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.

Setting Up The Targets


youre-not-invitedI don’t live in Utah so I’m not used to hearing stories like this: My niece married later in life, and now has two lovely stepdaughters. Someone among the friends of the girls was having a birthday party but these two girls were not invited even though they play with the same group of girls or see them every day in school. The reason for excluding them? “Because you don’t go to church.”

Amazing. Does such judgement really exist among the hearts of the Latter-day Saints in Utah County? You know the girls obviously learned it from their parents. What a tragedy. Today, being Fast Sunday, I experienced a small taste of that exclusive attitude that permeates the LDS Church, even here where I live in Camarillo. Please understand I’m not blaming my local bishop.

When I resigned from the LDS Church last year I pointed out that according to the handbook I could now partake of the sacrament, whereas I had previously been forbidden to do so because the Bishop had restricted me due to apostasy. I made it clear I felt this was anti-Christ when I submitted my resignation papers. It was a key component as to why I had resigned at that time.

The Handbook Takes Precedence

LDSChurchHandbooks1With the change in Bishopric earlier this year I asked the new Bishop how he would feel about me bearing my testimony of the Savior, the prophet Joseph or the Book of Mormon from time to time. He said he would think about it. Today, he made it clear he would not allow it, even though all my life I have witnessed those investigating the Church [non-LDS] stand up and speak freely.

The citation is found on page 141 (2010) of handbook 2 which reads, “After the Sacrament, the Bishopric member conducting the meeting … then invites members to bear … testimonies.” He said he was going to have to stick to the handbook even though I had assured him I would limit my testimony to the Prophet Joseph, the Book of Mormon and my feelings about the Savior.

Again, please don’t assume I’m blaming my bishop for anything. The idea of marriage to the handbook is ingrained in “bishops-in-training” from the time they attend their first priesthood leadership meeting, usually as an Elder’s Quorum secretary or counselor. I never noticed just how powerful this indoctrination really is. It also permeated my service on the High Council.

No Apostates Allowed to Speak

BreadAndWineYet a person who is not a member of the LDS Church is not prohibited from partaking of the sacred ordinances of the Sacrament. On page 173 of handbook 2 (2010) we read, “Although the sacrament is for Church members, the bishopric should not announce that it will be passed to members only, and nothing should be done to prevent nonmembers from partaking of it.”

Isn’t it strange that what should be a decision made under careful consideration because the Savior so commanded, is relegated to one-line dismissal in the Church handbook, while one of the most important things a person can do to engender and encourage faith in others – to bear testimony of Christ – is prohibited out of fear that person might share something controversial?

When I first resigned we were preparing for the ward and stake Christmas programs, to which I have always enjoyed contributing each year. I was asked to not participate last year, which I thought rather odd, especially when we were always asking everyone to invite their friends and neighbors who were not members of the Church, to join us. The restriction was later rescinded.

Obtaining Power Directly From God

PassingHeavenlyGiftWhen I was first introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer by a former bishop who simply asked what I thought about “Passing the Heavenly Gift”, I posted my intention to read the book. One individual offered his assessments of the man with the following, “He doesn’t believe Joseph passed the priesthood keys on to anyone. He says they can only be obtained from God.”

I always thought that curious. This individual obviously felt there was something wrong with the way God controlled His priesthood power among men. If I remember correctly, Joseph taught that ALL prophets after Moses obtained the higher priesthood directly from God Himself. This has been a large portion of my study over the past few years – how power from God is obtained.

I have been asked – politely – by several people just how exactly I now differ in my religious beliefs. I assume they ask this so they can be careful with what kind of questions they ask me. I don’t know or understand why people are afraid of offending me. The one who did this the best was my high priest group leader (at the time). I love and appreciate him for his tactful manner.

Common Ground for Conversation

ProphetJosephSmithIn order to make it easy for those who ask me the question in the future, I’ll refer them to this essay. Maybe that will save them some time or potential embarrassment at having to ask the question. They see me attending church each Sunday – at least Sacrament meeting – as well as choir practice and ward socials. There’s always that slight awkward feeling of “what do I say?”

It reminds me of the three commandments of missionary work – steer the conversation toward religion, don’t talk about politics and for heaven’s sake, never ask a woman if she’s pregnant. Here are a few subjects that we might find mutually interesting: 1) Something new you learned about Joseph Smith. 2) Some new aspect of doctrine that came up in your personal gospel study.

3) If you feel daring, perhaps we could discuss something from the Church Handbook, but, of course, that only works if you serve in a priesthood leadership position. Funny how that works. Members of the LDS Church are judged by what’s in the Church Handbook over and above what is found in the scriptures, yet they do not have access to this super-secret book. Why is that so?

Deep Knowledge of the Atonement

come-let-us-adore-himYou’re always safe to bring up something about the Savior. I love to talk about the Lord. But I don’t like platitudes which we seem to get so much of at church each week. Perhaps you could take a few minutes and read the chapter on the Atonement as found in the book, “Come, Let us Adore Him,” unless you feel it’s against your temple covenants to read anything but the Ensign.

In there you will learn how the Atonement came in waves – each one stronger than the previous. You might also learn the waves came in pairs. The Savior first experienced the feelings, guilt and suffering that those who commit the offense must endure because of their sins. The second wave imposed the suffering of those who are victim of these offenses. Now you know how it worked.

Please don’t be as the Pharisees who asked by what authority this knowledge is proclaimed. All truth contains its own authority. Don’t say, “Why, this isn’t taught by our modern day prophets and apostles, therefore I won’t accept or believe it.” Why is it so hard to believe that God could send another witness of his divinity and his mission in our day just as He did in sending Joseph?

What Do You Think Of Denver’s Latest Book?

preserving-the-restoration1I thought I was done with my blog. For eight years I wrote over 500 posts on the LDS Religion. At first, I did my best to defend the orthodoxy with which I grew up. Sadly, I was taken to task by many who did not like my version of orthodoxy. I began to dig deeper, I prayed with greater intent to understand what about our religion was important and exactly on what I should focus.

I don’t know if my former bishop (the one with whom I served as a counselor) feels he is an answer to my prayers, but there is no doubt in my mind the Lord sent him to me with that one simple question in the temple that day. I’m sure he doesn’t condone my action in resigning from the Church, but I continue to thank the Lord He had the courage to ask me that question that day:

“What do you think about Denver’s latest book?” My response ended the conversation. The Bishop walked away or someone else caught his attention, but that question stayed with me, along with my response, “Denver who?” For weeks the Lord kept bringing the name to my mind. I didn’t even know his last name. I now ask you: “What do you think of Denver’s latest book?”

 

The Lord Requires Us To Take Action


TimBaptism2aCroppedI was blessed to witness three baptisms last week. Although he lives 120 miles from me, it was good to be there with a friend for his baptism. The ordinance was performed by the same man who came from Utah to baptize me. Our community is small and scattered here in California. In fact, for the most part, our communities consist of our own families, or simply a few individuals.

Baptisms are evidence of faith. They demonstrate to the Lord we believe the message delivered by His messenger. The message is the doctrine of Christ without any added requirements. If we have faith in Christ we will be baptized. The requirement for baptism is to repent, to change, to turn to Christ. There is no requirement to believe in any prophet, only that we believe in Christ.

Beware of False Messengers

40-years-in-mormonismI suppose an argument can be made that baptism is evidence we believe the messenger, but it is not a requirement for baptism. Only Christ can redeem our souls from hell. Only Christ can give us new life. Only He can forgive sins, create in us a new heart and take away our sorrows. I am grateful for the messenger, but a true messenger will always point us to Christ for our direction.

We are disciples of Jesus Christ. It is He that directs our lives, tells us what to do, teaches us how to bless and serve our fellow beings. Nobody should come between us and our relationship with the Savior – no man, no messenger, no prophet. Any man who insists you defer to him for any kind of direction is not a true messenger. The Holy Ghost is a true messenger. He leads to Christ.

An Offering ONLY for the Savior

BreadAndWineWhen we preach the gospel, we should preach of Christ. We should help people understand how faith in Christ requires daily effort. He commanded us to remember Him always. We do this in part by participating in the sacrament on a regular basis. The sacrament is action on our part that demonstrates to the Lord we do remember him that we may always have His spirit to be with us.

LastSupperLargeThose two actions – baptism and the sacrament – witness to the Lord our willingness to take His name upon us and keep His commandments. One of His commandments is to pray often. Prayer brings the guidance and direction we need in our lives. It demonstrates submissiveness and our humility before Christ. We offer to Him, and to nobody else, a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

No Church Controls The Holy Ghost

NewScripturesThere is no organization that controls the Holy Ghost. There is no organization that controls priesthood. Priesthood is not dependent upon membership in any church. It is independent of Israel, independent of the LDS Church and independent of any man. It is without father or mother. It has always existed and always will. It comes not by the will of man but of God.

The Holy Ghost can and does speak to everyone. Period. Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jewish, everyone. It doesn’t matter what faith tradition you may claim. The Holy Ghost can and will speak to you. His mission is to testify of truth, no matter the source. No one group or religion can claim to control the Holy Ghost. That is a false and damning concept.

Social Chaos In The Last Days

SchoolOfProphetsIn a recent post I tried to make it clear Joseph Smith was no fallen prophet. I am convinced he fulfilled his mission under difficult and trying circumstances. He repented when he sinned, was chastised by the Lord for mistakes in judgement and taught what the Lord asked Him to teach. He brought forth the Book of Mormon but was unable to fulfil his desire to bring again Zion.

civil-unrestJust before the Lord appeared to the Nephites, society broke down into tribes consisting of family and friends. Immediately before the Lord’s return we should expect something similar. Don’t be surprised by the coming social chaos. The only safety in the last days will be to flee to Zion. But Zion will not be brought forth by an institution. It will be formed by small groups.

Preserving The Restoration

MoroniAndJoseph“It is not God’s purpose to abandon the Restoration. It is His purpose to preserve the Restoration, which at this moment is in terrible jeopardy. The Restoration must be rescued and preserved. If you cannot detect the terrible changes it has undergone and is now undergoing, then you are blind indeed. Shall God forget the work He began through Joseph?

“Shall this now universally downward course be permitted without His hand being bared again? Or should a kind and merciful God take steps to give us a chance to preserve it with His assistance, if we choose to act? There are many willing to act. We only need some indication from God of how to do so. Thankfully, the pattern was given to us through Joseph Smith.

This Action Is Required Of You

baptism-saratoga-springs“Baptism has always been required from the days of Adam until the present. Baptism is always the sign of acceptance of what God is doing in each generation. From the days of Adam, it will continue through the end of the millennium. Whenever there has been believing people upon the earth, they have always been invited to perform the ordinance of baptism as a sign of their faith.

JosephBaptizingOliver“Authority was restored as part of the ministry of Joseph Smith and should be remembered.  In fact, everything accomplished by the Lord through Joseph should be remembered, preserved and respected. We should not abandon or neglect anything that has been given or commanded by heaven. We should not be forgetful. It is a sign of ingratitude when we forget and neglect.

A Community Of Believers

“No corporate church organization, or man claiming authority should hijack your obedience to God. You are accountable to Him. You are accountable only to Him… When Joseph wanted to know his state and standing before God, he asked God. It is to God alone that you must answer and it is to God you must be grateful. Only before Him must you be humble.

waters-of-mormon“…true religion, when it is present on earth, always exists as a community of believers. Community is required … to be willing to mourn with those that mourn … to comfort those that stand in need of comfort… and …to stand as a witness to one another of God at all times and in all places. With community, we can …bear one another’s burdens that they may be light…”

Receive The Holy Ghost

john-the-baptist-confers-priesthoodThe last six paragraphs were edited excerpts from the Phoenix talk. I shared them to demonstrate the need to be baptized anew if we desire to participate in the bringing forth of Zion. Believe in Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and become as a little child. The Holy Ghost will be given, according to the doctrine of Christ, to any who repent and are baptized in faith.

The authority to baptize was restored through Joseph. He received it by the laying on of hands from John the Baptist. This authority can and was passed down from man to man. I received this authority from my father. Thus, if sustained by a fellowship, I can baptize and administer the ordinance of the sacrament for others. I can also administer the sacrament in my own family.

Administering Ordinances

RemnantFamilyRetreatI administered the sacrament the other day to our little gathering after the baptisms. I felt it was appropriate to do so because of the unique arrangements of our fellowship. We seem to know each other fairly well through our online interactions. As I’ve noted before, I am not worthy to perform baptisms without the sustaining vote of my wife. Those are the Lord’s words, not mine.

As yet, I have not participated in a conference. Some of our group here in Southern California proposed one, but we were unable to gather seven women to authorize any additional brethren. I, along with most everybody on the Internet have been invited to a conference to take place next month in Colorado. Carol and I decided not to attend due to distance. I know many others are.

Grateful For My Local Community

I continue to attend the local ward sacrament meeting each week. I am grateful the Bishop and Stake President allow me to attend. Since I no longer believe many of the things taught in the correlated curriculum I decline to attend Sunday school and Priesthood meeting each week. I have been graciously invited several times by instructors and other members, still my friends.

speaking-in-churchFor the most part I enjoy hearing the talks, singing the hymns and partaking the sacrament. I’ve wondered about the sacrament – I believe those administering it have authority, but I choose to believe the sacrament should be administered with wine, which I do in my home. The wine symbolizes the blood of Christ and the bitter sacrifice. I know this: when He comes again, He will use wine.

Preach Nothing But Repentance

3-Ne-11-22-28I’ll close with something I’ve shared before but feel to share again. This also comes from the Phoenix lecture. These are the words that rang through my mind all the way home. It was as I was crossing the California border I probably made my mind up I would be baptized, and that I would require to have my name removed from the records of the LDS Church before doing so.

Denver quoted 3 Ne 11:22-28 – The Lord’s instructions to the Nephites on baptism, delivered as some of the first doctrine after He appeared unto them. Denver then said, “I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again my Him today, to you.” That statement sank deep into my heart. The spirit bore witness that what Denver had taught was from the Lord.

Conferences Directed by the Lord

Immediately following this post, I am going to post an article, a series of questions really, from my friend Lynne. It has to do with the Remnant Family Retreat taking place next month near the Grand Mesa. I have prayed about posting the article. As you will see, the questions are rather direct. Lynne knows more about some of these things than I do. But I have prayed to know God’s will.

storm-warningThe natural man in me hesitated to post them. I don’t believe there is a spirit of accusation in the questions, but they are hard questions to answer. I count Bret as my friend, as I do Lynne. This blog has a wide readership, developed over the years. I have let others use it as a platform to discuss doctrines about which I don’t necessarily agree. With some guest posts, I heartily agree. God wanted this posted.

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