The Lord is Specific in Answering Prayer


CounselWithTheLordThis is going to seem like a really random post, but I promise if you will stick to the end you will find something worthwhile. I’ve prayed about it as I do all my posts and have decided the Lord would like me to share a few things about answering prayer. First off I want to let my regular readers know my boss would not let me quit my job. We worked out our differences yesterday.

Now I Know Why The Lord Inspired Me To Resign

I’m still employed. It’s nice to be wanted but its nicer knowing when I did what I felt prompted to do by the Lord – resign from my job – it was the right thing to do. The end result was an improvement in conditions of my life. I have a new boss – the CFO – who understands techs. My associate is now an exempt employee who can share my after-hours and weekend work load.

Sometimes We Have To Hear Hard Things About Ourselves

But most important of all, I learned a very hard lesson from the CEO that the Lord wanted me to hear. He said, “Tim, I asked six people and they all said you come across as condescending, pandering and even sometimes rude.” I listened to him rant and rave about my attitude for about five minutes without interrupting him. When he was done I asked if he would like a response.

Speaking Under The Influence Of The Spirit

Receiving his permission, I spent the next ten to fifteen minutes educating him on a multitude of things wrong with the way the IT department was being managed, or the lack thereof, why it is important to tech guys to have a boss who understands tech and exactly what I did for him in the evenings and on the weekends. He had no clue. I absolutely felt the Lord put words in my mouth.

The Lord Requires Us To Be Meek And Humble

I had gone into the interview grateful that the CEO wanted to talk to me, even though he had accepted my resignation. That told me he valued my skills, talent and expertise. I had prayed and prayed about the meeting all weekend. I asked and pled with the Lord to help me be meek and humble. In my gospel study yesterday morning I was lead to read a recent conference address.

Faulty Perceptions Are Easily Reinforced

Be Meek and Lowly of Heart,” by Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy is filled with invitations to humble ourselves as the Savior did in every circumstance. Before I read the article I was filled with the spirit of indignation of being misunderstood. I knew the CEO would have a few unkind things to say about me that were based on some faulty perceptions.

Inspiration To Not Speak Until the Right Moment

But perception is reality. As I prayed that morning and asked for strength and inspiration, the Lord whispered to me to keep my mouth shut until the appropriate time. It would have been disastrous if I had interrupted the CEO when he was on his tirade. In his mind he was right. He had asked for and received six confirming witnesses. Who is going to say no to the CEO?

The Lord Put Words Into My Mouth

I am not usually one to speak passionately off the cuff, without a prepared script. But when I asked and received permission to present my views on why I could no longer sustain working in the environment I was in, I was simply blown away by the words the Lord put in my mouth and the passion with which I was speaking. The CEO’s eyes got wider and wider with each moment.

Doing Things The Lord’s Way Works Miracles

I sensed his heart had softened. I heard him say, “What can we change to make you want to stay?” I spelled out the three main requests and he made each one of them happen on the spot. We came to an agreement that I would stay on and work on my attitude to be more cheerful and less condescending to employees who I knew were just trying to dump work on someone else.

The Lord Can and Will Be Specific If Needed

Here’s my point: The Lord answers prayer. He answers prayer in very specific ways. Sometimes he tells us how he’s going to answer prayer. He is also willing to give us detailed instructions on how we can be successful in difficult situations. I know I’m not the only one who has had such an experience but this one was direct, exactly as the Lord said it would be and undeniable to me.

It Took Faith and Was a Test For My Family

As I said in an earlier post, I did not know why I felt moved or instructed by the Lord to resign from my job. Well, now I know why. The reason was so my boss and I could work out a few differences that were making my life miserable and causing me great anxiety even to the point of panic attacks early last year. This is the second time I have quit this job and been asked to stay.

The Lord Knew I Needed His Help

I feel a great sense of relief. Having someone to share a burden, someone to whom I can assign to be on-call so I can turn off my phone or ignore emails from employees working from home is a big deal to me. The stress was killing me. I’ve lost 45 pounds in the past year all from feeling like I couldn’t relax from being “on” all the time. If you work in tech I’m sure you understand.

I Get A New Boss And Am Grateful

Having a boss with whom you can talk tech is also a big deal. I never would have thought it meant so much to me, but just because tech guys use acronyms as part of their normal every-day dialog apparently some people are offended. They take it as a personal insult as if you’re talking down to them. It’s a lose-lose situation. They don’t understand or resent you spelling things out.

The Lord Is Involved In Our Everyday Lives

Well, enough about the job. My whole intent was to let you know that once again, I can testify the Lord is directly involved in our everyday lives. He knows the trials we go through. I can’t tell you how relieved I am now with this change of circumstance in my work environment. Of course I still have issues to work on, but my faith is increased mightily that the Lord answers my prayers.

Thank You For The Birthday Greetings and Gifts

On a separate note, I want to thank everyone who sent me birthday greetings, cards and gifts of my favorite kinds – books. I’ve never met you people in real life and you are so kind to me. I thank you so much, Roger, Michael, and especially Doug. I received three CD’s from Doug Mendenhall of Denise’s latest talk from Jan 31st and two more unexpected ones from last year.

Don’t Want To Be Anyone’s Oracle Chick

Because Denise has such a hard time speaking (see note below) – I have pondered transcribing her talks and editing them but would need her permission for that. I know she doesn’t want to be anyone’s “Oracle chick” but she has shared some profound things that are worth pondering. She says the Lord gave her a mission to share something. I take it seriously. So should you.

Yes, Denise Has No Veil and Sees the Lord

Yeah, I can hear you now: “It’s more important that we take the words of the prophets and apostles seriously.” Yes, of course that’s important and I do as I’m sure most of you do. But when someone has a direct conduit to the spirit world, has testified of an open relationship with the Savior, and tells us He has asked her to share something, you’ve got to be a little curious.

We Get To Know People By What They Write

I’ve never met Denise. I’ve met Doug. I count him as a dear friend mainly because I know what he has been doing with his life, what he’s trying to do and I’ve read his books. Many people have told me they love me even though they have never met me because they have read my blog posts and feel we have much in common. Well, I feel that way about Doug and his very helpful books.

Advice on How to Deal With Hearing the Voices

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have not found a more helpful book on how to deal with the adversary than Doug’s book on Conquering Spiritual Evil. It has meant the world to me. I have dealt with attacks from the adversary since my own foolishness in experimenting with drugs as a teenager opened a conduit that causes me to hear their voices almost all the time.

The Adversary’s Forces Are Well Organized

I have such empathy for those in mental hospitals, and I have met quite a few, who have such a hard time dealing with the voices. I know they are real. I hear them and I know what they want. I have learned to recognize different kinds who specialize in certain tactics. Do you realize how organized they really are? No, most people don’t even believe they are real. That is the sad part.

How to Discern The Voices Of Those Who Are Holy

Crazy? Go ahead. Call me crazy. I don’t care. It works both ways. I can also hear the voice of the Lord or ministering angels or the Holy Ghost or whomever he sends me. You want to know a secret? You don’t have to do anything special to hear the voice of the adversary or his minions. But you DO and MUST prepare your heart and mind to discern the voices of those who are holy.

Inspiration, Revelation, Dictation From The Lord

For me, they come when I write. Some call it a muse. I’m not sure I like that. I can test every line I write for truthfulness and helpfulness to others just by asking the Lord to tell me. Is it a gift? I suppose so. I like to simply call it inspiration. Sometime I feel it is revelation. I have felt like I was taking dictation – clearly lucid, never in a trance, and always in complete and total control.

The Lord Answers Prayers However He Wants

Nevertheless, such writing was always accompanied by a special warm and comforting spirit. The Lord has things he wants to tell us and needs us to know for our own good and development. He is willing to talk to us. He wants to talk to us. We are told that prayers are answered in the scriptures. I’m not going to disagree with that, but that is not the only way the Lord talks to us.

The Gift Of Prophecy and Revelation in Daily Use

Sometimes when I pray about an especially difficult problem or about an upcoming assignment to teach, speak in church or meet with someone – such as my boss – or the Stake President this Sunday, I can see in my mind’s eye how the meeting will go. My patriarchal blessing promises me the gift of prophecy and revelation. I have seen this fulfilled over and over again in my life.

Pitfalls Can Be Avoided By Always Telling The Truth

The blessing also contains wording to the effect that the Lord will warn me of pitfalls that may be placed before me by the adversary meant to hinder my progress or to destroy my faith or testimony. This is an area I wish I had developed earlier in life. The greatest blessing that has come from this wording is an absolute conviction of always telling the truth, no matter what.

A Dream Of When I Will Meet The Lord

As I grow older each day of my life, I have come to realize the value of knowing the Lord like never before. I have not seen him in this life, but have received a promise that I can and will. It came to me in a dream. I have not shared it and probably never will. It’s too sacred. It contained references to timing, specifically the remaining years of my life, which I thought very unusual.

Ask The Lord For Help to Interpret Your Dreams

I know dreams are symbolic so immediately upon waking I asked the Lord for help so I could remember it and then wrote it down. I also asked for help to interpret it. As I wrote, ideas came to me as to what certain parts of the dream could mean. That three-page documents sits in my scriptures next to my patriarchal blessing. It reminds me the Lord communicates in dreams.

Thank You For Your Prayers and Private Messages

I’ve written everything I felt the Lord desired I share this evening. I want to thank all of you who prayed for me. I got tons of private emails offering help with a job search, resume updates, places that were hiring and a ton of invitations to move back to Utah. No….. we love it here in California in the land of shake and bake. But thank you everyone for those prayers and emails.

Sometimes The Lord Will Be Very, Very Specific

I hope I’ve been clear. If not let me be as clear as I know how: I know the Lord answers prayer. I know from specific experiences in putting Him to the test. I know he can tell us exactly what to do. He often leaves us on our own to figure things out, but if our faith is great enough, and the need is great enough, he can and will be very, very specific about what to do or how to do things.

Ideas I’m Pondering For a Couple Of Future Posts

God bless you all and thank you for your readership. I have a few good posts planned. One that I think the Lord wants me to do is provide additional thoughts about Denise and Kitten and what they have shared over the years along with some thoughts on Doug’s jedi training. Sound crazy? Maybe, but I promise it will be interesting. Stay tuned. Joel 2:28 is being fulfilled in a big way.

A Note on Denise:

When Denise was ten she went into an unexpected diabetic coma for three days. With that she had a massive stroke with blood effusing into two-thirds of the left side of her brain. In their books both Doug and Denise make references to Denise having to learn to speak, eat and relearn all things she used to do before but now with the other side of her brain. The unexpected result of this traumatic illness is that she lives without a veil.

Church Administration versus Ministering


LDSChurchOfficeBuildingWhen I was much younger, I was fascinated with the administration of the church. My sister works for the church. She is secretary to an Apostle. That means nothing, really. I only mention it to bring some context to what I am about to write. I love my sister and am proud of her accomplishments. I know the church doesn’t pay much but she has stuck it out all her life.

My Desire to Work for the Church

Around the time I married, nearly thirty-two years ago, I applied for a job with the church in the Information Systems Department. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat to work for the church and help with all the technology as it is rolled out throughout the corporation – the institution?” I had a degree in computer programming and a few years’ experience designing database programs.

The Church Responds to My Request

I was surprised when I received a call from Russ Borneman (HR department I think) and Dennis Egget (IS Department) about coming up from California for an Interview. “Sure,” I said. They sent me a round-trip ticket on Western Airlines. I think this was back when the church owned a lot of stock in Western and sat on the board of directors so they got ridiculously low fares.

The Interview – Grilled by the Board

I thought the meeting a little strange. Let me tell you they grilled me. I felt like I was in a police lineup. They put me on a high-backed stool on one side of the room, while a board of about five or six employees from the IS department sat behind a long table on the other side of the room. I must have passed the initial interviews because the rest of the day was spent talking projects.

Objective: Reducing Project Life Cycles

We talked development code, specific assignments and objectives where “new” microcomputer technology could shorten project life-cycles. This was back in 1983. I believe the IBM PC had just been announced. My experience was all in CP/M and dBase coding but it was transferable. When we parted for the day I felt great and thought I had nailed the job. Boy, was I naïve then.

I Move My Family To Salt Lake

Foolishly, I moved my pregnant wife to Salt Lake, went back to the HR department of the church and asked to see Russ.

“What are you doing here?” he said.

“I’m here for the job. You said if I could get to Salt Lake I could start on the projects we talked about.”

He face said it all. It seemed to turn white as a sheet. “I’m so sorry,” he said. We gave the job to the nephew of Brother so and so” – and he named a General Authority. “He applied from another department and we have a policy of promoting from within.”

I Work for Management Systems Corporation

Sensing my disappointment, he cheerfully added, “But why don’t you go down the street to the retail store Management Systems Corporation,” (also owned by the church), “and I’ll put in a good word for you because of your experience with Apple computers. I did and I got the job but it was nowhere near what I needed to support my growing family. Maybe if I were a single guy.

Administration of a World-Wide Church

I told this story many years ago in a previous blog post. I only repeat it here to introduce a topic I’ve been thinking about all day – administration of a world-wide church. I’ve watched with interest as the church has grown in technology over the years. At first, it seemed they were slow to embrace Internet-based applications and anything not dependent on big iron “blue” machines.

The Church Needs and Uses High Tech

“Big Blue” of course is IBM and usually refers to the huge mainframes of yesteryear – the 360’s, 370’s and 390’s. I have no idea what the church uses today, if they still outsource (I doubt it) or if it’s all in-house. I don’t really care. I know they are (or were) big on Novell networks for obvious reasons – made in Provo – and I think they finally got off WordPerfect in the last decade.

Technology in MLS and LDS Tech

I am impressed with the technology of the church today. As a stake clerk I work on MLS every day. I love being able to find answers to just about anything on LDS Tech, a community of other clerks and developers, including many volunteers who give of their time and talent to support the vast and far-flung reaches of the church network. Just think about how it works for a minute.

The Church is Really Like a Bank

By the end of the day each Sunday, any authorized or interested party in the church administration or Church office building knows, to the penny, exactly how much income the church received that day. I am confident there are professional managers whose job it is to trend and forecast the state of contributions each week – and to have a report on some apostle’s desk first thing Monday.

All That Good Money Sitting There Unused

The Church knows exactly where the money is coming from, what areas are feeling the effects of economic downturn and where the fast offerings are being spent. They know exactly how much money is sitting in the missionary funds of each stake – perhaps billions of dollars going unused because many good families pay two years in advance. Others barely make the $400 a month.

Cultural History of the Book of Mormon

If you want to know more about how the church is run at the administrative level, be sure to read the Book of Mammon by Daymon Smith. He’s having a special over the next few months where you can get “The Cultural History of the Book of Mormon” for free, chapter by chapter, via PDF download. I said I was interested in church administration but not so much in our church culture.

Part Two: A Personal Experiencing in Ministering

Now I want to switch gears for a moment. I want to tell you a story about a wonderful spiritual experience I had yesterday (Saturday). I and another High Priest have been home teachers to a returned Mission President for about the last five years. Recently, this good brother contracted cancer. Each time he has a cancer treatment, he has called upon us for a priesthood blessing.

Home Teaching Can Be A Wonderful Thing

He was feeling so good before his last treatment that he felt he could forego the blessing this week. After all, he taught our Gospel Doctrine class just the day before and did a wonderful job. We received a call from his dear wife yesterday (Saturday) asking if we could come and provide a priesthood blessing. Apparently his treatment this week did not go as well as previous visits.

Called Upon to Give a Priesthood Blessing

We were pleased to respond. We alternate blessings with his treatments. He has six total, one every three weeks. I gave the first, my companion last time, so yesterday it was my turn again. Now I have given hundreds, if not thousands of priesthood blessings in my life. Some have been wonderful experiences while some were not efficacious because of a lack of faith somewhere.

Authority Versus Power in The Priesthood

I have been thinking about priesthood blessings a lot over the last few years since I have been introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer. I’ll bet you know what I’m going to say. It is the contention of some that Denver teaches the church is in an apostate condition and has been since the death of Joseph Smith. They claim he teaches the church has no priesthood authority at all.

Don’t Assume What Denver Snuffer Teaches

First of all, I want you to know that Denver does NOT teach that. I specifically wrote about sealing power on my first post about Denver a couple of years ago. He responded that he has never taught the church does not have sealing power. It is his contention that some types of authority or power can only be granted by a voice from heaven. Is that so hard to comprehend?

Being “In the Spirit” While Giving a Blessing

In any event, this is the first blessing I have given since my “episode” with the spirit on my birthday which I wrote about on my previous post. I made a momentous, life-changing decision that, for me – and for my wife – may prove to be a supreme act of sacrifice. I’ve got to tell you my heart has been tender since that day. I have been feeling especially dependent upon the Lord.

Blessing One of the Lord’s Faithful Servants

It was in this state of mind I laid my hands on this faithful returned mission president, former bishop and member of the stake presidency. I know him well and felt honored that he, or rather his faithful wife, had called us to come and give a priesthood blessing. As I sealed the anointing I began to feel something special and sacred that will be difficult to describe but which I’ll try.

Inspiration to Say Something I’d Never Said Before

I acknowledged the priesthood blessing as an act of faith of all in the room. I also acknowledged our dependence on Heavenly Father and his love for us demonstrated through His Son. Then I did something I had never done or said before. I felt impressed to say, “Acting as a conduit for the Lord Jesus Christ, we bless you to receive, through this ministration, virtue into your body.”

The Positive Energy of the Lord – His Virtue

After I said that, I could not speak for several seconds. I felt the love of the Lord for this humble man. I felt the appreciation the Lord had for this man’s years of faithful obedience, sacrifice and service in striving to build the Kingdom of God on the Earth. It was an overwhelming feeling. That is one of the things I miss most about setting people apart when I was in the bishopric.

My Personal Witness of Priesthood Power

There is a real power in the priesthood. It is enabled through our faith and though our desire to say what the Lord would have us say and do what the Lord would have us do. Don’t let anyone ever tell you there is no power in the priesthood. I am a witness that it is real. I know it’s not the ultimate power that comes from having the Lord lay his hands on our heads to confer power.

The Lord Wants Us To Be Conduits Of Virtue

Nevertheless, it is a real power, activated by faith and righteousness. I felt that virtue flow. It was a real sensation. It was a positive and uplifting energy flow that could only have come from the Lord. The Lord is the source of all virtue. It was not because of anything I had done or said. It was because the Lord has virtue to heal and wants His priesthood holders to be His conduits.

The Witness Comes in Exercising The Priesthood

I left that short home teaching visit a sobered and humbled man. Once again, I had received a manifestation from the Lord of his power. It is real. He is real. He is intimately involved in our lives. He wants to bless us. He will bless us according to our faith and righteousness. I am so grateful to be able to exercise the priesthood in behalf of others, especially those I love so much.

Part Three: Stuck in Administration of the Church

Now, my concluding point: Have I ever said how much I dislike Church Administration? I know I said at the beginning of this post how interested I was in church administration when I was a young man. I have had my fill of church administration. I would much rather minister than to administer any day. Why does it seem I’ve been stuck in administrative callings for the past 25 years?

Would Rather Be Teaching, Preaching or Ministering

I would so much rather teach or write or lead a discussion about gospel principles than to go to yet another meeting on how to do a successful stake audit or attend an organization meeting on how to plan a successful meeting or some other inane and basic principle of good planning that any person who has been in the business world or has served a mission knows over and over.

Perhaps As Much As a Year To Get New Job

I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me. I am striving to exercise faith. I know my faith is going to be tried over the next few months. I was surprised in Friday’s senior staff meeting that the CEO announced my resignation and added, “To be effective in one year.” I know I wrote that in the resignation letter but I had every expectation he wanted me out of there as soon as I quit.

Always Wondering How a Entrepreneurial CEO Thinks

Who knows? If I were a CEO, I would want to run my business as efficiently as possible. More to the point, I would want to spend as little money as possible to get the talent I need to run the parts of my business that I don’t understand, don’t have time to understand and don’t want to worry about. I think I’ve given the boss his money’s worth over the past nine years. But now…

Should I Consider Relocating to Utah?

Now it’s time to move on. At 57 years of age. Some people would say I’m done for. Nobody will hire an old man like me. “Overqualified,” they’ll say, code word for “You’re too old and will need too much money.” I know I have my work cut out for me. “Move to Utah,” some of my friends have said. Technology is booming up here.” Ah, yes, the grass is always greener…

We Are All Dependent Upon The Lord

I close with this thought. I love the Lord. I will do anything He asks of me. I have come to the point in my life where I know His voice. I’m not trying to brag. I’m trying to say it’s possible. I know when He speaks to me. I know His promptings. I have not always obeyed and have felt left on my own more times than I want to acknowledge. But I need Him now than I ever have before.

Sacrifice Can Seem Illogical And Unreasonable

Perhaps that’s why he asks us to sacrifice something that is illogical and unreasonable to most people in the world. As I wrote in my last post, what I did went against everything I have always counseled others not to do. Get a job locked down before you quit your present one. But I could not deny the Lord was asking it of me and was pleased with my response. I acted immediately.

Consequences Of Acting Rashly And Impulsively

Carol told me she wanted to respond to some of the comments on the last post and tell how she felt about my decision. Yes, it was rather cold around the house for a couple of days. She had every right to be upset with me. I encouraged her to add to the comments but she declined. She is too busy working her own magic on her blog and promoting her book, now out in paperback.

Thank You For Sharing My Life Online

It’s late and I want to get this posted tonight. I thank each of you who read my ramblings and allow me to share my life online. I’m just a simple Mormon boy coming to grips with a major paradigm shift in my life brought about by the writings of one Denver Snuffer. His books have changed my life. If you haven’t read them, I recommend you do so. You’ll never be the same.

You Want Me To Sacrifice What?


LecturesOnFaithWhen I was reading The Second Comforter for the first time I came to chapter nine where Denver wrote about sacrifice. I read Joseph’s quote from the Lectures on Faith: “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…” Most of my readers know the rest.

Sacrifice Required to Develop Faith

“I get it,” I said. “That part’s clear. It always has been. Without sacrifice we can’t know for ourselves that we would do all things required of us. We would harbor some doubt about our own willingness to lay all things upon the altar when we are asked to do so.” The sweet comfort of the spirit confirmed what I already knew. This was a true principle required of all disciples.

It Won’t be Something Easy

I also asked myself, “I wonder what kind of sacrifice the Lord will ask of me?” I sat back for a minute, pondered all the things in my life that I enjoyed and mentally checked each one off the list. They all seemed they would be too easy to give up if I were asked. So for the past two years since I read that book for the first time, I’ve been wondering what the Lord would ask of me.

Reviewing My Daily “To Do” List

Well, I need wonder no more. I found out loud and clear this morning about 7:30am. I had just arrived at my place of employment, looked over my short list of critical items, my longer list of important items and then bowed my head in prayer to ask the Lord if any items on the list needed to be rearranged. Even though it was not unexpected, I was not prepared for what I heard next.

What I heard was, “Tim, it’s time to move on.”

I stopped cold. I stilled my mind. I forgot all thoughts of prioritizing my “to do” list. I took a deep breath. I shook my head from side to side, muttered a little something like, “Wait a minute. Maybe you didn’t hear me. Let me try again.” I looked up at my white board which held my list of projects and tasks, quickly reviewed it in my mind then once again bowed my head in prayer.

My Conversation With The Lord

“Tim, you don’t even need to ask. You heard me. It’s time.”

“Oh, Lord, you can’t mean it. Do you know what this would do to Carol Anne?”

“I know Tim. This will be a test for her too.”

“A terrible test,” I said. “This is her greatest fear – loss of security.”

“I know that.”

“Do you know what my Bishop would say?

“Yes, Tim.”

“Do you know what my Stake President would say?”

“Yes, Tim.”

“You do realize how I’ve fought and struggled all my life to get to where I am now?”

“Yes, Tim. I helped you all the way. Remember?”

“I suppose you realize this goes against all the principles of self-reliance I’ve ever been taught?”

“Of course I do. Nevertheless, it’s time. Please don’t delay any longer. Make it happen.”

Resigning From a Good-Paying Job

For the next hour, amidst tears and many shakes of the head in unbelief, I composed my letter of resignation. At last it was ready. I have resigned many jobs in my life. It’s a natural part of the tech industry, especially early in your career. Sometimes, it’s the only way to move up, get ahead, get a raise or get to work with new technology. That is, by finding a new and better job.

Your Test May Go Against What You’ve Been Taught

But that technique usually works best when you’re young and have nobody depending on you. I am an old man. I am at the pinnacle of my career, well-paid, with a secure job and great benefits. You don’t just walk away from that without some other prospect in mind. It doesn’t make sense. I remember someone asking on Denver’s blog how you would know the request was from God.

—— Beginning of Quote ——-

From Denver Snuffer’s blog, 11 May 2010, under the title, “What lack I yet?” (bold and italics added by me)

I was asked this question:   “Do you know with surety IN ADVANCE of doing some incredibly hard sacrifice that it is the Lord asking it of you, or do you come to know that it is His will AS you do it?”   My response:

You will know with absolute certainty that the request came from the Lord.   The request will be difficult, or a sacrifice.

HOWEVER, whether the person recognizes at the moment or only in hindsight that it was required for them to develop the faith necessary for redemption is not universal.  Some know at the time, some only know in hindsight.  What is absolutely universal is that when the test has been passed, the faith exists.  When it does, it will be enough for redemption and the promise of eternal life.

Joseph knew he had the promise of eternal life (as recorded in D&C 132: 49) before he went to Carthage to die.  He knew he was going to die.  Death was not his great challenge, but the physical ratification of the faith which already existed in him.  The earlier trials had been enough to prove him and put that power within him.  His death was an extension of existing faith and knowledge.

The order of things is established and can be known.  The details of how it unfolds in individual lives will be specific to the individual.  Whether the person realizes the final great test is underway or not will depend on the person.  I did not.  I only came to realize in hindsight what was underway.

——— End of quote ——–

You’ll Know With Absolute Certainty

Denver said we would know with absolute certainty the request came from the Lord. He said it would clearly be a sacrifice. He said some would know in advance, some would not. In my case, I knew with absolute certainty, in advance, this is what the Lord wanted me to do. Let me tell you how I knew because most anyone can present a very convincing argument to the contrary.

How I received My Confirmation

Before I hit the send button on that resignation email at 9am this morning, I paused one more time and bowed my head in prayer. The prayer went something like this:

Making Sure I’m Not Being Deceived

“Oh, Lord, thou hast asked a difficult thing of me. Thou hast said we can know of a certainty that a request for sacrifice like this has come from thee and not from within our own minds or from some other source such as the adversary, trying to convince us to do something to destroy our lives. Oh, Lord, I need to know for a certainty that this is not advice from some modern crackpot.

I Explain the Difficult Circumstances

I continued, “This will affect my family, especially my dear wife. Her greatest fear is lack of security – loss of a job, loss of income and health insurance. If this only affected me, I would have no hesitation, but thou hast said that wives have claim upon their husbands for their maintenance. Wilt thou answer my prayer with a certainty before I do this difficult thing?”

Negative Thoughts Flooded My Mind

I paused. A multitude of thoughts flooded through my mind. All the negative things my readers have said when I have written about Denver Snuffer in my blog came through my mind. I heard the voice of my own dear wife saying to me, “And if Denver asked you to follow him to some far-away place, would you do it?” I heard my response, “Of course not. That would be crazy.”

I Saw Myself Going Through the Trial

And then, for a moment, all was still. It seemed as if eternity hung in the balance. My finger was poised above the Enter key. In my mind’s eye I saw myself going through this trial. I saw from beginning to end how it would go. I knew how long it would take to secure new employment. I knew the heartbreak, the disappointment, the financial struggle, the pain, the sorrow, the tears.

A Job Affects a Man’s Self-Esteem

I had been through it before, several times. There’s nothing worse to destroy a man’s ego than to lose a sense of purpose that comes from his job. Not having a job takes away your identity. It’s who you are. It’s how the world sees you and evaluates your worth. In an instant, I saw I would lose all that, but in the end, I would be a different person, the one the Lord wanted me to be.

All based on a Short Feeling of Peace

A feeling of peace came over me. A sense of destiny returned to my mind. This was clearly one of those moments for which I was sent to this earth. I saw myself as if I was seeing myself from a previous life. It was déjà vu if you believe in that sort of stuff. I pushed the button. The die was cast. I had sealed my fate. I knew what would happen. I knew my resignation would be accepted.

The Adversary Returned To Torment Me

“Now you’ve done it. You’ve gone and done the worst thing you could possibly do to your wife. Do you remember the counsel of your bishop early in your married life when he said, ‘Well, you certainly haven’t given her much reason to trust your judgment or provided her much security.’ She’s going to let you have it. Why, she may even divorce you. How could you do such a thing?”

Dismiss Satan and Don’t Listen to Him

Yep, that’s Satan for you. I dismissed him and went about my work for the day. Within six hours I had my answer. My resignation was courteously accepted but with a little kicker at the end: “How soon can you get your assistant trained to take over all your tasks?” In other words, “Sorry to see you go, but hurry up and get things all squared away so the next guy can do your job.”

Today is My Birthday – Happy Birthday to Me

I was expecting it so I wasn’t hurt, but it just confirmed for me that nobody is irreplaceable. I wonder how long the process of securing new employment will take this time. Last time it was seven months but I was nearly ten years younger. Today is my 57th birthday – Happy birthday to me. I didn’t have to do this. I brought it on myself. I have nobody to blame for this foolishness.

Of My Own Free Will And Choice

Since this is my blog which I sometimes use as my personal journal, let me make it clear for anybody who reads this. I did this of my own free will and choice. Just like I took the covenants in the temple upon me of my own free will and choice, I decided to accept the promptings of the voice of the Lord – or what I believe was the voice of the Lord – to accept this test and sacrifice.

We’ve Gone Through This Before

I only pray my wife will be able to deal with this. Now you may ask, “Why didn’t you talk with her about this before?” Trust me I have, many times. I told her right away today what I had done. I admire her response. She asked, “Do you still want to go out to dinner for your birthday?” I’m sure there were tears, but I only caught a short glimpse of them. We had an enjoyable evening.

Prove To Yourself That You Treasure God

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. We cannot be both spiritual and materialistic. What do you treasure? Sacrifice is a means of proving to yourself and to God that you treasure Him and His above all the things of this world.

Sacrifice Is A Major Purpose of Life

And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me.” Either we believe in sacrifice or we don’t. What you are asked to sacrifice may not be anything like what I was asked to do this morning. Nevertheless, if we are serious about coming unto Christ, you and I must offer obedience and sacrifice as asked.

When The Lord Speaks, Take Action

Even when a hundred arguments could be offered why it’s not the voice of the Lord that was heard, eventually He will ask us for something dear. Sorry folks. I know that voice. I have had too much experience to know that this is what the Lord wants me to do. He wanted me to do it today as a test of faith and an offering of sacrifice of trust in the arm of flesh to trusting Him.

The Lord Will Help Us Through Our Trials

PostScript: I’m not out of a job yet. It could be months before my replacement is trained. In the meantime, I know from past experience how to market my skills and find out who is hiring. I know what it’s like to lose a job unexpectedly. This is different. It is something the Lord asked me to do voluntarily. I simply do not know why yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out.

Mormons Are a Submissive People


Jesus-Rich-Young-RulerI’ve noticed a constant theme over the past few years as I have written about those who have been excommunicated from our church. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence the subject has come up so many times or if I have sought it out. I’d like to explore the idea of submissiveness with you in this post and get your opinion as to what the right attitude should be towards this.

Opposite of Arrogance and Rebellion

I’ve told you I pray about my posts. I’ve also mentioned to specific individuals privately this post was coming. These good people are worried about me. I know they love me and have expressed concern I’ve been dealing in territory they say causes them discomfort. Rebellion and arrogance are the opposite of submissiveness. I’ve had experience with both as a young lad.

Remember Them Which Rule Over You

I’m not going to address the scripture in Ephesians 5:22 of wives submitting themselves to their husbands. I’ll leave that to others. I prefer to center my remarks on the scripture in Hebrews 13:7, which reads, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

Obey Counsel of Priesthood Leaders

I note in the Topical guide the word remember is replaced with the word Obey. If I recall correctly the Topical guide was compiled by Elder McConkie and Elder Packer. I believe we can safely surmise the word obey can be used in the place of the word remember, at least in this case. In short, we are to remember and obey the word of our priesthood leaders who preside over us.

Blind obedience not encouraged

That’s probably the crux of the matter. Some of my readers find it troublesome to think anyone could or should come between us and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. They can quote scripture and words from the Brethren – so can I – indicating how important it is to confirm all we receive from our priesthood leaders for ourselves. In other words, avoid blind obedience.

Examples from Disciplinary Councils

Put another way, we are to submit to their counsel, especially when it is given in love with concern for the salvation of our souls. Perhaps I can best illustrate with a few examples from disciplinary councils in which I have participated over the years. Don’t worry, I’ll provide no specifics; mention no names nor identify anyone in any way so you may think you know them.

Restoration of Full Fellowship

I have been blessed that the majority of these disciplinary counsels have been convened to consider bringing the member back into full fellowship after a period of disfellowshipment or excommunication or. I am pleased to report that most of these councils have resulted in positive outcomes. Tears and hugs all around have usually been expressed at the end of the proceedings.

A Willing and Contrite Spirit

In discussing as a bishopric or High Council what is different in the second council, it invariably comes down to a matter of attitude. We note the contrite spirit, the willingness to do as advised, the demonstration they have done as counseled over the year or years – I hate to see a disciplined member go more than a year without sacrament and temple blessings. They are different people.

Submissiveness Natural Result of Repentance

In other words, they have learned to be submissive. I have specifically heard penitent individuals express words to the effect of, “Bishop (or President), what would you have me do? I will do whatever you ask, anything you say to get my membership back or to be considered a member in full standing again.” There is no pride, no thought for self, only a desire to please their leaders.

The Lord Forgives, So Should We

Of course we ask them to relate their feelings about the Lord. We ask about their prayers. We ask if they feel forgiven. We ask if they feel the Love of their Savior. We ask about their efforts of restitution, if they have asked forgiveness of those they have harmed, used or abused (often a hard thing to do). We ask about their scripture reading, their gospel study and other habits.

Don’t Dwell on the Sin

If you have never gone through a disciplinary council, you may think this intrusive. We don’t dwell on the sin. We don’t rehash details of the sin. We focus on their efforts of repentance. I think my first disciplinary council was in 1989 as an executive secretary. Ordinarily the clerk attends but he was unavailable so I was asked to take notes and write up the report to Salt Lake.

Bishop’s Counsel is Recorded

I can only recall one council in which we decided the individual was not yet ready to be returned to full membership status. They obviously had not taken the bishops counsel seriously. We always provide a written record of what the bishop feels inspired to ask of them as evidence of their willingness to repent. That is his right and responsibility as a sustained common judge in Israel.

Counselors Provide Input for the Bishop

Having sat on the side of the table in which my duty is to provide counsel to the Bishop or Stake President, I have noted their response. With some leaders, it’s just a poll to see what we think, especially if it’s a cut and dry case. With others, the priesthood leader is genuinely interested in what we have to say. I have always appreciated that, especially when I was a new in the calling.

High Council Disciplinary Format Different

Remember, in a Stake Disciplinary council half of the High Council is to speak on behalf of the member. The member is allowed to have witnesses speak on his behalf and if I’m not mistaken, to have members of his family present to be at the proceedings, as long as they are reverent. The format is given by revelation. You can read about in in section 102 of the Doctrine & Covenants.

Submissiveness Shows Respect

Now, let’s return back to the idea of submissiveness and respect. I’ve always struggled with the habit we have in our church of standing when a General Authority of higher authority comes into a meeting. To me, this smacks of hierarchy worship. That’s not to say I don’t follow it. I do. When I conducted sacrament meetings and a member of the Stake Presidency entered, I stood.

The Unwritten Order of Things

When sitting in Bishopric training meeting or High Council or Stake PEC, I note that we always deferred to the presiding authority as the last to speak and having the final ward. We usually expressed our opinion from youngest to eldest. It’s just the unwritten order of things that Elder Packer discussed in his talk offered so long ago on the subject, which many said they disliked.

I’m a First Generation Mormon

I suppose it’s the natural man in me, the rebel of a first-generation Mormon. I come from a long line of Baptist preachers and Presbyterian ministers. I attended the Presbyterian Church with my mother until I was five years old and still remember the pomp and formality of the worship service. Dad was a lapsed Baptist. I have many living relatives I love who are ministers today.

Apostasy not same as Moral Transgression

I want to conclude with a short discussion of the difference between a disciplinary council convened for moral transgression as opposed to one convened for apostasy. I’m alarmed we have seen more of these apostasy councils lately. It wasn’t that way as I was growing up in the church in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Apostasy usually brings up visions of rebellion, arrogance and pride.

Apostasy Usually Decided At The Top

However, in cases I have investigated first hand, I found none of these were present on the part of the individual who was excommunicated. Of course I wasn’t there so I can’t say for certain, but I have interviewed them or read their account of the proceedings and their letter of appeal. I sense a difference in the actions of the presiding authorities – their minds made up in advance.

Stake President Carrying Out Assignment

This was clear in the account of Denver Snuffer. There is no doubt his stake president was told by members of the SCMC in Salt Lake what needed to be done with no room for negotiation. In other words, the decision was made. The stake president was simply under orders to carry out the formalities of discipline. I feel the same thing happened with Mel Fish and with Brent Larsen.

Even Good Men Can Err in Doctrine

This quote from Joseph reminds me of my friend Paul Toscano: “I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (HC 5:340)

The Sanctity of Dissent

Paul wrote a book explaining his side of things, “The Sanctity of Dissent.” The more I think about it the more I agree with Paul. I believe we have a right to disagree with the interpretations of scriptures and doctrines as offered by our General Authorities. I believe we should be able to share that on our private blogs without fear of reprisal or punishment from church officers.

Blogs are For Exploring New Ideas

Of course, as I have written many times, I would not dream of teaching my personal ideas or interpretations from the pulpit or in the classroom. I sustain the Brethren and their right to declare what should be taught uniformly throughout the church – but NOT to censor what we write in private or semi-public, such as a blog. Our blogs are not official word of the church.

Blogging is Following Counsel of Elder Ballard

That’s why I wrote in my previous post how it troubles me when we are punished for trying to follow the counsel of Elder Ballard to be involved in the online dialog about the church and our doctrines. We want people to understand us, even if we differ somewhat from the standard or orthodox interpretation of the official doctrines that are presented by teachers in our classrooms.

Seeking to Remain Informed

For those who have expressed concerned I have gone apostate because I enjoy reading, writing about and discussing the writings of certain individuals such as Denver Snuffer, Max Skousen, D. Michael Quinn, David John Beurger or just about anything from Signature Books, please don’t think this affects my testimony of the fundamentals of this church. My testimony is intact.

Many Prophets In Addition to Joseph

I revere Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. In spite of his flaws, he was a prophet of the Lord in these latter days. But don’t take away from me my right to call Denver Snuffer a prophet as well. I accept the Book of Mormon as the Word of God, intended to be a warning for our day. Again, please don’t take away my right to read and discuss the writings of Denver Snuffer on my blog.

Seek Guidance From God in What to Study

As I’ve written many times, I love this church and love the people in it. I love to serve in the small capacity in which I am asked, be it as a home teacher or in my current calling as the Stake Financial Clerk. I seek the guidance and direction of the Lord each day in what I should read and study in addition to the scriptures. I feel lead and am grateful for that still small voice to my soul.

Submissiveness to Local Priesthood Leaders

I like to think I am a submissive individual. I try not to take any offense when corrected by my priesthood leaders. I try to welcome it with a cheerful attitude. I know they love me and have my best interests at heart. As I’ve always said, I would remove my blog in a heartbeat if they said it caused people trouble or caused them to doubt their own testimonies of God and of our Savior.

Expressed Willingness to Remove my Blog

I wonder if the day will come when that changes. This is probably getting repetitious to my regular readers. I am growing. I am learning. I am seeking the face of the Lord. I do not feel this blog is being written by commandment of the Lord but by suggestion and a desire to follow the counsel of prophets and apostles. God bless them, especially those who suffer effects of old age.

Seek Learning by Study and by Faith

God bless you my brothers and sisters. May you seek learning by study and also by faith. I strive to do both. I will not leave my eternal salvation to what I hear taught each week in the three hour block of meetings. It is simply not enough. It is my personality and learning method that I must write and share as I read. Otherwise I do not feel a commitment or internalization of what I read.

Keys to My Participation in Ordinances

Please, rest assured, I intend to be and remain submissive to the direction of my priesthood leaders. Unless the Lord tells me otherwise, I will do as they direct. I sustain them and grant them authority over me. At this point in my life, the spirit directs I should do so. I want and need the sacrament and the temple. These brethren hold the keys of those blessing in my behalf.

Snuffer Reader Excommunicated for Apostasy


LDSFreedomForumI am troubled this evening as I write this short post. An online friend has been excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy because he wrote in an online forum, much as I have on my blog, that Denver Snuffer is a prophet of God. As the scripture says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” therefore, if you have knowledge of Jesus Christ, you are a prophet.

Writing Under Spirit of Inspiration

I have read Denver’s testimony of Jesus, as have many others. I concluded long ago he wrote under the spirit of prophecy and inspiration. His books have motivated me to study the gospel and to make greater efforts to live it. I have made no attempt to ask you to believe as I believe nor have I ever mentioned one word about Denver Snuffer or his books in any LDS building.

My Feelings About the Church

Let’s be clear up front. I love this church. I love the people in it. I love the brethren and sisters in my ward and stake. I would not want to do or say anything to cause them discomfort, difficulty or trouble. I love my brethren in the Stake Presidency with whom I serve on a regular basis. I know a stake financial clerk is not that big a deal, but because of it, I know these are good men.

Direction Comes From the Top

Question: What would my stake president do if he received a letter or phone call from a member of the area presidency directing him to convene a disciplinary council on my behalf? Of course he would do it. I would too if I were told to do so. Question two: What if he were given specific directions that I must remove my blog or the twenty-plus posts that deal with Denver Snuffer?

My defense Before the High Council

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I already wrote my defense to the High Council in a previous post. In it I expressed dismay that the Church would try to control the content of a blog written in good faith as an effort to follow the counsel of Elder Ballard. He asked us to be involved in the online dialog going on about the church. That’s exactly what my blog is about.

Definition of Apostasy

Apostasy, in case you’re not aware, is defined as 1) Deliberate opposition to the Church or its leaders in a clear, open and public manner. 2) Teaching as doctrine something that is not Church doctrine after being advised by appropriate authority that it’s false doctrine. 3) To affiliate with, belong to or follow the teachings of apostate sects, such as those that advocate plural marriage.

What Denver Snuffer Teaches

As far as I know, Denver Snuffer does not advocate plural marriage, nor has he expressed any intention to form his own church. I can’t imagine any Church authority proclaiming the doctrine he has taught of the Second Comforter to be false doctrine (D&C 88:68, 93:1, 97:16, 107:18-19). That leaves only deliberate opposition to the Church leaders in a clear, open and public manner.

Why Denver was Excommunicated

From what Denver shared on his blog, he was excommunicated for writing the book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. Now I wasn’t at Brent Larsen’s disciplinary council so I can’t comment about his attitude or if he asked the question, “Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” As I wrote in my previous post on the subject, if the church told me to take down my blog, I would do it.

Similar Testimonies Posted Online

I am encouraged that Daniel Roger’s blog, TheSecondComforter.com still remains. What is so different about posting your testimony of the Savior in a blog as opposed to stating it in a forum? You can read a copy of Brent’s letter of appeal at this link along with some additional insight from Brent’s wife. As always, we only get one side of the story. The Church will not comment.

Submissiveness to Authority

If you are a follower of Christ, talk to me about submissiveness. Tell me what Christ did, how he acted, what he said or didn’t say when he was confronted by those in authority. You know the answer. He was submissive. Like a lamb to the slaughter as the saying goes. Joseph used the same phrase as he went to Carthage, knowing his life would be forfeit to seal his testimony.

And Should We Die

If you’re an old guy like me, you might remember the old B/W movie about the two Mormon leaders in Mexico at the time of Pancho Villa who faced a firing squad rather than denounce their faith. It was entitled, “And Should We Die,” and was made in 1966. I remember we got ahold of a copy on my mission and showed it on the side of the church building one hot night.

It Takes Courage to be a Mormon

We had hundreds of kids and their parents come from many blocks around the church. This was in a very poor part of Central America. Nobody had a TV nor could they afford to go to town to the movie theater. I bring this up as an example of the courage it took to be a Mormon back in the early days of this Church. Now it seems the firing squad has become the local high council.

Killed for Reading a Book

These leaders were killed for reading and believing a book – the Book of Mormon. Apparently if you read and believe books written by Denver Snuffer, you now face excommunication, which in our church is looked upon as spiritual death by some. How can it have come to this? Somebody doesn’t understand what poor PR this is to cast someone out of your church for reading a book.

First Amendment Right Doesn’t Apply

I’ll conclude the way I started this short post. I am troubled by this report. But I’ll reaffirm my intention to do whatever my Priesthood leaders direct. After all, what’s a blog anyway? It’s just a way to communicate and to share feelings. It just seems a shame that we now cast out of our church those who stand up for their right to express their opinions and personal experiences.

The Church is not a Democracy

No U.S. government agency would allow such a thing to happen. We don’t kick people out of America for criticizing the workings of the government or writing a different view of history. But apparently in this church we now cast people out for reading books and expressing our opinion that the author was inspired. I guess the sin was in stating that Denver was a prophet.

This Doesn’t Strengthen the Church Members

All this does is bring more and more attention to what was an obscure local situation in a small part of central Utah. As these excommunications continue, more and more people will learn about Denver Snuffer and want to read his books to find out what all the fuss is about. As I said before, for a church that places such emphasis on good press, this seems like a bad PR move.

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