A Time of Reflection, Part Two


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Back in February 2017, I learned of the publication of The Testimony of St. John, which appeared as a downloadable PDF on the website of Denver Snuffer. I was astonished when I read that the long-promised Testimony of St John had been revealed and shared for our edification. That is, if you believe the Lord, through Joseph, in section 93 was referring to the testimony of John the Beloved and not John the Baptist.

The preamble to section 171 in the restoration edition of the scriptures reads: “Below is a newly revealed account of John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah, given through Denver Snuffer Jr. during the month of January 2017.” Was this scripture received in fulfillment of the promise in section 93? Some of the commentaries you can read online leave it open as to which John the Lord was referring in that section.

From an October 1999 Ensign article, we read: “The record which the Lord says ‘is hereafter to be revealed’ may be that of either or both of these faithful servants. This pattern is similar to the first chapter of the Gospel of John, wherein the writer, John the Beloved, is quoting the speaker, John the Baptist, and both are testifying of Christ.” The author of this statement is Jonn D. Claybaugh, a CES institute director at the time.

The Importance of Scripture

LDSWatchman offered us a thought exercise in his comment in part one of this series. I deferred responding to it there since I knew this very scripture would be the subject of part two in this series, A Time of Reflection. I have thought much about the apparent discrepancy between the JST version and what we have in the new TSJ from January 2017. Scripture is serious stuff, especially since those who have accepted the covenant, will be judged by what we have accepted. Here are his comments as expressed there:

Do a verse by verse comparison of the first chapter of the KJV of John, JST of John, and Denver’s TSJ. You’ll see that Denver actually changes some of the changes Joseph Smith was inspired to make back to what they were in the KJV. Any thoughts on why that is? Why would God have his servant Joseph Smith correct something only to have his Davidic Servant change it back? What is the correct version of the gospel of John? Is it the JST of John or Denver’s TSJ, because it can’t be both as they contradict each other (in multiple places).

I don’t have an answer other than to refer you to A Prophet’s Prerogative authored by Jeff Savage and the scriptures committee using the example of Isaiah 29 to answer why the Lord would inspire one dispensation head, Joseph, to translate the Testimony of St. John one way and another, Denver, to translate the same scripture another way. Read Jeff’s message carefully, especially the last paragraph or verse six in the Prerogative. You’ll note we have both versions of John’s testimony in the Restoration scriptures.

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Gratitude for New Scripture

Although I’ve put a lot of pondering and prayer into this series, I intend to keep each post relatively short. The intent is simply to draw our attention to a few fundamental things that have come forth in the last few years for those who are willing to accept them. I’ve already covered the idea of the Davidic Servant. This post is to remind us of the blessing of new scripture. It is scripture because the Lord revealed it and we accepted it as such.

I distinctly remember standing in my home the morning of 3 September 2017 after the covenant was read and witnessing to the heavens that I accepted the covenant and would abide by it. I am especially grateful to acknowledge the covenant includes the Book of Mormon, which had never been previously accepted by covenant by any people until that day. It is a standard by which I guide my thoughts, words and deeds each day.

I love the Book of Mormon. I have read it almost every day of my life. I learned to read from the Book of Mormon at my mother’s knee. It has been a source of guidance, help, consolation, comfort, inspiration, strength and correction throughout my life. As I read from its pages, I feel the inspiration of Lord, specifically for my walk through life. It is as a conduit to heaven. Indeed, it opens the heavens for me. I am grateful for this covenant.

15 Replies to “A Time of Reflection, Part Two”

  1. Tim,

    And what if the Denver’s TSJ is not new true scripture?

    Robert Crossfield has published hundreds of revelations as scripture in the Second Book of Commandments. Should we be grateful for this new scripture, too?

    The truth of the matter is that we must judge whether or not any new supposed scripture or revelation is from God or some other source (either of man or the devil).

    What standard can we use to measure the TSJ?

    Are not the other standard works this measuring stick? It is by very carefully comparing the Second Book of Commandments to the rest of the revealed scriptures that one can see that they are false. It’s not easy, but enough doesn’t add up to reveal that the revelation Robert Crossfield received are not from God.

    I see it the same way with Denver’s TSJ.

    Are there interesting new things taught in it? Yes there are, but the same applies to the Second Book of Commandments.

    The TSJ straight up contradicts several of the inspired changes Joseph Smith made to the Gospel of John. The Second Book of Commandments’ teachings on Adam becoming the Holy Ghost, straight up contradict the Book of Moses in the POGP, so they can’t both be true. Of course the faithful members of Crossfield’s school of the prophets don’t see the contradiction.

    At least you admit that you see the contradictions between the TSJ and JST. I give you props for that.

    What measuring stick would you have us use to determine whether or not the TSJ is true besides our feelings of the “spirit”, since we obviously can’t use the other standard works as the TSJ fails that test?

    Actually the entire premise of the TSJ fulfilling D&C 93 is false, as we already have the record of John the Beloved (multiple records), but none from John the Baptist.

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    1. While I agree that existing scripture can (and should) be used as a standard, it is not an infallible standard. Believing it to be so only reveals an ignorance of their origins. There are many contradictions within existing scripture, without even including anything Denver has written or said.

      Scholars have raised serious questions about the authenticity and purity of virtually all of the books in the Old and New Testament. The Doctrine & Covenants have several revelations that were doctored (and other revelations that were removed). There were even mistakes made in the transmission of the text of the Book of Mormon that remain to this day in the LDS version. Many of these mistakes change the meaning of the text. So, how safe is it, really, to rely solely on existing scripture as the standard of all truth?

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  2. Thanks Tim for continuing to add to your blog. I appreciate your openness and sincerity. I just wanted to say that the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth of all things. There is a catch however… and that is the undeniable truth that we must put forth the effort required to explore all aspects of what we are seeking to understand. The first warning sign I generally see is when someone takes a safe position of arrogance and works backwards from that position in order to make a convincing argument. ( all new scripture must never contradict old scripture) We would never have the New Testament (new covenant that fulfilled the old law) if we were working from this viewpoint. It is a position of fear. I believe that it is possible to discover new writings of men who are moved upon by the Holy Ghost and that the messages they contain can lead us away from darkness and into the light and love of Jesus Christ. I happen to concur with you regarding the new testimony of John. It leads to the light and love of Jesus. We can be deceived obviously. There are many modern examples of this. The scriptures themselves provide ample warning of this. I prefer to take a position of faith and choose to believe that the heavens are now open for business.

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  3. LDSWatchman: Every individual must determine for themselves what they accept as scripture, but do so at peril of their salvation. We are right to ask the difficult question of what we accept as scripture. You correctly state we must judge if what is presented to us as revelation should be accepted as scripture because it then becomes more than just the writings of a man, it becomes the word of God.

    The fact is that some revelations of Denver have been presented as scripture, which gives us that opportunity to judge. This is the stuff of life – choosing. I cannot fault you for your choices. It is clear you have made your judgement, as have I. You’ll find no argument here about the writings of Robert Crossfield. I agree with you.

    However, as you stated in the previous post, Denver is a notable exception. He has presented himself as a servant of the Lord, a teacher of righteousness. Even if we ignore his reports of having been ministered unto by the Lord, we cannot ignore his claims of having delivered a message from the Lord. The LDS Church certainly did not ignore his claims and cast him out precisely because of those claims.

    Therefore, the safe thing to do is to fall in line with the LDS Church and reject his claims as an apostate deceiver and those who accept him as a messenger as just another bunch of sadly deceived individuals. Where they are vocal or write about their acceptance of the message, they must also be cast off to protect the good name of the Church and the remaining faithful members of the flock.

    I do not see Denver’s messages in the same way as I do what I have read from David Crossfield. I do not accept the teaching that Adam became the Holy Ghost. I also do not accept him as a messenger because he embraces plural marriage, which I do not. However, I do not conflate the stuff from David Crossfield with what I have read from Denver. I think it is a mistake to make any such comparison.

    As I pointed out in the post, both versions of the testimony of John are included in the restoration edition of the scriptures. I also pointed out a carefully thought-out and logical discussion from the scripture committee of why both versions should be included. Such discussion is presented as a prophet’s prerogative, which is not the same as saying, “This is the word of the Lord.”

    You must provide your own measuring stick to determine what you allow to have binding sway on your heart. The Lord speaks to each of us in ways that we each will recognize. He knows how best to reach us. I don’t know you or what is in your heart. I have no desire to convince you one way or the other. That’s up to the Lord. I rejoice in our differences and am grateful to a loving God who allows us to grow at our own pace. God will never force the human mind.

    And to your last point, I feel the jury is still out on the promise in section 93 about receiving the full record of John. I don’t see what Denver shared in 2017 as being from John the Baptist, or at least not the full record. However, I could be wrong. I await further light and knowledge on the subject. At this point I would consider such a revelation in the same way the saints received section 88 as an olive leaf…plucked from the tree of paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us.

    God bless

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  4. Tim,

    I get that you guys have both versions of John in your scriptures. Since they contradict each other one must be false. That’s my point.

    One version has the woman taken in adultery the other does not.

    One uses strange terms like cosmos and just happens to have a whole bunch of Denver doctrines, like having to find true messengers, and the other doesn’t.

    John only wrote one gospel not two. It’s the same story in both, except Denver’s version is just plan strange.

    You’re right that I’ve made my choice. Since the JST of John and TSJ contradict each other I’m forced to chose one over the other. I chose the JST of John. The Lord called Joseph to retranslate the scriptures, so whatever changes he made I consider correct.

    It seems you’re hitching your wagon to Denver’s, just like Crossfields believers hitch their trailers to his.

    I see a real parallel here.

    To me it has nothing to do with Denver being exed. I don’t care about that. It’s what he teaches that I have a problem with.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s very knowledgeable and has a lot of thought provoking things to say. He certainly seems sincere in his claims. So does Crossfield of course.

    The TSJ is just the deathnail for me.

    Thanks for taking the time to chat about these things.

    All the best.

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  5. Tim, I do agree with how you have phrased your thoughts in both the op and comments.

    While researching out another subject matter, I found this DS blog post dated 12 Aug 2010: https://denversnuffer.com/2010/08/2-nephi-29-9/, and felt it might add to the conversation here, which has been quite good. I am grateful for each comment. I included the whole text of the post for those who prefer that. Sorry that makes for a long comment!

    2 Nephi 29: 9:
    ‘And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.’

    The assurance to us by the Lord that He is the ‘same yesterday, today and forever’ appears often in scripture. (See, e.g., four times by Nephi including 1 Ne. 10: 18; 2 Ne. 2: 4; 2 Ne. 27: 23, and above; Alma 31: 17; Mormon 9: 9; Moroni 10: 19; D&C 20: 12; and D&C 35: 1, among other places.) Why do you suppose the Lord wants us to trust in this idea? What is it about the Lord’s ‘sameness’ that is important for us to understand?

    Are the Lord’s expectations different from one generation to the next? Are His teachings? Are His ordinances? Can we discard what He has given us and be justified? If His expectations are as unchanged as He is, then how important is it for us to study and retain all that He has given by revelation to mankind? How important is it to keep ordinances entirely intact?

    If the Lord does not change, and the story of the Nephite people is a story of temporary success followed by ultimate failure, then how relevant is that account for us? Does temporary success in repentance guarantee constant favor from the Lord? When the Book of Mormon follows splinter groups in the narrative, because the splinters kept the commandments of God better, does that preserve a relevant lesson for those reading the book today? If so, how?

    If the Lord ‘speaks forth [His] own words according to [His] own pleasure’ then how can we control to whom and when He is permitted to speak? If He reserves to Himself this right, what effect does our system of recognizing an authoritative message from Him have upon His right to speak? Did the revelation given to Oliver Cowdrey that told him that he could not write commandments, but only according to wisdom, and never command Joseph Smith who presided over Oliver, establish a binding precedent on the Lord? (D&C 28: 4-6.) If so, what limit does that place on the Lord? Does the limitation on someone being sent forth as a missionary to preach the Gospel, and the requirement they be ‘\’regularly ordained by the heads of the church’ limit the Lord’s ability to speak His own words? (D&C 42: 11.) If so, in what way?

    “Does the revelation to Joseph Smith informing the Church in 1831 that no one other than Joseph Smith is to receive commandments and revelations for the Church limit the Lord’s ability to speak to anyone else? (D&C 43: 1-6.) In particular, what of the Lord’s counsel that this limitation was intended as ‘a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.’ (Id. verses 5-6.) Does that prevent Him from speaking ‘according to His own pleasure?’

    What about the 1830 revelation given to Joseph Smith that no one other than Joseph Smith is to receive revelations and commandments in the church? (D&C 28: 2.) Does that limit the Lord’s ability to speak according to His own pleasure?
    Do the promises given to Joseph Smith apply directly and continually as the binding precedent and complete limitation on the Lord’s capacity to speak to us? If so, then can He still speak to individual members of the church but without providing a ‘revelation and commandment’ to the entire church? For example, do we expect only President Monson to receive revelation on the individual members of your own family? How is President Monson supposed to be doing that for the families of some 13 million church members? If that isn’t possible, then what about the approximate 2,000 stakes? Do we expect only President Monson to receive revelation about each of these divisions? If the stake presidents have been delegated responsibility, then can the stake president receive all revelation for each family within the stake? Can the stake president alone receive revelation for the families of his stake?

    If each person is intended to receive some revelation for themselves, is that an absolute bar to receiving revelation for another? If, for example, someone were not in your ward, not in your stake, not even living in your state, but asked you to give them a blessing because of illness or injury, are you entitled to receive revelation while giving the blessing? Even if you have no connection to this person by family or church calling? Should you proceed with the blessing? If so, would you expect the Lord to assist, give revelation, and even inspire a commandment to the person if it were appropriate?

    How hard and fast are the rules we impose on the Lord? Does His statement that He alone will decide when and to whom He speaks according to ‘His own pleasure’ need to be weighed as part of the equation? If He cannot speak to anyone other than Joseph Smith, then did Joseph’s death prevent Him from speaking further? If He cannot speak to anyone other than Joseph’s successors in the office of President of the High Priesthood, then what if the occupant of that office is ill, infirm, or disabled?

    “Would the ‘system’ govern, or the Lord’s ‘own pleasure’ govern? If it is ‘His own pleasure’ then how can we possibly know when He speaks? What about the Lord’s house being a house of order? Once He has a church established, should we trust He will confine His efforts to that church alone?

    “I suppose all these questions are answered by the Lord adding to ‘His own pleasure” that ‘because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.’

    “In the final analysis, it is left to us to fast, pray, seek the guidance of the Spirit, and to find where the Lord’s own pleasure in speaking is to be found. I do not expect someone other than the presiding authorities to conduct the affairs of the church. Nor would I expect anyone would organize a ward or stake other than someone having authority over that responsibility, regularly recognized by the church. I would not expect to either pay tithing to, nor be asked to pay tithing to, someone other than a Bishop in the church. But, just as Elder F. Enzio Busche encountered gifted sisters with the gift of prophecy and visions, I do not believe revelation is or can be confined to any single office, person, or group. (See F. Enzio Busche’s book, Yearning for the Living God.) While serving in various church leadership positions, including as a General Authority, he encountered gifted women with spiritual capacities who astonished him. But, to his credit, he did not doubt them.

    “God speaks according to His own pleasure. He cautions you that just because He says one thing at one time, He is never limited in what He may say at another time; even if you think it contradicts His earlier statements. He is living and He has the final decision in what He says and to whom He speaks. We must not forget that principle. Even though we may not like the uncertainty this introduces to our trusted systems. He alone will remain in control.”
    *******
    Some questions I have begun asking myself as I pray and study all that is happening right now include: Does _______ add to my understanding of Truth and God, or does it take away from? What might the prophecies and promises of ancient scripture look like unfolding today? If God has ever been willing to speak with various individuals throughout history and send them forth with a message, how would I identify a true messenger/prophet today?

    What I have come to discover is that I really do not know anything. Ha! But there are always small impressions that keep coming, moments when I can literally *feel* Truth as I am hearing/reading it. It uplifts me, enlarges me. I feel like more light enters me. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the best way I can describe what I have been experiencing. And T&C 36 (D&C 50) talks about gathering light to ourselves…I also, conversely, see how often I (have) walk(ed) in darkness. Cheers, Lori

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  6. Ldswatchman claims that Joseph’s and Denver’s versions of the Book of (or Testimony of) John conflict. Someone else (on this comment thread) showed evidence that the story of the woman taken in adultery (which is the major discrepancy here) was not originally part of John’s record. Point for Denver. Let me ask this question, who received the revelation in D&C 93? If it was Joseph, and verse 6 states: 6 “And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed.” Then in verse 18 states: 18 “And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John”

    So, Joseph knew that the fullness of Johns record was not yet revealed, and that it would come later. He also states that those who are faithful will receive the record of John when it comes along. Or another way to consider that, those who are faithfully waiting for the fullness of Johns record to come, will someday have it. Now, either way you look at it, Joseph knew there was more coming later, at the time he wrote that. If he didn’t live to reveal the “fullness” of the record, then it had to have come from somewhere. Now Denver comes along, 173 years after Joseph’s death. None of the subsequent LDS presidents have received the fullness of Johns record. Denver receives it in a miraculous way, and those who have preconceived feelings or aversions to Denver, for whatever reason, cannot accept Denver’s version of the fullness of John.

    What if the way the Lord was phrasing verse 18 (of D&C 93) was that if you consider yourself to be a faithful person, you shall (as in a commandment) receive (accept) the fullness of John. Likewise, if you choose not to receive it, then by the Lord’s own words, you are not considered faithful. If every one of the Lords words don’t fall to the ground unfulfilled, then you can choose to either consider this prophecy fulfilled, or you can continue to wait for someone to come along who will fulfill that prophecy.

    One thing I would add here, is that revelation being given to two different men, may use different words. If the Lord is dictating words that need to be relayed verbatim, for a specific ordinance, that’s one thing. But if two different men both receive the same vision, are they both going to use the exact same words to convey the vision they saw? Most likely not. So if you have the JST version of St John, and you also have the Denver version of St John, you can compare the 2 different versions side by side and it may open up more truth to you, by virtue of seeing and reading it through two different descriptions. Didn’t Joseph also say, “I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much, but only for unbelief.”

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