A Mormon Reviews The Afterlife of Billy Fingers


TheAfterlifeOfBillyFingersStorytelling in a Non-Fiction Book

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers by Annie Kagan is a wonderful book. I give it five stars. One of the Amazon reviewers said she read the 191 page book in 90 minutes. It took me about three hours. I had to stop often to wipe away the tears. The book was an emotional and spiritual roller-coaster. Thank you, Annie for that superb and captivating storytelling in a non-fiction book.

Messages From the Spirit World

The book extends three challenges to its readers: First, is it fiction or fact? Annie didn’t have to expend a great deal of effort and energy to persuade me it really happened. I was convinced right away by the down-to-earth, day-to-day events of Annie’s life as she dealt with the loss of her older brother Billy to a tragic accident. I have no doubt Billy came to her to share his transition.

Traditional Heaven and Hell Missing

Second, you will need to re-examine what you know about the after-life, especially if you have accepted traditional heaven-and-hell teachings so prevalent in this world. Billy describes what he goes through in a much-needed healing process, then the oft-mentioned life review. He becomes one with the universe, then back to a being of light and, at the end of the book, describes his final dissolution.

Different Paths in the After-Life

And there’s the third challenge: What happened to Billy in the end is not what I expect or want for me. I suppose this is a spoiler alert, but again this is not fiction so maybe that doesn’t apply. I was saddened by what Billy passed through on his journey as Annie described it in part three of the book. I’m not questioning that it really happened, only that may not be the path for everyone.

Many Mansions of God Prepared

Annie / Billy make reference early in the book to what Billy entitled the “Supra World.” It immediately caused me to think of the words of the Savior, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you.” Billy very rarely described being with other people in the after-life. Perhaps that’s as he desired it or what was best for him.

Multiple Degrees of Glory

For LDS folks, some may be asking themselves, was Annie deceived by a false spirit? You’ll have to read the book to decide for yourself. As I’ve already shared, I believe Annie’s story and what she learned from Billy. I’ve been a believing Mormon all my life which includes faith in the revelations received by Joseph Smith. In D&C 76 we learn of the Three Degrees of Glory.

We Are Gods and Goddesses

In her bio, Annie describes her interest in and practice of Eastern spiritual traditions. Meditation and Yoga have brought peace to her life. There are references in the final chapters of the book to chakras, Sanscrit – the sacred language of ancient India – and Billy’s encounter with Shvara Lohana. Annie asks, “Was she his personal God or was she God? Is God actually a goddess?”

No Resurrection for Billy – Yet

I wonder if Billy completed his journey or if there was more to be experienced. There is never any mention of resurrection, something most Christians, including Mormons believe in and to which we look forward. It is my desire to have a glorified and exalted body at some point after the resurrection. We are taught and I believe our resurrected state depends on our life’s choices.

No Judgment – More to Come

Which brings up another point – Billy does not pass through a judgment. Again, I suspect Billy has not completed his journey. He was only allowed to share with Annie what would help her deal with her grief and, at the same time, share with the world some of the things through which he passed. Some people don’t believe in a judgment and resurrection. That’s just fine with me.

A Journey Not Yet Complete

I loved the book and highly recommend it, but for my LDS friends, I suggest you’ve got to be open-minded about it. If you accept the idea that Billy was describing only a portion of his journey you’ll be OK. Don’t get wrapped up about how Billy’s experience does not match what we ultimately believe about the after-life, especially with our focus on the eternal family unit.

Find the Good in Everything

There are so many amazing quotes in the book which I find uplifting and encouraging. There is a Facebook group which shares them on an almost daily basis. There is much truth in the book. In fact, I’m not going to say there are any false ideas, both out of respect to Annie and because if there’s one thing I know about the afterlife, it’s that I know very little, but look forward to it.

An Emotional and Spiritual Experience

Thank you, Annie for sharing Billy’s story. Thank you for your courage in publishing it to the world. I’m pleased to see most of the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are favorable. It is a well-received book from everything I have seen. Congratulations on your success. I feel blessed for the experience I’ll always remember of reading The Afterlife of Billy Fingers. God bless.

A Few Administrative Notes


LotsOfEmailsIt seems no matter how hard I try, I am unable to keep up with the private emails asking for additional information from something I’ve shared in one of my posts, particularly those that deal with doctrine and private religious practices such as the True Order of Prayer in the home.  I still have about 35 unanswered emails from April. I apologize to those who are waiting for answers and thank you for your patience. I truly appreciate those who read my blog and take the time to write privately.

Get-Together in LA Area

I am filled with gratitude this morning. It’s 4am as I write this. I can’t sleep because of all the things I’m pondering. A few regular blog readers and contributors got together for dinner last night to discuss current events in the LDS blogging community. We chatted about the apparent ongoing rash of excommunications for those who write about Denver Snuffer. We discussed mutual experiences with private religious practices such as being born of the spirit, conversing with the Lord through the veil and the difficulties of blogging or contributing to an LDS blog.

Continued Growth of Latter-day Commentary

I continue to be amazed at the number of subscribers listed in the upper left of this blog. It keeps going up and up, sometimes by dozens per day. I’m not doing anything to promote the blog. I read and comment on very few other blogs – only those that deal with similar subject matter – coming unto Christ, being Born of the Spirit, Conversing with the Lord through the veil and being instructed by angels. In other words, stuff that the LDS Church says you should keep private and never talk about. Here’s a simple test: How would you respond if someone got up in Testimony meeting and said they had been visited by an angel, or by the Savior? They did not share what they were taught, only that they had received visitors from the spirit world.

Online  Community Seeking the Savior

That’s the kind of stuff we talk about on this blog. That’s what I write about, that’s what the readers share in the comments, and that’s the primary subject of the majority of the private emails I receive. They usually start out like this: “Brother Malone, you don’t know me but I felt impressed to write and share this with you…” and then they proceed to share some of the most uplifting and faith-promoting experiences having to do with dreams, visions, healings, temple manifestations, visits from the spirit world and sacred prayers in which they were instructed by angels or had words given to them by the Holy Ghost. They are simply delightful. Some have been labeled kooks by their ward members. Some have been excommunicated for sharing.

Moroni 7:37 Has Come to Pass

I suppose that’s one thing we all have in common. Of those who met last night, over half were no longer members of the church, one having been excommunicated within the last few weeks. He has yet to receive a valid answer from his priesthood leaders as to what exactly he did wrong. He keeps asking for an explanation of what doctrines he taught that were offensive so that he can repent. No answer. Yes, I know I’m only reporting one side of this, but it’s similar to dialogs I’ve had with other readers. Why is this church so hell-bent on casting out some of the most faith-filled and spiritual members of the faith just because they write they have been visited by the Lord, by angels, or they read works published by others who have been?

Not OK to Talk About Spiritual Experiences

Apparently it’s taboo to talk about your spiritual experiences in this church anymore. It didn’t used to be. It’s OK to talk about the approved or correlated experiences of early leaders of this church. We’ve become a church that celebrates the revelations of our founders, claims to encourage personal revelation, but discourages the sharing of such experiences. “Not appropriate,” they say. “Not correlated by the Brethren,” another will say. “You must be lying,” the most direct will say. It puzzles me. The old adage rears it’s ugly head again and again: “Those who have, don’t talk about it. Those who haven’t, do.” That’s false doctrine. If you have a visit with the Lord and ask permission to share it, or he tells you to share it, then by all means, do so.

We Have Become a Church of PC and Fear

This church has become a church of fear – members afraid of being disciplined for talking about charismatic or spiritual experiences. No, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s simply not politically correct to mention being visited by angels or hearing the voice of the Lord. “Why, that’s limited to the Brethren only,” you’ll hear. I know I do. “You can’t say that. Only the General Authorities have the right to share such things,” is another common saying. Look people, we who have been to the spirit world or have had visitors from the spirit world come to us, know such events are sacred. We understand they are intended for our own edification and instruction, but occasionally someone comes along who says the message they received was important enough the Lord asked them to share it with others – not by way of commandment but to edify and uplift.

Systematically Squelching the Spirit

And that’s where we seem to get into trouble. It’s the old Hyrum Page seer-stone incident all over again. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most bishops and stake presidents don’t know how to handle if someone were to get up and share they had received communication from the spirit world that was powerful, sacred and blessed their lives. In their enthusiasm or naivety, some new to the exciting experience of receiving revelation may want to share it with everyone they meet or from the pulpit in Testimony meeting. What do our Priesthood leaders do? They take them aside afterwards and say, “That’s simply not appropriate to share in Testimony meeting. I also don’t want to hear you’ve been sharing that privately with other members.”

Priesthood Directive – Don’t Share Revelation

That’s a real conversation. Don’t shake your head in disbelief. Yes, it really happens and is considered the responsibility of our priesthood leaders to make sure they “nip in the bud” any such occurrences before they “get out of hand.” If necessary, they warn the offending members they will be subject to disciplinary action if they don’t tone it down or learn to keep such things to themselves. Here we work so hard to get new converts, teach them they can get revelation and then chastise them when they feel led by the Holy Spirit to share spiritual experiences with others. Their only desire is to convey joy and excitement at what they have learned as well as to testify, as did Joseph Smith, that God answers our prayers in this modern day and age.

TestimonyGloveThe All-Encompassing Testimony Glove

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is apparently only one acceptable type of revelation you are “allowed” to share in this church and it must fit neatly into the testimony glove – 1) God lives, 2) Jesus is the Christ 3) The Book of Mormon is scripture, 4) Joseph was a prophet and 5) President Monson is a prophet. You may also substitute “The Church is true” for the last one or to encompass all five. Anything beyond those five items will make the Bishopric squirm and call you in for needed counsel and correction. You may think I’m kidding. I’m not. We need the enthusiasm of new converts who are not afraid to speak out about their relationship with the Savior. We need their new blood, their new life and their excitement in this church.

LDS Bloggers Now Being Excommunicated

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. I’ve preached this sermon at least a dozen times over the years here on Latter-day Commentary. It pains me to do so. I only see the problem getting worse. Some say it’s inadvertent, that the leaders don’t intend to cause new members or even old members feel uncomfortable when they step outside the “sharing” boundaries. The worst part of this epidemic sweeping our church is when a normally shy and reticent member finds the courage to tell in a blog of a sacred experience they had with reading the book of someone, member or not, from which they learned more about the spirit of revelation, how it works, how they experimented upon the word, were blessed and received revelation themselves. Yep, members are being excommunicated for even referencing the works of individuals like Denver Snuffer in their blogs now.

Following the Counsel of Elder Ballard

I’ll get off my soapbox. This is one of those posts I can’t link to Facebook because it will upset too many faithful members who are my friends. I’m trying to follow my Bishop’s counsel to keep my ranting and ravings to myself. This is the one subject that gets me riled up to no end. Just like John Dehlin has become a spokesperson for the LDS LGBT community, I have taken it upon myself to speak up for my blogging friends who are being chastised for following the counsel of Elder Ballard in which he admonished us to get involved in the Internet conversations about the church that were and are happening with or without us. So we get involved, share a few thoughts about our own spiritual experiences and get reamed for doing so. Is this any way to run a church? I’m not critical of the Brethren. I’m pointing out a deficiency in getting the directions to the local leaders.

Tim’s Up On His Gospel Hobby Horse Again

I’m done. I just gave up an hour of sleep because the Lord woke me and told me to write this. Now that’s an audacious claim all by itself, but it’s true. I have learned I can’t ignore these promptings any more, even when they come at inconvenient times in the wee hours of the morning. It has not been my desire to upset you. It has not been my desire to cause you to be offended. I’m fairly certain by now most people are aware of this problem, but then I’m always surprised by the blank stares if I bring this up to my TBM friends. They don’t see a problem. Perhaps I’m trying to steady the ark that doesn’t need steadying. I’m not trying to tell the Brethren what to do. I have full confidence in their abilities to lead this church. I love and sustain them. I’m sure they are aware of this problem. I pray for them. I am certain they are working to address this as best they know how.

Comments Open and Welcome

God bless. Feel free to leave me a comment telling me I’m off my rocker or I’ve understated the problem. Comments open.

Then Sings My Soul


JosephSmithInLibertyJailThere is a phrase we use in our church that holds immense personal meaning for me. We hear it in talks from the pulpit and from teachers in the classroom. We hear it in General Conference. We read it in our church magazines. I don’t think it’s only a part of the LDS culture. It’s found in other religions as well. Those who teach spirituality know it. The phrase is “being in tune.” Some equate it to a feeling of being “at one” with the universe. I’d like to share its significance to me.

A Lifetime of Prayer

I don’t know how you feel when you pray about questions, concerns, problems and the “stuff” of life. I only know how I experience prayer. Except for a few sporadic months as a teenager, I have been praying morning, noon, and night since I was a child. As a missionary we must have prayed a dozen times every day, sometimes more. I’ve prayed in private and public, at church, home and in the temple. I’ve prayed in thousands of homes over the years among all kinds of good people.

A Continual Prayer in the Heart

With over five decades of practice, you would think I would have it down by now – that is, how to pray and feel the sweet whisperings of the spirit and the promptings of the Lord. Well, there have been many sacred moments where I knew my prayer was heard and answered on the spot. But mostly, my prayers are answered over time. That’s why I talk to the Lord all day long. I try to remind Him, and myself, what it is I’m striving for – what I desire and have asked of Him.

Impressions, Thoughts and Ideas

During the day, I receive impressions about what to do or how to think about something I’ve been studying and pondering. A lot of it has to do with my work, which is to manage technology for others, but I also receive ideas and thoughts that help me as I attempt to develop both my spirituality and my theology. Those are two different things. One is relationship-based and the other is idea-based. Geoff’s comment on last week’s post got me thinking about what I’m doing.

Spirituality and Theology

But that, I mean, what I’m doing with my blog. For over six years, I’ve been writing about what I thought were interesting ideas about our religion and our faith in general. Oh, I’ve been very specific on some subjects that are not anywhere near to being settled by a general consensus. For example, when I first wrote about multiple mortal probations, I was totally opposed to it and said so. When I next wrote about it, I had done some additional reading and shared new observations.

Multiple Mortal Probations

In last week’s post I mentioned briefly in the comments that I had come around to believing there just may be something to the idea. I know the arguments against MMP because I made them in the earliest post – a book review of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives. I wrote it was a doctrine of devils and quoted Joseph who said so. Then I read The Unquiet Dead and You Have Been Here Before by Dr. Edith Fiore. Still opposed, I offered additional arguments against it.

An Example from Dr. Fiore

One story from Dr. Fiore’s first book has stuck with me. I have been pondering it for months. It involved a young lady, Becky, who had trouble with migraines. It’s the first clinical example she shared. You can read it in chapter two of the book. During hypnotic regression she related a detailed experience from a past life at age sixteen in which she left home because she was bored. I won’t share all the details other than to say she was killed with a club to the head by soldiers.

Choosing the Next Mortal Experience

In the present day, she suffered from terrible migraines and was referred to Dr. Fiore because they could find no physical cause of her symptoms. The thing I keep pondering is found in the penultimate chapter of Dr. Fiore’s book in which she summarizes the death experiences of her patients, including Becky. They relate how they were met by loved ones. They reviewed what they had learned in their life. They got to choose their next mortal experience to learn the most.

MMP Labeled Doctrine of Devils

OK, that’s enough to summarize the idea of multiple mortal probations. I don’t like to call it reincarnation but suppose you could if you’re more comfortable with that word. Remember, modern-day prophets have called it a doctrine of devils. As I related in a previous post, Joseph Smith kicked a visitor out of his home in Nauvoo who claimed to be reincarnated. He said in a past life he was Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Joseph called him a liar.

A Reader’s Thoughtful Question

As reader “log” wrote in the comments of last week’s post: “I pose the same query to all who preach MMP and have not yet been answered – if the resurrection is universal (D&C 88:14-32, Alma 40:5), and if the resurrection is permanent (Alma 11:45), then how do you get MMP?” That is a great question to which I don’t know the answer other than to suggest these MMP experiences are pre-resurrection. Trust me log, I have been pondering and praying about this.

The Course of the Lord

We know that all things are present before God. In other words there is no time in the sense that we measure it here. He knows all things from the beginning to the end of our mortal journey(s). As I have prayed about this idea, I have decided one could interpret the scripture, “the course of the Lord is one eternal round” to be specifically referring to MMP until we reach perfection. In other words, we can not only choose our next life experience, but choose when it occurs in time.

Not Essential to Salvation

OK, that’s far enough out there. This is a mental exercise. This is not essential to your salvation. It does not matter if you believe in MMP or not. What matters is what you do with this life. Now I want to tie this back to the introductory comments about “being in tune.” I don’t write this stuff to be provocative. I write it because I have prayed about something and want to explore it with others. I’m not a theologian, philosopher or credentialed academic. I’m just a simple Mormon.

Most Important Thing in Prayer

Let’s consider prayer for a moment, specifically answers to prayer and the feeling of being in tune. Ponder with me the process you use in prayer to determine for yourself what truth is for you and what is important. If there’s anything I’m more concerned about when I pray, I can’t think what it might be other than to know if I am pursuing the path God wants me to follow. You can read about the importance of that knowledge in the Lectures on Faith. I’ll say it’s critical.

Lectures on Faith Are Helpful

It’s one thing to believe that God actually exists. It’s another thing to have a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. More importantly, it’s imperative that we obtain an actual knowledge the course of life which we are pursuing is in accordance with God’s will. And that, my friends, is what life is all about, at least for me. I yearn to know and do my Father’s will. I wholeheartedly desire to be obedient and submissive to what He asks, but first must know it.

Describing Spiritual Communion

For me, knowing my Father’s will has come in prayer, over and over again. I study out a subject about which I believe my Father wants me to know. I ponder it, I decide what I believe. I often ask my readers what they think. I then ask in prayer if I am on the right path and wait for that special sacred feeling I can barely describe. The closest description I have ever been able to provide is to say it feels like the world around me is oscillating and my spirit or mind with it.

Causes my Soul to Vibrate

It’s as if someone has touched my soul and made it sing. When I am in tune, I vibrate with the eternities and the cosmos. It doesn’t have to occur in prayer. It can happen in the temple, sitting in church or singing in the choir. This feeling of being in tune is rare enough I know it is from a sacred source. It requires intense concentration and an ability to “let go” and relax at the same time. The feeling is so intense and pleasurable I feel as if my spirit is about to leave my body.

Burning of the Bosom

It is almost always accompanied by a feeling of warmth in my chest. In spite of what Elder Oaks taught over the pulpit in General Conference that he did not feel caloric heat in connection with the burning of the bosom, I do. I always have. It is accompanied by a feeling of comfort and of serenity. It is what I long for because I know it is what I need. It feeds my soul. It brings peace that passes all understanding. And yet, it is but a precursor to even greater spiritual experiences.

Greater Spiritual Experiences

I have not had those greater spiritual experiences yet other than dreams, visions and the gift of prophecy as related to my own life. Some call it the mind’s eye. I have seen myself doing or heard myself saying or teaching certain things before they have come to pass, sometimes years in advance. I have seen events from the present day decades ago. They are personal and sacred but I have shared them previously on my blog, particularly as I described how I proposed to my wife.

Being Instructed by Angels

I have not seen an angel other than my parents in dreams. My father told me of seeing an angel standing at the bedside of his critically injured wife, my mother, after a car accident that almost took her life. I have related that previously in my blog. We each have different spiritual gifts, but they must be sought after and developed even if they are promised in a patriarchal blessing. Mine talks about my home being a sacred place and a fit abode for heavenly visitations. I desire that.

The Miracle of the Mind’s Eye

Like others, I have seen in vision the night of the atonement and what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. I was not taught the things Denver related in his book, Come, Let Us Adore Him. In my case, I was shown how the pain was inflicted and how the evil and unclean spirits were allowed to torture and torment Him for a few hours. The anguish was real because someone so pure and holy had to experience the feelings that come from sin, disobedience and suffering.

A Recent Experience in Prayer

My soul was touched Sunday night in prayer as I poured out my sorrows and grief to my Father over feelings of being overwhelmed by physical pain I continue to suffer each day. I asked if I would be healed. He assured me that I would be in time. Actually, what He said is that I would rise above it. In other words, the pain may not leave me, or the cause may not be discovered or removed, but I would develop strength of will and mental discipline to be able to endure it.

Why Sickness May Not Be Removed

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to be told, “I will take it away.” Perhaps my faith is not sufficient for that sort of healing or perhaps removing it would defeat the purpose of my life. Perhaps this is something I chose with Father’s counsel as the best way to learn faith or humility. Perhaps it is simply part of life. As we age, our body chemistry changes. We begin to feel less energetic or enthusiastic about tiring physical activities or brain-draining mental exercises.

Greeting Ceremony With Christ

The challenge I see for me is to use what remaining time I have left to achieve that long sought-after goal of being prepared to enter into the presence of the Lord. I am convinced it can happen in mortality. I am convinced we should seek for it. I am convinced we should ask over and over, to weary the Lord with our request to be sealed unto Him, to become his son or daughter and to hear Him say, “This day have I begotten thee.” Denver mentions there is a greeting ceremony or “Ceremony of Recognition.”

Sacrifice is Required

I have written enough this day. I have written what was in my heart. This post is not about MMP. It is about receiving the Holy Ghost as your guide, being taught by angels, coming unto Christ and being prepared to be presented to the Father. Where am I on the ladder? I asked the Lord and he told me. He even gave me the number of years before I am ready. Yes, I have years to go. Apparently there are tests and sacrifices required of me which I haven’t imagined. Will I pass? Will you?

I Have Been Visited By An Angel


AngelsInThirdNephiMoroni Upbraids our Lack of Faith

I’ve written about Moroni chapter seven previously, but it’s been on my mind lately, especially verses 27 through 37. I’m sure you know the verses. They have to do with angels. Moroni shares the words of his father about the importance of angels in our lives. This is not a subject we talk about much in church these days. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps we no longer believe in them.

Angels were Abundant in the Restoration

I hope that’s not the case. More likely, we have accepted the common teaching that the visits of angels were meant for the restoration, the beginnings of this church, but not necessarily for our day. There are quite a few writers bucking this false belief. I applaud their efforts. I mentioned the work of Marlene Bateman Sullivan in my January NDE post. She has three books on angels.

We Don’t Talk About Modern Visits

We seem to have no problem with the idea angels were needed to deliver messages and restore authority in the early days of the church. Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable people get if someone stands up in Fast and Testimony meeting to talk about a visit from an angel? I have – in a previous stake. They usually get talked to after the meeting by a member of the bishopric.

Angels Prepare Us to Receive Christ

Well, what if you not only had a visit from an angel, but this angel then took you to meet the Savior and eventually brought you into the presence of the Father? “Yes, that’s all fine and good,” we say, “as long as we’re talking about Joseph Smith or some of the early Brethren.” That’s the beauty of our church. We believe angels came to restore the gospel to the earth.

This is Not About Denver Snuffer

I’ve written dozens of posts about Denver Snuffer who claims to have seen the Savior. One of my readers told me he was tired of seeing me write about the man’s books. OK, I’ll move on to someone else who has gone public. If someone declares on a web page they have been visited by an angel, how do you and I respond? Do you take the time to read it seriously or do you scoff?

Breaking the Unwritten Rule

Daniel Rogers has declared he has been visited by an angel within the last year who took him into the presence of the Savior and the Father. He put up a web page to declare this. What if you were this man’s bishop or stake president – what would you do? Would you ask him to remove his site? Has he broken some rule in our church that we don’t talk or write about sacred things?

Don’t Cast Pearls Before Swine

For those who aren’t aware of the unwritten rule when talking about sacred experiences, it goes like this: “Those that don’t know speak….. while those that know don’t.” In other words, it is implied that if someone talks or writes openly about a sacred experience, such as conversing with an angel or being visited by the Savior, they must be lying. Seriously – I’ve heard it many times.

Scriptural Support for Keeping Silent

If you want something written to support this rule, you are usually referred to Matthew 7:6 – “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine…” (They forget to read the next two verses). D&C 63:64 is also used often – “Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the spirit.”

Don’t Tell Others What to do

OK, I get it. Don’t go around telling people you’ve had a vision, especially in the LDS Church. It’s ingrained in our culture now. Visions, dream or visits from angels are to be kept to ourselves. This goes way back to Hiram Page and the peep stone incident (section 28) in which we read in verse 6, “And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church.”

Only Share Approved Statements

Fine, like I say, I get that. I think most people in the church get that too. But at the same time we are commanded to open our mouths to declare our witnesses of the truth of the gospel and of the things the Lord puts into our hearts and minds to declare. That is, as long as what we say is in line with what the current prophets and apostles are teaching. We call that a correlated testimony.

Seek Spiritual Experiences Within Guidelines

The Church has no problem with the members having spiritual experiences. We are encouraged to seek after them, not for the sake of “consuming them upon our lusts,” (James 4:3) but to both strengthen our faith and to assist us in doing the work of the Lord – teaching the gospel. We are especially encouraged to get that initial spiritual witness for ourselves that Joseph was a Prophet.

Specifically Limit Your Public Testimonies

We have been asked to limit our public testimonies to these five key points: 1) God lives and is our Heavenly Father, 2) Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world and was resurrected, 3) Joseph was called as a prophet, 4) The Book of Mormon contains scripture, the word of God, and 5) The current prophet is authorized of God to lead and guide this church and its members.

An Apparently Inappropriate Testimony

So what Daniel Rogers has done is apparently out of the norm. He has ostensibly been asked to remove his web page. You look it over and see if you can find inappropriate material in it. Is it because he referred to Denver Snuffer, a now excommunicated / former member of the church? Or is it because he was very specific that he was visited by an angel, the Savior and the Father?

I Applaud Daniel’s Testimony

As I wrote in the comments on his page: “Thanks for your courage in sharing. Would that more people who have had this sort of experience would be as open about it. Testimonies like this help those of us who are still seeking to know the Savior and come unto him as he commanded us. God bless you in your continued efforts to follow the promptings of the spirit in spite of the fears and doubts others may cast in your face. Moroni 7:37 came to mind as I read your wonderful testimony and felt the need to strive harder to remove my own doubts and fears.”

Denver and Daniel Are Not Alone

I think we’re going to see more and more testimonies like this coming forth. Isn’t it prophesied in Joel? Here’s another. I’m aware of at least a half dozen others who have claimed on private forums to have been visited by angels or by the Savior. To me, this is exciting. I hope we will be wise as a people and not castigate each other for sharing these spiritual experiences among ourselves. Pray for your own witness.

God Bless us to Come Unto Christ

I want to keep this post short. I tend to be very wordy. It’s the writer in me. I pray for the editor in me to become stronger. In case you didn’t get it, I was not referring to myself in the headline. Most writers know headlines are important to grab your attention in this fast-paced world. I have not yet seen an angel (of which I’m aware). I continue to seek to come unto Christ. As always, I appreciate those who feel impressed to add comments and pray we’ll all do so with kindness.

Answers are Found in the Scriptures


NewScripturesI often have this feeling that the Lord wants to talk to me. It usually comes on a Saturday night. It is also stronger if I haven’t been to the temple in a while. We were last there three weeks ago and typically make it at least once a month. I’m not sharing this to brag, only to point out that there is just something about regularly attending the temple that brings a feeling of peace to my life.

Stay on the Right Path

I suppose what I’m looking for most is a feeling that I’m on the right path; that I’m pursuing goals that are pleasing to the Lord and am using my time in the best way possible. I have always felt this life is short and that my time is to be used to advance myself in some way or another. I suffer a feeling of “Divine Discontent” when I’m not sure if I’m where I should be on the path.

Read the Scriptures

I don’t know if you can relate. When I get like this, I go into my bedroom alone, kneel in prayer and pour out my spirit to the Lord. It never fails. The Lord says, “Go read the scriptures.” I don’t know why that kind of bugs me. I keep expecting that maybe the Lord will send an angel or a strong impression of the Spirit telling me what to do with my time – that’s what I wish He’d do.

We are Blessed with Free Time

I have so many projects and so many possibilities of what I can do with my free time. We are so blessed with living in this modern day and age. We don’t have to spend all our time trying to get enough to eat or keep our house in good repair or whatever our ancestors worried about. They spent their time and energy on things other than spiritual when they were living on this earth.

Ministers Among my Ancestors

Or did they? On my father’s side, my ancestors were mostly poor dirt farmers, not very well educated but good Christian folk. I know this because I have read many of their life stories. Many of them were Baptist preachers. On my mother’s side, the standard of living was higher, they were more educated, and coincidently, there were a lot of Presbyterian ministers there.

I am a Mormon Minister

I’m a Mormon minister of sorts. I had an ecclesiastical license to preach that I carried with me when I was a missionary. I’ve taught the gospel and spoken in church all my adult life. I love this church and love to serve wherever I’m asked. Tomorrow I meet with the Stake Presidency to review the financial status of the stake. It’s just part of my job as the Stake Financial Clerk.

Uplifting Sabbath Days

I love Sundays because they are so rewarding and fulfilling. I come home from church feeling spiritually fed and uplifted. Sometimes I wish every day could be Sunday. But something seems to happen to me during the week. My spirituality balloon tends to get a slow leak in it. I think it comes from the normal course of events as I do my daily work and “fight the worldly dragon.”

Counsel With the Lord

I do a lot of gospel study during the week, but sometimes, I simply need a one-on-one study session with the Lord in which I think about things that are bothering me, ask the Lord for some inspiration on where I can find some help in the scriptures, turn to what he inspires me to read and then sit and ponder it for a while. Mostly, He tells me in no uncertain terms I need to repent.

Scrupulosity – Thank you John Dehlin

And that kind of bugs me too, because then I find myself hesitant to read the scriptures. But I persevere and ask exactly what I do need to repent of so He can bless me that way I want – with that feeling that I am doing with my time what is pleasing to Him. I sometimes wonder if I am a candidate for what my friend John Dehlin taught me about scrupulosity, but with no real OCD.

Getting Direction from the Lord

I hope you’ll pardon me for rambling on about such a vague subject – getting direction from the Lord in our lives. But after all, this is my journal and it helps me to write and share. I wonder if any of my readers are as concerned as I am about wanting to know what the Lord thinks about them. Most people I know don’t care, and think it’s kind of nuts to even be concerned about it.

Gifts of the Spirit

Maybe growing up in the LDS Church does that to the men of the church – not all – only some. We’re taught how important it is to be spiritual and to be “in tune” with the whisperings of the spirit. We look up to men – and women – in our faith that we consider spiritual, or who seem to have some sort of gift of the spirit to be able to speak with inspiration when asked their opinion.

Blessings of Fast Sunday

It’s Fast Sunday tomorrow which means we go without food until the evening meal. A lot the brethren I know who serve in leadership capacities do this every Sunday, mainly because they are involved in meetings – public and private – from early in the morning until sometime late in the evening. I’ve served in some of those positions – bishopric counselor, high counselor.

Magnifying Your Calling

But nothing beats being a Bishop or a member of the Stake Presidency. I work closely with these men and see the dedication they put into doing their church job – magnifying their calling. I asked our new Stake President last month why he spent so many hours in his callings, knowing that it is at least twenty hours a week. He said, “I do it for the same reason you do Bro. Malone.”

An Offering to the Lord

I had to think about that. I know why I put up with so many meetings and go out to train my fellow clerks on how to use the church computer system. I know why I gratefully accept every opportunity to teach or speak in church when asked. I do it as an offering to the Lord as a token of my appreciation of my love for Him and for what I know He has done for me all my life.

Taught by Good Leaders

I’m looking forward to whatever our High Priest Group Leader will teach us tomorrow. He teaches us each Fast Sunday. He’s a good man, a former bishop. I enjoy his lessons taught with love and with a desire to help us understand the gospel and to be motivated to live it more fully. I enjoy participating in the discussion – always have – especially when I was a HPGL in our ward.

The Purpose of Adversity

In Sunday school tomorrow we’ll be studying lesson 28 in church history – The purpose of adversity. It’s about the time the prophet Joseph and others spent in Liberty Jail. I have been to that jail and seen the terrible conditions under which they lived for so many months. It was a low time in Joseph’s life. He asked the Lord why he had left him alone. He received D&C 121-123.

Rare Spiritual Experiences

Sometimes I feel like that. Why hast thou left me alone so long, Lord? When was the last time I had a truly uplifting and edifying spiritual experience? You know the kind I’m talking about – the kind where you come away feeling like you haven’t a problem in the world, that everything will be alright, all is right with the world and the Lord is pleased with you and loves you dearly.

Purpose of Daily Prayer

I’m aware that some people say they have those kinds of spiritual experiences every night in prayer. I confess my prayers are not like that. In the morning I tell the Lord what I’m planning to do that day. In the evening, I tell the Lord what I’ve accomplished and ask for His blessings upon my work that it will not have been in vain, especially as it regards helping others along the way.

Peace Be Unto Thy Soul

So I’m reading D&C 121 tonight in preparation for tomorrow’s lesson. I love verses 7-8: “My, son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then if thou endure it well, God shall lift thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all they foes.” There’s more, but those two verses got me thinking of a whole series of events in my life.

The Foes in My Life

I don’t really have foes, especially not like Joseph did. Oh, sure I have people who mock me or make fun of my beliefs and writings I share on my blog. That doesn’t bother me so much. But I am concerned about people who oppose what I believe in so strongly about the events that are happening now in the last days. I have foes in the sense that they dissuade others from the path.

Things we are Losing in Church

For example, I have long been convinced that we are losing or have lost some basic knowledge that was taught in the early days of the church about the operations of the spirit world. In other words, there are people in the church today who do not believe that there is a devil or that we are bothered by evil spirits who try to keep us from accomplishing good things in our daily lives.

Signs of the Times

I am also concerned by those in the church who do not believe in the signs of the times. What I and many others plainly see as something prophesied and something about which we should be concerned, others poo-poo the subject, the event or the change and tell us we are being overly melodramatic about it. “Change is good,” they say. “You’ve got to accept things are different.”

Emphasize Certain Doctrines

These are otherwise believing members of the church who oppose my writings when I declare the Lord inspired me that some doctrine we used to believe needs to be emphasized more in the church. Of course, it’s not my place to say what we should be teaching but it concerns me they can’t see the loss and are not concerned about it. Oh well, I should be content with my lot.

Knowledge by His Holy Spirit

I’ll close this journal entry with a few more of the wonderful words from section 121, verse 26: “God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now.” This promise was not just unto Joseph. It is intended for each of us to receive knowledge from God. But we must ask and listen.

Constant Companion of Holy Ghost

“…let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion.” There’s more and I’m sure you know the verses well (45-46). God bless us to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal truth to our souls.”

Elder Perry Visits our Sacrament Meeting


We had a visit from Elder Perry to our ward in Camarillo today. He told us he was in town on one of the last days of a week-long series of meetings in California. He started in San Jose on Tuesday and had one more half day Monday in San Fernando. He has been meeting each day with the missionaries for a few hours and then with the Priesthood leadership of multiple stakes.

We were expecting a large crowd for the missionary farewell of the youngest sister of our bishop. I’ll bet she’ll always remember that she spoke on the same program as an apostle. When he walked in, nine year-old Whitney Peterson handed him a piece of paper with four questions. He delighted us by answering them candidly and directly. I paid close attention to what he said.

Four Questions for an Apostle

Her first question was “How many churches have you visited?” I think she meant different wards or stakes “You do the math,” he answered. “I’ve been doing this for forty years. We go out three weeks out of every month. We have five weeks off in the summer and two weekends off each year for General Conference.” I did the math. Without duplicates, that would be 1,320 churches.

Next, Whitney asked, “How many temples are there in the world?” He laughed as he replied, “I don’t know. I can’t keep track anymore.” Somebody apparently looked it up as he was talking and told him – 136. He told the story of president Hinckley going to Stake Centers while on visits to Mexico looking for properties large enough to accommodate temples to be built next door.

The next question was “Where do you live?” I expected him to simply say Salt Lake, but he told us he lived a half block north of the conference center and that he walks to work each day. He has a key to a side door so he walks the rest of the way through the tunnels to his office in the church administration building. Now I know how this almost 90 year-old apostle keeps in shape.

An Apostle’s Witness of the Savior

The last question was the best. “Have you ever seen an angel or the Savior?” I listened closely to hear how an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ would answer this question. He told a couple of stories. First, he described one of the weekly meetings with the twelve way back when Elder LeGrand Richards was still alive. The meeting had to do with changes being made in the temple.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Elder Richards said that President Woodruff had been there. When asked why, he said that Elder Richards was the only one of the twelve present who had attended the 1893 dedication of the Salt lake Temple (as a child). President Woodruff was vitally concerned with the temple that he had dedicated. To Elder Perry, this was a visit by an angel.

The 1978 Revelation on the Priesthood

He then told the story of the 1978 revelation that all worthy men could hold the priesthood. He said that there were only three of the twelve still alive who had been there. He described how President Kimball asked to be the voice in the weekly prayer circle and how he poured out his heart in petitioning the Lord for understanding of his will on what should be done on this issue.

He said that the outpouring of the spirit was so great that at the conclusion of the prayer they each went back to their offices without saying a word. They usually go have lunch together. Something sacred had happened. To Elder Perry, this was evidence the Lord had visited them in the temple. The next Thursday, President Kimball submitted the new revelation to the twelve.

The Savior Directs This Church

Elder Perry then answered Whitney’s question directly. He said that the heavens only open on rare occasions. He spoke for a moment about placing our tent door toward the temple. He then closed by bearing testimony. He said, “There is only one man who receives revelation for all. This is not a man-made church. The Savior directs this church from above.”

“This is how he continues to reach out to each of us. There is an order and a system in place. Twelve are given the keys but only one may use them at a time. In the church there is order and uniformity. This provides absolute certain direction that comes from the Lord. I know without any doubt God lives and that the Savior directs this church.”

Miracles and Angels


A car lurched from the Oklahoma country road into the highway. The driver didn’t stop at the stop sign. Instead, he stalled on the road a hundred yards in front of us.

“Why doesn’t he get out of the way?” I asked from the middle of the front seat.

Dad didn’t respond. He locked up the brakes and laid on the horn. Our late 1960’s American Rambler slid down the hill on screeching tires.

Mother stopped talking mid-sentence in the back seat. She had just changed places with my sister and me a few miles back to talk with grandmother.

I was in the middle of the front seat. My sister was to my right. Seatbelts? I can’t remember. Shoulder belts became law in 1968. I can tell you I wasn’t wearing one.

Our California car probably crested the hill before the intersection doing 65 mph. Best guess from the photos looks like we hit the other car going 35 or 40. The impact pushed him into the ditch twenty to thirty feet past the crossing. Our car ended up on top of the stop sign.

I remember dad throwing his right arm out in an effort to protect me. I don’t remember the impact. Gingerly, I pulled my broken left arm out of the circular air conditioning vent. My sister was already out the right door. She held her left wrist. I followed quick as I could.

Dad came over to see if we were alright. The look in his and my sister’s face told me I wasn’t. I glanced down to see what they were looking at. The blood dripped profusely from the cut over my eye. It was hard to see.

“I’m OK, I’m OK,” I tried to assure them. I hopped about in an effort to deny the pain. The hopping didn’t help. The abnormal angle of my left arm frightened me.

“Son, didn’t you see that stop sign?” my dad asked the driver of the other car. Dad’s calmness amazed me. He then knelt next to the car in an effort to comfort my mother.

A low moan came from the back seat. Mother didn’t get out. She couldn’t. X-rays later revealed a broken pelvis and ruptured spleen. She had been sitting sideways when we hit.

Two ambulances took us to the hospital. Grandmother went with mother in the first. My sister and I went in the second. In spite of broken ribs, dad stayed behind to talk to the trooper.

I wasn’t prepared for surgery. I broke my finger in a skateboarding accident years earlier. The doctor reset the bone then and put a splint on it. My arm was in much worse shape.

“You sure swore a blue streak when you came out of the anesthesia,” the orderly said as he wheeled me to my room. Embarrassed, I made a mental note to clean up my language.

“Are you sure?” the nurse asked again on the third day. She asked the same thing every day. I had no idea what a bowel movement was. Why did she keep asking me that? My sister finally explained what she meant. I was glad we didn’t stay more than a week in the hospital.

The trip home to California was my first airline flight. I don’t remember if mother came with us then or travelled later. I know she had a difficult recovery. She lay on the couch at home for several weeks. As far as I know she started teaching school on time again in September.

It’s funny how everyone’s injuries were on the left side. Dad’s broken left ribs; my sister’s broken left wrist and my broken left arm. To this day I have the scars from the pins in my elbow. Occasionally my arm locks up, a reminder of that painful day.

In a quiet reflective moment with my dad years later, I asked him about the accident. He expressed the concern he felt for us at the time and then shared something sacred.

“You know your mother was hurt pretty bad,” he said.

“We were all messed up. She had surgery like me, didn’t she?”

“She did. I sat by her side all that night and every night for a week.” He struggled to go on. I could tell it was difficult for him to talk about this.

“I didn’t think she was going to make it. I can tell you I never prayed so hard in my life.” He was crying. Dad never cried. “It was a miracle we weren’t hurt worse.”

“I know. I still can’t remember the impact. It’s like I blanked out,” I said.

“We were protected by an angel, especially you.” Dad never talked about angels. I didn’t even know he believed in them. “It was a miracle.”

“What do you mean?”

“That night your mother lay close to death, I pled with the Lord to preserve her life. I didn’t think I could go on without her.” This was my invincible, invulnerable dad.

“I must have dozed off. When I woke, someone was sitting on the other side of the bed, looking at your mother.” Dad was serious in a way I had never seen before.

“Was it a doctor?”

“No. He had on a white robe that sort of glowed. His face shone. He looked up, smiled at me and then disappeared. I knew everything was going to be alright.”

“Who do you think it was?”

He looked at me long and hard before responding.

“I think it was the same person that kept you from going through the windshield of that car. Maybe it was your brother who died just after he was born.”

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