Updated Statement of Principles


Updated Statement of Principles Announcement

This Updated Statement of Principles Announcement includes additional details of the online vote and some minor but important wording changes from last week’s announcement.

fall-2018-conferenceWe remind you that a sustaining vote to adopt the Lot’s Statement of Principles at the Layton conference will be conducted after the final talk on Sunday, September 30th. An online vote is open to covenant holders during the 24 hours prior to the conference vote. Online voters will need to visit scripturesproject.blogspot.com for the link to the vote, once the vote goes active Saturday, September 29th at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT). Online voting will end on Sunday September 30th at 11:00 a.m. MDT.

We ask that you vote online OR at the conference but not both. We are calling this a sustaining vote because it IS NOT A VOTE TO DETERMINE THE PREFERRED DOCUMENT. That was done at the conference in Phoenix. See below.

Background

spring-2018-conferenceIn Phoenix the Lot’s Document received the most votes as the conference attendee’s preferred Statement of Principles. (http://scripturesproject.blogspot.com/p/guide-and-standard-dpcs.html)

In part two of the voting process in Phoenix, many of those who preferred another Statement of Principles set aside their preference and agreed to accept the majority’s choice. 90-95% of the conference agreed to accept the Lot’s document. The third and last part of the vote was cancelled in Phoenix, out of a desire to avoid contention and we respect the right of those that made that decision.

The Layton conference is the first opportunity to complete the sustaining vote that was interrupted then. The time slot for the vote in Layton will immediately follow the last talk of the conference on Sunday, September 30th.

Purpose

Prior to voting, it is important to understand what you are voting on. Please read this brief summary carefully.

The purpose of the vote in Layton is to determine whether covenant holders are willing to adopt the Lot’s Statement of Principles as a guide and standard to be printed in our scriptures. This is not an attempt to determine WHICH document to adopt; that voting was done in Phoenix, and the Lot’s document received 90-95% acceptance.

Procedure

A vote to adopt would include those who favor the Lot’s Statement of Principles AND those who have another preference but are willing to join with the majority’s choice in order to complete the Lord’s assignment. Voting to adopt does not mean you agree with the Statement of Principles in every particular or feel that the document or process is without flaw.

A vote against adoption is appropriate for those who cannot accept the Lot’s Statement of Principles or the vote by which it was chosen and do not wish to see it added to our scriptures.

We ask your help in disseminating this announcement to any who may wish to participate.

Gordon Platt
McKay
And others

For more information please see these links:

Lots Statement of Principles: http://69.92.157.110:5000/sharing/rrToWd6bU
Phoenix Conference Voting: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fSdQsmIkydM
Statement from the seven chosen by lot: http://69.92.157.110:5000/sharing/vU1OYRJkU

— End of Announcement from the Scriptures Committee —

I wish I could adequately express my feelings of the importance of this sustaining vote in order to be prepared for that which the Lord desires to reveal to us next. I have shared previously that I accepted and voted for the Lots Statement of Principles. I believe the assignment to write a Statement of Principles was completed and was acceptable to the Lord. We simply need to sustain or acknowledge this Guide and Standard for our use.

The Lord expressed it thus,”When you have an agreed statement of principles, I require it to also be added as a guide and standard for my people to follow. Remember there are others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them…” Note He doesn’t specifically say the Statement of Principles needs to be added to the Canon of Scripture He already accepted.

If you have accepted the Covenant, I urge you to carefully consider the importance of adding your sustaining vote at the General Conference this next weekend. I intend to do so. I am grateful to the scriptures committee for the work they completed in restoring the scriptures as best we are currently able to do with what has been preserved from the work of Joseph. Let us now move on with the next step in preparing ourselves to be of one heart and one mind that The Lord may teach us more about the temple in Zion.

spring-2019-conference-the-temple

Share this:

The Tradition of General Conference


Continuing the tradition of holding regular General Conferences, a new conference for the Spring of 2019 has been proposed and the website construction has begun. Each General Conference has historical significance and typically, a theme. This one is no different. The theme is “A Hope in Christ: The Temple.” By now, you’ve probably figured out I’m not referring to General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Note, I’m being careful to refer to the Church by the full name as requested by President Nelson. And although I’m not a lawyer, I did some due diligence checking to ensure the phrase “General Conference” is not copyrighted by Intellectual Reserve Inc. It’s not.

Fall 2018 General Conference

I don’t want to take away from the focus on the upcoming Fall 2018 General Conference to be held at the end of this month, September 28th through the 30th, in Layton, Utah. A lot of planning and preparation has gone into this upcoming conference. I invite you to visit that website to get more information about this also historic event. I consider it historic because, as far as I know, other than a few Regional Conferences, this is the first General Conference to be held in the heart of the Mormon Corridor. Yes, there have been General Conferences in Boise Idaho and in Phoenix Arizona, but those are at the top and bottom of the corridor. This one is organized by the combined Wasatch Fellowships and will take place in the Davis Conference Center.

The Covenant of Christ: One Year Later

Someone made a video commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Covenant of Christ Conference held last September (2017) in Boise. I’ve expressed it previously, but I want to share again how grateful I am to have been able to participate in the conference from my own home via the Internet broadcast. I have reviewed many times the covenant I took upon myself on that Sunday over a year ago. The Prayer for the Covenant touched me deeply as did the Answer and Covenant itself. I’ve thought often how I can best keep that covenant. “Do the Work” comes to mind every time I re-read the promised blessings of that covenant. I have felt a distinct change in my heart as I seek to be more Christ-like in my daily interactions with others. I have found the Lord sends people to me with whom I can share His love and help them come unto Christ.

The Tradition Continues

A General Conference is more than a tradition. It is a commandment to “meet in conference … from time to time” for the purpose of conducting business and, more importantly, to edify, instruct and uplift one another as directed by the spirit of the Lord. I have fond memories of attending the Cedaredge Colorado regional conference back in May of 2015. I suppose, for me, it was more of a reunion as I met once again with friends I first met online and then at some of the lectures from the 40 Years in Mormonism Lectures of 2013 and 2014. I had been baptized less than a year earlier and felt it important to resign my membership from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being in California, where there are few who believe as I do, the year after my resignation and baptism was difficult. At the Cedaredge conference, I spent much time in the home of a friend where I was greatly uplifted and edified by the kindness and shared moments of worship in the presence of the Comforter. I hope I can make it back there next year.

Looking Forward With Faith

I remained convinced, through many years of study and personal revelation that Denver is telling the truth and teaching what the Lord wants us to hear in our day. I studied the teachings he shared for many years before I took action by being baptized. On September 21st, four years will have passed since I was baptized. I continue to be amazed at what the Lord is willing to reveal and share with those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Tradition can be a good thing, but it can also stand in the way of moving forward in faith. I will never agree with those who judged me as “looking beyond the mark.” That mark is Christ. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, NOT of Denver Snuffer. Yet, the Lord has made it clear, at least to me, He is conducting His strange work of the Last Days through His Servant. Our work is to study the teachings being shared and to then ask the Lord what He would have us do about what we are learning. I’ve shared it before, but perhaps my story will help:

The Tim Malone Story – a short video answering questions about why I took the course of action I did after a lifetime in the LDS Church (with apologies to President Nelson for not using the full name of the Mormon Church) – oops, I did it again.

The Hidden Conference Talk


President Hinckley's Reads Presindent Benson's Talk

President Hinckley Reads President Benson’s Talk

Ezra Taft Benson’s
Hidden Conference Talk

Beware of Pride stands as one of the most profoundly simple yet spiritually significant prophetic messages of the Restoration. But it also contains a second, hidden message for those with eyes to see, and ears to hear.

Probably very few people of the current generation have ever heard of Ezra Taft Benson’s April 1989 conference address, Beware of Pride, or even know that it exists. After all, that was 26 years ago. By now, the content of that life-changing talk has been probably been correlated out of every course of study in the church.

Log’s post last week, Cry Mightily, reminded me of Beware of Pride, so I went back and read it again.

Like the day in 9th grade when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot, or the day I saw the twin towers collapse into their own footprint, I can still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing in the moments when I heard President Benson give that talk. It felt like something on both sides of the veil had just changed.

There were others like me back then who called out for canonization – we wanted Beware of Pride added to the official body of LDS scripture, feeling it to be as spiritually pivotal to this people as King Benjamin’s message was to the people of his day.

Very few, if any, conference addresses before or since Beware of Pride have quietly cited to so many Book of Mormon prophet writers. Any diligent truth seeker who takes the time to pull up and print out Beware of Pride, adding the complete words of the cited scriptures into the full body of the text, will see emerge the actual conference talk President Benson wanted to present to his people, but which has remained hidden in plain sight for such a time as this.

Back in 1991 my friend Lorin did the original scripture breakout on Beware of Pride, incorporated it into the text of the talk, printed out copies and gave them to people in his circle of influence. Every one of us had easy access to the Book of Mormon, and any of us could have done the same thing he did. But it was Lorin who did the work and gave the gift. Unbeknownst to him, that simple labor of love changed the trajectory of my life. I just realized that I never thanked him, so I do it here. I haven’t seen him for 24 years and don’t know where he is, but I hope he finds this and hears my gratitude.

Last week, when I read Log’s post, I saw it again. Everybody has easy access to the Book of Mormon. Anybody could do what Log did and break out the scriptures into a simple synopsis about crying mightily, and post it on a blog. But the fact is that nobody did it, except Log. He did the work and offered up his labor of love, hoping that somehow, somebody would get the point.

The genius of any brilliant synopsis like Benson’s Beware of Pride, or Log’s Cry Mightily is that you can’t just put it together using a word search and cut and paste function. The scriptures don’t work like that: you have to know your stuff.

It takes years of wholehearted reading, retaining, internalizing and experimenting, and then many tears and many prayers to organize and present the words of the prophets in such a way that the Holy Ghost will then confirm the point of the newly created whole as 100% truth.

And then in Log’s case, it also takes a nearly invisible ego to resist the urge to interpret their words, just get out of the way, and let the prophets speak for themselves.

Log’s post called me out and reminded me to go back and read Beware of Pride again. Unfortunately, I discovered that it still has my name written all over it. I know, the scriptures aren’t supposed to be of any private interpretation, but it sure looks like Beware of Pride was written to me.

That’s the hard thing about Beware of Pride: anybody who thinks it applies to everybody else (but not to themselves) will not set foot in Zion.

The message in Beware of Pride pierces my heart and convicts me of the sin of pride every time I read it.

So here I am back on my knees again, yielding my agency and personal agenda to Christ again, crying mightily again, working out my salvation and progression with fear and trembling, again.

This is all just to say thank you dear brother Log, for your labor of love.

Point taken.

Answers – Because I Keep Getting Asked


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

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

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

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

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

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

All Decisions Have Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

We Can Receive Christ in Mortality

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priesthood Power Not Controlled by Man

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

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

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

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

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

Words of The Living ProphetsRichYoungRuler

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

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

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

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

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

Deceived By False Prophets

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apostasy to Listen to Other Messengers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Millions of People Can’t Be Wrong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JesusTeaching

The Mormon Corporate Empire


It’s funny how the mind works. Like 600 million other people I keep in touch with friends around the world on Facebook. Several of my friends posted a link today to a YouTube video from Alex Boye, the Relief Society Birthday tribute song. Yes, I know it’s steeped in Mormon culture, but I like what Alex is doing with his talent.

One of the comments on the video made reference to Mormon Inc. My mind went back, way back to a flood of memories from my younger days when I was much more interested in the business ventures of the church. At one time I spent several dozen hours conducting first-hand research in the Utah Division of Corporations.

I made copies of all the original articles of incorporation for the Corporation of the President, Corporation of the Presiding Bishop, Deseret Management Corporation, Zion’s Securities, Beneficial Financial Group, Bonneville International, Deseret Book, Deseret News, Hawaii Reserves, Farmland Reserve and on and on and on.

Many Published Resources

I made a master list of all entities I could find that were owned by or associated with the church and then spent literally hundreds of hours researching each one of them. I intended to publish a book on businesses owned by the LDS Church but Heinerman and Shupe beat me to it in 1985 with The Mormon Corporate Empire.

John Gottlieb and Peter Wiley had a chapter on the subject in their 1984 book America’s Saints. That was followed by the Arizona Republic’s series in 1991, “Mormon Inc. Finances and Faith,” Time Magazine’s “Mormons Inc.” in 1997, and a chapter in Mormon America by Richard and Joan Ostling published in 1999.

Of course, another great source for information on church finances is the chapter from D. Michael Quinn’s book, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power published by Signature Books in 1997. I don’t care what you think about Quinn, he did some serious research. The footnotes alone are more than half of his book.

Successful Church Businesses

Let me make it clear. My interest in researching the financial and business interests of the church was not to try to dig up dirt, make accusations or slant things in any kind of an unfavorable light. To the contrary, my intention was to highlight the great successes of the church in creating and maintaining prosperous businesses.

However, I soon learned that I was wasting my time. The majority of people I talked to about my project simply were not interested in LDS Church finances. Despite the fact that most people were surprised when I shared just how extensive the business holdings were, invariably they asked, “So what does all that matter?”

So even though I put that project aside in favor of concentrating on my new family and career, I have always had an interest and sense of pride at how well the church has managed its finances and business endeavors. It’s an amazing success story if you’re curious about that kind of stuff. Every so often it pops up in the news again.

Statement on Church Finances

I like President Hinckley’s statement on church finances that he shared back in 1985 in a priesthood session of General Conference. This was just after I decided that my book project would not produce results. He answered the question, “Is the Church an institution of great wealth, as some claim?” Here is his response:

“The Church does have substantial assets, for which we are grateful. These assets are primarily in buildings in more than eighty nations. They are in ward and stake meeting facilities. They are in schools and seminaries, colleges and institutes. They are in welfare projects. They are in mission homes and missionary training centers. They are in temples, of which we have substantially more than we have ever had in the past, and they are in genealogical facilities. But it should be recognized that all of these are money-consuming assets and not money-producing assets.

“They are expensive to build and maintain. They do not produce financial wealth, but they do help to produce and strengthen Latter-day Saints. They are only a means to an end. They are physical facilities to accommodate the programs of the Church in our great responsibility to teach the gospel to the world, to build faith and activity among the living membership, and to carry forward the compelling mandate of the Lord concerning the redemption of the dead.

A few Income-Producing Properties

“We have a few income-producing business properties, but the return from these would keep the Church going only for a very short time. Tithing is the Lord’s law of finance. There is no other financial law like it. It is a principle given with a promise spoken by the Lord Himself for the blessing of His children. When all is said and done, the only real wealth of the Church is the faith of its people.”

He then went on to address the issue of why the church is involved in commercial ventures of any kind, pointing out that the majority were formed out of necessity many years ago in the Pioneer days of our history. Of course some have grown while others, like banks and hospitals were sold off as being no longer needed.

Communications Businesses

I like the fact that the church has hung onto and strengthened the business ventures that involve publishing and broadcasting. Bonneville International and Deseret Book help to fulfill one of the primary missions of the church, which is to bring people to Jesus Christ through proclaiming the message of the restored gospel.

The church has made an obvious investment in their Internet properties over the years, which I have watched with some trepidation at first, but with growing pride over the years. I am amazed at how well the church has embraced and now uses this technology to communicate both internally and externally to the world at large.

In fact, I would venture to guess that we actually reach more people through our websites than our missionaries talk to each day. Add the thousands of individual efforts to those of the church and you have a wealth of favorable information now available to combat an equal amount of misinformation that can still be found.

The Church is not a Business

The idea that the church is more of a business than a church is laughable but you can still find it as one of the silly things that detractors of our mission continue to raise any place where they can get an audience. If they would bother to take a few moments to do some basic research they would see how ridiculous their claim is.

We will never have a lack of fault-finders, detractors and critics who are certain we are a deluded people. The most vociferous of them are former members who have been hurt in some way and now seek to inflict pain in retribution for their own discomfort. Painting the church as an impersonal corporation serves their needs.

I had invested a lot of time and energy in my research on church businesses and how they had come about. I was feeling disappointed. I had done so much work with nothing to show for it and wondered why. Sitting in that Priesthood session of General Conference so long ago, President Hinckley was speaking directly to me.

Build the Kingdom

He said in conclusion of the matter, “When we are called before the bar of God to give an accounting of our performance, I think it unlikely that any of us will be commended for wearing out our lives in an effort to find some morsel of history, incomplete in its context, to cast doubt on the integrity of this work.

“Rather, I believe we will be examined on what we did to build the kingdom, to bring light and understanding of the eternal truths of the gospel to the eyes and minds of all who are willing to listen, to care for the poor and the needy, and to make of the world a better place as a result of our presence.”

And that is why I just smile now whenever we are referred to as the big Mormon Corporation, with untold wealth being used to wield secret power and influence in America and on the world. I have studied this one out in great detail. Trust me, there is no secret agenda. There is no desire to conquer and control; only to bless.

General Conference and Restored Christianity


I was searching for the press release about General Conference from the church website this morning. General Conference is the semiannual gathering of members and leaders of the LDS church in Salt Lake City. It happens the first weekend of each April and October. I never did find the press release (Update: it was posted latter in the day) but I did find this interesting focus article: “Core Beliefs: Why and how are Mormons different?” It is linked from the main Newsroom page as ‘Restored Christianity”. The lead-in paragraph points out that journalists often ask how Mormonism compares to ‘Traditional Christianity.”

I like the phrase ‘Restored Christianity.’ Having been a member of the Mormon church all my life I am very familiar with the idea of an apostasy and restoration. The use of that phrase may not be new but it is a succinct summary of what I believe. In the same breath I can explain how I am the same and yet how I am different from the rest of the Christian world. I believe in Christ and I believe in a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I like focusing on what I have in common with my friends and associates who are good Christian people. But I also like having something unique to offer in my beliefs.

The article points out several unique distinctions that make it worthwhile reading. Restoration of priesthood authority is listed as the first key point. A comparison of the Trinity and the LDS concept of the Godhead is offered next. Modern prophets, continuing revelation and new scriptures make the list. Yep, very few other Christian churches claim the Book of Mormon as scripture. The Plan of Salvation, Temples and their purpose, a missionary program, a lay ministry and health practice such as the Word of Wisdom round out the list. I highly recommend a reading of the article if you want to know what makes Mormons different.

By the way, the Desert News has a great page on General Conference previews that include an article about the upcoming change in the First Presidency and the announcement of a new apostle. We are looking forward to an enjoyable weekend of spiritual nourishment. Update: Elder Henry B Eyring was sustained as a counselor in the First Presidency and Elder Quentin L Cook was sustained as the new apostle. I have a bit of a personal connection there. My sister was Elder Cook’s secretary at Church headquarters for awhile a few years back. She is currently Elder Perry’s secretary.

%d bloggers like this: