In my interview with Denver last week, the subject of the Patriarchal Priesthood was one that interested me the most, so I asked it first. It also happens to be the longest response I received in the interview. I present it here for your consideration. This has motivated me to go back and read the lecture on priesthood again. At 45 pages, it is one of the longer lectures in the entire series.
I am intrigued by the Patriarchal Priesthood. I have seen it used and have learned a number of things in private that strengthen my desire to receive it. Go back to Father Adam. Go back to the Patriarchs. Study their lives and how they worshipped. Remember what they did each time they wanted to express gratitude for a blessing received. Think of Jacob’s dream, Lehi’s pillar of fire.
When I posted the audio of the interview, I suggested if anyone was interested, it would be helpful to have a transcription of the answers provided. Not one, but two individuals have invested many hours in doing so. I thank them both. The original post with the questions has been updated with the links. In this post, I present the transcription of the first Q&A and invite your discussion.
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 one: http://3tcm.net/question-one.pdf
Question One: In a recent talk (3-22-15) on plural marriage, you said (page 39), “There have been many signs given by God that He was about to do something new from the time of the death of Joseph Smith till today. All that was left at the end was for a witness to be appointed, to come to declare, ‘Now it has come to an end.’ In the last talk in the ten lecture series I said, the witness has now come, and I am he. It has come to an end with something new now begun. One of the signs of it having come to an end was the passing of Eldred Smith.”
Will you elaborate on the significance of the passing of Patriarch Eldred G. Smith on April 4, 2013 and how or why we should take this as a sign that something has come to an end? In particular, what has come to an end? You are declaring you are a witness of an end-time event. This seems vital. What is that event, how are you a witness, why is it important for us to recognize this event and how should we, or how do you think God expects us to acknowledge such an event in our own lives?
ANSWER (Denver): In a word, the “fullness of the Gentiles” is ending. One of the last signs of that, was the passing of Eldred Smith in 2013, and with him the office of Patriarch of the Church. That office was never well understood. I’ve never been told that it was necessary to fully explain the significance, so I’ve left most of the details unexplained, but to what I said already I would add the following: The LDS Church makes enthusiastic claims about their priesthood, and those claims would be much more accurate if they were dialed back some, if they were considerably more modest. They claim to have Melchizedek priesthood, which has the following list of things associated with it when it is described for us in Genesis 14:30-31 of the Joseph Smith Translation; the authority:
-to break mountains,
-divide the seas,
-to dry up waters,
-to turn waters out of their course,
-to put at defiance the armies of nations,
-divide the earth,
-break every band,
-and stand in the presence of God.
I have previously pointed out that it’s not necessary for the holder to do all these things, but any one of them is enough to show that the authority is present. But this priesthood does have signs.
The ordination of Hyrum Smith in 1841 was “to the office of Priesthood and Patriarch.” That’s in Section 124:91. The reference to “Priesthood” is significant. What was intended with that ordination was so that (and again I’m reading from the same revelation) “his name may be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.” That’s in 124: 96. There was a colorable claim to priesthood while Hyrum and his descendants remained in the office of Patriarch to the Church. That ended. So far as the LDS Church was concerned, it was “good riddance,” because the leaders found the office was troublesome. That office was not part of the Twelve, yet claimed the status of “prophet, seer and revelator,” while it was part of the General Authorities. It was uncontrollable because only descendants of Hyrum were the holders. That gave the office holders independence, and the LDS leaders wanted the office to be discarded so as to finish the consolidation of control in the Twelve, and it has been.
There are many prophecies that foretell the Gentiles will reject their invitation to have the fullness of the Gospel. Christ said that this would happen in 3 Nephi 16:10: “And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.”
There have been many signs that Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled. At the end of that series of events only one thing remained to be done. God needed to send a witness to be the final required sign to declare His intention to begin something new. He always sends a witness to remove doubts. In this event there have actually been two witnesses, inasmuch as Keith Henderson added his witness to the conclusion of the ten lectures.
The signs include, but are not limited to, the condemnation of the Church in 1832 (which was D&C 84:54-58), the expulsion from Missouri, (that happened and was explained in D&C 101:1-2), the forced winter exodus from Nauvoo, the suffering during and following the exodus, the afflictions, judgments and wrath of God at the Saints, (foretold in D&C 124:44-45), their pride, lying, deceit, hypocrisy, murderers, priestcrafts and whoredoms, all of which Christ foretold in 3 Nephi 16:10.
There was an inquisitorial abuse of the Saints by their leaders once they were isolated in the wilderness. As part of the Mormon Reformation, the population was interrogated to root out heresy, sin, and to root out disbelief with the threat of blood atonement, which was “slaying the sinner to save them from hell” (then being taught).
There were mass murders. Over 200 non-Mormons were executed in Mountain Meadows to vindicate an oath to avenge the death of the prophets. Originally the oath was aimed at those who slew Joseph and Hyrum, but news of Parley Pratt’s slaying arrived just at the time that the Mountain Meadows emigrants were going through Utah. And since Parley Pratt was regarded as a prophet by the Saints, the oath of vengeance included him also. Brigham Young traditionally has not been directly implicated, but everyone including the LDS Church Assistant Historian, Richard Turley, admits that his blood atonement rhetoric during the Mormon Reformation, coupled with the temple oath of vengeance that Brigham Young added to the rites of the temple, as well as First Presidency counselor Jedediah Grant’s fiery additions on top of that, were responsible for creating the environment in which the murders at Mountain Meadows took place.
Just as an aside, an oath of vengeance for slaying the prophets could not have been put there by Joseph Smith, because he and Hyrum Smith had not yet been slain while Joseph was initiating the rites. And so the oath of vengeance was necessarily the product of the mind of Brigham Young. But it was part of the temple oaths, and everyone including LDS Historians now admit that the blood atonement teaching, the oath of vengeance, the threatening spirit of the Mormon Reformation, and Brigham Young’s and Jedediah Grant’s fiery rhetoric all contributed to the murders of over 200 emigrants.
Other signs we have seen are contradictions in what the LDS Church has called “fundamental teachings.” For example, plural marriage was once required for exaltation, now it will result in excommunication. Ordaining blacks would once forfeit all Church priesthood, now it is unequivocally condemned as false and those who taught it are likewise denounced and condemned.
Adopting a well-paid professional ministerial class. In Alma, there is an incident involving a man named Nehor. Nehor advocated that priests should not labor with their own hands, but they should get supported with the believer’s money. This was something the Book of Mormon condemns as being “priestcraft. ” Alma, on the other hand, ordained priests in Mosiah 18:18, “and he instructed them that they must labor with their own hands for their own support.” In Mosiah 18:24, “And he commanded them, that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for the support.” King Mosiah adopted the standard as the law in Mosiah 27 4-5:
That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support. Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God.
I could raise money if I wanted to. I could raise a lot of money if I wanted to because there are those willing to support me and what I teach. If I raised money off the religion I preach, I could certainly get a lot more done with the time it would free up. Instead, I labor with my own hands and I work nights, evenings, and weekends to advance the restored faith.
The amount of work that is going into the book that will come out next involves enormous sacrifice. That includes not just me, but also my wife who edits the manuscript, and practically every spare moment that we both have is required to get the labor done. But it has exactly the effect described in the Book of Mormon. We should esteem our neighbor as ourselves, laboring with our own hands. We should not think that we are better than anyone. When you take money from someone else in order to advance your religious purpose, the mere act of doing that creates an inequality, it instills an arrogance in the recipient. It removes the burden of sacrifice, it removes the humiliation of having to lose sleep and to fret and to worry about things, and to face an uphill battle in everything that you do in order to please God. But you can’t please God by taking advantage of your fellow man.
There have been changes to the ordinance. Isaiah 24:5 warned that:
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Those changes include the most single radical change to the temple endowment in 1990. There were other changes made over the years, but the most radical single change was in 1990.
In 2005 the LDS Church eliminated washings and anointings. Before the January 2005 changes, washings and anointings were literal. The 2005 change made them only symbolic thereafter. That has significance. And I leave it to people to query why it has significance. There was a reason why Christ was anointed preliminary to His death by the woman that blessed and anointed Him. It was to preserve Him into the resurrection. Now the LDS Church no longer does that.
There is a Mormon quest for popularity. Gordon B Hinckley was the original employee and secretary for the, what was then called, the “Radio Publicity and Missionary Literature Committee” in 1934. That committee was predecessor to the Public Communications Department. By the time he became the 15th LDS Church President, his work had hardwired public relations into the institution. This quest for popularity has required public opinion to be considered, resulting in the motivation to make the other changes. The earnest believer interprets the changes as proof of continuing revelation. It is instead the conscious institutional effort to become popular—a way to market Mormonism to the targeted audience.
Another problem has been the centrally controlled, tightly correlated, rejection of teachings through the Correlation Department. This process is the one which David O McKay predicted would lead the Church into apostasy. I discussed this in Passing the Heavenly Gift, you can read about it there if anyone is interested.
The history of Gentile Mormonism has been a long downward path. I laid that out in Passing the Heavenly Gift. The Gentiles have walked away from the light and increasingly embraced darkness and foolish trust in men. All Mormon sects are now ruled by traditions contrary to the scriptures and commandments of God. They are asleep and cannot be awakened. God is now leading something new and left the leaders of all the various Mormon sects to find their own way. Emma Smith, Sidney Rigdon and William Marks said that, “Without Joseph Smith, there was no Church.”
That comment was preserved by William Clayton in his diary in August 1844, because to William Clayton, that was offensive. (See The Nauvoo Diaries of William Clayton, 1842-1846, Abridged, p. 64, August 27, 1844.) The election of the Twelve to lead had taken place on August 8th, and so when Emma Smith, Sidney Rigdon and William Marks said that “Without Joseph Smith there was no Church,” Clayton recorded it in his journal because he thought it was inappropriate and offensive. But Emma, Sidney and William were right.
Following Joseph’s death there was a complete overthrow of the Church by the Quorum of Twelve. The Quorum of the Twelve substituted themselves in place of the equal distribution of power established by revelation. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are supposed to be equal in authority. That’s in 107: 24. Joseph never moved a single Apostle into the First Presidency. They were independently equal bodies and Joseph never moved an Apostle into his presidency.
Likewise the Quorum of 70 was equal with the Twelve. That’s in 107:25-26, and therefore that body should be regarded as equal to the First Presidency also.
The Standing High Councils of Zion were also equal in authority to the Twelve and the First Presidency. That’s in 107:36-37.
All the keys (to the extent that there were any) were, and are held, 100% by the First Presidency, 100 % by the Twelve, 100% by the Quorum of the 70, and 100% by the High Councils. There was no primacy in the Twelve when originally organized by Joseph Smith according to the revelation.
In the years before Joseph’s death, the Twelve were away from Nauvoo doing missionary work as their calling required. Joseph Smith spent his final three years in close association with the Nauvoo High Council, as the Nauvoo High Council minutes reflect. Following Joseph’s and Hyrum’s death, Emma remarked:
“Now as the Twelve have no power with regard to the government of the Church in the Stakes of Zion, but the High Council have all power, so it follows that on removal of the first President, the office would devolve upon the President of the High Council in Zion …the Twelve… were aware of these facts but acted differently.” (Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, Doubleday, (New York, 1984), pp. 206-207.)
Emma was the wife of Joseph Smith. I know she’s taken a lot of bad press from LDS Mormonism. At one time I enjoyed that same opinion about her. But these were her comments made in the immediate aftermath of Joseph Smith’s death. She was not interested in destroying her husband’s work. That cost him his life. She was telling the truth.
None of the equality of these four different bodies survived Brigham Young. When Brigham Young assumed control, all equality was destroyed and the Church became an oligarchy run by the Twelve. This continues from Young until today. Now the Senior Apostle automatically becomes the Church President, an unscriptural and unwise system for consolidating power. Equality among many has been replaced with the dictatorship of one. Here’s another quote:
“[Emma] bore testimony to [Lucy Messerve] that Mormonism was true as it came forth from the servant of the Lord, Joseph Smith, but …[said] the Twelve have made Bogus of it. ” (Id. p. 211.)
“Bogus” is another word for counterfeit. In those days the term bogus was always a reference to counterfeit money. Joseph cautioned the Saints about violating God’s trust. As he put it:
His work will go forward in these last days in purity, for if Zion will not purify herself so as to be approved in all things in His sight, He will seek another people. For His work will go on until Israel is gathered. And they who will not hear His voice must expect to feel His wrath. (TPJS p. 18.)
To the same effect, during the Mormon Reformation Heber C. Kimball said:
“We received this priesthood in power and authority. If we make a bad use of the priesthood do you not see that the day will come when God will reckon with us and he will take it from us and give it to those who will make better use of it?” (JD 6:125.)
George Albert Smith said essentially the same thing:
“God has set his hand at the present time to establish his kingdom. But unless the Saints will so live and so exert themselves that they can preserve the purity of the holy Priesthood among them, the work will be left to other people.” (JD 6:161.)
Brigham Young said essentially the same thing.
“God will preserve a portion of the meek and the humble of this people to bear off the Kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth, and will defend His Priesthood; for it is the last time, the last gathering time; and He will not suffer the Priesthood to be again driven from the earth. ” (JD 2:184.)
We should expect God’s house to be ordered around only one principle: repentance. When the pride of a great organization replaces repentance, the heavens withdraw, and when they do, “amen to that portion of God’s house.” The Restoration through Joseph Smith will always remain, even if God chooses to order it differently before His return. It is His to do with as He determines best.
He has now sent me as a witness to state the moment has passed and something new has begun. Keith Henderson has likewise testified. The conditions promised by the Lord have been met. Whether anyone notices is of little consequence. God is now doing something to further the Restoration and bring it to its final culmination.
The passing of Eldred Smith was a moment in time that reflected the cumulative effect of a lot of decisions, including and beginning with the initial overthrow of the government of the Church by the Twelve at the passing of Joseph and Hyrum, and culminating in the final overthrow of the priesthood itself, by the death of the discarded Eldred Smith and the discontinuation of the authority that was supposed to have been kept in “honorable remembrance from generation to generation.” God will bestow that authority again and it will go forward, but it will go forward without these organizational pretenders that amass wealth and practice priestcraft.