Mormonism Without The LDS Church


SaltLakeTempleNightI am a Mormon. I am not a member of the LDS Church. There is a difference between the two – a big difference. The LDS Church does not define Mormonism. The LDS Church has changed dramatically from what God revealed through Joseph Smith. That memory has been lost, altered, redefined, added unto, retracted from and otherwise transformed by leaders of the LDS Church.

For the most part, I believe the change was unintentional. In fact, it was well-intentioned. The leaders were, and I believe continue to be, fundamentally interested in the greater good the LDS Church can do in the absence of direct revelation. The desire is commendable. The outcome is tragic. The death of Joseph Smith was more than tragic. It marked the beginning of forgetting.

In some cases change was done on purpose. It was intentional. The narrative was altered to fit more in line with then-current political expediency. It continues to change today. I have watched it change gradually in my lifetime. The LDS Church has redefined itself in an effort to appeal to a larger audience. In doing so, it has lost the foundational authority and endorsement of the Lord.

Absence of Direct Revelation

The majority of revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants were received in a ten-year period from 1828 to 1838. Many of the revelations were received in the presence of others who witnessed the physical effects upon Joseph as he dictated the words flowing into his soul. This was a prophet, one through whom the Lord spoke. He received revelations even as did Moses.

With the death of Joseph, his followers were lost. They did not know what to do. Joseph had appointed a successor, but his brother Hyrum was killed seconds before he was. The church wanted a replacement leader like Joseph. For a season the quorum of the twelve led but soon Brigham took the reins and was voted in as the new president. Joseph was still “The Prophet.”

Every time we sing Praise to the Man, I wonder if the congregation singing the hymn thinks about these lines: “Great is his glory and endless his priesthood. Ever and ever the keys he will hold. Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.” Joseph was revered by his followers, but nobody could replace him, no matter how they tried.

Authority and Endorsement of Christ

At one time the LDS Church was authorized by Jesus Christ as the only true and living church upon the face of the earth today. This is no longer true. There are two types of authority. One is to perform preparatory ordinances. The LDS Church had that authority until recently. The other is to perform the higher or sealing ordinances, authority lost upon the death of Joseph Smith.

In a recent correspondence with a humble and sincere seeker of Jesus Christ, who had left the LDS Church, joined the AUB, then came back, I was deeply impressed with his lament about the loss of the keys. I know what the official LDS narrative says about Brigham proclaiming he had the keys, but some keys cannot be passed on from man to man. This has been made clear to me.

“I am really looking for someone to whom the Lord is giving revelations and is a true successor of Joseph Smith. I am really hoping and praying that the keys as described in Section 132:7,18 & 19 are still on the earth and that there is one anointed and appointed with the ‘power and the keys of this priesthood’ to seal by the Holy Spirit of promise. As verse 8 says, His house is not one of confusion, so there must be only one. If the keys have been lost then I fear the earth will be wasted at the Lord’s coming.”

Verse seven notes “… there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of the priesthood are conferred …” My friend says he is looking for a true successor to Joseph Smith, one who holds the sealing power. Is that man Thomas Monson? Did he receive it in an unbroken line going back to Joseph Smith? You’ll have to decide that question for yourself.

Follow the Savior, not the Prophet

JesusRedRobeWould God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. I honor prophets. I have seen inspiration flow through men upon whom the LDS people have placed the title of prophet. But I do not and will not accept the modern false doctrine espoused that a prophet cannot lead the Church astray.

By tradition, the President of the LDS Church carries the title of prophet, seer and revelator as do each of the members of the quorum of the twelve apostles. I accept them as being some of the best men in the LDS Church, each blessed with gifts and talents used by the Lord to bless and inspire members of the LDS Church. But they cannot claim to secure my salvation in eternity.

I am confident they would agree were I to ask them this question directly – “Can you save me?” Their answer would have to be, “No, I am a man like unto you. Only Christ can save you.” It is to Christ I offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That is not something I offer to any man. I confess my sins only to Christ, not to any man, no matter what his position in the LDS Church.

Remembering The Work Of Joseph Smith

I am on a mission to re-evaluate everything I learned growing up in the LDS Church about the history of the restoration, and especially the significance of the revelations received by Joseph. For a man with limited formal education, he certainly was prolific. Not much of a speller or even composer of succinct sentences, he employed scribes to record and edit the revelations received.

The process of revelation is an interesting one. I am familiar with how it works. While closely tied to inspiration, it is a step higher in the idea of placing one’s mind and spirit in tune with the infinite. It requires faith, practice, discipline, effort and a disposition to place the will of the Lord above all that the natural man within us desires. It does not lend itself to purposes of contention.

Joseph recognized this, shared his experience in being unable to translate because of a quarrel with Emma, and taught us how important it is to have a spirit of peace about us as we strive to be in tune with the will of the Lord. Revelation is sacred. It is a gift as is prophecy. Joseph had these gifts in abundance, given him by the Lord to communicate His commands to man upon the earth.

Modifying the History of Mormonism

josephsmith.jpgUnderstanding the history of Mormonism is important if we are to understand what the Lord was trying to accomplish through Joseph Smith. I submit categorically that Joseph did not complete the work he was sent to accomplish. He was cut short. He was rejected by the members of his own church. The doctrines he tried to teach were too radical for their then limited understanding.

We have come a long ways in understanding since the days of Joseph Smith. We have the luxury of one hundred and seventy years of analysis, review, criticism and discussion about what was the real intent of Joseph in sharing some of the things he was allowed to teach. We have forgotten much of what he tried to accomplish. Even the official history was not authored by Joseph Smith.

I hope the efforts of many good people and groups will continue to sort through the deliberate efforts of the LDS Church to conceal the truth and modify the record. Keeping accurate historical records were not as important to the early leaders of the LDS Church as it was to provide to the members a faith-promoting history. Some things were significantly altered, others covered-up.

Restoration Not Meant to Be Institutionalized

I have long been on a journey to reconcile what I have discovered over the years of studying the history of the LDS Church with what I found in documents, journals and diaries that have been coming to light in recent years. I applaud the Church’s efforts to be forthcoming with faithful reproductions of the original source material. I look forward to the ongoing publication efforts.

The restoration of the Lord’s work in these later-days does not belong to a single institution. It is the Lord’s work. He opened the heavens to show that each of us could have a direct relationship with our God. Woe be unto the man or woman who says they are content to receive the word of God from the leaders of the LDS Church. This is wrong. This is not what God intended for us.

I reject the new order of things perpetuated by the LDS Church in which leaders claim the right to issue commandments and direction, followers fall in line, and nobody is encouraged to go to the source to get revelation beyond the rudimentary testimony of the Book of Mormon. Leading a worldwide church through public relations is a fiasco in the making. This is not God’s doing.

LDS Church Has Morphed Mormonism

I have watched as many of the unique aspects of our religion have been denigrated or completely removed from the acceptable orthodoxy in the modern LDS Church. Orthodoxy is a strange thing. What is considered an acceptable view or practice in one generation is completely wiped out in the next simply by the leader’s general conference addresses and key curriculum changes.

I remember prayer circles outside the temple. Today you will be excommunicated for apostasy if you dare engage in such practices. Partaking of the Sacrament is tightly controlled by the church to the point where it is used as a weapon to enforce dogmatic beliefs and views. It is anti-Christ. This last straw broke the camel’s back for me, compelling me to resign from the LDS church.

It amazes me to realize early leaders of the LDS Church encouraged members to be re-baptized as a sign of their willingness to re-commit and more fully live their religion. Today, participating in such a baptism will get you excommunicated for apostasy. Tolerance for anything outside of the secret handbook of instructions is unthinkable. Independent worship is highly discouraged.

Mormonism NOT controlled by the LDS Church

bookofmormon.jpgMormonism requires study and contemplation. Deep thought, pondering and prayer are a must if we are to come close to what the Lord intended in the work commenced through the Prophet Joseph Smith. That work included preparing a people for Zion. No institution can bring about Zion. It must be done in small groups of like-minded saints which have no poor among them.

Truth is Mormonism. All truth, wherever located and from whatever source, in whatever form it is currently practiced, belongs to the Mormon religion. Mormonism is not what the LDS Church says it is. Mormonism is what the Lord revealed through the prophet Joseph, much of which has been rejected by the LDS Church, while trying to dominate and control it through correlation.

I am a Mormon because I accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, an instrument in bringing forth scripture I receive as the word of God, including the Book of Mormon and the inspired books in the Pearl of Great Price. I accept the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants with the recognition that many have been changed, edited, added to or reduced by unauthorized men.

Mormonism Is A Powerful Religion

The beauty of Mormonism is that it can free our souls from dependence upon man or a group of men to turn our hearts to God in strengthening our relationship with Jesus Christ. My baptism and subsequent receipt of the Holy Ghost to an even greater degree in my life are marvelous to me. My sense of personal responsibility has increased and empowered me in tremendous ways.

Mormonism is a dynamic, truth-filled, confident and powerful religion. It reunites our souls with heaven. The Holy Ghost helps us to recognize truth from unorthodox sources, adapt it to our own needs in drawing us to feeling closer to our God and Christ. It is an exciting religion, as long as it is not restricted and controlled by those who feel it is their duty to limit what people can believe.

In Mormonism, true Mormonism, not the limited and restricted version found in the current LDS Church, all are equal before God. We are free to worship according to the dictates of our own conscious. I can participate in the Sacrament in my home. I can worship in the robes of the Holy Priesthood at a dedicated altar in my home. Priesthood is not to preside over but to serve others.

Zion Will Not Come Through An Institution

I am a Mormon. I am not a member of the LDS Church. I am one of many thousands who have come to realize the Lord has set His hand a second time to open the heavens to those who will take the time and trouble to seek the face of the Lord. He can and will reveal Himself to you and me. We do not have to receive the word of the Lord through another man, but direct from Christ.

I invite you to join with me in investigating this movement away from the control of the LDS institution and toward the Lord’s intended way of building Zion – in small groups who serve, teach and encourage one another as the spirit directs, not as the controlled correlated process from secret handbooks dictates. The rejection of the fullness by the institution was foretold.

The Lord has sent his servant with this message to remember the restoration. It was given as a gift to man in our day. The heavens are open again for business. Let every man know the Lord. We do not have to rely on the word of our neighbor. He will guide and direct our lives. He will walk with us. He will direct our paths. I am a witness of these things, one of many thousands.

To find communities for fellowship, visit: http://fellowshipwith.us/

To find someone to baptize you, visit: http://returntotherestoration.com

 

That They Do Always Remember Him


SacramentMinervaTeichertI ask myself why I do this. I go to Sacrament meeting each week with my wife, because I don’t want her to feel alone, but I don’t partake of the Sacrament. As a non-member, I could partake. It’s clearly spelled out in the handbook that those who are not members of the LDS Church are not to be prohibited in any way from partaking of the Sacrament. Funny how that rule works.

The Sacrament in the Home

I go home after Sacrament meeting and administer the Sacrament to myself because I have no local community with whom to associate. I started partaking of the sacrament at home when my bishop prohibited me from partaking of it in church because he said I didn’t sustain the prophet. I told him otherwise. I accept President Monson as the authorized leader of the LDS Church today.

An Unauthorized Requirement Imposed

He said that wasn’t good enough. I’m not sure what more he was looking for. I guess he wanted me to say I accept President Monson as the only person on the earth today who possesses and is authorized to exercise all the priesthood keys. Because I can no longer say that, nor do I believe it, he imposed discipline in not allowing me to partake of the sacrament. Funny how that works.

Vague Definition of Priesthood Keys

I’m still not sure I understand what all the priesthood keys are. I know what the LDS Church teaches about them. They represent permission to perform an ordinance or preside in a quorum or to carry out an assignment from a priesthood leader. I’m not sure this is what the Lord had in mind when he used the word keys in the scriptures. I believe it refers more to sacred knowledge.

Forbidding to Partake of the Sacrament

So he forbade me from remembering Jesus Christ as commanded by partaking of the sacrament because I would not accept Thomas S. Monson as the only mouthpiece for the Lord on the earth today. That just seems wrong to me. Obviously I still have strong feelings about it or I wouldn’t be writing about it some four months after the fact. A man has come between me and the Lord.

Don’t Blame the Local Leaders

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying my bishop has come between me and worshiping the Lord. I’m saying that because I will not pledge allegiance to a man, one I have never met, because I won’t take an oath-like sustaining vote to the man millions of LDS members sustain as God’s living mouthpiece on the earth, the LDS Church forbids me to partake of the sacrament.

Let no One Come Between You and God

That is not right. Let no person come between you and God. The Sacrament is a commandment. The LDS Church does not have exclusive rights to administer the sacrament. Anybody with the priesthood can do so. I have the priesthood and am grateful for that blessing in my life. I have always appreciated it, but have come to appreciate it more so since I resigned from the Church.

Can’t Really Blame the Prophet Either

In other words, a man millions call prophet has enacted a rule that forbids me from partaking of the sacrament. Can you see how wrong this is? Actually, he inherited this handbook or this set of rules, which contain this abomination. I do not blame President Monson. I am happy to pray for him as well as Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf every night in my personal and our family prayer.

The LDS Church Has Become Anti-Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to partake of the sacrament regularly in remembrance of him. Why does the LDS Church think they have the right to forbid a man from obeying this commandment? This is anti-Christ. Yes, I just called the LDS Church anti-Christ. I am morally worthy. There is no reason to forbid me from partaking of the Sacrament to remember the Lord.

Priesthood is Not Controlled by LDS Church

The LDS Church does not control the priesthood. It was restored by John the Baptist to Joseph and Oliver before the LDS Church was organized. The Church depends on the priesthood, not the other way around. I received the priesthood from my father so I have no problem feeling I am authorized to administer the Sacrament to myself in my home just like Moroni did for years.

We Should Use Wine in the Sacrament

Besides, I asked the Lord in prayer if I could do so. “Oh, Lord, bless thy servant that he may carry out this work with holiness of heart.” I then knelt and blessed the bread and wine using the prayers from the Book of Mormon. And yes, I use wine because it is more symbolic to me than water. The bitterness reminds me of the bitter cup the Lord drank to redeem my soul from hell.

The Sacrament is a Soothing Balm

I need the Sacrament. I struggle with the stresses of life. Pressures from earning a living in this Babylonian world weigh upon my soul during the week. Kindness is not the prevailing sentiment in getting things done in the business world. There is intense pressure to perform, to deliver, to conform and to get things done. Kindness flies out the window if you neglect to deliver on time.

There is Power in the Sacrament

When I partake of the Sacrament I feel the Lord’s healing hand upon my heart and soul. I feel His presence. I feel He is pleased when I remember Him in this manner. I feel power entering into my soul – power to forgive, power to live in a more Christ-like manner. Power comes upon me to return kindness for disrespect or demands for compliance.  I feel I can go on in Christ.

True Order of Prayer

I miss the temple. I can no longer attend the temples that President Monson owns. Yes, he is the Corporate Sole that owns everything related to the LDS Church. So I have dedicated an altar in my home in order to worship the Lord in the true order of prayer. I often dress in the robes of the priesthood, offer the signs and pray with power the Lord has given me through the endowment.

Tithing to be Used to Help the Poor

I look forward to the day when I can contribute financially to the building of a temple where I am welcome. I have paid 10% tithing on my gross income to the LDS Church for all my life. I now choose where I use that tithing money. I want it to be used to help the poor, not to build malls of commerce where Babylon is flaunted. I don’t think City Creek Mall pleased the Lord.

A Prophet should Prophesy and Reveal

I hope you can perceive I’m feeling a little passionate right now. As much as I love the good people in my ward in stake, I struggle with some of the testimonies I hear on days like today – a Fast Sunday. So few focus on what Christ has done for them, so many pay homage to a living prophet. We know he has dementia, so why do we keep saying he speaks for the Lord today?

The Lord has Sent His Servant

I have listened to, read, studied and prayed about a message delivered by a servant of the Lord. When I read and study this message, I feel the spirit of the Lord testifying to me what is being taught is approved of the Lord. The Restoration was real and the Lord intends to bring about Zion. In a coming day, His voice will be heard in global catastrophes. Will we give heed then?

A Community of One

Today I cannot administer ordinances in the priesthood beyond my own family. I continually pray for my wife’s support just as I seek to support Carol in her tradition of worship, handed down through generations of LDS Pioneers. I am looking forward to the conference called by my friend Bret in Colorado this coming May. I pray the Lord’s blessings upon our communities.

God Bless the Growing Communities

I pray those who are meeting in communities will strengthen one another. I pray the Sacrament will be an uplifting experience for you and your families. I pray you will remember the poor in your midst. I pray you find strength in knowing the Lord fulfills His promise to comfort us in our weaknesses and will visit us when He determines we are ready. I seek that promised blessing.

Questions on LDS Blogging and Apostasy


StatementOnApostasyIn response to the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, and the pending disciplinary actions against John Dehlin, and Rock Waterman, The Office of the First Presidency issued a statement on apostasy today. As an active LDS Blogger, I am especially interested in this clarifying message positioned as “Addressing Doctrine and Questions.”

Statement from The First Presidency

“In God’s plan for the happiness and eternal progression of His children, the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women. Only men are ordained to serve in priesthood offices. All service in the Church has equal merit in the eyes of God.

“We express profound gratitude for the millions of Latter-day Saint women and men who willingly and effectively serve God and His children. Because of their faith and service, they have discovered that the Church is a place of spiritual nourishment and growth.

“We understand that from time to time Church members will have questions about Church doctrine, history, or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding.

“We feel special concern, however, for members who distance themselves from Church doctrine or practice and, by advocacy, encourage others to follow them. Simply asking questions has never constituted apostasy.

“Apostasy is repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine.”

Applying This Statement to LDS Bloggers

While the First Presidency statement is helpful and provides additional clarification to what is found in the handbook, I still find myself uncertain how it applies to me and other LDS bloggers. I met recently with my Stake President and Bishop to review my own blogging activities, which contain questions about LDS history and doctrine, and my attempts to find satisfying answers.

Blog Readers Not Followers in This Context

In the blogging world, readers are sometimes called followers. I have thousands of readers who receive my posts each time I publish. In some of my posts, questions about doctrine, history or practice go unanswered, with open invitations for my readers to offer their thoughts, opinions, ideas and related quotes. I don’t teach doctrine on my blog. I seek answers to honest questions.

Attending Lectures From Cast-off Members

I traveled to Utah to attend a lecture today delivered by a man some LDS members have called a messenger or servant or even a prophet of God. The lecture was the seventh in a series of ten lectures in a series entitled “Forty Years in Mormonism.” Denver Snuffer was excommunicated for apostasy by the LDS church last year exactly forty years to the day after he was baptized.

Desire to Understand Denver’s Message

This is the first of his lectures I was able to attend in person because it coincided with a planned trip to Utah to attend Carol’s family reunion. I am extremely grateful to Carol, who, knowing how much I wanted to attend this lecture on the Savior, surprised me by arranging a rental car for me to travel down to the lecture in the morning and still attend the reunion in the afternoon.

Sharing Ideas of Those Excommunicated

Because I find Denver Snuffer’s books, blog postings and lectures so fascinating, I share much of what he has shared, usually with additional thought about how it applies to me or to anyone who is serious about his primary subject, which is to receive the Savior while yet in mortality. Inasmuch as he has been excommunicated, does my sharing of his ideas constitute apostasy?

Other Bloggers Disciplined For Sharing

I continue to ask this question specifically because of the recent cases of Brent Larsen and Will Carter, two LDS bloggers excommunicated for writing about Denver’s message on their own blogs. If members are “always free to ask questions as they seek greater understanding,” and “asking questions has never constituted apostasy,” why were Brent and Will excommunicated?

Consideration of Specific Open Cases

You’ll have to decide for yourself if Kate Kelly’s action constituted advocacy that went beyond asking questions. John Dehlin’s case has been “de-escalated.”  He will be meeting with his Stake President this weekend. Can John’s Advocacy for greater kindness toward LGBT members be called apostasy? Rock’s case is open. He has been told to stop his blogging activities or resign.

Advocacy, Criticism, Doctrine and Questions

Without arguing the merits of their ideas or causes, I see advocacy in Kate’s and John’s cases. But what about Rock’s criticism of church practices? There is no advocacy there that I can find. As far as I can tell, his local priesthood leaders simply don’t like the criticism. Is that a just cause to ask him to stop blogging, resign or face disciplinary action? Do you see advocacy on his blog?

Bloggers are Targets for Public Opposition

Of course, advocacy is not the only criteria to judge apostasy. There is also the public opposition clause to consider. Before Denver was excommunicated last year, I posted dozens of positive things I found in his books and on his blog that demonstrated his support for the church. I was amazed by the number of opponents who said they found just as many that opposed the church.

Blogging in a Search for Clarification

When I asked for details, one or two readers shared a few quotes they considered to fall into the category of public opposition. I disagreed. I felt they were simply items of fact from our history. Inasmuch as I continue to assert my belief that Denver is indeed an inspired messenger from the Lord, acting as His servant and thus a prophet, am I an apostate because I also blog about it?

Seeking definitions of Some Key Words

I am not advocating anyone follow me or Denver. I am not teaching doctrine. I am asking a few questions and seeking clarifications on some key words. What is a messenger? Can the Lord send us messengers from outside the church hierarchy? Can a man be a servant of the Lord without being a member of the LDS Church? Are there other prophets besides “The” prophet?

Blogging is Usually a Public Activity

Is blogging considered public opposition by its very nature? The church asked us to be involved in the public discourse. We have been asked to let our voices be heard online. What if some of the voices are not quite in harmony with the standard historical narrative? In recent years the church has rescinded or corrected key elements of our history. The church has admitted error.

Blogging is All About Open Dialog

I’ll finish this post with two thoughts. First, I’m not criticizing the church, its faithful leaders, the doctrine, history or practices. I am simply asking a few open-ended questions. I appreciate and accept answers from all readers. I seek my own answers in the scriptures, books and online sources. But I would be a fool to ignore the extremely valuable resource of thousands of readers.

Receive the Words of a True Messenger

Second, I am serious about answering those questions about Denver. He says he is not important. I disagree. In my lifetime, I have never heard a message so clearly from anyone like what Denver has shared. It has always been there in the scriptures. In the three hour lecture today, the great majority of what I heard came from scripture or from doctrine found in the Lectures on Faith.

The Lord Defines a Prophet, Not the Church

Why in the world would the LDS Church cast out a prophet sent from the Lord with a message intended for our salvation and benefit? According to the Statement from the First Presidency today, I am entitled to ask this question. What I heard today was true doctrine. It inspired me. It increased my desire to come unto Christ. For this good thing, the LDS Church has cast him out?

Respect for an Aging Prophet


PresMonsonWomensBroadcast2014_02I watched the recording of Saturday’s historic Women’s Conference the other day. The music was beautiful, the messages were wonderful. Someone at church commented on Sunday that President Monson “did not look well.” OK, let’s see. He’s 86 years old, has long been suffering from the effects of diabetes and lost his wife almost a year ago. I hope I look as well at age 86.

Even Our Prophets Get Old

I watched the video closely at the end as he walked out of the Conference Center, assisted by church security and then accompanied by his daughter. I even paused the recording every few seconds to study his features. He looked pretty good to me. I took a frame grab and posted it with this short entry so you can judge for yourself. Sorry about the poor quality. He didn’t pose for us.

After All, He’s Still a Man

Why do we do this? Why do we care so much about how our prophet looks? And why do we seem surprised the man is aging and is, gasp, possibly suffering from the effects of what we call dementia, senility or Alzheimer’s? He’s not a God. He’s a man. All men must die. And he’s not the first LDS prophet to suffer diminishing health while serving as President of this large church.

Leave President Monson Alone

I wrote previously about the decline of President Benson over the last six or seven years of his life when he was pretty much out of touch with reality. As I wrote there, it didn’t bother me then that President Benson had Alzheimer’s and it doesn’t bother me now. If President Monson is suffering from dementia, then for goodness sake, let’s give him a break and let him enjoy it.

Will He be “Allowed” to Speak?

Every six months the dialog on the Internet forums goes a little bit overboard in analyzing how President Monson looked or the way he delivered his addresses. The speculation is rampant that he may not be “allowed” to speak for fear of going off and getting lost in his delivery. He was always pretty good at engaging his audience with antics like the ear wiggling in Priesthood.

Update after Saturday Sessions:

As everyone knows, President Monson spoke at both the opening and the Priesthood sessions. He sounded wonderful. He can still deliver a good talk. I was so pleased to see him looking and functioning so well. I don’t recall seeing President Packer. I pray the Lord’s blessings upon him. Elder Perry looked as spry as ever. He may soon be the President of the Quorum (end of update).

Update after Sunday Morning:

If his delivery of Sunday morning’s address was any indication, the Lord blessed President Monson in great measure. I was especially touched by his own little prayer he offered at the end: “Heavenly Father, I am always glad you are here and there.” So touching. So sweet. So childlike. This man is not putting on an act. He truly is becoming more child-like. God bless President Monson.

Keyword Searches are Trending

I know I’m nobody as far as influence on the LDS blogging community, but I still get a lot of Google hits on phrases like “Monson senile,” or “Monson dementia.” Watching the keyword searches on my blog is like taking the temperature of what church members are discussing on a daily basis. It’s that time again. Those “Monson Alzheimer’s” keywords are starting to trend.

The Internet Has Changed Everything

Thomas S. Monson has spent almost his entire life in the service of an institution that has grown tremendously. Every growing institution has challenges. Besides managing that growth, another challenge is dealing with disenchanted members. The Internet has done two things that were, by all indications, not anticipated by the Brethren until it was too late. The damage has been done.

We Can Know More Than The Brethren

First, it provided a massive repository of material from early church history that was previously unknown to most members. Second, it provided a platform, through forums and blogs, to connect with other members in a way that allowed them to share research and build community. Leaders found themselves overwhelmed with people who knew more about church history than they did.

We Gave the Current Leaders Their Titles

We put the title of prophet, seer and revelator on the fifteen men who lead this institution. Now the Lord gave those titles to Joseph and to Hyrum, but as far as I know, He did not give them to members of the Twelve. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. Brigham did not give himself those titles. He was voted into the office of President through common consent by members.

Brigham Never Claimed to be a Prophet

We are the ones who gave those titles to our President and members of the Twelve. Again, someone please show me where the Lord designates they should have those titles in scripture. In fact, Denver wrote about this specific thing both on his blog and in Passing the Heavenly Gift. I am fairly certain Brigham never claimed them for himself.  It was a more recent church change.

Commentary by Denver Snuffer

Inside the Church the current interpretation is that the “office” has associated with it a “title” set out in scripture.  The “office” of the President of the High Priesthood (D&C 107: 65-66) , who is the President of the Church, also bears the “title” of “prophet, seer and revelator.”  (D&C 107: 91-92.)  The current interpretation of these verses is that the possessor of the office is entitled to the title of “prophet, seer and revelator” by virtue of office alone.  Therefore, nothing more is needed in current church usage other than possession of the office, which alone gives the possessor of the office the title accorded to the office.  So, no, our current terminology does not require something other than office. Source: Denver Snuffer Blog, 21 May 2010

Yes, we Have Administrative Apostles

I am in agreement with Denver that being ordained to the office of Apostle does not make one a prophet, seer or revelator (or translator). We have come to associate the titles with the office of President or Apostle. There are two different kinds of apostles – those who have actually received the Lord and had their ordination complete and those who are apostles in name only.

This May be New To Some of You

Please don’t be offended if this is a radical new interpretation or understanding of the highest positions we seem to almost worship in our church. These are all good men and I love them dearly. I will be listening very closely to each of them speak – if they are well enough to do so. We may or may not hear President Monson speak. If he does, great – if not, I’m OK with that.

Exercise ALL the Priesthood Keys

I still sustain him as “prophet, seer and revelator and as the only man on the earth authorized to exercise ALL the priesthood keys of the Kingdom of God on earth.” There are other keys not associated with the Kingdom of God on Earth one can receive. We may also need to come to a better understanding of what a key actually is. Is it permission as we teach or is it knowledge?

Keys, Keys, We’ve Got Keys

I want to make this short because this is what the Lord asked me to teach when I prayed about it Sunday night. It is not new and what I have shared here is not complete. You add the rest in the comments if you would please. Also, correct me where I’m wrong. Keys, keys, keys – We’ve got to understand what they really are and who can hold them. Our eternal salvation is at peril.

I Uphold Them with my Faith and Prayers

God bless us all to enjoy General Conference this weekend. I hope I have made it clear I love and sustain these Brethren. Like Denver, even if one of them directs I need to be disciplined, as Elder Nelson did toward Denver, I will sustain them as authorized in the office they hold. We sustained them. We put them in those offices by common consent to lead this institution.

Offices in One or Both Kingdoms

Just remember, there is currently a big difference between the Kingdom of God on the Earth and the Kingdom of God in Heaven. Think about it. I am grateful to have membership in both. I hope and pray they will come together in my lifetime, but I am an old man, so it may not be my privilege to witness the joining of the two. Besides, I think we are far from ready for Zion yet.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

But that’s a topic for another day – April 12th, to be exact, in Grand Junction Colorado. Wish I could be there. Carol and I are making plans to attend at least one of the lectures in St. George, Las Vegas or Phoenix. Denver, if you want to come to Southern California, let some of us help you find a venue. Please don’t forget there are saints outside of Utah who love you. Peace.

A New Prophet in Town


ProphetJosephSmithThe Thesis of this Short Blog Post

This is a small Mormon-based blog read by few people. I don’t think I appear on anyone’s list of recommended LDS blogs any more. That probably started when I went public with book reviews of the now-excommunicated Denver Snuffer. In this post, I would like us to consider for just a moment the possibility that the Lord could send a messenger or servant to the LDS people who did NOT come from the rank and file of the General Authorities or the Quorum of the Twelve. It has happened in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Isn’t it possible it could happen in our day?

A Small Diversion for My Aching Head

Friday night Carol and I went to see Catching Fire, the latest episode of the Hunger Games series. It was a welcome distraction from a difficult week at work, and a sort of celebration for me for having completed 712 hours of advanced technical training over the past nine months. For those who follow my blog, you’ll remember it was also some nine months ago I had what I considered a couple of undesirable existential experiences that drove me to the ER for treatment. I still suffer continual headaches but have made recent progress in other, more important areas. I’ve shared details in previous posts. Email me if you want to know more and can’t find it.

A Surprising Whispering of the Spirit

At the end of the movie I was surprised to hear the spirit whisper something to me I was not expecting. It had nothing to do with the movie, but rather was an answer to questions I carry in my heart. I don’t have doubts about the church – never had. But I always have questions – still do. In my interpretation, I heard, “You are to be an observer and a witness. You were not sent here to manage or control anything.” I was astonished because it answered a long-standing prayer about my mission in life. I was also surprised because that seemed like an unusual time and place to receive inspiration or revelation. Perhaps it’s because my mind was disengaged. My spirit soared as I considered the implications of what I had just heard or rather felt in my heart.

Witnessing the Fulfillment of Prophecy

I started this blog some six years ago with the intention of sharing personal commentary of things coming to pass in my day that could possibly be based on scriptural prophecy, such as the surprising news today that the United States has made a deal with Iran to admit them into the nuclear weapons club. In my mind, this pulls the trigger of Israel’s attack on that country, and the response by the rest of the world, including the United States, in uniting against Israel in what will ultimately be WW III. I now consider myself more of an interpreter of current events that are LDS related, specifically about what is happening among church members. I do this mainly by writing reviews of books that deal with topics recommended to me by some church members.

Questioning the Traditional Narrative

In January of 2012 I was introduced to the writings of one now persona non-grata among our LDS writers, a man recently excommunicated for writing a book of doctrinal analysis that also happens to contain a lot of LDS history, told from historic and scriptural sources. Passing the Heavenly Gift was not written by collecting and combining anti-Mormon stories circulating out there. Denver Snuffer, an attorney by trade, questioned the traditional narrative of how we have taught ourselves what happened to the LDS Church at the end of the Nauvoo period in 1844. Denver Snuffer is also the author of the widely-recommended book, The Second Comforter.

Cursings Instead of Blessings

I wonder why nobody has commented on Denver’s latest blog post yet, also published this last Friday. Perhaps I’ve missed where it was shared among all the Mormon blogs out there. If so, someone kindly point me to the source. I’ve been pondering it for three days. I even re-read the scriptures regarding this post with Carol on Friday night. Before we had completed reading the passage, she said, “Well, of course that’s right. I taught the D&C in Seminary and remember this well.” I am referring of course to the verses in Section 124 where the Lord promised “Cursings Instead of Blessings” if the Nauvoo Temple was not completed within the designated time.

Pondering in the Temple

I went to the temple yesterday specifically to ponder what I felt in my heart on Friday night. Yep, I heard it right. The feeling remained the same. What Denver wrote in that post deserves our serious consideration. As Carol said to me, “Everyone knows the saints were cursed for not completing the temple like they were supposed to. They had too many other building projects going on.” We discussed their having to leave Nauvoo in the dead of winter, crossing over the frozen Mississippi River, a miracle of sorts, although not as uncommon as I once thought. We talked about the difficulties and hardships of crossing the plains. Carol served her mission in Independence, Missouri. She knows what winter is like in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. Brrr…

This Post Qualifies as Sunday Worship

It is Sunday morning as I write this. I hope somehow to get this post published by the end of the day. Our Sundays have become too full with the addition of ward and stake choir practices both before and after our regular block of meetings. It takes a lot of energy for me to memorize and harmonize Christmas choral numbers even though we have both been doing it for years. When we’re done with choir practice, Carol wants to sit and vegetate in front of the TV. ‘Tis the season for Christmas shows. Since I can’t get this off my mind, I’ve asked the Lord to help me get this published tonight. I’m taking a vacation next week to catch up with the ton of private emails from readers. I hope to publish this tonight for subscribers to read Monday morning.

Thesis Revisited for Clarification

I want to state it again and ask you to ponder it seriously. Is it possible the Lord could or might call a man to deliver a message to the general population of the church? We know that flies in the face of D&C 28:5-7. It also goes contrary to the standard narrative (now mantra) taught in this church that any message from God to his people will come from the prophet and only from the prophet. Today, this of course refers to Thomas S. Monson, the man we (and I) sustain as the president of the church. We have also given the fifteen men who lead this church the title of “prophet, seer and revelator.” I also sustain these men as leaders in our church. But could there possibly be other men, not among these fifteen, sent by the Lord with a message that the Lord wants his people to hear and understand? It’s unthinkable, isn’t it? It would be too confusing.

Kingdom of God on the Earth

Thus, as I have written before, the church was right in following established procedure of having Denver Snuffer excommunicated or barred from membership in the organization of the church. It has happened many times before and will happen many times again before the days of the LDS church as an established organization are over. Wait, did I just imply that the LDS Church as we know it today could possibly be dissolved or disorganized when the Lord returns? Haven’t I used that phrase all my life in teaching classes, speaking from the pulpit, in private and public prayer? I have. Isn’t the LDS Church the Kingdom of God on the Earth today? Aren’t we Zion? You mean this church we belong to will no longer be needed when the Lord comes? Poppycock!

Be Careful What You Write in This Church

I brought this up once before and was severely castigated by a former colleague on the High Council, now a Stake President at BYU Idaho. As he wrote in response to my Aug 19 post in a comment left on Facebook on Aug 21: “The statement that the LDS Church will not be on the earth when the Savior comes is a provocative statement and not true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth and is awaiting the kingdom of heaven to arrive where they will be united (See all of D&C 65). The Lord’s Church is the way wherein Israel and Gentiles are brought to a fullness and to fully come unto Christ.” And my response:

We Have Changed What We Teach These Days

“…you’ll have to forgive me. I’m an old guy. I grew up in an era where High Council speakers would shoot from the hip (not read prepared talks). I always loved listening to High Council speakers, especially those who took it seriously to prepare. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that statement growing up in the old Covina Stake, that ‘someday, there will be no more LDS church. We won’t need it. The Lord will run things without this institution we have built up over the years (that’s paraphrasing).’ The closest thing I could find to back this up is this quote from Daniel Peterson: ‘The church today, as has often been noted, is simply the essential but temporary scaffolding that surrounds an eternal family-priesthood structure in the process of construction; until that construction is complete at some point in the postmortal future, priesthood is mediated through and associated with the church.’ I think Brother Peterson and I see priesthood similarly. The church needs the priesthood, not the other way around.

The Church is Just a Temporary Scaffolding

“I even seem to recall either Elder Packer or Elder Perry talking about the church being the temporary scaffolding that won’t be needed when the Lord comes because the priesthood will run things – everything – in that there would no longer be a need for the LDS institution as we know it today. Not trying to argue with you. I do appreciate your comments and getting me to read section 65 again. Thanks for leading me to the scriptures. PS – No response necessary. I know you’re a busy man.” Adding to that Facebook comment: I feel stronger today than I did back in August that the LDS Church is a temporary institution, and was NOT what the Lord intended to be the conclusion of what he tried to accomplish through Joseph Smith. What the Lord wanted to reveal to the Saints was never revealed. It had everything to do with the Nauvoo Temple not being completed and therefore, the church going into exile, disorganized and cursed by the Lord.

Love and Devotion in the LDS Church

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love this church. It has blessed my life. I have tried to be as submissive as I could from the day the Lord told me at age 17 the following: “Joseph could not teach the people everything because they would not receive nor could it be taught outside the temple.” That’s almost a direct quote from personal revelation recorded in my journal. I’ve written about this before as part of my testimony in the early part of this blog. I have been blessed by choosing to serve a mission, seeking and receiving revelation as to who to marry in the temple, accepting every calling ever issued and even by singing in the choir when practices consume so much from me besides time. I love to teach, I love to preach. I love to take the sacrament and I love the temple. As I’ve said so many times before, if asked by my leaders, I would delete this blog without a second thought. I’m more interested in keeping covenants.

Only Christ Can Provide Certain Things

I’ll conclude with this: I’m missing something I cannot receive from this church and so are most of you. I feel like my friend the Stake President mocked me when he asked: “…if you’re saying you aren’t being fulfilled at church, or by the standard works, where else are you looking to be fulfilled? Is Denver Snuffer going to tell you something more powerful than President Monson? Is Max Skousen going to reveal something more relevant than Abinadi? It would be like a thirsty man leaving the safety of the oasis to go seek water in the desert wastes. So again, my question is, what can Denver teach me that the Savior cannot?” I answered him there but I’ll also answer here. I want the world to know why I think the Lord has sent us a legitimate prophet in the form of Denver Snuffer. I know that is a blasphemous claim to some. Please try to understand.

Church is Filled With Men Who Love God

I have loved every Bishop with whom I’ve served as counselors or clerks over the past twenty-five years – a dozen. I have loved every Stake President who presided over me, inspired me, led me, helped me learn how to administer so well, and some even how to minister better. My bishop asked me to come in to talk recently. I’ve never had a bishop do that. He said the Lord told him to do so. The first words out of his mouth were, “I don’t know why the Lord prompted me to have you see me, but I feel impressed he wants me to tell you that you are loved. We talked for almost two hours about what it’s like to raise a son who is both a genius and is afflicted with mental and drug issues. I did a lot of crying in that first meeting. I could not help myself. But I never got around to what I really wanted to talk about. The spirit didn’t prompt me to do so.

Called In To Speak With The Bishop

We met a second time about a month later. This was within the last week. Once again I hoped the spirit would prompt me to bring up the real issues that were troubling me. We had a visit that I would describe as two servants of the Lord talking about what it’s like to stay on the path while serving in this church. He taught me from the scriptures. I went home and shared them with my wife that evening in our scripture study. They are found in Ether 12:27 about why God gives men weaknesses – so they can be humble. The other was in 2nd Nephi 9:28-30. He emphasized verse thirty where Nephi has Jacob teach us the importance of having our hearts set in the right place. I wanted so much to talk about specific steps one must follow to be taught by angels or have the Lord visit me in my home as my patriarchal blessing promises me I shall be. But again, I felt constrained by the spirit to not bring the matter up. I have asked myself why that would be so.

The Church No Longer Teaches Detailed Steps

I feel better about it now. As I write this section, it is after church. The assigned teacher for our High Priest’s group did not show up. The group leader was out of town. The First Assistant asked, “Has anyone read the assigned talks from General Conference we were asked to discuss?” A good worthy brother volunteered and led the most inspiring discussion of the Redemption of Jesus Christ and the desire of the Savior to forgive. You’ll find both in the April 2013 General Conference addresses. During the discussion someone mentioned the idea of a checklist of things we need to accomplish before we die. He even mentioned “that some people feel you must have your calling and election sure, but we’re not supposed to talk about that.” I felt I just had to add a few comments and spoke for nearly five minutes about the idea that not only can we receive the Second Comforter, but that we were commanded to do so by Joseph just before he died in 1844.

Discussing The Second Comforter in Church

Nobody was aghast. Nobody complained. Nobody said, “I’m going to tell on you for talking about something that is forbidden.” To the contrary, I felt the rapt attention of all twenty or so High Priests in the room, nodding their heads in agreement, saying, “That’s right,” and adding their comments that, to me, seemed to be in agreement to my words spoken with passion, “I don’t know why we hear we’re not supposed to talk about receiving the Second Comforter. I shared my witness of seeing the Savior in the Garden and then explaining in my own words what really happened that night that to me, answers the question, “How is it done?” asked by Enos. I ended by asking, “Why do we feel in this church that we can’t talk about receiving the Savior? Why don’t we teach each other how it is done, step by step? Of course I didn’t mention Denver Snuffer but I basically taught them a combination of Denver’s witness from Come, Let us Adore Him from memory, as well as my own witness. Was that wrong? No. The Spirit had prompted it.

Back to the Thesis for a Conclusion

Why did the Church excommunicate Denver Snuffer? He was cut off for publishing Passing the Heavenly Gift and for conducting the lecture tour in which he is now engaged and which he is almost halfway through. A convert to our faith, who claims to have done as we were taught by Joseph Smith – he received the Lord in person – has been expelled from our association solely for delivering a message he claims he was commanded to deliver. I believe the Lord has sent us a legitimate prophet or messenger with a specific message and as an authorized representative of the Lord. After nearly two years of reading his many works, pondering his words and praying numerous times, I want to go on public record – hardly anybody reads my blog anyway – that Denver Snuffer is a servant of the Lord, doing what the Lord told him to do. I have asked this of the Lord too many times to count. I knew it the first day I read PtHG and it has not changed even though the man has been separated from our association by force. I am not saying the fifteen men we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators are not authorized by the Lord to lead our church.

A Final Thought

What I am saying is we need to open our minds to the possibility that the Lord could and has sent a messenger, another authorized servant, a prophet with a message that we should consider, and to which we should give heed. I know the man is not perfect, but I do know he was asked by the Lord to teach what he has taught – at his own considerable personal expense – and that the Lord will bless him for being obedient, in spite of being cut off by the institution of the LDS Church. I am not the only one who feels this way. There are many who have received their own witness. I may be one of the most vocal and the most visible due a simple fluke of how search engines work. I feel like Joseph Smith when he said, “I had seen a vision, I knew it and God knew it. How could I deny it?” (paraphrasing) You can tell me I’m deluded, that I’ve been deceived – join the crowd – but that will not change the fact that the Lord has told me over and over that the man cut off by our church for apostasy was simply doing what he was asked to do by a kind and loving Savior. I am like Brigham Young. I studied this for nearly two years. The witness only grows stronger.

Invitation to Dialog – Open to Discussion

I know many of you disagree. I have written about this over twenty times. It started out as a simple book review. Until today, I don’t think I have ever come out and directly expressed my feelings that Denver Snuffer’s books and lectures were inspired by and accepted by the Lord. In other words, why excommunicate a man for doing what he felt the Lord told him to do? I did not find the books to be a trial to my faith, although I know others differ with my opinion. I don’t feel this is a competition between Thomas Monson and Denver Snuffer. What I know about keys is that they give the one who holds them permission to perform a specific assignment. I have no problem answering the question: “Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?” The answer is yes. But I cannot deny when the spirit tells me the Lord gave Denver Snuffer an assignment that he is doing his best to fulfill. I simply do not see any conflict. What do you think?

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