These Signs Shall Follow those that Have Faith


I was talking to someone and they were troubled over someone who was very sick….after sometime I messaged them more or less what I am copying and pasting here. This person thought it was good and inspiring so I will leave here for all the readers of this blog. Do with it what you will.

I will explain what I know on miracles and I will try and be brief.

Miracles come about via faith in Christ. Faith in Christ is as you have heard I am sure is a hope in things unseen. That is a bit vague…..but another way of putting this is one must be literally willing to make themselves a blind and stupid fool for the sake of their faith in Christ trusting that God will not abandon them and they actually won’t be made a blind and stupid fool….essentially all vanity and pride and self-consciousness and doubts and fear must quite literally be ripped apart. You must have none of it. Faith can to a point exist with those things, but the less of those things you have the more faith you can have. Think of it as a scale that must be balanced to 100. X + Y = 100. X is faith, Y is that other stuff. The formula you are seeking is essentially X (100) + Y (0) = 100. But this can be any combination of numbers….but you are trying to get it to X (100) + Y (0) = 100

believe2-373x259

 

To this end….there are two types of blessings really. There is the kind the church is quite familiar with which I like to call a blessing with training wheels. And there is the kind that can move mountains; this is a kind without training wheels.

 

The kind with training wheels….you give a blessing and you just sort of say whatever you feel prompted to say, and in some cases some folks don’t feel prompted so they just say whatever and hope for the best. One might say I bless you to be well and to recover and to feel better…this is very vague and perhaps the person will feel better. Many will then say see blessings work this person recovered but never mind the fact it took a long time. Sometimes these blessings might even say I bless the doctor to know what to look for. though to be sure sometimes these blessings are quite powerful and quite effective and will actually work quite well….but the point is it is a random crapshoot like playing at Vegas….one never knows what will happen. I once read this quote:

 

“Years ago as a missionary…I believe it was Paul H. Dunn came through our mission….and we chatted about doctrine. He said “You want to know why Elders don’t heal more people…because their chicken!! They are afraid to pronounce healing to a sick person and to have that person not immediately recover”. He also said that “Too many Elders don’t even attempt to know what the will of the Lord is in a blessing….they just start talking…they don’t pause to consider what the Lord’s will is.” Whether you consider that a valid source or not…it is still intriguing….and it has stuck in my brain. ”

2-michael-jordan-ive-failed-over-and-over

The Will of the Lord is plainly stated in several places concerning healing.

 

Doctrine and Covenants 63:9

9 But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.

 

Mark 16:20

20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

 

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

 

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

 

20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

 

65 And these signs shall follow them that believe—

 

66 In my name they shall do many wonderful works;

 

67 In my name they shall cast out devils;

 

68 In my name they shall heal the sick;

 

69 In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;

 

70 And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;

 

71 And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;

 

72 And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

 

Mormon 9:24

24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

 

98 And these signs shall follow him—he shall heal the sick, he shall cast out devils, and shall be delivered from those who would administer unto him deadly poison;

 

100 And what if I will that he should raise the dead, let him not withhold his voice.

 

Doctrine and Covenants 24:13

13 Require not miracles, except I shall command you, except casting out devils, healing the sick, and against poisonous serpents, and against deadly poisons;

General Conf2015oct-Priesthood

 

As you can plainly see The WIll of The Lord is THAT WE HEAL THE SICK MIRACULOUSLY!!!! None of these blessings and 2 years later you are better if at all nonsense. Make a lame man jump from his chair, restore a missing limb, open the eyes of the blind, and even raise the dead. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TOLD TO DO!!!! I could quote even more scriptures on the topic…it is literally all over the place in scripture

 

So this blessing without training wheels. Interestingly enough I had just written this follow story down somewhere yesterday.

 

 

A couple of years ago….my old man, asked me to give him a blessing the next day. Giving me a night to think about it. Now my old man was going to see the doctor as he was having heart problems as he had already had had two heart attacks and a bypass surgery and I think a stint put into his heart….so heart problems.

 

Now I had already discovered this unholy thing known as circumcision and had already begun to study this topic of miracles in some detail…..and upon pondering and praying…..God made this clear to me. I was to direct this blessing myself. I was to place my hand on his heart which I would rub with consecrated oil and to say it clearly “In the name of Jesus Christ I command your heart to be healed from this day forth”

 

You’ll notice here….there was no relying on The Spirit to direct the blessing. This is a blessing without training wheels. yes God informed of how to do this….but I think only as a teaching exercise, with the point being “you can go into blessings and direct them yourself and provided you have faith and priesthood and are a righteous man aka you don’t violate the verses that say “amen to the priesthood if you do these certain things” then I God will honor it”….I asked about this Amen to the priesthood…..God in prayer took me through that chapter line by line and it was explained I don’t do anything that breaks the priesthood….though a sinner yes, though you’d fail a temple interview yes, but you don’t abuse priesthood, you don’t use it unjustly, you don’t exercise authority and abuse others with it, so it’s okay….use it. Be not afraid. Have faith.

 

I think what I ended up actually saying was “In the name of Jesus Christ I command your heart to be healed and from this day forth it shall trouble you know more if you have faith”

 

Before I gave the blessing I explained to my Dad what I would do be doing. And at the moment I felt prompted to open with The Lord’s Prayer. Then gave him the blessing and then closed by all of us standing in a circle and saying a prayer of thanks to God.

 

The point here is….this blessing was direct and to the point and I do not discount The Spirit….but I was the one left in charge of directing things. How can we become Joint Heirs with Christ, Gods even, if we cannot direct and master what little we are in charge of here? Be not commanded in all things. Reason with God. We are given a brain that can Reason with God Himself. The parable of the talents….multiple your talents and return and report to God.

 

I learned many things from that….but one thing was I was too specific which reminds me of the young man who prayed endlessly to serve his mission in Charleston, but not be specific enough he got sent to West Virginia rather than South Carolina like he wanted….so only his heart was better but not the veins around it. His heart however was extremely well….doctors were quite amazed a heart that had had two heart attacks, a bypass surgery, and a stint was so well off.

 

I have taught you what I know….if this person you are worried over has faith, and asks for a blessing….then be not afraid to speak to this disease boldly without any fear “In the name of the Living God and His Son Jesus Christ I rebuke your cancer and command it to flee from you and for you to recover in this very instance” It may also be necessary to cast out a demon or many demons as sickness and demons go hand and hand.

 

Give it a shot….see what happens yeah?

15615169714_d45519b5ef

 

EDIT:

After posting this I just realized I didnt touch on the topic of demons all that much. I’m not going to write a big thing here just a brief word of caution. Demons can very often if not 100% of the time be related to illness of all kinds. As a result unless you specifically address them the illness isn’t likely to go away….however be advised not all demons are created equal. Douglas Mendenhall two books go into some detail on demons but I will just leave this here:

 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

I leave that there to state….if the illness is related to a demon and the demon happens to be noticeably more powerful than your average demon odds are you will have to do some spiritual preparation before hand of some kind and won’t be able to just waltz in there and cast them out along with the illness at least not until they claim to know you like Paul I’d imagine. But the point being….in attempting to heal which I believe is always God’s will you may encounter Satan and his demons and as such you will need to know how to handle them. Not all demons are created equal.  However some demons may very well easily depart without much of a fight. These demons if nothing else will test your resolve.

This warning will be especially true for beginners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Resigned From the LDS Church


TMalonePic4It’s customary to write an exit letter when leaving an organization after a long period of time, so here’s mine. I have no desire to flame or insult anyone. You don’t have to read this. It’s for my own soul to find peace. I share it in the spirit of love, especially for those who have prayed for me as I have gone through this difficult transition period over the last few years. God bless you.

A Few Preliminaries

First and foremost, I want to thank the many individuals over the years who have taught me the gospel or who have allowed me to teach them. I cherish moments spent in gospel doctrine class, in Seminary, in the High Priest’s Group and in Bishopric and High Council meetings when we have been edified together. There is nothing like being fed by the Lord through the scriptures.

Second, I am at peace with this decision. I confirmed it with the Lord in prayer. In fact, it was the Lord who continually urged this action upon me for the past three or four days. I know, I know. You may say, “Well, it wasn’t the Lord urging you to resign your membership.” I disagree. It was the honorable thing to do. It saved sixteen men many hours of time away from their families.

Third, I do not feel any different. I still feel the warmth and comfort of the spirit of the Lord. You may say, give it time, give it time. I hear you. I know there are things about membership in the LDS Church I will miss, but I will not miss the spirit of the Holy Ghost because he abides with me still, as does the priesthood authority I received from my father when I was but a lad.

A Few Questions Answered

Now for a couple of silly questions: Will I remove my garments? No. They still mean something to me. Will I attend the three-hour block each week? No. I will probably only attend Sacrament meeting with Carol. I will probably have my own sacrament meeting at home for a while until I can find a group with whom I can participate. Community is important. I seek a new community.

Will I continue to pay tithing? Yes. Carol and I discussed this. It is important to her to pay tithing to the LDS Church. I would prefer to pay tithing to a group where I know it is being used 100% to help the poor. But, and I know this sounds strange, unity with Carol is important to me. This is a difficult thing for Carol. Some women would divorce their husbands for leaving the Church.

I know Carol is hurt and disappointed. She is a fifth-generation Mormon. It means everything to her. She defends it with all the passion of a she bear. I have learned not to cross her. I am grateful she attended some of the lectures. I will make no attempt to entice her to follow me. I will only love her as best I can for a man who knows so little about the romantic needs of a good woman.

Don’t Blame This on Denver Snuffer

To all those who now say, “See, I told you so. I warned you the moment you started reading and writing about those books from Denver Snuffer.” Yes, you’re right. You warned me. And you warned me and then warned me over and over again. Thank you for your loving concern. It did no good. I had a witness of the truth the moment I first read PtHG that night in January of 2012.

So am I now a follower of Denver Snuffer? No. I never was and never will be. I barely know the man. I know his writings and have been edified by them, but I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. Let no man come between you and your God. I suppose if there’s one thing I do feel different already, it is the realization that I now get my marching orders – my daily priorities – only from the Lord.

Previous to this afternoon’s letter of resignation, I was always concerned about, “What would my priesthood leaders think of this?” or “What does the LDS Church say I should be doing with my time?” Maybe that’s my own fault or failing, but it’s has been ingrained in me from a lifetime of hearing it drilled into my soul – follow the prophet. He knows the way. Thanks, but no thanks.

Follow the Prophet – Mantra Gone Too Far

I think I finally realized how bad it was one Sunday in High Priest’s group when I answered a question posed by the instructor about marriage. I simply emphasized something I know we have been taught about temple marriages – that they are conditional upon being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. This is a true doctrine. Always has been and always will be as far as I know.

You should have heard some of the comments I got from some of the brethren. And these were brethren I used to lead as the High Priest Group Leader. Somehow, it turned into a diatribe on the importance of following the prophet, that only he could interpret scripture or pronounce doctrine. It was as if they felt I was personally attacking them and their marriages. I was simply stunned.

It seems as if this has become the last stand for the LDS Church. It is a position of fear – follow the prophet. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not attacking President Monson or whoever is the current president of the LDS Church whenever you read this. I simply thank God he has given me a mind of my own, that I can think for myself and I can ask God directly for guidance in life.

Study the Doctrine – But Not Too Much

I feel as if a great burden has been lifted from my shoulders and another one placed in its stead. I am OK with that. It is the burden of life. I have simply shifted it from being overly concerned with conformity to the orthodox LDS way of thinking and acting, to now being careful to think, believe, act and live in the manner intended by my Heavenly Father. I have shifted my priorities.

Was the LDS Church holding me back? Yes and no. It’s the classic story. We are urged to study the gospel. When we do, we learn things that don’t jive with what is currently being taught or practiced in the LDS Church. We are nothing like the church Joseph organized in 1830. There are too many traditions and beliefs taught in the correlated curriculum that are simply not right.

Agency – It Only Goes So Far

I can’t tell you how many times I wrote about something I had studied and received a response, “You had better get your views in line with the Brethren or you’re going to be in trouble.” I got this over and over, from the least studied and newest member of the Church to Stake Presidents (not my current Stake President) and Bishops who read and comment on my blog. It’s amazing.

Do I hold any animosity toward the church or its leaders? No. I thank them for all they have done for me, especially my local leaders who have loved me, prayed with me, counseled me and tried to get me to conform to the orthodox ways of modern Mormonism. I am certain I have offended some of my brethren in the High Priest Quorum stake-wide with my writings. They told me so.

I understand the concern expressed by associates on the High Council and Stake Presidency in my former stake. They are concerned for their children and grandchildren. I get that. I apologize if you feel I am to blame for some of them leaving the church. Don’t put that at my feet. And for those in my current stake whose children have resigned – that was their decision and theirs alone.

Faulted for Believing Too Much

So what do I believe now? I believe in God. I know the Father lives and loves me. I know my Savior loves me and leads me. I have become more familiar with His voice over the past two years than at any time in my life. The Holy Ghost is real. He is the comforter. I appreciate that. I know God has a plan for my life that is not over. I went through hell last year to understand that.

I believe Joseph was a prophet of God. More than that, I know he was. The knowledge received of the Holy Ghost is burned into our souls. I have known Joseph was a prophet from my youth. My testimony of the Book of Mormon and other scriptures has not changed. We received the Book of Mormon the way Joseph said it came forth – translated by the gift and power of God.

Those Last Fingers of the Testimony Glove

TestimonyGloveThe restoration was real. God wanted to prepare a people for the establishment of Zion. It did not work out in the early church. The higher priesthood was taken from the earth. The authority of the Aaronic remained. I received that authority from my father. I still have it. Resigning from the LDS Church does not take that away. Priesthood is not controlled by any earthly institution.

Obviously I no longer believe the LDS Church has what it claims. It saddens me the LDS Church seeks to enforce beliefs by disciplinary measures. Some of the policies in the Church Handbook are an abomination. They can destroy families. It also saddens me to learn of manipulation from the highest councils of the Church to control the affairs of local members and local leadership.

We have often been taught, and I have taught it myself, “While the people in the Church aren’t perfect, the Church itself is perfect.” I disagree. The LDS Church was divinely instituted but is not now what the Lord will use to establish Zion. Zion was never intended to be established by a large institution. Zion is to be established in small groups where there are no poor among them.

A Few Closing Thoughts

I often hear the complaint from LDS Church members, “They leave the Church but they won’t leave it alone.” I owe so much to the LDS Church. I judged my mother harshly when she walked away from the Church after twenty-five years. I was wrong. I have since asked for and received her forgiveness. She was my age or a little older when she left. I understand now what happened.

Mother loved the gospel. She was a disciple of Christ. She taught me to love the Savior and to love to study. She could not have been more devoted to the Church and a better example for me. She taught Gospel Doctrine and performed more temple ordinances than anyone I have known. Yet in the end, she could not find community within the narrow-mindedness of some members.

Following the traditions of the fathers is a real problem in the LDS Church. It keeps the members from progressing. It’s good to safeguard some things that build family unity but not good to hold onto false beliefs and practices such as an over-reliance on “the Brethren” to tell us what’s what. That’s why my mother left after years of dedicated service. And now I have followed in her path.

The Four Phases of Mormonism


FourProphetsThis is another in a series of my study notes from Passing the Heavenly Gift by Denver Snuffer. I’ve spent considerable time this past year studying the material presented in an effort to come to grips with a paradigm change in how I view the LDS church. I am a lifelong active member. I love this church and the people in it. But the religion has changed dramatically even in my life.

In this essay I attempt to reconcile the changes I have seen from the religion of my youth to the faith we practice today. For those familiar with Denver’s latest book, you may recognize some of the wording in the early part of this essay to be taken from his summary of the four phases on pages ten and eleven. It can also be found on the back cover and the publisher’s online summary.

Besides a summary of the four phases, I’d like to respond to selected quotes from chapter two of the book, entitled History and Truth. If you don’t approve of quoting D. Michael Quinn or Davis Bitton for that matter (“I Don’t Have a Testimony of the History of the Church”), then you’re not going to like this chapter. From Denver: “If this book challenges your faith, then stop reading it.”

The Four Phases

Phase 1 – 1820 to 1844 – 24 years
Phase 2 – 1844 to 1904 – 60 years
Phase 3 – 1904 to 1951 – 47 years
Phase 4 – 1951 to present – 61 years

From its very beginning, Mormonism has undergone constant change. It has yet to assume a final form. It has undergone at least four distinct phases to date. The first was during Joseph Smith’s lifetime and ended with his death in 1844. The key changes during the first phase were exciting, additive and innovative: new revelation, new church structure, new doctrine and new ordinances.

The second phase began with Brigham Young and lasted until the second manifesto in 1904. As you can imagine, the key component of this phase was the influence of plural marriage. The end of this phase was so traumatic for some leaders of the church that they resigned their positions as apostles. Abandonment of polygamy was a watershed event in the maturing of the LDS religion.

The third phase began with the Smoot hearings and ended with the death of President George Albert Smith in 1951. This was a period marked by a church struggling to find its way in a modern world. Long gone were the days of isolation and clinging to old ways at all costs. The church became increasingly more conservative, doing all it could to shed a timeworn image.

The fourth and current phase of Mormonism began with the administration of David O. McKay. The early part of this period saw explosive growth of the church in membership, wealth, temple building, political influence and scholarship. In the latter part, Mormonism adopted correlation and corporate management techniques to consolidate and direct central church decision-making.

The Focus has Changed

In the early days of the church under the leadership of Joseph Smith, the focus was on every man becoming a partaker of the heavenly gift. The culmination of this period was at the dedication of the Kirtland temple. The rich outpourings of the spirit are unmatched to this day. The opening of the heavens in such great abundance for all greatly blessed the lives of early church members.

Brigham changed everything with the public announcement of polygamy as a major tenet of our religion. At one time we taught in this church that a man could not be exalted unless he entered into plural marriage. Mormonism became something I don’t think Joseph intended. The focus changed from receiving heavenly manifestations to a religion that only talked about them.

Later, the abandonment of polygamy became grounds for excommunication. The church outdid itself in efforts to prove to the world we are a “normal” church and people, just like the rest of America. We still celebrated our rich spiritual heritage but fewer and fewer people, especially leaders, focused on opening the heavens to pursue manifestations or new spiritual experiences.

In the modern church, we rarely hear of members, or leaders for that matter, who are willing to share their spiritual experiences. The church grows through modern efficiencies until one can say it is probably the best run church in the world. The focus on sharing spiritual events from our lives has almost completely disappeared. It seems we are expected to keep such things private.

What is Missing Today

I’ve thought long and hard about what it is I feel is missing in our church from my pre-mission days. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I recall stories of spiritual experiences, firesides focused on how to have the heavens opened, and classroom discussions that always included invitations to go and get a personal revelation on the subject so you could be an independent witness.

“Mormonism has become increasingly less mystic, less miraculous, and even less tolerant of ‘gifts’ of the Spirit. Although it retains an emphasis on personal revelation, there is no continuing expectation of new scripture, new commandments, or Divine visitations. The concepts are retained, but the expectations are gone. The idea of angels, visions and visitations are regarded as ‘magical thinking’ belonging to an earlier, primitive people.” – pages 45-46

Today, we seem to be a church at odds with itself. On the one hand, we continue to teach the importance of receiving personal revelation. On the other hand, those who talk about their own revelations are looked upon as weird or unusual. When did it become a taboo subject to talk about having the heavens opened? This is the major change I sense in our Mormon culture.

“The first phase of Mormonism was dominated by visions, angels, and direct involvement by God. Those experiences are still celebrated and taught. However, they are only used as a legitimizing credential for a demystified church. The current phase of Mormonism is missing the direct appearance or involvement of God, angels and visions. There is a disconnect between the miraculous events upon which Mormonism is based, and current church events.” – page 47

Expected Audience with God

It seems in the modern Mormon Church we are tolerant of just the right amount of revelation and no more. We nod our heads approvingly when we hear testimonies of new converts as they talk about how they prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true. We smile as we hear them relate how they received their answer from God. Ah, yes, the warm, peaceful feeling of the spirit. We remember with fondness our own introductory experiences with the spirit in our youth.

“Every convert to the faith restored through Joseph Smith was, and is expected to have a revelation from God affirming to him or her that the work is God’s. … The purpose of Joseph Smith’s work was not to inform people of revelation as a theoretical possibility, but to install it as a practical reality. Revelation is required to bring converts into the religion, but an audience with God is always the expected culminating event.” – pages 49-50

Wait, what? An audience with God? Well, sure, maybe in the next life but not in this one. Yes, I know what D&C 93:1 says, but Joseph must have been referring to the life to come. “Verily, thus sayeth the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” It can’t be any clearer than that, can it? But in this mortal life?

Yes, I think it means in this life. We are expected to work towards and receive an audience with God in this life. Forsake our sins, come unto Christ, call on His name and do what he says. The heart of the work is to hear His voice and do as He personally directs us. We are to meet God face to face. Each person should approach Him for themselves. This was the primary message of the first phase of Mormonism that doesn’t seem to be taught today. I miss that.

Belief, Faith and Knowledge

Belief means to understand and accept true doctrine. Unbelief, as used in the Book or Mormon, means to accept false doctrine or to have an incomplete, and inaccurate understanding of correct doctrine. The phrase, “dwindling in unbelief” is the Book of Mormon’s way to describe moving from a state of belief, with true and complete doctrine, to a state of unbelief, where the truth has been discarded. Miracles end because men dwindle in unbelief. (page 52)

“The word ‘faith’ is used when an angel has ministered to someone. Going from belief to faith is a natural progression as soon as any person with a firm mind in every form of righteousness has been tried and found committed to the truth.” This short paragraph, also on page 52, was a real eye-opener to me. From it, I have come to the conclusion that I have not been a person of faith. Denver backs this up with Moroni 7:37, Jacob 7:5 and Moroni 7:30.

“A person acquires ‘knowledge’ when they have an audience with Christ. The Book of Mormon intends for all those who read it to acquire knowledge of Christ. They are to meet Him; to know Him. Hence the saying by Joseph Smith: ‘A man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge.’ Saving knowledge comes from ‘knowing’ – meeting with and being ministered to – by Jesus Christ. He is the Second Comforter. (page 53) We must gain this knowledge to be saved.

The Whole Purpose of the Temple

“The whole temple message can be summarized in one brief statement: We are to be prepared in all things to receive further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord through the veil. The ceremony of the temple is not the real thing. It is a symbol of the real thing. The real thing is when a person actually obtains an audience with the Jesus Christ, returns to His presence, and gains the knowledge by which they are saved.” (page 53)

“The ceremonies and ordinances of the temple all point to Him. They are not the end of the search but instead teach you how to conduct the search. If all you receive are ordinances, you have nothing of real value. They are dead without a living, personal connection with God. God alone can and will save you. …when men come into contact with the Lord, they gain authority from Him. The Lord’s friends and fellow-servants are always endowed with power.” (pp 55-56)

I have always wondered about the purpose of the prayer circle and veil ceremony if they are not to teach us how to approach the Lord and receive instruction from Him directly. We are taught what we must do, but then we don’t do it. Why? Do we continue to think it is only symbolic, or that it is not meant to be done in this life? When is the appropriate time to knock at the veil to receive further light and knowledge? Surely the Lord didn’t intend for us to wait until we die.

We Must be Taught by Angels and Christ

“Returning to God’s presence is Joseph’s witness, message and theme. If you return to His presence, you will learn more in five minutes than you can by reading all that has ever been written on the subject. Joseph showed that we like him, can gaze into heaven and gain knowledge. No man or woman has ever, or will ever, be saved in ignorance. All of us are saved only as quickly as we gain knowledge of Him directly from Him.” (pages 60-61)

“…revealed religion is always founded on the dramatic; the light going on suddenly and illuminating the room. Without the dramatic appearances of the Lord after His resurrection, the New Testament account would not provide the promise of redemption through Christ. Despite all His profound wisdom, it is the suddenly miraculous return to life which moves Him from teacher of wisdom to Savior of mankind.” (pages 62-63)

“The restoration is marked by the First Vision, the appearance of Moroni, the visit of John the Baptist and return of Peter, James and John. These events identify it as something quite different from other Christian religions. It is not another sect. It is God’s latest work among mankind. When angels stop ministering to the Latter-day Saints, then the original faith has ended among us. At that point we become like any other Christian sect.” (page 63)

Statements from Heber J. Grant

“I know of no instance where the Lord has appeared to an individual since His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith.” – Heber J. Grant, 13 April 1926, private letter to Mrs. Claud Peery

“I have never prayed to see the Savior. I know of men – Apostles – who have seen the Savior more than once. I have prayed to the Lord for the inspiration of His Spirit to guide me, and I have told Him that I have seen so many men fall because of some great manifestation to them, they felt their importance, their greatness.” – President Heber J. Grant, 4 October 1942, probably referring to Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor

These are troubling statements, because they seem to be in direct contradiction with the whole focus of the religion restored by Joseph Smith. Why would the president of the church denounce the need or desire to receive a visitation from the Savior who he represented as his prophet? Is personal knowledge of Jesus Christ unnecessary or viewed as a negative leading to a fall? This is so different from what Joseph taught – that such a visitation is the defining moment of our lives.

I also wonder why President Grant was not aware of Lorenzo’s Snow’s testimony that he saw the Savior in the Salt lake Temple directing him to reorganize the First Presidency immediately upon the death of Wilford Woodruff in 1898. In addition, On August 1, 1890, Charles Ora Card recorded in his diary that Apostle John W. Taylor had testified that “he had beheld the Savior.” Was President Grant withholding information on purpose? If so, why would he do such a thing?

Summary and Conclusion

Denver concludes chapter two with a discussion of the concept of “practical infallibility” that we have given to our prophets in the modern church. He quotes a few statements of the Brethren to the effect that the Lord would not allow the President of the Church to lead the people astray. It is the idea of respect for the office of the President of the Church that causes us to assume that they and all the apostles must be eyewitnesses of Christ, as opposed to administrative apostles.

In the next chapter Denver tackles the idea of succession in the church, another difficult subject in which he presents material in a different light from the traditional narrative of the church. As he wrote in the book and has written many times on his blog, “If this book challenges your faith, then stop reading it.” Remember, Denver is not advocating anybody leaving the church. On the contrary, he is encouraging all to remain a part of the church, to love and serve one another.

Occasionally, if you do a Google search for Denver Snuffer, you will note that two suggested phrases behind his name are “apostate” and “excommunicated.” Google searches are very telling in that they are a good indicator of what people think of a given subject or person. Denver has stopped posting as much as he used to. I think it’s to give some of us time to catch up and come to a better understanding of what he says the Lord asked him to share. That’s what I’m doing.

%d bloggers like this: