Reconnecting to the Fathers


Matt 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…”

D&C 20:73 – “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Mosiah 18:13 – “I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.”

Baptism of Repentance

jacobs-ladderThe first two scriptures I’ve quoted are performed in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Those who have been endowed and are familiar with the sealing ordinances in the LDS Temples will also recognize the use of the phrase, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” Few men on earth are authorized to use this phrase today.

At the end of the series of ten lectures delivered by Denver, Keith got up and offered his witness, sealing it in a similar fashion. Surely there must be some significance to this phrase when it is used. It must mean something in heaven. It does. It caused me to sit up and take notice. I knew he was using the sealing power, but not in the same sense it is used in the LDS Temples today.

“I stand as another witness with Denver, in the law of witnesses, that these things are true. And I expect to be held accountable for this in the days and the eternity to come, before God and my Father and to all men. I bear this testimony humbly and solemnly, but in the power of the most holy priesthood. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.”

The Patriarchal Priesthood

abraham-isaac-altarI have been re-reading, studying and praying about the priesthood talk given in Orem back in November of 2013. Its chalk full of information about the higher or patriarchal priesthood. I remain convinced not many people understand there is such a thing. In the LDS Church, we are used to referring only to the Aaronic and the Melchizedek priesthood. It seems there is more.

Yes, I know and have read the arguments that there is but one priesthood and that the patriarchal priesthood is lesser than the Melchizedek. I agree there is really only one priesthood, but within that priesthood, I hold the Patriarchal to be the higher priesthood. I understand it can only be received from the Lord, which is why Joseph was so insistent on completing the Nauvoo temple.

This higher priesthood is not received in the LDS temples. It is not obtained by going and being sealed in the temple. It is only obtained when one meets with God in His temple. That’s why I was not concerned and remain unconcerned about resigning from the LDS Church. The church does not control the priesthood. It is controlled by God, confirmed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

The Holy Spirit of Promise

psalm-2-7I have not yet heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee.” I know that day will come. The Lord has told me so. It was in a dream but when I asked for the interpretation, it was clear. I rejoice in this promise. I rejoice I have a calling and election. I rejoice in knowing it is what the Lord desires of me. I am working to make it sure. It will be so.

I understand receiving the Lord is an ordinance. I await further light and knowledge on this. I am grateful for the blessing of time. It teaches me patience. I know a man’s life can be snuffed out at any minute. I take my life in my hands each day I drive to and from work on the freeways of Los Angeles. I wait upon the Lord. When He is ready, I will be connected to the powers of heaven.

In the dialog below you will find Denver’s answer to my question about the higher or patriarchal priesthood. He was smiling at me as I read it to him. I think he knew what I was asking. Note the humble response deflecting honor and attention to John the Beloved. There are others as well. I pray the Lord’s blessings upon each of us to connect to the Lord and prepare to live within Zion.

Question Three: In the Phoenix or Mesa lecture (9-9-14), you stated, “The Lord has said to me in His own voice, ‘I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.’ Therefore, I want to caution those who disagree with me, to feel free, to feel absolutely free to make the case against what I say. Feel free to disagree, and make your contrary arguments. If you believe I err, then expose the error and denounce it. But take care; take care about what you say concerning me for your sake, not for mine. I live with constant criticism. I can take it. But I do not want you provoking Divine ire by unfortunately chosen words if I can persuade you against it.”

In Genesis 12:3, The Lord said unto Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” Abraham was further blessed to be the father of many nations, that in him “shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Abraham was a prophet. Isaac and Jacob were prophets. Abraham referred to the Fathers going back to Adam. You spoke about that in the talk on plural marriage and elsewhere. It seems there is something significant about connecting to the Fathers. Abraham was a patriarch. The LDS Church no longer has a presiding patriarch, or even such an office. Is there a patriarch on the earth today who can connect us to the Fathers?

ANSWER (Denver): Well, the simple answer is there’s always one on the earth. That has been true from Adam to the present.

(Tim): John the Beloved.

(Denver): Yes.

nauvoo-1844Remember that in Nauvoo the Lord had offered to reconnect the Saints, with the clearly defined condition that for that to happen it was necessary for an acceptable temple to be constructed where He could come and restore the connection. The reconnection is ordinance-based, and will require an acceptable temple before it goes beyond the single representative.

First, ideas need to be advanced and accepted. Then second, we need to act on the ideas primarily by repenting and opening ourselves to the influence of God. Third, we have to be humble and patient and willing to practice the religion before we can have any hope of God deciding to gather us.

Practical experience is absolutely necessary. Theories and pretensions are not going to get us anywhere. The gospel requires hard won virtuous experience and not just theoretical or imaginary virtues. Everyone can theorize the virtues that are necessary to gather people together and live together in harmony. Everyone can envision themselves as one of the residents of the City of Peace. But the practical experience required to iron out our selfishness and competitiveness so that we can actually live in peace is another order of magnitude harder.

In the Nauvoo City Council minutes you see them grappling with a society that is trying to be composed of Saints, and the practical problem-solving that happened. There were moments when I was reading the Nauvoo City Council minutes when I was laughing out loud, because they go to solve one problem but the solution creates another.

Basically people are discourteous of one another. Because they are discourteous of one another the City Council adopted an ordinance in order to end one discourtesy, only to create yet another discourtesy on top of that.

Practicing Zion in Nauvoo

zion-imageFor example, one of the problems that they had was that Nauvoo was organized as a city in which everyone had a garden plot. Because most of the garden plots were not fenced, horses and foot traffic would go through the gardens. That killed the plants and caused the destruction of needed foodstuffs. They couldn’t get people to build fences around their gardens despite encouraging them to do so. The solution to the problem to was to turn the hogs loose, because when the hogs are loose they go in the gardens and root around, killing the plantings. And so they adopted an ordinance that let hogs in Nauvoo go free. In pretty short order that produced the required fences they wanted, at the expense of creating a hog problem. There were hog wallows in the middle of the streets of Nauvoo. Until finally some guy, tired of the hog problem, went out and killed, butchered and ate a couple hogs that another guy said belong to him. The owner sued him, and they had the public fight over it.

The point of this isn’t hogs and the Nauvoo City Council, the point of this is we need practical experience and not theory. The way in which the practical experience can be had is in gathering in fellowships and societies, collecting our own tithing, and then grappling with the fact that there is a pile of money sitting there, which is ever a temptation, and to deal with that in a responsible way. That forces individuals to confront their own self will, their own pride, their own desires, their own jealousy, their own envy, their own ambition, and their own covetousness.

Practicing Zion in Fellowships

CityOfZionIn the fellowships that have been organized there have been moments of profound breakthroughs in the kind of attributes required for Zion. One group, when they begin their meeting, gathers all the needs on written slips of paper and put all of the needs together in an unopened basket. Then they gather the money, which is always cash, into another unopened container. They don’t know how much cash there is. Without opening the cash then, they first open the needs. As a group they reason together and agree on what the priority of the needs are, so that they have a list of the most compelling, and on down.

Once they know what the most compelling, the second, the third, the fourth are, they open and count the money. On one occasion, there was a married couple whose need could be satisfied because there was enough money, but they looked at the person next in line in priority behind them, and concluded that in their heart, they thought that need greater than their own. If they satisfy the next person’s need, there would be nothing left for them. So they voluntarily passed on their priority and took none of the money, and allowed it all to go to the next person in line behind them.

That is a couple that I would willingly add to a community, because they’ve learned self-sacrifice. They are no threat, and are instead an ideal contributor.

Seek to Benefit and Bless Others

Someone who advocates incessantly, “We’ve got the live the United Order! We’ve got to have consecration,” –because he intends to benefit from that change and better his circumstances—is unfit to be gathered. He would destroy Zion because he is selfish and thinking of what he can gain. Someone who says, “What can I give?” at the cost of his own self-sacrifice, and yet is willing to live the Law of Consecration in order to bless and benefit others, not expecting themselves to be blessed or benefited but instead expect themselves to carry a burden, those people can be gathered. They present no threat. They can be “one” with others. They are willing to lose themselves, as Christ instructed.

The way in which those people get identified is by practical experience, which is what the fellowshipping communities are designed, by the inspiration of God, to allow to now begin to take place. Every one of us theorizes themselves a great candidate for Zion. But go out and get some practical experience and see how great a candidate you truly are. You will be disappointed in yourself. Most of us would be anyway.

Sources:

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question three: http://3tcm.net/question-three.pdf

Taking His Name In Vain


name-in-vainDoesn’t it just irk you when people take the name of the Lord in vain? We have all heard it many times. It happens all the time in a variety of places. Many of us might be sensitive to hearing people drop the name of God like it is nothing. So what does it mean to use the name of the Lord in vain?

Definition of the word vain: producing no result; useless.

“a vain attempt to tidy up the room”

synonyms: futileuselesspointless, to no purpose, hopeless, in vain;ineffective,ineffectualinefficaciousimpotentunavailing, to no avail, fruitless,profitless, unrewardingunproductiveunsuccessfulfailedabortive,for nothing;thwarted, frustrated, foiled;archaicbootless“a vain attempt”

Often we hear at the end of talks, at the end of prayers, or at the end of testimonies those who will close in the name of Jesus. It is actually taught to many people from the time they are little kids to use such language. So what does it mean to do something “in the name” of the Lord? Does it mean that the person believes that he/she is representing the Lord in what we just said, what we just testified of, or whatever act was done in that name? It is basically saying, I am filling in for the Lord right now and this is what He would have said or done if He were here.

That is a powerful idea. Could it be that many people are taking the name of the Lord in vain week after week, and we hear it in the churches and synagogues, and for whatever reason it doesn’t bother people at all? Which is worse, someone misrepresenting the Lord, saying they are acting in His name when they are not, or those who say the name of the Lord as a slur without much thought at all?

Now let’s take this to another level. What about ordinances or rituals performed in the name of the Lord? Every week in many Mormon movements we find those who bless and administer the sacrament. The first line of the sacrament involves asking God, in the name of the Lord, to ratify the ordinance. In both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we see that Jesus Himself came to bless and administer the sacrament, and THEN He authorized some to administer to others. This ordinance is a sacred one and must be done by one who has authority, and in fact can indeed administer that ordinance in the name of the Lord.

So what is it that gives someone authority in such a thing? Is it when someone is given the priesthood from men? Is it when someone is given the priesthood from God? What must happen for one to be able to administer such an ordinance? Or how about if we speak or testify, how would we know if it was ok to say that we did so in the name of the Lord?

Many people do it flippantly, others love to end testimonies this way, because they believe it gives that testimony more validity. It is a way of saying, “Hey I am serious here. I am saying this in the name of the Lord.” Sometimes people even invoke the titles of the Father, or the Holy Ghost. The power of the tri-fecta! So they are basically saying, if the Father, or Jesus, or the Holy Ghost were here, this is what they would say. I am speaking for them now and representing them on the earth at this time, wow.

THE FALL OF SAUL, IT RHYMES!

How serious is it if people perform ordinances, or works, or speak in the name of the Lord, when the Lord has not told them to perform such ordinances, or speak those words, or perform those works? In the case of Saul, I always felt a little bad for him until I understood what happened. He was in Gilgal. The armies of the Philistines were gathering and preparing to come down and kill him and his army.

Saul knew he needed God’s help, and he knew that performing sacrifices had been commanded to others in the past, and well, Saul had some spiritual authority and thought he would do the Lord’s will and perform the sacrifice. After all, Samuel wasn’t showing up and his troops were scared and being scattered. The punishment from the Lord I always thought was a little odd when Saul’s intentions seemed to be good.

Here are some other verses that I always thought were a little odd from Matthew 7…

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I think part of what the Lord was teaching here may not always be interpreted correctly. Here is another translation of verse 23 that teaches the point a little more clearly.

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.”

What is this lawlessness? It sounds like he is talking about those people who go around using his name, without having been commanded to. It doesn’t matter if they are doing wonderful works, prophesying, casting out devils, or blessing the sacrament. If the Lord has not personally commanded them to do that, then they are practicing lawlessness.

It does seem a bit harsh doesn’t it? How about the phrase “I never knew you.” What does that mean? Could it be that Jesus was saying something like, “Hey guys, you went around doing all sorts of stuff in my name, as if you could represent me and were acting in my behalf, but I didn’t even know you guys! I didn’t tell you to do those things. I didn’t commission you…”

So I am wondering if it is possible for someone to go through life, sincerely striving to be righteous, believing they are doing the Lord’s will, when in all actuality they are drinking damnation to their souls week after week. In the Book of Mormon it warns that those who partake of the sacrament unworthily, are eating/drinking damnation to their souls. Most people don’t equate worthiness to having been commanded directly, but could it be that is part of the condition of one’s worthiness?

HAS THE LORD TOLD YOU TO DO WHAT YOU ARE DOING?

I guess I would like to ask people reading, “When have you been commanded to take the sacrament? When were you told that you could administer the sacrament? Do you believe that holding the priesthood (if you have been given any priesthood from God) gives you the authority to perform ordinances, without having the Lord specifically telling you to perform such ordinances?”

Some people when asked questions like this turn to the Bible, or Book of Mormon, or other parts of their sacred texts, and say, “Look right here, this is where we are commanded to do this…” When I point out that Jesus was actually talking to other people at a totally different time period, they think I am the weirdo for suggesting the commandment does not apply to them… They use the same argument many protestant church leaders use. “The Bible is my authority. The Bible is the word of God!”

I used to laugh at preachers who talked like that. Only recently did I learn I was doing the same thing in so many ways! I have used the sacrament as an example because of some things I have personally learned about the meaning of the sacrament. Jesus spoke to certain disciples and this is another way, in my opinion, of summarizing what he said. “Here I am giving you my name, my body and blood, and giving you power to be like me and do things in my name.” Then he commanded them to go do the same things for others.

JOHN’S BAPTISM

When John the Baptist was baptizing, he did not tell people to go take the sacrament afterward. In the accounts of him coming to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, he conferred the preparatory priesthood, told them to be baptized, but he did not mention anything about taking the sacrament afterward. Could it be there was more to the disciples both in Jerusalem, and on the American Continent being baptized when Christ came, even though they had been baptized before? Is it correct to call it “re-baptism,” or was it a new / higher baptism? Could it be there is a baptism of John, or the lower priesthood, and there is a completely separate baptism of the higher priesthood? From Acts 19…

3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

So again we see a differentiation here. John the Baptist, according to the accounts we have, mentioned the “gospel of repentance” when he came to Joseph and Oliver. That is very similar to what we see from Paul. Is this different from the baptism of Christ, where people are commanded afterward to partake of the sacrament? I personally believe that many churches have the authority to baptize unto repentance, but this is “John’s baptism.” All people will have to be baptized with the baptism which Jesus offers by one having the name of Christ, the fullness of the higher priesthood.

I do not believe there is a person with the fullness of the high priesthood on the earth. I do not believe there is a person that has the power to lay hands on the head of another to bestow the Holy Ghost as Paul did in the verses above. I believe right now those who receive the Holy Ghost (which are not that many IMO) receive it through angelic ministration or from the Lord personally.

I believe many people are going about doing “wonderful works” in the name of the Lord, with zero instruction from the Lord to perform the ordinances they are performing. I have no doubt that many readers have blessed and administered the sacrament, or performed baptisms, or other such ordinances. I certainly have. I won’t do it again and use the name of the Lord in vain. I will not say it at the end of a testimony unless told to do so by revelation.

The goal is to reach the point where we can do all things in the name of the Lord. At least it is one of my goals. I believe it is possible. I believe first we must receive the name of the Lord. If God spoke to me or you and said “Be ye therefore perfect…” then God would give power to whomever He spoke it to, to literally fulfill that commandment and the individual would be perfected. God has power to fulfill His words. Those who go about using the Lord’s name in things, who have not be chosen and ordained, may be practicing lawlessness.

John 15:16 – Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

John 15:7 – If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Ignorance


Link to the JST

ignorance-povThe Argument from Ignorance

D&C 6:10-12
10 Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above–

11 And if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous; therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, convince them of the error of their ways.

12 Make not thy gift known unto any save it be those who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things.

D&C 63:64 Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation.

There is much more in D&C 63 about signs and the seeking thereof.

JST Matthew 7
1 Now these are the words which Jesus taught his disciples that they should say unto the people.

9 Go ye into the world, saying unto all, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you.

10 And the mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves; for it is not meet to give that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they trample them under their feet.

11 For the world cannot receive that which ye yourselves, are not able to bear; wherefore ye shall not give your pearls unto them, lest they turn again and rend you.

12 Say unto them, Ask of God; ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

13 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

There is a standing request from God to his disciples to not disclose the mysteries of the kingdom, which come to us by revelation through faith, without being asked to do so, but rather we are to teach repentance and faith. The reason for this request to those sent forth is because without repenting from all sin and exercising faith and thus entering into a covenant with God, men cannot become the children of Christ, but are instead children of the devil.

Carnal men cannot keep the law of God and the mysteries therefore serve only to condemn them, for when they hear the things which tickle their ears and satiate the lust of curiosity, they think they know stuff, when in fact they know nothing but have merely heard a report. And by satiating that lust of curiosity, a motivation for calling upon God in faith to receive, whereby they may become the children of God, is eliminated.

Therefore, divulging the mysteries of the kingdom without request of God serves to damn people. Signs do not produce faith.

So what ought to be taught?

D&C 19:31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

Mosiah 25:22 And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God.

That teaching – repentance and faith in God – characterizes the church of God.

Alma 13:6 And [priests] thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest[.]

And that teaching – the commandments of God – characterizes the priests of God.

JST Matthew 5:21 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

And that teaching – as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise – characterizes the prophets of God.

3 Nephi 11:29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention[.]

And that behavior – disputing, arguing, contesting, contradicting, accusing – marks those who are not of God.

Perhaps more importantly, the existence of that standing request to not divulge the mysteries of the kingdom leads to this conclusion: just because someone doesn’t claim authority or reveal mysteries or speak of spiritual experiences, doesn’t mean they don’t have authority, don’t know mysteries, or have not had spiritual experiences. Therefore, that the leadership of the Church, or anyone else, doesn’t speak of such things means nothing in and of itself. A just judge cannot come to a conclusion concerning their knowledge, or lack thereof, based solely upon the absence of these things from their teachings.

The Snuffer Interview – Part Two


We Must Remember the Restoration

calling-and-electionEach day I receive additional evidence members and leaders of the LDS Church have forgotten what was once commonly taught at the commencement of the restoration through Joseph Smith. For example, today I received an email from a man who shared his highest aspiration is to have his calling and election made sure. He is seeking it diligently. Sadly, his own family mocks him.

His wife says such a doctrine is false, unnecessary and if it were, the LDS leaders would tell us so from the pulpit each General Conference. She tells their children to ignore their father, that he is mentally unstable. The man serves in a bishopric, doing all within his power to help the Saints remember the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. Sadly, even his ward members rebuff him.

How could this have happened? Joseph clearly taught, “I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (Teachings, p. 299.) Why are so many Saints either unaware of this admonition or believe it is impossible?

Teach From a Position of Knowledge

JosephSmithIt is because we have changed the focus from what we were originally taught to a much watered-down version that is more palatable in an effort to be popular. Having one’s calling and election made sure was at one time a basic teaching in the church. It did not seem strange to the members of Joseph’s day. They delighted to hear him teach this doctrine and encourage them to obtain it.

It is because the leaders of the LDS Church either do not have this knowledge or this belief for themselves. The idea that is commonly circulated among the members that it is wrong to talk about one’s experiences in coming to know the Lord is in itself so very wrong. It is covering up a lack, a deficiency in knowledge of the Lord from the top of the hierarchy to the local leadership.

I thank God He has sent a witness in our day to proclaim this doctrine is true. Yet because the LDS Church has cast him out, the message is being rejected by the lay members as well. Oh, ye foolish people. How can you be so closed-minded and so trusting of your eternal salvation to those who sit in the chief seats instead of trusting in God? Why do they not teach this doctrine?

We Can See His Face in This Life

see-my-faceThe idea that such a teaching is only to be considered or taught in private is foolish. It was taught openly by Joseph. The idea that this knowledge is not milk for the sheep is also foolish and false. Joseph taught this to the newest converts. He taught it to unbaptized, unwashed, and unendowed people in his day. It is a basic part of the restoration and it has been lost because men have erred.

Nephi taught clearly, “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.” (2 Ne 32:5-6) The Holy Ghost brings us to Christ.

The Lord added this witness in D&C 93:1 – “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” The objective is to see the face of the Lord in this life. Why is this so hard to understand, accept and to seek?

Focus on the Message, Not the Messenger

doctrine-of-christ1In my interview with Denver, I asked him directly to confirm he had been taught in the same manner as Joseph Smith. He did so. He has openly declared, as did Joseph, his witness of the Savior. He affirmed he has been taught by angels, ancient prophets and by the Lord. Note his answer below in which he deflects these facts and asks us to focus on the message being delivered.

And what is that message? It is that we have forgotten the very basics of the doctrine of Christ. We must remember. Denver spent a year giving a series of ten lectures which he and his wife have been striving to put together in an expanded, detailed and comprehensive book. I wish there was something I could do to help them in their task. But mainly I pray that people will pay attention.

I know Denver’s declarations seem astounding and astonishing. They should not be so. We should be hearing similar declarations from the men who sit in the chief seats of this great church. Alas, it is not so. The Lord can do his own work. When I ask the Lord in prayer what is to be next, the answer comes to wait patiently for the completion of the book to come from the lecture series.

Comments from the Interview

Question Two: In the lecture on Christ, the Prototype of the Saved Man given in Ephraim (6-28-14), you said, “…either I am a liar, and you ought to forget everything I’ve said, or I have been sent by someone greater than I am. If I have been sent and you reject and quibble over the things I declare to you, it is at your peril! It ought to be that way. I ought to be damned if I’m a pretender, and I ought to be damned and rejected by God if I’m saying things about which I know nothing! But I bear witness to you I know what I’m talking about. I have no reason to lie to you. I have no reason to pay to reserve a place to speak to you, and ask nothing of you but to listen. It requires a sacrifice to do what I am doing. I have no other reason to do this than to tell you the truth. Joseph Smith testified to these things and I am come as a second witness. Therefore you now have two proclaiming the same doctrine.”

You bring up Joseph Smith. Joseph testified the heavens are open. He bore witness of God the Father and His Son as two separate and distinct personages possessing glorified and perfected bodies. He also testified he was an instrument in the hands of Christ to bring about a restoration of things hidden since before the foundation of the world. You say you know what you are talking about. Do you mean this in the same sense Joseph Smith declared his knowledge, that it was received through revelation, vision and the visits of angels?

ANSWER (Denver): The answer to that question is “yes.” If that were not the case, I would not be doing anything. What I do, teach and write is a product of contact with heaven. I’ve not elaborated on all the contacts, messengers, and visitations I’ve received because that would be, in my view, very counterproductive. It would suggest I’m more important than I am. God matters and men do not. God can save you and I cannot. The most important issue involves the substance of what I have taught. The most important individual is whoever hears what is taught.

road-to-emmausWhen Christ appeared on the Road to Emmaus to announce His first lengthy post-resurrection message, He did not bother announcing who He was. All He did was announce His message, which was to expound the scriptures beginning with Moses and all the prophets, in order to show how in all things, it was testified that He needed to suffer and He needed to die. All I’m doing is modeling the One I serve. That is by taking Joseph and all the revelations of the Restoration, and showing how in all things, it is necessary for exactly what has, and is happening, to occur in order to fulfill the word of the Lord.

If I started talking about all the visits and visitations, immediately what people would say is, “This is a great man! He has stood in the presence of various angelic personalities! He’s had various interviews and instructions. O my! Isn’t he wonderful?” And the fact of the matter is, I’m not wonderful. I labor for my support, I have a hard time making all of my ends meet. I have a very difficult time meeting all of the responsibilities my wife and I have.  She and I work together on a lot of problems dealing with family, dealing with money, dealing with limited means and a budget, and dealing with just life’s challenges. I am no better than the next man and feel keenly my own inadequacies.

For me to say something other than the content of the message is to inspire either adoration or envy. It’s foolish. It is unnecessary. It would be regarded as boasting by some, nuttiness by many others. It would not advance anything and may well set things back.

But the answer to your question is “yes.” If it were not so, I would keep my mouth shut.

Question Two (part two): As a second witness then, which you claimed you are, how is the Savior working through you to continue the restoration He began through Joseph Smith?

ANSWER (Denver): God could, does, and will work through anyone who awakens and then pays attention. There’s an army of witnesses and awakened individuals that are being assembled by God. It’s required to know Him. I know Him. I have taught, and I know and understand His gospel. The first task is to assure people that He lives and His gospel exists as an authentic method for saving souls.

The second task is to remember the Restoration that Joseph gave his life to commence. We are ungrateful when we fail to remember and practice it. At the moment, there is almost no clear understanding of that gospel. I’m working to set that out in a comprehensive way.

The Restoration has never been completed. There is a great deal prophesied to roll out as part of the Restoration that is not even commenced:

brass-plates-Do we have Zion?

-What about the lost teachings of the brass plates?

-Do we have the rest of the Book of Mormon?

-Do we have the testimony of John?

-Do we have restored knowledge of the Jaradites?

The list could be very long. But the fact that there is a list tells us that the Restoration must resume at some point in order to be completed. We don’t have the Restoration on the table yet. Remarkably we have forgotten what we once had. So the first job is to show that we are grateful enough to remember, and to remember it in a fulsome comprehensive way before God is going to say, “Now I will permit it to move forward.” We haven’t gotten to the point of remembering yet, which is why we ought to be studying a lot more diligently the material that we got in the Restoration. We ignore it at our peril.

Source Material:

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question two: http://3tcm.net/question-two.pdf

Pentecost and Patterns


LastSupperLargeSunday, May 24 marked fifty days since the Feast of the Passover. The early Christian disciples, gathered together in Jerusalem, experienced an outpouring of the Spirit and attending gifts following prayer and supplication. Joseph adds that Peter officiated in ordinances: “God obtained a house where Peter washed and anointed on the Day of Pentecost.” (WJS, p. 211)

pentecost_whitsunThe Savior had just completed his 40-day ministry and “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father … for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:4-5)

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)

ENDOWED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH

joseph_preaching_grove“I preached in the grove on the keys of the kingdom … the keys are certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the elders till the temple is completed. The rich can only get them in the temple-the poor may get them on the mountain top as did Moses … There are signs in heaven, earth, and hell, the elders must know them all to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition…No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the Holiest of Holies.” (WJS, p. 119-120)

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues …” (Mark 16:17)

Nephi’s description connects the baptism of fire with speaking in a new tongue-the tongue of angels, and shouting “praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 31:13-14; 32:2-3)

lehi-pillar-of-fireLehi’s theophany also included praise: “And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth … And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled …” (1 Nephi 1:14-15)

Praise and singing were witnessed by John as he was shown those who are redeemed of the Lord, standing upon the sea of glass: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” (Rev 15:3)

Alma describes this praise as “singing the song of redeeming love” and experiencing “a mighty change … wrought in their hearts … having been spiritually born of God … having the image of God engraven upon your countenances.” (Alma 5:7-26; Rev 9:4, 13:16, 14:1,9; D&C 133:18)

“That Christ, the Lord Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven …” (Mosiah 5:15).

kirtland-temple-teaching“How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power and the other comforter spoken of, which will be manifest by revelation … the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost … has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham … his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a gentile is to purge out the old blood and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham must … have a new creation by the Holy Ghost …” (WJS, p. 4).

This promised endowment includes spiritual gifts, knowledge, and being baptized with fire. Where are these manifestations in the church today? Remember the early Christian Pentecost and the Kirtland Pentecost included those that held no high church position or calling (In case you’re inclined to argue that it only happens to leaders).

slc-temple-dedication-ticketI attended a temple dedication broadcast last year and felt something amiss in the proceedings. Conspicuously missing was the power of the Spirit. How far have we drifted away from what Joseph first established, opting instead for a diluted and powerless substitute? In contrast, so powerful was the outpouring of the Spirit at the Kirtland Pentecost that many were convinced the Millennium had begun. I suspect that if Joseph lived long enough to dedicate the Nauvoo temple, there would have been similar, if not greater outpourings of the Spirit.

PROBLEMATIC PATTERNS

Our meetings are confined by a rigid block schedule that leaves little room for the spontaneity of the Spirit to work upon us, giving us in the hour, in the very moment, what is needed. (D&C 100:5-8; Mark 13:11)

What is edifying and spiritually instructive about a correlation program that ensures that members receive the very same lesson from a manual on the same Sunday everywhere in the world? How much more powerful and edifying would our meetings be if they were directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. (D&C 42:2; 68:3-4)

general-authoritiesWorshipping (idolizing) local leaders and general authorities is an abomination. The Israelites did the same with Moses. This theme is present with us to this day: They were content with a middleman, and declined the blessings God was offering to them. A comment was made in a priesthood meeting recently that helps to illustrate the severity of the situation: He said, “Why do I need to seek the face of God? We have bishops, isn’t that the same thing?” (If it is, then you must be reading from a different set of scriptures). This is essentially the same spiritual malady that the Israelites had: We need not awake and arise because we have a prophet that speaks to God for us. (D&C 84:23-25)

I remember well as a missionary that when we taught investigators about modern day prophets and continuing revelation, we first established how God is unchanging, and therefore, acts according to divine patterns. Can we continue teaching about patterns, gifts, and manifestations that are not reflected in the church today? Do we experience personally or in the church the blessings shown plainly in the scriptures? Has the Ensign replaced your study of the scriptures? Do we see the spirit of prophecy and revelation in the church?

Do we know more about and lend more of our time and attention to Facebook and other distractions instead of the Book of Mormon? If so, we have great need to repent and come out from under the condemnation of taking lightly what God is offering to us. (D&C 84:54-58)

THE KIRTLAND PENTECOST

June 1831 Conference

kirtland-temple-old-photoA revelation received in January 1831 commanded the elders to gather in Ohio to receive the Lord’s law, and to be endowed with power from on high. (D&C 38:32) Many who were in attendance recorded the events that transpired, including, the heavens being opened and seeing the Father and the Son, the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and the man of sin was revealed, detected, and cast out.

The fact that Satan was present in attempting to thwart the work is interesting to consider. To be endowed with light, one must encounter the opposite to understand the difference between God’s administrations and the devil’s deceitfulness. When Moses received his endowment, he was temporarily left unto himself, and Satan stepped in to tempt him. (Moses 1:9-24)

12 November 1835

“The endowment you are so anxious about you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to your dark minds, but strive to be prepared in your hearts, and be faithful in all things … be watchful and prayerful, and you shall have a prelude of those joys that God will pour out on that day … you need an endowment brethren in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things … the sick will be healed, the lame made to walk, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see through your instrumentality … all who are prepared and sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior will see him in the solemn assembly.” (JSP, Journal, Vol 1, p. 98-99)

27 March 1836 – Dedicatory Prayer

KirtlandTemple2“That thy glory may rest down upon thy people, and upon this house, which we now dedicate to thee, that it may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house. And that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost. And that all their salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with holy hands, uplifted to the Most High … That thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and thy name be upon them, and thy glory round about them, and thine angels have charge over them. (See also D&C 84:42)

Let the anointing of thy ministers be sealed upon them with power from on high. Let it be fulfilled upon them, as upon the day of Pentecost; let the gift of tongues be poured out upon thy people, even cloven tongues as of fire, and the interpretation thereof. And let thy house be filled, as with a rushing mighty wind, with thy glory. Put upon thy servants the testimony of the covenant…” (D&C 109:12, 15, 19, 22, 35-38)

30 March 1836

“While waiting, I made the following remarks: That the time that we were required to tarry in Kirtland to be endued would be fulfilled in a few days … the brethren continued exhorting, prophesying, and speaking in tongues until 5 o’clock in the morning-the Savior made his appearance to some, while angels ministered unto others, and it was a Pentecost and enduement indeed, long to be remembered, for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history to all generations, as the day of Pentecost, so shall this day be numbered and celebrated as a year of Jubilee, and time of rejoicing to the saints of the Most High God.” (JSP, Journal, Vol 1, p. 214-216)

3 April 1836 – Acceptance of the temple

“For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here, and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.” (D&C 110:7)

MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION

transfiguration-carl-bloch“Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John who asked him many questions about his sayings, and Jesus leadeth them up unto a high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.” (JST Mark 9:2)

“On the Mount transfigured before Peter, [James], and John, there receiving the fulness of the priesthood, or [last] law of God.” (WJS, p. 246)

MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY

“1st Key: Knowledge is the power of salvation.
2nd Key: Make [your] calling and election made sure.
3rd Key: It is one thing to be on the mount and hear the Excellent voice, and another to hear the voice declare … you have a part and lot in the kingdom.

We were eyewitnesses of his Majesty, we have also a more sure word of prophecy…who can explain this? No man, but he that has obtained these things in the same way that Peter did … there are things in the bosom of the Father that have been hid from the foundation of the world that are not known, neither can be except by direct revelation.” (WJS, p. 206)

This direct revelation includes instruction by the Father, who personally teaches the covenant. (D&C 84:47-48)

“He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the Excellent Glory: This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. This voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy Mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy … it is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God, and another to know that you yourself will be saved, to have a positive promise of your own salvation is making your calling and election sure … the voice of Jesus saying, my Beloved, thou shalt have eternal life … never cease struggling until you get this evidence..” (WJS, p. 208)

Zion’s Biggest Enemy, Century 21


Last week, I shared some basic ideas pertaining to Zion and how it can be accomplished. Some good comments ensued. When I write about Zion, I’m interested in some of the practical aspects of Zion for a reason. Practical is another word for “practice.” Ultimately, Zion is the Father’s work, and He sends His angels to do that work, as well as servants. Nothing we can do will bring Zion, economically, religiously, or politically. Only our individual salvation can qualify us to be a part of this Great and Marvelous Work. Our “practice” however, can be counted to us for righteousness. If, in our “practice” we consecrate resources to others to elevate them, will that not affect our personal righteousness? Thus we may move from grace to grace, perhaps even earn grace, if there is any grace to be earned at all.

Real Estate

venezia-european

When we think of the biggest purchase in any of our lives, the number one item is usually real estate. The next status-oriented symbol would be the automobile, then toys and clothes. But as a percentage of wealth, real estate takes the cake. It ties up most of the resources we have. It is the single largest thing that will bring us “status,” “enjoyment,” and comfort. The industry is built to play on a person’s emotions, bank account, affordability maxims, sell-able features, even neighborhood status and school boundaries. In the 1950’s, the first time in modern history where home-ownership was available to many, people would purchase homes and in 30 years, pay them off. In today’s world, we live in real-estate bubbles, waiting anxiously to see how much our home has appreciated so we can upgrade to a better home with more features, more comfort, and more status.

I find brother Heber Kimball to be a visionary man, often because the fruits of some of his visions and prophecies seemed to have born out.  Said he,

“After a while the gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage. Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize and others will be still, not knowing what to do … Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to tests that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes.” (Deseret News, Church Department, p. 3, May 23, 1931.)

1024px-Salt_Lake_City_panorama

Today in Salt Lake City and in Utah County, there is another real estate bubble intoxicating the residents there. If the first bubble breaking in 2008 did not teach them a lesson about “a spirit of speculation and extravagance,” certainly this next bubble will when it also ultimately collapses. The Saints of the Wasatch Front often seem to equate spiritual blessings, the damnable “prosperity gospel,” with a blessed increase in status. To be fair, the Brethren have taught against this at least over the pulpit from time-to-time, the most recent being Dallin Oaks in the last General Conference (April 2015). Words, however, are cheap.

The Brethren, along with Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Area Authorities, are often awarded such positions PRECISELY because of their prosperity and status. They have some of the most extravagant homes on the Wasatch Front in some of the nicest neighborhoods, and they also own secondary properties and cabins, some of them gifted by the Church, the higher up one is in the hierarchy. Brigham Young first modeled this as he amassed millions living in his Utah mansions from Salt Lake to Saint George. This did not set a good example for those that followed. The Saints can smell the hypocrisy over the pulpit when such things are taught, otherwise, they liken it not unto themselves, but see only the extravagance in others. To be fair again, some reject such extravagances. Thomas Monson and Gordon Hinckley lived in modest homes, as do many others, stake leaders and the like. We should honor such examples of modesty.

 beehiveHouse_main

Brigham Young vs.

 monson_home

Thomas Monson*

*Note: I’m aware Thomas Monson has other properties gifted him by the Church, but this is his primary home, which I’m using primarily as an example.

Why does this matter?

The obvious first reason is one of pride. Anytime we seek to gratify our lusts, vain ambitions, and cover our sins with beautiful homes, AMEN to our ability to be a tool in the hand of the Lord. We have chosen our God, and it is Babylon. But there is a more practical reason why it’s so damnable. Simply put, if one does not have expendable income, one cannot “expend” it on behalf of others. It is tied up and useless. Now . . . everyone’s situation is different. I will not wax as a Pharisee and rise up to condemn you for your beautiful home, even though it seems like I just did. Some people with beautiful homes have homeless people, families, and others living in their empty rooms. THAT is Zion-like behavior. I happen to have six rooms in my home when I only probably need three. I was ashamed of my own opulence, even though I live in a modest home. However, modesty is a relative principle. One can be just as guilty of status-worship if they are poor but sacrifice everything to look like a middle class family. I was guilty. I now allow people who are in need to live in my home with me. It is part of how I tithe and consecrate my surplus (which IS unfortunately tied up in a home). If you practice modesty, you have the freedom to do good things for others with you resources. You can consecrate, and THAT is why it matters.

What you can do

If I were in the market for a new home in Utah these days (I don’t live there now but did), feeling the call of the bubble equity in my home, I might pray to the Lord to ask him to guide when I would sell, perhaps who I would sell to, and what I would purchase, all in a way that would elevate my righteousness and help me to bring Zion. This might mean I would sell my home under-market to a family in need and consecrate that equity surplus to them. It may mean I downsize and park that profit somewhere that is more liquid and usable to Zion-like projects. It may even mean that I live in a trailer or in a van down by the river, or a small farm-house in the country. If the Lord commands it, you should listen. There is value in mobility, especially as society begins to deteriorate. A nice home in a collapsed economy is often nothing more than a gold-plated coffin. A trailer could allow you some get-out-of-Dodge space. You must be prayerful about such circumstances.

realestateWhen you go to look for a home, recognize that the real estate agent is not your friend in Zion. He wants you to spend as much as you can afford. He will sell you on status. He will sell you features. He will even try to sell you value or return on investment if you are that savvy. Before you visit the agent (in fact you may even want to pray about finding the right kind of agent), go to the Lord and prayerfully ask which features you NEED in a home. That is totally up to you and the Lord. I don’t need to judge you for deciding to get that four car garage if the Lord has Zion-like plans for you. I will say as an aside, however, that I do NOT buy the “I need a large home for my family at Thanksgiving” motive unless you find a way to fill that home in the Thanksgiving off-season. Look, I’m only trying to protect you Zion seekers from asking for that which is amiss. The Lord honors agency and will often deliver according to your faith. Pay careful attention to what the Lord thinks you need and not what YOU think you need. Once you have your list of must-needs, then visit the agent and don’t allow him to up-sell you.

Now, you can apply this to all material things, be it cars, clothes, toys, recreational vehicles, other properties, etc. Let me give you a word of caution which I recognize is my own opinion, but it is probably a good guess. I’ve heard many prosperous Saints give testimonies of their material things being gifted to them through prayer in the Lord. They seemed to get confirmation for their extravagances. I suspect that they were probably asking amiss. I suspect that if one were to REALLY ask the Lord His will, they may be disappointed with His answer. They may be asked to give up their home to a family in need and move into a trailer. I believe THAT kind of behavior would be something that could stir the angels to begin gathering you for Zion. I’m not sure I’d be willing to do it, but if I’m going to ask Him, I better be prepared to accept and embrace that sort of an answer. Two very good examples, the Savior, and Joseph Smith, most likely died penniless. We know Joseph likely died bankrupt and left Emma in distress. How did a man with such power and such authority, running for President, mayor of the largest city in Illinois at the time, commander of the Nauvoo Legion place himself in such a predicament? Those kind of questions may be the kinds of questions that will help us attain Zion.

My apologies to Century 21 and the real estate industry. They are a great agency, and I bought my last home from one of their agents, who was very tuned in to my list of features and needs. There are good agents who will help you with whatever you want, and will try to sell you a home with integrity.

Don’t Read TPJS or that Snuffer Guy


teachings-prophet-joseph-smithYou’re probably familiar with Nearing Kolob, the blog dedicated to posts from missionaries and mission presidents that seem a little, well … unusual. I recently came across a letter from one such mission president whose counsel falls into that “unusual” category by controlling what missionaries study. When I served as a missionary in 1976 we were encouraged to read books from the list below. In fact, our mission president, a former CES Institute Director, encouraged us to read many additional books that were found in the mission library, mainly from current General Authorities.

 

  1. The Standard Works / the Scriptures
  2. Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage
  3. The Great Apostasy by James E. Talmage (not all missions approved this one)
  4. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards
  5. The Articles of Faith by LeGrand Richards
  6. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith
  7. Essentials in Church History, by Joseph Fielding Smith
  8. Doctrines of Salvation (three volumes) by Joseph Fielding Smith
  9. Faith Precedes the Miracle by Spencer W. Kimball
  10. The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball

Today, the only book that I think is still on the approved list is Jesus the Christ. I find this simply amazing and absolutely deplorable. It’s no wonder most of the missionaries today seem to know so little about LDS Church History or what Joseph Smith taught on a subject. In fact, as this letter demonstrates, knowing what Joseph taught is detrimental to missionaries.

041915

Hermana – I do appreciate your openness in our discussions. That helps me understand where you are in your personal conversion process and areas that I might be able to help you with. We are all converts and are all going through a continual conversion process throughout our lives.

I know you were concerned about not being able to read the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It may seem unusual that you are not allowed to read this book while on your mission but you will recall that the call letter you received from President Monson specifically said to not bring any books with you that were not on the list of the missionary library. The principle here is that with the missionary library, including the standard works and those teachings available through the church web pages, you have all you need to effectively teach the gospel here on your mission. Not reading Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith is a matter of obedience to the counsel and direction of our living prophets and apostles and is not something that I have personally determined. That said I wholeheartedly support what the brethren have asked of our missionaries in this regard and see the blessings in the lives of those missionaries who are obedient to this principle.

We revere Joseph Smith and reverence his role as the first prophet of this dispensation. That said we believe in modern and continuing revelation through living prophets such as Thomas S. Monson. Many of the things we are doing in the church today were not revealed to Joseph Smith and came to us via continual revelation and are nevertheless part of the restored gospel in its fullness. A good example would be the revelation given that all worthy men could hold the priesthood which came through living prophets of that time I also find it wonderful and inspired to see how D&C 107 has continued to be used to address the expanding needs of the church with the quorums of the seventy taking on a larger and larger role in the administrative affairs of the kingdom.

When we discussed the fact that President Monson is a prophet just as Abraham and Moses were you noted that you knew of no prophecy given by him. It is certain that you and I do not know of all the revelations and prophecies given to President Monson but that lack of personal knowledge of revelations that God does not want him to share with the rest of us does not then make him any less of a prophet. Over the years there have been many prophecies revealed to the Lord’s anointed prophets that are not widely known to men such as when prophets have been shown things but were forbidden to write them or reveal them. A good example is found in Alma (See Alma 45:9-14).

I know you have dedicated much time in the study of the history of the church and related information. That is good. My only caution is that you take care not to trust so much in your own understanding and that which you are personally able to learn for yourself and shut off spiritual learning. We know that the Holy Ghost is the Master Teacher (See Elder Bednar’s talk – Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary) and that through the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things (Mor 10:4-5). When Elder Bednar toured our mission he told the missionaries to not write down the words that they hear him say but to write the feelings that come to them as he spoke. Scholars both in and out of the church risk becoming so enamored with their own understanding and learning that they are blinded to the Spirit. Of use is the caution provided in 2 Nephi 9:28.

28 0 that cunning plan of the evil one! 0 the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

I am quick to admit that I do not know everything about the gospel. I think you would admit this as well. When we trust our own learning we are trusting in the arm of flesh and that always leads us to places where we do not want to go.

For talks to study this week I would like you to print, study, meditate and pray about the following:

President James E. Faust, The Healing Power of Forgiveness.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/the-healing-power-of-forgiveness?lang=eng

I am concerned about feelings you have about President Monson and these incidents that you do not want to disclose to me but which seem to trouble you about him. Read this talk and begin the process of forgiving him for whatever wrong you perceive he has committed. You will be healed and be strengthened in your testimony of him in the process. I sat next to Gary Ceran on a plane coming back to SLC on a business trip a few months before our mission and we had a most amazing conversation.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/be-meek-and-lowly-of-heart?lang=eng

Elder Soares does an amazing job helping us realize those attributes that make us true disciples of Christ.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/receive-the-holy-ghost?lang=eng by Elder Bednar.

I wrote this on Sunday afternoon but very early this morning as I was pondering and praying about your situation and feelings I had the impression to share the following. I tell missionaries who are going home that if they show me their friends I will show them their future. I am trying to inspire them to seek out good company and in surrounding themselves with such people they will live the standards of the church as well. It goes without saying that if you hang out with people who do drugs or break the law of chastity that you will eventually do those things too. How does this apply to you? It applies in the fact that if you read literature produced by or focuses on things taught by people who are disaffected with the church who are either members or who are separated either of their own choice or through church discipline that you will eventually become like them. That is why it is never good to do so. The 13th Article of Faith says in part that if there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy we seek after these things. Nothing that someone like Denver Snuffer or any other person who criticizes the prophet or the church and what they do falls into any of those categories. Time spent on these things are a distraction from that which will elevate us to exaltation … the things spoken of in the 13th Article of Faith.

As I thought further on this my mind was taken to those who criticized Joseph Smith and sought to tear him or the church down or diminish him as the Lord’s chosen vessel. They either repented of those things or they became separated from the church either by their choice or by church discipline. Regardless, they put in jeopardy their exaltation for doing so. Some would say that church discipline is wrong. I know that Denver Snuffer says that he was treated unjustly by his local leaders for holding the council and by President Monson for upholding his excommunication and that it was an exercise of unrighteous dominion. The simple fact is that there were those who opposed the church and Joseph Smith who were excommunicated in councils in which the prophet presided or which were approved by him. That was not unrighteous dominion any more than the actions of President Monson.

I truly hope and pray that I can help you through these challenging moments so that you can achieve your full potential as a missionary and as a daughter of our Heavenly Father. I am not your enemy. I am here to help you from going down a path from which the return will be hard and perhaps ultimately impossible if followed for too long.

Regards, President ******

 

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