Through the Window of Life


ThroughTheWindowOfLifeThis is a short review of the second of Suzanne Freeman’s trilogy of books based on her near death experience (NDE) of 1999. I reviewed the first, Led by the Hand of Christ (2004) last week and hope to review her final book in the series, The Spirit of Liberty (2013) sometime in the near future. Through the Window of Life was published in 2006, “as told to” author Shirley Bahlmann.

A Trilogy of Books From One NDE

This book is different from Led by the Hand of Christ, which was more of a first-hand, “here’s what happened to me” sort of book. Through the Window of Life tells of a stopping point along the way in her NDE that is more of a vision and compares favorably to the book Visions of Glory by Spencer as told to John Pontius. This is not your typical NDE book. It is more of a vision.

A Vision of Potential Future Events

Many readers have shared with me their main difficulty in reading NDEs is the required faith or wiling suspension of disbelief to learn new and different things and even unique ways of looking at this life and life in the spirit world differently from what many people assume or are taught. Through the Window of Life is so well told it reads like LDS fiction, making it easy to consume.

The Book is an Easy Read

I read the 132 pages in about two hours last night. Carol and I had enjoyed a beautiful one-day trip to Santa Barbara to visit our son so I was tired and didn’t want to do any deep doctrinal study when I got home. Reading Through the Window of Life was just the ticket. I sat next to Carol while she read one of her romance novels. We listened to “The Voice” in the background on TV.

Some Things That “May” Happen

I was enthralled from the beginning. Having just finished her first book, she led us to the point where the Savior asks her to view some things that “may” happen before he returns to the earth. I looked back through Led by the Hand of Christ to see if she refers to the room where most of Through the Window of Life takes place. Maybe someone else can point it out. I couldn’t find it.

An Interesting Publisher’s Note

The publisher’s note of explanation is interesting. It reads in part, “Some generalized events have been condensed into one representative example for clarity.” Also, “…her interview included accounts of her consciousness moving back and forth between living through the events leading to the Second Coming of Christ and watching the action unfold through the Window of Life…”

Written as Though She Experienced it

“…her story is written as though she experienced all of it. This format provides continuity for the reader.” It then notes “…some lessons…are italicized so readers can differentiate them from the experiences that she personally experienced.” I had to think twice about this explanation. It can be easily interpreted, “what she shares is from her imagination, not necessarily what happened.”

“As Told To” Someone Else

I know that sounds a little harsh and I’m not saying Suzanne made any of this up. I’m just saying the publisher’s note can be interpreted that way. If you want to read the book as fiction, then it’s darn good fiction, just as some people have read Visions of Glory as a work of fiction. I’m not calling this book or Spencer’s book fiction. I’m just saying they both read as well-written fiction.

An Amazing Attitude Through Trials

I was extremely impressed with Suzanne’s faith. In her vision she lived through a deadly plague, generously shared her food storage, sent her husband and sons off to war, left her home forever, hiked over rugged mountainous terrain, dealt with death, threats by an unknown enemy, attacks of attempted terrorizing warfare on her group and lived with only a single change of clothes.

Pressing on to Jackson County

Suzanne and her group continue their journey to Missouri after getting through the mountains. But I had to ask myself, “Well, either the prophecies in the Old Testament are mistaken or Joseph was mistaken in declaring Independence to be the place for Zion to be built (section 57). There is a glorious future for Independence but Zion first gathers in the tops of the mountains.

Location of The City of Zion

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know I disagree with the location of the city of Zion. I do not believe it is to be built in the flat land of Independence Missouri, but somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. I have shared my logic and reasoning on this unusual position in a previous post. I differ from most LDS folks, including Carol who served her mission in Independence.

Return of Ten Tribes and City of Enoch

I guess that’s the only difficulty I had with the book. I couldn’t quite place the timing of when all the events portrayed were supposed to be taking place. I agree with the prophecies of plagues, invading armies, collapse of the United States, both economically and politically, but somehow all of a sudden, Suzanne is walking alongside the Ten Tribes and then the inhabitants of Enoch.

Everyone Shall See it Together

I know you’re supposed to give spoiler alerts for works of fiction, but according to the publisher, this is not a work of fiction, but a foretelling of “one way things may happen” in the future. If the Ten Tribes are already here, then I can accept them just showing up, but not the City of Enoch. The lack of anyone pointing upward at an approaching planet or piece of the earth troubles me.

A Few Concluding Thoughts

So there you have it. I won’t share much more other than these two objections: 1) The location of the gathering of the people of Zion along with the building of the City of Zion and 2) The lack of any notice by anyone in the vision that the City of Enoch has returned. According to scripture, it is a big deal. The Lord will come with the City of Enoch. Not so in Suzanne’s Window of Life.

Bottom line Recommendation

This is a great book to read and a fascinating story, but it doesn’t seem to jive with the scriptures, or at least my understanding of the scriptures. Still, I recommend you read this book, Through the Window of Life. You don’t need to read her first book before this one. It stands on its own. I found it an enjoyable experience. Just remember, things “may” or “may not” happen in this way.

 

Led by the Hand of Christ


LedByTheHandOfChristI love reading books about NDEs – Near Death Experiences. Last year I gathered a few dozen from my library and wrote short reviews. It continues to be a popular post. Since that time several readers have written to advise me of additional NDE books I might enjoy. For example, in December I read and reviewed Home and Back Again by Imelda and Thomas Fowler.

Email from the Author

Suzanne Freeman wrote me a few weeks ago and suggested I might enjoy her books, starting with Led by the Hand of Christ. I purchased them and sat down one evening last week to read the first one. I couldn’t put it down. It was an easy read – straightforward story-telling, fascinating material and inspiring. I don’t think it took more than a few hours to get through the 150 pages.

Additional Works by Suzanne

As this was her first book, Suzanne used the services of Shirley Bahlmann, a professional author. Although I haven’t read her second book, Through the Window of Life, the synopsis contains wording to the effect that makes the book comparable with Visions of Glory with scenes from the future. Her third book is entitled The Spirit of Liberty, relating yet more of her spirit world vision.

Favorable Book Reviews

The book generated favorable reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble and Google Books. I few readers mentioned the same thing I felt as I read the book, that perhaps there was some embellishment or writer’s license involved. After all, the writer did not experience the NDE, so she had to interpret what Suzanne was telling her. Still, Shirley interpreted it well.

Died on the Operating Table

No two NDEs are exactly the same, but many of them have similar elements. Suzanne’s had a very unique beginning. She died on the operating table of an ectopic pregnancy. Hovering in the upper corner of the operating room, all she wanted to do was return to her body. Her family needed her. As Suzanne relates it, she was stopped by the hand of Christ upon her shoulder.

She Told the Savior No

There was no long tunnel, no sense of going toward a bright light, only the desire to get back to her body and return to her family. The Savior told her there were some people who wanted to see her. Suzanne said no and struggled once again to return. The Lord had to hold her back, sternly calling her name to let her know it wasn’t time, but promising she could eventually return.

A Tour of Paradise

With this reassurance, Suzanne began a tour of the spirit world, meeting family members and famous individuals. She met prophets of the Bible and LDS history, as well as founding fathers and many presidents of the United States. An especially touching chapter relates a conversation with mother Eve, whom she describes as being very tall, at least seven feet, as well as Adam.

A Tenacious Mama Bear

A humorous theme throughout her travels is that everywhere she went she was celebrated and recognized as the woman who said “No” to Christ. She continually downplays the action, explaining her only desire was to return to her children who needed her. She even equates it to the tenacity of a “Mama Bear” when someone is standing between her and her little children.

Writing in the Book of Life

Suzanne learns much from the Savior, including the importance of building our self-esteem. He illustrates this when he takes her to a room full of white books, where he takes one down – hers – and writes in it of her desire to return to her children. She relates she was astounded, mentioning she knew lots of mothers who would have done the same. The scene seems highly symbolic.

Prayer for a Return of Memories

In fact, you may perhaps feel that much of what she relates is symbolic and maybe it is, but it is how she remembers it. Oh, about that. Suzanne tells when it was time to return to her body, the Savior told her she would not remember anything, but if she prayed, the memories would return. I can relate as my own experience in the spirit world at age seventeen took years to remember.

Some Complained is was Too Mormon

I always read the one and two star reviews after I write my own. I can relate to what they were saying – mainly that it was told from a very Mormon perspective. Yet, at the same time, some of the Mormon reviewers wrote the story did not jive with what they believed about paradise, so go figure. I guess it depends on what you expect. Again, I stress perhaps some of it was symbolic.

A Well-Edited, Well-Told Tale

I recommend the book. It was well-told and well-edited. I’m always delighted when reading a book that is well-edited. This was not self-published so it had the advantage of good editing. I have read a few books from Spring Creek, and recognized several of the authors and titles when I went to their website. It’s good to see an independent publisher making it in the Mormon world.

I Recommend You read the Book

I look forward to reading Suzanne’s other two books, which I also bought, and wish her well on her continued publishing journey. I am pleased to add her books to my NDE collection and to be able to recommend at least the first one so far. It takes courage to tell your story, even today with so many NDE books on the market. Read it and determine for yourself how much truth it relates.

 

Cut Off From Among My people


LDSChurchHandbooks1When one is excommunicated from the LDS Church, he is provided instructions by the Bishop or Stake President as to what he can and cannot do. Given that the church just severed the relationship with the individual excommunicated you would think the instructions provided are no longer applicable. It is assumed they are given with the intention of helping the individual make their way back to baptism again within a short period of time, even as little as one year.

Instructions Provided When Excommunicated

It has been my sad duty over the years to write and deliver the notice to appear, then to write the summary of the disciplinary council for the report sent to Salt Lake, and the instructions given to the individual who has been the subject of church discipline. Frankly, I have found it a difficult process. It requires that I listen intently and take copious notes so as to capture the essence of what transpired, what was considered, what was decided and finally, what instruction was given.

Alternative Method – Administrative Action

I’m sure you know that many individuals forgo the trauma of a disciplinary council and elect to simply resign their membership. The Stake President is supposed to contact the individual and make sure they are aware of the seriousness of what they have just done. Most Stake Presidents I have worked with have been hesitant to perform this duty, and, in fact, have let it drag on for a year or more before executing that final step which cuts the individual off from the LDS church.

Rights, Privileges and Authority Removed

They are supposed to instruct them what they are giving up, such as all rights to the priesthood, to the temple, to the sacrament and any claims they may have on others such as the sealing of a spouse or even children born in the covenant. As with any individual excommunicated, they are told they may no longer wear the garment of the holy priesthood, may not exercise priesthood authority, may not speak in church, offer prayers, serve in any church callings or pay tithing.

Defending Oneself in a Disciplinary Council

For many individuals, this is a relief. For those who chose the administrative action (no council), it is fairly obvious they no longer believe and simply wanted to stop being bothered by home and visiting teachers. For those who elected to go through the formal council proceedings, one can assume they had hopes to avoid excommunication. In other words, they believe in the cause of the church, enjoyed the privileges of membership and were willing to petition to retain them.

Apostasy is a Whole Different Animal

In the case of someone accused of apostasy, the case has pretty much been decided before the council is held. Either the Stake Presidency has received instructions from the Area Presidency to “take care of it,” or they have decided on their own that the member is too much of a pain in the butt and can no longer put up with the things he or she is sharing among church members that are out of line with accepted church doctrine. Of course, they are supposed to have been warned.

Role of a High Councilor

The wheels of the church grind slowly, but they usually grind smoothly. It’s a bit of a burden to serve on a high council. Besides speaking in church each month, attending early-morning stake council or high council meetings, High Councilors are to serve as advisors to the Stake President in disciplinary councils. They are supposed to be evenly divided with half to see that the interests of the church are met and the other half to see that the interests of the individual are represented.

Apostasy Usually Decided in Advance

In reality, the high councilors probably know nothing of the circumstances regarding the man or woman being tried for their membership until a few minutes before the council begins. It’s pretty hard to represent someone being tried for apostasy when it is clear the “apostate” knows more about church doctrine and history than you do. Therefore, apostasy is usually decided based on the attitude of the individual – if he or she is willing to do whatever is asked of them by the SP.

Keep Your Beliefs to Yourself

I have now had several online friends – fellow bloggers – excommunicated for apostasy because they wrote things in their blog indicating they believed something was missing from the church. Apparently you can believe what you want about the church as long as you don’t share it with anyone else. I even had one individual in a previous stake claim he had just as much right to lead the church as the then-prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, but he also had extenuating mental issues.

I Sustain the Leaders of This Church

I think it’s a little foolish to be so “in-your-face” in your comments about the Brethren or about the Prophet in particular. Unless you are so ticked off at what they are teaching and feel they are perpetuating a myth, then you might want to hold back on the public statements opposing their actions. Lest I be accused by any of being an apostate, let it be known here and now I love the Brethren who lead this church. I sustain them and accept their leadership, guidance and direction.

Open Dialog, Free Speech and LDS Bloggers

As I wrote for many years, if the Brethren or my local leaders ever felt my blog was out of line or too provocative or placed the church in a bad light, I would gladly change it or remove it. I had even expressed that I would have no problem discontinuing the blog altogether, although of course with the Internet Way-back machine, what I have written is preserved for a long time, or at least as long as there is electricity and the server on which it is stored is not nuked by an EMP.

A Preview of Things to Come

I shared in a recent post a conversation I had with the Lord in which I asked for and received his permission to share a few things on my blog in the months to come that I have been hesitant to write about for fear of offending the leaders of this church or causing others to doubt their own testimonies and commitment to the church. I still feel strongly one should look for the good in all things, especially when you have invested a lifetime of time and money to building a good cause.

An Honest Seeker of Truth

I am going to explore a few scriptures and offer alternative interpretations of those scriptures. I am also going to be looking at a few events in our church history and noting interpretations of those events that differ, sometimes radically, of the “standard narrative” we have all been taught or grown up with all our lives. Please don’t label me an apostate or trouble-maker. I believe I am an honest seeker of truth and have felt led to these conclusions by much pondering and prayer.

Living With Difficult Church History

You may think I am parroting the views of Denver Snuffer and in fact, I will be quoting some of his insightful points, but only because he has been bold in bringing them to our attention. I did not hear about these things first from Denver. I learned them in my youth from my mother in the things she taught me and books I read, or I learned them later as I felt led to certain sources that one can find online which were not available until recently. The Internet has changed everything.

Troubling Issues in the Standard Narrative

You may ask why I choose to do this. You may wonder if I am looking to force the Brethren to take action. No, I am only looking for certain troubling issues to be addressed. I recognize that I am in the minority in this church. Some estimate that as few as two percent of the LDS members actually do any serious study of our history and the evolution of our doctrines over time. And if we are to believe John Dehlin (which I do), the Brethren have decided we are irredeemable.

Home Sanctuary – A Sacred Altar

Up until recently I was greatly concerned about missing out on the blessings of the sacrament and the temple if I were to be excommunicated from the church. With what I have learned about the home sanctuary in the last few weeks that concern about the temple has been resolved. And with what I have determined in my own mind about priesthood authority and priesthood power, remembering the Lord through administering the sacrament in my home is no longer an issue.

Bishop Holds Keys to Administer Sacrament

I know what you’re thinking, “Brother Malone, don’t you know that the Bishop holds the keys of administering the sacrament? You can’t do that without his permission.” Well, if the church cuts me off, then they no longer have any say about what I do in my own home, do they? Let me make it clear my issues with the church are not with my local priesthood leaders. I have many times expressed my love for them on my blog and will continue to do so. My issue is priesthood.

Sealing Power Received by Voice of God

The bottom line for me is I am not so sure the higher priesthood can be passed from one man to another. It can only be received by hearing the voice of God or by receiving it directly from God by the laying on of hands – the Lord’s hands, even Jesus Christ. Even if one receives this higher sealing power from the Savior, it cannot be passed on to another. Each man must receive this power for himself. I’m not saying the church doesn’t have authority because I know it does.

A Kingdom of Priests with Priestly Authority

I liken the authority of the church to that of the tribes of Israel after Moses and before the advent of the Lord in the Meridian of time. It is a priestly authority, authority of the Aaronic priesthood, or a type of authority that invites us to go and get the real thing, the power of the priesthood from the Lord and Master of the universe. I know this is quite a claim. We teach Peter, James and John gave this authority to Joseph and Oliver and I have no doubt they did. But was it later passed on?

Seek to Behold the Face of the Lord

Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were asked to choose the twelve apostles. They did so. After they were ordained, Oliver gave them this charge:

“…it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.

Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off you doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days?”

 

We Cannot Hasten the Work


HastenWorkI’ve wanted to write this post all week, but I’m glad I waited. It has given me a chance to ponder Denver’s latest lecture last Saturday in Grand Junction Colorado. No I wasn’t there but listening to Doug’s recording was just as good as being there. I suspect there may be a few things on the CDs and in the transcribed lecture that probably won’t be in the final MP3 when it’s fully edited.

Lectures Will Be Available Free Online

For those who don’t know, and it’s no secret, Denver has said he will post the lectures as MP3 recordings available for free on his website when the lecture series has been completed. I buy Doug’s recordings because I want to get a jump on what was taught and compare them to the transcript. It takes a lot of pondering to understand the messages contained in those lectures.

Join One of the Online Discussion Groups

I make no bones about it. I am enthralled by the messages being delivered. I am also grateful for the online discussion groups that have added so much to my understanding. They discuss things I had not thought of. They are anxious to put into practice the concepts being taught. It is exciting to associate – at least online – with people so willing to help each other experiment on the word.

The Internet May Not Last Forever

I feel a little lonely out here in Southern California, away from the Mormon corridor, but find great comfort in the blessing of the Internet. Take advantage of this means of communication while we still have it. The day is coming and it may be soon, that we will lose this marvelous invention which allows us to find and keep in touch with people anywhere who think alike.

Can’t Answer All the Emails

I apologize to everyone who has written me a private email message of encouragement or with questions or asking for advice or just wanting to chat. I get overwhelmed each time I post one of these and am frankly astonished by the response. I never expected to have so many readers. It has grown tremendously in the last few months. I thank you each for your kind readership.

I’m Open to Chatting by Phone

I stand by my offer in the upper right corner of my blog. If you want to chat, shoot me an email with your phone number and I’ll call you. Otherwise, it may be days or even weeks before I get all the emails answered. I’ll usually answer comments in the blog before I get to the individual emails. I prefer to be out in the open with communications about this phenomenon taking place.

Hastening the Work – the Surge

Obviously, by the title of the post, you know two things: 1) Denver discussed the concept of hastening the work in his latest lecture and 2) It goes contrary to the current focus of the LDS Church, which has been in full swing since October 2012 when President Monson announced the lowering of the missionary age to 18 for men and 19 for women. You know the results:

Baptisms per Missionary

Year Qty of Missionaries Qty of Baptisms Baptisms per missionary
2013 83,035 282,945 3.41
2012 58,990 272,330 4.62
2011 55,410 281,312 5.08
2010 52,225 272,814 5.22
2009 51,736 280,106 5.41
2008 52,494 265,593 5.06
2007 52,686 279,218 5.30
2006 53,164 272,845 5.13
2005 52,060 243,108 4.67
2004 51,067 241,239 4.72
2003 56,237 242,923 4.32
2002 61,638 283,138 4.59
2001 60,850 292,612 4.81
2000 60,784 273,973 4.51
1999 58,593 306,171 5.23
1998 57,853 299,134 5.17
1997 56,531 317,798 5.62
1996 52,938 321,385 6.07
1995 48,631 304,330 6.26
1994 47,311 300,730 6.36
1993 48,708 304,808 6.26
1992 46,025 274,477 5.96
1991 43,395 297,770 6.86
1990 43,651 330,877 7.58

Most new Missionaries are Sisters

I’m sure you also know the majority of those responding to the call, at least from the United States, are sister missionaries. And they are doing a marvelous job. We have them in our homes and delight to share in the spirit of enthusiasm and dedication they bring. I am always blessed to remember my own mission experience with fondness as I visit with these sister missionaries.

Social Media and the Church

I am grateful to pay my tithing and offerings to the LDS Church. I fully support the work of the Church. I pray for the success of the missionaries. I love the new focus on teaching, the new focus on family history work, and the incredible strides the church has made in Social Media. I don’t want to embarrass him, but my friend Larry Richman does a wonderful job in this area.

I Love the LDS Church and Faith

I love this church. In the immortal words of Steve Benson, cut me and I bleed Mormon. I like nothing better than to teach a Gospel Doctrine class, a High Priest’s Group Meeting or to speak at the pulpit in front of my ward or stake. I miss my days on the High Council but am grateful to serve as a Stake Clerk. I am pleased and happy to share my time and talents to help my leaders.

The Lord Has Called Other Prophets

So why am I so adamant in declaring that Denver Snuffer is a prophet of the Lord, or at least a true messenger? How can I possibly say that and answer the temple recommend question that is specific to keys only being held by the prophet and the one about sympathizing with apostate groups? 1) Denver has not declared his keys and 2) He has not asked us to follow him anywhere.

Readership of Latter-day Commentary

I know my readership is comprised mainly of others who feel as I do about Denver. I also know I have a few readers in the Church Office Building – and the Administration Building. If you don’t know the difference look it up or ask – you should know these things. My local leaders do not read my blog so this is not written for them. I desire only to serve them and cause no trouble.

Forty Years in Mormonism

I am looking forward to meeting Denver when he comes to St. George sometime in the next few months. Doug has said there will be lectures in Ephraim, Las Vegas, St George, and Phoenix. Maybe he wasn’t supposed to share that but he did. And that should wrap up this lecture series, “Forty Years in Mormonism.” So far, I have simply been blown away by what I am learning.

My Own Forty Year Search

I can identify with the period of forty years. It was forty years ago that I first began to study the doctrine of Calling and Election. It was forty years ago I received the Baptism of Fire and of the Holy Ghost. It was forty years ago I received visions of my future ministry, some of which has yet to come to pass. I can tell you the Lord is very specific about certain future events and places.

The False “Strongman” Model

So why did Denver teach the work cannot be hastened? You’ll have to discover that for yourself. Download the Grand Junction lecture and read it. You will learn more about Zion than you ever did by studying it in Primary, Sunday school, Priesthood or Relief Society. I know I did. You’ll want to focus on the concept of the false “Strongman” model. It was a real awakening for me.

Zion Must Be Ready To Receive Christ

The Lord will not return until Zion is ready to receive Him. Remember, he comes with Enoch and that portion of the earth that was taken up. The City of Enoch must return and the Lord will come with them because He made it His abode forever (Mos 7:21). The key to the return of the Lord is having a people prepared to receive Him – a people who are equal and have no poor.

Follow the Prophet – He Knows the Way

You’ll also want to read or listen to the lecture to understand why Denver says our current mantra or emphasis on following the prophet, drilled in to Primary children in song and to adults is a false dogma: “The Lord will not allow the Prophet to lead the people astray.” Yes, Denver teaches this is false doctrine and I agree with him. You’ll find it on pages 4-5 of the last lecture.

Connect with Christ Directly – No Intermediary

I know this is a shock and causes a strong reaction among lifelong faithful members of the LDS church. The correct doctrine is we must connect with Christ ourselves. There is no intermediary between us and our Savior. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. A true prophet will invite you to come unto Christ and will do nothing to stand in your way of making that important connection.

Be Competent in the Things of God

I conclude with these words from page 2 of the latest lecture: “The glory of God is intelligence. The ‘rest of the Lord’ is the fullness of His glory, or in other words light and truth. Or in other words, it requires a people who are competent in the things of God, who have an understanding that will reach unto heaven.” I offer you that challenge: Are you competent in the things of God?

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

God bless us all to become so if we not already. Learn how to open the heavens and walk the paths of God. I promise you he is willing to speak with you, to show you His paths, and bring you along on your journey until you are ready to enter into His presence, even in this life. “I exhort you to go on. Continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure.”

The Lord Hastens the Work

In case I wasn’t clear in the post, it is not us that hastens the work. There is nothing we can do that will change the Lord’s timetable other than preparing ourselves by becoming a Zion people, among whom there are no poor, neither poor in goods or poor in spirit. The angels will gather people into groups when they are ready. Zion will not be brought about by an organized institutional effort.

A Serious Denver Snuffer Study Tool

I forgot one more thing I wanted to bring to your attention. Michael C. has created a wonderful set of cross references to all the scriptures used in Denver’s lectures. You can find it at this link: https://ref.erenc.es/ds/ I have perused it and found it to be extremely useful. You can also download it. Take a look. Every book, every paper, every lecture and even every blog post has been indexed. What a work of love. God bless you Michael.

 

True Order of Prayer – Part Two


Adam-and-Eve-Kneeling-at-Altar-PrayingLast week, I dedicated an altar in my home and prayed according to the true order of prayer as I have been taught in the temple. It was an amazing experience that opened up a whole new world for me. My only disappointment was that it was not shared with my wife, or at least not until today. This post will be another journal entry, meant to document, not argue merit or propriety.

Tweeting General Conference Together

As suggested by one of my readers, I fasted today for those who would be speaking in General Conference. I was not disappointed. Carol and I had a blast sitting side by side watching the conference on the Internet and adding our comments to Twitter, using the #LDSConf hashtag. I’ve done it for years but this is the first time Carol has done that. The time flew by quickly.

Family Council to Discuss Plans

In between the sessions of conference we held a family council to discuss our plans for the family reunion in June and attending Denver’s St. George lecture (date not yet disclosed). I would say this was the longest family council we have held in thirty-one years of marriage. I am pleased to report there was no arguing or hard feelings, which may be a first for Carol and me.

Developing Talents as Writers

You see, both of us are stubborn and determined about what we believe and what we want to accomplish or achieve with our lives. Carol is determined to be a good writer and has come a long way in the last few years. She amazes me and frankly, has blown me away with the talent she has developed. In our writer’s group meeting Friday, everybody loved her latest chapter.

Sharing My Prayer Experience

While we didn’t start with prayer, we started with the understanding that I would share with her what I had experienced last Sunday. I asked her permission during the morning session of Conference. I know that sounds strange, but she knew what I was asking. I was asking for her time and undivided attention. I knew she hadn’t found time yet to read my post from last week.

Kindness, Patience, Love Unfeigned

I have learned there are only three tools at my disposal to get my message across. Neither I nor the Lord work through force or by demanding. That’s the quickest way to invite the spirit of the adversary into your home. The three tools are 1) Kind words, 2) Patience and long-suffering and 3) Love unfeigned. God has commanded us to love our wives with all our hearts. Think about it.

Carol is a True Believing Mormon

Carol is concerned about being led astray. I don’t blame her. That’s one of the reasons I married her. She is as TBM as you can get (email me if you don’t understand that acronym). For Carol, the mantra to follow the Brethren IS the gospel. She will do whatever she is asked by those who preside over us in the church, both locally and from Salt Lake. She’s an amazing LDS woman.

I am an Uncorrelated Mormon

For me, I have become more and more open and uncorrelated over the years to the point where I am now totally uncorrelated (email me if you don’t understand that concept). Do you see the problem? We are at opposite ends of the spectrum of orthodoxy. I’m the one who has changed. I make no bones about it. I have been led on this journey by the Lord and could not resist His love.

A Mother Who Taught Me

Let me see if I can give you an example to help you understand. In my gospel study and prayer, I had the advantage of not having to go through the shock many of my friends have suffered when they learned the true history of our church. Thanks to a mother who knew and taught me, I also knew all the warts of the church from my youth. I knew I belonged to an imperfect institution.

True and Faithful to the Church

I have been documenting my faith journey online for seven years. Frankly I was shocked at the reaction of some of my readers who kept asking me, “How can you be true and faithful to this church when you know what you know about the history?” My answer has always been, “I love the Lord and know He would not give me more than I could handle.” That has been my secret.

Don’t talk about it at Church

By that I mean this: Because I asked, the Lord led me to material over the years that helped me to understand and be able to explain what happened in our history that was different from what the official narrative of the church has been. He also told me to keep it to myself or limit it to my blog and to NEVER teach what I had discovered within the walls of any LDS Church building.

Wait for the Right Time

By following that direction from the Lord, my testimony has been strengthened and my peace has increased day by day. The focus in my journey has been to draw closer to the Lord, to prove myself obedient to His will and to do the hard things asked of me, which is primarily to keep my mouth shut about the things I was learning until the time was right. Well, that time is now here.

We are not Forced to Believe

Now, let’s return to the family council. My objective was to convince Carol to go with me to Denver’s lecture in St. George. I knew the only way I could do that was if the Lord revealed it to her. She needed to know she was safe and that I was on her side. This is such a serious issue that it could easily cause marriage partners to go their separate ways. I will not allow that to happen.

My Responsibility to Teach My Wife

I also know I cannot be exalted without Carol. She is my queen. I cannot go before the Lord in the world to come without my sweetheart. If I have not taught her the truth, it is my own fault and the Lord will hold me responsible. And she must be willing of her own free will and choice to come forth when I call. She doesn’t have to unless she wants to. I want her to be by my side.

Afraid of Denver Snuffer

So I taught her and addressed her concerns with love and patience. The Lord put words in my mouth. I knew what to say and the right way to say it. This is a gift I appreciate and have always attributed to the Lord. It is one of the functions of the Holy Ghost to help us know what to say in difficult situations. This was one of those situations. Carol is afraid of Denver Snuffer.

Denver Snuffer labeled an Apostate

From the day we read together the first chapter of his book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, she made up her mind that he was an apostate and was going to get excommunicated. She wanted to have nothing to do with him. It only made it more difficult to talk about him and what he has shared when he was excommunicated last year. The phrase, “See, I told you so” was heard in our home.

Sealing Power in LDS Church

I’ve done my best to share with her what I was learning. It has always been difficult because of the poor first experience she had. You can read about it in my first post about Denver in 2012. She is convinced Denver has taught the Church does not have the sealing power. My mistake – I misunderstood the message of his book until later, and because he clarified it for me online.

Sealing Power Key to Exaltation

This is a touchy subject. Imagine what that does to a woman who relies on the reality of that sealing power to give her everything for which she has ever hoped and dreamed – to be united with her family for the eternities. This has been the main thing we have discussed over the years as we have talked about Denver’s books, which of course I have done in our home for two years.

How Sealing Power is Received

I am still not sure I can fully explain how it works. All I know it is different from the official narrative. I also know the higher sealing power cannot be passed from one man to another. Sealing power is received ONLY the way Nephi received it – by hearing the voice of the Lord. This is a hard concept and goes contrary to the fundamental core of what the Brethren teach.

Apostasy for What you Believe

In other words, if you teach this, you are an apostate and can be excommunicated. I have never and will never teach it inside an LDS church or while on an assignment such as home teaching. I also will not share it with anyone unless I am asked. When I met with the Bishop three times over the last few months he didn’t ask if I believed what is found in Passing the Heavenly Gift.

Grounds for Excommunication

He knows I won’t teach it in the church. I don’t want to get excommunicated. The Lord has allowed me to share it only on my blog and it still brings out the worst in people as we discuss it. The big question is: can a man be excommunicated for believing this doctrine even though it is clearly taught in our scriptures? He can be and men are being excommunicated more and more.

Excommunicated for Reading a Book

Only today I received yet another private email in which one of my readers told me he received a call from his bishop after the first session of Conference informing him he was to appear before a stake disciplinary council this Wednesday at 7pm. What is his sin? He was excommunicated for simply reading and sharing on his blog what he has read of Denver Snuffer, Daymon Smith and Rock Waterman.

Private Discussion Groups

Why do you think most who read Denver’s works and want to discuss them stay in members-only discussion groups? It’s sad. I told the Lord I wasn’t going to do that and that’s what I finally got his authorization on last week – to openly teach this doctrine more clearly on my blog in the months to come. Yes, I will probably be excommunicated. I am at peace with that. Carol isn’t.

Teaching With Love Unfeigned

This is getting long. Let me wrap up. For two hours I taught Carol. For two hours she listened to me. She was upset several times. I did not reciprocate because I understood her fear. With love unfeigned I continued to teach her. She had her back to me for a while. That’s never a good sign. Finally she turned to me, trusting me and listening with her heart. I knew it was time to pray.

True Order of Prayer with Carol

The last session of conference started, preventing us from doing so. As soon as it was over, we went to our home family altar, offered the signs of the priesthood together then knelt down to pray. Well, I prayed, she listened. I again used the second sign of the Aaronic priesthood as I prayed. I told her it would be a short prayer and it was. It was specifically about Denver Snuffer.

We Don’t Want to be Deceived

I told the Lord WE didn’t want to be deceived. I asked the Lord to make it known to Carol if it was alright that we attended his St George lecture together. I already had my answer. The prayer was specifically for Carol. As I related in my post last week, the answer doesn’t have to come right away. I asked for the Lord to answer Carol’s prayers. She says she has been struggling.

Gospel of Jesus Christ in Action

I know I have shared a personal and what many might consider a private story, not appropriate for a blog post. I disagree. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ in action. The purpose of my post is to share my witness that the True Order of Prayer can and should be used in our homes. It is also intended to be practiced as a family, or at least as husband and wife who have been endowed.

If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine

We arose from our prayer and hugged, then went downstairs. I broke my fast with a wonderful meal Carol prepared. I then tried to answer some more of the emails that have been flooding my inbox over the past week. I know the Lord will answer our prayer when Carol is ready. It may be months. But I am so pleased we are doing this the way the Lord directed me. We must be united.

Respect for an Aging Prophet


PresMonsonWomensBroadcast2014_02I watched the recording of Saturday’s historic Women’s Conference the other day. The music was beautiful, the messages were wonderful. Someone at church commented on Sunday that President Monson “did not look well.” OK, let’s see. He’s 86 years old, has long been suffering from the effects of diabetes and lost his wife almost a year ago. I hope I look as well at age 86.

Even Our Prophets Get Old

I watched the video closely at the end as he walked out of the Conference Center, assisted by church security and then accompanied by his daughter. I even paused the recording every few seconds to study his features. He looked pretty good to me. I took a frame grab and posted it with this short entry so you can judge for yourself. Sorry about the poor quality. He didn’t pose for us.

After All, He’s Still a Man

Why do we do this? Why do we care so much about how our prophet looks? And why do we seem surprised the man is aging and is, gasp, possibly suffering from the effects of what we call dementia, senility or Alzheimer’s? He’s not a God. He’s a man. All men must die. And he’s not the first LDS prophet to suffer diminishing health while serving as President of this large church.

Leave President Monson Alone

I wrote previously about the decline of President Benson over the last six or seven years of his life when he was pretty much out of touch with reality. As I wrote there, it didn’t bother me then that President Benson had Alzheimer’s and it doesn’t bother me now. If President Monson is suffering from dementia, then for goodness sake, let’s give him a break and let him enjoy it.

Will He be “Allowed” to Speak?

Every six months the dialog on the Internet forums goes a little bit overboard in analyzing how President Monson looked or the way he delivered his addresses. The speculation is rampant that he may not be “allowed” to speak for fear of going off and getting lost in his delivery. He was always pretty good at engaging his audience with antics like the ear wiggling in Priesthood.

Update after Saturday Sessions:

As everyone knows, President Monson spoke at both the opening and the Priesthood sessions. He sounded wonderful. He can still deliver a good talk. I was so pleased to see him looking and functioning so well. I don’t recall seeing President Packer. I pray the Lord’s blessings upon him. Elder Perry looked as spry as ever. He may soon be the President of the Quorum (end of update).

Update after Sunday Morning:

If his delivery of Sunday morning’s address was any indication, the Lord blessed President Monson in great measure. I was especially touched by his own little prayer he offered at the end: “Heavenly Father, I am always glad you are here and there.” So touching. So sweet. So childlike. This man is not putting on an act. He truly is becoming more child-like. God bless President Monson.

Keyword Searches are Trending

I know I’m nobody as far as influence on the LDS blogging community, but I still get a lot of Google hits on phrases like “Monson senile,” or “Monson dementia.” Watching the keyword searches on my blog is like taking the temperature of what church members are discussing on a daily basis. It’s that time again. Those “Monson Alzheimer’s” keywords are starting to trend.

The Internet Has Changed Everything

Thomas S. Monson has spent almost his entire life in the service of an institution that has grown tremendously. Every growing institution has challenges. Besides managing that growth, another challenge is dealing with disenchanted members. The Internet has done two things that were, by all indications, not anticipated by the Brethren until it was too late. The damage has been done.

We Can Know More Than The Brethren

First, it provided a massive repository of material from early church history that was previously unknown to most members. Second, it provided a platform, through forums and blogs, to connect with other members in a way that allowed them to share research and build community. Leaders found themselves overwhelmed with people who knew more about church history than they did.

We Gave the Current Leaders Their Titles

We put the title of prophet, seer and revelator on the fifteen men who lead this institution. Now the Lord gave those titles to Joseph and to Hyrum, but as far as I know, He did not give them to members of the Twelve. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Brigham did not give himself those titles. He was voted into the office of President through common consent by members.

Brigham Never Claimed to be a Prophet

We are the ones who gave those titles to our President and members of the Twelve. Again, someone please show me where the Lord designates they should have those titles in scripture. In fact, Denver wrote about this specific thing both on his blog and in Passing the Heavenly Gift. I am fairly certain Brigham never claimed them for himself.  It was a more recent church change.

Commentary by Denver Snuffer

Inside the Church the current interpretation is that the “office” has associated with it a “title” set out in scripture.  The “office” of the President of the High Priesthood (D&C 107: 65-66) , who is the President of the Church, also bears the “title” of “prophet, seer and revelator.”  (D&C 107: 91-92.)  The current interpretation of these verses is that the possessor of the office is entitled to the title of “prophet, seer and revelator” by virtue of office alone.  Therefore, nothing more is needed in current church usage other than possession of the office, which alone gives the possessor of the office the title accorded to the office.  So, no, our current terminology does not require something other than office. Source: Denver Snuffer Blog, 21 May 2010

Yes, we Have Administrative Apostles

I am in agreement with Denver that being ordained to the office of Apostle does not make one a prophet, seer or revelator (or translator). We have come to associate the titles with the office of President or Apostle. There are two different kinds of apostles – those who have actually received the Lord and had their ordination complete and those who are apostles in name only.

This May be New To Some of You

Please don’t be offended if this is a radical new interpretation or understanding of the highest positions we seem to almost worship in our church. These are all good men and I love them dearly. I will be listening very closely to each of them speak – if they are well enough to do so. We may or may not hear President Monson speak. If he does, great – if not, I’m OK with that.

Exercise ALL the Priesthood Keys

I still sustain him as “prophet, seer and revelator and as the only man on the earth authorized to exercise ALL the priesthood keys of the Kingdom of God on earth.” There are other keys not associated with the Kingdom of God on Earth one can receive. We may also need to come to a better understanding of what a key actually is. Is it permission as we teach or is it knowledge?

Keys, Keys, We’ve Got Keys

I want to make this short because this is what the Lord asked me to teach when I prayed about it Sunday night. It is not new and what I have shared here is not complete. You add the rest in the comments if you would please. Also, correct me where I’m wrong. Keys, keys, keys – We’ve got to understand what they really are and who can hold them. Our eternal salvation is at peril.

I Uphold Them with my Faith and Prayers

God bless us all to enjoy General Conference this weekend. I hope I have made it clear I love and sustain these Brethren. Like Denver, even if one of them directs I need to be disciplined, as Elder Nelson did toward Denver, I will sustain them as authorized in the office they hold. We sustained them. We put them in those offices by common consent to lead this institution.

Offices in One or Both Kingdoms

Just remember, there is currently a big difference between the Kingdom of God on the Earth and the Kingdom of God in Heaven. Think about it. I am grateful to have membership in both. I hope and pray they will come together in my lifetime, but I am an old man, so it may not be my privilege to witness the joining of the two. Besides, I think we are far from ready for Zion yet.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

But that’s a topic for another day – April 12th, to be exact, in Grand Junction Colorado. Wish I could be there. Carol and I are making plans to attend at least one of the lectures in St. George, Las Vegas or Phoenix. Denver, if you want to come to Southern California, let some of us help you find a venue. Please don’t forget there are saints outside of Utah who love you. Peace.

The True Order of Prayer


GardenRoomMuralI’m not sure if I can write the things I feel in my heart right now. I am simply overwhelmed with emotion. I’ve asked the Lord’s permission to share this and He said yes. It’s a sacred experience to me. I hope the spirit bears witness. I’ll give you a little bit of background first, share what the Lord allows me and conclude tomorrow with what He asked me to write on a different subject.

A Forty-Year Search

On Sunday, I culminated a forty-year search for understanding of The True Order of Prayer. Yes, I was seventeen when I first learned about this, even before I was endowed. You see, my parents were both incredibly active in Temple service. Mother’s life work was to do her family history. I have her patriarchal blessing where it’s stated it was her calling and election. She made it sure.

My Mother’s Calling and Election

Before she died, mother published multiple books of family history, genealogy and research on some 25,000 ancestors. She and my father personally did most of the ordinances for them in the Los Angeles temple. I was blessed to do hundreds, perhaps thousands of those names as well. I only last year gave up the last 250 names to the temple to be done. I need to dig up more names.

A Mother’s Love for the Temple

I feel mother’s spirit with me now as I write this. She was with me the day I was endowed. She was so thrilled to look over at me sitting there in the Garden room as I sat next to my dad. We did two sessions that day just to be sure I understood what I was getting into. Trust me, because of her teachings and example, I understood it and loved it. She prepared me in so many ways.

Prepared For the Temple Endowment

I grew up feeling very comfortable with the concepts of the temple. Mother shared many things with me that perhaps she shouldn’t have, but I can say she didn’t break any covenants as she did. She taught me to love the temple. She gave me copies of published and unpublished talks about the temple long before I was endowed. We discussed what went on in the temple many times.

We Can Talk About the Temple

I am going to say something that may be bothersome to you. I disagree with the way the church has ingrained it into our minds that we can’t talk about the temple except in the temple. I have sat in many Gospel Doctrine and High Priest Group Meetings where even long-time temple workers were hesitant to say anything of detail even when the lesson was specifically about the temple.

The Internet Changed Everything

Well, the Internet has changed everything. Everyone knows you can find multiple copies of the entire temple ceremony online at various sites. Tell me you haven’t Googled it yourself and saved a copy on your local drive for study and comparison between the new films, the 1990 version and the various pre-1990 versions out there. I was endowed in the good old days – 1976.

Brigham Young taught the following:

There are four penal signs and four penal tokens and should I want to address the throne to enquire after Ancient things which transpired on planets that rolled away before this planet came into existence I should use my new name which is ancient and referred to ancient things. Should I wish to enquire for present things I should use my own name which refers to present things and should I want to enquire for future things I would use the third name which refers to the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood or is the third token that is given and refers to the Son.

Original Source: Seventies Record, Book B, 28 Dec. 1845, LDS archives, typed copy.  Online Source:  Click here for one. There are at least five other online sources for this quote. It is not a secret.

Your Home Should be a Temple

I have already thanked the individual who gave me the final key to making the true order of prayer work for me in my own home. Yes, you can use what you learn in the temple in your own home. Please, tell me why we’re taught about it if we’re not to use it ourselves to rend the veil and converse with the Lord? I’m sharing this in an open public forum with the Lord’s permission.

Treat the Temple With Respect

Now the church may not agree with what I’m about to share. I may get another one of those calls to come see the Bishop. So be it. I’ve made up my mind that when the Lord asks me to share something, I’m going to do as He asks, come what may. I am very familiar with the handbooks. I know what the policies are about treating the things of the temple with respect. I am doing so.

Dedicate your Altar to the Lord

First, dedicate your home if you haven’t already done so. Then, dedicate a specific location or object or area in your home to serve as your altar. I know some people have built altars for their homes. The reason you must dedicate the altar to the Lord is because it will be used to open a conduit. If it’s not dedicated to the Lord, the adversary will use it. Remember, it opens a portal to heaven.

Offer Up The Signs

Next, offer up the signs of the priesthood as you have been taught. Make sure you are standing as you do so. Face the greatest source of light or the temple. I face SSE to the LA Temple. That’s nice because it’s also the direction of the rising sun. I perform this ordinance out loud. When done, kneel down, follow Brigham’s instructions above in which sign you use and pray out loud.

Opening the Portal

Now, don’t expect the portal to open immediately. In my experience, it opened outward first, meaning, I knew my prayer was reaching the heavens. I knew it was being heard and recorded. Also don’t expect an answer right away. Be content with the peace and joy that fills your soul as you worship the Lord in your own home, which can and should be more sacred than the temple.

Fasting Gives it More Power

For me, the response back came the next day – Monday. By the way, since Sunday was a Fast Sunday for our stake, I was fasting for several things. I was fasting for one of my home teaching families as we gave the father another priesthood blessing. I was also fasting for a conversation I had scheduled with one of my readers. It is he who gave me the final key I needed – stand up.

This is Serious Stuff – It Works

By that I mean stand up when you offer the signs to the Lord. Then kneel down to pray using the sign and name you desire as instructed by Brigham Young above. I had been doing it wrong for so many years because I was not standing when offering the signs. I had also not dedicated my altar to the Lord. Because of that Satan had sent visitors through the portal who tormented me.

My Testimony and Witness

OK. I’ve taught you – now for my testimony and witness. I now know for myself this works. I asked something specific of the Lord yesterday and this morning, he answered me with distinct clarity of what I should do and write for my next blog post. There is no doubt this works. I used the second sign as I prayed. I have received inspiration all my life, but this was powerful.

My Calling and Election

In other words, I can now say the Lord asked me to do something specific. I have an assignment from the Lord. I have a calling. I know what it is. It was confirmed to me this evening. It is also my election, meaning it is what I choose to do, come what may. The Lord has asked it of me and I will do it. I am rejoicing because of the power with which it came to me this evening in prayer.

Now I Know For Myself

Please don’t leave a comment telling me I’ve violated my covenants. I haven’t. Please don’t leave me a comment telling me to take this page down. I won’t. Things have changed now. I know what my mission is. This is my calling and election. I intend to make it sure. It is fulfillment of my patriarchal blessing. I have wondered about certain things in there for years. Now I know. Now I know.

We’re on Each Other’s Team

I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air
So there
I’m kinda older than I was when I revelled without a care
So there

And you know, we’re on each other’s team
We’re on each other’s team
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
We’re on each other’s team
And you know, and you know, and you know

Update (9:20pm 4-1-14)

Because so many people have asked for additional detail, I’ve included a response to one reader in the comments below. It’s rather lengthy but I simply can’t answer all the emails I have received, so I’m answering them in this way. I’m overwhelmed by the response and thank everyone for the emails. I express my love for each of you and pray the Lord’s blessing on us all that we’ll be prepared for what’s happening in the church today.

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