By Study and Also By Faith

ssalem-thoughtsWhen the Interwebz first began to crawl (1993 – See history of Mosaic), browsers didn’t have “Favorites.” Instead, we created lists of links in raw HTML code and made it our home page. The tradition continues today with blogrolls. I update my list about once a year, sorting it by Alexa rankings. Number 150 on my current list is Russell Anderson’s Thoughts from Salem.

When I first started blogging, I would link to articles on Russell’s previous site, because it had a wealth of LDS information I was unable to find elsewhere. Russell sold that site a while back, contacted me about his current site and we began a correspondence. Knowing I was going to be in his neck of the woods this week, we made arrangements to meet for lunch.

I was delighted to discover a kindred spirit with much in common. We are both computer guys, love to study the gospel, have a strong desire to share our research and have a similar journey in what we have concluded. We both started our online efforts with the intent of defending the LDS Church, then came to realize there was something not quite right with the official LDS narrative.

The Church was Rejected

nauvoo-temple-daguerreotypeFor example, in D&C 124 the Lord said the church would be rejected if it did not complete the Nauvoo temple in a timely manner. The Lord desired to restore the fullness of the priesthood which He had taken away. The official church narrative is that the temple was completed. On his website, Russell provides a detailed chronology of the Nauvoo temple showing it was otherwise.

This is a big deal. You’ve really got to think about the implications of what happened in Nauvoo. If the fullness of the priesthood was taken away, and the Lord said it was, then how is it possible the LDS Church can claim to have that priesthood today? The church has gone to great lengths to show the temple was completed, thus the fullness of the priesthood had to have been restored.

Anybody who considers the list of cursings the Lord promised in that section will realize they were each realized. The Lord did not reveal any new ordinances in the Nauvoo temple. He did not reveal things hid from before the foundation of the world. Instead, the saints were moved out of their place by their enemies. They received cursings, wrath, indignations and judgments.

Prophets and the Heavenly Council

The standard LDS interpretation of Amos 3:7 is that God will speak to his people through the prophets, specifically the fifteen men who carry the title of “prophet, seer and revelator.” The current mantra of the church, “follow the prophet” uses this verse as the foundation to support the idea of centralized hierarchical leadership, control and direction for the true people of God.

the-divine-councilNowhere else have I found what I consider to be the more correct interpretation of that verse than on Russell’s site. He presents a logical construction of the elements found in this scripture in such a way that, for me, brought a paradigm shift about how I can recognize a true prophet. He will be introduced to the Heavenly Council by God and will testify of having been so included.

The purpose of the Heavenly Council is not something you are taught about in the standard LDS curriculum. Of course it is referenced in Moses and especially Abraham (the Gods), but nowhere does the church teach that mortals can participate in such a council. Amos teaches us how God calls a prophet – He brings him into the Heavenly Council – then that man receives assignments.

The Doctrine of Christ

One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Christ and to bring us unto Christ. The doctrine of Christ is taught plainly by Nephi in 2 Nephi 32. He plainly teaches repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and coming unto Christ. The church used to understand and correctly teach that coming unto Christ meant to receive him in the flesh. They no longer do.

carl_bloch_the_christIn verse six we read, “Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”  Nephi is clearly saying Christ shall manifest himself unto you and teach you much more in person.

The church discounts that claim and instead teaches Nephi’s words were fulfilled when Christ came to the Americas after his resurrection. On his website, Russell presents us with a logical deconstruction of Nephi’s instructions about receiving Christ in the flesh. The purpose of the gospel is to prepare us to receive Christ in the flesh while yet mortal. It can’t be any clearer.

Hearing the Voice of God

The church teaches the higher priesthood can be passed from one man to another. This is not so. The higher priesthood is only received directly from God, by hearing his voice declare it. This is taught plainly in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, especially in Section 84. Others have also explained this fact, but Russell’s page on the subject presents a sound exegesis.

PassingHeavenlyGiftWe tend to overlook the fact that the ordination is simply an invitation to go and get the power. We do NOT receive the higher power of God by ordination. We MUST have the Lord declare it unto us by His own voice out the heavens. No earthly organization controls the power of God. He alone decides who receives it. President Packer understood and taught this a few years back.

In order to have the higher priesthood, we must receive Christ – literally, physically. There is an ordinance involved. Note I said ordinance, not ordination. The ordination invites the man to do all the Holy Ghost teaches him he must do to come into the presence of Christ. The Savior then confers power upon the man. That’s why the penalty for turning from the priesthood is so severe.

A Useful Website for Research

I could go on and on with great examples from Thoughts from Salem but it’s late and my intent was to simply introduce you to the site, express my opinion that it is a valuable resource and invite you to peruse it for some wonderful instructive content. This man has done his research and has provided some unique insights expressed in a logical, methodical and organized manner.

His page on Denver Snuffer is a great source for links that you may not have seen previously. His page containing links to those excommunicated from the LDS church for teaching contrary to the official doctrinal interpretation is noteworthy. Take a look at the Topics page for details on a few Mormon myths, the idea of multiple mortal probations before resurrection and quite a few more.

There is also a valuable page of links to LDS reference material such as older conference talks, periodicals and publications, books, scriptures, Joseph Smith sermons, papers and teachings. See also his page on succession in the presidency for evidence of historical inaccuracies. His post on D&C 136, Brigham’s only canonized revelation is especially revealing.


The Path of Discipleship

JST Luke 14

25 [T]here went great multitudes with him, and he turned and said unto them,

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, or husband, yea and his own life also; or in other words, is afraid to lay down his life for my sake, cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

28 Therefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.

29 For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have money to finish his work?

30 Lest, unhappily, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish his work, all who behold, begin to mock him,

31 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. And this he said, signifying there should not any man follow him, unless he was able to continue; saying,

32 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand, to meet him who cometh against him with twenty thousand.

33 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an embassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

34 So likewise, whosoever of you forsaketh not all that he hath he cannot be my disciple.

JesusTeachingWhat he is saying is, if you desire to be his disciple and to take him to be your Master, then commit to living his teachings in all things. If you fail in your discipleship, if you refuse the sacrifices commanded, then when you are in hell, the denizens thereof will hate you above others. If you know you cannot bear the loss of your career, your reputation, your home, your friends, your family, and even your life, then don’t start the path. Discipleship is not for you.

Religion, on the other hand, might seem to offer a way out. “If I follow the prophets, surely this would suffice, and I wouldn’t need to worry about losing all earthly things according to the teachings of Christ.”

35 Then certain of them came to him saying, Good Master, we have Moses and the prophets, and whosoever shall live by them, shall he not have life?

36 And Jesus answered, saying, Ye know not Moses, neither the prophets; for if ye had known them, ye would have believed on me; for to this intent they were written. For I am sent that ye might have life. Therefore I will liken it unto salt which is good;

37 But if the salt had lost its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

38 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dung hill; men cast it out. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear. These things he said, signifying that which was written, verily must all be fulfilled.

Matt712If you know these things and do not do them, you shall be cast out.

Hence, “ALL THINGS whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them, for this is the law and the prophets.”

What is the reward for following the teachings of Christ with diligence and exactness?

JST Matthew 10: 21 Remember, the disciple is not above his master; nor the servant above his lord. It is enough that the disciple be as his master, and the servant as his lord.

JST Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his master; but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

You will be even as Jesus is. It is possible to be perfect.

Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:125
125 And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

Charity is the bond of perfectness. And with it, you are even as God is while you are in this world.

JST 1 John 4
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

So how do we obtain charity? Is it developed over a lifetime of home teaching, temple work, and tithe-paying?

Moroni 7:48
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Follow in his word and pray for charity until you receive.

JST John 8
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

This is the path of discipleship.

JST Luke 6
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed are the poor; for theirs is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are they who hunger now; for they shall be filled. Blessed are they who weep now; for they shall laugh.

22 Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from among them, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy; for behold your reward shall be great in heaven; for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation.

25 Woe unto you who are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you who laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

27 But I say unto you who hear my words, Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you.

28 Bless them who curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.

29 And unto him who smiteth thee on the cheek, offer also the other; or, in other words, it is better to offer the other, than to revile again. And him who taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.

30 For it is better that thou suffer thine enemy to take these things, than to contend with him. Verily I say unto you, Your heavenly Father who seeth in secret, shall bring that wicked one into judgment.

31 Therefore give to every man who asketh of thee; and of him who taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.

32 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

33 For if ye love them only who love you, what reward have you? For sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what reward have you? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great; and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for he is kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.

39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?

40 A disciple is not above his master; but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

41 And why beholdest thou the mote which is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam which is in thine own eye?

42 Again, how canst thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam which is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote which is in thy brother’s eye.

43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit;

44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is good. And an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

46 And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like.

48 He is like a man who built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock, and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock.

49 But he who heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Escape From Idolatry

golden-statueI notice a pattern with people who escape idolatry. I would dare say it is nearly universal. It is perhaps the most difficult and treacherous path to navigate in this life, but if we endure to the end, it leads to the riches of eternity.

In the worst of idolatry, men and women will put their trust solely in external things. Usually this consists of pastors, bishops, preachers, ministers, and whatever books that happen to be approved within their belief system. If they run into a question or concern, they speak to the nearest “authority” on the subject, who has enough knowledge with the approved books to pacify the person and lull them back to sleep.

golden-calfIf the person keeps seeking greater truth, they will soon begin to see contradictions coming from the pulpit. The local “authority” will sometimes say things that are not coinciding with the approved books, and the seeker begins to see that the local authorities are fallible, and not to be trusted as far as Truth is concerned.

In the next phase the seeker will begin to seek the words of the “greater” leaders and “authorities.” They will seek the words of the founders of the religion, the dead prophets and popes, the great men and women of the belief system. The seeker will begin finding others who see the fallibility of the local leaders and they will enjoy seeking words of the greater leaders of the belief system.

money-idolatryEventually if the seeker persists in the journey, it will become clear that even the founders and the great ones of the belief system do not agree on all things. Hopefully the seeker at this point has begun to receive revelation and is developing his/her own relationship with God. Slowly their eyes are opened as they continue forward.

The next step in the pattern comes to a point where the seeker will cleave to THE ONE person that seems to have all the answers. THE ONE prophet, or pope, whether living or dead, who was or is guided by God. This will be THE ONE who was truly infallible because he/she was God’s voice, instrument, prophet, pope, king, or whatever the title may be. This also can come in the form of THE ONE book, THE ONE philosophy, THE ONE trustworthy source of Truth besides God.

golden-calf2If the seeker does not rest, and will truly endure to the end, at some point they will see that even THE ONE has things that are not true. This can only be done by receiving revelation line upon line on every subject that the one remaining idol has taught. Sometimes things outside of the one remaining idol are used as tools to help the seeker break the shackles.

It can be THE ONE book or idol that others have pointed too. It can be the Laotzis and the Buddhas and the Emmanuel Swedenborgs and the Apocryphas etc that point out truths that the one idol does not have and even teaches or has taught against, but the spirit will bear witness to.

golden-calf1Of course the last phase, and the only True Way is when the disciple learns to only trust in the Spirit of the Living God, the Spirit of Truth. When one enters this zone, Truth comes quickly from many avenues because the chains of idolatry have been broken. There is no damning limit to what the Spirit could tell you, because the only creed is Truth, wherever it may be found.

Outward authority never can exist to the true disciple, because the holy oil of God is giving truth to the inward vessel. The only things to conquer in this last phase are the devils and powers of darkness which will fight with desperation and fury. All of the powers of hell will be used to stop the seeker from becoming a holy disciple of God.

academic-idolatryAs one progresses from phase to phase in the escape of idolatry, the seeker will find less and less human companionship, but more and more association with the angels and righteous on the other side of the veil. Most are not willing to trade the outward forms of spirituality for the inward blessings of discipleship. To escape each phase, more strength is needed than to escape the last, and only the Lord can provide it.

food-as-an-idolIn each of these phases there will be many who will try to persuade you that you are in the right spot. You have made it to THE GROUP, to the elite, “you have escaped! This is the place!” the mortals and devils will call, yet the seeker must learn to heed the call of The Only One that matters.

Of course many would call the seeker a person that “picks and chooses.” They will call it a “buffet style” approach and call the wisdom of God foolishness. “You can’t just pick and choose!” will be the voice of the devil. “You can’t trust personal revelation!” They will say you must check it with all of the idols and if it doesn’t match up it must be discarded. Think deeper about some verses in Matt 13:41-50

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I pray God’s blessings upon each of us as we shed idolatry and falsehood, and come unto the Truth. Those who will not be cast into the furnace of fire will be those who have sold all the filth, who have cast all the bad away, before the coming of the Lord.

The Beginning Of Zion

isaiah-recording-revelationIn the beginning there were a handful of prophets, male and female, whom the Lord brought together. These prophets had come to the honest conclusion that they did not know a whole lot about things, but they knew the things that they knew by the power of the Spirit of God. Each of these individuals had deep desires to know of the mysteries of God. When they met they began to share what they had learned to each other. Often the other prophets would receive a confirmation of the truth of what another prophet shared by the Holy Ghost. Other times there was no confirmation, but the prophets would go pray to the Lord to learn if what another had shared upon a subject was true.

The prophets were always open to the fact that the other prophets could very well be wrong, and they only trusted something if the Lord confirmed it. At first answers came slowly, sometimes only after weeks of humble prayer, but after time the answers from the Lord came more and more quickly. These individuals did not look to any of the others for truth, but rather listened to the other’s revelations, and then took each thing to the Lord for their own confirmation. Often answers from the Lord were very surprising, and opposed everything that had been taught to the masses of people throughout the world. The wonderful thing though was that the Lord never told any of these prophets ANYTHING that conflicted with answers that He gave to the other prophets. They found the Holy Ghost spoke plainly, powerfully, and the same way in each revelation.

One day, a woman came to this group of prophets and said, I have been praying for some time to know if God lives, and finally I received an answer, this incredible power that I had never felt before as I was praying came and filled every part of my soul, and gave me a perfect knowledge that God does live, and God loves me. All of the prophets embraced this woman and welcomed her as a fellow prophet. This woman craved another revelation and desired to know if Jesus was the Christ. While she listened to the other prophets, she did not trust them, and they encouraged her not to, unless the Holy Ghost bore witness to her again in the same manner on any subject presented. For months this woman prayed and received nothing. Then finally the answer came by the Holy Ghost that Jesus was truly the Son of God, and He lived on the earth.

prophet-recording-revelationSoon, more and more prophets began to gather. The key ingredient to their gathering was the fact that they had learned to receive revelations for themselves, and did not put any trust in any other man’s words, either past or present. Only the Spirit of God was to be trusted. Each prophet was embraced as an equal, regardless of the amount of revelation that had been received, and all learned to be open to anything, because if they did not know the truth of any subject, and they knew they did not know it, then there could be no contention over what the truth of the subject was. They knew that it was pointless to debate, or set their hearts upon the answer being one way or another, if they had not received revelation on the subject themselves, and therefore there was no contention among these prophets. They learned the power of admitting to themselves that THEY DIDN’T KNOW, until they knew by the Holy Ghost, and they would NEVER teach something that they hadn’t received by revelation.

As these prophets gathered and grew in number, God delighted in giving them revelation, because He knew they would not go beyond what He told them. Sure they read and listened to all sorts of opinions and what others in the world had claimed to be truth, but nothing was ever received, not even one teaching, if it was not confirmed to the prophets as individuals by the Spirit of God. When the time was right, and they had proven they would never trust in men, the Lord began to pour out power upon these individuals, and miracles began to occur just as they occurred in the days of Jesus. No matter how much any of them knew, they were always one heart and mind upon the subjects that they did know, because the Holy Ghost would never lie or teach conflicting things. This is the beginning of Zion.

Can we see the beauty here? Is it right for the preachers of any religion to wait for people to feel the Spirit about one thing, and then tell them it means they need to accept a thousand other doctrines and teachings because of the one or two things they felt the Spirit about? Is it right to teach that people can get a testimony if an individual is a prophet, and if so, then they can simply accept everything that prophet has taught?

prophet-jeremiahJeremiah 23:

30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.

31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.

32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.

What do these verses mean, (by the way I do know these verses are true) when they warn about people stealing words from neighbors, and using their tongues to say “He saith,” or just as bad, “he saith.”

How often do people quote other’s purported revelations and use other men’s words, and pronounce them as truth, when the Lord has not spoken it to the individual sharing? I submit that I used to do it all the time, and thought I was doing the work of the Lord. As an LDS missionary I did it daily, and it was a grievous sin. I thank God for mercy and for His kindness in showing me that I knew nothing, and could only trust what He tells me personally. I know there are others learning this. The initial stirrings of Zion are taking place today, and many wonderful things are coming to those who will abandon their idolatry of men, and truly seek the Living God, and His Word, on ANY subject before accepting it as truth.

Power and Authority

power-and-authorityThere was a deacon in the Church some years ago who observed one family member abusing another family member. He commanded the abuser to repent and cited his Aaronic priesthood as authority for the order. The abuser declined to acquiesce to his request.

Question: What lesson should the deacon have learned from this?

Consider the account of the two prophets in JST 1 Kings 13.

Question: What lesson should we take from the example of the prophet from Judah?

Question: For what purposes do people cite authority for their words or actions?

Question: Which of those purposes pass the Golden Rule test?

Question: What exercises of power or authority are compatible with the Golden Rule?

Question: What is the power of God?

Question: What is the authority of God?

Question: What is the significance of a commandment from God?

power-and-authority-illustratedD&C 121, as well as Jesus’s teachings to his disciples about authority and power, are good places to start on these things. (Handy keywords to search Jesus’s teachings for: rabbi, master, benefactors, greatest, servant, younger)

My answers will probably be different than yours, but that doesn’t necessarily make me “right” and you “wrong.”

Representing Christ on the Earth

ComeUntoChMany years ago, Elder Scott visited a Stake in Layton Utah to discuss an ongoing problem in the LDS Church, that of priesthood leaders putting themselves between Christ and His children. It has been twenty-two years since that issue was discussed, yet it remains rampant today. You would think over the years such an important message would be standard reading for leaders.

Sadly, the practice is alive and well. When I began blogging back in 2007 I did so after a great deal of prompting by the Lord. He had been asking me for years to get involved in the online discussions about the gospel and the LDS Church. I hesitated, dragged my feet, made excuses and in general ignored the promptings until I could resist no more. The Lord asked me to blog.

Blogging an Expression of Faith

I make this point because I consider my blogging efforts to be an expression of my faith in Jesus Christ. I experimented with different ideas and directions over the years, but always checked with the Lord to see if I was going in the right direction. He would give me ideas on what to explore in my gospel studies then give me additional ideas when I shared my thoughts online.

That’s why when my Bishop called me in and questioned me about my blog posts, I felt a little confused at first. I double checked what I was sharing. I made sure I consulted with the Lord in prayer before I posted something and in general, went back over the things I had written to see if I could discover what it was that was troubling my bishop. I did not understand his concerns.

Going in Different Directions

With each additional meeting, it became clearer my Bishop saw only apostasy in my writings. I continued to ask the Lord to guide me. I fasted. I prayed many long hours. I sought counsel from others I trusted. While I still had my recommend, I attended the temple with a prayer in my heart that I be not led astray. With each prayer, with each temple visit, I felt the Lord was guiding me.

Yet my bishop persisted in expressing his concern I was wrong. Not only that, he decided it was time to prove his point by placing me on informal probation. I had to ask my stake president for clarification of the charges. Another meeting with the bishop brought forth the verdict: Apostasy. I was judged apostate in my writings. I was a threat to the community because of my thoughts.

Submission to Christ, Not Man

ChristMemberLeaderWow. I was floored. How could I be so misled by the spirit in what I was studying and writing? How could I be so “out of harmony” with the Brethren, as my bishop proclaimed? He said I was taking pot-shots at the Brethren. Again, I was flabbergasted. My desire had always been to help others come unto Christ. It remains that today. The Church can’t save us, only the Savior can.

I remember one particular scene in our interviews that shocked me to no end. “You’ve got to be more humble and submissive, Tim. You’ve got to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” I finally got it. He was saying I wasn’t being submissive enough to him. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “To whom?” I said, “You mean to you?” I could see my response had stunned him.

Unintended Yet Real Indoctrination

Now my eyes were opened. The Church meant everything to him. There was no other way to salvation than through the LDS Church. Now I saw the gulf between us. I used to think that way. I guess I had come a long ways. He was right. I could now understand his concern. In his eyes, I was leaving the path of salvation. God bless my good bishop for his loving concern for my soul.

I remember leaving one of our meetings a few months earlier. Carol had attended. This was right about the time I felt I had come to peace in my mind with how to answer the affiliation question from the temple recommend interview. As we left that night, I turned to Carol and said, referring to the bishop, “This man represents the Lord to us as far as the temple recommend is concerned.”

Coming Between God and His Children

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that or said that in priesthood leadership meetings. Never having been a bishop, I have never thought what hearing those words over and over must do to a man who is called to that position. Surely it must take a lot of humility to keep such ideas from going to your head. The LDS people place so much importance on the role of the Bishop.

There’s almost a reverential worship involved. This is not right yet it exists. I have seen it and so have you if you’ve been a member of the LDS Church for almost any length of time. General Authorities have taught it – “Your local priesthood leaders represent the Lord in your stake. They face the Brethren. They get their direction from the Prophet and the leadership in Salt Lake.”

The Church Cannot Save You

LackOfConversionThere seems to be a conflating with representing the Brethren and representing the Lord. It is that hierarchal structure thing coming into play here. In other words, the Brethren and the Church have come between Christ and His children. This also is not right, but it exists. You can hear it over and over each week in LDS meetings, especially in Fast meetings: “The Church is true.”

You can read what Elder Scott had to say about this problem in the notes someone recorded from the Layton Northridge Stake Priesthood meeting. Copies can be found on many Internet sources, but with the illustrations, this one on the Bare Record of Truth blog seems to be the best. I highly recommend LDS priesthood leaders read it, ponder it and pray about it, then ask a few questions.

Come, Follow Christ

Until the Sunday morning session of the October 2014 General Conference, I used to think the highest leaders of the Church understood this problem and were actively working to eradicate it. The three talks in a row about “Follow the Prophet,” made it clear the problem reaches to the very top. The Lord said, “Come Follow Me.” The LDS Church teaches with great emphasis, “Follow the Prophet.”

I think that’s when it became blatantly obvious to me the LDS Church had lost it. The highest priority taught today of “Follow the Prophet” has become a form of idolatry. The Lord is not pleased with this focus. It is obvious to anyone who has eyes to see. Cursed is he who puts his trust in the arm of flesh (Jer 17:5 or 2 Ne 4:34). You do not need LDS leadership permission to “Come unto Christ.”

Questions for LDS Priesthood Leaders

Am I teaching the members in my congregation to “Come unto Church” or is my focus to get them to “Come unto Christ?” Is following the prophet more important than following Christ?

As I listen to the testimonies on Fast Sunday, do I hear more declarations that “The Church is true” or do I hear more expressions of “I love the Lord, and here’s what He has done for me?”

Do I get in the way of the Lord and his children? Have I placed myself between Christ and the members of my ward? Am I encouraging loyalty and obedience to Christ or to the Brethren?

Am I blocking the path of my ward members as they grow in their relationship with Christ? Am I showing by example I know Christ and know how to part the veil to commune with Him?

Am I teaching the members of the ward how to establish their own link directly to Christ or am I encouraging an over-reliance upon the Brethren, or even too much dependence upon me?

Finally, have I taught members of my ward or stake that the Church provides salvation? Have I put the Church in the place of Christ? If so, what can I do to correct that terrible mistake?

Salvation is Through Christ

JesusRedRobeI know statements like what I am about to share are difficult for some to accept, but I share them anyway, knowing the source of my authority. The Lord asked me to write about this particular message today. He led me to it earlier in the week. I had read it years ago, yet the Lord wanted me to emphasize it again. It comes from a man in the highest leadership of the LDS Church.

The “movement” of thousands in response to the message delivered by Denver Snuffer is very troubling to both the local and general leadership of the LDS Church. Almost everyone, at least along the Mormon Corridor, knows of someone who has read or listened to the message Denver has delivered. Because they are troubled, they are excommunicating such readers in droves now.

A Remnant to Build Zion

Tomorrow, on this blog and others (see below), you will read an announcement concerning the Remnant. Ask yourself what you know about this. What did the Lord teach us about the Remnant? The Remnant has been described as “what is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe.” Are we about to experience a catastrophe? Wake up people, the signs are all around us now.

Zion was always intended to be built upon the mountain top (Isa 30:17) or the top of the high mountains (Isa 40:9). Zion will not be, cannot be and never was intended to be built up by an institutional church. It is to be built by a small remnant, upon a mountain top. The question to ask ourselves is this: “How can I assist the remnant to build Zion in the tops of the mountains?”

Rock Waterman / Pure Mormonism:

Adrian Larsen / To The Remnant:

Bret Corbridge / 77 Truths:

Will Carter / In 200 Words or Less:

Note: I will add my post Sunday after Stake conference.

Here is a link to a PDF of the flyer:

Here’s a link to the reunion details:


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.


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