Defining Fullness of the Priesthood


FacsimileThreeIn response to a comment made by a reader on the previous post, I wrote, “The fullness of the priesthood, or that which was lost (D&C 124:28), is to be brought into the presence of the Father, by the Son, to be fully endowed with the power that Enoch received, the power to bring about Zion.” I would like to elaborate on that comment and provide some backup for my thinking.

Priesthood Power Not Same as Church Authority

Just as power in the priesthood is different from authority in the priesthood, offices in the Church do not constitute the priesthood itself. They are simply organizational offices in an institution. I know this can be a difficult concept to accept. Some may claim it is false doctrine. Perhaps we can consider together this quote from Joseph Smith on the subject. It may prove helpful:

All Prophets Were Ordained By God Himself

“All priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion that brought Moses to speak with God face-to-face was taken away, but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All prophets have the Melchizedek priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” (TPJS 180-181) Think about that last sentence from Joseph for a moment.

There is But One Priesthood of God

So Joseph teaches there is but one priesthood, yet we have a revelation (D&C 107:1) claiming there are two priesthoods, namely the Melchizedek and the Aaronic or Levitical. Add to this the idea of the Patriarchal priesthood, not defined in scripture, a phrase used by Joseph when urging the Saints to complete the Nauvoo temple. President Packer taught us a little more about this:

The Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood

“There are references to a patriarchal priesthood. The patriarchal order is not a third, separate priesthood. Whatever relates to the patriarchal order is embraced in the Melchizedek Priesthood. All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to [the Melchizedek] priesthood. The patriarchal order is a part of the Melchizedek Priesthood which enables endowed and worthy men to preside over their posterity in time and eternity.”

Priesthood Power Received From the Father

So there is but one priesthood which exists, but it is not contained within or conferred by the church. It comes from one source – the Father. The Son is involved because He is the gatekeeper. He alone decides if a person if going to qualify to receive priesthood power. The Son makes it his work, or His ministry, to bring a person before the Father. This process can take many years.

The Son Prepares Us to Meet With the Father

The Son will work with a candidate for as long as it takes, and as long as the individual is willing to accept correction and reproof, from the Savior, to cure all that is wrong, fix all that is broken, remove all that is impure and prepare the disciple to be brought into the presence of the Father. It is the Father who confers and ordains a man to the highest priesthood. This is not a new teaching.

Priesthood Power Cannot be Conferred

Priesthood in the beginning was called the Holy Order. Later it was called the Holy Order after the Son of God, or the Holy Order after the Order of Enoch, or the Holy Order after the Order of Melchizedek. We think that is what we have in the church today. We think that is what we give to Elders when we first ordain them. But Joseph Smith could not confer that on another person.

Offices in the Church are not Priesthood

Priesthood power is received only from God. We cannot confer power upon another. We can ordain them with authority to officiate in offices in the church, but we cannot give them power. The fullness of the priesthood is contained within the Holy Order that comes from the Father. Show me a man who has entered into the Father’s presence and I will testify he has a fullness.

Our Goal Should Be To Receive The Father

But show me a man, no matter what position or keys he claims to possess, who has not entered into the Father’s presence, and I will testify he has not yet received a fullness. No matter what keys he has, he cannot possess the fullness. For that, the Father has a role He alone is required to fulfill. Joseph taught no man has seen the Father but He [the Father] has born record of the Son.

Ordination is Only a Preliminary Step

Being ordained is only the first step. Although it allows you to administer in an office in the church, it is really but an invitation, and nothing more than to go and get real power from God. It requires us to be faithful unto the Lord, to do all He asks us to do, and He will ask things of His sons that are difficult, in order to prove them faithful and worthy of being brought to the Father.

Receive the Lord’s Messengers Sent to Us

D&C 84 teaches us the importance of receiving the Lord’s servants, or messengers. They may be angels He sends to teach us, or they may be mortal. If we receive His messengers, we receive the Savior. The time will come when the Savior Himself will come to deliver instructions to prepare us further to come into the presence of the Father, in a very literal way, while we are yet mortal.

Fullness Means Completion of a Process

The whole purpose of the priesthood, as far as the man who receives it is concerned, is to prepare him to come into the presence of the Father in order to receive the fullness or the completion of the ordination. That is one definition of the word full – to be complete – or to have accomplished something. The accomplishment cannot be brought about without the involvement of the Lord.

We Must Receive The Father In This Life

“He that receiveth me receiveth my Father.” I can’t tell you how many times I have read that phrase with my brethren in priesthood meetings and wondered when this is supposed to happen. Surely the Lord intended for us to receive Him in this life, to be ministered to by Him in a literal and physical way. We receive the Father in this life to bear His presence in the world of glory.

Fullness of Priesthood and The Powers of Heaven

Receiving the fullness of the priesthood allows us to associate with those on the other side of the veil – the powers of heaven – who are helping to bring about the Lord’s work of bringing Zion. The fullness of the priesthood is required to withstand the brightness of the coming of the Lord, when He returns with the City of Enoch. Otherwise, they that come with Him will burn us up.

Seek to See the Face of God and Live

We have an association or brotherhood here on the earth which we call the priesthood. There is another brotherhood or association we should seek after, the association with the powers of heaven. D&C 84:21-22 teaches us the importance of priesthood in order to see the face of God and live. Obviously Joseph must have had priesthood when he saw the Father at age fourteen.

Attribution for Some of These Quotes

I recognize I have covered a lot in this post. It is all based on scripture, although I have not always provided the reference. You may also recognize a few direct quotes from some of the writings of Denver Snuffer. That’s because he organized ideas about priesthood in a way that make great sense to me. Otherwise, I would not have taken the trouble to study his writings.

Invitation to Receive of the Fullness

I finish as I started with an invitation to understand the fullness of the priesthood. It is simply to be brought into the presence of the Father, by the Son, to be fully endowed with God’s power, which can then be used to bless our fellow beings and to build the kingdom of God on the earth preparatory to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and those who come with Him in great glory.

 

Defining Power in the Priesthood


ReliefSocietyOrganizatonMy last post on Defining the Heavenly Gift went OK – not great – but OK, so I’d like to continue with the next phrase, only this time limit it to one. I think I tried to come to an understanding of too many key phrases in the previous post. I asked the Lord what the next phrase should be. He was very immediate, direct and emphatic. There was no hesitation He wanted me to understand this.

Even Apostles Interchange Power and Authority

I just re-read Elder Andersen’s wonderful October 2013 General Conference talk entitled, “Power in the Priesthood.” In fact, I watched or rather listened to the video as I read along. In his concluding testimony, he said, “The power of God’s holy priesthood is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Did he really mean power, or did he intend to say authority?

Church as an Institution or a Group of Saints

I guess it all depends on how you define “Church,” but I’m not going to make the same mistake I made on my post in which we discussed “The Heavenly Gift.” We’ll leave a discussion of that subject for some other time. Elder Andersen taught in that talk that power in the priesthood is not owned by the men of the Church, but that it belongs to God for the blessing of all His children.

Man Does Not Control Power of God

I love this example he used to explain the difference between authority and power: “A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings.” So, a man may be ordained, or have the authority of priesthood conferred upon him, but having power in the priesthood is a whole different story. Good so far?

Authority of the Church is Everywhere

In case there is still any question about the difference between the two, we can refer to President Packer’s General Conference talk on the subject of the Power of the Priesthood from April 2010: “We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide.”

Power is Not the Same as Authority

He continued with this contrasting statement, “But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.” I hope this distinction of the two is not new to anybody.

Keys and Authority Can be Delegated

I refer now to the April 2014 General Conference address from Elder Oaks entitled “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood.” I hope this talk is chosen by our stake leaders as one to study in our quorums and relief societies over the next six months. It’s interesting this talk was given in a priesthood session in which some women asked to be admitted to attend so they could be taught.

Women Have Power in the Priesthood

Elder Oaks quoted Elder Ballard thus, “When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which is priesthood power. … Access to the power and the blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children.” Clearly, endowed women can receive priesthood power from God. Plainly, they must also have authority in the priesthood.

Women Have Authority of the Priesthood

In fact, Elder Oaks confirmed that with these words: “We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be?” Sheri Dew wrote a marvelous book in 2013 entitled, “Women and the Priesthood,” which is sitting on my shelf of books to be read. Women preside with authority in this Church.

How to Retain Power in the Priesthood

I referred to it in passing at the conclusion of my post on “Defining the Heavenly Gift,” but I’d like to consider four key words found in section 121 that we all need to understand a little better. This especially applies to priesthood leaders as they use priesthood power to act in their offices in the Church. These four words are 1) Control, 2) Compulsion, 3) Dominion and 4) Amen.

Priesthood Leaders Can Lose Authority

I have friends who have been disciplined for their blogs. If priesthood leaders try to control what members of their wards or stakes do with their blogs, or compel them to change what they write or the way they write, or use their dominion over their own members to enforce their own ideas of what is appropriate to read or write, then Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

Excommunication Does Not Remove Priesthood

Wow. So even if an LDS blogger is excommunicated for what he or she writes in their blog, as long as they are worthy, have not lied or cheated, committed adultery or broken their covenants with the Lord, then the priesthood being forfeited is not that of the excommunicant but of those who participated in the disciplinary council. Priesthood can only be removed by God, not man.

Exercising Priesthood Power in the Home

Power in the Priesthood does not require membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a profound concept we need to understand. A man can be excommunicated and asked to not exercise his priesthood in the church, but the church has no power or authority over what a man does in his own home, including administering the sacrament to his family.

Administering the Sacrament in the Home

Yes, I know what the handbook says about the Bishop holding the keys over the Sacrament. But if the Church has cast the man out, and he retains his priesthood because he is worthy, since we know priesthood power comes from God and not man, then he is justified in keeping the Lord’s commandment to administer the sacrament to his family, in spite of the excommunication status.

The Fullness of the Priesthood

Power in the Priesthood is not and cannot be passed from man to man. Authority to act in the church is what is being delegated when we confer priesthood or ordain a man in the priesthood. The fullness of the priesthood means to have power in the priesthood from God himself. It is only received from God. The heavenly gift of priesthood power is controlled only by God.

The True Order of Prayer

A man is authorized to lead his family in prayer in whatever way he feels the Lord approves, or in whatever way he feels directed by the Lord. If he has been taught or endowed in the temple, he understands and can practice the true order of prayer to converse with the Lord through the veil. I don’t know how much clearer it can be, even if these things are not taught openly in church.

Your Comments are Welcome

I know. I did not stick to what I wrote at the beginning of this post. I said I would only write about one thing. Well, I tried, but this is what the Lord wanted me to write so there you go. I thank you for reading through my thought process on this subject. You are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas if you care to point out where I may have gone astray in my logic. God Bless.

A Mormon Reviews The Afterlife of Billy Fingers


TheAfterlifeOfBillyFingersStorytelling in a Non-Fiction Book

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

Messages From the Spirit World

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

Traditional Heaven and Hell Missing

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

Different Paths in the After-Life

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

Many Mansions of God Prepared

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

Multiple Degrees of Glory

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

We Are Gods and Goddesses

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

No Resurrection for Billy – Yet

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

No Judgment – More to Come

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

A Journey Not Yet Complete

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

Find the Good in Everything

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

An Emotional and Spiritual Experience

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

Defining the Heavenly Gift


AbrahamKneelingInPrayerThere is a way prepared that all men might be partakers of the heavenly gift, or the opening of the heavens. The heavenly gift is received directly from God. It does not come from man. What one man receives from God can’t be passed on to another man. My visions are not your visions. Angels that taught me are not the same angels that will teach you. Each gift is individualized.

Opportunity to Exercise Faith

One of the greatest and perhaps unrecognized blessings of this earth life is the opportunity to exercise faith. I don’t mean the kind of faith that says, “I believe,” although this too is faith. The kind of faith I would like to bring out in this post is the kind that opens the heavens and allows us to become “partakers of the heavenly gift.” But first let’s see if we can define the heavenly gift.

By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled

After Moroni introduces us to Ether, he refers to the heavenly gift in the quote below. We don’t find this particular phrase used anywhere else in scripture (Correction: See 4 Ne 1:3 & Heb 6:4). Ether was a prophet who taught “…by faith all things are fulfilled,” which Moroni coupled with hope as the only way to be “sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works.”  He then writes about faith as the way to see God.

Partakers of the Heavenly Gift

“But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.”  (Ether 12:8) It seems obvious the heavenly gift includes prophecy, revelation, visions, visitors, angels, the Holy Ghost and more.

The Way Has Been Prepared

What is this “way” the Lord has prepared that we may also be partakers of the heavenly gift as were Ether, Moroni and so many other prophets? It’s more than faith, although that is part of it. It’s more than righteousness or holiness, although those are also part of the way. I had thought the “way” referred to in Ether 12:8 was priesthood, specifically, the fullness of the priesthood.

Looking for a Short, Concise Definition

But I’ll leave it open for your comments, because frankly, I am no longer certain what Moroni was trying to say and what he intended for us to learn from this verse. Does anyone care to add to my knowledge? What is “the way” to obtain the Heavenly Gift? I have received portions of that Heavenly Gift – inspiration, prophecy, revelation, visions, dreams and perhaps even angels.

Another Obscure Phrase That Needs Defining

And since I brought it up, I could use some help with the other phrase – the fullness of the priesthood. It also is referred to in only one place in scripture. It’s found in D&C 124:28 with a different spelling: “For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”

Fullness of Priesthood Received from Christ

So I’d appreciate if you could help me define that phrase – the fullness of the priesthood. It’s not the same as the fullness of the gospel. As I understand it, the objective of the fullness of the gospel is to bring people back to the presence of Christ. Once we obtain the presence of Christ, literally, we can, and should, receive the fullness of the priesthood. I hope that’s not confusing.

Consensus on Two Scriptural Phrases

I had a lot more planned for this post but I think I’d rather stop and see if we have a consensus on those two phrases: 1) The Heavenly Gift and 2) The Fullness of the Priesthood. I know those are more than enough to fill pages and pages of comments. And don’t tell me I should “look to no man to be my teacher.” Even though I’ve read and researched this for years, I’m asking for help.

More than Invitational Authority

I believe the Fullness of the Priesthood means more than simply everything God has because we are specifically taught in D&C 124:28 we can receive it or be taught how to receive it in the temple in this life. That was the whole reason Joseph was admonished by the Lord to get the temple done and the reason he urged the people to finish it. What was it that was lost – the sealing power?

A Dialog Based on Modern Scriptures

Note: This is part one of an intended discussion of some basic doctrine of receiving Christ in this life in a literal and physical way. That is my goal as I’m sure it’s yours. If we can agree on these two phrases, I’d like to continue in the next post with a few thoughts about Passing the Heavenly Gift, especially if we come to an agreement on the definition of the Fullness of the Priesthood.

Power Can’t be Passed From Man to Man

Food for thought: D&C 121:36 – “…the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven … the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled [except] upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us it is true …” I assume we are all in agreement we can have authority in the priesthood without any real priesthood power.

When Good People Oppose Your Best Work


TMalonePatriarchalBlessingA while back I wrote an article entitled, “When Religion Comes Between Spouses.” It was my best effort at that time to share my ideas, successes and failures in dealing with a personal problem I was experiencing – and continue to experience in my marriage: a spouse who does not feel comfortable with, understand or encourage my blogging activities – for various reasons.

Stick Your Head in the Sand Mentality

I know from past experience this post is going to be difficult for a lot of people. For some reason that is a mystery to me, there are good people who simply do not want to talk about, discuss or see others write about subjects they consider sacred cows, such as what constitutes a testimony, what is a prophet, how revelation is received, who can receive revelation and if it can be shared.

Life’s Work to Teach the Gospel

I do not wish to offend. As with each of my posts, I ask the Lord to guide and bless me in the words and phrases I use. It is my desire to share in a manner that will be helpful and perhaps provide information you need to move your life’s work along. This blog is my life’s work, which is why I have approached the Lord in prayer first. I need to improve my communication skills.

This is Not a Scholarly Piece of Work

My method in writing these posts is to always write what is in my heart first, trusting the Lord to put there what He would have me say. If I were to approach the writing of my posts in the more conventional manner, I would do tons of research, find articles worth quoting, and then put my words together in a manner that uses the experiences of others who we would consider experts.

Using Modern-Day Social Media Tools

For example, my personal preference would be to cite the work and life example of John Dehlin, who has gone through this exact same experience I am about to describe, but perhaps on a more accelerated pace and with greater public attention. In other words, if you want to see how what I am about to describe has been put into practice, I recommend you find out how John has done it.

A Few Responses to Some of My Recent Posts

But since this is my blog, I’m going to cite my own examples and how I have handled it so far. Let me start by presenting an entertaining list of comments – all real-life responses – to things I have shared in posts found here on Latter-day Commentary. You can find some of them if you look, but since the blog currently has over 6,000 comments, I’ll highlight only a few of the best.

The Best Way to Build Blog Traffic

Also note some of these comments were shared in private. Like any blogger, I get tons of emails from individuals who, for one reason or another, don’t want to leave comments in public view. I can appreciate that. But as a blogger, I would always want my comments to be public with a link back to my blog. That’s the best way to build traffic – leave comments on other people’s blogs.

I’m Worried About You – Stop Thinking

Here’s an example from yesterday, a private response to my post “Allow me the Agency of my Doubts.” I may change some of the wording of these quotes slightly to reduce any likelihood of offending those who shared them: “I’m worried about you…” I can’t tell you how many emails start off with this phrase. “I plead with you…avoid speculation…” In other words, stop asking questions. This is just so contrary to the way I think, the way I study and the way I live my life.

Ask, Seek, Knock – God’s Formula

I define speculation thus: “Proposing a theory and then searching for evidence or proof of the hypothesis.” To me, speculation is the heart of the scientific method. My friend was pleading with me to stop thinking. Seriously. To stop asking questions is to stop thinking. Is that the way we are supposed to study the gospel? I find nothing wrong with speculation. It is good and the sign of a healthy, inquisitive mind, something I am certain is pleasing to the Lord. Ask, knock…

You Need to Step Back a Little…

Here’s another example from a few weeks back: “I think you need to step back and think about what you are writing lately…” That’s another phrase several people have used as they start a dialog with me. “Don’t you see how distressed your blog posts are making you? We’re supposed to be joyful in the gospel. You’re pulling away from the Lord, little by little. Satan loves that.”

Comfort the Afflicted, Afflict the Comfortable

Interpretation: What’s happening is this particular reader and others like him or her are feeling a bit distressed by the stuff I’m writing. I seem to bring comfort to the afflicted and to afflict those comfortable in the gospel. That’s not my intention but it’s becoming more evident. I thought life was supposed to be a journey. I thought we were supposed to learn new things on our journey. Why is it so hard to accept that learning new things can be an uncomfortable process? It just is.

Denver Snuffer’s Writings Not for Everyone

Carol won’t mind me sharing this one: “When I have prayed about Denver Snuffer I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can’t stand to read his stuff.” My response: “I can certainly understand that. How can the Lord confirm something to you that you haven’t studied? If what he writes makes you uncomfortable, stop reading. It’s obviously not intended for you.” The last thing I want to do is cause discomfort for my wife. She certainly has a right to her own feelings.

Honor My Agency to Follow My Heart

Gratefully, as I wrote in the comments on the last post when asked by a reader, Carol and I came to an agreement about my blog, and especially about when I’m writing something that can be attributed to an idea found in Denver’s books. She doesn’t like what I’m reading or writing, she will not read it herself and for the most part, we don’t discuss what I read or write. She finds it troubling and the source of much anxiety. Yet, she acknowledges my agency to follow my heart.

The Appeal of Denver Snuffer’s Writings

I proposed the sexist theory one time that Denver appeals to men because he cuts to the chase, doesn’t sugar-coat anything, tells it like it is, offers no apologies, and will not back down. He keeps saying we should not focus on the messenger. Sorry. I can’t help but make the observation how effective I find his delivery, his writing style and the fact that I feel spiritually fed each time I study a chapter, looking up the scriptures and pondering the new and different interpretations.

Message Appeals to Both Men and Women

I say this is a sexist theory because I wrote somewhere in the comments of a past blog post that only men would find this method of delivery I described above to be fulfilling. I was quickly corrected when a half dozen sisters in the gospel told me they felt the same way – that Denver’s method of delivery enhanced the message, made it more acceptable and memorable. So it’s not a pink / blue kind of thing. Some people simply feel threatened or scared by Denver’s message and I still don’t know why.

The Messenger Has Talent from God

I’ve been called a “Denver wannabe” by more than a few readers. I have always provided the same response: “Yes, even though I have not met him, I find the man’s style captivating. I am transported to a different world when I read his books, I seem to lose track of time and wish I could spend more hours cross-referencing his commentary to the scriptures (Use this tool: https://ref.erenc.es/ds/). I wish I had half the talent this man has in writing about the gospel and getting people to engage with his message.”

The Messenger is doing a Damn Good Job

And of course, anyone who reads Denver’s material cites the standard response, “This is not about Denver. It is about the message that we can come unto Christ, receive Him directly as in D&C 93:1 and become instruments in His hands to do whatever he needs to have done in these latter-days to prepare for a Zion people to gather.” I also cite that response, but do not hesitate to point out that for me, the chosen messenger, who calls himself a fool, is doing a damn good job.

How to Best Help Others – Honor Agency

From another friend: “I wish I knew what to say so I could help Tim.” Of course, this implies there is something wrong with Tim. I know this good man loves me. We have served together in various capacities for many years. I know what he says is an effort to comfort and to help. It also demonstrates the fact assumed by so many people who read my blog about my spiritual state.

Can’t Believe a Man Can Be So Committed

“Tim has either gone off his rocker or has gone over to the dark side. He needs to be saved. He’s fallen into the clutches of an evil man. It’s those apostate books he’s reading. They have warped his brain and changed his thinking. He’s not reasoning straight. He has thrown out all that is good in his life and his hell-bent (another favorite phrase) on seeing this through to the end.”

Rotten Fruits Are Being Made Manifest

And finally, from a Stake President of another stake, far, far away: “Snuffer is an apostate, who has been excommunicated from the Church. He is, as all apostates, following in the pattern of Sherem, Nehor, and Korihor, and will in all probability become more like Amalickiah. At the end of the day I stand by the Brethren. Snuffer and his followers are on a dangerous road and the rotten fruits of his work are being made manifest.” I have heard a lot about bad fruit lately.

Show Us Evidence of the Rotten Fruit

One good sister left me a Facebook message as follows: “I have not seen anything good come from Denver. He has destroyed three beautiful families that I know personally. ‘By their fruits, ye shall know them.’ I responded: “Can you tell me more about what happened in how Denver messed up these families? Have these other families gone through divorce or something because they can’t talk about what the other is reading or believing?” Several other readers asked her the same question. Her response was to repeat her original statement or accusation – no elaboration.

Responses Based on Fear – Not Love

Although I could go on and on, I think that’s enough examples to make my point. What do all these arguments have in common? They are all based in fear. You can see they claim to be based on loving concern for me. They will either say that directly or imply it by the way they phrase their words. But deep down inside, their responses are based on a fear, an insecurity, that maybe, just maybe, they are wrong or they are missing something in their own confidence and strength.

Update 5-18-14: A wise man kindly pointed out the fallacy of my conclusion. Although it may appear to me that each of the responses or comments I have cited above are based on fear – and perhaps they are – the problem is I have judged those who have taken the time to respond to me. Whether they are fear-based response or not is not relevant. If the individuals I have judged think or perceive I have judged them to be fearful, there can be no hope of building a bridge between us.

Update (continued): I have failed to put myself in their shoes, so to speak. Usually, nobody bothers to respond unless they do indeed love you, or at least have a spirit of love and concern in their hearts. If there were no love for me present, they would simply ignore their feelings of concern and go on to something else. I have need to repent, and, to state it positively, I now repent of having judged my friends of being fearful. I have returned loving concern with judgment. I am sorry.

Change is Difficult to Watch – It’s Threatening

Oh, they will deny it if you confront them. Or, if they are honest like my good wife, she will say, “You’re damn right I’m afraid of Denver Snuffer. I’m afraid of what he has done to you. I’m afraid of what he writes. It’s false doctrine.” Carol has only read chapter one of PtHG with me. That was enough for her. She also quotes the “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Before we agreed to stop talking about Denver, I would ask, “What fruits? Tell me what evil he has done.”

First Response to Change is Always Fear

But that would only lead to an emotional, fear-filled response about me getting excommunicated, her losing her promise of celestial life, eternal marriage and no father for her son. I mistakenly read to her Lynn’s painful comments from last week’s post. Her response: “That’s exactly right. Are you willing to throw it all away all because of the writings of one crazed lunatic you don’t even know?” Sigh. When will I ever learn to stop sharing such quotes? It’s that pink-blue thing.

You’re asking for Excommunication

And finally, “Tim, are you trying to get excommunicated? Why are you egging on the Brethren? Don’t do this to your local leaders. It’s not fair to them. They have done nothing to you. If you are really hell-bent on going down this path [there’s that phrase again], perhaps an open letter to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles might be more appropriate.

Shooting, Shooting but Missing the Target

“Your poor Bishop and Stake President are going to get whiplash from all this–they will just be confused and hurt.  You’re shooting and shooting, but you’re missing the target.  Aim for the real culprits if you feel you must keep firing away like this.” And this is from a long-time reader whom I know loves and cares about me. He’ll recognize this but it’s too good not to share.

Must Work With Local Leaders First

Here’s my response: Your advice is good but the wheels are already in motion. I am meeting with the bishop this Thursday and the Stake President sometime next week. I thought about an open letter to the First Presidency, but the handbook precludes that. We are specifically directed to work with local leaders first. I don’t have a beef with the General Authorities. My issue is what this church has become or what we collectively have caused this church to become.

The Real Issue – Things We Have Lost

“It’s a place where we’re discouraged from studying the gospel in small non-family groups in homes. Otherwise we can only study in groups at church. It’s a place where prayer circles are not allowed in the home. It’s a place where the true order of prayer is not allowed to be practiced in the home. It’s a place where we are not allowed to display or reveal spiritual gifts such as prophecy, tongues, visions, revelations or healings – only annointings, no charismatic healing.

No Longer Taught Meat of the Gospel

“It’s a place where we are no longer taught or allowed to seek: Being born of the spirit, baptized of fire, calling and election sure or the Second Comforter. I can go on and on but I think you’re familiar with the list and know the source. The particular issue I brought up in my post is the Fullness of the Priesthood. I apologize if it looks like I’m trying too hard to pick a fight with my Bishop and Stake President. I’m only doing what the Lord has asked me to do.

Open Letter to Leaders Waste of Time

“I hope this won’t hurt the Bishop and Stake President. I know they’ve already got too much on their plate but what else can I do? The church requires it this way. An Open Letter to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve will do nothing. It will get no response. It will be ignored. I think we both know this already. I am not trying to get excommunicated, but I am prepared for the eventuality – emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and with my wife standing at my side.”

Not Seeking Change – Just to Help Others

I hope what I’ve shared is helpful to someone. I know it will seem like foolishness to some, but I hope you got the final message. As I wrote in my agenda notes for Thursday’s meeting with the Bishop: “I’m only doing this because I felt the Lord ask me to do so. I don’t question why and I don’t know why. The real question is, “Do you think I am being deceived or am I being led by the Lord?” Is standing up for my right to write book reviews on my blog worth my membership in the church?

This Thing Was Not Done In a Corner

A note on openness: Some have criticized me for sharing this ongoing saga, including reports on what I have discussed with my bishop here on my blog. They say such lack of secrecy or privacy demonstrates unworthiness so that the Lord will never honor me with spiritual manifestations of any kind because I don’t know how to keep things secret. Thanks for your criticism. It has been duly noted. I disagree. All I want to do is document my fight for the right to write book reviews. I pray my openness will help others who are being excommunicated for simply reading a book.

Dates for Denver’s Remaining Lectures

Ephraim – June 28, 2014
Las Vegas – July 25, 2014
St. George – July 26, 2014
Phoenix area – September 9, 2014, this will conclude the 40th year and will take place on day 365.

All talks will be in the morning.

Note on Comments

The WordPress spam filter is being wonky again. I check for blocked comments as often as possible, but if yours gets blocked and you want a quick response, text me at 818-257-0513 or shoot me an email at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. Thanks for the dialog. I always appreciate comments.

Allow Me the Agency of My Doubts


PeterJamesJohn

Update: A better title would have been: “Please Allow me the Freedom to Have Questions.” The word “doubts” causes people to think you are not a believer. I am a believer, yet I still have questions I want answered. I recognize it is my own responsibility to find answers to my questions but these particular questions are related to some of the fundamental truth claims of the Church, in particular, if the Church has the Fullness of the Priesthood and if it can be transferred by the laying on of hands. I addressed and sent this to my Bishop and Stake President.

I don’t know if you care what I am about to say, but I feel the need to share it. I have asked the Lord in prayer to bless my words that they will help you understand why I do what I do and have done what I have done on my blog especially over the past few years. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and hope it helps you to understand me better in light of the posts I have written that may have come to your attention.

I Have Loved Serving in This Church

First, let me express my love for you. I hope that doesn’t make you uncomfortable. I admire both of you tremendously. I know what it takes to be a Bishop or a Stake President – not first-hand, of course – but after more than twenty-five years of serving in Bishoprics, on a High Council and as a Stake Clerk, I know it’s time-consuming, at times heartbreaking and a lot of spiritual work. I have loved serving in this church all my life or at least from when I was a full-time missionary.

I Write a Blog at Elder Ballard’s Request

You both know I have been writing an LDS-themed blog for the last six or seven years. For the first five years I assumed a mission to defend the faith, to offer what I felt was the orthodox or standard narrative to combat falsehoods about the church I found on the Internet. I felt justified in what I was trying to accomplish when Elder Ballard asked members of the church, especially young people familiar with technology, to get involved in the on-line dialog about the church.

Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil

A little over two years ago I was introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer, who, in case you haven’t heard of him, is a now excommunicated attorney from Utah who has written a series of popular LDS-themed books dealing with the subject of coming unto Christ. He has testified of the literalness of D&C 93:1, that we can Converse with the Lord through the Veil, meet the Savior in this life, receive Him as the Second Comforter and have Him introduce us unto the Father.

Passing the Heavenly Gift and Excommunication

It was his most recent book, Passing the Heavenly Gift that got him in trouble with the church and resulted in his excommunication when he refused to withdraw it from publication after being requested to do so by his Stake President at the behest of Elder Nelson. President, I don’t know if you are familiar with this book or of others in the stake who have read it (there are many), but I know you are Bishop, based on your response when we discussed my blog a little bit last year.

Uplifting Addresses from Priesthood Leaders

It is not my intention to teach you anything. Such is not my prerogative or right. I simply want to bring up two recent talks from President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland in our consideration so I can set the stage for what I am about to share. I assume you are familiar with them. The first was rather recent. President Uchtdorf delivered his address in October General Conference of 2013. The other from Elder Holland was from the previous spring’s General Conference in April 2013.

Teaching the Standard Narrative

They both deal with the issue of faith, testimony, doubts, and being accepted in this church in spite of having questions about some aspects of church history, which I confess I now have. I never thought I would confess such a thing to a priesthood leader. I have always seen myself as a stalwart member, convinced, convicted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and what we teach as the “standard narrative” in regards to our church history. I want to focus on that idea.

We Simply Don’t Have All The Information

In President Uchtdorf’s address entitled, “Come, Join With Us,” he states, “… this Church … honors personal agency … we respect those who honestly search for truth. “ He then said, “We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of Church history … there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question. Sometimes … we simply don’t have all the information … Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the ‘facts’ really mean.”

There is Room For You In This Church

President Uchtdorf concludes, “It’s natural to have questions … regardless of the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church …” He writes more, but the main points I wanted to share include his words that we can have differences of opinions as to what the facts of our church history mean. He also declares that in spite of those differences, all are welcome here. I’m going to ask you a specific question in regards to that invitation and how it applies to me.

Hold Fast To What You Already Know

But first, let me turn to Elder Holland’s April 2013 talk entitled, “Lord, I Believe.” In Elder Holland’s thoughtful, comforting, and compassionate way, he says, “In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited.” He adds, “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.” He invites us to demonstrate integrity toward the faith we do have and truth we already know.

Honest Declarations of Doubt and Faith

Elder Holland continues, “I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage that is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! … Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another.” He mentions the importance of being kind to others and ourselves as we work through our doubts.

I am Asking for Help With My Doubts

Elder Holland concludes with this observation: “When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help.” He reminds us to do so with real intent, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God. He concludes with his testimony that we will receive help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief and quotes the Savior when he said, “Be not afraid, only believe.” He says he has the conviction of the “more sure word of prophecy.”

Following the Bishop’s Counsel – No Facebook Links

With the background of those two recent conference addresses, please let me now get specific. Bishop, when you called me in last year to chat, I wanted ever so much to talk to you about my doubts, but not once in our three visits did the spirit prompt me to do so. We talked about my health, about my love for my son, about my marriage and just a smidgeon about my blog. You counseled me to soften my headlines and to take the links to my blog off Facebook, which I did.

Temple Interview Loyalty and Affiliation Questions

My temple recommend expires in July. As we all know, there are two questions in the interview process that test for loyalty to the Brethren, specifically to the Prophet, and test for “affiliation” or “sympathy” toward any individual whose teachings are contrary or oppose those accepted by the Church. I’d like to address those two questions with a question of my own first. If I were to express a doubt about one of those questions, would I still be found worthy of a recommend?

Doubt About the Fullness of the Priesthood

RichYoungRulerIn other words, does what President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland taught in General Conference apply to the temple recommend process or was that just talk? If I were to tell you that I have some doubt about the fullness of the priesthood being upon the earth today, would you take away my temple recommend? What if I were to tell you I read the works of Denver Snuffer, a man who has been excommunicated for apostasy, and that I enjoy many of the points he has made?

Example of How Another Brother Was Treated

Before you answer my question, let me share with you what happened to one of the readers of my blog who answered those questions pretty much in the way I have just proposed. I share this with his permission. This individual, who is an Elder’s Quorum Instructor, went in for his temple recommend interview. He was honest in his responses and apparently his bishop had no problem with what he had to say so he signed the recommend and sent him on to see the Stake President.

To Sustain the Church President as the Prophet

After a few moments of cordial introductory chit-chat, they began the interview. When asked if he “sustain[ed] the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator…” my friend responded as follows: “I sustain him but I don’t believe certain things that are being taught in our church today.” I’m sure you can imagine the bells that are now going off in the Stake President’s mind like, “Why did the Bishop sign this man’s recommend?”

Asking Questions – Asked to Be Taught – A No-no

So the stake president asked my friend to elaborate. He said, “There are some things I don’t understand about the higher priesthood. What is the fullness of the priesthood? How do we know that we have it in the LDS Church today?” I’m sure you can guess the Stake President was just a little bit aghast. According to my friend, he was livid. He said, “The Stake President took my recommend and then intimated they might have to consider disciplinary action against me.”

His Wife Feels She Has Lost Everything

He was immediately released from his calling. I quote now from his comments on my blog, “It has been a month and the word is getting out in the ward. I sit in the testimony meetings and my wife cries and mourns her loss when loving TBM husbands testify of their wife’s love or of their children’s innocence. She cries in Gospel Doctrine class when the discussion is following the prophet and “criticizing” the brethren is discussed. In my wife’s mind she sees that all is lost.”

Members Blame Him for Taking Away Her Hope

“She feels she now has no promise of celestial life, eternal marriage, no father for her children, all is lost since GOD’s oracle on earth has damned me to hell for my unbelief. Fellow Saints console her openly and cast sideways glances towards me grimacing. Priesthood leaders currently counsel together to strategize damage control ideas, or how to protect the flock and my family from me or my influence. In fact, the Relief Society is now bringing funeral meals.”

Leader Tells Son to Beware of His Own Father

I found this outrageous scene so unbelievable I just had to call him to confirm. We spoke for about 45 minutes on Wednesday. It was a delight to speak with him. He was not downcast or unhappy in any way. He expressed love and sympathy for his priesthood leaders. He said he understood why they reacted the way they did – that it was typical for his area there in Northern Utah. He said the Stake President called his 17-year old son in to warn him against his father.

Unrighteous Dominion is Alive and Well Today

At this point my jaw just about hit the floor. I could not believe what I was hearing. Did we belong to the same church? Does this Stake President not realize what he has just done to this man’s family, his marriage and his testimony? Talk about spiritual abuse and unrighteous dominion. This Stake President was the epitome of a priesthood leader who had no clue about the right way to help a fellow priesthood brother who had simply asked an honest question.

Persuasion, Long-Suffering, Gentleness, Meekness, Love

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

My Blog is All About LDS Book Reviews

President, Bishop, if you haven’t read my blog, and I don’t expect you to have done so since you are both such busy men, you would know it is mainly about writing LDS book reviews. I started out reading Denver Snuffer’s books a few years ago and have written book reviews about just about all of them. I have not advocated anybody believe what he has shared. I have simply done these reviews because he is a controversial fellow and I was asked my opinion by others I trust.

I Seek Deep Understanding – No Cursory Overview

However, in order to understand the books more completely, I had studied them extensively, both because the subject matter is intensely interesting to me – how to come unto the Savior – and about the early history of our church. President Uchtdorf may have been referring to Denver Snuffer’s books when he mentioned there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question. It’s OK to have a difference of opinion as to what the ‘facts’ really mean.

I Want The Temple To Be A Part Of My Life

I’d like to conclude with a few thoughts and then ask one final question. I plan to go to the temple today to participate in our quarterly stake chapel and endowment session. I love to go to the temple. I love to serve in the temple. I love to be with the members of our stake. I love to serve in my present calling as Stake Financial Clerk. I hope my service is helpful. I’m grateful the temple has been such a big part of my life for almost forty years. It has blessed my life.

I Only Teach Authorized Correlated Material

I love this church. It has blessed my life since I was a little boy. I loved serving a mission. I have always loved teaching the gospel to the saints from the pulpit or in the classroom. I always make certain I stay within the boundaries of the authorized correlated material found in the manuals. I love the Brethren. I sustain the General Authorities. I’m grateful to be able to pay my tithing. I know it pays their salaries, including my sister’s salary, who is Elder Perry’s executive secretary.

I Will Serve Wherever I Am Asked

President, I have tried to serve faithfully in any calling or priesthood assignment I have received. I try to be a 100% home teacher. I love visiting Brother and Sister Harris each month to provide priesthood blessings as he finishes up his cancer treatments. I miss teaching the saints. I loved being a primary teacher, a High Priest Group Leader, a ward missionary, Bishopric counselor, ward clerk, and in my previous stake, High Councilor, Seminary Teacher and Mission Leader.

Only Desire To Build The Kingdom of God

My only desire is to build the Kingdom of God on the Earth and contribute to the preparation of this Kingdom for the return of the Lord. I have never had a problem with tithing and love to be able to contribute in this manner. I strive to keep my temple covenants to give of my time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed me to the building up of the Kingdom of God. I love my wife and strive to do everything to help her find happiness, especially as we worship.

 Permit Me Agency of My Doubts and Questions

Here’s my concluding question: If I confess my doubt, or my question really, about what the fullness of the priesthood really is and if it is found on the earth today, will expressing this doubt preclude me from being found worthy of holding a temple recommend, serving as a stake clerk or will my confession cause me to face disciplinary action? I have thought about this and written about this previously here in my blog. Why am I making this confession? In order to be honest.

Others Are Punished For Asking Questions

God bless you Bishop and President. I hope you will look kindly upon the confession I share. Is there still room for me in this church, as Prsident Uchtdorf has declared? I do not look upon my questions about the priesthood to be doubts, really, but simply questions. I want to be taught. What is the fullness of the priesthood? Is it the same as the Melchizedek priesthood? Is it the same as the patriarchal priesthood? Does it contain the sealing power like Nephi received it?

Concluding Testimony at my Disciplinary Council


MartinLuther95ThesesI shared my testimony in our regular monthly testimony meeting this morning. I wanted to make sure the Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency present – he’s also in our ward – heard me say I sustain the general authorities and local authorities of the church. Of course these words were in addition to sharing comments reflecting my love of my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

Covering All the Bases

Carol asked me afterward if I did that to offset whoever it was that complained about my blog a few months ago. I assured her I was sincere, but yes, I wanted the whole ward to know of my feelings for those who lead this church. I continue to sustain them with my prayers and with my money. Yes, I know my tithing is used to pay their salary. It also helps pay my sister’s salary.

Follow the Bishop’s Counsel

As far as I know, I’m not under any priesthood leader’s watch list for an impending disciplinary council, but a few of my friends and fellow bloggers have been surprised, so I’m being careful. I’m doing my utmost to follow my Bishop’s counsel to keep my headlines non-inflammatory and to keep links to my posts off Facebook. Those links are apparently where I got in trouble before.

It’s Tough to Be a Bishop

I continue to be appreciative of my Bishop’s opening remarks when he called me to talk the first time a few months back. He said our chats – there were two follow-ups – were motivated out of love. I know I’ve shared this before but I believe him. Our bishop is a good man. I love him and appreciate all he does for our ward. It takes a lot of time to manage the largest ward in the stake.

If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear

Specifically because some of my fellow bloggers were surprised at the rapidity of the course of events surrounding their disciplinary councils, I want to be prepared, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually in case I get surprised. In one case the good brother was notified on Sunday he was to be tried for his membership and was excommunicated 72 hours later on Wednesday evening.

Course of Action Planned in Advance

I’ve written my defense before the High Council in a previous post. Obviously it was imaginary, a defense based on years of observation of disciplinary councils in which I have participated as a High Counselor, a Bishopric Counselor or a clerk. I hope this will never be needed, but in that same spirit, I’d like to have my closing testimony prepared in the event I am allowed to share it.

How I Dislike Disciplinary Councils

In case you don’t know, there’s no guarantee you will get to say anything at your disciplinary council. Seriously. I know what the handbook says. About the only thing they have to let you say is how you answer to the charges – innocent or guilty. Don’t you just hate the whole concept of a disciplinary council? I do. It doesn’t seem right to have such things in the church of Jesus Christ.

Our Decision That You Be Excommunicated

But then, what do I know? I’m just a lowly member, happy to be here, grateful to serve. So with that in mind, and since I use my blog as an auxiliary personal journal, here is what I would like to say if I ever hear the words, “Brother Malone, our decision is that you be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Is there anything you would like to say?”

Shared Desire to Do the Will of the Lord

“Thank you President. I’ll be brief here. Thank you to my brethren of the High Council for their service. And thank you, President, for your thoughtful and prayerful consideration of my case. I know this is painful to you, not because you’re losing a financial clerk, but because I know you are a good man, with a desire to do the will of the Lord. I’m grateful we share that same desire.

Excommunication Difficult on Family Members

“There’s no need to go over the details of my case. The decision has been made and I sustain your action. I suspect the decision was made at a higher level in the church, but that doesn’t matter. I am no longer a member but will continue to attend with my wife for whom I pray night and day. This chain of events has been painful for her and a source of resentment and frustration.

Apostasy – Simply Writing a Few Book Reviews

“I will not be appealing the case. I have never seen it do any good for anyone else. Besides, I have no intention of seeking rebaptism. I was excommunicated for apostasy – for simply reading a book and sharing it with others. I felt led by the Lord in the entire process. I was introduced to the book in the temple. I prayed about the book in the temple and was answered in the temple.

My Issue is With Interpreting Church History

“The book has changed my life. It clarified for me many things I already suspected or believed. I know my path is not for everyone. There are fundamental differences in the way we look at the church. I suspect it will always be so. This is not a personal issue with you, your leadership, or anyone in this room. My issue is with the Brethren in Salt Lake, always has been and will be.

The Priesthood Was Taken From Israel

“I will continue to pray for them, but am no longer allowed to sustain them, meaning they will not accept my tithing. It won’t be missed. I will continue to love them. They are good men who have taught and inspired me. They have done a good job in leading this church. You may think me deceived and naïve, but I feel sorry for them. They are stuck. They cannot escape the past.

Gentiles Shall Reject Fullness of the Gospel

“I don’t want to offend anybody so I won’t say anything more. My reasons are on my blog and will be amplified with greater clarity now that I am free to share more openly. I hope you won’t consider my blog to be anti-Mormon because it’s not. I am not an enemy of this church. I love the church and pray for its success, but believe things about the church that are no longer taught.

Prophecy and Traditional Narrative Differ

“For the record, I refute the charges that I do not sustain the Brethren. Perhaps it’s semantics. I simply disagree with some of their interpretations of history and scripture. I’ve been told I need to repent until my thinking is in line with what the Brethren teach about those certain events in our history. I appreciate the invitation. I know it’s offered with love and concern for my welfare.

Testimony of Church History Not Required

“I’ll conclude with words I wrote privately to a long-time reader who was troubled by my blog: Thank you for your love and concern. My mind is made up. I choose to believe things about our history that are not taught in our church or are taught in a manner that leaves out key elements. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to have a testimony of church history to come unto Christ.

The Purging of the Two Percent

“Let’s focus on what is important – to know Christ. I love this church for the renewed focus we have on the Savior. I have watched it happen in my lifetime. I pray that priesthood leaders will leave good men alone who are striving to come unto Christ but don’t believe some of the history. But recent evidence shared with me privately indicates the purge of men like me is accelerating.

The Truth Will Set You Free

If the church continues on this path, they will alienate and lose the strength and backbone of the priesthood brethren who faithfully pay tithes and administer in wards and stakes in the church. Can the church afford that? Perhaps – perhaps not. God bless us each in our pursuit of the truth. It is the truth that sets us free. When I finally accepted the truth of our history, I indeed felt free.”

This Could Never Possibly Happen

I don’t want to end on a negative note. Other than the interviews with my Bishop and the private correspondence with several bloggers who have recently been excommunicated for apostasy, this is all speculation and supposition. You may say it’s a product of my imagination. “You’ve been under a lot of stress, Tim. Nobody at Church headquarters even knows or cares about your blog.”

Strengthening Church Members Committee

That may be true. I hope the book reviews I write on my blog and what I choose to believe about the contents of those books has nothing to do with the status of my temple worthiness or church membership. Recent evidence from others is contrary. The SCMC is real. They really do determine that certain authors and bloggers are a threat to the church and need to be disciplined. It happens.

We Pay People to Read Member’s Blogs

God bless us all to stay in the good graces of the members of the Strengthening the Church Members Committee. I know I have communicated with a few of them. One is a Facebook friend and a blog follower. He is also a church employee. I have lots of church employees who are friends and read my blog, but this individual is vehemently opposed and vociferous in his opposing comments.

Lo Que Será, Será

I served my mission in Central America. They never used this phrase, but I like to use it. It fits in this case. I do all I can to follow what I believe is the will of the Lord. I know there are consequences of being misunderstood. After I have done all I can to make things clear to those who want to know the truth, all I can do is wait. I used to mock sites that said they had the truth of church history. Now…

As Always, Comments Open

What do you think? Is it possible the church is on the lookout for bloggers like me who write about church history in a way that differs from the standard narrative? Is it possible the church is out to squelch opposing viewpoints from among their own members? Am I a wolf in sheep’s clothing? My patriarchal blessing warns me about such individuals. Do you find my blog offensive? I’d love to read your views.

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