This is part two of my notes in preparing for the final lecture in the Denver Snuffer series – “Forty years in Mormonism.” The purpose of these posts is simply to review some of the material presented in the previous lectures.
In a sense, it contains my study notes. I learn best by sharing and soliciting feedback. I hope you enjoy these quotes and are motivated to read the complete lectures at the links provided.
You can read the other two parts in the links below:
Centerville – Covenants: 10-6-13
Opening Remarks at Centerville:
“…tonight we are going to talk about covenants. In particular covenants that are being referred to in a verse we find in the Joseph Smith History, verse 39. Moroni changing the content of the
text of Malachi, states in that verse to Joseph Smith on this fall equinox occasion, the words of Malachi in this way: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (JS-H: 1:39)
“Therefore we learn there is some peril if we do not have our hearts turned to these fathers. The peril, as Moroni put it, is that we will be “utterly wasted at his coming” if we fail. But His coming is not limited merely to the singular “him”–being the Lord. If you go back to what Moroni said to Joseph in verse 37 it says: “they that come shall burn them.” Therefore when He comes, they that come with Him shall burn those who are unprepared, those who are scheduled to be “utterly wasted” at His coming. And so we need to inquire into what exactly the promises were, who the fathers were that the promises were made to, and then avoid this peril of those who come to do the burning of all who are unprepared for that return. As to them, “it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Remember that in the Boise talk I said these were genealogical terms, because their family lines comes to an end at that point.
“In looking at the promises made to the fathers, I want to go back to 2 Nephi, chapter 3 and begin there. I have referred to this earlier in Boise. When we’re tracking back the covenants that were made, and we’re talking about the promises that were made to the fathers, and trying to identify who the fathers are, we get a real advantage in making that determination by what we have in Lehi’s blessing to his son Joseph. Beginning at verse four of chapter 3 of 2 Nephi, Lehi says: “For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.” As soon as you encounter the word “covenants” an alarm should go off. Because much of what is and has happened in the history of the world, is as a consequence of covenants made by God with the fathers. One of the fathers who possessed promises and covenants with God was Joseph, who was carried away captive into Egypt.”
Closing Remarks in Centerville:
“So here are the words my prophecy: That the things that we have looked at this evening, restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the seer named Joseph, the son of the father named Joseph, fulfilled the promise of Joseph of Egypt, and they are all true. I know them to be true. And you could know them to be true too. But the price you have to pay to gain that knowledge is to study what was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Otherwise, they’re just something gathering dust on a shelf. Don’t read them as if you’re trying to vindicate the religion you already understand. Don’t read them as if you’re trying to defend your current group of preferred doctrines. Read them as if you are as ignorant of the will of God as the convert you hope to make living somewhere in Florida or New Guinea or Guatemala. Because the truth of the matter is we have been devolving in our understanding from the day of Joseph Smith until today at an ever accelerating rate. And what we have left, Enoch called gross darkness.
“I bear testimony that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. I bear testimony that our Lord lived and lives. I’m one of those who can say that I am a witness of that. I have seen His suffering. I have heard His voice. He doesn’t intend that I be a solitary witness of Him, or Joseph be one. He intends for every one of you to rise up and do as James bids you to do. If you lack wisdom, ask God. He gives to you, He gives to all of us liberally. He is real. It is His work to bring this stuff to pass. The only thing that we can do is to offer to be a servant. And I am confident that I am a poor one of those. But I am His servant. I serve Him however poorly, however offensively, however inadequately. He intends to call, in the plural, servants to fulfill what needs to be done in the last days. He does intend to bring again Zion. That will be his, and not a man’s work.
“When we get together again the next time I talk, the subject is going to be Priesthood. And the time after that we’ll talk about Zion. Hopefully as a consequence of covering the subjects we do, in the order that we address them, you’ll begin to appreciate the restoration that has come about through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Hopefully you will understand Joseph’s work as only the beginning of the work of God in the last days. Much of what is left yet to be accomplished will not be accomplished unless it is through others, eventually leading to the return of the natural fruit. A proposition that remains a challenging and undone and an incomplete labor.
“The things I’ve talked about tonight were chosen precisely because they focus on the issue, the real issue involving covenants, we need to begin to understand in the last days in order to know that the covenants of the fathers and the work of reuniting His children with the fathers is something yet to be accomplished. But it is something which, hopefully, we will begin to see happen again. Joseph did not return without some success in that. Joseph was able to obtain what he sought. Now we need to do the same to save ourselves in our day.”
Orem – Priesthood: 11-2-13
Opening Remarks in Orem:
“…today we are talking about priesthood. A topic which probably everyone is this room thinks they know a whole lot about, and can recite a whole lot of history, and give a whole lot of details, and explain everything there is to know about it in so far as the restoration is concerned. You all probably think you know what Joseph has said and what the scriptures tell us about priesthood. I’m going to ask you for purposes of today to assume that what you know is riddled with incompletions, omissions, and gaps in the storyline. And it is a fact that Joseph Smith never set out to ever give a comprehensive accounting of the subject of priesthood.
“He gave snippets. He gave a grab here and a grab there. In the process of doing so he left things that have been filled in by the imagination of people, but not necessarily by anyone, who like Joseph, knew what he was talking about. Therefore, as you run into new things throughout the talk today, things that you think I’m off base with, or making a mistake because it doesn’t agree with what you think you already know, I would ask you to be patient enough to hear the whole matter through today. And then be further patient enough to take it back into the scriptures, and prayerfully look at it. Because it’s just possible, in fact in my view it is probable, that you know things that are wrong and you need to abandon them. So I would ask you to be patient as we go through this today and at least try it on for size and see if something doesn’t click.”
Closing Remarks in Orem:
“The Powers of Heaven themselves have limits. This is the reason why that third form of sealing power is so rare a commodity. Because even the angels desire to inquire into it but the angels don’t possess it. It doesn’t matter if from the hierarchy of those on the other side of the veil you manage to wrestle something from them. Even if it comes from one who claims to possess thrones, or principalities, as “the god of this world” claims to hold. God says in this revelation if you can understand His words, that even His angels and those who have ascended far up, must in every case, only establish that which comes by the will and covenant of the Son and the Father. The Son because He possesses the right to do so. The Father because He is the one from whom the original covenant began in the preexistence. So don’t think because you’ve had an angel promise you something it is always to be yours. Recognize that according to Doctrine and Covenants section 132, you have to connect up with the Father’s word before you obtain an eternal covenant.
Changing topics again, I want to discuss the first meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Adam was not considered to be among those who were mortal, because Adam began life in the Garden in the presence of God. Therefore, mortals were those who had been born following the Fall of man. Those who were born in the mortal realm in that meeting began with Seth. The seven who gathered at Adam-ondi-Ahman were mortal because they were born outside of God’s presence. They were restored again into God’s presence at the meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman.
The fact is, that same thing that was in the beginning will be in the end of the world also. That’s the covenant, that’s the promise, and that’s the destiny, and God will surely fulfill that.
“We take a lot of comfort and spent a lot of money buying all of the stuff around Springhill Missouri, valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman because that was a place where Adam was. (D&C 116: 1.) It is the place where God will come to once again. I want to suggest that, the wicked, knavish, proud, boastful, those fare sumptuously and who seek the honors of men, will never have possession of, and be able to control or prevent the unfolding of God’s work. The words Adam-ondi-Ahman mean “Adam in the presence of the Father.” Therefore, any place that the Ancient of Days comes to, while Christ is there also, is by definition Adam-ondi-Ahman. It can occur anywhere. When it does, that will be Adam-ondi-Ahman. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if a fallen and corrupt society owns a piece of real estate. God is not bound by the stratagems of men. Nor are His purposes controlled by the vanities of men.
“And yet if they will repent, and if they will hear what the Lord has to say, He can still work with them. But if not, then He’ll work with you. Assuming that you came and are willing to hear, and assuming your heart is soft and you’re willing to take in the things that God required to be included in what I’m saying today. Some of the content of today’s talk came by revelation as recently as this morning. I’m doing this to be faithful to the things that have been asked of me, not by man or men but by God. I don’t even control the content of this material. I’m not parsing these scriptures because I think they are nice. I’m telling you what I know to be true, because it is what I’ve been asked to declare by Him whose presence I have been in.”
Grand Junction – Zion: 4-12-14
An early paragraph from Grand Junction:
“…the more upset someone is about Mormonism, the more angry they are, the more emotionally connected they are to denouncing Mormonism, the easier it is to have a conversation with them. In my experience, it is easier to make a convert from an emotional critic because they care about the topic. That is why they are emotional. So I would encourage all of you to share your religion. Perhaps in the exchange you will learn something true about the faith, as well. Some of the greatest criticism leveled against our faith is based on truth, and we shouldn’t be afraid to correct our own misunderstanding when we encounter that. True religion ought to be a search for truth, even when it is uncomfortable. Shedding our false traditions can be painful, but it is necessary if you intend to arrive at last at the truth. A false religion is unworthy of a faithful man or woman.”
Closing paragraphs from Grand Junction:
“Time and time again, the location of Zion is approved by the Lord in different spots, precisely because the entirety of North and South America would be an acceptable place to build Zion. But within those general geographical parameters, it must be in the mountains. It must be among the natives who are originally here. It must be established under the guidance of someone who hails from both the tribe of Ephraim, and is a descendent of Jesse. You can read that in the Doctrine and Covenants. (D&C 133: 6.) It will surely come. There is absolutely no reason for the Lord to tell you another place to go and pollute, if you don’t rise up and bring within you the worthiness necessary, to turn at last, a place into the New Jerusalem.
“To a place where the Lord can come and dwell among you. A place where you can be of one heart, where you can be of one mind, where there are no poor among you, and where you have all things in common. Where you meet the requirements to meet with Him. There is no reason to assemble you together at any spot until then. You can do everything that needs to be done preliminarily, wherever you dwell at present. You can prepare your hearts and you can prepare your minds and can begin now to understand the difficulties. Instead of judging the failures from before, you can start to walk in the path they attempted. Then instead of judging, you can empathize with their failures. You will come to some appreciation for the fact that it is not going to be any easier for you than it was for them. You can find out what they learned when they attempted it.”
Ephraim – Christ, Prototype of the Saved Man: 6-28-14
This is the first talk I was able to attend in person. I was surprised when so many people came up to me before and after the lecture to say hello. Some I knew but many I didn’t. I heard a lot of, “I read your blog but have never commented.” I know that has nothing to do with the lecture but it’s what I remember most – how kind the people were who introduced themselves to me.
Opening Paragraphs from Ephraim:
“The topic today is Christ. In the next talk we’ll be addressing the subject of coming to Christ, but in this talk today, it is about Christ Himself. You know, very often it is easy to summon confidence in the Lord when something happens in your life to remind you. When some event gives you evidence He exists. For that moment you briefly feel close to Him. But as soon as the cares and troubles of this world interfere, the moment passes, and you begin wondering, “Is it all true? Am I just believing a myth?”
“Jesus Christ came into the world unexpected, unannounced by men, unanticipated by His generation, but expected and announced by heaven. There were signs in heaven, but men were largely oblivious. When the shepherds keeping watch over the flocks by night were interrupted, it was not by an earthly herald. There was none among men. It was from beyond the veil. The Savior crept into the world with heaven noticing, but precious few of us paying attention to what was afoot.”
“It is so easy to overlook Him because of the cares of the world. I want to assure you He is real. He exists. He was a man, every bit a man as any of us. He had flesh, He had blood, He dwelt among us. Don’t doubt that. For the purposes of this talk, trust in Him, believe in Him, have confidence in His existence.”
A few closing paragraphs from Ephraim:
“When I first got an answer to prayer sitting in a barracks in New Hampshire, if I hadn’t acted on that I would never have beheld the Lord, much less been taught by Him. But I did, and I do. Whatever He still asks of me, I do. It does not matter how unpleasant I find it, or how reluctant I may be. I go and I do. You need to do likewise. It may not even make much sense to you when you’re going and doing. You may think you are offending when you absolutely do not intend to do so. You may find the people you love rejecting you.
“I lost friends and was rejected when I converted to Mormonism. Then I found a new family in the faith I accepted as a nineteen year old. After forty years I was rejected by that new family. I have laid everything on the line for the Lord twice now in a single lifetime. I cannot tell you what sacrifices He may ask of you, but whatever He asks of you, that do you.
“Let me end by bearing testimony and witness to you, that the things I’ve been saying, beginning in Boise and going on through Phoenix, the beginning date, the ending date, the content, the fact that there are 10 of them, the timeframe in which they are being delivered, the fact He wanted us to begin on the first day of the 40th year, and He wanted us to end on the last day of the 40th year, those things are not my doing. He is the author of this all.
“Hearken to the word of the Lord. End your days on this barren treadmill and rise up. There is no reason to fail when the Lord offers you His word, and even His presence, today. He will not leave you here comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. The idea this is only to happen “in your heart” is an old sectarian notion, and is false. Joseph Smith declared that, and I declare he spoke the truth.”
Las Vegas – A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit: 7-25-14
Carol came with me to hear Denver and to have dinner at his invitation with his family that evening in St. George. We both enjoyed meeting him and appreciated his invitation to dinner. I think it helped Carol to see Denver is a regular kind of guy with a family he loves and is happy to be around. I think Stephanie also enjoyed meeting Carol. They were both very gracious to us.
One of the opening paragraphs from Las Vegas:
“The Israelites Moses led did not want to encounter Him. This was not because God’s presence is so terrible it drives men from Him. That cannot be true because Moses approached Him, Joseph, Abraham, Isaiah all approached Him. However, God’s presence makes every man evaluate who and what they are. Although we can lie to ourselves about how good we are, when the measuring stick used is God, we are unable to deceive ourselves. When the comparison is to God, all of us come short. Even when the Lord testifies to you that your sins are forgiven, you still recognize you fall short. To the extent a man has confidence in the presence of the Lord it is wholly derived from Him. He must strengthen you, because if He does not, we would all retire in shame.”
A couple of closing paragraphs from Las Vegas:
“If we are required to develop the attributes of Christ, how is it possible for us to do so, unless God patiently tries to persuade us to voluntarily be like Him? How can you hope to be like Him, if you refuse to be persuaded? God came as one of the weak things of this world. The only way He is ever going to invite you is through one of the weak things of this world, speaking in weakness, asking you to be persuaded. It doesn’t matter how earnest I am, I know my standing before God. What matters is your willingness to be persuaded. Over that I have no control, and want no control. I simply put the case as the Lord has put it to me, in the hopes that what He has to offer, and what He says need to be said will get through to you. Your relationship and your accountability is not to me, it’s to Him. Therefore, be persuaded. Please, for your own sake, be persuaded.”
“Look, pray to Him and realize that as you reach up to Him, He would rather reach down to you with greater enthusiasm than any of you could muster. But in order to establish the necessary conditions for our development, there was a law ordained before the foundation of the world upon which all blessings are predicated. That law is as easily accessible by the father of King Lamoni, as it is accessible to the father of the young man overtaken and falling into the fire, and into the water. It is as accessible to the brother of Jared as it is accessible to you.
“Because when the law before the foundation of the world was ordained, it was intended for all men to possibly receive of God’s fullness. If receiving of His fullness required a course in rabbinical reasoning, or an advanced theological degree, there would be almost none who are saved. But the Book of Mormon gives us account after account. What happens to those who do not possess the required soft heart and willingness to bow? They come away saying, “God maketh no such thing known unto us.” Like Laman and Lemuel, they establish for themselves, using their iron necks and their brass brows, the inability to look up to God and be saved.”
Continue on to Part Three: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/09/08/preparing-for-the-final-lecture-part-three