Advocating For The LDS Church


LDSChurchOfficeBuildingA kind reader, Michael, asked my opinion of a recent post on his blog, Latter-day Flare Gun. At first I thought to answer him privately, but decided he had done such a good job of making his point that I emailed to let him know I would answer publicly. Here is his point: “We should be advocates (as Christ) of the LDS church, not accusers, regardless of their priesthood status.”

There is a lot in that concluding statement, which I take as my opening statement. I’d like to examine it and throw it out for discussion. In Michael’s post entitled, “What Denver Didn’t Say,” he shares parallels Denver brought to our attention in the tenth lecture about what the Lord did through John the Baptist and what he is doing today. Lecture ten was a day of decision for many.

Although he didn’t quote any examples of rhetoric, he appears to be responding to conversations on the various forums, blogs and email groups where Denver’s writings are discussed. Michael quoted and discussed several key points from the tenth lecture. He then wrote, “…the rhetoric among people that have accepted the Denver Snuffer message seems to paint a picture which:

God’s Strange Act

  1. Neglects the historical parallels to John the Baptist beyond a superficial level
  2. Maintains an exclusionary LDS God model
  3. Reflects current LDS priesthood models
  4. Judges the LDS church to be in a deeper state of disrepair than it currently is
  5. Attributes God’s act to the current state of the LDS church, rather than to future changes it will undergo

I hope by now you’re intrigued enough to have visited Michael’s blog. If not, take a minute to read the supporting statements that accompany his five concluding points. At first I wasn’t sure I agreed with his conclusion. The more I thought about what is going on in the online community among those who were re-baptized – and there are thousands – the more I agreed with Michael.

I have stayed out of the lively discussions going on this week at each of the online groups after Denver’s post about the need for a central recorder. Frankly, I didn’t think it was that big a deal. My baptism was very public, shared dozens of times by other LDS bloggers, and was witnessed by my wife, who attended and took the photos. I sent my name in to Debbie to have it recorded.

Present A Record In The Temple

offering-in-templeFor anyone who is following the developments of those who have accepted the message the Lord delivered through Denver Snuffer, you know we are very loosely organized. In fact, there is no hierarchical structure in place at all, at least as far as I can tell. It’s pretty flat. We each report to the Lord and can accept truth from whatever messenger we deem to be a true messenger of God.

Apparently having a central recorder is important enough for Denver to nominate Keith to the position. That does not mean those who have been acting as recorders, such as Debbie, need to cease their volunteer efforts at all. There can be as many local recorders as are needed for each of the local groups. The central recorder ensures the record to be presented in the temple is correct.

I’ve shared in a previous post I want to contribute to the building of that temple. It may or may not be in my lifetime, but I want to be involved. I have no idea where it will be, nor do I care. Just as there are many places that could qualify for the gathering place of the people of Zion, there are many places where the temple could be built. I want to live long enough to see it built.

Policy Changes in the LDS Church

On to the point: “We should be advocates (as Christ) of the LDS church, not accusers, regardless of their priesthood status.” Denver has made it clear the LDS Church can no longer claim to be the exclusive channel through which the Lord will perform His work in the last days. This, of course is due to the actions of the leaders in exercising compulsion and control in the priesthood.

free-to-back-gay-marriageI experienced this firsthand when I was placed on informal probation – the lowest of disciplinary actions – for writing in my blog. In other words, the LDS Church seeks to control and compel the members of the church to believe a certain way. Yet the church is sending mixed messages with the recent statement no member is to be punished for advocating or supporting marriage equality.

That raises the question, in my mind at least, if I would have been disciplined had my blog posts been in support of marriage equality instead of supporting the idea the Lord can send authorized messengers from outside the hierarchy of the LDS Church. I am personally aware of a dozen excommunications for apostasy of individuals who feel the same as I do about such messengers.

God Bless The LDS Church

I don’t want to make this a long post. I simply wanted to draw your attention to Michael’s blog, Latter Day Flare Gun, his post on “What Denver Didn’t Say,” and to see if you agree with his conclusion that we should be advocates of the LDS Church, not accusers, regardless of their priesthood status. I agree with his closing statement and offer the following for consideration:

BreadAndWineI still attend Sacrament meeting with my wife each Sunday. I enjoy the talks, the singing and the sacrament. Yes, I take the sacrament even though I’m not a member. I then go home and have my own sacrament with wine. Sometime I dress in the robes of the priesthood and offer up the desires of my heart to the Lord before my altar in a more formal manner than I do each day.

I love the people of my ward. They are good people. I love the leaders of my ward and stake, even though I am no longer a member. I pray for them. I appreciate their efforts. They are doing a great job and deserve my prayers and support. I do not pay tithing to the LDS Church anymore but have asked Carol to please hold the tithing money until the Lord directs us how to spend it.

Continue To Pray For One Another

I also pray for the general authorities of the LDS Church. I look forward to hearing what they have to say in two weeks. I will watch all sessions of General Conference with Carol as we always do. I probably won’t tweet about it as I have in the past but I will enjoy the ongoing commentary of fellow bloggers and tweeters as the talks are delivered and discussed online.

If I have come across in my blog of being critical of the LDS Church, I repent and ask your forgiveness. There’s no way I’ll ever be a member of the LDS Church again in my lifetime. I have no desire to join the organization, nor can I qualify as I don’t believe the statement that Thomas Monson holds and is the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys.

In spite of over fifty years of membership in the LDS Church, having served in many leadership positions for over twenty-five years – bishoprics and a high council – in spite of having taught a multitude of lessons about the subject, in spite of a dozen blog posts on the same, I still can’t define keys or what specific keys the LDS Church claims to hold and exercise in exclusivity.

Follow Christ, Give Heed To Prophets

I belong to several online groups that have the mission to build bridges between those who believe a certain way and those who believe the traditional or orthodox way the LDS Church teaches on certain subjects. I like that. I believe dialog helps understanding and prevents hard feelings. I hope we can have the same consideration for those who accept outside messengers.

follow-the-prophetI know there are always going to be those who hate, in spite of claims to love and a belief in the eleventh article of faith: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” I worship and follow Christ and only Christ. I follow no prophet.

I appreciate those who are firm in their convictions but are able to express them with love and understanding. They feel secure in what God has revealed to them about following the prophets. I continue to have dozens of ongoing conversations with non-LDS folks. I encourage them to get baptized into the LDS Church, wait a year and go to the temple. You need that sacred instruction.

Unconditional Love For One Another

I continue to pray for the LDS missionaries. I welcome them into my home. Two of my former primary students are now serving missions. I pray for their success. I am so pleased I was able to serve a mission for the LDS Church and to have been endowed in the temple nearly forty years ago. I love the temple. I miss attending the temple but am grateful for what I have learned there.

I appreciate my former stake presidents and missionary companions who have reached out to me. The LDS Church is filled with good people. I recommend it to anybody needing a supporting social organization for their family. The youth programs are the best. I loved attending seminary and institute as well as my days at Ricks College BYU Idaho. I’m glad I was a Latter-day Saint.

I hope we can focus on commonalities going forward. I am not trying to convince or persuade you of anything. I simply enjoy sharing my experiences as I travel this same path back to heaven as we all must follow – through this mortal plane of existence. I look forward to being with my family members in eternity, relying on the promise of my Savior to redeem my soul from hell.

The Lord’s Unique Timetable

JesusRedRobeOne final note comes to mind which I feel to share. I was re-reading a chapter in The Second Comforter the other day. In it, Denver expressed the idea that the receipt of the personal visit from the Savior is most likely after many years of maturing in the gospel. I like that. I feel like I still need to mature in the gospel. There is so much about the Lord’s work I don’t understand.

I think I may have shared I had a dream a few years ago, shortly after I was introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer. In that dream I was visited by my mother, who came from the spirit world to express how pleased she was with my progress. As we embraced, she looked at my hands and arms, saw they were filled with light and said, “You are ready for your mission.”

Immediately the thought came to my mind, “When will I embrace the Savior?” I heard a voice say, “Seven of eight.” There was more to the dream. I have recorded it. I asked the Lord for an interpretation. It came thus, “If you live into your eighties, you will embrace the Lord in your seventies.” I rejoiced and still rejoice. I have time to repent. I thank God for this mortal life.

 

Remembering – Myths Are History


new-heavens2This past week brought three impressive celestial events – the vernal equinox, a solar eclipse and a geomagnetic storm caused by major solar flares with CME’s – Coronal Mass Ejections – that lit up the Aurora Borealis in a most spectacular manner. Most people were unaware of any unusual activity in the sky. It was simply another week that happened to include the first day of spring.

I have always been fascinated with space weather. I check two sites daily to keep tabs on what’s going on in the heavens. I don’t think that’s so unusual. A lot of people are interested in space technology, astronomy and especially with things happening in our solar system. Fireballs are still considered unusual, making headlines even though they happen relatively frequently now.

new-heavens4Why the seeming universal interest in things falling from the sky? Most astronomers agree with Phil Plait that the odds of death from the skies are infinitesimally small. Yet disaster movies that depict that exact scenario are almost always blockbusters. Is there some sort of hidden memory in the collective human subconscious that we all have regarding past cosmological disturbances?

We Live With Collective Amnesia

In a word, yes. We, as members of the human race, have collective amnesia. We have forgotten something extremely important, something our ancestors tried to record so we would remember.

new-heavens6There are thousands of artifacts from ancient civilizations all over the world that point us to one unescapable conclusion – something terrible happened in the skies. It all but wiped out humanity. The planets were Gods to ancient peoples. Old Testament Prophets dealt with this idol worship.

Myth is the history of the psyche – William Irwin Thompson

Myth is the history of the solar system – David Talbott

“Ancient traditions, even when they are dressed as myth and saga, cannot be dismissed lightly as fantastic, or worse, meaningless fabrications. It is particularly proper to avoid this pitfall when dealing with serious reports, especially those of religious nature such as those that occur in large number in the Old Testament.” – Franz Xavier Kugler, “The Sibylline Battle of the Stars and Phaethon Seen as Natural History” (1927)

Here is some forgotten knowledge:

planets“The ancient name Melchizedek is a compound name, derived from ‘Milki’ (Moloc, Meleck) and ‘Zedek’ (Zadok, Sadat). Etymologists readily acknowledge that Zedek is the ancient Hebrew name for Jupiter. Milki is likely a name for Saturn. So the compound name Melchizedek most likely literally means ‘Saturn / Jupiter,’ often translated ‘Jupiter is my God’ or ‘Righteousness is my God’ by scholars. The seal of Melchizedek is probably a symbol once associated with the two gas giant planets in history.” – Anthony Larson

Prophets Recorded What They Saw

new-heavens5“The imagery spawned in cosmic apparitions which dominated Earth’s ancient heavens, employed by the Savior and all the prophets, is not exclusive to this creation. It is as eternal as God himself. That is, every world ever created by God has been graced by the same glorious celestial phantasmagoria — planetary and plasma discharges — witnessed by our ancestors. That this marvel is a mystery to us is due to our own failure to take our modern prophets, beginning with Joseph Smith, at their word.” Anthony E. Larson, www.mormonprophecy.com

“When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven. And when man fell … the earth fell into space and took up its abode in this planetary system and the sun became our light. This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father ….” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 17:143.)

new-heavens3“If the message of the Savior, his apostles and prophets is couched in terms that originated in cosmic images, then that imagery is all important. Additionally, if we fail to understand the real meaning and intent of that imagery, we also fail to understand the message. And if we miss the complete message, we cannot know and do what we must to gain salvation.” Anthony Larson

Understanding Gospel-Centric Cosmological Imagery

Ancient (i.e., historically traditional) Astrotheology was neither solar nor lunar. Both Venus and Mars were held in awe by people everywhere, and Venus in particular was closely watched for a period of over 4000 years (especially since -2349) in Mesoamerica to the complete exclusion of the Sun and the Moon. This, in fact, is one of the most curious aspects of our historic past. As Velikovsky wrote:

new-heavens7“The Sun and the Moon are two great luminaries, and it is easily understandable that the imagination of the peoples should be preoccupied with them and should ascribe to them mythological deeds. Yet the ancient mythologies of the Chaldeans, the Greeks, the Romans, the Hindus, the Maya, preoccupy themselves not with the Sun or the Moon, but prima facie with the planets.” (Velikovsky, unpublished document at www.varchive.org)

“As related in all creation mythologies, mankind was witness to the birth of the Gods and the creation of the Universe. The Universe, however, at this time consisted only of ‘Upper Earth’ in the north populated by Saturn’s satellites, and […] the equatorial rings standing in the sky in the south, thought to also represent an ocean or sea. Humans had thought of themselves as living in a valley between these two regions. Only in the far north of Earth was it obvious that the globe in the sky was nearly overhead. (Recovering the Lost World, A Saturnian Cosmology — Jno Cook Chapter 3: The Osiris Mystery – http://saturniancosmology.org/)

Things as They Are, Were and Are to Come

new-heavens8When I first started blogging, I wrote about a few of my favorite books on Prophecy. One of them has always intrigued me because it is so unique and explained so much about what will happen when the Savior returns, cosmologically speaking. I was pleased to receive an email from the author of that series of books. We have been conversing via email and Facebook ever since.

It takes courage to go against the mainstream understanding and acceptance of cosmology and the role, or lack thereof, in the modern LDS Church. In early Mormonism, knowledge of the heavens, and the history of what happened there, was much more important. Joseph taught much about the way things were and would be once again, referred to now as the polar configuration.

polar-configuration1“This knowledge is vital to our salvation and exaltation. We need it to fully understand the prophets, comprehend prophecy itself and inherit the blessings promised in the Endowment. Otherwise, Joseph Smith, under God’s tutelage, would not have restored it to us. At some point in our eternal progression, we will have to come to this knowledge and understanding.

“Sooner or later, in this life or the next, we will be required to include this in our worldview. So, why not get an early start? Why not follow Joseph Smith’s counsel to get as much correct knowledge in this life as possible to our greater benefit in the next?”

Much of this post quotes from the writings of Anthony Larson, author of a Trilogy of books on Prophecy and Last Days.

Cosmology To Understand The Prophets

“The brethren focus on the basics for the benefit of potential converts and the newest church members because their mission is worldwide conversion and the building of the kingdom. That’s why their message is repetitive. They consistently emphasize the basics. And there is great wisdom and virtue for each of us in revisiting those basics on a regular basis. That’s why we consistently hear that same, vital counsel. But once firmly grounded in the faith, the responsibility to move forward is wholly ours. The brethren are not there to do what we can do for ourselves. We are responsible for our own salvation. This has always been true.

isaiah-recording-revelation“The whole purpose of studying the Restored Gospel from a cosmological perspective is to allow us to easily and correctly distinguish what is spiritual (the fundamental truths) from what is temporal (the origins and meaning of symbolism). If we cannot easily and correctly differentiate between what is symbolic and what is literal in the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets, then we run the very real risk of reaching incorrect conclusions about their pronouncements.

“Restoring the ‘fullness of the gospel’ required including the cosmological traditions and their respective rituals that were honored and repeated by all the prophets. Again, Joseph wrote: “I also gave some instructions in the mysteries of the kingdom of God; such as the history of the planets, Abraham’s writings upon the planetary systems, etc,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 118, emphasis added.)

The day of the Lord will come quickly“This was done so that we can understand the arcane allusions and references of the prophets and apostles as they meant them to be understood, not as our emasculated, spiritualized and Christianized versions had them before Joseph Smith. Clarifying these symbolic and metaphorical usages was as much a part of restoring the truth as instituting the correct manner of baptism or the reality that God has a body of flesh and bone.”

Cosmology To Understand The Temple

SaltLakeTempleNight“One simply cannot comprehend the teachings in the temple endowment without a working knowledge of ancient cosmological imagery, derived from apparitions once beheld in Earth’s heavens. Without that comprehension, all we do, see, say, hear and wear in the endowment rituals is meaningless gibberish to us. However, with that comprehension, we can vicariously share the glorious vision given to all the prophets.”

“Perhaps the best reason to study all this is that our temples, inside and out, are replete with that same cosmic imagery. In fact, the whole temple experience is geared to show us the cosmological components of the prophetic experience, beginning with the creation. The visions of Moses and Abraham are, just like our temple icons, filled with the cosmic imagery of planets, stars, suns and moons. Our endowment is a virtual example of the prophetic ascension experience related throughout scripture in the visions of the prophets. This is the core message in our temple ceremonies.

Yes, I am a Mormon activist“Thus within our temples, each of us is afforded the marvelous opportunity to vicariously experience the visionary odyssey of the prophets. In so doing, we share the awe-inspiring, cosmic vision revealed to them. So, how can we fully understand the endowment message if we don’t see its cosmological components? The tragedy is that so few Latter-day Saints recognize that truth and thus miss the vital and mind-expanding message the endowment is meant to convey. Thus, the core message of our restored endowment goes unnoticed and unappreciated by nearly all temple goers.”

Source: http://mormonprophecy.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-cosmology_21.html?m=1

Cosmology To Prepare For Future Events

Armageddon – on earth and in heavenSo much of what is prophesied to occur in the last days has to do with cosmological cataclysmic events that intersect directly with human events. When the Savior comes to the earth in power, he will be accompanied by the hosts of heaven. Some of the illustrations accompanying this post are from Ryan Darger. One of them, the first in the post, depicts the concept of the hosts of heaven. Think about it.

The idea of collective amnesia is not espoused by modern science. Yet in my lifetime, I have witnessed more and more evidence brought forth to support the polar configuration Joseph knew and taught. Of course, there are detractors and disbelievers who claim Joseph never taught any such thing. Sadly, we do not have recorded details of what he taught from Abraham’s writings.

Mormon Doctrine - Prophecy and the Last DaysI have long been convinced Anthony Larson has got it right. It may not occur in my lifetime, but the day will come when the Lord returns with the City of Enoch – once a part of this planet – and other hosts of the heavens. Think planets when you read that phrase. The reconfiguration of this solar system is exactly what Joseph meant when he wrote of earth returning to paradisiacal glory.

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