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

 

Wisdom Through the Ages


I wish I could attend this upcoming conference. I’m grateful to those making the effort to broadcast portions of the conference live. Years ago, it was easier for me to get to the various lectures, symposia, conferences and fellowship gatherings. Life has become much more complicated. Click on the image on the left if you are interested in learning more about the conference to be held in Mesa 24-25 March 2018.

Another upcoming event that may be of interest to some, especially those in the Southern Utah area is a regional fellowship gathering to be convened 20-21 of January 2018 in Parowan. The invitation is posted publicly on Facebook and I’m sure you will be welcomed. Living in Southern California all my life, I’ve treasured the times I have been able to get to events like these. I’ve come to appreciate the value of fellowship among those who hold the same beliefs.

Fellowship in the Last Days

Two friends have asked me to answer a few questions publicly and share some thoughts on a difficult subject. This last day of the year seems like an opportune moment to do so. They have to do with why I continue to identify with or associate with the remnant movement and how this has affected my marriage. The question on marriage was, “How can I make my marriage work when my wife and I no longer believe the same things about the LDS Church?”

I made a very public statement a few years ago that got a lot of attention, at least among the LDS blogging community. I decided to get rebaptized after reading Denver’s books and attending a series of lectures on the gospel. In the early days of the LDS Church, it was a common thing to get rebaptized. Today, if you do so, you open yourself up to discipline from those who preside over your local congregation.

In my case, having served in numerous local leadership councils and not wanting to go through that process, I simply resigned my membership in the LDS Church. I don’t mean to imply I did so without much soul-searching and prayer. I spent many a night on my knees envisioning the ramifications of what I was about to do. My greatest concern was how this would affect my marriage. At times I was certain my wife would divorce me because of my decision.

The Rest of the Story

I was baptized over three years ago. Before I tell you how I think it’s going, let me add some background in response to my other friend’s questions. He asked me to record my thoughts in video format to post on the blog, Zion’s Return. I’m pondering that request. I did a video interview with KUTV a few years back about the LDS Church cracking down on bloggers. It’s funny how news organizations can ask enough questions to record a half hour of footage but only use two or three five-second snippets. I invite you to visit Zion’s Return.

Question One: “How did you come to find out about what the Lord is doing today and about this movement?” That’s an easy one to answer. I was standing in the Celestial room of the Los Angeles temple about six years ago when a friend asked me what I thought about Denver Snuffer’s latest book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. I said, “Denver who?” He repeated the name. “Never heard of him,” I said. End of conversation.

But the name stuck with me. Over the next few weeks, often while praying, that name would pop into my mind. I love to read about LDS Church History. Carol and I have a large library. I inherited many books from my parents who at one time had an LDS book store. I was in the habit of adding new books about the LDS Church to my library on a regular basis. Finally, after about three weeks, I bought the book on Amazon.

A Book that Changed my Life

Question Two: “What brought you to the point of feeling like something was missing in your spiritual life/journey?” I suppose I always had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right with what I was being taught in the official curriculum and what I was reading in the books in our family library. My mother loved biography. She was a public school teacher and read voraciously. I’m fairly certain we had every biography published about the prophet.

Even after forty-five years I can still remember raising my hand in response to a question in seminary, responding with what I had read in one those biographies and receiving a blank stare from the teacher. She seemed a little uncomfortable. Finally, she said, “no, that’s not right,” and proceeded to read the official response from the approved curriculum. I asked my mother about it when I got home. Wisely, she asked me, “Well, what do you think?” I said I thought the teacher was wrong. “I’m just glad you’re reading, son.”

Living With Cognitive Dissonance

I learned to keep my thoughts to myself, or more accurately, I learned what the expected responses were to the typical questions and what the sources were for those questions that always come up when studying church history. I kept thinking if I just study harder I’ll understand things the way they were explained in the Sunday School manuals I taught from and the Institute manuals from which I later studied. I went on a mission, got married in the temple and began thirty-five years of service in Elder’s Quorum Presidencies, Bishoprics, High Councils, High Priest Group Leaderships and finally as the Stake Financial Clerk.

I saw the book had arrived when I came home from work a day or two after ordering PtHG, started my usual quick perusal of the book and ending up reading it until two o’clock in the morning. I simply could not put it down. Here was someone who had done the research, presented the evidence and let the reader draw their own conclusions. My prayer that night was one of the most memorable of my life. I knew my life was going to change forever. I finally had my answers. The cognitive dissonance lifted from my mind. I literally felt encompassed in light. This was not the first time I had experienced such a thing, but never this powerful.

Standing on Top of the Wall

Question Three: “What is the greatest blessing you have received since going [into] this movement and / or hearing the message the Lord is delivering in our day?” Again, another easy question. I have received a baptism that will be recognized when the angels begin to sweep the earth with the foretold destruction and, just as important, I have received a covenant that allows me to join with the Saints when they gather to Zion for protection from the events of the great and terrible day we read about in Matthew 24.

Because these answers may seem so out there, I sometimes feel like Samuel the Lamanite standing on the wall of Zarahemla. Let me be clear: The baptism to which I refer and the covenant I mentioned are not administered in the LDS Church today. Another blessing I hope to receive in time, if I live long enough, is to enter a temple to receive instruction directly from the Lord about walking in the paths of heaven. “But Tim,” I can hear you say, “You’ve already had those blessings since you were endowed in the LA Temple over forty years ago.”

The Process of Readmission

Question Four: “What insight/understanding do you now enjoy that you didn’t have before and how has that impacted your life?” I’ve been labeled crazy, deluded, deceived and possessed of a devil. My bishop at the time of my resignation wrote in his formal letter of response that went to my file in Salt Lake: “I fear your blindness has come from looking beyond the mark (Jacob 4:14).” He also noted that because I was under discipline for apostasy, approval from the First Presidency would be required for readmission.

I think the greatest insight or understanding I have received and now enjoy is the confidence of knowing my path is pleasing to the Lord. That is one of the things Joseph taught we must know to exercise faith in God. Carol and I have talked several times about starting that process of readmission to the LDS Church. While I enjoy attending sacrament meeting with Carol each Sunday and especially enjoy singing in the choir, I have felt there is no way I could write that letter to the First Presidency. There are still too many things taught in the LDS Church that I consider doctrinally damning, such as the concept of keys and authority.

The Reality of Baptism of Fire

Question Five: “Have you had any significant personal experience or witness that you can share that may benefit someone else who is seeking truth? * A witness that God answers prayer? *Baptism by fire? * Pivotal experience that shaped your spiritual journey?” This is a tough one, mainly because relating events from your life you consider sacred can be and are easily misunderstood. I still like President Packer’s analogy of explaining spiritual experiences to someone who has never had one: “My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt and you have not. I am [not] able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come…” If you want some fascinating responses to this anecdote, Google “Packer Salt Story.” Especially read the Reddit post.

However, unless two people share the same spiritual experience such as Joseph and Sydney, there can never be a complete unity or common understanding of what just happened. I know. I have tried on many occasions and in many posts on my blog. One is the baptism of fire I experienced when I was just seventeen. You can read it but may come away with only a cursory understanding that I had a nice long prayer and felt good when I was done. Yet, to me, it was a baptism of fire, pure and simple. I knew I had been in the presence of the Lord. I heard the voice of the Lord declaring I was His son, begotten of Him that day. I make no claim to having received the Second Comforter at that time nor any other promises or blessings besides forgiveness.

The Power of The Covenant of Christ

Question Six: How has your worship and relationship with God, your family and/or others changed because of the added truth you’ve received? Hmmm…while Carol and I have always read, studied and taught from the scriptures (we both taught seminary), we have implemented a practice of reading aloud and teaching each other from the scriptures every single night. Up until a few years ago it was hit and miss. We’d go for a few months then peter off. I treasure these nightly sessions of reading and teaching each other as the highlight of my day. Of course, I slip in insights gained from reading Denver’s commentaries. We’ve had some especially interesting discussions lately about what it really meant for the Savior to lay aside his glory, his exalted status.

There are some subjects we don’t discuss because they are too painful. For example, imagine how Carol feels as a fifth generation Mormon believing all her life that the highest LDS goal is to marry in the temple. She felt terribly betrayed when I resigned from the LDS Church. There are still bitter tears when the subject comes up in Sacrament meeting or especially when we read something about marriage in the scriptures. My relationships with others have changed. I am much more interested in people I work with every day, and how I can serve them. I attribute this directly to rebaptism and acceptance of the covenant of Christ at the September conference. Once again, let me express how grateful I am to those who arranged for me to participate from home.

Time to Fish or Cut Bait

Question Seven: “Is there a particular book or talk that impacted you profoundly (of Denver’s) that you can tell us about?” Well, I’ve already related my experience in reading Passing the Heavenly Gift. I suppose lecture ten in Phoenix / Mesa was profound for two reasons. It was the conference where Carol and I parted ways in our response to Denver’s message. Denver had gone out of his way to invite us to have dinner with him and his family before one of the lectures. Carol attended several of the lectures with me, but could not handle what she heard in lecture ten. So, it was a bittersweet experience for me. Here’s why:

On the drive home from the lecture, as Carol napped through the California desert, I had a long talk with the Lord about what had just happened. Lecture ten was not like the others. It was time to take action. I heard it clearly. I think Carol also felt it but was not prepared, and still isn’t, to make the kind of changes that were brought up at that last lecture. I knew I needed to show the Lord I believed his servant by an outward sign, the ordinance of baptism. This was a deep, profound, and thoroughly life-changing talk. By responding as I did, I knew I’d be laying everything on the line, all because I heard the voice of the Lord tell me the words of his servant Denver were pleasing to him, and required action if I wanted to continue to grow and progress spiritually.

The Lord of the Vineyard

Question Eight: “How [have] your family, friends and other relations been impacted by this, and how do you deal with that?  Why are you willing to risk everything for what you are learning?” Interestingly, my siblings have said nothing of my leaving the LDS Church. We still communicate regularly, get together occasionally and express our love for one another. My sister closest in age to me will be leaving to serve a mission in England in a few months. I recently had an interesting conversation with my niece about how millennials perceive the church. She sees so many of her friends who have left and attributes it to the stuff they find on the Internet. On the other hand, some members of Carol’s family are not happy with me and have told me so very clearly.

I knew this would happen. The Lord showed it clearly to me all those nights I was praying about it before I resigned. I am grateful to our local ward and stake leaders who continue to reach out to me with love, kindness and respect. I am still invited to and attend ward socials. I still sing in the ward and stake choirs and generally enjoy Sacrament meeting. The biggest impact this change has had on me is obviously on my marriage. Carol does not like it when I write in my blog, which is a major reason I stopped for so long and rarely write here anymore. You asked about risk. The greatest risk I face is in not doing as the Lord asks. He has asked me very plainly to do all I can to reassure Carol of my love for her and yes, be willing to apply for readmission if it is the only thing that will save my marriage. The Lord takes marriage seriously and so do I. Marriage is the fruit He labors to lay up in store.

The Gospel Brings Hope

Question Nine: “Why does all this matter so much to you?” I don’t think I’m any different from anyone else when it comes to the gospel of Christ. It should be important to everyone. What’s surprising to me is how many people can’t separate the gospel from the LDS Church. Even the thought is abhorrent to so many who have opposed what I have shared on my blog. I can truly understand why Denver turned off comments on his blog years ago. I can only imagine the awful individual emails he receives from those who feel and express he has ruined their families. What a burden he must carry. I know a little about doing what the Lord asks, meaning, I have felt the displeasure of the Lord when I have been slow to hearken after I’ve asked for His direction.

This matters because it gives me hope. I have a goal in my old age to see Zion established, and that’s not going to come about through a large institution. The signs are becoming more and more evident that we are living in the generation that will see the return of the Lord. I rejoiced when I heard that a temple is to be a part of this effort to establish Zion. I want to contribute to the building of that temple. I want my name to be in the book that will be presented to the Lord when the temple is completed. I am grateful to know there literally is a book being kept and that my name is in it today. That baptism is so essential. Oh, how I wish more people understood this. I am saddened by but understand why so many can’t separate the gospel from the LDS Church.

Receiving the Higher Priesthood

Question Ten: “Anything of your background, briefly, that may have been worth noting at the beginning that would enhance what is shared.” There’s no way I can condense ten years of blogging into ten questions. I started my blog with the intention of providing sensible answers to all the misinformation about the LDS Church that was popping up on the Internet. Along the way I kept finding more and more legitimate questions being asked by young people who had real concerns about what they were reading in newly-available historical records and what they were being taught in the official curriculum of the LDS Church.

There’s a lot to love about what this great institution has accomplished, but it became obvious, at least to me, that something very basic was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it so, like so many others, I put my concerns on the shelf. If I had not read PtHG I would probably still be serving somewhere in the Stake as a clerk, which for some reason I seem to do well, probably because I manage computer networks for a living. Two fundamental things changed. I realized open revelation had ceased with Joseph Smith. I also came to understand the priesthood very, very differently. The Higher Priesthood is not received the way it is taught in the LDS Church. It must come by hearing the voice of God declare it unto you.

Concluding Thoughts on Marriage

To my friend who asked for advice on how to make his marriage work when he no longer believed as his wife, I can only offer the following: Put yourself in her shoes for a minute. Don’t forget that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. Being right is not as important as being kind. I’ve referred to it earlier and I’ll reiterate it here. If the Lord were to ask me to apply for readmission to the LDS Church. I would do it in a heartbeat, especially if it would bring happiness to another, in this case, to Carol. I have received baptism in the way I believe the Lord has asked and have accepted the covenant of Christ as it was offered.

I can’t imagine the LDS Church asking me to deny or retract the covenant I have made with Christ, can you? It seems to me one should be able to worship and fellowship in the LDS Church or the Baptist Church or the Presbyterian Church or any fellowship that acknowledges Christ. A man can believe what he wants in the LDS Church. I’ve heard some pretty crazy things over the years from someone everyone would consider an orthodox member. Knowing what I know now about keys, I can sustain the Brethren. In fact, I do so every time we have a stake conference. I can pay tithing to the LDS Church but I would pay it differently than I have all my life because I understand it differently now. But who am I to give advice on marriage? Go talk to the Lord.

Update: The Video is up on YouTube. It’s about thirty minutes: https://youtu.be/_MD6wlP4LAA

As an alternative, I’ve also posted it on my domain site here: http://3tcm.net/TimMaloneStory01012018.mp4

 

He Shall Give You Another Comforter


request-baptismI had expected to spend this Saturday in what I anticipated to be an all-day project for work. About a half hour into the project, it became evident I needed to be onsite to accomplish the many required tasks, thus I turned to pondering and study instead.

I began to ponder a running text dialog with a long-time reader. He seemed agitated, troubled and bothered by something that, to me, seemed perfectly clear and with which I was at peace. It had to do with the physical feelings that accompany The Comforter.

Personal Knowledge

I will not quote any scriptures. I simply wish to share my own thoughts and express gratitude to the Lord for teaching me over a lifetime of experience of the reality of the Holy Ghost, and how I experience his influence in my heart and in my mind.

I know when I am being taught by the Lord. Ideas flow into my mind that lead to faith in Christ. They are often accompanied by feelings of comfort and peace. On occasion, the power of the Holy Ghost upon me was so strong as to cause me to be overcome.

Physical Sensation

Yes, I mean with emotion – that sweet peaceful feeling that all is well in spite of the turmoil and trouble around me. The feeling, for me, is both physical and emotional. In others words, the phrase “burning of the bosom” has real significance to me.

There is a tangible warmth in my heart, in the area of my chest that is stronger when I pray, study, serve, bless or participate in an ordinance such as the sacrament or a baptism. I know what I am describing is common to many people, but not to some.

The Presence of Christ

My friend becomes agitated when I try to explain that I have had this gift, and yes it is a gift, for about as long as I can remember. The physical sensation of warmth is sometimes accompanied by a feeling of vibration in my spirit and of an aching in my bones.

I have written previously about being in the presence of Christ, and knowing it. I have heard his voice declare his love for me and ask me to do things that I simply would not have thought to do on my own. I felt free to not do the thing and still feel loved.

Spirit of Revelation

I was also shown what would happen if I did the difficult thing, and knew He would comfort me to endure the consequences of following the prompting. He has been true to His word. There is no doubt I am lonely and yet, I am not. He abides with me.

Does this make sense? I’ll tell you why I think this is so. It is because I exercised faith, was baptized, and believed the Lord’s promise that the Father would give me another comforter. This is the doctrine of Christ: to believe, to be baptized and receive.

Receive The Holy Ghost

Receive what? Receive the comforter. I know I am writing with very simple and basic statements. This is not new to most people who will read this, but to my friend, who has not been baptized, it is agitating. It is not a difficult concept. It simply takes faith.

I don’t want to make this long. With my friend, he keeps wanting to focus on the physical. I guess if you’ve never felt it before, it can be difficult to accept and believe. But the Lord promises we can feel the Holy Ghost before we are baptized if we ask Him.

Baptism is the Gateway

How else could the missionaries do their work? The Lord fulfils His promises. He sends the Holy Spirit to bear record of truth. If we are asked to do something that leads to greater faith in Christ then He will bless us in some way that we each will understand.

How can it be any clearer? Once baptized, simply obey what the Lord said: “Receive the Holy Ghost.” He is real. The Comforter is real. And yes, sometimes, many times, most times for me, I feel a physical sensation of warmth in spite of what others say.

A Constant Companion

My friend, I hope you will read this in the spirit it is intended. I mean you no harm. I have only words to persuade. But when I speak or write the truth, as I have here, God will make it known unto you in plain and simple ways so you can understand it.

God bless you my friend. I know you are desperate. You have told me so. I know you are lonely. You can have The Comforter as your constant companion. I am nearly sixty years old and still continue to feel the sweet peace from this wonderful gift of God.

Loss and Loneliness

I am sorry for your loss. I do not know what it is like to be alone or not have someone I can turn to when I am hurting. I am so, so very grateful to my wife for her loving companionship, but the peace I feel from the Holy Ghost surpasses all understanding.

I forgive you for lashing out in anger and pray God’s love to be upon you. Go get baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Show the Lord you are serious. Baptism is the sign He recognizes. Once you take that step, I promise you your life will change.

Talking With God

How do I know? Because you are so serious when we discuss the subject. I know you are searching. I know you want this. Prayer is so much easier when the Lord gives you the words to say. This too is a part of the Gift of the Holy Ghost – Inspiration.

My friend, I pray for you every night. I pray you will focus on the things that are important and repent, which means to simply discard the false beliefs you hold in your heart about what God requires of you. He simply asks you to love and trust Him. Shalom.

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?

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.

Suffer the Little Children . . .


November 2015 may go down in history as the great Mormon exodus. It’s quite the zeitgeist and we can still feel it.

Last weekend’s decision about the children of homosexuals was something of a watershed in LDS culture. Usually when controversial decisions are made by the Brethren, mainstream, active Latter-day Saints come to rescue of the hierarchy, not only in spirit, but in wisdom. This wasn’t the case this last weekend. There were a plethora of stances that were all at odds with each other . . . even among the faithful. I could narrow them down into five categories:

  1. Outrage! Bigotry! Homophobia! – We understand that faction well, it’s been around awhile
  2. I’m saddened and hurt. Call me if you’re suicidal – For may progressive Mormons, this just hurts. They are hoping and praying that the Church will liberalize its stance on homosexuals.
  3. I’m shocked and upset, but I trust in the Brethren – After hearing from Elder Christofferson, I eased into the decision. Now I see the wisdom in it. If all else fails, just trust in the Brethren.
  4. Applause and inspiration! – What a wonderful decision! It’s for the best for the kids. Furthermore, it tells those homosexual activists where we stand! We Thank, Thee, O God, for a Prophet!
  5. Hmmm, this just doesn’t sit well with me – It doesn’t seem to follow the scriptures. I’m no supporter of gay rights, but there’s just something fundamentally wrong with it. It bothers me that it’s a secret policy. It bothers me that it’s punishing kids only two groups . . . that’s right . . . I’m learning that polygamist kids can’t get baptized either! I’m wanting to follow the prophet, but the Spirit seems to be telling me otherwise.

It’s this last group I wish to speak about.

As Rational Faiths blog puts it:

At my last count, I have 11 friends resigning over this issue.  Three of them have already written their letters. I think the mass exodus is a given. I keep hearing that these people just don’t have enough faith in their leaders. I suppose that is true.  But the theme among my friends that are resigning is this: They are putting their faith in the Savior, and not the arm of the flesh. The are following the Spirit. And it is leading them right out the door.

I have personally witnessed a heated argument on my ward’s own Facebook secret page, where most of the members were shocked and outraged at the decision, with one single soul signing up to defend the policy. LDS coworkers, colleagues, former church leaders, etc. are seen liking and sometimes commenting in support of either 2, 3, or 5 on comments that are not seen as supportive of the Brethren on social media.

I reflect on the comments that were made by Charles Dickens as he saw early Mormons departing Liverpool for America to join their new faith. There were 800 emigrants on the ship leaving Liverpool. Expecting them to be a rabble lot, he instead noted that they were “the pick and flower” of England. Likewise, those seen departing from the party line today are increasingly the “pick and flower” of the Church.

Looks like the Google apostasy is over. We’re now on the cusp of the Facebook apostasy. And it looks to be huge.

Look, the heat of the issue will blow over. The emendations by the Church, which softened the handbook language will help. But it also shows, ironically, that public pressure can cause reversals. But then we are faced with the numbing reality of yet another policy that doesn’t seem to be the will of the Lord, or at least people can’t connect the dots back to the Lord. For others it’s come down to the simple, if historically and scripturally flawed logic that the Lord won’t allow the Church to be led astray. This logic, in many ways, is more damning than ever. It’s a catchall. Once grasped and digested, it allows for any error to be made, any flaw to be perpetrated. It takes monumental groundbreaking decisions and places them on par with the bureaucratic and mundane. It covers for sins. It encourages conspiracy. The scriptures that forewarn of this kind of thought pattern are legion, particularly in the Book of Mormon, yet they awfully neglected. I would like to summarize some of the arguments used to uphold the policy and use scripture to discuss the truth of such statements.

The handbook is scripture. It is given to inspired leaders to govern and lead the Church. It helps to declare, teach, and instruct Church leaders on how to properly administer the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

President Monson has even testified that this is so

Let’s start with Nephi:

There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed (2 Nephi 30:17)”

Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. (2 Nephi 28:9 quoting Isaiah 29):

12241209_10207534525857597_4017755373476722611_nThe Lord does not work in secrets, He does not have secret doctrines, secret policies, or secret oaths. Any such evidence is really evidence that Satan and secret combinations have crept into the church. We can trace much of this back to Nauvoo, unfortunately. But what about “casting pearls before swine?” one may say. I believe the Brethren have great spiritual experiences that justify their callings, but that those experiences are too sacred to relate. To this I respond, there are always doctrinal mysteries that will be revealed to us personally. Indeed the truth of all things must be revealed to us anecdotally through our own connection with heaven. Those things should not and in may ways, cannot be shared. A prophet, on the other hand, is intended to be an explicit messenger of the Lord. He must declare that message to be considered a prophet. The scriptures are rife with fine examples, whether they speak the actual words of Christ, of if they declare the message the Lord has sent them to give. No such declarations has been given with these recent policies. Thus, we can be assured that they can be subject to error. We are not bound by them.

Furthermore, one may always ask, does a policy or doctrine taught bring someone to Christ, or does it keep them from Christ? Is the policy or doctrine meant to protect the Church from creeping sympathy to “apostate” ideas? It may seem like a good idea to make decision in light of strategy of protection and insulation from error, but is it? Indeed the scriptures do give us a case for when we can deny ordinances to someone.

“And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily*, when ye shall minister it; (*I define unworthily different than the Church. Unworthy identifies those that do not have a willingness to believe in Jesus and His mission and to accept Him. To use it in any other ways is in error, for ALL have fallen short, ALL have sinned, and thus, ALL are unworthy).

For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid* him. (Simply put, don’t administer to unbelievers)

Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.

But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered.

Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them. (3 Nephi 18: 28-32)”

Question: Do children of polygamists or homosexual parents fit this category?

For added emphasis, the Savior warns those that keep not these saying in the next verse.

 “Therefore, keep these sayings which I have commanded you that ye come not under condemnation; for wo unto him whom the Father condemneth”

These versus relate to the sacrament as well. What does the Book of Mormon say to whom we should administer baptism?

“And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. (2 Nephi 9:23)

“And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.” (2 Nephi 11-12)

Skip to 17: 17 “Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”

“And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.” (2 Nephi 31:11 )

“And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (3 Nephi 11:33)

“And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.” (3 Nephi 11:33)

“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, and in my name shall ye baptize them.” (3 Nephi 23)

“And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.” (3 Nephi 23:5)

“And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.” (3 Nephi 27: 16)

“Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and bebaptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. (3 Nephi 27:20)

“Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.” (Mormon 7:8)

“See that ye are not baptized unworthily*; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.” (Mormon 9:29) (See my discussion above for what constitutes unworthiness–Jesus explains this in Moroni 6 (1-3)

And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. (They, the ministers, had to bring forth fruits of their worthiness–which I have defined)

Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins. (The worthiness requirement is a broken heart and contrite spirit)

And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.

For all men must repent and be baptized, and not only men, but women, and children who have arrived at the years of accountability.” (D&C 18:42)

“And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.” (D&C 68:27)

So there you have it. This isn’t meant to be completely exhaustive, but as you can see, the requirements are as follows:

  • Repent, laying hold upon the gospel of Christ
  • Come unto Christ, having faith in Him
  • Have a desire to be baptized
  • Being worthy, or . . . having a broken heart and contrite spirit
  • Being the age of accountability, defined as eight years

There is one mention of a prohibition in D&C 137 where the Church declared they would not baptize slaves contrary to the will of their masters. This prohibition does not constitute doctrine. It was not considered revelation to the Church. The section still carries some controversy. Even so, I believe that the only modern prohibition of baptism that can even remotely correlate to this statement is the prohibition against some Muslims–which in essence is done to protect them from retaliation from their parents who are often justified in declaring murderous fatwas against their children for converting.

Other than this, I find no scriptural support for denying baptisms of the children, which brings me to the second argument that is made:

No scripture can be privately interpreted, Mr. Zion. That’s why we have prophets and apostles to interpret it for us. You are no prophet or apostle. We have the living prophets, and so in many ways that trumps even scripture.

It’s true that no scripture is of private interpretation. Communication being what it is, the only thing you can rely upon is the Holy Ghost. Relying upon modern prophets just inserts another layer by which a person must receive direct communication from the Lord. Be it the written word or a living oracle, the process is the same. Ultimate instruction must come from the Lord.

The idea that living prophets trump scripture is in error, an unfortunate one that was taught by Ezra Taft Benson (as an apostle) but censored by Spencer Kimball, who was THEN the prophet at the time. Benson seems to change his tune a bit after becoming prophet (see below). It’s a shame that the teaching manuals this year spent more time elevating the 14 fundamentals from Benson (for which he was censored) and less time discussing his teachings as prophet warning the Church that weren’t taking scriptures and the former commandments seriously enough.

Living prophets uphold, support, and communicate truth that are almost always already written down. Jesus quotes Old Testament passages uniquely about 50 times (some are repetitive).

To the idea that living prophets trump dead ones, I’m going to quote a dead one right now from his book, Doctrines of Salvation:

“It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.” Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), p. 203

God also doesn’t seem to be very happy with how we fare with our treatment of scripture, particularly the Book of Mormon. This attitude was precisely what the scriptures warned against in D&C 84: 54-58

And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received

Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all*. (Note: it’s not just the average member)

And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written

58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

One could say, that was then, this is now. We are so much better with all the temples and missionaries we produce. Well, as late as 1986, a prophet of the Lord spent a great deal of time updating this warning. Even a living apostle, Elder Oaks, gives us the smack-down as it relates to us not being diligent with the things already given!

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. If He appears to have changed, indeed, if doctrines are changing, I’m more apt to believe that it’s the error of men, and not God changing His mind, or adjusting to the reality of the situation on the ground, or engaging in strategem, or as this blogger notes, comes from legal frameworks and not revelation.

I think that this is part of the test, and part of the next justification I often hear.

God is separating the wheat from the tares. This social media murmuring cannot compete with the power of God’s living prophets and apostles. This was prophesied to happen. I will stand with them.

Yes, God IS separating the wheat from the tares. Jesus spoke many parables concerning this, from the parable of the ten virgins to the parable of the Good Samaritan. All of these to one extent or another, describe a “wheat” from a “tare.” My favorite is the parable of the wedding feast.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. (ie, members of Christ’s church)

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: (They were more concerned about Babylon, about “church” reputations, about their own commerce)

And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 24: 2-20)

You see, the Lord is separating the wheat from the tares. I dare say that the proper interpretation of a wheat is someone that practices pure religion, as outlined in King Benjamin’s sermon, not one who totes the party line, who wears the Church colors, or who upholds an institution. You MUST be serving the poor, gathering the weak, THIS is indicative of wearing the wedding garment. You accept the doctrine of Christ, and you practice it through emulating the Christ. Otherwise you will not be found worthy for Zion. For Zion has two criteria. We are all of ONE heart, and there are no poor among us.

We should not murmur. We should not complain. This is a correct assumption. Complaining gets you nowhere. Boldly testifying of truth, however, no matter how unpleasant, and no matter how it differs from the institution, is a true act of courage! Finding a way to get your testimony “in line with the Brethren” is Lucifer’s counterfeit. Get your testimony in line with the Lord! That is His way.

In the early days, the principle of common consent and horizontal authority of first presidency, apostles, seventies, and all high priests was a means for everyone to come to unity of Christ. It was the principle of becoming Zion. I’m not sure it ever got applied appropriately but it is a sound principle. Should not we all agree, independently of one another, by the Holy Ghost, on the doctrines of Christ? If we are to simply line up, what good does that do for our salvation? Anyone can obey a line leader. The Nazis did as well. It would do well for us as a church to insist that all come to a unity of the faith, not just one quorum of fifteen, before we become subject to it. In that way, can we not then say that God is behind us? Can we not ensure that there are no blind spots? King Benjamin’s people all cried together to accept their covenants. They did not simply accept them as so because the king said so. They were collectively AND individually convicted of the truth. Should it not be the same with us? Again, we must be of ONE heart to be of Zion, and have no poor among us. Indeed, we take the name of Zion in vain these days, it seems. Common consent, properly implemented, would help us become more of one heart and of one mind.

I will end with a scenario of pre-Earth life and the test we would take by coming down to earth as Latter-day Saints.

Scenario: You will be sent to earth as a Mormon. You will be raised in a good family, with the gospel of Jesus Christ taught truthfully to you for the most part inside of the Lord’s church. You will feel good when the leaders of the Church speak to you. You will feel of their love. But you will find anachronisms, inconsistencies, errors, and if you don’t you’re not looking hard enough. At a point, you will have to make a decision, and the two choices you can go are this:

A – You can chose to stick with the leaders of the Church, to “follow the Brethren.” You will feel their good messages given in General Conference. You will know they are good men. You will feel that testimony burning within you. When you cannot reconcile some things, you chose to put it on the shelf, close your eyes, walk into the dark, and keep with the majority of the Brethren as they lead the church.

or . . .

B – You can chose to approach the Savior. You can use the good examples and teachings that leaders give you to figure out how to approach the Lord. But you also know that the all men are fallen and make mistakes, even good men, even prophets like Moses, Jonah, Peter, and Joseph Smith. You know that many are called, but few are chosen. You see that mistakes that have been made by past LDS church leaders. So you close your eyes, walk into the dark, and do what the Lord asks you to do.

What nature of test do you think is the one that will lead you into the presence of the Father? I have chosen scenario B. And because I’m unencumbered from the need to “get in line with the Brethren,” the Lord has told me that this policy is not of Him – in particular those that forbid children from being baptized if their parents are apostate homosexuals or polygamists.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

jesus-suffers-the-little-children-to-come-unto-him

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

 

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