Concluding Testimony at my Disciplinary Council


MartinLuther95ThesesI shared my testimony in our regular monthly testimony meeting this morning. I wanted to make sure the Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency present – he’s also in our ward – heard me say I sustain the general authorities and local authorities of the church. Of course these words were in addition to sharing comments reflecting my love of my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

Covering All the Bases

Carol asked me afterward if I did that to offset whoever it was that complained about my blog a few months ago. I assured her I was sincere, but yes, I wanted the whole ward to know of my feelings for those who lead this church. I continue to sustain them with my prayers and with my money. Yes, I know my tithing is used to pay their salary. It also helps pay my sister’s salary.

Follow the Bishop’s Counsel

As far as I know, I’m not under any priesthood leader’s watch list for an impending disciplinary council, but a few of my friends and fellow bloggers have been surprised, so I’m being careful. I’m doing my utmost to follow my Bishop’s counsel to keep my headlines non-inflammatory and to keep links to my posts off Facebook. Those links are apparently where I got in trouble before.

It’s Tough to Be a Bishop

I continue to be appreciative of my Bishop’s opening remarks when he called me to talk the first time a few months back. He said our chats – there were two follow-ups – were motivated out of love. I know I’ve shared this before but I believe him. Our bishop is a good man. I love him and appreciate all he does for our ward. It takes a lot of time to manage the largest ward in the stake.

If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear

Specifically because some of my fellow bloggers were surprised at the rapidity of the course of events surrounding their disciplinary councils, I want to be prepared, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually in case I get surprised. In one case the good brother was notified on Sunday he was to be tried for his membership and was excommunicated 72 hours later on Wednesday evening.

Course of Action Planned in Advance

I’ve written my defense before the High Council in a previous post. Obviously it was imaginary, a defense based on years of observation of disciplinary councils in which I have participated as a High Counselor, a Bishopric Counselor or a clerk. I hope this will never be needed, but in that same spirit, I’d like to have my closing testimony prepared in the event I am allowed to share it.

How I Dislike Disciplinary Councils

In case you don’t know, there’s no guarantee you will get to say anything at your disciplinary council. Seriously. I know what the handbook says. About the only thing they have to let you say is how you answer to the charges – innocent or guilty. Don’t you just hate the whole concept of a disciplinary council? I do. It doesn’t seem right to have such things in the church of Jesus Christ.

Our Decision That You Be Excommunicated

But then, what do I know? I’m just a lowly member, happy to be here, grateful to serve. So with that in mind, and since I use my blog as an auxiliary personal journal, here is what I would like to say if I ever hear the words, “Brother Malone, our decision is that you be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Is there anything you would like to say?”

Shared Desire to Do the Will of the Lord

“Thank you President. I’ll be brief here. Thank you to my brethren of the High Council for their service. And thank you, President, for your thoughtful and prayerful consideration of my case. I know this is painful to you, not because you’re losing a financial clerk, but because I know you are a good man, with a desire to do the will of the Lord. I’m grateful we share that same desire.

Excommunication Difficult on Family Members

“There’s no need to go over the details of my case. The decision has been made and I sustain your action. I suspect the decision was made at a higher level in the church, but that doesn’t matter. I am no longer a member but will continue to attend with my wife for whom I pray night and day. This chain of events has been painful for her and a source of resentment and frustration.

Apostasy – Simply Writing a Few Book Reviews

“I will not be appealing the case. I have never seen it do any good for anyone else. Besides, I have no intention of seeking rebaptism. I was excommunicated for apostasy – for simply reading a book and sharing it with others. I felt led by the Lord in the entire process. I was introduced to the book in the temple. I prayed about the book in the temple and was answered in the temple.

My Issue is With Interpreting Church History

“The book has changed my life. It clarified for me many things I already suspected or believed. I know my path is not for everyone. There are fundamental differences in the way we look at the church. I suspect it will always be so. This is not a personal issue with you, your leadership, or anyone in this room. My issue is with the Brethren in Salt Lake, always has been and will be.

The Priesthood Was Taken From Israel

“I will continue to pray for them, but am no longer allowed to sustain them, meaning they will not accept my tithing. It won’t be missed. I will continue to love them. They are good men who have taught and inspired me. They have done a good job in leading this church. You may think me deceived and naïve, but I feel sorry for them. They are stuck. They cannot escape the past.

Gentiles Shall Reject Fullness of the Gospel

“I don’t want to offend anybody so I won’t say anything more. My reasons are on my blog and will be amplified with greater clarity now that I am free to share more openly. I hope you won’t consider my blog to be anti-Mormon because it’s not. I am not an enemy of this church. I love the church and pray for its success, but believe things about the church that are no longer taught.

Prophecy and Traditional Narrative Differ

“For the record, I refute the charges that I do not sustain the Brethren. Perhaps it’s semantics. I simply disagree with some of their interpretations of history and scripture. I’ve been told I need to repent until my thinking is in line with what the Brethren teach about those certain events in our history. I appreciate the invitation. I know it’s offered with love and concern for my welfare.

Testimony of Church History Not Required

“I’ll conclude with words I wrote privately to a long-time reader who was troubled by my blog: Thank you for your love and concern. My mind is made up. I choose to believe things about our history that are not taught in our church or are taught in a manner that leaves out key elements. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to have a testimony of church history to come unto Christ.

The Purging of the Two Percent

“Let’s focus on what is important – to know Christ. I love this church for the renewed focus we have on the Savior. I have watched it happen in my lifetime. I pray that priesthood leaders will leave good men alone who are striving to come unto Christ but don’t believe some of the history. But recent evidence shared with me privately indicates the purge of men like me is accelerating.

The Truth Will Set You Free

If the church continues on this path, they will alienate and lose the strength and backbone of the priesthood brethren who faithfully pay tithes and administer in wards and stakes in the church. Can the church afford that? Perhaps – perhaps not. God bless us each in our pursuit of the truth. It is the truth that sets us free. When I finally accepted the truth of our history, I indeed felt free.”

This Could Never Possibly Happen

I don’t want to end on a negative note. Other than the interviews with my Bishop and the private correspondence with several bloggers who have recently been excommunicated for apostasy, this is all speculation and supposition. You may say it’s a product of my imagination. “You’ve been under a lot of stress, Tim. Nobody at Church headquarters even knows or cares about your blog.”

Strengthening Church Members Committee

That may be true. I hope the book reviews I write on my blog and what I choose to believe about the contents of those books has nothing to do with the status of my temple worthiness or church membership. Recent evidence from others is contrary. The SCMC is real. They really do determine that certain authors and bloggers are a threat to the church and need to be disciplined. It happens.

We Pay People to Read Member’s Blogs

God bless us all to stay in the good graces of the members of the Strengthening the Church Members Committee. I know I have communicated with a few of them. One is a Facebook friend and a blog follower. He is also a church employee. I have lots of church employees who are friends and read my blog, but this individual is vehemently opposed and vociferous in his opposing comments.

Lo Que Será, Será

I served my mission in Central America. They never used this phrase, but I like to use it. It fits in this case. I do all I can to follow what I believe is the will of the Lord. I know there are consequences of being misunderstood. After I have done all I can to make things clear to those who want to know the truth, all I can do is wait. I used to mock sites that said they had the truth of church history. Now…

As Always, Comments Open

What do you think? Is it possible the church is on the lookout for bloggers like me who write about church history in a way that differs from the standard narrative? Is it possible the church is out to squelch opposing viewpoints from among their own members? Am I a wolf in sheep’s clothing? My patriarchal blessing warns me about such individuals. Do you find my blog offensive? I’d love to read your views.

Home and Back Again: A Book Review


Not about The Hobbit

HomeAndBackAgainNo, this is not about The Hobbit. That’s subtitled, There and Back Again. This one is subtitled, My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Of course, The Hobbit was written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is one of my favorites from the first time I read it in High School. By the way, I loved Peter Jackson’s screen adaptions. I don’t even mind he split the book into three movies.

Kindles and Books

Besides socks and other needed clothing, Christmas around our house always brings books, and lots of them. I suppose we’re old-fashioned that way. Even though we both have Kindles, there’s just something about holding a book in your hand. I think it’s the feeling of permanence. Kindles rely on battery power and electricity. Someday, Kindles will probably be useless. But a book…

Libraries Full of Books

Yes, I know paper degrades. Some of the books from my childhood are showing signs of age, but then so am I. We seem to treasure books, else why so many great libraries around the world? But I digress. This is a review of one of the eight books I received for Christmas. If you’re interested, I’ll share the list of other books found under the tree. The first three will take some time to read.

Books Received for Christmas

1. The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1, 1832-1839, published 2008
2. Light in the Wilderness, Explorations in the Spiritual Life, M. Catherine Thomas, 2010
3. Journey to the Veil, by John Pontius, compiled by Terri Pontius, 2013, Cedar Fort
4. Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith, with minor updates by Robert Smith, 2012
5. The Journey, Receiving our Endowment, Jeremy Oakes, 2013, Journey to the Fullness
6. Joseph’s Interviews with Moroni 21-22 Sep 1823, private imprint (Thanks, Michael)
7. Correlation: An Uncorrelated History, Interview with Daymon Smith, private imprint
8. Home and Back Again, Imelda Lorayna Fowler with Thomas E. Fowler, 2012

Private Imprints / Self-Publishing

It’s interesting that the last five books on the list are private imprints or self-published. Things are changing in the book publishing world. It’s about the last book on the list I want to write. As soon as I opened it Christmas morning, I began to read it and finished it within a few hours. I could not put it down. I give it five stars, just like most every other reviewer on Amazon did.

Near-Death Experiences

Yes, it’s a book about an NDE, or Near-Death Experience. Last January I pulled a bunch of NDE books from my library and wrote short reviews of each. Someone then brought this book to my attention as one I would want to add to my library. Having read it now, I couldn’t agree more. Imelda and Tommy did a great job telling her story. If you read this, thank you both for sharing.

Died on the Operating Table

This is the story of Imelda Fowler, who, if your Google her name and Powerlifting, you will discover holds several records for her weight class of 97 pounds. But that’s not what her story is about. One day, back in 2004, her appendix burst and she died on the operating table. In fact, she continued to leave her body many times after that and described several of her spirit journeys.

Lives Forever Changed

In Tommy’s introduction, he wrote he had probably read hundreds of NDE’s. That’s something he and I have in common. He notes he has, like Dr. Moody, interviewed hundreds of persons who have gone to the other side and then returned. Their lives forever changed. I can attest to that, having experienced my own NDE in 1974. It changed my ability to sense and hear spirits.

Opinions of Skeptics

I like what Imelda had to say about skeptics on page 56: “I have to laugh at skeptics and experts who ridicule those of us who have had the privilege to visit the other side. What is considered reality on this side is smoke and mirrors when compared to the fullness of life that awaits us in our eternal home. My heart pities the nay-sayers for their blindness…

Ignorance and Arrogance

“…they ignorantly and sometimes arrogantly keep trying to prove that this life is all there is. Why they feel the need to do so is perplexing to me. Sadly, when they return home, and they will, that reality will hit them in the face like an iron fist. If you are one of those skeptics and when in the future, you finally come to the realization that you have died…

Some Spirits Wander Aimlessly

“…many wander aimlessly in that realm not knowing or else they are not willing to admit they are dead… I beg of you please, when you come to that realization, swallow your pride and just look up. There you will see a being(s) of light that has been hovering over you and is patiently waiting for you. He/she will guide you through the process of returning home.” (Edited)

Some LDS Perspective

Imelda’s account has some unique characteristics. Although never directly noted, she and Tommy are faithful members of the LDS church. They live close by me here in Southern California (San Pedro). I have never met them or heard of them before but immediately felt a kinship because of the good job they did in telling their story. They are also close to my age.

A Little Background

Tommy is an IT guy like me. He served his mission in the Philippines, where he met Imelda. After returning home, he wrote her. They developed a friendship. They agreed to fast together on a certain day and time. Both received a confirmation they were to marry. It took her nine months to make it to the states. Their first kiss was over the altar of the Oakland temple.

A Very Readable Story

Imelda has a delightful sense of humor in telling her story. Reading about their early days as young marrieds and her acclimatization to living in America was wonderful. This is not meant to be a theological treatise. It is simply her story, told plainly, without too much elaboration, but just enough explanation to keep it interesting. I learned several things and had others confirmed.

A View of the Plain of Hell

Many NDE accounts have commonalities. Imelda’s shared some of those, but what made hers so fascinating was the description of the plain of hell. I have read only a few others who describe it in a similar manner, one being Angie Fenimore’s Beyond the Darkness. It confirmed for me the idea of spirits being stuck in hell because of pride or arrogance. They won’t look up for help. See also Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie.

A Special Treat: The Grand Council

You’re in for a special treat on pages 77-82 as Imelda describes her experience in meeting the Lord for the second time and going before the Father to determine what she would do. Like so many others have related, she was given the choice to stay or to return to her pain-filled body. She chose to return because of her love for her family. She knew her mission wasn’t over yet.

Meeting the Adversary

Chapter seven for me was also a delight, although you may think it strange. She describes meeting the adversary. This is an area with which I am familiar. I too have met him, or at least some of his agents. The way she described his language is exactly how he has talked to me, the same way his minions do. Mental discipline is the only thing that keeps the voices quiet for me.

Lots of Good Teachings

I’ll not give away any more of the story. I simply wanted to share it with my endorsement. There is too much good stuff in the book to describe in a short review. I believe I recognize Tommy’s contributions in the doctrinal portions. I’m not trying to take anything away from what Imelda has shared, especially the idea of relationships being so important from an eternal perspective. Tommy sounds like a great guy.

A Terrible Vision of the Future

Reading Imelda’s story is a classic example of why the subject of NDE’s is one of my favorites. It takes courage to share such accounts. Her story strengthened my faith and understanding. She even included a terrible vision of the future (page 64) that coincided with what I have seen in my mind’s eye as I have studied the subject in the scriptures. The issue is timing. Nobody knows for sure when such a vision will be fulfilled.

A Sweet and Valuable Book

Get the book and read it. It’s only 120 pages. Amazon has it for about $13, printed on demand. I’ll always remember the sweet peaceful feelings that came into my heart as I read it Christmas afternoon. There is a ton of truth packed into this little book. Imelda is bold in declaring that the Savior and the Father lives. She has seen them. I believe her and thank her for sharing her story.

An Invitation to Dialog

As always, this blog is open to your comments, questions, criticisms or anything you want to say on the subject. You can also email me privately. Want to know more about dealing with voices from the spirit world? I can share more. Want to know more about my own NDE? I can point you to previous posts where I describe it. Want to discuss the book? I’d love to read your ideas.

Here is a link to a recording of her speaking at IANDS Utah from Nov 2013: http://iandsutah.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/iands-13-11-nov-2013-medy-fowler.mp3 (It takes time to load)

 

Divine Discontent and Enduring to the End


EndureUntoTheEndThe Need for Denver’s Message

One of the main ideas Carol and I have discussed concerning Denver Snuffer is the necessity of the message he has delivered. Carol has made it clear she did not and does not feel there was or is any need for someone like Denver Snuffer to remind us how important it is to literally come unto Christ. The discussion always ends with her pointing out enduring to the end is sufficient.

Endure to the End is Sufficient

“We’ve been baptized. We’ve received the Holy Ghost. We’ve both served missions. We’ve been endowed and sealed in the temple. We try to live faithfully, accept callings and pay tithing. We try to do our home and visiting teaching although we can do better. Now all we need to do is endure to the end. That means keep going to church as long as our health permits. Right, Tim?”

An Investment in Understanding

That’s almost a direct quote. After two years I have learned to simply say, “Yes, dear.” Actually, I learned to say that a long time ago, but particularly in this situation. I’m grateful she doesn’t begrudge the money I’ve spent purchasing his books, the time I’ve spent studying what he has written or the effort I’ve put into sharing this journey on my blog. After all, she’s a writer too.

More than a Casual Reader

I suppose I’m more than a casual reader of Denver’s material. In addition to the books, some of which I’ve read two or three times, I’ve read most of his blog, bought every recorded lecture and printed them so I could study them. So that’s hundreds of hours? I suppose so. Is it time wasted? Could it have been better spent in scripture reading? Trust me, it includes that and gospel study.

Attending the Lectures

I was this close to flying up to Boise for the opening lecture. I have not been able to attend any of the five talks given so far on his current lecture tour due to conflicts with my work commitments. Carol and I have already agreed to travel up to St. George next year to hear that one in person. Well, it’s agreed we’re going, but it’s anyone’s guess if she actually goes to the lecture with me.

Denver’s Message Not For Everyone

Maybe it’s different for men. I feel driven to understand Denver’s message and to be received by the Savior in a literal, physical way while yet mortal. Carol does not. I think I’ve shared on my blog previously how I fasted before my mission for three days and the results of that fast. The Lord answered my prayer and spoke peace to my mind that my efforts were sufficient for then.

The Maturing Process of Life

I heard his voice in my mind, but He made it clear I was not ready. I had not yet been endowed. After my mission I got involved in my career and somehow the desire to receive the Second Comforter left me. I began to say to myself, as I heard in so many talks and lessons, “Enduring to the end is sufficient. Just live a good life, remain temple worthy and magnify your callings.”

The Return of Divine Discontent

I lived with that belief for over thirty years. Then I read Denver Snuffer’s books and everything changed. The feelings I had from before my mission that I should seek to enter into the presence of the Lord in this life returned. I call it Divine Discontent. I think I first heard that phrase in a talk by Neal Maxwell from October 1976 General Conference: Notwithstanding my Weakness.

Accused of Being Divisive

I suspect the scenario I just described is why some of my readers have left comments either here or on Facebook that Denver is divisive and wrong. Carol has said that his writing frightens her. I continue to do all I can to show, by my actions, there is no threat in Denver’s messages, which I now put into two categories: 1) Receive the Second Comforter, 2) Understand our history better.

Not Asked to Gather Anywhere

When I have responded to her, and some of you on this blog who have raised the same point that Denver is not asking us to do anything other than items one and two above, the response I get is, “not yet,” or as some of you have said, “this isn’t over yet,” referring, I’m sure, to the fact that he has not completed his lecture tour. “Who’s to say what he is then going to ask of his followers?”

Come Unto Christ, not Denver Snuffer

She knows I like to counter with “We’re not followers, we’re readers.” I’ve also made the point in my writings I’m not a Snufferite. My standard response is I simply want to come unto Christ. I enjoy Denver’s style of writing. I understand Carol’s point what he writes frightens some people. It means change. I’ve already addressed the idea of unity in marriage. “If ye are not one…”

Voicing that Divine Discontent

Depending on what blogs or forums you like to read, there seems to be much discontent with the way things are going in our nation, and in some cases, in the church. Some promote the idea we take a more active role in voicing discontent through dissent. Some have even suggested we go to the Conference Center as a block to cast an opposing vote in the annual sustaining process.

Investment in City Creek Mall

I never could or would do something like that. First of all, I do sustain the Brethren, meaning, I am happy with their efforts to lead this church. Maybe it’s a Utah thing, but I wasn’t upset with the church’s explanation for where the money came from to build the City Creek Center. I accept that it came from interest earned on our tithing money. For some reason, that doesn’t bother me.

Prepare for Collapse of United States

Other popular LDS-related forums seem to be advocating we get prepared for more than a natural catastrophe. There’s talk of what we should do when the government is overthrown or fails of its own accord. These people are deceiving themselves. It’s good to be involved in the political process. We know it’s prophesied the United States government will collapse.

Spreading rumors of massive violence

Some of the private emails I receive from readers are repeating a rumor that we’ve got until just shortly after Denver finishes his lecture tour before things start to get really dicey here in the United States, meaning they fear economic collapse will soon turn our nation into a land of roving gangs with no central government or police presence to control the violence. What?

Visions of Glory – One Man’s Opinion

One of the most-read posts here on Latter-day Commentary is still my book review of Visions of Glory written by John Pontius. If you read my review (Jan 2013), you know I gave it a mixed response, meaning I agreed with many things in it, especially views of the spirit world found in the first third of the book. As I wrote there, I had problems with the latter parts of the book.

God Will Fight His Own Battles

I didn’t and still don’t object to Spencer’s idea that we will experience great natural catastrophes. If there is anything I find in common with messages from the prophets, it is the prediction of global destruction to occur in the last days. That’s how the nations will be overthrown, not by any act of man. God will take care of things. He has warned us this has long been on its way.

Israel is Central to Events of Last Days

I’ve already expressed my opinion that the world, including the United States will soon turn against Israel to the point of war. I have no doubt Israel will soon act to remove the nuclear threat it sees from Iran. Because Israel will have to act alone with no support from the United States – not politically correct anymore – every nation will gather to fight against them. It’s in prophecy.

Be Prepared For These Events

When the prophesied events of the last days happen, they will be rapid. Things will dramatically change around the world in the period of just a few years. What bothers me is that most people, including most LDS, have not been listening to the message of the prophets, ancient and modern, that the best and most needed preparation we can make for the coming destruction is spiritual.

Don’t Forget Cosmological Signs

That’s why I feel that Divine Discontent is a good thing. It’s driving me to understand better what the Lord will do in these last days. If you want to say that it’s all going to start as soon as Denver finishes his current lecture tour next year, fine. I can accept that. I wonder why so many good LDS writers and bloggers exclude the writings of Anthony Larson in their pontifications.

Writings of Anthony Larson

I can understand if you don’t like the predictions found in Anthony’s books. After all, he has taken the writings of a man rejected by the scientific community and combined them with the scriptures to come up with his unique combination of what is about to come upon us. The word most commonly used by his critics is pseudoscience or ideas of man mingled with scripture.

Signs of the Times Explained

My long-time readers know I disagree. Just like I have gone out on a limb in my claims that Denver Snuffer is a prophet because he is delivering a message he says the Lord asked him to deliver, I have long advocated that LDS folks read Anthony Larson’s prophecy trilogy. It was in Deseret Book stores for years. If you really want to understand the last days, Anthony can help.

One More Writer I Recommend

I know both writers are unorthodox. I know they both have their critics, some very vocal. I might as well add to the list one other LDS writer who can best help you prepare for the last days. I’ve written about him before: Mel Fish. Mel is not the only one who teaches what he does about how to remove the influence of the adversary from your life, but he has published more than others.

How I Have Tried to Prepare

So there you have it. If I were asked whose books should I read to be best prepared for the last days and the eminent destruction which is prophesied to shortly come to pass, these are the three men I would recommend. Their writings have done more to help me understand what the Lord is about to do very soon than those of any other LDS writer. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

Promptings of the Holy Ghost

The basis for everything these men teach is found in the scriptures. In other words, if you have the gift of the Holy Ghost and the scriptures, you don’t need what these men have written. There is much disagreement about their interpretations of the scriptures. I have chosen the Holy Ghost as my guide. He has led me to the writings of these men. The spirit may lead you elsewhere.

Perhaps Only Philosophies of Men

I confess I am a weak man when it comes to understanding what I read in the Bible and other standard works. The language of the scriptures is different from the way we speak and write today. That’s why I’m grateful for what I have learned from these men who have studied and written much of what they felt the Lord wanted them to share. I feel forewarned and prepared.

Inspired Writings From Many Sources

Maybe you don’t need the interpretations of others to understand the Lord’s strange act of the Last Days. I do. I appreciate the words of our living prophets and apostles. I simply ask myself, why has the spirit led me to the writings of these particular men? The answer always comes, after years and years of reading, studying and praying: “These men were also inspired of the Lord.”

Wrapping it Up

You may say this post is all over the place. You’re probably right. What was my point? It had something to do with Divine Discontent, right? My point is the Lord may inspire you to study the teachings of other men and women besides those we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. My point is that the writings of these men have helped me in dealing with Divine Discontent.

What Drives You May Be Different

Maybe you don’t suffer from Divine Discontent. Carol doesn’t. She is perfectly happy with her life as a writer of romance novels – or whatever genre she decides to tackle. Please don’t take this as a sexist remark: Maybe Divine Discontent is a malady that only strikes men. Maybe I’m unique in that I feel so driven and have felt driven by the Lord to read the writings of these men.

My Blog feels Completed

If this ends up being the last post I ever write on my blog, I will be happy. I have shared what I intended to share when I started blogging six years ago. I have introduced you to the writings of three men whose messages I felt the Lord wanted me to receive. I have tried to explain them and in many cases, to defend them. I feel I have done what the Lord wanted me to do with this blog.

Enduring to the End

Starting tomorrow I’m back to work. My week of vacation was well spent. I re-read Come, Let Us Adore Him and made good progress on my third reading of The Second Comforter. While I’m not there yet, meaning I have not received the Second Comforter, I feel my time was well spent. I’ve appreciated everyone’s comments on my last few posts. Thanks for stopping by. God Bless.

Denver Snuffer Disciplinary Council


NoticeToAppearFor those who don’t know, Denver Snuffer has been served with a notice to appear before the Stake Presidency and High Council to answer charges of apostasy for the publication of his book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift.” Carol and I just discussed this. I continue to feel that he was not surprised, knew this was coming and, in effect, intended to force the hand of the church.

I have publically written about Denver

I am in somewhat of a difficult position because of the number of articles I have written and posted on my blog, most of them in the form of book reviews. I think it interesting that my post on Monday was originally entitled, “The LDS Church Excommunicates those who Know Christ.” Because of the uproar over the title I changed it to something a bit less offensive.

A Day of Sadness for me

I will not deny I am saddened this day has arrived. If he is excommunicated, it will free him up to say some of the things he wanted to say, similar to what happened to Max Skousen. He has asked that we not call him. He, and especially his family, deserves privacy. None of us know at this time how he will respond to the requirements placed upon him to avoid the council.

Requirements of Stake President

One of the requirements is that he cancels his planned lecture series scheduled to begin next month. His response is evident in that he discusses the need to change recording arrangements. I think it is obvious he is not intending to comply with the requirements of the Stake President. Also, as of this moment, Passing the Heavenly Gift is still available for purchase at Amazon.

My Personal Opinion of Denver’s Work

As far as my personal opinions about the work of Denver Snuffer, they have not changed. I have made it clear how I feel in my book reviews and several other published articles. If Denver is excommunicated, I will now have to answer the below temple recommend question for myself with a little bit more thought. I’ve never had to consider this before – never thought it applied.

The Temple Recommend Question

The question is, “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I always assumed this referred to those who promoted polygamy. As far as I know, Denver does not promote polygamy and has written extensively about it on his blog.

Sympathizer or Supporter

I have lots of friends who have been excommunicated. I have lots of friends who have left the church on their own. That does not mean that I sympathize with their causes. I still want to attend one of Denver’s lectures or at least buy the recordings of each of the lectures. Does that make me a sympathizer or supporter or an apostate if he indeed is disciplined and excommunicated?

PtHG is Apparently Offensive

So it appears it is the publication of Passing the Heavenly Gift that is the issue. My reading of the book simply clarified a whole bunch of crap I had already read on the Internet over the years. It was not new or shocking for me, although I can see how it could be for others who do not read or study church history. But then my opinions do not matter a hill of beans in this particular case.

Placed Church in a Negative Light

According to the posted letter, Denver has “mischaracterized doctrine, denigrated virtually every prophet since Joseph Smith and placed the church in a negative light.” I would hate to sit on the High Council and give my opinion because I would have to disagree with that. The decision belongs to the Stake President. I pray that whatever happens moves the work of God forward.

Sharing the Gospel through Goodreads


TimMaloneGoodReadsI finally got around to updating my Goodreads account with a few of the book reviews I have written over the years. I have been amazed by the response of new readers to my blog. It makes me feel a little better after being dropped by ldsblogs.org. I know people have told me not to be concerned about that but it still hurts losing that extra 200-300 hits per day from their site.

Readers and Blog Hits

Why are hits important to bloggers? I suppose the answer is different for everyone. Is it selfish? Is it egotistical? Is it narcissistic? I hope not. In my case, I started blogging in 2007 before Elder Ballard asked the Saints to be more involved in the online dialogs that are taking place about the church with or without us. My inspiration was an early LDS solo blogger I followed for years.

Solo Versus Group Blogs

Jeff Lindsay was an early pioneer solo blogger I admired as compared to the multiple group blogs that existed for many years. Group LDS blogs are fine and get a lot of traffic but frankly, I found I did not agree with many of the viewpoints I considered “unorthodox,” in other words, worldly. I know that’s judgmental but I did not find myself uplifted by some of the discussion there.

I Read So I Can Write

I want people to be exposed to some of the things I have found uplifting to my faith. I find that it helps my own personal study. Indeed, that is the major reason why I blog – to motivate me to read the scriptures and study the gospel. It’s hard to write about something and not sound like a fool if you haven’t read anything on the subject. I read so I can write. I write about what I read.

Television versus Reading

I grew up without television so I have a difficult time sitting down in the evenings to watch TV to unwind. I would much rather grab a book. So I do. But because I want to be with Carol, I also grab my earplugs. Yes, it can be distracting but if I hold the book just right, I can block out the TV and focus on what I’m reading. I can’t get over the feeling that TV for me is wasting time.

Non-Fiction versus Fiction

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I usually don’t read fiction. If you look at the list of books I’ve entered so far on Goodreads, you’ll note that the majority are non-fiction and LDS-related. I am fascinated by books about the last days, the spirit world and church history. I also like to read controversial stuff you won’t find in Deseret Book as well as your orthodox LDS book fare.

Out of the Best Books

I am a firm believer in the commandment from the Lord, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” I find nothing wrong with counting my reading of LDS-related books as my gospel study time. There are lots of scriptures quoted.

Physical versus Digital Books

I think I have transferred copies of most of my book reviews over to GoodReads. That made me the #56 book reviewer this month earlier today. As I wrote in a previous post, it’s going to take me months to include every book in my library, which has recently passed the 2,000 mark. I’m from the old school. I like to hold a physical book in my hand to read. Thus I buy a lot of books.

Book Reviews Are Helpful

But just to be sure, I decided to make a list here of my reviews with links so I can compare to what I now have on Goodreads. It truly is gratifying to receive emails from individuals who have read my reviews and felt inspired to write and thank me. It’s nice to think that maybe something I wrote has helped someone else. I have so very few original thoughts. I am guided by books.

Books Reviewed on Latter-day Commentary

These are in no particular order. I just went backwards through my blog looking for book reviews and added them with links to the list here. By the way, reading a book doesn’t make you an expert on a subject, but it does help you talk intelligently or at least understand when others bring it up. Also, as I’m sure you know, in most cases, the person writing the book is supposed to be an expert, but that is not always true. We’re all still learning.

01. 6-4-13, Born of the Spirit, E. Richard Packham, 1979
02. 5-29-13, There is a way Back, Gerald Pearson, 1970
03. 5-4-13, The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
04. 5-3-13, You Have Been Here Before, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1986
05. 4-23-13, Beloved Bridegroom, Donna Nielsen, 1999
06. 4-17-13, Remembering the Covenant, vol 1, Denver Snuffer, 2013
07. 4-12-13, The Doctrine of Meeting Christ in This Life, Eric Chun, 2013
08. 3-18-13, From Darkness Into Light, Mel Fish, 1999
09. 3-24-13, The Second Comforter, Denver Snuffer, 2006
10. 2-2-13, Near Death Experiences, Part 2, containing:

  • The Gateway We Call Death, Russell M. Nelson, 1995
  • Embarrassed by the Light, Douglas Beardall, 1995
  • Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, 1994
  • NDE – Near Death Experiences, by Lee Nelson and Richard Nelson, 1994
  • Beyond Death’s Door, Robert L Top and Wendy C Top, 1993
  • Reborn in the Light, Cherie Sutherland PhD, 1992
  • Embraced by the Light, Betty J Eadie with Curtis Taylor,1992
  • Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse with Paul Perry, 1990
  • Beyond the Veil – Volume Two, Lee Nelson, 1989
  • Beyond the Veil – Volume One, Lee Nelson, 1988
  • The Light Beyond, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1988
  • The Journey Beyond Life , Michele R. Sorensen and David R. Willmore, 1988
  • The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, 1987
  • Return From Tomorrow, George G Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill, 1978
  • Spirit World Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1978
  • Life After Life, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, 1975
  • Temple Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, 1974
  • Life Everlasting, Duane S Crowther, 1967

11. 1-30-13, Near Death Experiences and Me, Part 1, Containing:

  • Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander, 2012
  • Visions of Glory as told to John Pontius, 2012
  • Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
  • To Heaven and Back, Mary C Neal MD, 2011
  • Heaven is for Real, Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, 2010
  • In His Arms by Denise Mendenhall, 2006
  • And Should We Die, Ron McMillan and Randy McMillan, 2003
  • Possibilities…Lessons From the Spirit, Doug Mendenhall, 2002
  • Visits From Beyond the Veil, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2002
  • There is no Death, Sarah LaNelle Menet, 2002
  • And There Were Angels Among Them, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, 2001
  • My Peace I Give Unto You, Robert Lake with Doug Mendenhall, 2001
  • The Message, Lance Richardson, 2000
  • Life After Death, Robert L Millet, 1999
  • I Stand All Amazed, Elane Durham, 1998
  • I Saw Heaven, Lawrence E. Tooley, 1997
  • Heavenly Answers for Earthly Challenges, Joyce H Brown, 1997
  • Beyond the Darkness, Angie Fenimore, 1995

12. 1-18-13, And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, Anthony Larson, 1981
13. 1-13-13, Visions of Glory, John Pontius, 2012
14. 9-10-12, Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011
15. 8-14-12, The Book of Mormon: A Biography, Paul C. Gutjahr, 2012
16. 6-24-12, Teachings of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives, Anonymous, 2011
17. 5-5-12, Ten Parables, Denver Snuffer, 2008
18. 2-26-12, Passing the Heavenly Gift, Denver Snuffer, 2011
19. 3-28-11, How Americans View Mormonism, Gary Lawrence, 2008
20. 12-6-10, Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth, 1970
21. 5-5-10, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
22. 5-11-09, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman, 2007
23. 4-23-09, Shaken Faith Syndrome, Michael Ash, 2008
24. 3-16-09, In Sacred Loneliness, Todd Compton, 1997

Remembering the Covenant


RememberingTheCovenantI received my copies of Denver Snuffer’s Remembering the Covenant, Volumes 1, 4 and 5 the other day. Why would I invest $55 to purchase printed versions of something that is available for free online? I’ve already purchased and read Denver’s previously published eight volumes. And for the most part, I read the majority of what’s in the books on Denver’s blog over the past year.

Two reasons: I’m an old guy. I like physical books. I enjoy turning the pages, marking them up and seeing them stored in my library. Second, I found it interesting Denver hinted at something I have been thinking about for a long time. We take the availability of the Internet, Blogger and hey, even electricity for granted. The day may come when these things are no longer guaranteed.

I like the formatting of the books, the new chapter organizations and the footnotes. The blog comments are not included. That’s understandable. If you’re read some of them, they get way off the subject and frankly, there are some weird things in there that are distracting from the content. I’m not saying comments aren’t valuable, just that they can take things in unintended directions.

Commentary on The Second Comforter

I feel like a late-comer to the Denver party. Now, he wouldn’t like that characterization. He has always said the important thing is the message, not the messenger. And of course, Denver is not the only one focusing on the idea that we can and should receive the Savior in this mortal life. By that I mean a personal visit from the Lord in which he ministers to and teaches you sacred things.

As Denver noted on his blog, volumes two and three in the series were published previously as the single volume Removing the Condemnation. The advantage of purchasing them in this new format is that they are in a larger font and split into two volumes. I chose to save a few bucks by just getting the ones I didn’t already have. Amazon already has the three other volumes bundled.

So for me, having the luxury of the printed volumes allows me to study Denver’s commentary on his original book at my leisure, which is usually at night before retiring for the day. I learned recently that if I work on the computer right up until I retire, it makes it difficult to get to sleep. There’s something more relaxing about reading a book instead of reading on a computer screen.

Two Areas of Disagreement

In the year or so since I was introduced to Denver’s writings, I’ve made it a point to share with Carol some of the things I have been learning. She’s not all that interested, especially since the first book I
read from Denver was his last one, Passing the Heavenly Gift. We basically disagree on two points – the desirability of meeting Christ in this life and just what priesthood power is.

Carol was taught all her life and believes that there is no need to receive the Savior in this life in a literal way, meaning you don’t need a personal visit to be saved or exalted. She says that will come after this life. When I show her the scriptures and the teachings from Joseph she responds, “Well, the majority of the members of the church aren’t going to see Christ in this life, so there.”

We read chapter one of Passing the Heavenly Gift together. I wrote about her response in my first essay about Denver early in 2012. We’ve had an ongoing discussion about power in the priesthood ever since. Every time a baby is blessed, a baptism is performed or someone is confirmed or ordained, she leans over to me and whispers, “not valid – no power, right?”

Difficult Ideas to Accept

She’s trying to point out that, in her mind, Denver’s argument that power of some kind was lost, does not make sense to her because of the special feelings we each feel when we witness an ordinance of the priesthood, partake of the sacrament or attend the temple. While in the Celestial room, we’ve discussed what he has written. Gratefully, we’ve been able to keep it quiet and civil.

Carol’s viewpoint is that receiving a personal visit from Christ in this life is not necessary, at least according to all we’ve been taught growing up in this church. The focus has always been, receive the ordinances, including marriage in the temple, then endure faithfully to the end. That means as long as you attend church, accept callings, pay tithing and pray often, you’ll be exalted.

Thus, she says the focus of Denver’s first book is unnecessary, at least according to what we’ve been taught. What she got out of Denver’s last book is that he was very clearly saying that the church lost something with the death of Joseph, perhaps even sooner. She took great exception to this idea. What exactly was lost has been a matter of discussion between us over the past year.

Focus on the Book of Mormon

I’m glad I read his last book first. I had long been feeling that there was something missing in our modern church compared to the early church, meaning in the days of Joseph Smith. If you have been following my blog for any length of time, I hope I’ve made it clear that I believe that Joseph was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is scripture and is intended to guide our lives.

I also believe that Joseph received the sealing power from God, just like Nephi did, but that there was so much more he wanted to share with us that he received from the Lord before his life was cut short. He did not live to see the completion of the Nauvoo temple. There were things he knew that he tried to teach in the last few months of his life, that we just didn’t quite understand.

I’m looking forward to reading and studying these three volumes, Remembering the Covenant. I note that he positions them as a commentary on the Book of Mormon. I like that. There is so much of this marvelous book that even after a lifetime of studying I still don’t understand. I know Denver taught much of this stuff in his Gospel Doctrine classes over some twenty years.

Remain True and Faithful

In case you were wondering, I see no incompatibility between studying the works of Denver Snuffer and remaining a faithful member of the church. In fact, as many others have stated, I don’t think I have ever studied the gospel more intently in the past year since I first encountered his works. Denver has repeatedly encouraged us to remain faithful and serve in the church.

Yes, his first book is somewhat unconventional in that the doctrine of seeking an audience with Christ in this life is no longer taught in our church. And yes, his last book is controversial in that he put in one place all the arguments we have been reading on the Internet for years that there is something amiss in the direction of the church compared to what Joseph restored so long ago.

Can one believe that something is missing or not quite right in the church today and still answer the temple interview questions honorably? Absolutely.  I sustain the Brethren as authorized to lead this church. I see nothing in what Denver writes to be contrary to or opposing the teachings and practices of the Church. Denver has encouraged us to be faithful and serve in the church.

Future posts on Denver Snuffer

Although this blog is not devoted to discussing the writings of Denver Snuffer, I intend to bring up a number of things I have read in his books that I find interesting and worthy of discussion. I have had a paradigm shift in the way I view the priesthood that answers so many questions for me. I am also delighted to see the idea of meeting Christ in this life being taught and promoted.

Surely the Brethren cannot find fault with anyone who encourages us to seek an audience with Christ for the specific purpose of receiving instruction pertaining to our salvation. And surely they can’t fault him for informing us in one place, in a very favorable way I might add, about the things we have read in many places on the Internet regarding a different view of our history.

Don’t call me a Snufferite. I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. I’m just a regular member of this church. I merely want to know what I must do to have an audience with my Redeemer in this life. I can’t imagine anybody labeling this as an undesirable thing. I’m simply grateful that Denver says it can be done and that he has done so. Thank God for his testimony and witness.

For More Information

In case you are interested, I’ve written several previous entries about Denver Snuffer:

01. March 24, 2013 – Overview of The Second Comforter
02. March 9, 2013 – A New Star Will Shine Forth
03. March 3, 2013 – All Are Invited to the Feast
04. December 25, 2012 – The Four Phases of Mormonism
05. December 11, 2012 – What Denver Snuffer Teaches
06. July 7, 2012 – Deceived by an Angel of Light
07. May 12, 2012 – Orthodox Mormonism
08. May 5, 2012 – Ten Parables by Denver Snuffer
09. April 8, 2012 – Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil
10. February 26, 2012 – Loss of the Sealing Power

Near Death Experiences and Me


TimMaloneFacebookIn a recent Facebook post I mentioned I had dozens of books on NDEs. A friend asked for my recommendations of those books so I decided to review them. Obviously I won’t have space to review all of them in detail but perhaps a paragraph on each might be helpful to someone. At the very least it will be helpful to me to remember these books and my experiences in reading them.

The books are listed in reverse order by date published and are by no means comprehensive. It is simply a list of books in my personal library. As far as I can remember, I have read all of them. I may not be able to recall some of the details of the earlier ones but will share what stands out and why I thought they were worth reading. Someday I should transfer these reviews to Goodreads.

This review has taken the better part of a week because I kept getting sidetracked in re-reading. There are so many wonderful things I have learned from these books about the spirit world, life after death, suicide, the Savior, the adversary, evil spirits, forgiveness, peace, healing, comfort from loss, the purpose of life, visions of things to come in the last days and much, much more.

ProofOfHeaven1. Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander, Simon and Schuster, 2012 – Loved this book. Eben seemed so unassuming in telling his story. He just lays it all out there for the reader and lets you draw your own conclusions. It’s very matter-of-fact which is in keeping with the idea that Eben is a neurosurgeon. I especially liked that he addressed all the opposing theories for what could have happened. No, his story is very convincing. His spirit left his body for nearly a week and he lived to tell about it. What he shares is fascinating, especially the love of his family members who pledged to stay with him until he died or returned. He felt their love and prayers drawing him back. I highly recommend this book to anyone who doubts the idea of life after death.

VisionsOfGlory2. Visions of Glory as told to John Pontius, Cedar Fort, 2012 – I reviewed this in great detail in a previous blog entry. I learned much from the first two NDEs he related. However, I was not quite ready for what he shared in his third NDE about the Last Days. There was much specific detail about events in and around Salt Lake and the Western United States after a huge earthquake and subsequent invasion by a foreign power. I agree that society and civilization will degrade to the point of tribes, but I had a hard time with his narrative of the journey to Missouri via Cardston. I especially struggled with his description of the Savior appearing at a special session of General Conference. It just didn’t fit in with what the scriptures teach about the Lord’s Second Coming.

ConqueringSpiritualEvil3. Conquering Spiritual Evil, Doug Mendenhall, 2011 – I also reviewed this one in a previous essay. You may think it doesn’t fit in a list of books about NDEs but I also include some books that help us understand the spirit world and life after death. Besides, Doug relies heavily on what he has learned from his daughter who suffered a diabetic stroke which destroyed half her brain and now lives without a veil. She had an amazing NDE which I review below. What would it be like if you could ask a family member about spirits in the room around you wherever you go? Doug has some amazing insights that go beyond anything I have read in any other book about the spirit world. However, as I warn in my essay, the content of this book is not for everyone. The subject is obviously dark, even though Doug treats it with power and even some humor.

ToHeavenAndBack4. To Heaven and Back, Mary C Neal MD, Waterbrook Press, 2011 – I enjoyed this one. I think I lean more towards intellectual investigations and explanations. Some of the NDE books are too emotional or subjective for me. This one, similar to the book by Dr. Eben Alexander was filled with logical and precise descriptions. It was well written, well edited and well presented. The description of her spirit rising up out of her body while the kayak was pinned at the bottom of the river was riveting. Her story of survival is truly a miracle, but her story of being escorted by a spiritual guide to her spiritual home was even more miraculous. But it wasn’t her time so she came back only to be taught by an angel while recovering in the hospital. An enjoyable book.

HeavenIsForReal5. Heaven is for Real, Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, Thomas Nelson, 2010 – Loved this little gem. Written by a pastor whose son, at four years of age, went to the spirit world during surgery for an emergency appendectomy, it is filled with sweetness and light. This book has sold well, been read and reviewed by thousands and had a great reception. I got that it was probably very colored by Todd’s background as a pastor. So what? I have enough experience with reading and interpreting NDE’s that most of what is told is figured out long after the events transpire. It’s the same with any spiritual experience. It takes time to fully understand it. I have no doubt that little Colton did see Jesus, angels and deceased relatives. He came back and impressed his family with what he was able to reveal. I’ll bet he is still remembering things about his visit to heaven years from now. I for one was happy to read this book and thank Pastor Todd for sharing it with us.

InHisArms6. In His Arms by Denise Mendenhall, Publishing Hope, 2006 – This has got to be one of the most amazing NDEs ever told. Denise was 16 years old at the time she penned this book. It is full of grammatical errors and typos. Please get past that. You will be astonished at what you discover. Her father told her story in two previous books. This one adds more detail, especially about Denise’s life in living without a veil after the coma. When Denise was ten years old she slipped into a diabetic coma and suffered a stroke which destroyed most of the left side of her brain. When she awoke, life was completely different. Denise can see the spirit world around us along with the spirits in it, both good and evil. She also had a wonderful visit with the Savior, who took her to visit with Heavenly Father and her Heavenly Mother. She writes that he showed her many things which she is not yet able to share, although she had been sharing a few things in the last few years. She claims to have met all the prophets and said she watched Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon. She says she does not want to be anyone’s “oracle chick.” You’re either going to love this book or hate it. I happen to love it and highly recommend you read it.

AndShouldWeDie7. And Should We Die, Ron McMillan and Randy McMillan, American Family, 2003 – Ron tells the story of his brother Randy, who struggled with Leukemia and ultimately succumbed. I’m not sure this one should be on a list of books about NDEs since the only reference we have to life after death is Randy, now dead, visiting his father in the hospital when his father was sick. If you know the story, you know that Randy served as Lance Richardson’s spirit guide as told in his cousin’s book, The Message, listed below. The book is well written, uplifting, enjoyable, and very LDS. Ron did a good job but there are so many references to the LDS lifestyle that a person not of the faith would have a hard time understanding much of it. This book is a great tribute to Randy and a good follow-up to The Message but doesn’t add much to understanding NDEs.

Possibilities8. Possibilities…Lessons From the Spirit, Doug Mendenhall, Publishing Hope, 2002 – This is a follow-up to My Peace I give Unto You, reviewed as number 11 below. It recounts the amazing experiences of Doug and Denise as they go about sharing her story. I say amazing because most people I know don’t have casual conversations every day about spirits they see everywhere they go. Denise lives without a veil and thus can see them around and often in people. This is another book that has heavy LDS themes, culture and vocabulary throughout. It may prove difficult for some who have no exposure to the LDS faith. I include it in my list of NDE books because it adds so much to understanding the spirit world around us. This book is also an introductory text to Doug’s latest book, Conquering Spiritual Evil, number three above.

VisitsFromBeyondTheVeil9. Visits From Beyond the Veil, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, Horizon, 2002 – Marlene has written three books in this series. The First is And There Were Angels Among Them (2001), this is the second and the third is By The Ministering of Angels (2006). I remember buying these at Deseret Book in St George while visiting family there, and then reading them in one evening. There are also revised later versions available now. I happen to have first edition autographed copies. I contemplated if they belonged in this list but remembered that some of the stories involved near death or at the time of death of a loved one. The stories are all true and well documented. Marlene did a lot of research in early journals in the LDS Church archives. The time period for all three books is 1800’s. I see these books as evidence that we were once a much more favored and blessed people. Where are the modern stories of angels among us? Too sacred?

ThereIsNoDeath10. There is no Death, Sarah LaNelle Menet, Mountain Top Publishing, 2002 – A sad book in many ways. I was sad for the terrible life that she had to endure both before and after her suicide. I was sad to learn about the reality of hell she had to endure for a few moments reserved for those who commit suicide. It was similar to the hell Angie Fenimore told about in her book, Beyond the Darkness. She teaches a lot of truth in her book but I had a little difficult time with the claim that she foretold the 9-11 twin towers attacks, especially since the book came out shortly after the event. It seems to me that those who see future events in their NDEs are seeing possible scenarios, not events that will happen. Interesting reading but let’s not treat Sarah like a psychic. She’s not a spokesperson for God as to how things are going to come to pass in the very last days. For example, she talks about biological attacks that she said would happen sometime after the twin towers attacks. They haven’t yet. You can watch interviews with her on YouTube.

AngelsAmongThem11. And There Were Angels Among Them, Marlene Bateman Sullivan, Horizon, 2001 – This is the first in the series of delightful easy-to-read short stories about angels in early LDS history. I enjoyed reading this book because the stories are uplifting and faith promoting. I recommend each of the three books in the series. They are wonderful collections, each fully documented with original sources. There is an index by name of the individual involved. This is a great source book for those still in the uncorrelated church (email me if you don’t get this) who appreciate the early history of our church dealing with the spirit world. I see that Marlene has a new book out just a few weeks ago that should be on this list: Gaze Into Heaven – Near Death Experiences in Early Church History. I will be making that purchase and reading it in the very near future.

MyPeaceIGiveUntoYou12. My Peace I Give Unto You, Robert Lake with Doug Mendenhall, Publishing Hope, 2001 – This is the first in a trilogy of books about Denise Mendenhall who suffered a stroke as a result of a diabetic coma at age ten which resulted in the loss of the left half of her brain, and, the loss of the veil. Yes, that’s right. She sees the spirit world around us including all the evil and lost spirits that inhabit this world with us. Talk about a near death experience, this one is one of the most profound you will find anywhere. And this book is only the first part of the experience. Each successive book reveals more and more about what Denise saw in her NDE and what she continues to see as she goes through life. The first book was written by a family friend who did a pretty good job. It’s not perfect but a very enjoyable read. The focus is on the Savior instead of the weirdness of the world around us – both seen and unseen. I’m glad they wrote it that way. I highly recommend it. You may be incredulous at what you find but it will touch your heart.

TheMessage13. The Message, Lance Richardson, American Family, 2000 – You may not like my review. I’m afraid I’m like some of the one-star folks on Amazon. I felt there was something wrong with the book the moment I read it. It felt contrived. It seemed packaged. It was slick even though it was in need of further editing. I don’t know how else to say it. I know 95% of people who reviewed it said it was wonderful. I think that’s because the message is so focused on…well, on the message of the LDS Church today. To me, it was a bit over the top in hammering the point of the family. Did Lance really die? I won’t call it cheap inspirational fiction, but I was put off by The Message. I didn’t feel I gained any unique insights from it like I have from others who share their NDEs. Lance passed away in 2004 from complications of Crohn’s disease. If you enjoyed this book you may be interested in a follow-up book by Ron McMillian, And Should We Die – number 7 above.

LifeAfterDeath14. Life After Death, Robert L Millet, Deseret Book, 1999 – I hate to say this about a Robert L Millet book. The book’s OK, not great, just OK. It seems very correlated, meaning it uses only the safest of church sources. I didn’t find a lot of depth or new material in here. It seemed very basic and straightforward with only stuff from the scriptures or what is taught in Sunday school. There are no quotes from people who visited the spirit world, no modern evidence, nothing other than what you can find anywhere else in standard church material. It’s good for teaching a lesson or giving a talk, but to me, it wasn’t faith-promoting or helpful to understand what life is like after death. In short, it didn’t fulfill the promise of the title. Like the description on the book jacket, this work is “stripped of any sensationalism or speculation.” Sorry, I guess I like that stuff because it gets me thinking and pondering about possibilities. I wouldn’t recommend this book.

IStandAllAmazed15. I Stand All Amazed, Elane Durham, Granite Publishing, 1998 – I remember this one well. Elane is one of the few up to that point who had been certified by a competent medical authority and by a Catholic priest to have died. They thought she had a drug overdose but she had suffered seizures, a massive stroke and then cardiac arrest caused by an Arteriovenous Malformation in the base of her brain. She was pronounced DOA at the hospital. As with several other NDEs I have read, Elane had a difficult childhood, having been sexually molested by her father for years. She carried great guilt and shame. That all disappeared when she met the Savior and felt His unconditional love for her. She was spiritually healed but continued to have numerous physical problems after she came back to life – discovered by the nurse prepping her body for the morgue. Elane was shown some amazing things that have great significance for members of the LDS faith. She was also shown things pertaining to the last days. Her visions of the future were profiled in the television documentary entitled “Ancient Prophecies.” Elane has spent her life ministering to those who are dying. I love her book and highly recommend it as helpful to all.

ISawHeaven16. I Saw Heaven, Lawrence E. Tooley, Horizon, 1997 – This is one of those Duane Crowther specials. His editing is evident in the presentation of the story and the checklist at the end. I’m not knocking what we got. In fact, I would say this is Crowther at his finest. But because of the editing, I’m not sure that we got Larry’s story as he remembered it but as Duane discovered it. I know it’s a small distinction, but an important one, at least for me. In any event, the story is well told, especially because we have multiple viewpoints – Larry and his wife. It’s a little confusing that Larry’s spirit guide is also named Larry, and their conversation is such well written dialog – again, a probable contribution from Duane – but it makes the story interesting and enjoyable. Duane also added all the chapter subtitles. I do that when I’m editing. It helps readers who want to skim through the text faster, looking for interesting phrases that catch their eye. The book was well received by most reviewers, although many non-LDS folks struggled with the LDS focus. It confirms many of the basic NDE themes of the importance of forgiveness and kindness to others.

HeavenlyAnswers17. Heavenly Answers for Earthly Challenges, Joyce H Brown, Jemstar Press, 1997 – I re-read this book to remember the story from the first time I read it 15 years ago. Joyce suffered so many health problems that she prayed for death. Her prayer was answered. She had literally willed herself to die. But what she found out when she got to the other side caused her to ask to come back to her pain-wracked body to be given more time to complete the things she came to this world to do. This book is targeted at anybody who is contemplating suicide. She published a later edition in 2000. Reading online, I learned she then lost her home of 35 years to fire. In spite of continued tragedies including the loss of her husband, Joyce continued to work to help people struggling with thoughts of suicide. The book is well written, enjoyable to read and worth your time. There are unique insights and many revelations confirming the NDE visions of others. Her relating the life review common to many NDEs is perhaps one of the best I have ever read.

BeyondTheDarkness18. Beyond the Darkness, Angie Fenimore, Bantam Books, 1995 – This one has a special place in my heart. I have discovered over the years that I learn best from opposition and adversity. Angie’s story touched me deeply when I first read it and still does. I seem to read it every year at Christmastime. Angie has become my friend on Facebook. I believe she is trying to get the book published in Kindle format. It is well worth the read. There is so much truth in it. I read it to my son one night when he was contemplating suicide. He may not remember because I think he was drunk at the time, but it was a spiritual and emotional experience for me and Mike’s still with us. Thank you, Angie for sharing your story. It took courage to write and has greatly blessed my life.

I am glad we have multiple accounts from people who have attempted to take their own lives and recovered. My mother attempted suicide once. I will be forever grateful my father was inspired to return quickly from an errand on which she had sent him to find her still alive before the drugs had completed their work. I think that’s why Angie’s story is so close to my heart. Although Angie’s tale has more darkness in the beginning, her response mirrored my mother’s story of disappointment and sorrow at the way her own life was going before she tried to end her life. Angie’s story is well written and evidences an intelligent analysis of what she found beyond the darkness. Suicide is not the answer. It is the worst thing you can do with the life God gave you.

In reading reviews of others online, I came across a few additional books I will be adding to my library that are not on this list: Gaze Into Heaven (2013) by Marlene Bateman Sullivan, My Walk Through Heaven (2008) by Kim Rives, Through the Window of Life (2005) by Suzanne Freeman and My Descent Into Death (2005) by Howard Storm.

There are eighteen more NDE books reviewed in Part Two

19. The Gateway We Call Death, Russell M. Nelson, Deseret Book, 1995
20. Embarrassed by the Light, Douglas Beardall, LDS Book Publications, 1995
21. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, Villard Books, 1994
22. NDE – Near Death Experiences, by Lee Nelson and Richard Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1994
23. Beyond Death’s Door, Robert L Top and Wendy C Top, Bookcraft, 1993
24. Reborn in the Light, Cherie Sutherland PhD, Bantam Books 1992
25. Embraced by the Light, Betty J Eadie with Curtis Taylor, Gold Leaf Press, 1992
26. Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse with Paul Perry, Willard Books, 1990
27. Beyond the Veil – Volume Two, Lee Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1989
28. Beyond the Veil – Volume One, Lee Nelson, Cedar Fort, 1988
29. The Light Beyond, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, Bantam Books, 1988
30. The Journey Beyond Life , Michele R. Sorensen and David R. Willmore, Family Affair Books, 1988
31. The Unquiet Dead, Dr. Edith Fiore, Ballantine Books, 1987
32. Return From Tomorrow, George G Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill, Spire Books, 1978
33. Spirit World Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, Magazine Printing, 1978
34. Life After Life, Raymond A Moody Jr MD, Mockingbird Books / Bantam Books, 1975
35. Temple Manifestations, Joseph Heinerman, Magazine Printing, 1974
36. Life Everlasting, Duane S Crowther, Bookcraft, 1967

I welcome your comments and opinions on other NDE books that should be on this list.

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