The Rules of the Contest


the-contestHow easy it is to be misunderstood. People often jump to conclusions so quickly. Even things close friends write in response to a post can be way out of line. It becomes clear to see where an individual stands in fulfilling one the most important parts of friendship. Or maybe I’m such a damned poor writer I am unable to get my thoughts across as clear as I once believed I could.

I was raised with four sisters. I learned way too late in my teenage years how important it is to be kind to those you love. My brother and I were rough with each other but never worried about hurting each other’s feelings. Hell, he was a U.S. Marine, gone from home at age seventeen so he wasn’t around when I was a teenager. It was from my sisters I learned a fundamental key of life.

Kindness, non-judgment, and expressions of compassion are character traits real men can learn and use all their lives. Men who master these traits will have a great advantage over those who push their way through life with a mean, rough exterior being exhibited as their primary persona. Learning how to listen and hear a person out is not the exclusive domain of women in our lives.

The Glory of God is Intelligence

glory-of-god-is-intelligenceThe most intelligent man I know is also the best listener. In fact, when I think of him, his ability to hear and understand me are the first things that come to mind. He seems to know my mind on any given subject even before I do. Yet he listens and never butts in when I’m explaining how I feel about something. Come to think of it, he only responds when I invite him to share his ideas.

Long-time readers know how seriously I take my religion. Perhaps too serious. I have often been counseled to lighten up. Well-meaning people with my best interests in mind have been clear on this idea. Perhaps a better word for religion would be faith. Specifically, faith in Jesus Christ. I have strong feelings about my Savior and greatly respect those who exhibit His mild demeanor.

I think gentleness best describes what I appreciate about the Savior. He truly is a gentle man. I don’t mean gentle in the sense of weak or wishy-washy, but gentle in his concern for us and how we will respond to what he asks of us. Which leads me to the focus of this post: understanding what the Lord asks of us. Sometimes, it can seem strange or even contrary to a previous request.

Timing Can Be so Important

god-is-patientFor example, in my previous post, I summarized how for several years I studied the teachings of a man I consider inspired and a servant of the Lord before taking action on an invitation to show I accepted those teachings. I stated that perhaps I had made a mistake in the way I managed this essential action. In short, I resigned my membership in the LDS Church and sought for baptism.

Because I mentioned mistake, some thought I was referring to the idea of being baptized again. Let me be clear. I don’t believe it was a mistake to be baptized again. I know many who have been re-baptized, but did it quietly, sharing their good news with only a few close friends. In my case, I also felt it was right at that time to publicize it widely. So where did I make a mistake?

I don’t feel I made a mistake in resigning from the LDS Church. I could have gone ahead and been baptized without resigning and without announcing it on my blog. Others shared they felt that was the right path for them. I didn’t feel that way then and still don’t. It seems dishonest. If anything, my mistake was in not consulting with Carol before taking such a consequential action.

A Few Definitions to Agree Upon

define-prayerSeveral individuals who I thought were trusted friends jumped all over me for that very reason. “How could you do such a thing?” they said. “What were you thinking?” another said. “Did it not occur to you how this would affect your wife?” Trust me, I pondered Carol’s response very carefully over many days. Because I trust her, I followed the promptings of the Lord in prayer.

Because it’s important, here is my definition of how the Lord answers prayer, at least for me. When I want to know the Lord’s will on something, I ask for inspiration and guidance in my thoughts, I review what I already know about the idea or subject and then I ask the Lord to make it clear what would be the best path for me – the one that is filled with the most light at that time.

In describing answers to prayers in previous posts, I have mentioned feelings, visits, visions, voices, dreams and promptings. I have given examples of each. The most common has been in feelings, as in, “the Spirit of the Lord pressed upon my feelings,” or “A feeling I should pursue a certain course of action continually ran through my mind so much I could see myself doing it.”

Responding to the Ultimate Authority

jesus-teaching1I was surprised at the number of private emails I received in response to this last post. Perhaps the individuals didn’t want others to know how they felt about my post. After all, it *appeared* I was saying I wanted to be baptized again in the LDS Church. I noted I had met with my current bishop without mentioning things we discussed, limited mainly to historical and doctrinal doubts.

I suppose what I’m looking for is someone who can answer my questions and clear up doubts I have picked up over the past few years along with those I have put on the shelf from years past. I recognize the responsibility to answer these questions are mine. I own these questions. It would be unfair to anyone else to burden them with my doubts. The Savior is the ultimate authority.

In one of those private emails the individual asked, “If the Lord told you to be baptized into the LDS Church once again, would you do so?” My immediate response was in the affirmative. I love the people of my ward and stake. I hold no ill feelings toward anyone in our congregation although I’m sure there are many who are angry with me for the very public actions I have taken.

The Objective is Truth

truth-has-no-agendaAlthough this is certainly not a game, I’ve shared two rules of the contest: How, for me, prayers are answered and what actions should be taken when such prayers are clearly answered. May I introduce a third rule? Truth is the objective in this competition. I am not interested in being part of a group whose goal is to create loyal followers or congregants who fit their idea of fellowship.

I am seeking truth. I don’t believe truth is subjective based on who is telling the story. I’m not in this for the social benefits, although there are clearly many such benefits. I appreciate the idea that fellowship is required in order to serve one another that our burdens may be light. I love to worship together in song and prayer. The gifts of the spirit are given to strengthen one another.

Perhaps I can leave you with something to ponder to demonstrate the objective of truth. In 3 Ne 11, the Lord taught the requirements of baptism are to repent and to become as a little child. He also said, “And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock.” Now look at the second baptismal question.

Come Follow Me, the Savior Said

come-follow-meWho has the right to set the requirements for baptism? We are entering into a covenant with our Savior, with Jesus Christ. Why is it a requirement of salvation to accept a man as an intermediary between us and Christ? I’m not trying to trick anyone here. I simply want to know. It just doesn’t seem right. Christ was clear what he taught in 3 Ne 11, at least it’s clear to me as I pray about it.

We follow the Lord. He has the power to save us. No man, as far as I can tell, can do anything to redeem us from hell. That’s why I was baptized again. I was not baptized into a Church. I was not baptized to demonstrate allegiance to any man. I was baptized to demonstrate my acceptance of the doctrine to follow Christ. Adding to these requirements is evil. Or so the Savior has said.

I wish I had the power to open the eyes of the people to see what we have done. We have set a man in the place of Christ. I know that sounds harsh, but this is the first question I would need to have resolved before I would consider accepting baptism in the LDS Church. That question and several others would need to be removed from the baptismal interview. Does this not seem clear?

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

 

Taking His Name In Vain


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

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

“a vain attempt to tidy up the room”

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FALL OF SAUL, IT RHYMES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOHN’S BAPTISM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Escape From Idolatry


golden-statueI notice a pattern with people who escape idolatry. I would dare say it is nearly universal. It is perhaps the most difficult and treacherous path to navigate in this life, but if we endure to the end, it leads to the riches of eternity.

In the worst of idolatry, men and women will put their trust solely in external things. Usually this consists of pastors, bishops, preachers, ministers, and whatever books that happen to be approved within their belief system. If they run into a question or concern, they speak to the nearest “authority” on the subject, who has enough knowledge with the approved books to pacify the person and lull them back to sleep.

golden-calfIf the person keeps seeking greater truth, they will soon begin to see contradictions coming from the pulpit. The local “authority” will sometimes say things that are not coinciding with the approved books, and the seeker begins to see that the local authorities are fallible, and not to be trusted as far as Truth is concerned.

In the next phase the seeker will begin to seek the words of the “greater” leaders and “authorities.” They will seek the words of the founders of the religion, the dead prophets and popes, the great men and women of the belief system. The seeker will begin finding others who see the fallibility of the local leaders and they will enjoy seeking words of the greater leaders of the belief system.

money-idolatryEventually if the seeker persists in the journey, it will become clear that even the founders and the great ones of the belief system do not agree on all things. Hopefully the seeker at this point has begun to receive revelation and is developing his/her own relationship with God. Slowly their eyes are opened as they continue forward.

The next step in the pattern comes to a point where the seeker will cleave to THE ONE person that seems to have all the answers. THE ONE prophet, or pope, whether living or dead, who was or is guided by God. This will be THE ONE who was truly infallible because he/she was God’s voice, instrument, prophet, pope, king, or whatever the title may be. This also can come in the form of THE ONE book, THE ONE philosophy, THE ONE trustworthy source of Truth besides God.

golden-calf2If the seeker does not rest, and will truly endure to the end, at some point they will see that even THE ONE has things that are not true. This can only be done by receiving revelation line upon line on every subject that the one remaining idol has taught. Sometimes things outside of the one remaining idol are used as tools to help the seeker break the shackles.

It can be THE ONE book or idol that others have pointed too. It can be the Laotzis and the Buddhas and the Emmanuel Swedenborgs and the Apocryphas etc that point out truths that the one idol does not have and even teaches or has taught against, but the spirit will bear witness to.

golden-calf1Of course the last phase, and the only True Way is when the disciple learns to only trust in the Spirit of the Living God, the Spirit of Truth. When one enters this zone, Truth comes quickly from many avenues because the chains of idolatry have been broken. There is no damning limit to what the Spirit could tell you, because the only creed is Truth, wherever it may be found.

Outward authority never can exist to the true disciple, because the holy oil of God is giving truth to the inward vessel. The only things to conquer in this last phase are the devils and powers of darkness which will fight with desperation and fury. All of the powers of hell will be used to stop the seeker from becoming a holy disciple of God.

academic-idolatryAs one progresses from phase to phase in the escape of idolatry, the seeker will find less and less human companionship, but more and more association with the angels and righteous on the other side of the veil. Most are not willing to trade the outward forms of spirituality for the inward blessings of discipleship. To escape each phase, more strength is needed than to escape the last, and only the Lord can provide it.

food-as-an-idolIn each of these phases there will be many who will try to persuade you that you are in the right spot. You have made it to THE GROUP, to the elite, “you have escaped! This is the place!” the mortals and devils will call, yet the seeker must learn to heed the call of The Only One that matters.

Of course many would call the seeker a person that “picks and chooses.” They will call it a “buffet style” approach and call the wisdom of God foolishness. “You can’t just pick and choose!” will be the voice of the devil. “You can’t trust personal revelation!” They will say you must check it with all of the idols and if it doesn’t match up it must be discarded. Think deeper about some verses in Matt 13:41-50

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I pray God’s blessings upon each of us as we shed idolatry and falsehood, and come unto the Truth. Those who will not be cast into the furnace of fire will be those who have sold all the filth, who have cast all the bad away, before the coming of the Lord.

Power and Authority


power-and-authorityThere was a deacon in the Church some years ago who observed one family member abusing another family member. He commanded the abuser to repent and cited his Aaronic priesthood as authority for the order. The abuser declined to acquiesce to his request.

Question: What lesson should the deacon have learned from this?

Consider the account of the two prophets in JST 1 Kings 13.

Question: What lesson should we take from the example of the prophet from Judah?

Question: For what purposes do people cite authority for their words or actions?

Question: Which of those purposes pass the Golden Rule test?

Question: What exercises of power or authority are compatible with the Golden Rule?

Question: What is the power of God?

Question: What is the authority of God?

Question: What is the significance of a commandment from God?

power-and-authority-illustratedD&C 121, as well as Jesus’s teachings to his disciples about authority and power, are good places to start on these things. (Handy keywords to search Jesus’s teachings for: rabbi, master, benefactors, greatest, servant, younger)

My answers will probably be different than yours, but that doesn’t necessarily make me “right” and you “wrong.”

Answers – Because I Keep Getting Asked


Death is a time of reflection“Why did you do this?”
“I felt it was the right thing to do.”

“Did you think about the consequences?”
“Of course, I’ve thought about them for two and a half years.”

“Do you realize what you’ve given up?”
“Actually, I’ve been more focused on what I have gained.”

“What do you mean?”
“I’ve never felt closer to the Lord or more in tune with His spirit.”

“How can you say that? You just resigned from the Lord’s Church.”
“I resigned so I could get baptized with full purpose of heart.”

“But you’ve already been baptized.”
“I was only eight years old at the time. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

All Decisions Have Consequences

“Did you think about how this would affect your family?”
“Yes. I have fasted and prayed about it many, many times.”

“Do you realize you’ve lost your eternal salvation?”
“I disagree. Eternal salvation does not require membership in the LDS Church.”

“How can you say that after all the LDS Church has done for you?”
“Eternal salvation requires acceptance from the Lord and knowledge of His love.”

“And it requires membership in His Church.”
“Yes, I agree. It requires membership in the Church of the Firstborn.”

“But you can only get that through the LDS Church.”
“No. The LDS Church can help prepare you to receive the Lord.”

We Can Receive Christ in Mortality

“Why are you so focused on Christ? Don’t you realize exaltation is to be like Father?”
“The only way back into the presence of the Father is through the Savior.”

“Yes, of course. But what about the temple and the ordinances we receive there?”
“They’re preparatory ordinances. They’re not the real thing. They’re symbolic.”

“What? I’ve never heard of any such thing.”
“Then you haven’t been listening close enough as you participate in the temple.”

“So you’re saying the temple sealing is not binding and not eternal?”
“Not unless it’s sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. That’s all over D&C 132.”

“But you’ve given up your priesthood.”
“That’s not true. The Church doesn’t control priesthood. I received it from my father.”

“But he must have received it from someone back to Peter, James and John.”
“I’m not so sure the Higher Priesthood can be passed from man to man.”

Priesthood Power Not Controlled by Man

“Do you believe the Aaronic Priesthood was restored through John the Baptist?”
“Yes, I do. And I believe that’s the priesthood I received from my father.”

“Then how do you believe one receives the Higher Priesthood?”
“It is received only by hearing the voice of God declare it unto the man.”

“Really? And you’ve heard the voice of God?”
“I have. But I don’t believe I’ve received the higher priesthood yet.”

“This is impossible. You’ve completely lost the spirit of the Lord.”
“Quite the contrary. I feel the spirit of the Lord in greater abundance than ever.”

“Don’t you realize you have taken from your wife the greatest hope of her life?”
“She loses nothing. She has the same opportunity. It requires the Holy Spirit of Promise.”

Words of The Living ProphetsRichYoungRuler

“This is totally contrary to the teachings of the LDS Church.”
“I understand. But it’s not contrary to what Joseph Smith taught.”

“Are you saying you can prove all these ideas from the teachings of Joseph Smith?”
“Yes, given sufficient time to put the points together in a way you’ll understand.”

“There’s no way. We must rely on the words of the living prophets.”
“Not if they don’t square with the scriptures or the teachings of Joseph Smith.”

“Sometimes you just have to trust they know what they’re talking about.”
“Not when it comes to my eternal salvation. That’s why I study and pray.”

“You’re saying God told you the living prophets have got it wrong?”
“In some very important things, yes, they have got it wrong.”

Deceived By False Prophets

“My friend, I am sorry for you – very, very sorry.”
“Now do you understand why I resigned from the LDS Church?”

“Yes. You have been deceived into believing the ideas of a false prophet.”
“Tell me, how many hours have you spent studying the words of Denver Snuffer?”

“None. And I don’t intend to. I barely have time to read the scriptures and the Ensign.”
“There’s your problem. How can you judge a matter if you don’t study it out?”

“I’ve read enough from others to know I disagree with what he teaches.”
“But you haven’t read, studied and prayed for thousands of hours as I have done.”

“No. Every time I try to listen to one of his talks or read his lectures I get a dark feeling.”
“Then you’re not prepared for what he has written or delivered in his lectures.”

“I know I don’t like what I hear or what I read. He’s not for me. He’s a false prophet.”
“I would be careful about declaring someone a false prophet whom the Lord trusts.”

Apostasy to Listen to Other Messengers

“So Denver is your prophet? You’ve just substituted one prophet for another.”
“I believe Denver is a prophet, a servant of the Lord, and a true messenger.”

“Do you know how blasphemous that sounds?”
“Only to the mind of someone steeped in the traditions of the LDS Church.”

“So that’s why you resigned your membership in the LDS Church?”
“I resigned because the Church Handbook requires I be excommunicated for apostasy.”

“Yes, and rightfully so. You are an apostate. You are leading others astray.”
“I require nobody to believe as I do. I claim the right to share my beliefs.”

“Not in this church you don’t. You teach what the Brethren say or out you go.”
“Precisely.”

“Can’t you see the beauty of having the doctrine controlled from the top?”
“I could if I knew for certain the leaders spoke with and on behalf of the Lord.”

Millions of People Can’t Be Wrong

“Millions of people can’t be wrong. They all know the prophet speaks with God.”
“We all speak with God, but does he speak for God? What has he prophesied lately?”

“Well, he’s been a little out of it lately. But just you wait. Listen to General Conference.”
“I intend to do so. I enjoy listening to inspired Brethren teach the doctrines of Christ.”

“So you admit the Church is inspired and led by the Lord.”
“I do. I have always felt that way. There are many good men and women in the Church.”

“Then why did you leave it?”
“We’ve been over that. I’ve given my reasons. Do you resent my exercise of agency?”

“I’m simply concerned for your eternal salvation.”
“And I yours. Thank you for your loving concern.”

“I wish there was something I could say to help you.”
“There is. You can always pray for me and my family.”

“I’ll do that. I’ll pray that you’ll be brought back to the light.”
“Thank you my friend. God bless you and your family.”

JesusTeaching

The Necessity of Being Baptized Again


VenturaHarborMarinaParkI am being baptized this Sunday morning in the Ventura harbor. I am 57 years old. You may ask why this is necessary if I have already been baptized when I was eight years old. I am not being baptized into a church. I am not currently a member of any church. This ordinance is between me and the Lord, a symbol of my desire to be obedient to words delivered through His servant. Here are a few reasons why I have chosen to be baptized again, at this late stage in my life:

1) I want to show the Lord I accept the message delivered by his servant.

2) I believe the words used should be “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ …”

3) I believe the person who baptizes should pray mightily to receive power to baptize.

4) I believe the LDS Church has lost the commission to baptize. It needs to be renewed.

5) I believe the ordinance of baptism for the living should be performed in living water.

6) Denver quoted the Lord, saying, “This commandment has been renewed today.”

Everything that follows is taken from the tenth lecture delivered last week to support these points. I knew I had to act upon the message delivered as a sign of faith and in order to show the Lord I wanted the promised blessings. I confirmed with the Lord in prayer he has accepted of my preparations as found in D&C 20:37 of offering Him a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He has promised me additional blessings I cannot share once I act upon what he has commanded.

Source: Preserving The Restoration, Denver Snuffer 9-9-14 Lecture 10 Mesa, AZ

Baptism is a Sign of Acceptance

“Baptism has always been required from the days of Adam until the present. Baptism is always the sign of acceptance of what God is doing in each generation. If He acts again now (and He is), then we need to recognize that and respond. Baptism is a mandatory sign of penitence; turning and facing God, and then walking in a new path. From the days of Adam, it will continue through the end of the millennium. Whenever there has been believing people upon the earth, they have always been invited to perform the ordinance of baptism as a sign of their faith.”

“…true religion, when it is present on earth, always exists as a community of believers. Community is required. If we don’t have a community then we cannot be willing to mourn with those that mourn. We cannot comfort those that stand in need of comfort. We cannot stand as a witness to one another of God at all times and of all places. (Mosiah 18: 9) We cannot bear one another’s burdens that they may be light, (Mosiah 18: 8) as is required by the Gospel and by the covenant of baptism. None of this can be done without fellowship between believers. – page 12

Use the Words Given by Christ

Christ gave the baptism prayer, word for word. This is in 3 Nephi Chapter 11, beginning at verse 19. “And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet. And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him. And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven. And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize.”

Christ did not touch them, He said to them, “I give you power to baptize.” Although the record is incomplete, these disciples in all likelihood had previously been ordained. But Christ was renewing His church when He came. All that was needed to obtain the power to baptize was (and is) for Christ to tell you. – page 13 “…and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.” – Page 16

Authority Received From God in Prayer

How then does the authority to baptize come? Well, once John the Baptist came and laid his hand on Joseph, we have had a practice of continuing to lay hands on one another to confer Aaronic Priesthood, and we ought to continue to respect that tradition. But before any of you baptize any other of you, get Christ’s “word” for yourself through the Spirit. It is the same thing Alma did in Mosiah chapter 18. If you go to Mosiah chapter 18, verse 12, before he baptized, Alma “stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart. And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him.”

He got the authority to baptize by the Spirit. If you are going to use the priesthood to perform a baptism, no matter what the Church has told you, no matter what quorum leaders and respected others, including your own father perhaps, have taught you, before you do so, ask God to give you the authority. Get the “word” from Christ through the Spirit, just as Alma did. His example is in the scriptures to teach us the way. We have lost it, and need to reclaim it. If you get power to baptize, you get it from Him and you are not dependent on someone else. But get the power from Him. Power is required. It must come from Christ. The pattern must be followed. – Page 14

The Church has Lost the Commission

John the Baptist when he restored the authority, in Joseph Smith History, verse 69 said: “which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”

The Gospel of repentance is turning to face God. Baptism by immersion is for the remission of sins. John’s declaration does not say that this authority will not ever be taken from the church; it says it will not be taken from “the earth.” It was restored to remain on the earth. No matter what happens among those that choose to abuse one another, it needs to be preserved by a faithful few so that it does not cease from the earth. It is still here, though it has been much neglected and it has been much abused. But with you, renew it, using Alma’s example. – Page 14

Performed with Authority and Power

After Alma repented, but before he used any authority to baptize, he asked God to give him power. God, seeing penitence on the earth, respected it, and poured out His Spirit upon him so that Alma could baptize with power. The proof of that was found not merely in what Alma experienced with the Spirit empowering him to perform the ordinance, but also in the effect the ordinance itself had upon both Helam and Alma who himself went into the water at the same time. The Spirit was poured out upon them. Renew the power to baptize in this same manner. Alma and Christ’s disciples got authority from Christ’s “word” spoken to them by the power of the Spirit.

Likewise, we need to have a renewed community. Not an organization, but a fellowship. Not a hierarchy, but a group of equals. The community needs to be renewed. Men who have been ordained already, should renew this in the manner just described in the example of Alma. Have a community of believers. Be accepted by them. But before acting ask God to pour out His Spirit to give power. – Page 15

Living Ordinances in Living Water

Continuing then with what Christ said in 3 Nephi Chapter 11, verse 22: “And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water…”

I would recommend if at all possible that water for a living ordinance be performed in living water. I would not perform this in a font constructed by man. I would use the things God created. You are trying to connect to God. Use what He created. I recognize that there may be circumstances where that becomes impossible. … I would recommend when you go stand in the water that it be living water. – page 16

This Commandment is Renewed Today

I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command recorded in the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God, and confirmed again today! “And there shall be no disputations  among you,  as  there  have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another.”

Do it in this way. If someone disputes and says, “They ought not be doing it, and you ought not be doing it,” leave it alone. Don’t fight. Don’t quarrel, but invite, persuade. If they are not persuaded, let them go. If you invite and they will not come, let them go. If you entice, if you entreat, and they say, “We will not hear your entreaty,” then let them go. There is no need to harbor ill will and to fight with people. – Page 17

Like Unto the Waters of Mormon

Update: Carol and I went to scope out the exact spot for the baptism. We decided Harbor Cove Beach would be better than Marina Park Beach. It’s a short walk and the water is calm behind the breakwater. We have been there many times in the twelve years we have lived in Camarillo. It is about 15-20 minutes from our house. There will probably be a few families there Sunday morning about 11am when we arrive for the baptism, but that’s OK. After two days of searching, the spirit confirmed to me this the right spot.

For those attending the baptism in Ventura this Sunday 21 Sep 2014, we are meeting at my home first for the sacrament and a prayer meeting at 10am. Address: 2481 Balmoral Ct, Camarillo CA 93010. We will then drive the 15-20 minutes to Harbor Cove Beach. You are welcome to attend the baptism as a witness and are welcome to join us in the prayer meeting at my home first.

We don’t expect more than a dozen participants and witnesses. This is not being done as part of an organized community. I asked someone to come baptize me and a good brother who happened to be approved by a Utah community volunteered since he is in LA this weekend. I am grateful and took him up on his offer. Others heard about it and decided to join us, some from far away.

HarborCoveBeach

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