A Wild Man Hath Come Among Us

OgdenKraut.comI remember the excitement in the online world when the document “Further Light and Knowledge” made the rounds among the early Mormon Internet reading groups. I’m an old man so I remember Mormon-L and other such groups where communication was not like it is on Facebook or blogs. It was more of a mailing list where people shared documents. We read them then offered our opinions and observations.

I think it came into my life just after I had been ordained a High Priest some twenty years ago. I down-loaded and printed it, studied it, marked it up, prayed about it and then did a foolish thing. I went to the Los Angeles temple President (Glen Walker) to discuss it with him. His reaction was astonishing to me. He quickly escorted me out of his office saying, “Prayer circles are only to be held inside the temple.”

jim-harmstonThat always bothered me. Frankly, I didn’t believe it. When I prayed about it, I felt otherwise. It was many years before I found the courage to pray in my home as taught in the temple. I learned long ago prayer circles were regularly conducted outside the temples in homes and stake centers until banned in 1978. I guess the Brethren felt the people couldn’t handle it. Looking at Jim Harmston, perhaps they were right.

Opening the Portal to Heaven

I have always been a rebel and I know it. I have always questioned why we do things a certain way. I guess it started in elementary school. I am a kinesthetic learner, although I didn’t know it at the time. I simply couldn’t sit still for lectures. Unless I was doing something with my hands, I was not learning. I am still that way today. My work on computers today is hands-on. I learn new skills only by practicing.

Tribune File Photo James D. Harmston.

Tribune File Photo
James D. Harmston.

Shouldn’t it be the same way with spiritual skills? Adam and the patriarchs built altars. Why don’t we? What is significant about altars? Does it mean something to heaven when we build an altar and then consecrate it to the Lord? I think so. What about a home altar? Why are we not taught about this in the LDS Church today? Do the Brethren not trust us? Apparently not. Yet they were common in early Utah.

I confess I was attracted to the writings and activities of Jim Harmston. Here was a man who was holding study groups in his home. The Brethren became so concerned they published an edict that such groups were not to be held, mainly because it could lead to experimenting with spiritual things that could open the portals of heaven and hell. Guess what? In this case, the Brethren’s warnings were are still are correct.

Watch Out for False Prophets

Jim Harmston is dead now. Died of a heart attack a few years back. His movement, the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ, based in Manti, has all but died out. We called them the Manti group and spoke of them in hushed tones. They were onto something. Jim claimed heavenly visits at the altar. He went past the will of the Lord when he instituted polygamy and then predicted a day that the Lord would return.

TLC_redbrickstoreWrong. Big mistake. False prophet. I can see why people compare Denver Snuffer to Jim Harmston. Denver has declared he has met with the Savior. Not once, but many times. He claims he has communed with the members of the Church of the Firstborn. I believe him. He says he is doing the work of the Lord. He declares the heavens are opened. He has declared we will need a temple to be sealed to the Fathers.

Hmmm…what makes him different from Warren Jeffs of the FLDS and whoever is leading the AUB today? Or one of the many dozens of offshoots that are all insignificant and failing or failed? There may be thousands who have read Denver’s writings and thousands who have been baptized. The Brethren are obviously concerned about him as evidenced by the recent “Boise Rescuemeeting with Dallin Oaks last month.

How can one know for themselves that the work being conducted by Denver Snuffer is approved by the Lord? It seems to me it will always be a small minority of people who adhere to what he has shared, but maybe I haven’t caught the big picture let. I confess I’m a fledging when it comes to what Denver has said is possible. I have not been in the presence of the Lord, nor do I expect to be for many years to come.

40-years-in-mormonismPoor deluded Tim. He says the Lord has confirmed to his soul that Denver is a prophet. Yet, not even Denver has made such a statement. In last month’s interview, I asked him about his use of the phrases, “Servant, “Witness” and “Messenger,” all words he has used to refer to himself. In his answer, which seemed to be offered in humility, he said he is naught but a teacher – “at this point.” More Hmmm…

Please don’t tell me I’m obsessed with Denver. I’m just trying to analyze the remaining questions from the interview. I can’t wait for the next one in which I asked him about dancing on the Grand Mesa and calling for Mother in Heaven to manifest herself. His answer leaves no room for doubts. Some early students who listened to what Denver had to share have now turned away. But that’s for the next post.

Prophet, Servant, Messenger, Witness or simply Teacher…

Question Seven: I have heard you say, and read in many places in your books and on your blog, you dislike the public attention received as a result of performing the assignments given you by the Lord. You’ve been emphatic we should not replace one idol with another. Yet the people look to you for leadership. For example, in the Phoenix lecture you provided some direction on tithing, the sacrament, ordinations, worship or fellowship groups, and in particular, the requirement that the approval of seven women is needed to sustain a man in performing ordinances in public. You also said a man was unworthy – the Lord’s word – if his wife will not sustain him.

SnufferiteIn the Jewish tradition, when questions arise, everyone turns to the Rabbi. In the LDS Church, local leaders consult the handbook or turn to a General Authority for help with difficult procedural questions. You have stated you don’t like the term used by some – Snufferites – to describe those who read your writings. You have made it clear every man should have a sufficiently strong relationship with the Lord to get answers to procedural and doctrinal questions. Yet, you are the one the Lord sent as a servant, witness or messenger to declare the orderly dismantling of the established hierarchy. Does that not make you a prophet and de-facto leader?

Search the Scriptures for the Role of True Leaders

ANSWER (Denver): Let me clarify. I view my role only to be a teacher at this point. I hope to remain in that role alone. But I would hasten to add, that if you search the scriptures to look at what role was occupied by Enoch and the success that he had in his day, the only thing he claimed to be was a teacher and a preacher of repentance. That’s it. The success he had was not because he was some great dictator, it was because he was a teacher that provoked people to repent.

Melchizedek, Joseph Smith clarified, was not a king of a city, or king of a country, he just preached. He was a teacher and a preacher. He preached and the people, according to the Book of Mormon who heard him, Alma clarifies that they were wicked people, but they repented. (Alma 13:17-18.) And because they repented they were able to gather and live the principles that brought them together.

kirtland-temple-teachingI think the idea of a strong central leader is no more likely to succeed in our day than it was in Joseph’s. At the end, when Joseph lamented that the people were depending too much on the prophet, and they were neglecting the duties that were devolving upon themselves, therefore they were darkened in their minds. (TPJS, p. 237-238.) It was too late. In 1842 when he made that comment in the meeting of the Relief Society, it was too late. The moment had passed. They were dependent upon him. I try to learn from earlier examples and not repeat the same errors. If there are errors to be made, I want them to be new ones, not a repetition of the same old ones that caused the failure before.

The Strong Man Principle – Doomed to Fail

The responsibility of preaching the Gospel is to take the burden and put it upon the individual; to have the individual connect to God. One man being saved and saying, “I’ve got a pipeline to God, and so now I get to be your boss,” won’t save him nor those who listen to him. But someone who says, “God is willing to speak, and does speak to every one of you,” and who teaches to encourage you to use the gifts that God gives every one of us, that teacher may help others. All individuals have gifts, and curious though some of them may be, all of us have some kind of gift. Use it to reconnect to God. And then build upon that to have your life filled with light and truth.

denver-snuffer-booksI really think it is unnecessary to build a new canon of scripture when we haven’t paid enough attention to the canon of scripture we have already. We need to plumb the depths of the volumes that we have been given and figure out what they are saying, because they say whole lot more than we have drawn out of them as yet. What I’ve talked about in the 10 lectures and in the 14 volumes I’ve written is the scriptures. Hopefully it serves to remind people of what the scriptures actually do contain, because they are plentiful. And I think the only role I would carve out for myself is a teacher.

Epilogue – A Few Closing Thoughts

Denver’s answer here was rather short. I suspect there is so much more that he could have shared. His humility is evident, at least to me. I like the man. Carol does not. She sees what he has done or is doing as divisive. I see it as fulfilling a deep-seated and long-held request from the Lord to understand Zion and how I can participate in the bringing forth of the latter-day Temple. Lord, I ask to be used in this area.

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 seven: http://3tcm.net/question-seven.pdf


A Forum for Latter-day Commentary

approaching-the-heavenly-giftThere is an interesting discussion taking place over at the LDS Freedom Forum. For those who aren’t members of the “Approaching the Heavenly Gift” sub-forum, here are the details below (removed).

I have been asked to consider turning on the forum feature on this WordPress blog. It’s an easy thing to do and a relatively easy thing to administer, but is it worth it? Will people participate? Comments are open for discussion.

Update: The LDC Forums are up: https://latterdaycommentary.com/forums/

<Contents of the post removed at request of owner>

Here is the link to the LDS Freedom Forum in general: http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/

Grand Key of Discernment – Case Studies

In my last post, I discussed how meekness, humility, and charity were the Grand Keys of Discernment. In this post, I feel impressed to discuss how we can get there, coming to a unity of the truth, using the Grand Keys, from a variety of different viewpoints. There is quite christianislama bit of activity going on in the world right now with respect to dreams and visions, not just in the Mormon corridor. Muslims, in particular, are reporting having dreams of the Savior and having Him call them to His ways. We should celebrate such efforts as the Master is going out into the Vineyard for the first time along with His servants, as discussed in Jacob 5.

71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and alabor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the blast time that I shall cnourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.

72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

Searching for Meekness in the Message

As discussed in my previous post, whenever we undertake to believe a principle, or do act upon a principle, we should take care to see 1) if it is ratified by the Holy Ghost through a burning in the bosom and 2) If it develops in us meekness and charity, or debasement of our selves in promotion of our fellow man. That debasement opens the path for out hearts to be softened. What happens with a softened heart? Is it not pliable? Is it not open to being taught true principles and correcting false ones? Does it not begin curing unbelief? The application thereof promises that truth seeker personalized evidence, fruits of the Spirit, and even visitation of the Divine. There is nothing dogmatic about this approach, and it can be used in a variety of different circumstances and belief windows, but the inevitable conclusion to such efforts is to exercise enough faith in Christ such as that he comes to gather us out of the Vineyard and unto Himself. Here’s how it can work, whether uncorrelated or correlated Mormon, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, even Agnosticism and Atheism. The principle can still work, insomuch that the end result is that we are all knit together in a unity of the faith.

Learning New Knowledge

Anytime one is taught a new principle, there is a tendency to want to share that knowledge . . . and rightly so. Yet, how often in our enlightenment, do we declare our new knowledge as the “right way,” the “true method,” or the “only way to go?” A humble, pliable, and meek person will see new knowledge with divine perspective. A few feet taller on the sidewalk does not make one understand the mysteries of universe, typically found at the top of the mountain. Meek learning is gentle, does not vaunt itself, entices but doesn’t force, withdraws upon any confrontation, the true understanding of “casting pearls before swine.” If once previous knowledge is discovered to be incorrect, there is never any attempt to alter the incorrect foundations for others. The invitation is always to upgrade! There are times when we are to be courageous and to discuss things “betimes with sharpness, WHEN MOVED UPON BY THE HOLY GHOST,” never in anger or in retaliation. But I find this to be a rare occurrence, and it’s usually limited to abominations of those that take name of the Lord in vain. True meekness is never frustrated or elevated by attacks upon personal character or motivation, but can sidestep such efforts and “turn the other cheek.” A meek person considers all viewpoints, is willing to switch direction entirely, and sees wisdom even in apparent irony. True knowledge is a pearl of great price, never a hammer for the ego.

I’d like to consider a few applications of meekness with differing belief windows.

  • Mainstream Mormonism – With the invitation to follow the Brethren as a primary course of action, I would consider seeking out Neal-A-Maxwell-Mormongood talks from the General Authorities that teach meekness, humility, discipleship, and charity. Being excited about the “slams” upon others, or the titillating talks that curse your favorite sin to hate, in which you have no struggle, probably hurt rather than help. Talks that deal with your own weaknesses should be a course of study. I find that talks from Elder Scott, Elder Maxwell, President Eyering are ones I have considered that focus on these key topics, but that’s just me. You may think of others. In your attempt to discover where you need to change course, the softening of the heart will cause the Lord to be able to instruct you, as well as to steer you away from incorrect teachings, historical errors, and other cultural inheritances that may cause you to NOT cast off your unbelief or to adjust your paradigm out of institutional safety. You will be more willing to consider the gaps in your understanding.
  • Remnant Mormonism – Many or you consider yourselves “awake.” This may be because of the process I just described above, or it may come from a motivation of pain. I trust that we can cast off the spirit of rebellion and see how the LDS Church still has much truth, and can help people come to Christ through the very same applications that caused YOU to become awakened. I don’t think it’s necessary for someone to stop following the Brethren in order to achieve the unity of Zion. There are enough good teachings (even if the application is in response to a simple obedient rubric) for a person to develop the qualities needed to be a Zion-like people. Many incorrect traditions need not be cast off early, but can survive the delicate process of heart softening until the very end. A good case study is to view early Christianity through the lens of obedient Jews who became Christian yet still retained their Jewish traditions, worship, and religiosity. Most of the early Apostolic leadership maintained such a course, even as it later became evident that such adherence was most likely unnecessary. We in the remnant movement, ought to give enough space to our mainstream Mormon brethren to follow similar paths. There will come a time when choices will be starker and more apparent, but it is for the Lord to dictate, and for us to invite as difficult choices must be made.
  • Other Religions – As I stated earlier, many Muslims have been converted by visions from the Lord. This is reminiscent of Joel who stated: “ 28 ¶And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will apour out my bspirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall cprophesy, your dold men shall edream dreams, your young men shall see fvisions:” While I consider this a yet future event, I believe that dreams and visions will accompany the imminent return of the Lord to His people, as well as afterward. As Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even Buddhists focus on core teachings that enhance meekness and charity and the softening of the heart, they will be more available to get instruction from heaven, even unknowingly, and with that instruction, will be able to discern unbelief in their own sects and be more accepting of new teachings from sources foreign. They will be able to discern the works of the Lord in the Book of Mormon and other modern day scripture, just as all of us will be able to discern scriptures not yet given. Even so, such acceptance is only a helpful tool. The Lord can lead anyone, even if they do not have access to scripture. We must be open to such possibilities. So if we encounter someone who does not believe in Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, or has lost a testimony of such things but has a testimony of God, there is hope for them (as well as for us) to develop a unity of the faith in the most important matters.
  • Agnosticism/Atheism – This may seem like a tough one, yet even this is not impossible. Many atheists subscribe to such ideals as “new atheism” or “existentialism” which incorporate aspects of developing compassion for mankind and bettering mankind through acts of charity and service. Devout attention to such acts, with a sense of scientific curiosity and/or allowance for a humility in the face of a vast universe (we don’t know what we don’t know kind of attitude), I believe even such an one can qualify for a unity of the faith. Even their hearts can be softened, and even they can feel stirrings which would point them to the divine. Indeed, I believe that cheerful charity and meekness with one who doubts a higher power cannot help but feel that higher power reach down and touch their hearts in grace at some point. Nevertheless, we should embrace them in what they CAN do in common cause with us for the bettermecoesxistnt of mankind. For in reality, if God’s mission is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,” existentialism has much that can be embraced even in that statement, because there is a persistent undercurrent of attempting to better the life of man to the point that he may eventually evolve into a better situation, and possibly immortality. Who knows? Maybe this is how the first God in the first universe progressed.
  • Politics – I believe we must cast off our political leanings as the first fruits of our identity. We can believe in a party platform, or fight for great causes that mean something to us, but to come to a unity of the faith, we must put the universal virtues first, meekness, and charity. For a Republican, this may mean “denying not the beggar” in our own individual service to the poor, even if we disagree with welfare policy that uses tax dollars. For a Democrat, this may mean understanding that man-driven solutions may be inadequate, and that we need God for real change to take place, in a gentle and non-coercive manner. Frankly, I believe politics is mostly a conceited effort by man to come up with a universal application of policies that follow a certain type of virtue, and believing IT will work, instead of wondering in awe at the complexity of the universe, or even the complexity of each individual situation. Solutions in Zion will be made one-on-one, not through a rubric or systematic application of policy. A person will see the need of another, and feel compelled to fill that need.

It would be my hope that we could all begin to look at Zion through lenses in which we can come in common cause. Ideas such as meekness, charity, and compassion are universal, and can be our foundation, despite any belief window we come from. The only thing hindering us from that is our own vanity and pride . . . wanting to be right . . . more than wanting the betterment of mankind. Let us be so motivated.

Reorganizing the Family of God

the-divine-councilIn the Boise rescue, Elder Oaks spoke much of the temples as evidence of the fruits of the LDS Church. They are beautiful buildings aren’t they? So many resources are poured into these edifices. As President Hinckley once taught, the buildings of the church are not income producing, and constitute a major expense. A lot of tithing money goes into maintaining these buildings, including the wards and stakes.

For over forty years I went to the temple on a regular basis. I went there with thousands of family names my mother had gleaned from years and years of family history work. I performed countless baptisms, inititories, endowments and sealings. I am not alone in my participation in temple work. The focus was always on doing something – proxy ordinances – for family members they could not do for themselves.

While studying the early history of the LDS Church, I noticed a major adjustment in my thinking about the purpose of the temples. I kept wondering about the idea of being “sealed to the fathers.” More and more I found I was contemplating exactly who the fathers were or are. Even after a lifetime of family history research, members of our family could never find family records back any earlier than 1650.

Salvation, Resurrection and Exaltation

CityOfZionI am fairly certain there are some individuals who have been able to trace their family history back to the earliest known records of civilization. I believe I even recall someone telling me they found proof they were related to an individual named in the Bible and could therefore trace their lineage back to Adam. I suppose that’s the ultimate goal of family history research, to find every single ancestor back to Adam.

Growing up in the church I recall being taught we will not be able to complete the family history work that needs to be done because the records are lost. The Millennium is the time when all this work will be completed, because family members will come to those who are living, tell us who they are, when and where they lived and accompany us to the temple while we perform those saving ordinances for them.

Eventually, by the end of the Millennium, everyone will be found, everyone will be sealed and everyone will be joined to the fathers. The objective of life, as I have been taught and believe, is to prepare for a glorious resurrection. That’s individual salvation. But what about exaltation? That only comes about when we are organized by God into His family and participate in ordinances not found in LDS Temples.

Set in Order the House of God

zion-city-of-enochWe need a temple to which Christ can come and reorganize the family of God through an ordinance that seals us to the fathers. As I have written previously on this blog, I hope to be alive when that temple will be built. I hope to contribute to the building of that temple, either financially or with my labor. I want my name to be on the books to be found in that temple. I am grateful to Keith for compiling those records.

Eventually, someone will come along, and “…set in order the house of God, and arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God.” This is found in the last part of D&C 85:7. I have no idea who this person is, but I want my name available to him on the books that are to be found in the temple.

Because “… they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among the unbelievers, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaketh, he will also fulfill.” That promise is found in later verses of the same section (D&C 85:9-10).

Why Christ Will Come to His Temple

Question Six: You proclaimed Jesus Christ has revealed Himself to you. You declared you have seen Him, embraced Him and have been given specific assignments of things to teach, which you have done at your own expense in publications and lectures. The focus of these teachings is the establishment of Zion. You have counseled those who wish to prepare for Zion to institute fellowships for gathering and practicing the principles of Zion, specifically to use tithing as a means to help the poor. You have taught there is to be no new church, no legal entity to receive and centrally manage funds and property, yet you acknowledge the need for a temple.

A new website has been established for a central recorder, where those who have been baptized are encouraged to submit their names. The purpose of this gathering of names is to present them to the Lord in a temple. You said in Mesa, “We do not need numerous temples, but we will need one to which Christ can come. We will not need to perform endless work for the dead until first there has been a covenant made for us. We must be first connected to the fathers in heaven. Only then can we do something to liberate the dead.” You have already taught much on the sealing to the fathers, but will you take a moment to elaborate on the difference between the visit of Christ to an individual and the visit of Christ to a temple yet to be built?

ANSWER (Denver): Yes, I can. Individual salvation and promises of eternal life are just that, they are individual. A restoration of the family of Israel requires more, including cooperation and interrelationships that will be formed by God Himself. Promises made to individuals give the individual hope. If you take the vision of the redemption of the dead in D&C 138, he saw a vision where:christ-in-spirit-world

There were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality; And who had offered sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, and had suffered tribulation in their Redeemer’s name. All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. (D&C 138:12-14, emphasis added.)

All of them. These were the righteous. They were in Paradise and all of them were worthy, they had been given hope of a glorious resurrection. Not only did the Savior give them hope before death, He visited with them in the spirit world during the time between His death and His resurrection. But that did not get them reconnected to the fathers in heaven, nor did it even get them resurrected, because it goes on to say in the transcript of the same vision:

…from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead. (D&C138:30, emphasis added.)

So the righteous who departed this life firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, who had offered sacrifice in the similitude, many of whom had seen Him in the flesh, who witnessed Him and were ministered to by Him, and given authority by Him, in the spirit world, remained in the world of the dead to preach to the dead. They were NOT resurrected.

Joining the Family of God by an Ordinance

Only the organization of God’s family through a temple and associated rites, results in finishing the family of God in the House of Order. IF this were to be done it would allow the recipients to follow the results achieved, or allowed the results achieved by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which are described in D&C 132:37. Abraham Isaac and Jacob:

…did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.

carl_bloch_the_christNote that in D&C 138:41 Abraham, the father of the faithful, Isaac and a Jacob were also there in the spirit world among the dead seen in the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead. In verses 41-22 of 138, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were there. But in the revelation recorded in 1843 they were sitting on thrones. They were not left behind in the spirit world proselytizing. Instead they are sitting on thrones.

The difference between these two categories of the righteous are the differences between individual salvation, which gives hope of a glorious resurrection, on the one hand, and reorganizing the family of God which must occur by an ordinance in a temple to be acceptable to God, on the other hand. This was why the command was given to build the temple in Nauvoo. And why God offered to restore to them the fullness that they did not achieve.

We need to let God take the lead, and then we need to patiently await each step along the way. This is the stuff of which the prophecies speak, and it is the stuff that will be fulfilled. But the rites and the ordinances necessary to accomplish that? People in this generation don’t even have a clue how that necessarily has to roll forth. But rest assured it will. God intends to set His house in order. He alone will do this.

Sources for the Interview:

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 six: http://3tcm.net/question-six.pdf

Baptizing With Power and Authority

TimBaptism2aCroppedA month ago today I spent a few hours with Denver Snuffer. I am grateful for the time he took to answer some of my questions, allowing me to record and publish his answers. I asked the Lord for inspiration in which questions to ask. They came after much study and prayer. The question addressed in this post starts off with a summary of the previous four. They are very direct. If you haven’t read his answers, I recommend you first do so. He was just as direct in his responses.

Some of those responses, summarized in the opening paragraph below, are difficult for most orthodox LDS folks to accept. They are stark in their claims that something new is afoot in the heavens and now upon the earth. In question five, I wanted to know how the last lecture in the series of ten lectures, 40 Years in Mormonism fulfilled the title of “Preserving the Restoration.” Specifically, I wanted to know how being baptized again would help in building up Zion today.

The Key to Receiving the Holy Ghost

alma-baptizes-helamI find it interesting that Denver’s post yesterday touched on this very subject of Baptism. Take a moment to go there and read it. Then consider carefully the answer to this question below. I have addressed the subject of power at least a half dozen times on this blog in the past. Each time the idea of power in the priesthood comes up, it seems everyone has a different idea of what it really is. Power in the priesthood is real. Authority was restored and will never be taken from the earth again (D&C 13).

You decide what kind of priesthood is being addressed here. Do you have it? Do you exercise it? Has it been exercised in your behalf in helping you connect with heaven? Did the Holy Ghost fall upon you after you were baptized? If not, I suggest you seek this baptism again. Go out and find someone who knows how to administer it properly as demonstrated by Alma in the Book of Mormon, by first obtaining power in the priesthood. Authority without power has no real effect.

Question Five: You have proclaimed God has ended the way he works with his children on the earth today. You have announced yourself to be a witness of this fundamental change. You have declared yourself a second witness of the many works of God through the prophet Joseph Smith. You have reaffirmed the importance of the Patriarchal Priesthood, the law of adoption or sealing to the Fathers in the family of God. You have announced the LDS Church can no longer claim to be led by the priesthood of God, virtually making it no different from any other church today

Yet the title and focus of the last lecture in the series “Forty Years in Mormonism” is “Preserving the Restoration.” You have counseled those who have accepted this message and you as the Lord’s servant, witness or messenger in this great change, to be baptized. Specifically, you quoted 3 Nephi 11:26–27 and said, “I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command … confirmed again today.” Thousands of individuals have been baptized at your invitation. Will you elaborate on how your declarations and baptismal invitation preserve the restoration, as opposed to tearing it down?

waters-of-mormonANSWER (Denver): All—universally—all of the various iterations of Mormonism are less and less like the foundation and we need to return. If you go back to what I said about baptism you will find that on the topic of baptism, there is an example taken from the Book of Mormon in which Alma, who had been ordained in the court of King Noah, he was chosen precisely because he was wicked. Alma, who probably had a line of authority compromised by wicked men. He went out to baptize Helam. Before he did so, he asked heaven to give him the power to baptize. He got the power to baptize, and he baptized Helam.

What I suggest in that talk, is that everyone who has been ordained in the LDS tradition, who fits in the category President Boyd K. Packer in General Conference lamented—we have done a good job with spreading the authority of the priesthood, but we’ve done a poor job of getting power in the priesthood[1]— therefore we must go out and obtain from heaven the connection that gives power in the priesthood. The temple rites tie together “power in the priesthood” with conversing with the Lord through the veil. It is an appropriate connection. I explained all this in the lecture on Priesthood given in Orem, Utah. Accordingly, it is necessary for now those who are to baptize others to get the power from heaven. Let us have them go out and baptize again with power from heaven, so we know it is done with God’s power and not done merely relying upon an authoritative tradition lacking in power that cannot be accepted by heaven.

The Purpose of Renewing Baptism

JosephBaptizingOliverThe evidence of Alma’s authoritative baptism was the outpouring of the Spirit. There have been those who have been baptized and spent their life in Mormonism, or some other sect of Mormonism, who say they never felt like they had the confirmation of the Spirit. They have gone out, sought for, obtained power from heaven, been re-baptized, and the ordinance has had an effect upon these people.

The purpose of renewing baptism is to take what may be a hollow gesture, performed by people who have authority but no power, and turn it into an event with power that connects people to heaven. This is how we can renew the Restoration, like it was renewed in the days of Alma, through Alma and the model of the Book of Mormon. That book answers so many doctrinal imponderables for us today.

Why do we have authority and no power, as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles in General Conference lamented to the Church? It’s because we are not doing what we should be doing. It’s not necessary to have a revolution that divorces us from the Restoration. It’s necessary to have a revolution that connects us back to the Restoration and its beginnings.

baptism-saratoga-springs[1] “We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.” The Power of the Priesthood, April 2010 General Conference. The talk contains interesting admissions about how Correlation revolutionized the Church: “During those years of correlation, the whole operating face of the Church was changed. The entire curriculum was restructured. The objectives and relationships of the organizations one to another were redefined. The key word during those years of correlation and restructuring was priesthood.” He presumed this was a good development, not the catastrophe President David O. McKay predicted. President McKay was, however, correct. Elder Packer cannot recognize that the lack of priesthood power is attributable in part to the assertion of improper control over others in the name of priesthood.

Link to 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 five: http://3tcm.net/question-five.pdf


The Grand Key of Discernment

discerment_true_falseOne of the most challenging aspects of this new movement toward Zion is trying to determine which way is the true way and which way is false. This is critically important, because we do not wish to see ourselves following an apostate belief system or idea, for “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” This is a frequent clarion call against all those who are following the remnant movement and not the authority of the Church. Likewise those of this new movement see deception with those that still place man between themselves and God. Actually, it is more frightening than either of these accusations. Who are the elect? Are they not those that have had their calling and election made sure? They have received baptism, are in the straight gate, and have been baptized by fire and by the Holy Ghost, yet it is THEY that have the warning that THEY can be deceived. This is not a warning to your garden variety mainstream, super religious, super obedient Mormon, it is a warning against those who have qualified themselves even through sacrifice, to obtain the prize. Yet . . . if the very ELECT can be deceived, how much more can we . . . the un-elect (for I put myself in that category), be deceived, whether we are awakened or not, whether we are mainstream LDS, or following a different path. Deception can happen at any step of the way. Imagine how far Lucifer had to have traveled up Jacob’s ladder, only to descend to where he is today. Yet I believe that the solution to discernment works at every level, and is devastatingly simple, meekness and Charity. For “all things faileth, but charity faileth not.”

The Mormon Traditionalist

I have resolved upon the term Mormon traditionalist, or mainstream Mormon for believing members of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, believing in the sense of the temple recommend questions. As a former traditionalist Mormon, I think I have a good idea of how they define truth. Much of it is still useful for me. When any question is put into my mind, as D&C 9 states, I am to study it out in my mind and in my heart, and ask the Lord, and if it is true, the Lord will cause that my “bosom shall burn.” This has always worked for me as a basic principle, but as we can see later, there must be more to this process. What I have recently learned is that there are four stumbling blocks that the Church teaches that can be roadblocks to this foundation:

  1. Obedience Doctrine – Obedience to the law has a place. It is useful for young people, new converts, and new missionaries. But if we refuse to ask certain questions, or follow certain promptings, simply because it goes against what the line authorities say or ask of us, or even what we perceive in scripture, we could be short-changing the truth-gathering process for ourselves. We set ourselves up potentially, as Nephi states, to be “blinded by the craftiness of men.” Obedience is a great virtue, but when employed inside any system that is flawed, can be used to do great evil. Many Germans were obedient to Hitler and it availed them to no end. Obedience to your own inner guide, when employed with certain measurable outcomes, on the other hand, can be great measure of truth!
  2. Infallibility Doctrine – This is an insidious doctrine. Short of not being supported by scripture, the infallibility doctrine results in a person taking no responsibility for his or her own beliefs or actions, resting accountability upon the Church, knowing that as long as the Prophet says to do SOME thing, and that thing is indeed done, that we can rest assured of our salvation. How many of us have taken the time to even ask the Lord if this is a true principle? My question has led me through scriptures that not only condemn such a thing, but even predict the opposite for the Church in the last days . . . fallibility AND apostasy! But to noodle this correctly for our purposes, if I believe something is infallible, I have no motivation to ask ANY question of the Lord about any direction in my religious life, save one or two (see Domino Doctrine).
  3. Security DoctrinegoodshipzionTeaching that following Priesthood leaders, staying in the Church, “Good Ship Zion,” inflating growth numbers, all to entice followers to stay loyal, is a pernicious way to keep people from asking truth-oriented questions. People are then content to rest upon the greatness of the Church. They infer truth in opulent buildings, Priesthood leaders of high stature, and marketing efforts. They feel content and at peace with things and see no need to rock the boat by asking potentially upsetting questions. They feel that no matter what, the Church will take care of them. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, but it is also fallible and can easily be compared to comfort. There is never any indication in scripture that feelings of security, comfort, or safety are indicators of truth. In fact, terms such as “lulling them down into carnal security,” or “All is well in Zion,” are used to counter such claims. True peace takes place in the fury of darkness, when one is unsure of where to go, but one feels confident that the Lord will provide.
  4. Domino Doctrine – This doctrine states that if one piece of the puzzle is truth, it must all be true and all the dominoes fall. We use this on the mission with investigators. We ask them to pray about the Book of Mormon. They do. They receive a witness that it’s true. We then say that if the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that all men who have replaced Joseph Smith are prophets, and the Church is true and infallible. Now . . . imagine if we said the same thing about the Bible. If I were to pray about the Bible in 1300 AD, the Catholic Church could make this same claim, because at that time they had a monopoly on the Bible, and since IT was true, THEY were also true. The LDS Church has a virtual monopoly on the Book of Mormon. Now ask yourself, does that mean that all other claims, scripture, processes, decisions, doctrines, leaders, manuals, etc. since 1830 are true because the Book of Mormon is true?

Does faith in being obedient to the infallibility of the secure domino theory make one more likely to be meek, humble, and compassionate? Are they more likely to think of themselves less than the dust of the earth? Or are they more filled with the vanity of their own conceit and sure of their own salvation? Are they more like the Zoramites or the anti-Nephi Lehites? Are they more likely to be heading towards the comfort of great and spacious buildings or the tree of life?

I stated that I used a process of asking questions and using D&C 9 as a basic primer for truth claims. One thing I’ve learned is to be very precise with the Lord. Don’t assume anything, and don’t let anybody else teach you that it’s okay to assume anything. You cannot. The best way to begin this process is to take every belief about the Church you have and place it on the floor. It may be helpful to write it out. Use the temple recommend questions to start. Pray, for example, about the doctrine that “Thomas Monson is the ONLY person on the face of the earth with all Priesthood keys.” Do the same thing with Brigham Young and the succession crisis in Nauvoo. Study the process of how he may have obtained them. Read the histories of this process. Inform yourself about LDS Church succession. Then ask the Lord. You may be surprised at your answer.

The Skeptic

The skeptic, agnostic, or universalist argument is a very powerful and pervasive argument today, particularly among the disaffected of the Latter-day Saints. I do not wish to engage in polemics against these sorts of arguments. In fact, much of what they contain IS true and is useful in helping us find the truth, with some adjustments. Let’s take them one on one.

  • Truth must be founded in scientific and rational processes. I believe this is true. The concern I have with rationalism isn’t the premise but the application. Who do we trust to perform rational processes? Many who follow agnostic or universalist thinking have complete trust in man’s scientific and academic procedures to vet such processes, even as they have no faith in religion. They are content with the current scope of checks and balances that assure that what is considered scientific truth is indeed truth. I would gently contend that the skeptic’s logic in the first instance is sound with respect to their distrust of religious institutions because of the fuzzy outcomes of their proclaimed mystical inferences of truth . . . but I say take it a step further. Is it possible that scientific and academic worshipscienceinstitutional processes could be hampered by the exact same line of thinking as orthodox religious persons? The scientific institution may on the surface, seem more rational and less driven by the whims of men, at least that is the stated aspiration. But is it true? Are scientists less apt to be concerned with egos, pecking orders, tenure, financial compensation, being right, simply because they are scientists? Does the institutional processes such as study funding, data mining, publishing, peer review, and scientific journalism control for all of these biases? Does science, faced with strange, completely foreign concepts react with curiosity and a healthy skepticism, or does it often circle the wagons around a protected branch of knowledge that can often have financial and economic repercussions? Are new ideas quickly dismissed as quackery or pseudoscience, or are they thoroughly vetted? When new knowledge is discovered, does the branch of science seem more sure of how the universe works, or do they wonder in awe at the immensity of the universe and how little has been discovered? Is science completely free to come to factual conclusions, or can they be subverted by other controlling forces that don’t like the outcomes, like big business or big government? Can research and conclusions be squelched? Can input data be deliberately incorrect or altered for a more beneficial outcome? I believe that there are all kinds of reactions in science and academia to the human condition, some good, and some bad, just like in any other institution. Unless one has the capability of directly observing the data and outcome of a study, as well as the inferences and inputs into the study, one should be careful at using A study to come to conclusions about THE truth, or even a consensus of studies. I find that consensus can often play victim to digging in the same part of the sandbox, and indeed scientific systems are set up that way. The problem is that there are other areas of the sandbox thousands of miles away left untouched with glittering truths buried underneath. As long as science is part of Babylonian business processes (corporate or academic) the cost/benefit structures combined with risk aversion will play a heavy hand against digging deep. If you combine THAT with the need for many scientists to be the next Einstein, the temptation to dig too deep without the proper tools, skipping steps, or fudging the figures, can all play into scientific fraud. Furthermore, modern peer review has a sort of “trust me” mentality. I’m not sure I can guarantee that a peer reviewer will BE unbiased in his or her review. Finally, I believe that a healthy sense of awe in the universe and understanding that “we don’t know what we don’t know” is the best approach to rationalism and modern scientific processes, in essence, meekness. When we are scientifically meek, we are less likely to simply dismiss spiritual processes as a knee-jerk emotional reaction that has no basis in real truth. We can look upon spirituality as a series of concepts in the universe that have yet to really be touched by science, that we haven’t even scratched the surface, and therefore, we just don’t know. It is an area of the scientific sandbox with extreme potential.
  • Spiritual processes cannot be observed, and therefore cannot be tested – It would be mostly correct to say that spiritual processes are difficult to observe. That WOULD make it difficult to test, at least from a third party observational platform. Most spiritual processes at this time in the world, require a participatory process, empirical and anecdotal. This may not be as robust as an observational platform, but it doesn’t mean that it’s without merit. Science seems OKAY with accepting self-identification processes in human sexuality, and some accept it with aplomb. If we’re going to be fair, we ought to be just as accepting of self-identification processes in human spirituality. We at least ought to be more comfortable in experimenting with spiritual processes until we do have a way to better neutrally observe.
  • Spiritual processes lead to different conclusions, which means that they cannot be trusted to determine truth – This is also true, but incomplete. Not all spiritual processes are made equal. Furthermore, it’s possible the spiritual effects of the processes may be employed by different systems of competing interests in the hidden side of the universe, just as they are on the observational side. Outcomes of spiritual processes are a critical component to comprehending truth by the Spirit, not just the feeling of the Spirit. This is part of the grand key that I will now explain

The Grand Key

There are some truths we find self-evident. gutsWe can generally accept as a society that kindness, compassion, forgiveness, charity, and love are all worthwhile things. They are true in that they make mankind happier individually, and better off collectively. There is another virtue I call meekness, that is critical to this list. What is meekness? I define it as humble, teachable, patient, long-suffering, with an eye single to following ideas courageously that are obedient to principles of love and charity. It is the power of Godliness with great patience. We find these fruits beneficial as a society, and I find them delicious to me. That combined testament has allowed me to conclude that this is good and right as a second witness. Furthermore, I can test spiritual processes against those outcomes. Does a belief in an idea make me more meek and charitable, or does it make me more conceited and sure of myself? Does an action on a belief make me more humble and aware of my weakness, or does it set me against my fellow man? Does it make me want to seek control, compulsion,or leadership over others, or merely a sweet desire to serve? As I describe a third way to test spiritual truth, keep this all in mind, because it applies in all the points I have just made and will make.

Spiritual Fuzziness

In the beginning, we discussed D&C 9 as the basic primer for understanding spiritual truth. Yet by itself it has proven to be inadequate. People from all over the planet have felt “burnings of the Spirit” and yet have gone into diverse paths. I believe spiritual feelings come from four different sources, only one of which I think comes from the Good source, or from God. I believe the burning in the bosom, as described in D&C 10 is partly an emotional reaction to a true principle. Because it is emotional it can give us false negatives. Here are some such false negatives:

  • Reaction to what WE want – We dwell upon a concept that will give us what we want, whether it be true love, more money, greater status, comfort, or even simply to be right. When we think about such things, we feel good about them. They can give us a similar feeling to a burning in the bosom. We can feel good, warm feelings in the chest. Yet they can be completely evil and of the devil. They can lead people into grand assurances that justify mass murders and warfare, just as we see with ISIS, or simple ways that carefully lead us to hell, like feeling we are justified in buying that big home on the hill.
  • Reaction to a stumbling block – This is a concept all over scripture. The Jews had this happen to them. I think early Mormonism also fell prey. It goes that when a person asks God for something that God has revealed to them, and the person rejects and asks again, or . . . they ask for a predetermined thing not in line with God’s will, but man’s idea, and they are simply seeking approval . . . God gives stumbling blocks. Moses law was all about stumbling blocks. It’s also called “asking amiss.” Think of it this way as a parent. Your child asks to have ice cream, but he has not had his dinner. Even though dinner first is the better way, parents will often honor the agency of their children and give them what they want, sometimes because the parents are weak in their resolve, but sometime they do it for wisdom’s sake. Some children need to learn the hard way through experience that dessert before dinner can make them sick. The sickness of the experience can make one humble, and turn to the Lord for the true course, which the Lord is happily ready to give.
  • Reaction to truth – When an idea is true, the reaction to it can cut to the core. It has a slightly different feeling than the first two, the biggest difference is that it isn’t always pleasant, it isn’t always expected, and it cuts deeper. It is always accompanied by an increase in intelligence, with a burst of knowledge into the brain. Often, the enjoyable fruits of the Spirit: peace, love, and joy come later AFTER a belief is adopted and tested. This is why the Spirit is often referred to in the scriptures as the “sword of truth.” The trick with this type of spiritual experience is to ask the Lord’s Will, to have Him give it to us straight, frankness, boldness, questioning even the very existence of God with an accurate desire to know and ACCEPT the truth. Preconceptions get us nowhere. We must be open to walking into the dark, changing course, tamping down ego to go in different directions, etc. Only then can we have this sort of feeling in our lives.

Gifts of the Spirit

Enjoying a spiritual test of truth should not be an end, but a beginning. Other gifts that follow are a second witness to truth. Does it grow and swell within you as Alma teaches? Can you start to see possibilities and anticipate fruit, and in the end, can your faith be made whole by the end product, the fruit of knowledge? Seeing faith grow after a test of truth should be accompanied by certain gifts that continue to attest to that truth. These include dreams, visions, angelic visitation, prophesies, miracles, healing, etc. Another great Gift of the Spirit is being able to discern and hear the voice of God (or His servant) speaking to you, first in your mind, and later, audibly. This doesn’t come without practice or work, but it also cannot be rushed. The end result would be to see and visit with God, and have him explain the universe. The reason that’s an expected end result is because others in ancient history and modernity have testified that this was their end result. That’s why scripture is critical because it allows us to study their processes. If it worked for them, we can anticipate it possibly working for us, or in fine, we can have faith in it, if we take the same steps, just like science.

The Grand Key, Part Two

Even after having such experiences, we still must circle back to the grand key. Does such an experience, gift, or visitation cause us to be better to mankind, less concerned with self, even having the desire to condescend the self to exalt another? Does it cause you to be meek? If so, you can rest assured, it is TRUTH! Furthermore, when you comprehend the truth, you are less concerned with being right, even though you have a perfect knowledge that you are. You simply invite! If such an invitation is rejected, you can sorrow over the choice, but you have no ego lost in the decision. No amount of real truth is enforceable. The fact that we have wars over concepts of truth is a testament that those arguments were never true because they did not elevate mankind to the self-evident principles. Christ taught this plainly as “if you wish to know my will, do my words.” This is a very simple way of saying the exact thing I have been teaching in this post.

Beware of Rebellion

black-fistI want to add one more caution, particularly to those that are awake, and it brings us full circle. One can understand and comprehend truth, be correct, and be wrong altogether. Imagine a person who has been abused by the Church, and wanders upon this new movement. It may give them the freedom to leave the Church, as well as to give the Church leaders the proverbial middle finger. I have seen this infrequently among remnant posters. They are angry with the Church. They feel a sense of injustice. They are cultivating a spirit of rebellion. There is a difference between rebellion and courage. Courage is doing the right thing, against incredible odds, and should accompany with that person an increase in love, pity, and compassion for those that do not “see.” Rebellion is the opposite. It is enmity. They wish to see the Church be done harm, to descend into confusion and chaos. Their interest in the remnant movement is more motivated by diminishing the LDS Church, and less about building a better spiritual house for themselves. Rebellion is the spirit of perdition. If one has such a spirit, he is better to remain in the Church and submit himself to abusive authority. He would be better of in the next life to do so.

In fact, I think the sermon on the Mount is a perfect way to apply what we in this movement should do with the Church. It is a perfect way to practice principles of Zion-like behavior. When the Church or Church members belittle you, castigate you, shun you, ignore you, and excommunicate you, are you to cultivate the attributes of Christ, what Christ would do? How did Christ react to Caiaphas? To the chief priests? To the soldiers? Do we say in our hearts, forgive them, for they know not what they do? When they take our cloak (or membership) do we return with anger and vitriol, or follow the example of others, who continues to attend their wards and win them over with kindness and service (it’s the attitude, not the attendance I’m talking about here). Do we really understand this movement? Do we understand the principles of the five wise virgins, and the five foolish? Do we understand what it means to be” blinded by the craftiness of men?” Do we understand what our mission would be were we to rise up and be sealed by the Lord to be the Church of the Firstborn? Do we understand that we will be required to do more, not less? If not, we may as well go back to bread and water and temple recommend interviews. We would be better off to have the millstone of the Church hung about our necks, then to subject ourselves to the possibility of perdition.

So be meek, learn charity, and test all ideas against those standards and you’ll be okay!  For it is the meek that will inherit the earth, or in fine . . . Zion.

Q & A with Tim Malone, Author of Latter-day Commentary

ldc-blog-imageQ: How has your perception of Latter-day Commentary changed since its inception?

In many respects, the direction of this simple blog has turned completely around. When I started blogging almost eight years ago, my intent was to help combat what I perceived to be a plethora of misinformation out there about the doctrines I knew to be true, or that I grew up believing. I now find myself presenting reasons why what I originally thought was false doctrine may indeed be worth considering, especially since early documents support that Joseph originally taught it.

In other respects, the intent and focus of the blog has not changed at all. My intent was to share my gospel study and learning experiences. I have always appreciated teaching, have taught the gospel all my life and enjoyed making lesson plans or outlines of subjects and then fleshing them out with scriptures and quotes. That has not changed. What has changed is my perception of the truth. I have had to jettison some false beliefs that were based solely on tradition. Gratefully, I was prepared. I frequented many LDS group blogs for several years before I started my own.

Although I felt prompted and inspired to start the blog and made it a matter of prayer, I do not say the Lord told me to start the blog, only that I find a way to bring greater motivation to my life in the area of gospel study. I have shared many talks and lessons on my blog that I also gave in the gospel doctrine class or delivered from the pulpit over the years. Sometime last year I felt to dedicate the blog to the Lord and let Him use it for His purposes. Things changed radically. I found myself led to invite others to share the audience I had built up over seven years of work.

ds-blog-imageQ: You’ve had both positive and negative feedback from readers about some of the content regarding DS and the work currently underway. What was your initial reaction to his writings? Can you elaborate on the challenges of retaining your faith in light of recognizing discrepancies in the traditional narrative of the church?

I appreciate both kinds of comments from readers, especially those who can and do form cogent arguments in response to what Denver has written and what I have tried to explain in my own words. I am not always successful in understanding all the intricacies of the doctrines put forth. I may be seeing only a small part of what is being presented in the post and entirely missing how such a radically different view affects families and individuals in situations dissimilar to mine.

My initial reaction to Denver Snuffer’s work was positive. It was a revelatory experience. When I tried to share what I had read with others, I was saddened by how negatively they reacted. It was especially difficult as I tried to discuss what I felt was enlightenment from the Holy Ghost with my wife, who I consider my equal in our knowledge of church history. After all, she served her mission in Independence Missouri, with a Mission President teaching the standard narrative.

On the other hand, my mission president was a convert and always encouraged the missionaries to “push the envelope” in our studies. He did not shy away from inspiring us to reach out and understand the mysteries. He would say, “They are only mysteries because you haven’t studied them.” It’s funny that both our Mission Presidents were CES employees but Carol’s had a much more traditional or orthodox approach to the history of the Church, especially the Nauvoo period.

Retaining my faith in God, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and most of the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants was not difficult. I confess the idea that Section 110 may be of dubious authenticity was difficult for me at first. But when I compared Section 27 side by side with the original, and saw how it had been “expanded” under Sidney’s pen, I made a more careful consideration of section 110, took it to the Lord in prayer and came away satisfied.

40-years-in-mormonismQ: Are you still digesting the material laid out in the DS lectures last year, and if so, what specifically do you find to be significant?

I most definitely am still digesting the lectures and will be for years to come. I re-read lectures three and four again this past week, pondering carefully the enticing nature of how Denver has presented repentance. So many people I know try to “white-knuckle” it through repentance by using the “moving away-from” model as opposed to what Denver presents in a “moving toward” model. I have always favored that approach. It has always worked for me. I fully endorse it.

I’ve studied the lecture on covenants at least four times now and am just beginning to understand the significance and all-encompassing nature of what is found in that short lecture. I think it’s about twenty-two pages if I’m not mistaken. Yet I learned why the earth will be wasted at the Lord’s coming if we are not sealed to the fathers, as well as came to a better understanding that everything the Father is doing in our day is to fulfill that covenant he made with the Patriarchs.

I have had it reconfirmed to me once again how important it is that we are sealed to the fathers, the Patriarchs, and that this must be done in a temple, like the one Joseph was trying to get the Saints to finish in Nauvoo but which did not happen. There is not a temple found on the earth today which is acceptable of the Lord where He can come and seal us to the Fathers in that binding ordinance that is referred to in section 124 – a place to restore that which was lost.

I am still blown away by the priesthood lecture. I think I’ve read it six or seven times now and am still learning new things each time I study it. There was so much I thought I knew about priesthood that was simply wrong. I’m grateful to have been in attendance at the Mesa lecture. The idea of Preserving the Restoration resonates with me. I have seen so much understanding disappear from that we taught when I was growing up in the church in the sixties and seventies.

ds-interview-part1Q: Your recent interview with DS offered an opportunity for clarity on a variety of topics. How did this interview come about and did you find what you were looking for?

Although I could not attend the early lectures due to work commitments, I made it known on my blog I planned on attending the later lectures. I received an invitation from Denver to meet with him for dinner on the evening of one of the lectures. I suppose he wanted to meet this individual who had written so much about his writings over the preceding eighteen months. Carol and I had dinner with Denver and his family the night before the St. George lecture. We parted as friends.

This year, I celebrated ten years with my employer by taking a two week vacation, something unheard of for a computer guy in a small company. I wanted to make the first week a working vacation. I arranged interviews with several fellow bloggers and readers. On Wednesday, Carol planned an endowment session at the Brigham City temple. Obviously I would not be attending with her. I asked the Lord if there was someone else we wished me to add to my interview list.

He suggested Denver. I asked. He accepted. I asked if he would prefer the questions in advance. He agreed. I used to interview CEO’s and Marketing VP’s for a software newspaper I published years ago so the format was very familiar – sort of like a deposition. After Denver agreed, I went to the Lord for the questions. He provided. So the questions asked were what the Lord wanted to have expounded. I wasn’t necessarily looking for any particular answers. I wanted to understand some of the more controversial points from his lectures. Most of his answers were from PtHG.

As you can imagine, I have a lot of online and offline dialogs with readers about what Denver has written. I have no idea why they seem to think I know what is on his mind. It still amazes me how many people either haven’t or will not read his material. They will read what other people have said about it but won’t read it themselves. This astonishes me. If there’s one thing Mormons are supposed to be good at, it’s having an open mind about writings that are extra-Biblical. In other words, we want people to read the Book of Mormon in order to understand us better.

Yet, so few will take the time to make a formal study plan, combined with prayer in an effort to understand the doctrines behind the writings and lectures. I think some of the questions I asked in the interview were brought up in an effort to get people more interested in going to the source. If there’s anything I wanted to accomplish, it was to get people to seriously read, ponder and pray about the lectures. But so many have made up their minds. They are closed. It is so sad.

ConqueringSpiritualEvilQ: You’ve written a lot on the subject of NDE. What has contributed to your interest on this particular topic? How would you characterize common elements found in many NDE based on what’s been revealed about life after death?

I am by no means an expert on NDEs. I have had two dreadful near-death experiences in my life. Both times I was met by beings of darkness. The first time was in my youth. I opened the portal through my own foolishness. It woke me up big time. It turned me around. It caused me to fear for my life and to seek to repent, which took a tremendous amount of effort to accomplish. It was nearly a year later that I came into the presence of the Lord, which I have described on my blog.

The second NDE was a couple of years ago when my son opened a portal in our home at 2am in the morning while doing drugs and porn with a fellow druggie. I’ve posted the story and shared it with those who have asked. I was mislead by a well-meaning individual who told me I could deal with the dark spirits by asking the Lord to bring them into my aura so I could get them to repent. Yeah, right! It was one of the most foolish things I have ever done in my life. I still suffer pain.

My interest in NDEs is a result of having the portal to the spirit world opened in a manner that was not at all pleasant. I suppose only those who have experienced being sucked into that world, even for a moment, can understand the resulting interest in trying to make sense of the things discovered or actually remembered, by entering into such a realm. There are things revealed to your soul that this world denies. One seeks to find others who have been there and can relate.

true-order-prayer-imageQ: Your posts on the True Order of Prayer resonated with many people. The prayer circle was a more prominent fixture in worship (both inside and outside of temples) until May 1978 when the First Presidency restricted its use to certain settings. How have your prayers in this manner affected your relationship with the Lord and/or the Powers of heaven?

I still have a long way to go in this area. I am focusing on altars in my personal study these days. I want to know the history of true altar building, why the Patriarchs built altars, how they built them – no hewn stone – and if there is significance to where they are placed. I wish I had land of sufficient size where I could dedicate a private space to building an altar for worship. In the meantime, I asked the Lord if I could substitute a dedicated home altar and received his approval.

There is something powerful about altar worship. What we learn in the temple is significant. For me, a prayer at the altar is so much more powerful than my usual morning and nightly prayers. I find repetition does not enter into my heart or mind when I pray at the altar. I am filled with desire and am given the words to say. These prayers at the altar have changed my life. It is clear the powers of heaven pay attention when we go to the trouble of praying at a dedicated altar.

At one time in the history of Mormonism, it was acceptable practice to have a home altar. It was a sign of commitment to one’s religion to gather the family together at the altar for worship. I use my altar when I partake of the sacrament in my home. It is so sad to read how such practices as altar worship and partaking of the sacrament in the home are now considered apostate. Joseph Smith would not be welcome in the LDS Church today because of “apostate” worship practices.

Think about what we learn in the temple from Adam’s example with an altar. When he prayed at the altar, he opened a portal to heaven. He received messengers. This is a true and powerful form of worship. Ask yourself why we are taught about prayer in the temple if it was not intended for us to go home and practice this in our own home. Yes, I recognize some have been deceived and have received false messenger, but we have got to learn to deal with this if we want to progress.

posts-on-evil-spiritsQ: You’ve shared experiences in which you’ve come into contact with malevolent spirits and the distress they can cause. Were these experiences connected to prayer? What is your view on possessions recorded in the New Testament versus certain mental disorders in our day as possible possessions?

I think my answer to the NDE question above would have probably been a better fit here. The spirits were not invited, but conditions were brought about that caused them to make themselves known. It is not a pleasant thing to come into the presence of spirits who intend to do you harm. The prayers involved were after the fact, as in, “O Lord, save me from these evil creatures who desire to take away my light and life. O Lord, remove the fear from my heart and give me faith like unto Moses to command them in the name of the Son of God to leave my presence forever.”

I have written at least two dozen posts answering that very question about emotional and mental disorders being caused by evil and unclean spirits. I will refer people to my blog for answers. I will also encourage you to read Doug’s book on Conquering Spiritual Evil. It seems the majority of people today do not want to believe such creatures exist in our day and age. They consider the idea of evil spirits to be a throwback to less enlightened times. Think again people. Think again.

tim-malone-baptism-postQ: You’ve written extensively about your reasons for resigning from the church while acknowledging that leaving the church is not the path for everyone. Are you finding that many people are choosing to stay notwithstanding their belief that something new is underway?

My decision to resign was due to my unique circumstances. I served in leadership positions in my current and previous stakes that made it hard for some people to accept what I was sharing on my blog simply as part of my gospel study. I have had former stake presidents, high councilors and missionary companions who now serve as mission presidents write to castigate me for what I have done in reading and writing about Denver and his books. What are they so afraid of? They are afraid for their children. I don’t blame them. They are trying to hold their families together.

My writings were a threat to them. I understand. That’s why so many went to my Bishop and Stake President asking them to rein me in. Because I served in a somewhat public position at the stake level, I felt it best to quietly resign instead of go the excommunication route. When the Bishop put me on informal probation for apostasy, I saw the handwriting on the wall. I knew I wanted to get baptized and to write about it on my blog. Why waste the time of sixteen good men? Others felt the desire to go through a disciplinary council. I had been through too many.

why-i-resigned-imageI do NOT recommend anyone leave the church to be baptized. If you want to be baptized, go ahead but don’t announce it like I did. My mission in life is different from yours. I am aware of several thousand who have been baptized. By the way, if anyone baptized reads this and has not yet submitted their name to Keith for recording, please do so before the deadline of July 1st. I wanted my name on that permanent record that will be presented in the temple when it is built. I want the Lord and the powers of heaven to see I am not ashamed to stand up and be counted.

I recognize I am a bit of a rebel, a risk-taker and a troublemaker. I am not afraid of doing what I feel the Lord has asked me to do. I know so many of my friends in the LDS Church are upset with me for what I have done and am doing. My answer is always the same. I spent just as much if not more time investigating the writings of Denver Snuffer as Brigham Young did when he investigated Mormonism. Hundreds of hours in study and prayer have led me to where I am today. No LDS Leader can say I didn’t follow the prophet – search, ponder and pray. I did.

The standard answer – I know, because I have received it in so many private emails from friends in my current and former stakes – is that I have been deceived. They shake their heads and make references to “even the very elect.” Fine. You think what you will. I understand. I tell you I am more certain of my path in life now than I have ever been at any time in the past. But my path may not be for you. Do as you feel directed by the Lord in prayer. There are so many who are doing a marvelous work in their wards and stakes by sharing truth quietly and with discretion.

One final word: please stop telling me over and over how important it is to focus on the Lord and not on Denver Snuffer. Don’t you think I know that? Everything Denver is doing is inviting us to rise up and come unto Christ – to come into His presence. I have a calling, an election and a sure promise as to that blessed event in my own life. I have years of work ahead of me. I know what I am doing and why I am doing it. Denver is a servant, a teacher, a witness. He cannot save you or me. We must come into the presence of Christ for that. Wake up people. I get it. Do you?