On Reading Controversial Books


saints-standard-of-truth


It’s been over four years since I resigned from the LDS Church, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A lot has changed in my life since that day in September 2014. I have been blessed immensely by the Lord in so many ways. I reflected many times on why I chose to resign back then. I didn’t have to do so but felt it was the right thing to do since I planned on being baptized again, outside the auspices of the LDS hierarchy.

I still get a lot of emails from readers wondering how I’m doing. One reader sent me an email asking “… have you come to any answers about your queries in this article? I feel the same way you do or did, and that is spiritually uplifted and edified by these authors of more controversial topics. Have you come to any conclusions about how this relates to the Brethren’s view of such authors and what they write about?” My response follows…

The Original Post

Thanks for your email. I went back and re-read the post and all 93 comments. That was written over five years ago. It brought back fond memories of deep dialog with many good people. I miss that, but until a recent change in employment, I haven’t had time to invest in reading as writing as much as I used to. I’m trying to get back into that mode. Thanks again for your email and getting me thinking about the subject again. I have pondered your question and my original questions.

Private Sacrament Meetings

SacramentMinervaTeichertA lot has changed in the last five years since I wrote that post. I am no longer a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although I do attend the full three-hour block each Sunday with my wife, partake of the sacrament and participate in classroom discussion from time to time. I am blessed to have a very kind and understanding Stake President, Bishop and Elder’s Quorum President who have encouraged me to participate. I especially enjoy singing in the choir.

Taught by the Precepts of Men

Yes, I have come to some conclusions about how the Brethren view the writings of authors who publish works that are not in harmony with the orthodox teachings found in the official curriculum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A scripture comes to mind, “…they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” (2 Ne 28:14)

Harmony With the Mind of Christ

I am not referring to those who write such books, but to those who view their writings as apostate. I retain my original enthusiasm for the works of authors who are diligently seeking truth as humble followers of Jesus Christ. I have enough experience with the Holy Ghost to know when something I read is or isn’t leading me to Christ. That’s the whole purpose of the Spirit of the Lord – to lead us unto Christ. As we give heed It brings us into harmony with the mind of Christ.

Fight Not Against Apostles and Prophets

It saddens me to think that the above referenced scripture, and in many cases, the entire chapter, is referring to the leadership, especially at the highest levels, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have promised myself I would not fight against the prophets and apostles. I will not confront them directly. There is a scripture that counsels those who do that. They will be cut off. I still hold to that belief, that if I fight against the apostles and prophets I will be cut off.

Upheld by Fath and Prayers

One could argue they are not legitimate prophets and apostles. No matter, I have sustained them as such and I will not go against that. I continue to pray for them, thus upholding them with my prayers and faith. At the same time, my prayers of faith are offered on behalf of all those who are seeking diligently to come unto Christ and to teach us to do so, according to their best understanding. Thus I uphold and sustain men like Denver Snuffer as servants of the Lord in these last days.

The Covenant Path is Extended

The heavens are open. We have an opportunity to come unto Christ and to enter into His presence. He has holy places in Heaven to where we can rise up and be taught by Him directly. We can learn of His paths and follow them. I like how President Nelson refers often to the covenant path. I know he’s referring to baptism, confirmation, priesthood and temple covenants in the LDS Church. No matter, it prompts me to reflect on the additional covenants into which I have entered.

A Day of Rejoicing, A New Beginning

tim-malone-baptismSpecifically, I have publicly made a big deal about being baptized again as a sign I accept the words delivered by His servant, Denver Snuffer, as having been either authored by or directly influenced by the Lord. I am familiar with that process of revelation, especially as it is manifested when writing. There are times I feel or hear the words I share in the very process of sharing them. Thus, I am influenced by what I read from the humble followers of Christ who write as they feel inspired. I know that process well.

 

Additional Covenants, Additional Scripture

Second, I have entered into an additional covenant with the Lord about a year ago, in September of 2017 at the time of the Boise Conference, to accept the scriptures as they have been revealed and corrected by the scripture committee, and which the Lord accepted. Part of that covenant included a promise to seek to be of one heart and one mind with those humble followers of Christ who are seeking to bring about Zion as I am. It is an awesome thing to have additional scripture.

Writing Under The Spirit of Revelation

I hope this answers your question. Again, I am always grateful when someone reaches out to me as a consequence of something I have written and posted on my blog. I try not to take myself too seriously. There are times when I have written things I know were pleasing to the Lord, even inspired, especially when I asked him in prayer for guidance and direction in what I felt prompted to share. That post was one of many that was inspired by the spirit of revelation, even the mind of Christ.

But What Do The Brethren Think?

And the response: “Has your Stake President brought your concerns to the Brethren? Surely posing your questions to them isn’t confronting or fighting against them, is it? I admire how you still pray for and sustain them with your faith, and your commitment to not fight against them, but I guess I’m just confused as to why you haven’t had your concerns addressed by the Brethren. Isn’t that the order of things when your local leaders can’t answer your concerns?”

Response of Local Authorities

I think I’m past the point where I care about what the Brethren have to say about my questions. I already know what they have said and written about such topics, having studied their words all my life. In defense of my Stake President, the four of us (my wife, me, my Bishop and my Stake President) met and discussed my questions. At the conclusion of our meeting the Stake President said he had no problems with my concerns or my blogging activities. On the other hand, my Bishop did.

Forbiding to Partake of the Sacrament

Jesus_SacramentWe continued to meet regularly. A few weeks after the meeting with the four of us, my Bishop placed me on informal probation for apostasy, which is really just a hand slap. However, it was his direction that I not partake of he sacrament. That bothered me. I felt it was anti-Christ. I know that’s harsh, but it is truthful. Forbidding someone to partake of the sacrament implies judgement, which, I suppose, it what a Bishop is supposed to do, right? But, it didn’t set well with me and prompted my decision to resign.

Unorthodox Views, Apostasy and Heresy

I’ve never really understood the charge of apostasy. I think the correct terminology should be heresy, meaning your views do not correspond with those of the Brethren on certain issues, in my case, of a historical nature. I’m fairly certain my bishop would not have been so concerned but he was receiving complaints from ward members and former ward members that saw and read some of my blog posts because I had it linked to my Facebook feed, in hindsight, a poor move.

Questions About LDS History

I think the most difficult concern for the bishop was the statement from a former ward member that my blogging activities were influencing her (adult) children. Being friends with her children, I can relate that they had made their decision to leave the LDS Church long before I did. In any event, I did not expect my local leaders to bring my concerns to the Brethren, nor did they. It wasn’t necessary. These were questions of a historical nature for which I would not expect General Authorities to have answers.

General Authorities Not Trained Historians

Unless the Brethren are trained historians, actively engaged in research and teaching, which, as far as I know, none of them are, they simply would not have time to study the historical records like I and many others have done. I know that may come across as arrogant, but it’s true. General Authorities are busy administering the affairs of the Church. For the most part, they are doctors (Pres. Nelson), lawyers (Pres. Oaks) and educational administrators (Pres. Eyring).

Large and Successful Institution

LDSChurchOfficeBuildingThe members of the Quorum of the Twelve had similar vocations before their call to become full-time church employees. I know we don’t like to focus on the institutional aspect of the Church, but it is one of the largest and most successful religious institutions in the world, at least from an economic point of view. Thus the need for professional administrators. It’s been said one should never ask what goes into sausage or how laws are made. Likewise, one must have a strong testimony to be an employee of the Church.

 

 

Read Church Histroy, But Not Too Much

Either that or put blinders on and ask no questions. There’s something to be said for those who innocently and somewhat naively believe the official explanations of the Church in regards to the early historical facts that have come to light in our day, even though some of those facts come right from the Joseph Smith Papers, an official publication of the Church. Most members haven’t read them, nor would they find them interesting.

Of Good Report or Praiseworthy

It’s surprising how many don’t really care about the rise of the Church and what happened after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum. To them, it’s a social institution, to be judged solely on the merits of encouraging moral values, which it does extremely well. Therefore, the Church is praiseworthy. There is no need to look too deeply into the past. The Church can be judged on the value it brings to families in the form of programs and practices that encourage and strengthen families. In this it excels and deserves our encouragement and active participation.

Do You Have Priesthood Approval?

church-in-the-home

The history and doctrine are being watered down more and more as time goes on. I appreciate the move to focus gospel study in the home, and the encouragement for individual members to meet in homes specifically to study the gospel, with the hope that the scriptures will be the foundation of that study. Perhaps that will turn things around. There is a question one used to hear in the Church when attempting to organize a gospel study in the home: “Do you have priesthood approval for that meeting?”

He Who Is Compelled in All Things

Wow. What a turnaround. I think this is a big deal and hope the Saints appreciate this change in direction. I believe the Lord will bless those who seek to understand the gospel better through these informal study groups. My only concern is that perhaps some will continue to look to Salt Lake for direction on what to study. In fact, the Church has already published the official guidelines. Why can’t we decide on our own, under the direction of the spirit what we should study?

Comments welcome…

The Tradition of General Conference


Continuing the tradition of holding regular General Conferences, a new conference for the Spring of 2019 has been proposed and the website construction has begun. Each General Conference has historical significance and typically, a theme. This one is no different. The theme is “A Hope in Christ: The Temple.” By now, you’ve probably figured out I’m not referring to General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Note, I’m being careful to refer to the Church by the full name as requested by President Nelson. And although I’m not a lawyer, I did some due diligence checking to ensure the phrase “General Conference” is not copyrighted by Intellectual Reserve Inc. It’s not.

Fall 2018 General Conference

I don’t want to take away from the focus on the upcoming Fall 2018 General Conference to be held at the end of this month, September 28th through the 30th, in Layton, Utah. A lot of planning and preparation has gone into this upcoming conference. I invite you to visit that website to get more information about this also historic event. I consider it historic because, as far as I know, other than a few Regional Conferences, this is the first General Conference to be held in the heart of the Mormon Corridor. Yes, there have been General Conferences in Boise Idaho and in Phoenix Arizona, but those are at the top and bottom of the corridor. This one is organized by the combined Wasatch Fellowships and will take place in the Davis Conference Center.

The Covenant of Christ: One Year Later

Someone made a video commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Covenant of Christ Conference held last September (2017) in Boise. I’ve expressed it previously, but I want to share again how grateful I am to have been able to participate in the conference from my own home via the Internet broadcast. I have reviewed many times the covenant I took upon myself on that Sunday over a year ago. The Prayer for the Covenant touched me deeply as did the Answer and Covenant itself. I’ve thought often how I can best keep that covenant. “Do the Work” comes to mind every time I re-read the promised blessings of that covenant. I have felt a distinct change in my heart as I seek to be more Christ-like in my daily interactions with others. I have found the Lord sends people to me with whom I can share His love and help them come unto Christ.

The Tradition Continues

A General Conference is more than a tradition. It is a commandment to “meet in conference … from time to time” for the purpose of conducting business and, more importantly, to edify, instruct and uplift one another as directed by the spirit of the Lord. I have fond memories of attending the Cedaredge Colorado regional conference back in May of 2015. I suppose, for me, it was more of a reunion as I met once again with friends I first met online and then at some of the lectures from the 40 Years in Mormonism Lectures of 2013 and 2014. I had been baptized less than a year earlier and felt it important to resign my membership from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being in California, where there are few who believe as I do, the year after my resignation and baptism was difficult. At the Cedaredge conference, I spent much time in the home of a friend where I was greatly uplifted and edified by the kindness and shared moments of worship in the presence of the Comforter. I hope I can make it back there next year.

Looking Forward With Faith

I remained convinced, through many years of study and personal revelation that Denver is telling the truth and teaching what the Lord wants us to hear in our day. I studied the teachings he shared for many years before I took action by being baptized. On September 21st, four years will have passed since I was baptized. I continue to be amazed at what the Lord is willing to reveal and share with those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Tradition can be a good thing, but it can also stand in the way of moving forward in faith. I will never agree with those who judged me as “looking beyond the mark.” That mark is Christ. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, NOT of Denver Snuffer. Yet, the Lord has made it clear, at least to me, He is conducting His strange work of the Last Days through His Servant. Our work is to study the teachings being shared and to then ask the Lord what He would have us do about what we are learning. I’ve shared it before, but perhaps my story will help:

The Tim Malone Story – a short video answering questions about why I took the course of action I did after a lifetime in the LDS Church (with apologies to President Nelson for not using the full name of the Mormon Church) – oops, I did it again.

Waiting Patiently Upon the Lord


I received an email from a reader (thank you Cecil) and decided to share some of the response here on my blog. I don’t pretend to be anybody important, just someone who wrote an LDS-themed blog for a few years and ended up resigning my membership in the LDS Church. I did so because I wanted to get baptized anew with a clear conscience. I’m not advocating my life choice for you or anyone else. I’m just sharing. You’re welcome to respond in any way you like – ignore this, remove yourself from my email list, leave a comment, positive or negative, or share it with others if you think it would do any good. I express my love for all.

By the Sweat of Thy Face

I’ve been putting in twelve and sixteen hour days at work, half of it on-site and half from the home office. I thought this new job would be easy – only twelve miles from home and one of the smallest companies for which I’ve ever worked. Finally convinced them to bring a desktop support associate on board so I could concentrate on the infrastructure upgrades they so desperately need. They’ve been putting band-aids and patches on everything for the past twelve years. That’s why the former IT Manager left. Finally convinced the owner on Friday to sign the first check for a $100,000+ upgrade to get rid of dying servers and onto a virtual environment. It’s been a long uphill battle for seven months, but I truly enjoy my work. Work is enjoyable when you focus on the people you serve. I learn much from them.

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

I’ve gone through three Bishops since my baptism nearly four years ago, each experience decidedly different. The first was long-suffering and patient, but simply could not understand my logic or reasoning. The next Bishop pretty much refused to have anything to do with me – never wanted to meet or talk. The current Bishop kindly met with me at the request of the Stake President. He listened patiently but in the end could not or would not consider the possibility of the Lord working through someone other than the fifteen men at the head of the LDS Church. I have no desire to persuade him otherwise. He’s a good man who loves the Lord. Surely the Lord will bless the good bishops of this Church. I believe the Lord still works through good people everywhere, no matter what their religious affiliation. If they love God, He blesses them.

Fellowship is Important for Ministering

This really is a self-selection path we are on, isn’t it? I continue to attend church with my wife. After three years of only attending Sacrament meeting I decided to stay for the entire block. It’s a small thing that makes Carol happy. We continue to sing in the ward and stake choirs, something we have done all our married lives. I take the sacrament, I raise my hand to sustain individuals in callings and speak up in priesthood meetings now, with the permission of the Stake President and Bishop. There are still those who turn to look at me as I share some point, as if to say, “Why are you allowed to speak up in Church? You resigned.” They don’t quite know how to take it. I try to say nothing controversial – just standard LDS answers. I like the focus on ministering. Strange to witness the dissolving of High Priest Groups. I was pleased to see my home teacher for the past year or two was released from the High Council and made the new Elder’s Quorum President.

A Strange Thing in the Land

I don’t write in my blog anymore on purpose. I miss the many people with whom I corresponded on a regular basis. I wonder how some of them are doing. I even stopped participating on Facebook (Yikes – over 100 messages). I enjoyed the recent conference in which Denver delivered the most amazing theological discourse on the nature of God I have ever heard or read. I have listened to it and studied it several times. It is an amazing and powerful revelation on our Divine Parents and especially a greater understanding of who they are and their role in bringing about the Great Plan of Happiness. Everything I learned concurs with my study of the subject years ago. Sons of Christ and Daughters of Eve has such a deeper meaning for me now. I encourage you to take the time to watch the video or read the paper. To me, it was satisfying and feeds my soul.

Not Good for Man to be Alone

Carol and I continue to read from the Book of Mormon together each night for about twenty minutes before we pray together, one at a time. This practice has kept our marriage intact as we pass through this difficult time of adjustment. I know Carol is disappointed, sad, and at times, lonely, feeling she has nobody but her own family with whom to share the next life. Our son left the LDS church at age 16. He is now 35 years old. She feels she has lost both her husband and her son. I do all I can to assure her of my love. Our son Michael seems well-adjusted and happy. He expresses his love for us each time he visits. Not sure what more I can do for Carol other than be patient and wait on the Lord. This is indeed a tough road to follow but “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation.”

A Comment About The Guide And Standard

I want to say a word about the Guide and Standard. I have watched this process for well over a year, even before the Answer and Covenant. The Lord said “it is a light thing I have asked.” I recently added my name to a document found on the Recorder’s Clearinghouse. I thought long and hard before asking to have my name added to the declaration. It is a petition to the Scriptures Committee, of which I was a small part for a short time. I was happy with the first document produced by Jeff Savage. I was just as happy with the “Lots” document. I voted for it. Obviously a majority of others did as well. Yet, we are not yet united, are we? I have had long discussions with those who oppose the “Lots” version of the Guide and Standard. They will not be persuaded. “…if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves you could have finished this work long ago.” Is it so hard to agree with something that, while it may not be perfect, fulfills the Lord’s requirements?

There Shall be no Disputations Among You

I express my thanks to all who have kept in touch over the years. I much appreciate it and pray the Lord’s blessings upon you. I remain convinced the Lord is giving us time to prove ourselves faithful to what he has revealed to us. He is watching closely to see how we will treat those around us who He has placed in our lives. I see His hand every day in so many ways through my work with the people I associate with every day on the job. I know the Lord is pleased with my continued efforts to lead out in our nightly scripture study and family prayer. There are indeed seasons to our lives. I feel strong and healthy and continue to pray for strength each day to endure through my time in this situation of knowing what I know yet unable to share it all. I seek to avoid contention as it invites an unwanted spirit to the dialog.

God bless,

Tim Malone
Camarillo CA

PS – If you haven’t heard me tell my story, perhaps this YouTube link from a few months back will be of interest: The Tim Malone Story

 

Tired of Talking to Former Mormons


“Our numbers are small. There are a few here locally nearby you [in the Los Angeles area] but we are worldwide. At the moment we are composed mostly of former Mormons, and I’m really getting tired of talking to former Mormons. I would like to talk to Baptists, and to Lutherans, and a Methodist – particularly if they’ve made Wycliffe’s material a matter of study –you would add so much to a discussion among fellowship groups.

“Mormons know a lot, but Christians know a lot about the Bible. We would love to see a cross-fertilization of the Christian ideal in which we can bring to you some things that we have learned about the Christian faith and in turn hear from you what you have to share in fellowships. We want other Christians to fellowship with us.”

Source: Lecture one, 500th Anniversary of Christian Reformation. (page 8, paragraph 4)

“All are invited to attend a series of talks, which are free and open to the public, requiring no ticket, rsvp, or reservation. These talks will be delivered by Mr. Denver Snuffer who will discuss Christian history, the Reformation, Christianity since the Reformation, the Restoration movement, and Joseph Smith as a Christian thinker and Biblical preacher.

“Smithsonian Magazine identified Joseph Smith as the most significant religious figure in American history. Yet he remains misunderstood by most Christians, primarily because his legacy has been regarded as Mormon property. In many ways his life mirrors the Apostle Paul. He belongs to the Christian community as much as St. Francis of Assisi, Luther, Tyndale, Wesley, Knox, Williams, and Calvin.”

The Focus is on the Savior

I wish I could go to the second lecture in Dallas. I attended the first one here in the Los Angeles area. I have attended many of Mr. Snuffer’s lectures, read his books and have always felt his focus is on Christ and how we can increase our faith in the Lord. I have a cousin who is a Presbyterian minister. My mother’s family was mostly Presbyterian while my Father’s were mostly Baptist, including several ministers. I love how open they were about their belief in Christ, as evidenced by stories in our family histories from Texas, Tennessee and Alabama.

My family joined the LDS Church here in California when I was young so I grew up studying both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I married a fifth-generation Utah girl and remained a member of the LDS Church until a few years ago. I still attend LDS services on Sunday with my wife and enjoy singing in the choir. However, I’m now considered an apostate because I read Mr. Snuffer’s books and wrote about them in this blog over the years. Rather than be excommunicated for my beliefs, I resigned. Sadly, many of my friends who share my love of the Savior, are now being targeted by some of the LDS Church leadership.

Evidence of Concern is Increasing

The leadership of the LDS Church is becoming increasingly concerned about the loosely organized “Remnant Movement.” Mr. Snuffer is characterized as the de facto leader of the movement, although there is no official organization and no hierarchy in the movement. You can read more on Mormonleaks, including details of communications between Stake Presidents and General Authorities on how to handle the growing problem of those who participate in the “Remnant Movement.”

I share a concern expressed by one of my friends that our private worship practices are now being tightly scrutinized and condemned by some in the LDS Church leadership. What we read and what conferences we attend should not be subject to censure, even if we share our experiences on social media. The facts that we have been re-baptized and partake of the sacrament in our homes are especially frowned upon. I have no hesitation in labeling this scrutiny as Anti-Christ behavior. I don’t believe private practices worshiping Christ or inviting others to do so should be considered grounds for excommunication, do you?

Warnings From LDS Church Leaders

When I interviewed Mr. Snuffer a few years ago, I asked him directly if he considered himself a prophet. He was clear to point out that he preferred being referred to as a servant of the Lord or simply as a teacher. And, if you like, you can conjecture and infer even more by referring to this revelation presented for canonization by those active in the Remnant movement: The New Name David.

The image in this section is taken from a PowerPoint presentation prepared for instructing local leaders on false beliefs of those considered to be on the far right of the conservative spectrum. Note how Denver Snuffer is listed right next to False Prophets. In addition, I note it is apparently now also a sign of apostasy to study the last days or signs of the end-times. Can you image that, being condemned for wanting to be prepared for the last days?

Open Dialog is Welcome

If you click on the image in this section you can submit any question you would like to have Mr. Snuffer address in the next talk scheduled for this Thursday 10-19-17 in Dallas TX. I have been to a couple of Sunstone conferences where Mr. Snuffer was asked and answered all kinds of questions, including one seemingly controversial question on multiple mortal probations. He did not hesitate to answer openly.

I have thought a lot about why Mr. Snuffer would express his desire to talk with Christians other than former Mormons. Those who have come from a background in the LDS Church are often stuck on the idea that certain subjects are taboo to discuss in just about any forum, especially in a classroom setting. Its no wonder so many feel stifled and unfulfilled in the LDS Church. In the ten years I have been blogging about Mormonism I still get asked the same question, “Why don’t you follow the Brethren?”

Let No Man Come Between You And Christ

When I was discussing my church membership with my bishop just before I resigned, I remember distinctly asking him why the focus of the LDS Church seemed to be centered so much on following the Brethren. One cannot enter into the LDS Temples without swearing an “oath-like” allegiance to live by every word that proceeds from the mouths of the fifteen men who preside over the LDS Church. The practice of sustaining leaders in General Conference seems to place them between us and the Lord.

It seems idolatrous to place someone between you and the Lord. If you have accepted the Lord as your Savior and demonstrated it through baptism, it seems to me the Lord will then teach you what you should do to continue on the path to heaven until you reach His presence, or so I have read many times in the Book of Mormon. We must feast on the words of Christ and they will teach us all things we must do, including receive the Holy Ghost until He, Christ shall manifest Himself unto us in the flesh.

Setting Up The Targets


youre-not-invitedI don’t live in Utah so I’m not used to hearing stories like this: My niece married later in life, and now has two lovely stepdaughters. Someone among the friends of the girls was having a birthday party but these two girls were not invited even though they play with the same group of girls or see them every day in school. The reason for excluding them? “Because you don’t go to church.”

Amazing. Does such judgement really exist among the hearts of the Latter-day Saints in Utah County? You know the girls obviously learned it from their parents. What a tragedy. Today, being Fast Sunday, I experienced a small taste of that exclusive attitude that permeates the LDS Church, even here where I live in Camarillo. Please understand I’m not blaming my local bishop.

When I resigned from the LDS Church last year I pointed out that according to the handbook I could now partake of the sacrament, whereas I had previously been forbidden to do so because the Bishop had restricted me due to apostasy. I made it clear I felt this was anti-Christ when I submitted my resignation papers. It was a key component as to why I had resigned at that time.

The Handbook Takes Precedence

LDSChurchHandbooks1With the change in Bishopric earlier this year I asked the new Bishop how he would feel about me bearing my testimony of the Savior, the prophet Joseph or the Book of Mormon from time to time. He said he would think about it. Today, he made it clear he would not allow it, even though all my life I have witnessed those investigating the Church [non-LDS] stand up and speak freely.

The citation is found on page 141 (2010) of handbook 2 which reads, “After the Sacrament, the Bishopric member conducting the meeting … then invites members to bear … testimonies.” He said he was going to have to stick to the handbook even though I had assured him I would limit my testimony to the Prophet Joseph, the Book of Mormon and my feelings about the Savior.

Again, please don’t assume I’m blaming my bishop for anything. The idea of marriage to the handbook is ingrained in “bishops-in-training” from the time they attend their first priesthood leadership meeting, usually as an Elder’s Quorum secretary or counselor. I never noticed just how powerful this indoctrination really is. It also permeated my service on the High Council.

No Apostates Allowed to Speak

BreadAndWineYet a person who is not a member of the LDS Church is not prohibited from partaking of the sacred ordinances of the Sacrament. On page 173 of handbook 2 (2010) we read, “Although the sacrament is for Church members, the bishopric should not announce that it will be passed to members only, and nothing should be done to prevent nonmembers from partaking of it.”

Isn’t it strange that what should be a decision made under careful consideration because the Savior so commanded, is relegated to one-line dismissal in the Church handbook, while one of the most important things a person can do to engender and encourage faith in others – to bear testimony of Christ – is prohibited out of fear that person might share something controversial?

When I first resigned we were preparing for the ward and stake Christmas programs, to which I have always enjoyed contributing each year. I was asked to not participate last year, which I thought rather odd, especially when we were always asking everyone to invite their friends and neighbors who were not members of the Church, to join us. The restriction was later rescinded.

Obtaining Power Directly From God

PassingHeavenlyGiftWhen I was first introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer by a former bishop who simply asked what I thought about “Passing the Heavenly Gift”, I posted my intention to read the book. One individual offered his assessments of the man with the following, “He doesn’t believe Joseph passed the priesthood keys on to anyone. He says they can only be obtained from God.”

I always thought that curious. This individual obviously felt there was something wrong with the way God controlled His priesthood power among men. If I remember correctly, Joseph taught that ALL prophets after Moses obtained the higher priesthood directly from God Himself. This has been a large portion of my study over the past few years – how power from God is obtained.

I have been asked – politely – by several people just how exactly I now differ in my religious beliefs. I assume they ask this so they can be careful with what kind of questions they ask me. I don’t know or understand why people are afraid of offending me. The one who did this the best was my high priest group leader (at the time). I love and appreciate him for his tactful manner.

Common Ground for Conversation

ProphetJosephSmithIn order to make it easy for those who ask me the question in the future, I’ll refer them to this essay. Maybe that will save them some time or potential embarrassment at having to ask the question. They see me attending church each Sunday – at least Sacrament meeting – as well as choir practice and ward socials. There’s always that slight awkward feeling of “what do I say?”

It reminds me of the three commandments of missionary work – steer the conversation toward religion, don’t talk about politics and for heaven’s sake, never ask a woman if she’s pregnant. Here are a few subjects that we might find mutually interesting: 1) Something new you learned about Joseph Smith. 2) Some new aspect of doctrine that came up in your personal gospel study.

3) If you feel daring, perhaps we could discuss something from the Church Handbook, but, of course, that only works if you serve in a priesthood leadership position. Funny how that works. Members of the LDS Church are judged by what’s in the Church Handbook over and above what is found in the scriptures, yet they do not have access to this super-secret book. Why is that so?

Deep Knowledge of the Atonement

come-let-us-adore-himYou’re always safe to bring up something about the Savior. I love to talk about the Lord. But I don’t like platitudes which we seem to get so much of at church each week. Perhaps you could take a few minutes and read the chapter on the Atonement as found in the book, “Come, Let us Adore Him,” unless you feel it’s against your temple covenants to read anything but the Ensign.

In there you will learn how the Atonement came in waves – each one stronger than the previous. You might also learn the waves came in pairs. The Savior first experienced the feelings, guilt and suffering that those who commit the offense must endure because of their sins. The second wave imposed the suffering of those who are victim of these offenses. Now you know how it worked.

Please don’t be as the Pharisees who asked by what authority this knowledge is proclaimed. All truth contains its own authority. Don’t say, “Why, this isn’t taught by our modern day prophets and apostles, therefore I won’t accept or believe it.” Why is it so hard to believe that God could send another witness of his divinity and his mission in our day just as He did in sending Joseph?

What Do You Think Of Denver’s Latest Book?

preserving-the-restoration1I thought I was done with my blog. For eight years I wrote over 500 posts on the LDS Religion. At first, I did my best to defend the orthodoxy with which I grew up. Sadly, I was taken to task by many who did not like my version of orthodoxy. I began to dig deeper, I prayed with greater intent to understand what about our religion was important and exactly on what I should focus.

I don’t know if my former bishop (the one with whom I served as a counselor) feels he is an answer to my prayers, but there is no doubt in my mind the Lord sent him to me with that one simple question in the temple that day. I’m sure he doesn’t condone my action in resigning from the Church, but I continue to thank the Lord He had the courage to ask me that question that day:

“What do you think about Denver’s latest book?” My response ended the conversation. The Bishop walked away or someone else caught his attention, but that question stayed with me, along with my response, “Denver who?” For weeks the Lord kept bringing the name to my mind. I didn’t even know his last name. I now ask you: “What do you think of Denver’s latest book?”

 

Looking into the LDS Church from the Outside


 

WhyIResignedWhen I decided to stop writing in my blog on a regular basis last month, I felt a great burden had been removed. I felt free to think, ponder and pray about my course in life without asking if the Lord wanted me to share my thoughts on any particular subject. I kept my feelings and beliefs to myself and appreciated the idea that I’m just another sojourner on this earth travelling with you. I began to feel less stress, less pressure and fewer impressions or ideas on which to elaborate here.

In many ways I’m no different from you. We have a lot in common. I think we both believe there is purpose in life. We get excited about some things that happen to us as we move through each day and annoyed at others. From past experience I know my audience is vast and wide. Most of my readers are LDS or former LDS. Most are believers in God, a personal God who knows and loves us individually. I especially appreciate many readers have kept in touch with me privately.

Changes in Church Handbook

LDSChurchHandbooks1A lot has happened in the world over the past month that caused me to want to post some ideas as it relates to the last days. The Paris attacks and the change in the LDS handbook both had me wanting to share a few comments but I resisted the urge. I enjoyed a much needed break. Things even seemed to quiet down at work. I still manage the day-to-day operations of my department and move several projects along, but for the most part, I feel less stress in my daily schedule.

I think my health has improved. After spending a week in the hospital and losing fifteen pounds, I began to feel my energy pick up in a way I haven’t felt in several years. This blogging break seems to have been good for me. I moved the blog to WordPress.com, which is free, and off the very expensive site, Blue Host. I miss the plug-ins, and there are still a few missing photos to be restored but I am happy I was able to transfer most of the history and photos to this free format.

My Meeting with the Bishop

our-bishopI also discovered something very interesting about myself and my personal growth. In the last month I have listened to the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, The New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants and am just finishing Genesis. Instead of thinking and pondering on my 75-minute daily drive to and from work, I have been listening to the scriptures on lds.org. There’s something different about going through them that fast. Time seems to be compressed.

I also met with my bishop in the last month. I wanted to confirm two things – that I was welcome to attend and that I could sing in the ward and stake choirs, which I had missed very much over the past year. I came to a slow realization I had made a mistake in some of the posts I directed to my Bishop and Stake President last year. I might be LDS today if I had not written those posts. But what’s done is done. I’m now on the outside looking in and have been for over the past year.

Social Stigma of Being an Apostate

preserving-the-restoration1If you’re interested, I’d like to share with you a few thoughts over the next little while about the idea of becoming a member of the LDS Church again. I know this may be a real shock to some readers so let me explain. If you’ll recall, and as far as I can tell, Denver never once advocated we resign from the LDS Church. I may be wrong, and if so, feel free to point that out. I think I did that on my own, believing I could not be baptized and remain a member of the LDS Church.

“Why,” you may ask,” would you want to become a member of the LDS Church once again?” There are plenty of reasons, the primary of which is to be fair to Carol. She feels she was cheated out of something when I resigned. I did not ask her. I told her. That was a foolish mistake. I knew what her response would be had I asked and I was determined to do what I felt the Lord was asking me to do. Of course many said I was deceived, but I assure you I was not deceived.

Purpose of Life is to Gain Experience

brighamyoung.jpgI made my decision about several years of study and prayer. I like to compare what I did in leaving the LDS Church as similar to what Brigham Young did in joining the LDS Church. He was in no hurry and neither was I. He studied, attended meetings, read, prayed and participated with the saints – mainly with his own family – in the LDS worship practices. When I decided to be baptized I seem to recall reading in the Church Handbook that baptism is a sign of apostasy.

Note I was not baptized into any existing or new church. I chose to be baptized as a token or sign between me and the Lord that I believed he had sent a teacher in our day with a message the LDS Church – the Gentile Church – had fallen away or had apostatized from the original format and intended purpose for which it had been established. I was not baptized into the Church of Denver Snuffer. I am not a follower of Denver Snuffer. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the same.

Perhaps the Church Won’t Want Me

latemple_small.jpgBesides restoring to my wife what was taken from her without her consent, I believe I can do more good from within the LDS Church than I can from outside the Church. I miss the temple. Of course I recognize it will probably be years before the First Presidency decides I am worthy to have my temple blessings restored. Perhaps they will decide I can never have those blessings restored. After all, when I resigned, I did so fully acknowledging the severing of temple links.

I will be happy with simply being baptized again. You and I both know that once an individual dies, their family members do their temple work all the while reciting the phrase, “it will all work out in the end. God will make it right. If they are worthy, they will have the blessings of the temple for eternity. If not, they will receive what they have earned or are worthy of receiving.” I suspect most LDS folks, including many leaders, don’t know the mind of the Lord on this matter.

I Enjoy Attending the LDS Church

SLCSealingRoom.jpgUnlike many stories I read online and that have been shared with me in private emails, I have not had a bad experience in the LDS Church. I enjoyed my fifty-plus years as a member. I enjoyed my mission. I enjoyed going to the temple. I enjoyed serving in many callings over the years, especially the twenty-five years in various bishoprics and on the High Council. I love to teach the gospel and miss that. If baptized again, I doubt I would ever be given a call to teach or lead.

Incidentally, according to LDS doctrine, Carol lost nothing when I resigned. Just as children lose nothing when the sealing of their parents is cancelled, they still have the blessings of the sealing ordinance. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the LDS Church about the temple, what the ordinances represent and how they work. Probably the least understood concept, even among long-time High Priests who should know better, is the Holy Spirit of Promise in eternal marriage.

Lots of Questions to Work Out

baptism-saratoga-springsGo ahead and call me a fool if you like. I am aware of hundreds of people who were baptized as I was, who did not leave the LDS Church. They continue to serve in callings in the church and at the same time hold sacrament meetings at home and invite others to be baptized as a token they accept what the Lord has done and is doing in these last days. I have a lot of things I need to work out with the bishop before I can be baptized again, such as, “What is the Gentile Church?”

Did the Saints accomplish what the Lord asked of them in Nauvoo or were they cursed as the Lord said they would be because they did not complete the temple before Joseph’s death? Just what exactly is the higher priesthood and is it something that can be passed on from one man to another? Why do we have Joseph teaching ALL the prophets of the old testament after Moses received the higher priesthood directly from the Lord. Is that the ONLY way it is received?

Good People Who Are Disciples of Christ

carl_bloch_the_christWhy does the Church Handbook take precedence over the scriptures when most of the general body of the LDS Church has never seen it and certainly has never voted on it as binding upon them as a church? How in the world can the LDS Church punish the children of apostates when such action goes directly against the second article of faith? I have dozens of additional questions like these I am seeking to answer before I can answer the baptismal questions about LDS leaders.

I am in a unique position of being an outsider looking in at the Church after more than fifty years of being a members of that church. My views have changed considerably in the last year since I resigned. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of the people in the church. I feel most are still my friends. Most seem to be genuine in their love for me. I believe most are true followers of Jesus Christ and want to please Him. My concern is with those who declare what is doctrine.

On TBMs, Parables and Dreams


Guest post: A young reader of the blog came for a visit recently. Carol and I enjoyed having him stay overnight. He introduced us to a new phenomenon called “couch-surfing.” You probably know all about it but we had never heard of it. Now we know. You want to come visit us here by the beach? The couch is available. He asked if he could share a few thoughts on the blog. With his permission, I have edited and combined a bit:

Part 1 – On TBMs

TBM meaning - what does TBM stand for?

TBM means – True Blue Mormon

Today I ended a two week road trip and am going to write of something, a new thought brought to my attention by a new friend. This merry little remnant group often uses the acronym of TBM. I’m not sure how often I have used it myself, not sure if I even have. Either way, TBM sounds like a damn mental disorder or STD. Seriously folks, is there anything in the medical world that is good that has been given initials? Where did this term come from? It really doesn’t matter, what matters is the fact it is used.

The remnant, as it likes to call itself, doesn’t use the term Mormon. So why do we need to call Mormons TBM? Or why can’t we just say LDS? Never mind the fact I think both groups got it wrong with the whole name thing: “8 And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.”

If we call ourselves Mormons, we are a part of the church of Mormon and as Jesus so bluntly states it, that means we belong to the church of Mormon and not the church of Christ. So we have between the remnant and TBM….Latter-day Saints, Mormons, remnant, and TBMs…..just about everything except Christian or “Follower of Christ.” Hilarious irony somewhere in there. One thing I think we should work on: there is power in a name and probably a reason Christ says to call yourself the Church of Christ.

A Derogatory Term

tbm2But back to my point, this merry little remnant group has decided to use this name for a group of people, and use it in a somewhat negative manner. I suspect they mean to say “HAHAHAHA STUPID TBMs.” I have noticed that condescending attitude on the day of my rebaptism, and only one fellow (the guy who did the baptism) told them to knock it off. I enjoyed that day and at the request of the guy who re-baptized me, wrote down my thoughts to remember my feelings. Here are a few of them:

“I noticed in talking with people an ever so subtle Denver Snuffer worship that persisted. I also noticed an ever so subtle spirit of contention.” Indeed….perhaps I do agree with this new friend more than I think, but just happen to think rebaptism was what I really needed. I don’t regret it. It was for me the right thing to do, but I can certainly see and even did pen it down, that the remnant does possess a very subtle spirit of contention. It’s odd I noticed it because I also wrote: “I seemed completely at peace.”

Perhaps that’s why I noticed the subtle disturbance. Or perhaps my Satan detector is very finely tuned. Anyone that has visited the comments section of Facebook or any of the various LDS-themed blogs knows that contention is opening billion dollar businesses there. A bunch of folks shouting, “I have had revelation. No, I have had opposing revelation. No, I have had yet more revelation…”

Revelation Takes Time to Master

Well isn’t that a fine pickle we’ve got ourselves into? Sounds like we’ve just crossed into the Brigham Young succession crisis the lot of folks were upset about in the first place. We’re doing exactly what we claim the LDS church does – contradicting itself. If we all actually got revelation on the matter, we’d be in agreement. But we’ve taken a whole bunch of rookies, who’ve probably gotten less than three revelations in our lives, and suddenly we’re all masters. I have some bad news. Revelation takes time to master. It’s a gift from God.

But back to that TBM STD term, the more I think on it, the more I see this new friend is right. TBM is a damn STD or mental disorder. It’s as idiotic as any of those other racial slurs we’ve invented. No one, and I do mean no one I have ever seen uses TBM as a good thing.

I have a very simple piece of advice for you. I’m going to quote some general authorities here: Dieter F. Uchtdorf says: Stop it. I’m also going to quote some random folks from the scriptures too: Repent! So to summarize and put this together: Just Stop It and Repent! Of the general authorities I have always enjoyed Dieter the most. He seems a cut above the rest.

Many of you may now be left without a way to refer to one another. How about brother and sister? But I know I’ve offended you….so without TBM as a term how else will you:

14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.

27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.

Ah yes, without the term TBM, how else will we do the highlighted things? You know what? Maybe me and my new friend don’t see eye to eye on the whole thing, and truth be told I’d like to ask this person a thing or two more about some stuff….but you know what? Charity is the greatest gift of all and I do not sense any bad intentions. And I think that counts for something, and this person showed plenty of charity.

We Ought To Be Much Kinder

You know….I don’t claim to get it right 100% of the time….but this past two weeks on the road with zero plans, I’ve seen more random acts of kindness, and participated in more random acts of kindness and felt closer to Christ than I have in a very long time. I’m a guy that has had visions since I was a child.

One time I had just finished eating and was daydreaming and thinking to myself, man they’ve gone and overcomplicated those stupid soda machines with a thousand flavors, as soon as I thought that some old guy walked up to it and couldn’t figure it out. Poor guy only wanted a simple old fashioned coke; taking five seconds to help him brought a smile to his face.

Another story: I was in a bar, and we were leaving. It was me and five other guys and we had all just met that night. Two of us just met two minutes previously. Someone spots two cops waiting for us across the street. One guy then invites us into his home (his apartment was next door to the bar) so we could avoid the cops. But somehow I am sure someone here is still throwing stones because I was at a bar.

Another point: I met a homeless guy….just passed him by at the Wal-Mart. I stopped and chatted for ten to fifteen minutes. In that time I was one of two people of at least one-hundred that actually stopped and looked at him much less chatted. Freaking random acts of kindness people.

2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Ministering to the Homeless

I wonder…are angels masquerading as homeless people? Are they reporting back to God telling Him all about how we keep driving right past them? Interestingly enough he and this homeless guy I just mentioned talked about that very thing….He claims he was named Gabriel and I am named Adam….some hilarious irony there.

We need to get off our damn phones. I saw the other day there are tons of these remnant Facebook groups with the same folks posting over and over and over on each group all the day long. We need to put down the damn phone and go help the beggar ten feet outside our door. We’re all so obsessed with achieving what Denver Snuffer acquired (bear in mind if his story to be believed it takes him a good twenty to thirty years), an audience with Christ, that we’ve forgotten Christ helped the most wretched and pitiful of souls.

He helped the drunks at the bars, the whores, the hookers, the sick, the possessed, and even the freaking dead. Christ even showed pity and mercy to the legion of devils He let go into the herd of swine. If Facebook and all that crap existed in His time I doubt He would be on it. I suspect He’d be out there helping the aforementioned and calling us out on how we waste our time. I met no TBMs this week…I met people. And I’m from the damn place that started the civil war.

I’ll close by repeating this: Just Stop It and Repent!

 

Part Two – A Parable

apple-pie.jpgI shall tell you a story…A Parable even. There was a man who had an apple tree and it produced much good fruit. It was very delicious to the taste. The man took the fruits of this apple tree and one day learned to make an apple pie. This was the only apple pie around then. You see people were still learning how to till the ground. This man however soon after some years learned to truly perfect this apple pie. This man took great care of his apple tree as he wanted to pass it on to his descendants. He taught them all he could about making apple pies but soon grew old and passed on.

This special apple tree however lived on and his descendants went on making apple pies. His son had learned firsthand from his master father and to most they could not tell the difference but he was not quite as good as his father. He then had sons and they too learned how to make apple pies. This continued on for many, many generations.

One day many years later a stranger was passing by. He had heard of the legendary apple pie and decided since he was so close by he would try this famous apple pie. He soon arrived with much anticipation but immediately noticed the house was falling apart and the trees of the yard did not look well taken care of. However he had heard the stories and figured what does he know? He comes from a land that doesn’t even have an apple tree so perhaps this is just the way it looks. He however craved good food and had heard the stories and the legends of this famous treat. You see in his homeland you do not get to eat such good food, the food is stale, dry, and often rotting or close to rotting. His people simply cannot seem to learn to cook.

The Legend of the Great Apple Pie

He knocked on their door and was invited to come in. He asked about the origins of this apple pie and was told all the stories. As he had listened with great anticipation and even hearing new stories he had not heard before he soon realized these descendants did not even know as much as he did. But he figured, “No matter at least they can bake a delicious apple pie.”

The man had become so overwhelmed with excitement he barely gave heed or notice to the fact the place smelled very similar to home. He figured all food looked terrible having never seen good fruit before. After some time the baked apple pie came out and he had it in front of him, ready to taste and eat.

He looked on with great anticipation exclaiming “I AM HERE, I AM FINALLY HERE LORD” as this was the place of legends. He took his fork to the pie and brought it to his mouth. He noticed it looked familiar. He asked the bakers about this before he took a bite and they said “This is how all food is, don’t you know that?”

He then proceeded seemingly satisfied with the answer. He took his first bite and noticed this was nearly identical to the food he was used too. He wondered could it be….could the stories all be a lie. He took another bite to be sure, and sure enough the pie tasted similar to his homeland’s rotting food.

Not All Pies Are the Same

He then recalled a story as he looked around. He recalled hearing how the original owner of this place would spend 4 hours a day cleaning and grooming and tending to the apple tree outside. He remembered thinking how clean this inside had to have been, which cleanliness made him different from his friends and family. He then asked the bakers how often they cleaned the apple tree to which they replied “Why should we clean it? It has always been that way and always produced this same fruit just as it did for our father and his father before him, we have always had this same fruit and this same tree.”

The stranger finally understood….the poor descendants had lost their way. They were stuck in their methods of baking and while this may have once been a legendary place all it was now was a story. The stranger explained this to the bakers but only one of the six bakers listened and so he and the stranger finally convinced the others to leave and let them be while they cleaned up the place and did things as close to the stories they had told them to do.

They worked hard and long as they had to plant completely new soil and build much of the house anew. It was tiring and time consuming but after several years they finally finished. The other five bakers repeatedly called them crazy but had agreed to this….in the meantime they opened up shop.

The Great Apple Pie is Restored

The stranger and the one baker finally opened….and this time it was good apple pie….the stuff of legends. In time the five grew angry at the stranger and the one baker but what could they do? They had a plan they thought. They would encourage the stranger to return to his homeland knowing a partner is needed they will pay someone to sabotage the new place.

And so they went to work on their plan and it succeeded. Soon a generation or two later passed and you could barely tell a difference between the two, yet strangely some folks swore one place was better than the other yet they were nearly identical in origin and story and taste.

As we near the end of our story one last stranger appears….it is the son of the original stranger from just two generations ago. He noticed this was wrong and told them of the apple pie stand in his homeland that he learned from them, but both stands laughed at him and would not heed his warning calling him crazy.

The Restored Pie is Rejected

He was cast out, but determined to try and get them to see reason, he went back to his homeland and brought with him the fruits of his labor. He soon returned and showed them proof of his claims yet he was still mocked and laughed at. His father had warned him this might happen, but he tried anyway. Sadly, he was fighting a lost cause. The people had their apple pies and could not fathom there being another apple pie, they presumed they had a monopoly on apple pies.

The poor stranger returned home, defeated and sad as the place truly was now nothing more than a good story, a legend, but a farce claiming to be what it once was. As he lay on his deathbed he died asking “How could a place with good food learn to enjoy eating rotten food? We once ate rotten food and now eat good food, yet strangely some among us prefer the rotten food? How can this be?”

To all who read this parable I say this….The meaning is not just the most obvious meaning, it has many meanings. I was foolish and did not write down all the meanings I have heard. THIS IS NOT JUST A PARABLE ABOUT THE MODERN CHURCH! Either way I’ll leave it to those that: 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: If your eyes are opened and your ears are listening, you’ll figure it out.

 

Part Three – A Dream

I once somewhere read of a dream by someone. Perhaps the dream is real or perhaps not. I don’t know. In this dream, a man was looking for Christ in church. He looked and looked but could not find Him. However, he happened by a boy who was in need of comfort because his parents had gotten divorced (I can’t remember the exact reason). He noticed the boy was all alone, but there was an old man sitting there in the room with him but not saying anything.

He briefly talked to the boy and found out what was wrong but soon enough left him in his search for Christ leaving the boy with the quiet old man. Some years later in the dream, he saw the boy again but with friends and noticed was even worse off. He asked the boy about it and the boy who was now a teenager explained that no one came to help him. The dream ended.

The explanation given by the author of the dream was this: do not get so stuck on your desire to see Christ that you forget to minister to the poor around you. He suspects had he ministered to the boy then and there that Christ was actually the old man in the room and would have revealed Himself, but because he did not, he failed to minister to Christ, and thus was unworthy of His presence. So do not forget the poor, the homeless, the sick, the needy, and so on, for by ministering to them, you minister to God Himself.