My Defense Before the High Council


32493_000_01_Title.qxdOne of my readers, Steve, asked, “I wondered what you would do if your stake president told you to quit blogging about Denver or you would be exed.” This is a fictional account, based on that very possible what-if scenario that could happen:

What if members were called to account for themselves in regards to the books they read and what they publish on their blogs? Oh, how I hope and pray that day never arrives. Isn’t that what George Orwell’s 1984 was all about?

Standing Before the High Council

“Thank you, President, for allowing me to take a moment to speak. I’ll make this brief. I know your time is precious and I don’t want to prolong this council any longer than necessary. I know we would all like to return home to our families.

“First, please allow me to express how much I love and appreciate each of you brethren. I hope you can feel that. Even if I am excommunicated tonight, I am grateful to have been able to know each of you and to have served with you.

I Have Received Sacred Experiences

“Many years ago, I had some sacred spiritual experiences that convinced me God lived, loved me and had a plan for my life. I have also felt the love of my Savior so many times since that I have a sure and certain witness He is guiding my life.

“In many ways, I have given my life to this church. I’ve said many times and I’ll say it again. I’m simply your typical, average member. I love this church and love the people in it. I love to serve. I’ve always accepted every calling extended to me.

The Approved Curriculum

“Like many of you, I grew up being taught the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in primary, Sunday school, Seminary, Institute and priesthood quorums. I have always appreciated my brethren and sisters. They were just like me – regular folks. They tried to teach the approved curriculum by the spirit of inspiration.

“Sometimes that process can be a contradiction in terms. What we find and teach from our authorized curriculum is not always exactly the way things happened. That’s OK. It’s faith-promoting and invites the spirit of the Lord to attend us. So what if we leave out some little part of the actual story that makes us look bad?

Some Things Are Embellished

“I always felt it was not worth bringing things up when I knew the teacher was not exactly sharing the perfect truth, meaning the story he or she was relating was later proven to be hearsay or something with a little extra added. We all know, if we have studied our history that some stories are embellished or parts left out.

“I’m sure you know what I mean. Think of Paul Dunn for a moment. He did a lot of good. But the fact remains he embellished some of his stories. Do I love him any less for doing so? No, of course not. He helped me develop faith in the Lord.

My Testimony of Joseph

“I grew up reading the Book of Mormon at my mother’s knee. I literally learned to read from the Book of Mormon when I was five years old. I love that book. I learned long ago it is scripture and contains the word of God.

“Over the years I have made an extensive study of the life of Joseph Smith from as many sources as possible. I have read the good, the bad and the ugly. No matter what I have read that claims otherwise, I know Joseph was a prophet.

“Because of my witness, I knew I would serve a mission, marry in the temple and do all I was asked to do over the years to help build up the church through home teaching, serving in callings, paying tithing and trying to be a good example to others.

Asked to Write About the Church

“Shortly before Elder Ballard invited the members of the church to become more involved in the conversations taking place on the Internet, I decided to start my own blog. For those who don’t know, a blog is a website where you keep adding new entries over time. The newest entries always appear at the top of the page.

“At first I simply wrote rebuttals to stuff out there that I knew were lies. I work on the Internet for a living. I read a lot of web pages. It’s my job. I got tired of all the stuff I read out there by those who had an axe to grind against the church.

Members Who Have Doubts

“After a while I noticed those who responded were mainly other members, and then only members responded to my blog posts. They wanted to argue with me. They wanted to show me where I was wrong and why I should think otherwise.

“I considered them naive. I could not believe they were duped by some of the stories out there on the Internet. Even worse, I could not believe they had not read or heard these things growing up. It seemed they wanted to shock me with some new revelation they spouted about how Joseph practiced polygamy or polyandry.

Inoculated at an Early Age

“What they didn’t know is I had a mother who taught me to read and who had a library full of controversial LDS books. She was a teacher. We did not grow up with a television. Reading was something my family did. I grew up with four sisters. We went to the library each Saturday and came home with a dozen books.

“I mainly read science fiction, but I also read a lot of history, especially from my mother’s library – LDS history. Mother was a Gospel Doctrine teacher and she loved to research her subjects. I think I read No Man Knows My History when I was in seminary. I was probably only fourteen or fifteen years old at the time.

“For those who may not know, the author of that controversial book was President McKay’s niece. She was excommunicated for writing that book. I first learned of polygamy from Fawn Brodie, and more to the point, of Joseph’s polygamy. There are seminary students in our stake today who know absolutely nothing about polygamy or that we ever practiced it as a church, especially in Joseph’s time.

Sympathizing with an Apostate

“I stand before you today accused of sympathizing with an individual whose teachings are contrary to the official story of our church history as found in our curriculum. I can’t believe it has come to this. Are we now willing to discipline our own church members simply for what they read? I can see the importance of writing uplifting material, but not everything in our church history is uplifting.

“I have always made it a point to teach ONLY authorized material from the official curriculum when I am asked to teach or speak in church. However, this is my private blog, in which I quote what others have said about the church. I offer my opinion and sometimes additional insights that come to me as I write about them.

Encourage Others to Remain Faithful

“If I were publishing things in my blog that advocated members to leave the church then I could understand the reason for this council. I don’t encourage others to teach the things I write in my book reviews. I always reassure my readers they should teach only what is found in our official curriculum. That is what the Brethren have asked us to do and I sustain that decision. Milk before meat, right?

“My whole blog is about LDS-related book reviews and specifically books that deal with the doctrines of the Last Days – the Coming of the Lord and how it will happen. That’s all I write about and nothing more. I comment a lot on Denver Snuffer’s books because he has written so much in this area. His writings are controversial, especially now that he is probably about to be excommunicated.

My Testimony and Conclusion

“That’s all I wanted to say. I love this church. I know it is authorized by the Lord to preach the gospel, to perform the ordinances of salvation, to print the scriptures, to collect tithing and to build temples. I am happy to be a part of the work. I hope to contribute until the return of the Lord. I believe my blog helps some people who struggle come to grips with some of the more difficult parts of our history.

“I will do as this council directs. Specifically president, if you ask me to take my blog down or at least to stop publishing or reporting on what Denver Snuffers says as he conducts his lectures over the next year, I will do so. But I can’t believe we would let it come to such a thing – controlling the lives of our members like that.”

Can the Church Control Bloggers?

And that is the end of my imaginary defense I would offer if I were called in to defend myself for writing about Denver Snuffer and his teachings. By the way, I ran this by my wife. She thought it was funny and said I was being overly dramatic but I don’t think so. I’ve read of bloggers being asked to stop writing certain things about the church, haven’t you? There just seems to be something wrong with that.

Expressions of Support for Denver Snuffer


LDCPostsOnDenverSnufferYesterday, I and many others received letters of support for Denver Snuffer in the face of his upcoming disciplinary action. Many people have said that their reading of “Passing the Heavenly Gift” helped them reconsider plans to leave the church. These good people are willing to give credit to Denver’s book for helping them through a difficult time. I have read accounts of many individuals who have resolved their feelings of deception upon learning certain things about our church history. [Note: this is an edited opening paragraph from the original sent to subscribers,]

No Need to Defend Denver

This morning, Denver explained why he posted the disciplinary summons on his website. He said he wanted to make sure that anybody planning to attend any of his lectures was aware of his status with the church – either pending or accomplished. He also said that we need not defend him with such heartfelt letters because he said they would do no good and may result in the church taking notice of those who step forward. He doesn’t want that to happen to anyone else.

Let This Run Its Course

“No matter your own sentiments, it would be best to just let this run its course without involving anyone other than me.” I am amazed about the outpouring of sentiment I have seen on both my blog and in the private online groups who discuss Denver Snuffer’s readings. Many of you are not old enough to remember the kinds of public demonstrations held outside the disciplinary councils of the September Six. Like Denver said, it does no good except draw media attention.

Media Attention Inevitable

I suspect Denver’s lecture tour will draw media attention enough. As I have pointed out several times before, I show up second on a Google search for Denver Snuffer. I did not intend this to happen but feel some responsibility since it is a fact. I am a simple regular member of the church who likes to read and review books. I have thought about what I wrote yesterday about how I would answer the temple recommend question about loyalty should Denver be excommunicated.

My Writings on Denver Snuffer

Taking Denver’s advice, I have no plans to write a letter to his stake president defending what I feel are the writings of a man who has helped me in so many ways. My blog is public. You can find everything I have written over the last year and a half about Denver since I started reading his books. My Bishop can read them, my Stake President can read them and so can any member of my ward or stake. Many of them do. I know because of their public and private comments.

Reading Books of Former Members

Should Denver be excommunicated, I will continue to read his writings. I still plan to find some way to get up to Utah to hear at least one of his lectures. I intend to continue to buy each of the offered recordings. I have made up my mind where I stand. I do not feel he is an apostate. I have learned more from reading his books than I have from just about any other LDS writer. I read the works of other excommunicated LDS writers and have never felt that makes me an apostate.

The Temple Recommend Question

I can see how a Bishop or Stake President could feel otherwise, but I cannot believe that temple recommend question was intended to weed out those who read controversial material about the church. Some of the articles in the Salt Lake Tribune would qualify for that restriction. We are counseled to be informed. How can one have an informed and educated opinion without reading the source material of the subject in question? Otherwise your opinions are simply ignorant.

Links to my Denver Snuffer Posts

But just to make it easier for anyone to find what I have written about what I have read in his books, you can read any one of the following essays written and posted here on my blog. I think it is clear that I have enjoyed analyzing what I have read in Denver’s books since my former Bishop first introduced them to me in January of 2012. He simply asked my opinion what I thought of Passing the Heavenly Gift. How could I give an opinion without reading it? Here’s the list:

01. August 23 2013 – Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council – Summons announcement
02. August 19 2013 – Max Skousen Excommunicated Twice – Material halfway down
03. July 20 2013 – The Lord Prepares Groups of People – Angels gathering the elect
04. June 12 2013 – A Few More Quotes From Denver Snuffer – Taken from his blog
05. June 10 2013 – A Few Quotes from Denver Snuffer – Intended this to be a series
06. June 1 2013 – In the Tops of the Mountains – Where will Zion first be gathered?
07. May 15 2013 – Progress Report on Denver Snuffer – Thoughts on my readings
08. April 17 2013 – Remembering the Covenant – Thoughts upon receiving the books
09. March 24, 2013 – Overview of The Second Comforter
10. March 9, 2013 – A New Star Will Shine Forth
11. March 3, 2013 – All Are Invited to the Feast
12. December 25, 2012 – The Four Phases of Mormonism
13. December 11, 2012 – What Denver Snuffer Teaches
14. July 7, 2012 – Deceived by an Angel of Light
15. May 12, 2012 – Orthodox Mormonism
16. May 5, 2012 – Ten Parables by Denver Snuffer
17. April 8, 2012 – Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil
18. February 26, 2012 – Loss of the Sealing Power

Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council


NoticeToAppearFor those who don’t know, Denver Snuffer has been served with a notice to appear before the Stake Presidency and High Council to answer charges of apostasy for the publication of his book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift.” Carol and I just discussed this. I continue to feel that he was not surprised, knew this was coming and, in effect, intended to force the hand of the church.

I have publically written about Denver

I am in somewhat of a difficult position because of the number of articles I have written and posted on my blog, most of them in the form of book reviews. I think it interesting that my post on Monday was originally entitled, “The LDS Church Excommunicates those who Know Christ.” Because of the uproar over the title I changed it to something a bit less offensive.

A Day of Sadness for me

I will not deny I am saddened this day has arrived. If he is excommunicated, it will free him up to say some of the things he wanted to say, similar to what happened to Max Skousen. He has asked that we not call him. He, and especially his family, deserves privacy. None of us know at this time how he will respond to the requirements placed upon him to avoid the council.

Requirements of Stake President

One of the requirements is that he cancels his planned lecture series scheduled to begin next month. His response is evident in that he discusses the need to change recording arrangements. I think it is obvious he is not intending to comply with the requirements of the Stake President. Also, as of this moment, Passing the Heavenly Gift is still available for purchase at Amazon.

My Personal Opinion of Denver’s Work

As far as my personal opinions about the work of Denver Snuffer, they have not changed. I have made it clear how I feel in my book reviews and several other published articles. If Denver is excommunicated, I will now have to answer the below temple recommend question for myself with a little bit more thought. I’ve never had to consider this before – never thought it applied.

The Temple Recommend Question

The question is, “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I always assumed this referred to those who promoted polygamy. As far as I know, Denver does not promote polygamy and has written extensively about it on his blog.

Sympathizer or Supporter

I have lots of friends who have been excommunicated. I have lots of friends who have left the church on their own. That does not mean that I sympathize with their causes. I still want to attend one of Denver’s lectures or at least buy the recordings of each of the lectures. Does that make me a sympathizer or supporter or an apostate if he indeed is disciplined and excommunicated?

PtHG is Apparently Offensive

So it appears it is the publication of Passing the Heavenly Gift that is the issue. My reading of the book simply clarified a whole bunch of crap I had already read on the Internet over the years. It was not new or shocking for me, although I can see how it could be for others who do not read or study church history. But then my opinions do not matter a hill of beans in this particular case.

Placed Church in a Negative Light

According to the posted letter, Denver has “mischaracterized doctrine, denigrated virtually every prophet since Joseph Smith and placed the church in a negative light.” I would hate to sit on the High Council and give my opinion because I would have to disagree with that. The decision belongs to the Stake President. I pray that whatever happens moves the work of God forward.

Max Skousen Excommunicated Twice


MaxSkousen2Please don’t take offense at the title. It is sensational on purpose but I think factual. Read on to see why. Note: I changed the title from the original because so many people wrote to say they found it offensive. It was not my intention to offend. The original title was: “The LDS Church Excommunicates those who Know Christ” The next week Denver Snuffer was summoned to a disciplinary counsel and was eventually excommunicated. He was one who wrote a book about the Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil.”

Some Controversial Writers

I have been reading Max Skousen. You know, the Max Skousen who was excommunicated twice for writing about Christ. It made me think about Mel Fish, my friend from Cedar City who was excommunicated for writing about Christ. As I pondered further, I thought of my LTM branch president, George Pace, who was released as a Stake President for writing about Christ, Finally, I thought of Denver Snuffer, who is under church investigation for his recent books on the Savior.

Remove the Condemnation

What is going on in our church? Why are we forcing men out who want to bring us to Christ? I have read the works of these men and can say without reservation that each of them have been sincere and have gone to great lengths in their labors to teach us how we can come unto Christ. It is not an easy thing to write a book, let alone several of them as some have done, in their efforts to help us remove the condemnation we are under for esteeming lightly the Book of Mormon.

Church Teaches Come Unto Christ

This concerns me. On the one hand, I have been taught all my life from General Authorities, Bishops, Stake Presidents, Gospel Doctrine Teachers, and just about anyone who teaches in this church that if we will but come to know, love, follow and emulate Christ, we will be blessed, we will be happy, and we will be able to help the rest of the world by our example. I have tried to live this principle all my life. My number one goal is to come unto Christ. Always has been.

We Need to Know The Savior

Something is wrong here, or so it seems to me. Have I simply chosen a few poor examples in my list above? These are men whose writings have affected me deeply. I have met and interviewed some, and have prayed about each of them and their writings. Now, to be sure, I am also affected by the words of the men we sustain in this church as prophets, seers and revelators, sometimes very deeply, especially when they teach of the Savior. Aren’t we all supposed to know Christ?

Looking Beyond the Mark

I think the problem is that these men I mentioned above, and you can read about each of them in the links I have provided as I have written about them previously, have gone beyond what the Brethren felt comfortable in letting them share. Does that sound strange? It does to me. It seems to smack of controlling or restraining in some way, something I find distasteful. It makes me ask, of what are they afraid? What do they fear these men have taught or are trying to teach us?

A Blessing Hitherto Unknown

Take Max Skousen for example. He passed away in 2002, but you can read his books on the blog dedicated to his works, with links to Scribed, where they are stored. I have only read a few of his essays and the first few chapters of Looking Beyond the Mark, the first in his series of books, A Blessing Hitherto Unknown. In it he describes how he was inspired by President Benson who invited us to remove the condemnation of pride and unbelief from ignoring the Book of Mormon.

Disciplined for Doctrinal Writings

Max simply expounded that. I read no further than a few pages before I had to know about the man and what motivated him. That’s when I discovered he had been excommunicated twice for writing his books. The pattern became obvious. Each time the Lord has led me to read the works of someone who teaches about the Savior in greater depth than what we find in our curriculum, I discover they have been disciplined in some way or form. Thus I write this post, wondering why.

Tree of Life not Tree of Knowledge

From what I have been able to discover so far, Max teaches us about the differences between the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. Oh, how quickly I was able to relate. I have been seeking new and revelatory experiences every day at the tree of knowledge, when all along, I should have been pursuing my way to the tree of life, clinging to the iron rod until I fell down at the presence of the tree to partake of the fruit, which the Lord promises we can taste and even have in this life.

Investment in Denver Snuffer Books

I have only just started reading Max’s works. I am so pleased that someone has gone to great trouble to place them on the Internet where I can find and read them for free. I do not have to buy them like I did when I wanted to read what Denver Snuffer has written. I don’t mind. I suppose I have invested well over $200 in Denver’s books, but I wanted to have them in my library. Some I have read multiple times, and others I am still reading, like Removing the Condemnation.

I Remember a Great Teacher George Pace

I read George Pace’s book many, many years ago, went to many of his lectures, and received personal counsel from him just as I was starting my mission. I’ll always remember his focus on the Savior, and how he KNEW we could have a personal, sacred, and sustaining relationship with him that would give us strength throughout our lives. I was devastated when I later read what happened to him and his family all because he dared teach what he taught about Christ.

Learn About Mel and Gwena Fish

I’ve written previously how I was led to meet with Mel Fish, a man who I am convinced knows the Savior better than anyone I have ever met. If someone were to ask me if I knew anyone who had their calling and election made sure, Mel and Gwena Fish would be the first couple to come to mind. The sprit witnessed to my soul how much the Lord loved Mel and Gwena and just how much he appreciated what they were doing to help people cast off the influence of the adversary.

Conquering Spiritual Evil

By the way, two other other individuals come to mind who have done so much to help people free themselves from the adversary and were persecuted by their church leaders for doing so. One is Doug Mendenhall, who wrote Conquering Spiritual Evil, and my friend Jan Graf who was somewhat of a mentor to me in first learning about communicating with our subconscious mind, although I learned his techniques second-hand and modified through one of his students.

Denver Snuffer Lecture Series

Anyone who has read my blog for the last year and half knows how I was introduced to Denver Snuffer and his writings, as well as the subsequent change in my life as a result of what I learned, and am still learning, from his books. I still hope to make it to one of his seminars in Utah next year. I’m certain I won’t be able to go to his Idaho or Northern Utah lectures anytime this year. I have some very specific questions I want to ask Denver why some teach evil spirits can repent.

Men Persecuted for Publishing Truth

The point of this post is this, and it’s more of a question for those who are my regular readers, if I have any left after being dropped by most LDS blog aggregators for being too controversial. I have felt led to read the works of these men I have mentioned. Their books have thrilled me. They have fed my soul. Reading them have been spiritual experiences, akin to reading scripture. Why is it that these men are persecuted by our church when their writings ring so true with me?

Go Where the Spirit Leads

I have to ask: Am I out of touch? Am I out of line with the General Authorities? Are we or are we not taught by our leaders to seek after Christ, to learn of Him, to come to know him and to emulate Him? Why do I feel that the Lord has lead me to the writings of these brethren I have mentioned in this blog? Is it because the writings of these men represent the meat of the gospel? Is what they write too much, too controversial for the general membership of the church today?

Just Your Basic Everyday Mormon

I don’t feel I’m anybody special. I’ve always said, “I’m just a regular member of the church.” I have no special influence. I am a lowly assistant stake clerk. I like to stay behind the scenes. I gladly accept speaking or teaching in church when asked but I ALWAYS teach ONLY what is in the approved curriculum. I do not deviate unless the spirit directs. I like to think I serve faithfully. I love this church. I love my brethren and sisters. I am your basic everyday common Mormon.

An Effort to Control Publishing

I’ll leave it at that. Some will respond that I have been and am being misled. It happens almost every time I write about Denver Snuffer. My counter is always, “That’s not what the spirit has been whispering to my soul.” Is it at all possible that there is some sort of cover-up or rather an attempt to control, to constrain and to tightly correlate what private members write and publish? If so, how can they expect to do that in today’s Internet world? We can publish anything today.

My Faith Discovery Journey

I’ve been blogging and working on an LDS-themed book for years. My wife just beat me to the punch and published her first book. I’ve watched her journey go in an entirely different direction than where she thought she wanted to go. I can say the same thing for me. I started out wanting to ONLY write faith-promoting, toe-the-line LDS explanations that mirrored the official line of reasoning for every controversial and questionable doctrine or practice. I feel like John Dehlin.

Finding Spiritual Fulfillment

John is much smarter and much more prominent in the LDS blogging world than I am but where I am today is not at all where I expected to be six years ago when I started thinking about adding my voice to the LDS blogging community. I don’t question the right of the leaders of our church to lead. I sustain them. I pray for them. I love them. But for the first time in my life, I’ve come to a point where I have to say, I’m not getting the spiritual food that fulfills my soul in my church.

Controversy Always Gets Attention

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not leaving. Where would I go? I also fully recognize feeding my soul is my own responsibility. That’s why I seek out and feel led to the writings of the men I mention at the top of this post. I just can’t figure out why these same men, whose writings I find so very rewarding and fulfilling, can be at odds with those who lead our church today. Is it a made-up controversy? Everyone knows strong opinions and debate generate interest. Maybe that’s it.

General Membership Don’t Read

Maybe the brethren are disciplining and excommunicating these men in order to bring attention to their works, so the members will sit up, take notice and make some effort to find out what all the hullabaloo is all about. Yeah, that’s it, isn’t it? I’m kidding. I really doubt that. But if you can tell me why I am led to find such spiritual satisfaction from the writings of these men who are or have been disciplined for what they have written, I would greatly appreciate you clueing me in.

Looking for Informed Opinions

That is, of course, if you know what you’re talking about, have read some of their works and can advise me with an educated opinion. I dislike reading some of the comments that start out, “I’ve never read a thing Denver Snuffer has written, but I can tell you if you don’t stop reading what he has published, you’re going to lose your church membership and then you’ll be sorry.” But I have a much higher opinion of my readers than that. Send me a private email if you prefer.

You can Reach me Privately

And, as always, thanks for reading my blog. I hope what I share is helpful and gets us thinking. I can be reached privately at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com if you prefer, but why not share your insights with others in the comments? I always respond to private emails, even if it sometimes takes me a few weeks. I appreciate the hundreds of readers who have reached out to me privately for help or discussion. I welcome all, public or private and ask only for thoughtful discourse. God bless.

Visualizing the Day of the Lord


MeteorsHittingCityHave you ever thought about what we will see, feel and experience when the physical events of the Lord’s return begin to unfold? What will your life be like on that day when the catastrophic destructions that have been prophesied start to happen? Will your day be different? Will there be anything unfamiliar in the skies? Will the weather be strange, perhaps a little rare and unusual?

Prophets Have Seen the Day

I know many prophets have thought deeply about this. In fact, they have done more than think about it. They have prayed about it and asked the Lord to show them what it would be like. The revelations have come. They have recorded them and shared them with us. Most were a result of asking specific questions. One of the questions I have asked is “Will it happen all at once?”

Signs Precede His Return

The answer is no. While the Day of the Lord can be pinpointed to an actual day when the world sees the Lord return, there is much that will happen first. The Lord has given us many warnings that contain clues. We call them signs. He has told us to watch for the signs. We talk about the signs. We teach each other the signs. We discuss them. We write about them. We read them.

Destructions Accompany His Return

Some of the questions I have asked and prayed about are “How will these destructions take place? What will cause these destructions? Why must there be destructions anyway?” I am not the only one who has asked these questions. In fact, the method or catalyst of the destructions that will come upon us in the last days has been known for thousands upon thousands of years.

Everyone will Be Affected

What if you don’t believe in a) God, b) The Lord, c) religion d) prophecy or anything of a spiritual nature that you can’t see, feel or touch with your natural body? What if you don’t care about these prophecies, feel that they are a waste of time and have no desire to understand them? That’s OK. I suspect when the day of the Lord arrives, you’ll want to learn about them quick.

Exact Day is Unknown

We are living in a day when so many of the pre-cursor signs have happened or are happening that more and more people are “jumping the gun,” so to speak, in assuming that the big day is about to burst upon us. Remember what the scriptures say: Nobody knows that exact day, not even the angels in heaven. Only our Father in Heaven knows the exact day of Christ’s return.

Understand the Signs

There are many reasons we know the great and terrible day of destruction is getting closer each day but there are many things that must happen first. The Lord loves His children and has given us distinct signs to watch for. There have been multiple books published on the subject. One of my favorites is 65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David J. Ridges.

The Sequence is Unclear

I’ve been told it’s not wise to try to put any of these signs in order or precedence. We have been advised to simply study, know and understand the signs of the times. Anybody who tries to put them in any particular order seems to get into trouble, meaning others will vehemently disagree with them. I suppose that is inevitable, since the Lord didn’t specify an exact sequence either.

Signs in Heaven and on Earth

In my book, I focus on the cosmological signs and the events of nature that go along with them. For example, the sun will be darkened, the moon will become as blood. Diseases, plagues and pestilences will sweep the earth. There will be famines, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Signs and wonders on earth and in the heavens, the rainbow withdrawn.

All Nature Will be in Commotion

In particular, I focus on the great sign of the coming of the Son of Man, the return of the great hailstorms that will destroy the crops of the earth, the great earthquake such as never before, the burning that is prophesied to accompany His return, and the elements that will be in commotion. I have always wondered what it would be like to live through these terrible disasters of nature.

The Whole World Will See

What could possibly cause the earth to reel to and fro like a drunken man? What could cause the mountains to melt with fervent heat? How will we feel when these storms, tempests, whirlwinds with their thunderings, lightnings and sounds of the trumpets come upon all people? It’s evident that the whole world will experience these last great events. They won’t be localized or confined.

Wormwood and John the Revelator

What did John the Revelator mean when he talked about a third part of the sea becoming blood, the third part of the creatures of the sea dying and a third part of the ships destroyed? Why? What is this great star that falls from heaven, burning as a lamp that falls upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters? Why is it called Wormwood? What does that mean?

Hail of Brimstone not Ice

Are the great hailstones that fall made of ice? If so, how can they be mingled with brimstone and with fire and with blood? Others have written about the deteriorating social conditions through which we are now passing. Who can doubt the wickedness and abominations that are beginning to sweep the land? I believe the prophecies that the governments will be overthrown and wasted.

We Don’t Need Specific Details

I know it’s easy to simply say, “The coming of the Lord will cause all of these things.” Details, my friends, I want details. The Lord uses natural causes and obeys natural laws even if we don’t fully understand them. For example, I have to ask “Why will it be a day of burning?” Well, yes, from the brightness of his glory, but is there something else that might accompany his return?

Return of City of Enoch

Don’t the scriptures say that the Lord will come down with the inhabitants of the City of Enoch? Hmmm…how is He going to do that unless the part of the planet on which they reside, which was taken up when they left, returns with them? In other words, isn’t it possible or probable he will be accompanied by the return of the remnants of the planet with those who left with Enoch?

Return of Lost Ten Tribes

And what about the lost Ten Tribes – won’t they return first? You know, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” I know I’m stretching it here since so few – read hardly anybody – believes that the Ten Tribes were taken from this earth. The prevailing theory is that they are simply mixed in with all the people of the earth or – gasp – hiding under the ice somewhere.

The Sound of Great Trumps

And what causes the great sound of the trumps? There are lots of them. I know, it’s the angels, but couldn’t there be a natural explanation like the oscillations of two very large celestial bodies when they come close together. Uh, oh, the scientist in me just kicked in – that goes against all the laws of nature – two planets can’t get that close together without one of them disintegrating.

Thunderbolts of the Gods

We have so many historical and scriptural evidences of great thunderbolts or lightnings that flash from the heavens. And we’re not talking from the local clouds. We’re talking about the kind of electrostatic discharge that occurs when two large celestial bodies come in close contact. Oh, wait, scientists don’t believe such a thing could happen. It’s never happened before, has it?

Highway in the Great Deep

What is this highway that shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep? Where will it go? How high will it go? Of what will it be composed? Is it possible that this great highway could connect two planets? Is it possible that these planets were connected at one time in the past? If the speed of the earth’s rotation slows, what will happen to all the water at the equators? Where will it go?

Great Sign of the Lord

What exactly is the great sign of the Lord that He told us about and Joseph described in more detail? Will the world see the sign coming for some time before it arrives? Could it look like a planet or a comet or both as it comes close to the earth, on an intersecting course? I’ve always wondered about this curious statement of the Lord. How will the world react when they see it?

The Lord Will Reveal The Details

Well, that’s enough conjecture for a while. The Lord has said unless we ask questions, we get no answers. I can tell you that I have asked these and many more questions. I think I’ve got some answers, at least enough to satisfy a part of my curiosity. I have more to ask the Lord, but He has made it clear I am not quite ready for the additional detail he will reveal until I am prepared.

That’s the Background for my Novel

I’ve been studying this for about thirty years. I remain fascinated and am anxious to learn more. I pray about it most every night. Sometimes, I make it a matter of fasting and temple pondering. I can tell you that as I have written some of the chapters, the words just flowed as if I was taking dictation. Maybe the book is just for me, but perhaps it’s good enough to make it to publishing.

We Can See The Day of the Lord

I would like to see the day of the Lord. I am convinced many prophets have seen it. We have a record of their visions in the scriptures. We also have the records of ancient civilizations that experienced similar visits of planets and the destruction they caused. That is the basis for my novel – what will happen to the inhabitants of the earth if a planet came alongside to meet us?

Sample Chapters Available to Read

I’ll conclude with this book jacket synopsis from the novel. If you are interested, you can read some of the rough drafts on the “Red Dust – LDS Fiction” tab. I hope to soon register a domain name, do some serious work on applying the edits from the feedback I already have and finish this book project that has been on my mind for so many years, even if it’s only to say it’s done.

Book Jacket Synopsis for Red Sky

The sky is falling…literally. Four scientists race against time to reassure the world as it encounters a rogue planet. Astronomer David Mitchell is the face of the government. He must provide play-by-play advance notice of what to expect next. But how can anyone predict what will happen when two planets come together? It’s never happened before. Or has it?

Manny Volynsky is on a mission to tell the world the truth about this rogue planet. He’ll stop at nothing to get to the scientific conference where he’ll have a worldwide audience. There is can share answers about the red dust that has started to fall. But Manny is a nutcase history professor who has no credibility in the scientific world. Will they listen to his stories of the ancient myths?

Death from the skies is impossible. Everyone knows that, especially David who has taught it repeatedly over the years, using scientific evidence to prove it. When fire begins to accompany the red dust, the conflict between science and myth is blurred. Manny’s predictions of future events have come true. David must decide if he will give Manny a voice to warn the people.

Our Libraries Get in our Way


GoodreadsScanI just discovered the scan icon on my Goodreads iPhone app. What I thought would be a totally manual process of entering my 2,000+ library of books into Goodreads has now turned into a manageable project. I just scanned a dozen and entered them in about ten minutes. You can even scan a whole bunch at a time and put them on the same shelf – read, to be read, or whatever.

My Worldly Possessions

This is a project I’ve wanted to do for years – catalog my library. I have only a few worldly possessions I would miss if I did not have them. 1) My computers. I make my living with my computers. Without them I would not be of much value to my employer. 2) My car, of course, because I live in Southern California and could not work the weird schedule I do without it.

A Source of Pride

3) My books. Ah, my library. I confess it’s a source of pride. I know that’s wrong. I love to collect books. When I get a new book, it’s usually on the recommendation of someone I trust. When I receive it, I scan through it, become familiar with the contents, decide if I want to read it right now and either read it or add it to the library, intending to get around to reading it someday.

Interfere With Knowing God

Denver Snuffer said the following about our libraries: “It isn’t the volume of the books we possess which helps our search into deep truths.  Indeed, our libraries may well interfere with knowing God.  It is the depth of how we live the basic principles contained in the scriptures which let the light of heaven shine into our lives.” (Denver Snuffer Blog entry, 23 March 2010)

An Early Love of Books

I know where this thing about books comes from – my mother. I grew up surrounded by books. Every room in our house growing up had a bookcase. The front room had hundreds, perhaps thousands, just like mine has now. Each bedroom had its own bookcase and mine was filled with Caldecott and Newbury award winning books. Mother made sure we had the best books to read.

Learned to Read Book of Mormon

Family trips to the local public libraries each week was my favorite thing to do. We did not grow up with television in our home so reading was the main activity of my youth. My mother read to me nightly and we read out loud as a family. It was an old cheap brown-covered Book of Mormon that I remember reading with my mother the year our family found and joined the church in 1962.

Book of Mormon Connects Me

She would mark out all iterations of the phrase “and it came to pass” as she read. “Didn’t sound like good English,” she said. I didn’t mind. I just learned to skip them when it was my turn to read. So I literally learned to read with the Book of Mormon before I was five years old. It’s no wonder I love this book. It’s special to me. I’ve connected to it through all phases of my life.

Love of Science Fiction

In High School I developed a love for Science Fiction. I read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series before it became popular. I read the Dune series by Frank Herbert – loved the books, hated the movie. Arthur C Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, then Isaac Asimov Robot series, Robert Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land, Ray Bradbury – Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Michael Crichton. I read all the classics for many years in my youth.

Technical Reading – How Boring

Sadly, I stopped reading fiction after high school. I got a degree in computers and started my career and family. I read technical manuals for fun. I dug into books on programming techniques and network protocols, phone systems and the Internet. I make my living supporting computers and networks. I work for a private jet management and charter company at a local Southern California airport. I read a lot of news and blogs, especially in science and technology. But I still don’t read a lot of fiction. In fact, I’ve probably read less than a dozen fiction books in ten tears.

Someone Had to Write the Scripts

I’ve always had an interest in disaster movies. I’m fascinated to see Hollywood portrayals of how people will react to a terrible tragedy of global proportions. Most of the disaster movies have been blockbuster hits so I’m not alone in my interest. Earthquake (74), Dante’s Peak (97), Deep Impact (98), Armageddon (98), Day After Tomorrow (04), Knowing (09), 2012 the movie (09) and When Worlds Collide, first made in 1951. I think somebody is working on a remake.

Alternative Model of the Universe

I became deeply interested in Astronomy in college. I love the study of the Sun, comets, meteors, and the planets, especially the inner planets. I subscribe to an alternative view of cosmology different from the astronomical standard model, something called the electric universe. One of the most radical ideas of this alternative model is that the sun is powered directly from an external source, not necessarily by internal thermonuclear fusion. I know it goes against science.

Becoming a Professional Writer

For about the last four or five years I have been taking professional writing classes and seminars, mostly with Carol. She has been much more serious about this than I have. Her first novel has been accepted and will be published within the next month or two. Things move fast in the world of e-publishing. I’ve been thinking it’s time for me to catch up and finish the novel I started.

Odds are Against First Novelists

I read a disturbing statistic the other night. “According to one conservative estimate, upwards of 30,000 writers in the U.S. are currently struggling to write or publish their first novel. Perhaps .001% of them will be published at some point.” Wow. What makes me think I could write a novel that anyone would want to read or buy? I know some of those 30,000 aspiring writers.

A Work in Progress

I know a few of my readers have ventured up to the top of my blog section entitled “Red Sky – LDS Fiction.” It contains PDFs of the drafts I have taken to our monthly writer’s groups where we read and critique each other’s work. I have received some good public and private feedback. Some of it has been not so good. Sections need to be rearranged; some corny dialog chopped.

Writing is a Lonely Business

Writing is a lonely business. It takes discipline. You’re supposed to set a reasonable goal for yourself and then churn out X number of words per day. Perhaps I haven’t wanted this published badly enough. It’s been on my mind a lot more lately. I know I’ll regret if I get to the end of my life and don’t at least finish, edit and try to publish the book. I can see it in my mind’s eye now.

Prioritizing The Important

I can name about ten projects I have put on my plate, could be working on and never seem to be able to make more than a little progress on any one of them. Do any of you have that same problem? I’m wondering if this Goodreads library scanning project is just another one that has now gotten in the way of finishing my book. It makes me wonder what I’m trying to avoid.

Overcoming Fear of Success

Everyone has to ask themselves what they fear most about success. What if the book really does take off and a legitimate New York Publishing house wants a contract? I already know an agent who has said she would be happy to represent me based on what she has read so far. What about movie rights? Doesn’t every writer of disaster fiction want to see his book made into a movie?

Making a Book More Than Palatable

Then, of course, the book could be awful. It could be something that is not interesting to a large number of people – critical to success in book publishing. Poor grammar and weak sentence structure can be overcome with good coaching. I know one of the best who has offered his services for a very reasonable rate – $50 an hour. He has helped hundreds publish their books.

Finishing a Project Takes Work

When I pray about my book, I can see the chapters in my mind’s eye. Someone is trying to help me. I know the story. I know the scriptures on which it is based. I think my characters are at least a little bit interesting, or so I’ve been told. The dialog is good; the action scenes are fast paced. So why do I have this self-doubt? I suppose it’s because I’ve seen others write books that failed.

A Change of Direction for my Blog

For my regular readers, I hope you’ll excuse this public foray into musing about my alternatives. There is no discussion of theological doctrine here, no thoughts offered about how I think things could be better if we only did this or that, and no revelations of some inside tidbit of information derived via email from a high-ranking source inside the church office building or elsewhere.

Public Commitment to a Project

They say that making and announcing a public goal helps to get it accomplished. I’ve heard of people who lose weight this way. I know of people who get projects done when they tell their family and friends it will be completed by a certain period of time. I guess they hope that others who love them will ask them occasionally how the project is going and when it will be finished.

Thinking Out Loud Here

So I’m going to go out on a limb here and commit myself to finishing my book by December. I’ve got over a dozen chapters written. Most need additional editing or rearranging. I probably won’t use them all in the finished book. I’m thinking I want this book to be about 180 pages. Although my genre is disaster fiction, the average science-fiction book is about 105,000 words.

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

I’ve written about 27,000 words so I’m a fourth of the way through the first rough draft if I use all the stuff I’ve written so far. Of course, there’s all the editing to be done. Writing a book is a big project. How do people do it and still hold down a full-time job, take care of their family, church and social obligations? How do they keep that motivation to do the hard work of churning out another 1,500 to 2,000 words when they come home after an hour commute from the office?

Got to Have a Story to Tell

I think the answer to motivation is that you’ve got to have a story to tell and you’ve got to be passionate about it. I believe I’ve got one but I’m going to split this post in two and give you a rough outline of the story and why I think it’s exciting. According to my stats I have a couple hundred regular readers plus the one-time readers who come for my review of Visions of Glory. I invite your opinions.

Fulfilling a Long-Time Promise

That’s enough of the background story. The bottom line for me is that I’ve made a promise to a friend to write this book and I intend to fulfill it. I’m excited about the possibilities of the story and the feedback I’ve received each time I share a chapter in a writer’s group. An early chapter was published in my college literary magazine awhile back. Let’s skip to part two of this post.

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.”

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