m sorry, but this is what makes Denver Snuffer such a subtle false prophet: Because his Theology IS so believable, and IS mostly so much on track.  It’s not that the Church does not need reform.  It’s that Denver Snuffer is the one taking it upon himself to proclaim that to the world.  Yeah, I’ve heard it all before.  Sorry.

Claims Denver Needs to be Humbled

“The prophet that will reform the Church will be a successor to Thomas S. Monson or to his successors, with actual keys, not some guy with a holier than thou complex.  Snuffer needs to be brought down off his high horse.  He needs discipline, and I hope he is excommunicated.  His attitude is apostate through and through.

Says Denver Has Not Seen Jesus Christ

“I don’t care how much he claims to support the brethren.  He does no such thing.  I find his THEOLOGY very useful for the most part.  But his attitude is that of an apostate with a cloven tongue.  He is not a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is a liar and has not seen Jesus Christ.

Warns Us to Withdraw Support for Denver

“Jesus Christ would have told him to stand down and submit to the keys of the priesthood before he got to this point if he was truly in communication personally with him.  It’s all hogwash.  And so, I just thought I would give you my opinion, though you being a Snufferite so it seems will be another one probably with deaf ears to someone like me that tries to warn people about actual false prophets.  I would advise you to withdraw your support for Snuffer.”

———— End of Email —————–

What You Can Expect From Me

My personal rules of engagement are that I will not attack an individual for making statements that I believe are unsupported. I also desire to find unity in my responses. I attempt to compose my sentences in such a way that they are not offensive, but thought-provoking. I have tried to have an open mind about the writings of Denver Snuffer from the day I was introduced to them.

My Personal Investment of Study and Prayer

I also want you to know up front, if you haven’t read any of my previous posts about Denver Snuffer, and I have written over a dozen, that I have read most everything Denver has published or made available publically. I have also listened to many of his lectures and pondered both the lectures and the writings. What’s more I have prayed specifically about the content of both.

The Book Puts the Church in a Negative Light

The Church did the right thing. I know that sounds harsh, but too many people were bothered by Denver’s book. The Stake President’s letter spells it out. I can’t speak to the mischaracterization of doctrine because I’m not a scholar, but yes, I can see how you can say Denver denigrated just about every prophet since Joseph Smith. And there is no doubt the book puts the church in a negative light. Quoting the SP, “Your work pits you against the institution of the church.” Yep.

Some say Denver Snuffer is Now an Apostate

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now. You can officially call Denver Snuffer an apostate if you feel so inclined. He was specifically excommunicated for apostasy, or even more specifically for an act of apostasy, which was the publication of the book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. Wow. That concerns me. As I considered in a previous post, can an individual be disciplined for expressing opinions about the church in a personal blog that just happens to be open to the public? Yes. [See my comment to Tom below - this is NOT official news from the church.]

Reading the Words of an [Alleged] Apostate

I have been questioned by those who love me and by some who read my blog why I have such an interest in the writings of Denver Snuffer. The simple answer: I don’t know. I find something in them that satisfies my soul. I don’t consider myself a scholar or an intellectual. I just like some of the explanations and exhortations I find in Denver’s books, especially in Passing the Heavenly Gift. So is it wrong to read the words of an apostate? I thought we are to seek for knowledge.

Seek Out of the Best Books

I started reading Denver’s books so I could answer the question when asked, “What do you think of his latest book?” I had to seek the book out, purchase it online and then invest the time to read, study, ponder and pray. I’ve related that experience in a previous post. Others have had contrary experiences, but for me, reading PtHG was an enlightening and spiritually uplifting experience. It did not contain new information, at least in the first two thirds, but it had a powerful ending.

Finding Good in Some Bad History

The book gave me hope. For years I had felt something was amiss in my worship experience. I thought perhaps if I studied more, prayed with greater intensity or tried all that much harder to be submissive and obedient to what I thought the Lord wanted me to do, things would improve. They didn’t. I was not finding joy in my service in the kingdom. I know that’s my own personal problem, one only I could fix. Reading PtHG gave a voice for the feelings I was experiencing.

The Church Holds the Keys

I love this church, this religion, this gospel and the people who embrace it. I love to associate with the Saints. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I could not do what Denver has done. I need the sacrament each week and the temple as often as possible. The church holds the keys to my admittance to the temple. I will do what the church says to do in order to get into the temple.

I Need The Church Each Week

I need the sacrament each week. I am a sinful man. I make mistakes. I need the atonement and believe that comes through repentance and partaking of the sacrament frequently. I love to serve in this church. I’ll accept any calling and appreciate my opportunity to serve the stake presidency as an assistant stake financial clerk. I would be just as happy serving as a primary teacher. I love to teach the gospel either from the pulpit or from the front of a classroom. I need those things.

I Also Need Freedom to Write

Even though I agree with what the church has done in excommunicating Denver, I am troubled now that this action has taken place. He did not lose his membership because of any issue with the moral code of the church. His Stake President said he was worthy of a temple recommend just last Sunday. The problem was over freedom to express himself in writing. Yes, that is why I am so interested in this case. I grow as I write. I learn as I write. It is the way I study the gospel.

Some Specific Responses to the Email

I am not a Snufferite. I do not follow a man. I follow Jesus Christ. I do not believe Denver Snuffer is a liar. I believe him when he writes he has been ministered to by Jesus Christ. I accept his claim that he received a commission from the Savior to write at least his first book on the Second Comforter. I also believe he wrote Passing the Heavenly Gift under the inspiration of the Lord. I know it’s a controversial book. It’s not for everyone. My wife won’t read it. It scares her.

A Commission From the Savior

I don’t believe Denver is seeking a following. He has specifically stated he is not looking for a people to lead. He said his purpose was to add his witness that we can commune with the Lord in a personal and direct way. I suppose he was asked to write that first book to show that a regular member like you or me can receive the Second Comforter. He lays out the steps to achieve it. Such a goal is the meat of the gospel – to be ministered to by Jesus Christ and to hear His voice.

A Man of Humility Who Loves the Lord

I don’t believe Denver to be a false prophet. Everyone who has the testimony of Jesus Christ is a prophet. Denver has not asked us to leave the church. On the contrary, he encourages us to be as faithful as we can, to love and serve our fellow members. I do not sense pride in the writings of Denver Snuffer. I sense the opposite. He comes across as a humble man, a man who wants to do the will of the Lord. He is sacrificing a lot to do what he feels the Lord has asked him to do.

A Man Trying to Do the Lord’s Will

No man is perfect. So what if he rides a Harley (gasp!). So what if he occasionally lets slip an expletive like hell or damn most conservative LDS would never use in public or private. I do not know how I would respond if the Lord asked me to do something that would eventually get me excommunicated. If the Lord really asked Denver to write PtHG as a tool to help some of those who it helped (and I have letters from them to prove it), then he was doing as he was directed.

A Threat to the Church and Weak Members

Don’t tell me I am being double-minded, saying the church did the right thing while at the same time defending Denver for doing what he says he has been directed to do. I do not fault the church. I agree with the action taken. Denver was too much of a threat for most members of the church.  I am impressed that Denver would do what he felt the Lord wanted him to do – write that book – even though he probably knew at the time it would eventually get him disciplined.

Follow Your Own Inner Voice

Is Denver out of order? Does he sustain the Brethren? You’ll have to answer those questions for yourselves. But for goodness sake, don’t judge the man without at least making some small effort to get to know him. Read his blog. Read his books. If after doing so you feel what he writes is not for you, so be it. If you pray and the spirit tells you to not read his books, so be it. What he writes is not for everyone. All I know is his books helped me. I’m glad he wrote them.

Not a Follower of Denver Snuffer

I don’t think I’ve added much new in this post I haven’t written before. I would like to write a review of his Boise lecture once I receive the CDs later this week. I read from a friend who was there, the CDs were delayed. They hoped to be able to burn them on the spot. I’m sure Doug will fill the orders as quick as he can. I look forward to reading what others have said who were there. If you attended the lecture, perhaps you could leave a few comments here on what you thought.

Don’t Believe His Teachings Are Contrary

The bottom line for me is that I feel impressed of the spirit to continue in my quest to understand what Denver Snuffer has shared. I need to finish some of his books and intend to re-read parts of PtHG and especially The Second Comforter. I learn something new each time I invest the time to read and ponder what I can apply that will bring me closer to my goal of opening the heavens and be taught what the Lord wants me to know. In the meantime I will serve here as best I can.

We do not Encourage Compulsion

I’ll make no broad statements condemning anyone who says Denver is a liar. I am not offended if you call him an apostate. According to our church, he is. But don’t tell me what I can and can’t read or believe. Amen to the priesthood of any man who tries to exercise control or compulsion on the souls of men. Force is not the way of the Lord. Neither is fear. We should not be afraid to learn something new and then make up our own minds if it is useful or helpful to us. God bless.

False Understanding of the Atonement


JesusInGardenI have some special feelings in my heart about the Savior. I have been taught all my life about Jesus Christ and have come to look to Him as one who will save me. From what, you ask? Well, the answers are obvious for those raised in the church – from death and hell. Those are Book of Mormon phrases. I have had some experience with both and frankly, I find them frightening.

I have documented my experience with death in several previous essays, but most clearly in my post on Dealing with Evil and Unclean Spirits written 6 Aug 2012. I suppose that is also the post that most clearly documents my experiences with evil as well. Since that time, I have had more recent experiences that caused me to feel the closeness of death and hell in my life once more.

My point is, like most men as they age, I think more and more about what the next life will be like and if I will enjoy it. My encounters with evil and feelings of death in this life convince me that there are parts of the next life – the spirit world – of which I do not want to be associated. In other words, I am a prime candidate for one of the purposes of religion – to prepare to meet God.

Spiritual Counsel from My Youth

In a recent post here on my blog, I wrote about some advice I was given by my Bishop as a youth nearly thirty-seven years ago as I prepared for my mission. I confessed sins common to many young men and hinted that perhaps the advice given by my bishop may have been unsound, or at least less than perfect. I shared that any mention of this particular sin continues to bother me.

In other words, I was expressing that I was perhaps not yet fully healed from youthful mistakes and wondered if any of my readers might have some advice for me to bring me greater peace. In particular, I discussed the process of being born of the spirit, of a book I had read on the subject that greatly influenced me and then included some troubling quotes from Miracle of Forgiveness.

Frankly, I was both delighted and surprised by the number and type of answers I received, both public and private. Some brethren expressed their gratitude that I had said something publically that they also felt – the ongoing sense of guilt when priesthood leaders mention the need to be free from this common indiscretion of youth, confess the sin to get counsel on how to proceed.

Duty to Call Others to Repent

I’ve never been a Bishop or Stake President, but I know I would say the same thing were I in their position. I’ve worked closely with such men over the past twenty-five years and sat in many disciplinary councils where I have seen the results of sin, especially sexual sin, in the lives of our members. Many of the brethren, and one sister, noted their problems began with pornography.

My point is I’m not finding fault with the over-the-pulpit call from the Stake President to the brethren of the priesthood to free themselves from these sins (pornography and masturbation). The point of my essay was how to deal with the twinge of guilt that one feels if one has been a past participant in such sins but has now repented and should feel clean and forgiven by God.

I’d like to offer some additional thoughts on the subject that I hope will be more uplifting and helpful to those who find themselves in a similar situation. I think I was under the mistaken impression that I was supposed to be perfect in regards to this particular sin once I had taken care of it with the Bishop of my youth. This was confirmed by many of you in the advice you offered.

Best advice – Lighten up

The most common advice I received was “Lighten up. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Nobody’s perfect.” Right next to that was the point made that even after being born of the spirit or for that matter, having one’s calling and election sure, man is going to sin, just because he is mortal. I guess I knew that intellectually but I think it has now sunk much deeper into my hard heart.

By hard heart – I mean towards myself. I was being overly tough on myself. I’ve related on this blog how I’ve had some wonderful spiritual experiences. I have felt like Nephi, “Oh wretched man that I am. When I want to rejoice, I remember my sins. (I’m paraphrasing).” The idea that a man can reach spiritual heights then fall back into weakness was a difficult one for me to accept.

Let’s be clear. I’m not advocating that one go indulging in all kinds of lasciviousness, but if one, in a moment of melancholy or loneliness, engages in this sin, the idea is to not beat yourself up about it to the point of becoming discouraged and losing hope. That’s what Satan wants. The idea is to pick yourself up (repent), ask for forgiveness, take the sacrament and try, try again.

Still Seeking Baptism of Fire

I know this is common sense and something I should understand and have dealt with long time ago. After all, I’ve been a member of this church for most of my 56 years, but for some reason, I have been laboring under the impression that one must be perfectly clean and pure in order to feel the spirit of the Lord. No so. One must simply be humble and willing to make greater effort.

Yes, I mean make a greater effort. We grow line upon line. Each time we pick ourselves up from some sin – and we all have sin – we must commit ourselves to dig a little deeper into the gospel, to understand it better. We must be willing to pray with more intensity and heartfelt sincerity, and find the strength the Lord has promised to those who turn unto him in spite of a sinful nature.

I am still on a quest. This blog will continue to document that journey. I intend to either receive the baptism of fire – perhaps I already have and don’t know it – or receive an audience with the Lord. I intend to receive angels, be taught what I must do to prepare for this interview and then to go and do. I readily confess I am deeply influenced by the writings of Denver Snuffer here.

Scholarly Approach to the Gospel

Now I’d like to move on the real point of this post. One good brother who responded to my previous post invited me to engage in a private dialog on the doctrine of the atonement. He indicated that I do not really understand the atonement and because of that, I am laboring under a false impression about the nature of sin, how repentance works and what the atonement is all about.

In order to educate me, he has proposed that I read a private document on the subject authored by Daymon M. Smith. You may be familiar with the man. He self-published a humorous book a few years back about working in the Church Office Building called The Book of Mammon. I thought about purchasing and reading it but reviews indicated my conservative side might not enjoy it.

I’ve read some of Daymon’s blog and frankly, he is way over my head. I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy, but I’m no PhD. Put me in a room full of Microsoft networking equipment and I’m right at home. Ask me to write a scholarly paper that contributes a greater understanding to the commonly accepted literature on a subject like the atonement and I’m out of my league.

False Understanding of Atonement

However, I promised I would accept his challenge so I have committed to read this 45-page paper and write my response. My point is that the Book of Mormon teaches that God offered His Son as a sacrifice for sin. We call that the atonement. He contends that this is a false teaching called penal substitution that comes from Sidney Rigdon, Alexander Campbell and Calvinites.

He says it is a teaching of the Great and Abominable Church and that it binds men down and brings them into captivity with a yoke of iron. He indicates that this false teaching needs to be purged in order to see clearly and understand the mission of Jesus Christ. I told him I could offer quite a few Book of Mormon scriptures that teach Heavenly Father sacrificed His Son for us.

Perhaps I can share a few of them here as a start to my gospel study this week but it just seems a little ludicrous. I’ve been teaching the doctrine of the Atonement since I was seventeen years old and was first called to teach a Sunday school class. So I’ve been teaching false doctrine for the past forty years? Maybe you can join in and tell me what you think of a few of these scriptures.

A Few Scriptures on Sacrifice

2 Ne 2:7 – “Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.” OK, this doesn’t say the Father offered the Son. It says the Son offered Himself. Score one for Daymon and my unnamed friend. This is only the first scripture that came to mine.

Jacob 4:5 – “…it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son.” OK, this one to me seems pretty clear. It says Abraham offering Isaac is a similitude of God offering his Son. I believe the point should go to me on that one. What say ye?

Alma 34:10 – “For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.” Score two for Daymon. This scripture does not specifically say that the Father shall offer the son as a sacrifice for sin as I thought.

Alma 34:14 – “And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.” This one is debatable. It refers to the Son of God being the great and last sacrifice, but doesn’t specifically say that it is the Father that sacrifices the son. So I’ll call this one a draw.

Melvin J Ballard on Father’s sacrifice

In the case of our Father, the knife was not stayed, but it fell, and the life’s blood of his Beloved Son went out. His Father looked on with great grief and agony over his Beloved Son, until there seems to have come a moment when even our Savior cried out in despair: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

In that hour I think I can see our dear Father behind the veil looking upon these dying struggles until even he could not endure it any longer; and, like the mother who bids farewell to her dying child, has to be taken out of the room, so as not to look upon the last struggles, so he bowed his head, and hid in some part of his universe, his great heart almost breaking for the love that he had for his Son.

Oh, in that moment when he might have saved his Son, I thank him and praise him that he did not fail us, for he had not only the love of his Son in mind, but he also had love for us. I rejoice that he did not interfere, and that his love for us made it possible for him to endure to look upon the sufferings of his Son and give him finally to us, our Savior and our Redeemer.

Without him, without his sacrifice, we would have remained, and we would never have come glorified into his presence. And so this is what it cost, in part, for our Father in Heaven to give the gift of his Son unto men.

Source: New Era Jan 76 Classic Discourses, Sacramental Covenant

Penal Substitution is the Difficulty

I’m not quite sure what my friend is trying to teach me or why he wanted to point out that my / our understanding of the atonement is wrong or false doctrine. I will read Daymon’s essay on the atonement and see what points I can derive that will help draw me closer to my Savior. I desire a true understanding of what He has done for me and what exactly it is that He requires of me.

From our email dialog I think he is trying to say that the Atonement has nothing to do with paying a debt, but that did not enter into the dialog from my side. I wanted to focus on the idea of the Atonement being a sacrifice – both on the part of the Son and from the Father. That’s why I included Elder Ballard’s classic talk on the feelings of the Father as he watched His son’s death.

The paper seems to focus on the idea of penal substitution. Yes, I get that. It seems to be part of our doctrine that Christ paid for our sins. In other words he suffered things such as guilt and shame so we would not have to. For some reason, if I understand the paper correctly from a quick review, this is supposedly a false doctrine. I’ll write my summary when I complete it.

By the way, I’ve been asked if this 45-page PDF draft paper is available for sharing. My source has indicated that it will be published later this year but asked that I not share it for now. Sorry about that..

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