Opening the Conduit to Heaven


the-heavensI read a lot of blogs. You probably do too. What or who we read can tell us a lot about each other. I’m especially interested in keeping in touch with those who are on a journey similar to mine. Below are a few blogs I check on a regular basis. Although I don’t spend a lot of time there, I also check in from time to time on the top four LDS group blogs at the bottom of the list just to see what’s being discussed.

Denver Snuffer Pure Mormonism – Rock Waterman
To the Remnant – Adrian Larsen In 200 Words or Less – Will Carter
The Gospel According to Scoot Just and True – Spektator
Anonymous Bishop Bare Record of Truth
Thoughts on Things and Stuff 77 Truths – Bret Corbridge
2nd Witness Upward Thought
The Perfect Day My Journey to the Fulness
Latter-day Spence – Clean Cut Thoughts from Salem – Russell Anderson
By Common Consent Times and Seasons
Mormon Stories Podcasts Wheat and Tares

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned anything from one of my recent favorites. It’s not even on my blogroll: The Gospel According to Scoot. Today I’d like to share something from Scott that has just made my day and my week. I’ve been pondering a post – this one – for a long time. I knew it was coming. I knew I wanted to study the subject and post it. Scott helped me nail this one down.

My Interview With Denver Snuffer

Over the past few months, I’ve been elaborating a little on the subjects from my interview with Denver back in May. At the bottom of this post you’ll find Denver’s answer to question eight. It was a difficult one dealing with the subject of leadership. Although I asked it poorly, I used the example of the discussion we were having on this blog about the Asenath honeycomb dance.

hosts-of-heavenWhat I asked in my question was what I believed at the time about what was happening with these dances. Of course, those in attendance at the retreat know that what was presented was nowhere near what I described in my question. That doesn’t mean that such practices aren’t happening. It just means I have no personal knowledge, so I shouldn’t have used the example.

Long-time readers know this blog is not and never was dedicated to the insights of one man. This blog has explored writings from dozens of Mormon authors. It just so happens that the Mormon author whose works I have been reading for the past few years are so prolific, I have felt a desire to share many insights. There are nine posts from the interview so far. The first is an overview.

5-13-15: A Visit With Denver Snuffer 5-21-15: The Fullness of the Gentiles
5-27-15: The Snuffer Interview – Part Two 5-30-15: Reconnecting to the Fathers
6-6-15: They That Come Shall Burn Them 6-13-15: Baptizing with Power and Authority
6-16-15: Reorganizing the Family of God 6-28-15: A Wild Man Hath Come Among Us
7-4-15: Opening the Conduit to Heaven

Conversing With the Lord

jacob-altarNow on to what I learned from Scott Stover about opening the conduit to heaven. First, from personal experience, I can tell you it is real. We can literally open a conduit to heaven. I have done so. Contrary to what some have written here on this blog, it is something over which we have some control. When we approach the heavens correctly, our prayers are heard and shared.

In response to prayer, like Scott, I have received revelation, as I’m sure many of you have, and have recorded it in my revelation book. As I have shared before, images, scenes, words, phrases, sentences and whole paragraphs have come, almost as dictation. Most of what I have received I have not shared, nor have I ever felt a desire or the right to do so. They are personal and sacred.

On the other hand, when I have asked the Lord for enlightenment on a specific subject with the clear understanding up front that I desired to share it, He has been most generous. The insights are my interpretations of what I have received, meant to inspire, encourage or otherwise prompt you to take your own questions to the Lord and receive direction and inspiration for your life.

Knowing the Voice of the Lord

isaiah-recording-revelationAs Scott shared in his latest post entitled, “Come Unto Me #2 – Scriptures,” the key to hearing and knowing the voice of God compared to our own voice or that of the adversary is found in Moroni 7:11-19. This should be no surprise to anyone. “According to this revelation, there is a grand key whereby we may know that the voice we hear is the voice of the Lord.

“If the voice: 1) Encourages the worship of Christ, 2) Promotes charity, humility, and the power that comes only from them and 3) Does not engender a desire for control, compulsion, or dominion (D&C 121:34-46), …then it is His voice.” Did you know you can use this same formula to ascertain if someone is sharing ideas that contain eternal truth when they write responses to blog posts?

As my regular readers are probably aware, or at least those who read the comments in response to some of my posts, especially those that address some observation I share about an insight I have gained from Denver, there is great opposition to just about anything that comes from the man. That is a sign to me, along with what I hear from the Lord, that he is speaking the truth.

The Gift of Discerning of Spirits

heavens-glory“There always did, in every age, seem to be a lack of intelligence pertaining to this subject. Spirits of all kinds have been manifested, in every age, and almost amongst all people. … All have their spirits, all have a supernatural agency, and all contend that their spirits are of God. Who shall solve the mystery? ‘Try the spirits,’ says John [1 John 4:1], but who is to do it? The learned, the eloquent, the philosopher, the sage, the divine—all are ignorant. … Who can drag into daylight and develop the hidden mysteries of the false spirits that so frequently are made manifest among the Latter-day Saints?

“A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power and baneful effects. …

“As we have noticed before, the great difficulty lies in the ignorance of the nature of spirits, of the laws by which they are governed, and the signs by which they may be known; if it requires the Spirit of God to know the things of God; and the spirit of the devil can only be unmasked through that medium, then it follows as a natural consequence that unless some person or persons have a communication, or revelation from God, unfolding to them the operation of the spirit, they must eternally remain ignorant of these principles…”

Source: Joseph Smith, HC, vol 4, pp 571-581 – Editorial in Times and Seasons, April 1842

Use the Keys God Has Given Us

Where there is no vision, the people perishA man or woman can go astray from the path approved by the Lord at any time in their life. The path I have chosen, to withdraw my membership in the LDS Church so I can experience greater freedom of expression in what I share here on my blog, is NOT the best choice for others. The important thing is to KNOW you are on the right path. Of course, the only way to know is to ask.

As you can imagine, I have been told over and over by loving, well-meaning individuals that I have been deceived in my prayers and in the confirmations that have satisfied my soul. All I can say is God bless you. My path is not for you. For those who say Joseph was a fallen servant or Denver is a false prophet or fallen servant, I say, you believe what you want and act accordingly.

Don’t let my confidence in my path dissuade you from your confidence in yours. They don’t have to be the same. As long as what we are doing encourages the worship of Christ, promotes charity, humility and kindness toward others, and does not produce a desire for compulsion or control or dominion over others then we’re good. Teach me of Christ and I will listen. God bless.

Opportunities to Go Off the Rails

Question Eight: A follow-up to the last question about the need for leadership in this movement can be illustrated by a recent post from Keith on the Recorder’s blog. In there he noted some people are submitting names of children baptized as young as five years old. The scriptures specifically teach the age of accountability is eight years old. He also noted the fact that some baptisms are being submitted for recording as having been performed by a woman. He quoted, again from the Phoenix lecture, your statement about priesthood being confined to men because of the Fall. You elaborated much on the idea there are so many opportunities for believers to go off the rails. I see it all the time when we discuss doctrinal questions on my blog.

For example, the worship of Mother in Heaven is a subject about which some people feel very strongly. They advocate a practice – a sacred dance – in which the objective is for a manifestation of divine favor. Specifically, they look for, expect, and report they have experienced the presence of Heavenly Mother in their ritual. This is similar to what happened with the children of Israel when Moses was up on the mountain for forty days communing with the Lord. In the end, Moses wore himself out because he had to judge every little thing that came before the people. What is the right way? How will the Lord provide leadership for His people who are awaiting His return? I’m looking for a practical answer here, not idealism.

A Few Comments on Heavenly Mother

ANSWER (Denver): For those who think they can please and appease a Heavenly Mother by that sort of innovation, I think they will be very surprised when they finally have an opportunity to meet Her. She may not be at all the soft, kindly, genteel little old lady some people imagine. She may be tougher by far than our Father.

Do you imagine for a moment that Lucifer would have been cast out of heaven without the Mother consenting, approving, and advocating? Do you think for a moment that could be the case? Do you think that those who were cast out with him had some weak-willed woman weeping at their departure? Do you think She wasn’t protecting Her Family, and approving the compulsory exile? I don’t talk about Her, but I think there is a lot of imagination about Her that needs to be reined in. When Her fearful presence is revealed the fools will then shut their mouths. Stop rushing forward because what you find in your impatience may condemn you and your foolishness.

Gifts Are An Open Conduit

Gifts are an open conduit. What flows through the gifts will include opposition. Just because you have a gift doesn’t mean that this gift is not equally accessible by the opposition as it is accessible by God. “It must needs be that there is an opposition in all things.” (2 Ne. 2:11.) You can’t bring about righteousness without there being an opposition in all things. So how do you avoid mistakes when you allow something to influence you through your gift that actually comes from the adversary pretending to be the source of light? The pretentions of the Bringer of light, the Light Bearer, which is what Lucifer’s name means, do mislead.

road-to-emmausWell, to avoid mistakes, first of all, I would look to the scriptures as a standard against which to measure any new revelation given to you. If you look at Christ on the Road to Emmaus, and you look at Moroni’s lectures to Joseph, everything communicated was scripture-based.

I’ve given a more comprehensive restatement of the Restoration than anyone since Joseph, but have almost entirely confined it to the scriptures and statements attributed to Joseph. That measuring standard is where you first find the anchor needed to keep the truth. People who don’t read their scriptures are subject to all kinds of foolish presumptions about things that aren’t there. If you go back and look at the exact wording, sometimes the foolish presumption is not justified by the actual language and content of the scripture you think justifies what you are doing. Study and compare everything to the scriptural standard. The more familiar you are with their language the better equipped you will be to recognize truth.

Personal Worthiness a Requirement

Second, personal worthiness. We have to live our lives in conformity with the light that we have. We cannot ignore commandments, or excuse ourselves from departing, and expect that we can avoid deception. If we are willing to disobey and excuse ourselves, then we become unable to distinguish the light from the shadows. It’s just the way it is. If we lie to ourselves, we love a lie. And if we love a lie we’re going to be deceived by lies. We make ourselves open to lies, we make ourselves willing to accept them.

We have to rely on light and truth and the Holy Ghost. D&C 45:56-57:

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

The way you do that is by knowing what is in the scriptures with some considerable care, living according to the truth that you have, and allowing the Holy Ghost to become your guide, even if what you hear from the Holy Ghost challenges, disappoints, or even frustrates you.

The Strong Man Model is Flawed

(Tim): Do you want to address the part about leadership? I know it was kind of an add-on. It didn’t quite fit.

(Denver): Yes, the narrowness of the question at the end was delightful, because it allowed me to avoid that. But I do think the work that I have been doing, the lectures that were given as part of a single talk, and the stuff that I am trying to remind people of, it’s all in the scriptures. It is all in the foundation of the Restoration. I don’t think that “leader as micromanager” is an answer to anything and failed in Joseph’s day. “Teacher” as someone who brings material to your attention, allowing you the freedom then to choose, is good and worked for Enoch and Melchizedek.

prince-of-egyptIf people engage in the sort of inordinate wickedness Moses found when he came down from the mountain—if that is practiced anywhere among those that are responsive to my message, they simply won’t be gathered. They will be left behind. Those that are patient and humble will inspire the confidence of angels who will do the gathering, and they will be gathered. Gathering won’t be because some boss manages to whip people into line. They need to be given the freedom to get out of line. And then once out of line, they must be permitted to go their way.

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question eight: http://3tcm.net/question-eight.pdf

 

A Paean to Scripture


scripturesWriting was a gift from God given to mankind for the specific purpose of recording his words and transmitting them down through the generations. As the sex drive assures the survival of the race even when love is dead, so also the gift of scripture preserves a witness and a record of God through the dark times when there is not faith to receive the living word. Scripture extends the memory of mankind for the words of God, and serves as a catalyst for revelation.

With these things in mind, let us consider 2 Peter 1 (New International Version [NIV])

1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Confirming One’s Calling and Election

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prophecy of Scripture

12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The King James Version (KJV) of 2 Peter 1:19-21 reads as follows.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of 2 Peter 1:19-21 reads as follows.

19 We have therefore a more sure knowledge of the word of prophecy, to which word of prophecy ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light which shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts;

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is given of any private will of man.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

In 2 Peter 1:19-21, we see that Peter is telling his readers that until they have the sun rise in their hearts, speaking of a spiritual endowment, they would do well to heed the living prophets and apostles who were eyewitness of Christ and his glory. And he reminds them that the prophets in the scriptures didn’t make stuff up or spout off on their own interpretations of things, looking to push opinions disguised as facts upon others, but spoke as moved upon by the Holy Spirit.

Now, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is interesting. Joseph once said “God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church. The Lord would cut short his work in righteousness and except the Church receive the fulness of the scriptures that they would yet fail.” (TPJS p. 9) He was referring to his translation of the Bible. And the Church in fact did not receive the JST. It is preserved by our brethren, the Reorganites.

Not all that is called scripture is scripture – after all, sometimes people write things which are, in fact, their own opinions, and not something that they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost to speak or write, even if those writings subsequently get canonized. Moroni 7 teaches us to search in the light of Christ, to judge things for ourselves by what actions the teaching motivates, in conjunction with inviting to love God.

Moroni 7:12-19

12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Again – does it invite you to do good, and to believe in Christ?

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

Inviting to do good, while also persuading to believe in Christ, is a key by which teachings may be evaluated in the light of Christ, or the voice of the Spirit in our hearts and consciences. Teachers, and teachings, which are directed at altering beliefs while encouraging no good works, or perhaps even discouraging them, are vanity to me, and seem to fail the test Mormon is describing for good things – because there is a third, unmentioned class of teachings – those which be of men who are giving their opinions on things which they know not, or even which they know by revelation but have not been commanded to publicize, and thus they speak without the power of the Holy Ghost and fail to edify. It isn’t enough that the Spirit gives one knowledge – that is, it isn’t enough that one teaches what one has been taught by the Holy Ghost – the Holy Ghost must also move one to speak, and then power attends. There is no sin in rejecting a powerless teacher or teaching.

After all, the Lord did say: “Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another.” (Mark 9:44, JST) Truth doesn’t have to be qualified with a quote. Quoting scripture is a way we can speak about things we don’t know, but surely believe. If we were limited to speaking only of what we knew, silence would reign. Nevertheless, honesty requires strictly demarcating what we know from what we merely believe. And the scriptures are a way to learn about things we don’t know yet, to get an idea that there’s more out there than what we’ve experienced, and quoting them is also a way to express things we do know, but someone else said better than we could.

2 Timothy 3:14-17, JST

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 And all scripture given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

And we’re back where we started. The scriptures invite to believe in Christ, to love God and serve him, and to do good. The scriptures are a gift to us, and we would be wise to search them in the light of Christ, praying always, and doing good, until the sun arises in our hearts.

Looking Beyond the Mark


HebrewTav1It the LDS Church today, we often hear the phrase, “Looking Beyond the Mark.” Those who read the scriptures know this comes from the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon. This is a uniquely LDS phrase, not found in the Bible. Jacob was teaching the people about Christ, who, of course, is the mark in question. Keep that in mind. Christ is the mark, not the LDS Church.

Anything that causes you to look past Christ for salvation is looking beyond the mark. Anything that takes you away from coming unto Christ is looking beyond the mark. Anyone who stands in between you and your Savior can cause you to look beyond the mark. Anything, any system, any person or any church that purports to be able to save you is deflecting your view from the mark.

From this verse, sermons have been preached, lessons have been written, actions have been justified and individuals have been condemned. Ironically, when someone focuses on coming unto Christ, and doing all within their power to respond to the promptings of the spirit, others may perceive them as engaging in a gospel hobby, accusing them of looking beyond the mark.

Here is the verse in question:

“But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:14)

Elder Cook spoke about this subject. He said, “Today there is a tendency among some of us to ‘look beyond the mark’ rather than to maintain a testimony of gospel basics. We do this when we substitute the philosophies of men for gospel truths, engage in gospel extremism, seek heroic gestures at the expense of daily consecration, or elevate rules over doctrine. Avoiding these behaviors will help us avoid the theological blindness and stumbling that Jacob described.”

Most Apostles Understand the Doctrine

Elder Cook got it … sort of. I like the phrase “maintain a testimony of gospel basics,” but I’m fairly certain he would not discount these words from Joseph when he said, “I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (TPJS, p 299)

Roy Doxy, when he was dean emeritus of Religious Instruction at Brigham Young University taught this important doctrine in the July 1976 Ensign. This one article alone answered so many questions for me back when I preparing for my mission. I have treasured it and wondered why we have not had more articles, talks or lessons like this in our correlated instructional material.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/07/accepted-of-the-lord-the-doctrine-of-making-your-calling-and-election-sure?lang=eng

The reason I think Elder Cook understands this doctrine is because he clearly points out the mark is Christ. It is only the gospel of Christ, the doctrine of Christ that saves. Elder Cook concluded, “One of the great challenges of this life is to accept Christ for who He is: the resurrected Savior of the world, our Redeemer, our Lord and Master, our Advocate with the Father.

“When He is the foundation for all that we do and are, we avoid the theological blindness that results from looking beyond the mark, and we reap the glorious blessings He has promised us. ‘Come unto me, ye blessed,’ He tells those who follow Him; ‘there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father’ (Enos 1:27).”

Source: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2003/03/looking-beyond-the-mark?lang=eng

The Doctrine Has Been Watered Down

Elder Dean Larson spoke on the same subject back in 1987. He used a sports analogy to describe the importance of staying within the circle, which he called the mark. Although He noted the importance of faith in the redeeming role of the Messiah, he said the mark was wisdom and prudence, equating it to a circle of fundamental gospel truths, providing a basis for that faith. I wish he had been as plain as Elder Cook in stating Christ is the mark to whom we should look.

Source: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1987/10/looking-beyond-the-mark?lang=eng

For a good, although lengthy analysis of the phrase, Paul Y. Hoskisson, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, published an essay in 2007 that includes the classic symbolic themes and metaphors of gospel hobbies, sin, pride, wealth, and strengths that become weakness (see Elder Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” BYU, June 1992). In other words, anything that distracts from the target, or the mark of Christ, is to be avoided.

Source: http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/selected-articles/looking-beyond-mark

From Matthew Faulconer’s blog, “Feast Upon the Word,” we read:

“…looking beyond Christ could mean a number of things. It could imply that one is looking to be saved by actions, ordinances, or even associations with other people, rather than looking to the atonement of Jesus Christ for salvation. One reason it may be easy to look beyond the mark in this sense is that it is easier to gain an assurance of our salvation through a tangible feeling or action rather than a quiet voice or a small feeling that takes time to understand.”

Source: http://feastupontheword.org/Jacob_4:1-18

Some Doctrines Take More Study and Thought

Elder Oaks offered the following in a BYU Idaho devotional 7 Nov 2006:

“My second subject of wisdom concerns looking beyond the mark. In the Book of Mormon the Prophet Jacob described a people who ‘despised the words of plainness, . . . and sought for things . . . they could not understand’ (Jacob 4:14).  He said this caused them to fall because when persons are ‘looking beyond the mark,’ God takes away plainness and gives them what they sought–things they cannot understand.

“We see this today. For example, some persons write General Authorities asking when we will be returning to Missouri or how we should plan to build up the New Jerusalem.  Others want to know details about the Celestial Kingdom, such as the position of a person who lives a good life but never ever marries.

“I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. What I do know is that persons worrying about such things are probably neglecting to seek a firmer understanding and a better practice of the basic principles of the gospel that have been given to them with words of plainness by the scriptures and by the servants of the Lord

“If we neglect the words of plainness and look beyond the mark, we are starting down a path that often leads to a loss of commitment and sometimes to a loss of faith. There is enough difficulty in following the words of plainness, without reaching out for things we have not been given and probably cannot understand.”

Source: http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2006_11_07_Oaks.htm

Seeking the Second Comforter IS the Mark

I think that’s enough detail from words of prophets, apostles, general authorities and scriptural commentary to make a point. I won’t get into the other common definition of the mark, as found in Ezekiel 9:4-6. It is the mark or anointing placed in the forehead of suffering saints who sigh and cry for the sins of those in their cities. The mark is placed there by their attending angels.

The point is this: Seeking to enter into the presence of the Lord in this mortal life is NOT looking beyond the mark. It is NOT a gospel hobby. It is NOT gospel extremism. Seeking to receive the Second Comforter is NOT something of which we need to repent. It is something we need to do. It is not spiritual blindness. It is having one’s eyes opened. The Lord is not saddened by our efforts in this area, even when they are misunderstood and result in being disciplined by others.

I suspect when scriptures or doctrines are understood differently by individuals, the tendency is to say the other person is suffering from “blindness [that] came from looking beyond the mark.” It’s a polite way of throwing one’s hands up in the air, saying, “You don’t get it, do you? Why can’t you see it the same way I do? Oh, I get it. You’re blinded. You refuse to see the truth.” With such thinking, they go on their way, feeling secure and justified in their own conclusions.

Discussion versus Contention

That’s a sad way of relating to others. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to try to understand the other’s point of view? I confess I have been guilty of impatience in relating to others, both in person and here on my blog. For that I apologize. I love discussion, but abhor contention. I am a witness that contention causes the spirit to withdraw. So does taking offense. I’m preaching to myself here.

Most of my readers know I have withdrawn my membership from the LDS Church. I’ve tried to share my reasons why. I’ve had my share of public and private dialogs and conversations about my decision. Most have tried to be understanding and kind. I appreciate that. I don’t endorse my path for anyone unless God tells you. I received that confirmation as the best for my situation.

If I come to regret my decision, feel I’ve made a mistake and desire to be readmitted by baptism to the LDS Church, I must receive approval of a representative of the First Presidency, this even though I was not placed under formal probation before I resigned. This is understandable. In my blog, I have been clear I felt the Lord sent a servant with a message from outside the hierarchy.

Concluding Thoughts Going Forward

I seek to come unto Christ. I made a decision to be baptized in a manner that is slightly different from the way it is done in the LDS Church today. I also decided to participate in the sacrament in a slightly different manner from the way it is administered in the LDS Church today. Finally, I practice an order of prayer learned in a sacred place that I feel brings more power into my life.

I like to think I have kept all the good things I had in the LDS Church. I have disagreements with the manner in which the church is trying to control those who blog as a way of learning things. I am certain of the path I have chosen. Much like Brigham Young, I studied it for years before I acted. I take that back. I acted the first night I read the message. I prayed and asked God about it.

I recognize what I have done is unusual, different, unorthodox and certainly not the path that is accepted by the LDS Church. Thus, I resigned, knowing I would eventually be excommunicated. Why? Because I will not, I cannot deny what I have learned through study and prayer. Many claim I have been deceived. Perhaps. We shall see. I thank you for your prayers in my behalf.

 

77 Truths – A Book Review


77TruthsI promised my friend Bret I would provide a review of his book, 77 Truths. I usually wait until I finish a book before I write an analysis. In this case, I simply can’t wait. It’s too good. I thought I would read at least the first 21 Truths before writing anything. He recommended that would be a natural stopping point, but I decided after the first three Truths I just had to share something.

Bret’s book is filled with quotes and scriptures. Original content is actually quite sparse, but Bret didn’t need to add much to the collection he provided. If he had, his book would have been much larger than 460 pages. I don’t see how he can publish this for $17.95 and still make a profit, but maybe that’s not his intent. The book is on sale for about $15 at Amazon today, an amazing deal.

For Personal or Group Study

The format of the book is large – 8.5 x 11 – and the layout is unusual in that the scriptures and quotes are center-justified. Thus, most of the book has that appearance. What Bret has done is collect, arrange and comment on his selections in order to make a point or establish one of the truths presented in each chapter. His comments are full-justified, so they’re easy to distinguish.

So why is this book better than Especially for Mormons, which is also a collection of quotes, stories and poems? It’s simple. Bret is not focusing on emotional, feel-good, or inspirational stories. He is presenting truth and backing it up with evidence. Each truth is three to five pages, making it ideal for teaching and discussing in a small group setting lasting an hour or two.

There are seven chapters:

  1. Father’s Eternal Life
  2. The Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ
  3. Apostasy by Omission
  4. Cleansing America and the Church
  5. The Fall of Babylon
  6. Gathering the Remnant
  7. Latter Day Zion

I hope to write more about the other chapters in a later post, but for today, I will share a few thoughts about the first chapter. In fact, I’m going to do something unusual. I’m going to let Bret’s words speak for his book. Omitting all the quotes and scriptures, I’ll share what Bret has written only about the third truth, and if the post isn’t too long, I’ll add a few words at the end.

——— Beginning of Material from Bret ————

Truth #3 – Those seeking salvation in this life and exaltation in the worlds to come must have an eye single to the glory of God. Centering our faith on a “Lesser God” is not spiritually sufficient.

Note to Reader: The purpose of this section is not to criticize the brethren or speak evil of the Lord’s anointed. There is a difference between being intentionally negative about the church versus providing the light needed to obtain a proper hierarchy of focus and worship.

[Quote from Neal Maxwell removed] The gospel of Jesus Christ invites us to have an “eye single to the Glory of God” (D&C 4:5). Nowhere in scripture are we instructed to worship the prophet, church, or family, and yet much of today’s Mormon conversation repeatedly focuses on these secondary aspects of the gospel.

[Quote from President Kimball removed] It is an individual and collective choice whether “our god” will be the telestial toys of Babylon, the terrestrial treats of the church, or the Celestial Gods of this Universe.

Growing believers may initially place their faith in the church and its prophet. This trend is summarized as emotional stories and vain repetitions. Heartfelt proclamations such as “I know the church is true,” “We are led by a living prophet,” and “I love my family” are commendable beliefs. Unfortunately, when these supportive elements become the core of our testimony, we may have looked beyond the mark of Christ (Jacob 4:14)

[Quote from Joseph Smith removed] In Mormonism today, emphasis on prophet, church and family frequently overshadows focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Savior is mentioned, it is often implied that He is supportive of “the church” instead of the other way around!

A Jealous God

[Exodus 20:3-5 omitted] Being a “jealous God” means the Almighty wants our problems, praise, devotion, focus, worship, affection, and sins. Thus, a significant difference exists between knowing Jesus Christ as Savior, Redeemer, and friend and having a testimony based on “following the prophet.”

Who is your God?

[Quote from President Benson removed] The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that remaining dependent on other human beings – even if they are true prophets, correlates with telestial glory (D&C 76:99-101). Those who place their trust primarily in church leaders and fail to demonstrate a valiant testimony for Jesus Christ, do not qualify for celestial glory.

The Glory of Men

[D&C 76:98-102 omitted] Under Father’s tutoring hand disciples grow from emphasizing other men to worshipping God the Father personally without apology. This essential shift occurs through sacrifice and adversity, for it is when our hearts have been shredded and torn asunder that we finally stop making excuses and reach out to the only being who can truly save us.

In the Mirror

[Quote from Jeff Ostler omitted] To assist us in surrendering our entire souls unto Christ, endowed members are invited to consecrate themselves, time, talents, and all that they possess to the building up of the kingdom of God on earth. To fulfill this covenant requires that we honor the true Bridegroom and end our “affair” with any of the “lesser gods.”

Father First

[Story omitted about visit from General Authority] Gratefully, our Father did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). Because of His divine patience and endless love Father stays with His children until they are ready to grow beyond mortal distraction and worship Him as the only living and true God! (D&C 20:19). The result of this process is a proper hierarchy of worship.

Ye shall be my people, and I will be your God (Jeremiah 30:22)

Another type of “false-god” involves trusting in our own “arm of flesh.” With so much focus on goals, personal performance, and “hastening the work,” is it possible our obsession with doing good works actually represents a subtle form of self-worship? Does being active in the program of the church and answering a few temple recommend questions really make us worthy? [Quote omitted from Jeff Ostler]

Under the chastening hand of our Father, a mighty and disturbing day arrives wherein you realize that what “you want,” your passions, desires, and vain ambitions, and all that you have sought to do with “your life,” is a form of idolatry. During this disturbing and freeing moment, the growing disciple realizes that he or she has been worshiping self over God. This awakening can result in a needed “coup,” which involves our personal spirit again becoming dominant over the natural man. It is then that individual enters into God’s sacred errand.

In relation to this process, consider Joseph Smith’s observation … “all the religious world is boasting of righteousness; it is the doctrine of the devil to hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness.” His warning requires us to ask, have we become too prideful about being active in the Lord’s church?

Saving Ourselves?

[Quote omitted from Jeff Ostler] To imagine ourselves independently “worthy” is an illusion of the ego. The shadow within loves to focus on self and proclaim, “Now is the day of my power!” When this occurs, our imagined “righteousness” delays us from receiving the only one who can really save us. Author M. Catherine Thomas provides an excellent example of growing from a “self-salvation” mindset to a place where we can be transformed by Christ. [Quote omitted]

Just Come

In choosing God and His gospel above all else, much of the world becomes superficial and meaningless. The previous glitter of Babylon fades and we discover, “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalms 118:8). With consistent effort, every believer can come to that glorious day when he or she makes an irrefutable stand for Christ, and with broken heart and bleeding knees, proclaims, “The Kingdom of God or Nothing” (John Taylor).

——– End of Material from Bret ———

I see my friend Kathryn has purchased the book, written a short, five-star review and posted it on Amazon. I hope more people will do the same. The book deserves a grassroots effort to bring it to the attention of thoughtful readers. I will post my review there as well as on Goodreads. Having Bret visit my home and talk about the process of writing the book helped tremendously to understand.

The source for each of the 802 quotes is listed in the Bibliography at the end of the book. You will recognize many if not most of the 100 names of individuals he quoted. I was surprised to find my own name acknowledged, along with several of my friends. It makes me want to take the time to finish the book even sooner. I wonder if something I wrote is included in the book.

Proper Hierarchy of Worship

I stopped after truth #3 in my reading and included it above because I was so impressed with what was shared. It loses a little something without the quotes, but it gives you a flavor for the boldness with which Bret states each truth. I can tell you from personal experience, as I’m sure many of you can, Bret is right on that Mormonism today puts the church ahead of the Savior.

Those steeped in LDS culture are shocked if anyone suggests they are following a man, even if he be a prophet. Isn’t that the most important thing? Well did Denver Snuffer nail it when he wrote there is but one doctrine left in the LDS Church – follow the prophet. That seems to be mantra to solve every problem, answer every question. Wrong – so wrong. We are to follow the Savior.

Visit the Website: 77Truths.com

One last thing: Visit Bret’s website. As of this moment, there are unfinished sections. I look forward to seeing his blog get started as well as work on the dictionary / glossary I see planned. Bret has put a tremendous amount of thought, effort and time into this work. He told me he finished the majority of the book a couple of years ago but the Lord asked him to wait until now to publish it.

I wonder why.

Don’t Blame Me, I Just Report the News


ThisIsNotThePlaceEarlier this month, a Facebook event was created entitled, “This is not the place.” It is subtitled, “Mass resignation from the LDS Church,” and is to protest Kate’s excommunication. The event is scheduled to be held at City Creek Park on 24 July 2014 in Salt Lake City, which is Pioneer Day, a holiday in the state of Utah. I’m sure it will be well attended, at least by the news media.

Mass Resignations From the LDS Church

A similar event was held sometime after the Proposition 8 fallout. I knew some of the people who resigned at that time. I have kept in touch with many of them. They are still my friends on Facebook. They seem happy for the most part, but of course, I only know most of them from interactions on my blog over the years. I also have some friends who are resigning on July 24th.

We Are Losing Some of the Best and Brightest

From what I see, these are young people – well, young to me. I am an old guy, although not nearly as wise and experienced as those who lead this church. These young people seem smart. In fact, in my interactions with them, I know they are. They are, for the most part, college grads with good jobs, well-educated, many being returned missionaries, many married in the temple.

A Serious Step to Get Your Message Across

Why, we must ask ourselves, are these young people leaving the church? According to some estimates I have read, they hope to have thousands participate in the mass resignation. They are also encouraging those who are dissatisfied or disaffected by the disciplinary actions against Kate and John and Rock to ask their own priesthood leaders to hold a disciplinary council.

Understanding Why People Leave the Church

I’m just a blogger so don’t get upset with me for reporting the news. It’s not a secret. But I would like to point out another site created by John Dehlin several years ago specifically to help young people stay in the church, in spite of their feelings about being lied to about church history or about the discriminatory practices against blacks and women or other concerns they may have.

Consider the Contributions of John Dehlin

I have long been a fan or follower of John Dehlin’s work. I believe he has done more good to help those who are disaffected reconsider their desires to leave the church. He is an advocate for the LDS LGBT community and outspoken about marriage equality. I’m not saying I agree with his work as an activist but I do agree with his work to promote tolerance, acceptance and love.

You May Learn Some Things New at StayLDS

If you haven’t been to StayLDS lately, I encourage you to visit the site and view the presentation originally created by John. There is other good material on the site to help foster understanding about why people leave the LDS church. I especially enjoyed viewing the “Top Five Myths Why Committed Mormons Leave the LDS Church.” It may be an eye opener if you haven’t seen it.

Imagine Being Asked to Resign From the Church

John has been asked to resign from the church. He later reported he will be meeting with his Stake President in the next week or so. I met with my Bishop and Stake President earlier this week and am pleased to report we are working things out. I have a new appreciation from my dear bishop of just how my posts have affected some people I love and don’t want to hurt.

For the Record From Daymon Smith

In the spirit of Daymon Smith’s “For the record” posted Thursday, I would like to post my own official statement of disclaimers, specifically for those who want to know what my intentions are and why I write as I do. I record this late at night, in St George, on my way to a family reunion this weekend, after driving all day, so it may be a little incoherent, but I want to get it posted.

Question and Answer with Latter-day Commentary

Q. Do you feel you have changed your style or tone over the years?

A. I didn’t think so until a long-time reader pointed out some differences in the way I answered some questions put to me by a reader. I was much more church-centric back when I started.

Q. Can you explain what you mean by “church-centric?”

A. I started blogging in 2007. I specifically wanted to provide standard answers that I could use in answering all the common questions we were and still are getting on the Internet.

Q. Like what?

A. Plural Marriage, Blacks and the Priesthood, Mormons and Masonry, The peep-stone in the hat, Multiple versions of the First Vision, Book of Abraham, Adam-God, Mountain Meadows, Mark Hoffman forgeries, Elder McConkie’s treatment of George Pace, President Benson and Alzheimer’s disease, Kinderhook Plates, DNA evidence of American Indians, and on and on.

Q. So why do you call these “church-centric” issue and answers?

A. I tried to make my responses correlate as close as possible with what I had been taught as a missionary, what I had read in the correlated church handbooks and CES material when I was a seminary teacher and with the answers I found on official church websites.

Q. And now?

A. I am more focused on coming unto Christ.

Q. What do you mean?

A. I guess I’m not so concerned about all the historical issues the church has had. Most people who have studied them have concluded the church did not record them accurately, and in many cases, changed the record to make it look better. The church has acknowledged this and is doing something about it by publishing original documents from the very early days of the church.

Q. So you no longer focus on answering historical questions.

A. That’s correct. A few years ago I read a book that changed my life.

Q. You’re referring to Denver Snuffer’s “Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil.”

A. No, actually, I’m referring to his 2011 book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift.”

Q. You do know that’s the book for which he was excommunicated last year?

A. Of course. But still, it changed my life when I read it.

Q. How so?

A. I could not put it down. I picked it up to give it a quick perusal just before I went to bed one night to see what it was all about. A friend had asked me about it so I bought it and thought I would write a few words about it on my blog.

Q. And…

A. I stayed up all night reading it. It was a spiritual experience for me.

Q. What do you mean?

A. I mean, I had multiple sacred “ah-ha” moments of enlightenment as I was reading, and when I finished, I knelt down and asked the Lord to let me know what He thought about the book.

Q. And He told you?

A. In no uncertain terms.

Q. What did He say?

A. He said I didn’t need to continue my blogging efforts to answer everybody’s objections to the historical difficulties they were having with our church.

Q. Why is that?

A. Because Denver Snuffer had answered them perfectly.

Q. You do know, of course, there are many people who disagree with his conclusions?

A. Of course. But that means nothing when you get an answer from the Lord.

Q. Let’s move on to something else. You said you are more focused on coming unto Christ.

A. Yes.

Q. Can you elaborate?

A. I went back and read all of Denver’s books, including the other one you mentioned.

Q. “Conversing With The Lord Through the Veil?”

A. Yes. I decided the most important thing I could do with the rest of my life would be to live in such a way that I am prepared to receive a visit from the Lord in this life.

Q. And you believe that is possible?

A. Not only do I believe it, but the Lord has promised it in multiple places in the scriptures.

Q. Now, be honest. How many people do you know who claimed to have seen the Lord?

A. Less than a half dozen.

Q. And you believe them?

A. Why should I doubt?

Q. Because when you meet the Lord, you’re not supposed to talk about it.

A. That’s a myth, generated by those who can’t explain why it isn’t happening to more people.

Q. Let’s wrap this up. What are you trying to accomplish with your blog these days?

A. Let me do two things. Let me first state unequivocally what I’m not trying to do and then I’ll answer your question to the best of my ability.

Q. Please. Go ahead.

A. First of all, I am not trying to encourage anyone to leave this church. In fact, I am trying to do the opposite. Stay. We need you. We need your strength. We need your talents and abilities. We need your service, your help, your testimonies and your love of the Savior to share with us.

Next, let’s be clear. I am not the cause of anyone deciding to leave this church. Just because I report on events of the day or I write a book review about a controversial book, it is up to the individual to decide how they will take the news or if they like my opinion of the book.

And finally, I want to make sure everyone who reads this knows I have no doubts that God is our Heavenly Father, that He lives and loves us and answers our prayers. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior, our Lord and Redeemer. He is calling out to each of us to repent and come unto Him. I know Joseph Smith was called of God to translate the Book of Mormon.

He did this through the gift and power of God. It is scripture and we need to spend more time studying it so we can understand God’s will for us in these last days. I know the Lord established His church through Joseph Smith and restored priesthood authority and keys of the kingdom. I sustain the leaders of this church as prophets, seers and revelators and pray for their success.

Q. Thank you. And the last question: What are you trying to accomplish with your blog these days?

A. I am on a journey, a spiritual journey. I have questions I am trying to answer. I am sharing my journey with those who are interested. Sometimes the stuff I write may be mundane and boring. But it is my hope and prayer that something I write can help someone else who has asked the same question and is on the same journey, believing that D&C 93:1 can be fulfilled in mortality.

Q. And that concludes our interview with Latter-day Commentary by blogger Tim Malone since it’s now one o’clock in the morning. We hope to have future interviews and delve deeper into some of the subjects you raised, especially your contention that the scriptures about the Lord coming to visit men and women in this life are meant to be literally fulfilled in a physical way.

A. Thank you. God bless and good night.

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.

Max Skousen Excommunicated Twice


MaxSkousen2Please don’t take offense at the title. It is sensational on purpose but I think factual. Read on to see why. Note: I changed the title from the original because so many people wrote to say they found it offensive. It was not my intention to offend. The original title was: “The LDS Church Excommunicates those who Know Christ” The next week Denver Snuffer was summoned to a disciplinary counsel and was eventually excommunicated. He was one who wrote a book about the Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil.”

Some Controversial Writers

I have been reading Max Skousen. You know, the Max Skousen who was excommunicated twice for writing about Christ. It made me think about Mel Fish, my friend from Cedar City who was excommunicated for writing about Christ. As I pondered further, I thought of my LTM branch president, George Pace, who was released as a Stake President for writing about Christ, Finally, I thought of Denver Snuffer, who is under church investigation for his recent books on the Savior.

Remove the Condemnation

What is going on in our church? Why are we forcing men out who want to bring us to Christ? I have read the works of these men and can say without reservation that each of them have been sincere and have gone to great lengths in their labors to teach us how we can come unto Christ. It is not an easy thing to write a book, let alone several of them as some have done, in their efforts to help us remove the condemnation we are under for esteeming lightly the Book of Mormon.

Church Teaches Come Unto Christ

This concerns me. On the one hand, I have been taught all my life from General Authorities, Bishops, Stake Presidents, Gospel Doctrine Teachers, and just about anyone who teaches in this church that if we will but come to know, love, follow and emulate Christ, we will be blessed, we will be happy, and we will be able to help the rest of the world by our example. I have tried to live this principle all my life. My number one goal is to come unto Christ. Always has been.

We Need to Know The Savior

Something is wrong here, or so it seems to me. Have I simply chosen a few poor examples in my list above? These are men whose writings have affected me deeply. I have met and interviewed some, and have prayed about each of them and their writings. Now, to be sure, I am also affected by the words of the men we sustain in this church as prophets, seers and revelators, sometimes very deeply, especially when they teach of the Savior. Aren’t we all supposed to know Christ?

Looking Beyond the Mark

I think the problem is that these men I mentioned above, and you can read about each of them in the links I have provided as I have written about them previously, have gone beyond what the Brethren felt comfortable in letting them share. Does that sound strange? It does to me. It seems to smack of controlling or restraining in some way, something I find distasteful. It makes me ask, of what are they afraid? What do they fear these men have taught or are trying to teach us?

A Blessing Hitherto Unknown

Take Max Skousen for example. He passed away in 2002, but you can read his books on the blog dedicated to his works, with links to Scribed, where they are stored. I have only read a few of his essays and the first few chapters of Looking Beyond the Mark, the first in his series of books, A Blessing Hitherto Unknown. In it he describes how he was inspired by President Benson who invited us to remove the condemnation of pride and unbelief from ignoring the Book of Mormon.

Disciplined for Doctrinal Writings

Max simply expounded that. I read no further than a few pages before I had to know about the man and what motivated him. That’s when I discovered he had been excommunicated twice for writing his books. The pattern became obvious. Each time the Lord has led me to read the works of someone who teaches about the Savior in greater depth than what we find in our curriculum, I discover they have been disciplined in some way or form. Thus I write this post, wondering why.

Tree of Life not Tree of Knowledge

From what I have been able to discover so far, Max teaches us about the differences between the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. Oh, how quickly I was able to relate. I have been seeking new and revelatory experiences every day at the tree of knowledge, when all along, I should have been pursuing my way to the tree of life, clinging to the iron rod until I fell down at the presence of the tree to partake of the fruit, which the Lord promises we can taste and even have in this life.

Investment in Denver Snuffer Books

I have only just started reading Max’s works. I am so pleased that someone has gone to great trouble to place them on the Internet where I can find and read them for free. I do not have to buy them like I did when I wanted to read what Denver Snuffer has written. I don’t mind. I suppose I have invested well over $200 in Denver’s books, but I wanted to have them in my library. Some I have read multiple times, and others I am still reading, like Removing the Condemnation.

I Remember a Great Teacher George Pace

I read George Pace’s book many, many years ago, went to many of his lectures, and received personal counsel from him just as I was starting my mission. I’ll always remember his focus on the Savior, and how he KNEW we could have a personal, sacred, and sustaining relationship with him that would give us strength throughout our lives. I was devastated when I later read what happened to him and his family all because he dared teach what he taught about Christ.

Learn About Mel and Gwena Fish

I’ve written previously how I was led to meet with Mel Fish, a man who I am convinced knows the Savior better than anyone I have ever met. If someone were to ask me if I knew anyone who had their calling and election made sure, Mel and Gwena Fish would be the first couple to come to mind. The sprit witnessed to my soul how much the Lord loved Mel and Gwena and just how much he appreciated what they were doing to help people cast off the influence of the adversary.

Conquering Spiritual Evil

By the way, two other other individuals come to mind who have done so much to help people free themselves from the adversary and were persecuted by their church leaders for doing so. One is Doug Mendenhall, who wrote Conquering Spiritual Evil, and my friend Jan Graf who was somewhat of a mentor to me in first learning about communicating with our subconscious mind, although I learned his techniques second-hand and modified through one of his students.

Denver Snuffer Lecture Series

Anyone who has read my blog for the last year and half knows how I was introduced to Denver Snuffer and his writings, as well as the subsequent change in my life as a result of what I learned, and am still learning, from his books. I still hope to make it to one of his seminars in Utah next year. I’m certain I won’t be able to go to his Idaho or Northern Utah lectures anytime this year. I have some very specific questions I want to ask Denver why some teach evil spirits can repent.

Men Persecuted for Publishing Truth

The point of this post is this, and it’s more of a question for those who are my regular readers, if I have any left after being dropped by most LDS blog aggregators for being too controversial. I have felt led to read the works of these men I have mentioned. Their books have thrilled me. They have fed my soul. Reading them have been spiritual experiences, akin to reading scripture. Why is it that these men are persecuted by our church when their writings ring so true with me?

Go Where the Spirit Leads

I have to ask: Am I out of touch? Am I out of line with the General Authorities? Are we or are we not taught by our leaders to seek after Christ, to learn of Him, to come to know him and to emulate Him? Why do I feel that the Lord has lead me to the writings of these brethren I have mentioned in this blog? Is it because the writings of these men represent the meat of the gospel? Is what they write too much, too controversial for the general membership of the church today?

Just Your Basic Everyday Mormon

I don’t feel I’m anybody special. I’ve always said, “I’m just a regular member of the church.” I have no special influence. I am a lowly assistant stake clerk. I like to stay behind the scenes. I gladly accept speaking or teaching in church when asked but I ALWAYS teach ONLY what is in the approved curriculum. I do not deviate unless the spirit directs. I like to think I serve faithfully. I love this church. I love my brethren and sisters. I am your basic everyday common Mormon.

An Effort to Control Publishing

I’ll leave it at that. Some will respond that I have been and am being misled. It happens almost every time I write about Denver Snuffer. My counter is always, “That’s not what the spirit has been whispering to my soul.” Is it at all possible that there is some sort of cover-up or rather an attempt to control, to constrain and to tightly correlate what private members write and publish? If so, how can they expect to do that in today’s Internet world? We can publish anything today.

My Faith Discovery Journey

I’ve been blogging and working on an LDS-themed book for years. My wife just beat me to the punch and published her first book. I’ve watched her journey go in an entirely different direction than where she thought she wanted to go. I can say the same thing for me. I started out wanting to ONLY write faith-promoting, toe-the-line LDS explanations that mirrored the official line of reasoning for every controversial and questionable doctrine or practice. I feel like John Dehlin.

Finding Spiritual Fulfillment

John is much smarter and much more prominent in the LDS blogging world than I am but where I am today is not at all where I expected to be six years ago when I started thinking about adding my voice to the LDS blogging community. I don’t question the right of the leaders of our church to lead. I sustain them. I pray for them. I love them. But for the first time in my life, I’ve come to a point where I have to say, I’m not getting the spiritual food that fulfills my soul in my church.

Controversy Always Gets Attention

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not leaving. Where would I go? I also fully recognize feeding my soul is my own responsibility. That’s why I seek out and feel led to the writings of the men I mention at the top of this post. I just can’t figure out why these same men, whose writings I find so very rewarding and fulfilling, can be at odds with those who lead our church today. Is it a made-up controversy? Everyone knows strong opinions and debate generate interest. Maybe that’s it.

General Membership Don’t Read

Maybe the brethren are disciplining and excommunicating these men in order to bring attention to their works, so the members will sit up, take notice and make some effort to find out what all the hullabaloo is all about. Yeah, that’s it, isn’t it? I’m kidding. I really doubt that. But if you can tell me why I am led to find such spiritual satisfaction from the writings of these men who are or have been disciplined for what they have written, I would greatly appreciate you clueing me in.

Looking for Informed Opinions

That is, of course, if you know what you’re talking about, have read some of their works and can advise me with an educated opinion. I dislike reading some of the comments that start out, “I’ve never read a thing Denver Snuffer has written, but I can tell you if you don’t stop reading what he has published, you’re going to lose your church membership and then you’ll be sorry.” But I have a much higher opinion of my readers than that. Send me a private email if you prefer.

You can Reach me Privately

And, as always, thanks for reading my blog. I hope what I share is helpful and gets us thinking. I can be reached privately at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com if you prefer, but why not share your insights with others in the comments? I always respond to private emails, even if it sometimes takes me a few weeks. I appreciate the hundreds of readers who have reached out to me privately for help or discussion. I welcome all, public or private and ask only for thoughtful discourse. God bless.

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