One of the basic tenets of the Mormon faith is personal revelation. We cherish the idea. We talk about it. We teach it. We tell everyone it is the way to know something for ourselves. Yet, when someone receives revelation that is contrary to the LDS tradition, the immediate response from LDS members and leaders is, “You have been deceived. You need to repent of this terrible sin.”
D&C 9:8 – “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”
“Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject” (TPJS, p. 324)
Thoughts to Ponder
“Before any gathering, we must be put through a refining process. We must grow; we must rise up first, before God will gather us to Zion.” (Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, p. 21)
“If you don’t lay hold upon this, if you don’t move this forward, if you don’t rise up, I suppose He will find another people. But you ought to accept this invitation, and then come to the feast He offers us.” (Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, p. 39)
A New Prophet in Town
I have been reading, studying, pondering and praying about the Phoenix lecture for the last few months. I think I’ve read it or listened to it at least five times. I have highlighted and marked key phrases and pondered the reasoning behind some of the thoughts expressed. I have come to the conclusion the lecture was meant to be an invitation – powerfully expressed – for us to rise up.
In one sense, it’s a continuation of what was started in the first book, “The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil,” which Denver was asked by the Lord to write. In another sense, what was delivered in this last series of lectures is more detailed, more explicit and even more of a message from the Lord to us now, in our day, to prepare ourselves for Zion.
Agency to Accept or Reject
My testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ was rejected thousands of times when I served as a missionary in Central America. That did not change my own feelings about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, which was obtained through personal revelation in a manner I could not deny, confirmed after years of intense study and deep prayer.
Likewise, my actions of the last few months, in resigning from the LDS Church and in being baptized anew as a sign or covenant between me and God that I accepted both the message and the messenger, the sacred feelings which have come into my heart as I have studied and prayed about the message, are undeniable. I have not been deceived. I am not looking beyond the mark.
Saddened by Your Decision
I re-read the letter from my bishop the other night, delivered after I resigned. He and I had been meeting off and on for almost a year prior to the action I took. We counseled together. He was very careful to listen to my answers to his questions, but I could tell he didn’t get it. He could not relate to what I was sharing – that I had had received revelation about the message I had studied.
In the letter to me he expressed that “the Lord as well as your ward family are saddened by your decision.” I took that question to the Lord. I asked Him if He was saddened by my decision. He said yes. I asked why. He said He was saddened because He knew the pain and suffering through which I would pass because of the misunderstandings of friends who feel rejected and confused.
Beyond the Realm of Possibility
I too am saddened. I no longer feel oppressed as I did before I resigned, but I do feel saddened. There are so few who will take the time to seriously consider the possibility God could send a messenger in our day from outside the hierarchy of the LDS Church. It is simply outside the realm of any possibility. There is nothing in the LDS tradition or teachings to account for this.
Or is there? We have the obvious accounts of Abinadi and Samuel the Nephite in the Book of Mormon, but in modern LDS history, there is no precedent. In fact, such an idea of a prophet being sent with a message from anyone other than the fifteen who lead the LDS Church is considered ludicrous, crazy, an obvious attempt to deceive and could only be a false prophet.
Ye Shall Know Them By Their Fruits
One of my associates from when I served on the High Council in another stake, who now serves as a Stake President, reached out to me both publically and privately. He wrote he truly wanted to understand what motivated someone like me to resign from the LDS Church. He is a convert from Judaism and teaches religion classes in the Church Educational System. He knows his stuff.
Yet, as far as I know, he would not or did not read any of the material published by Denver. In my current stake, another CES employee and member of my High Priest’s quorum wrote me privately, expressing his concern I had been deceived. He said he “knew something” of this Denver Snuffer and had come to the conclusion he was a crackpot, and was no prophet of God.
Persuasion is Not the Only Tool
I wrote back in an attempt to persuade, but knew it was a futile endeavor. A friend sent me a text yesterday. He knows my story well. He wrote something profound. “I do not believe you have to persuade … I believe all you have to do is set a good example.” I trust this friend. The thought was inspired. The Lord told me so as I read it. He’s right. Some people will never be persuaded.
The Lord has given us other tools in exercising the priesthood. They include long-suffering, as well as gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge. I had forgotten about that last tool. Pure knowledge is powerful, even if it cannot be shared except when the Lord prompts or permits it. Pure knowledge gives us confidence in our position on something.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
In the allegory of the cave, the prisoners chained to the floor of the cave see only shadows on the wall of the cave from actors moving in front of a fire. Those who have escaped the cave see life as it really is, in all its full color and glory. How can you relate such views to those who see only shadows? You can’t. They can’t relate. They think you’re crazy. Pure knowledge is so similar.
Even those in power and authority, some of whom may have escaped the chains at one time and seen the light are unable to relate to the light that you say you have seen. Your knowledge is not their knowledge. Even though you may be seeking the same thing, unless the Lord reveals it to them, they cannot know what you know. In fact, the Lord sometimes must tell us what we know.
Timing in This Life is Everything
I cannot relate what I have seen. I have tried and failed. I must now rely on other tools of the priesthood beside persuasion. Long-suffering was demonstrated by the Lord in his trials before Pilate and Herod. He was the meekest of men, yet He was a God. How He loved us and loves us still. Oh, the knowledge he tried to share but was so misunderstood, even by his own disciples.
I once worked with a Controller who was fired because he spent all his time developing these wonderful spreadsheets but would not share them with others, nor explain how they could be used. I know there were other reasons he was fired, but this was one expressed by management. I only pray the Lord will help me share what is appropriate when He deems it is time to do so.
They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait
In the meantime, I shall continue to seek pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge my soul, without guile. Do you know the meaning of the word? It means to be without evil intent. To be without guile is to be honest and willing to share, even to a fault, believing others should see the honesty of the knowledge shared. Sadly, the traditions of men have blinded this generation.
I am nobody. I am a fool. I am a witness, but am not called to share that witness. That task has been assigned to others. I hope the refining process through which I am called to pass will be sufficient to prepare me to gather with those who are called upon to build Zion, when the day comes. For mark my words, the day will come, and it may be sooner than you or I think today.