What To Do With Your Treasures


my-treasure-is-in-heavenI am hesitant to publish this post, but feel persuaded by ponderous and solemn thought it may do someone some good, even if it’s only me. It has been on my mind for quite some time, possibly even years, perhaps ever since I first met my friend Jared (Log) whose focus is clearly on the Sermon on the Mount. I am comforted by this scripture, which gives me courage to write and share:

Fools mock, but they shall mourn. And my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness. And if men come unto me, I will shew unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble. And my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me. For if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will shew unto the Gentiles their weakness.

Source: Ether 12:26-28 (LE) or Ether 5: Sentences 35-51 (RE)

Gentiles Must Repent

tenth-article-of-faithI am a Gentile. I feel my weaknesses. The natural man (Mosiah 3:19 LE) is strong in me in spite of my efforts to subdue those natural tendencies. The Lord has clearly shown unto me my weaknesses. I am humbled by my own nothingness in this Telestial state and by my ever-present mortal frailties, always before my eyes.

I glory in the grace of my Lord unto me, for He is kind, long-suffering and gentle, patient and full of love unfeigned. He persuades me to desire his righteousness and to seek after holiness. He teaches me to repent. In fact, He has never ceased in the enticings of the Holy Spirit for me to put off the natural man and become a Saint.

Treasures on Earth

Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Source: Matt 6:19-21 (LE) or Matthew 3, Sentences 83-85 (RE)

the-rich-young-rulerCouple this instruction from the Lord with these words of counsel to the rich young man, who, the scripture reports, went away sorrowing, for his much wealth. I also wonder very seriously if what I have laid up in store will vanish away as the slippery treasures of the Nephites in their days of wickedness. (Hel 13:31-32 LE)

Sell All That Thou Hast

If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Source: Matt 10, Sentences 34-35 (RE) or Matt 19:21-22 (LE)

I think those scriptures provide sufficient background for what I desire to share. I am in a conundrum. I have worked all my life to lay up for myself treasures on earth, as in the Great American Dream, in preparation for my retirement. Now I am confronted with the understanding that in order to become individually qualified for Zion, I must sell all that I have and give to the poor. Or have I misunderstood?

Provide For His Own

worse-than-an-infidelConsider these words: “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” (D&C 42:22 LE) and “Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, until their husbands are taken.” (D&C 83:2 LE).

Also, “…if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Tim 5:8) “And again, verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church.” (D&C 75:28 LE)

As I have pondered and prayed about these scriptures, I have felt impressed that all I have is given me to take care of my family, especially my dear wife, whom I love with all my heart. Yet I desire to enter into a covenant to build up Zion. What am I to do? I also desire to contribute to the building of the temple and helping the poor.

Zion Established for Protection

IndependenceTempleSignIn the spirit of prophecy and revelation, backed up by many scriptures, Zion is to be established before the Lord returns. It is established specifically as a place to provide a refuge from the deterioration, collapse and eventual destruction of this and all other nations. We will want to gather there. It is a specific place and from everything I have read it is in the tops of the mountains and not in flat Missouri.

I very much desire to go to Boise for the Conference in September with the intent to cast my vote and let my voice be heard. I want to enter into the covenant offered by the Lord with the anticipated benefit of obtaining the right to dwell here in this land in safety and to assist the remnant of Jacob build the Holy City in preparation for the return of the Lord before that Great and Terrible Day of Destruction.

The Gathering May Soon Be Upon Us

zion-place-of-refugeNot to get too personal or share too much information, most of my long-time readers know Carol and I do not see eye to eye on this subject. In fact, she was quick to point out many years ago the end result of the path I have chosen to follow, that of believing the scriptures in regards to the literal gathering of the house of Israel and the believing Gentiles who desire to assist them is NOW.

I do not see things unfolding in the orthodox viewpoint of the LDS Church in this manner. They provide no timeline. From everything I have observed, teachings about the gathering have been watered down until they are meaningless. The standard teaching of gathering in the Stakes of the Zion, interpreted to be the LDS Church, is bland and without any requirement of sacrifice. I hope that’s not harsh.

Behold, I Come Quickly

CityOfZionI believe we have an opportunity NOW to open the heavens and to call down the Powers of Heaven to join us. Specifically, I am convinced the return of the City of Enoch is nigh at hand, and, as we know, the Lord has made that His abode forever. That is why I desire to gather to Boise for this conference. I believe for we who enter into and accept this covenant, things will begin to move very, very quickly.

Because Denver has stated it will be years before the people become fully ripe in iniquity, I have decided to forego my plans for retirement. I have been seeking new opportunities and am very close to deciding between several prospects that will likely result next week in multiple offers of long-term employment. Conceivably, I will work in another twelve years in order to build up more treasures on earth.

A Few Questions In Conclusion

doctrine-of-christ-boise-Sep2017I’m still seeking definitive answers to a few questions: Must one be there in person at the Boise Conference as a sign in order to demonstrate a desire and willingness to enter into the covenant and obtain the promised blessing of protection? What about those who simply cannot attend due to distance and travel expense? Will there be some arrangements made for streaming the conference over the Internet? [Edit – Yes]

Once the covenant is accepted by the Lord and by those who desire to enter into such a covenant, I am convinced an announced gathering place will shortly be forthcoming. That is a big deal and will cause all kinds of opposition. I have to answer for myself if my plans to spend most of my energy to labor in this world is the best thing for me and my family. Nobody can answer this for me but the Lord.

Reality of These Prophesied Events

restoration-scriptures-infoAm I alone in these thought and questions? Have any of you pondered the reality of what we will be called upon to do once we accept and enter into this covenant? Am I missing the big picture or is it clearer to you how things will come to pass after the conference this September? What are your plans in regards to how you will respond to an announcement of a gathering to a specific place? Am I way off?

I’m not trying to create division. I desire unity. Carol says she doubts she will live more than a few more years. I disagree. While none of us can predict with any degree of certainty how long we will live, in my conversations with the Lord, I have seen myself participating in many of the winding up scenes in my mind’s eye and in the dreams of the night. In most of them, gratefully, Carol was by my side.

An Invitation to Dialog

Your thoughts?

 

Upcoming Remnant Tithing Conference


The Remnant Ministry asked Adrian Larsen (To The Remnant) and me (Latter-day Commentary) to share this on our blogs to get the word out. You are welcome to share this on Facebook, Google+ Twitter or your own blog as desired.

TithingConference

Tithing Conference – Saturday Sept 19th 2015, SLCC, Sandy Utah, 6pm to 9pm

Format for Tithing Conference:  We ask that while people are speaking / presenting for no interruptions or questions.  We have dedicated an hour after presentations as a Q & A time for individual/group conferences to form to ask questions of each other.

Sharing of Ideas and Needs: There will be a clipboard available for groups to communicate with each other “needs” and “surpluses” in a “giving tree” concept.

Call for Papers: We have had over a year of this “Tithing experiment”, as such we are asking for submissions of articles/papers and even just paragraphs from anyone who wants to contribute. Contributions can be lessons learned, progress made, mistakes, scriptural studies, group experiences, miracles and impacts witnessed, testimonies shared, thanks given or as the spirit directs.  We will place all the submissions into a pdf and make it available after the conference.  We will accept submissions after the conference as well for approximately 30 days.

We are open to other ideas still, and volunteers. Personal note from Tim: I am aware of some very successful tithing groups that have been able to provide support for single sisters with young families in need. Isn’t that what true religion is all about?

Contact: http://www.remnantministry.org/contact.html or remnantministry555@gmail.com

Link to last month’s announcement: https://latterdaycommentary.com/2015/07/08/call-for-tithing-conference/ (60+ comments)

A few thoughts from Denver for consideration and discussion from the Grand Junction lecture 4-12-14:

One of the things that happened when we failed to live the Law of Consecration was a replacement commandment requiring the payment of tithes. D&C 64:23 “Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.” (This is the statement that the cliché that tithing is “fire insurance” is drawn from because if you’re tithed you won’t be burned at his coming.) “For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon. Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today.” (D&C 64:23-25.)

I want to encourage you to pay tithing. If you are satisfied in paying that tithing to whatever church or organization you belong to, then continue doing so. The act of giving tithing as an offering to the Lord does not require you to supervise what happens with it once you give it to your churches. I think they become accountable. For you it is an act of faith. For them who receive it from you it is a matter of accountability before God.

However, some of us are forbidden from paying tithing to our church of choice. Some of us simply refuse to pay tithing because they don’t trust their church. Some refuse because they believe their church has neglected the poor. Some refuse to pay because the LDS Church refuses to be accountable and open with their donations.4 Some refuse to pay tithing because church leaders of the LDS Church treat the return on the tithing as “investment income,” and then use it to build shopping malls and buy landholdings. They treat the “investment income” as separate from tithing and use that categorization to deflect criticism of these vast commercial enterprises.

And from the Phoenix / Mesa lecture on 9-9-14:

In Grand Junction I spoke about tithing. I talked about organizing yourselves, collecting your own tithing and managing it yourselves, to assist the poor who are among you, and to do this by the voice of your own local group. Do it by common consent. Provide for those who need housing, food, clothing, healthcare, education and transportation. Do it by the voice of united agreement of you all in small groups in which all know one another. Since that time there have been several groups that have begun. Two groups are assisting single mothers with their needs. One group is assisting a family. One group has no needy among them, and they’ve accumulated for large charitable purposes, and they bought for a quadriplegic, a sophisticated electric wheelchair with the tithing money that they gathered.

I have also heard of some failing experiments, where frustration and contention have been problems. As the scriptures warn, and I discussed in Grand Junction, we must overcome “jarrings,” “contentions,” “envyings,” “strifes,” “lusts” meaning ambitions, and “covetous desires.” These  conflicts  need  to  be worked out before any gathering. All of the social ills of our day are in the churches of our day. Every denomination that came from Joseph Smith’s ministry is plagued with the same shortcomings. Before any gathering, we must be put through a refining process. We must grow; we must rise up first, before God will gather us to Zion.

There is no reason to pay for priesthood service. Serving should always require sacrifice. Do not pay for ministers. I would recommend if you choose to participate in a  tithing  group,  you  do  it in  the  same manner described in Grand Junction. Do it voluntarily among yourselves. Community is necessary. I do not know how you can bear one another’s burdens without administering your own tithes, administering your own fast offerings, doing things to help those people who are in need.

Some are giving tithing to an organization  that  is  purchasing  commercial  and  residential  real  estate, farms, and developing shopping centers, but has little left by comparison to give to the poor. Even though they give money to help the poor, billions spent in commercial ventures dwarf the amount. If you choose to participate that, that is up to you, but try and care for those among  you  who  have  needs.  Try  to participate in helping others and fellowshipping with them.

For those who are wondering, in my personal circumstances, I have made clear I would prefer to NOT pay tithing to an institution that does not publish reports of how the money is used. That, to me, is not common consent. However, I have left it up to Carol to decide how the Lord’s tithing money is used in our family. It is a commandment to pay tithing, but I also happen to believe in Rock’s ideas on the subject presented in this article: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/12/are-we-paying-too-much-tithing.html

 

Being in the World, but not of the World


Actually . . . Don’t even be IN the world if you can help it

Minimize the first, so you can accomplish the latter. Things will transition and eventually we will not have to tolerate being IN the world. In the meantime, there is much we can do to lessen being IN the world. We have two things to accomplish before Zion is created, 1) Being prepared to receive Zion, God doing the gathering, gathering those who are prepared, and 2) Being patient.  I do not begrudge some who genuinely feel to quit their jobs, move to a place of refuge, and try to live the law of consecration, I fear that some of this may be “rushing the pass” just a bit, but I do not judge, only warn of being too eager. We ought to let the Lord do His work upon us first, so that we may be qualified . . . eager repentance comes to mind. When we are qualified it will come one of two ways 1) We will be called as a member of the 144,000 missionary force that will go first to be the vanguard. I believe that what is happening now as part of that process–it is part of the Lord’s strange work that will take place largely in a way that will not be noticed by the world, and 2) We are to be sufficiently prepared so that we can be rescued by the angels (144,000) to go to Zion after we have received our Baptism of Fire, which the 144,000 will likely provide, being anointed by the Lord personally (meaning under His hand). Either way will work. Either way requires us to come unto Him and become clean from the blood and sins of this generation. Some will break their hearts in the din of Babylon to prepare the way, others will have their hearts broken for them by the Lord and will come later. I’m kind of wanting to the do the first, but perhaps I’m called to do that, while others will be called to tarry a bit longer.

Even though this is what excites us about Zion, I want to focus on patience in this post, patience as a practical matter. There are things we can do to “break our own hearts” as we patiently wait for instruction from the Lord.

Work

We all have to work to put bread on the t63271889able. This is part of living in this dying Telestial world, and it will be so until the world is transfigured to her paradisaical state. What that means is that we need to continue to work, but we may not have to continue either working the same kind or work, or doing it in the same way. There are some challenges that can come from working, some of it in the nature of the work that we do, some of it in the interpersonal dynamics that we are forced to encounter, and some in how we are compensated. I will look at each one individually.

  1. Nature of the work – What kind of work are you doing? Aside from working in the Adult Entertainment industry, the nature of one’s work is rarely that blatantly Babylonian, but we ought to consider carefully what the fruits of our work are producing. Bad fruits can numb us as we rationalize it, and can actually damage us spiritually. It’s like working for the adversary by day but trying to become a Saint at night. Ask ourselves these questions? Does what we do for work make a customer’s life better at the end of the day? Is the business trade-off value fair? Does it “level” with the final customer or is there a level of dishonesty in it? Does our product largely benefit society or does it drag it down? Does it rely upon products and vendors who achieve through ill-gotten gains? Some of these questions we should ask ourselves, and whether the time is long or short, we ought to carefully pray to the Lord to change our work if we need to in order to remove ourselves from the stains of Babylon. it don’t think this is totally possible–we are way too entwined to do it, but we can minimize it as a personal project. I’d research and find a few ways. Then follow the Lord’s instruction and do it. It may require finding a new type of employment.
  2. Interpersonal dynamics in the workplace – When we work, we are usually forced to interact with people. We deal with difficult customers, difficult employers or subordinates, and difficult vendors. The stress from such interactions often cause people to sin by becoming angry or anxious, digging a pit, envying, jealousies, and strife, judging, and other such things that will make our necks more stiff, and our hearts hard. The good news with this type of problem is that these very same thing can exalt us if we go about it differently. Perhaps when we have the wrath of someone at work, we use that opportunity to “turn the other cheek” to “give them our cloak as well as our coat.” We pass the test of avoiding gossip. We use this as an opportunity to practice kindness. We do this by deciding that work is less about our own careers, and more about God’s crucible for our own salvation, in many ways, just as it is with the family and the dynamics that come into play there. We accept many of the burdens placed upon us with cheerfulness and willingness, and we cease to place burdens upon others, often taking them also upon ourselves.
  3. Compensation – Of all the difficult things to do, deciding how we are compensated is probably one of the most difficult. Most Latter-day Saints are taught to get an education insomuch that they are compensated well and can provide for their own needs and the needs of others. On the other hand, can you be compensatmbasaled TOO well? Do we continually move up for more money or do we ask where the Lord can best use us? Do we charge more than we need? I’m going to pick on the medical industry a bit here, because it’s a good example, but not the only. In a place where people are sick and dying we find the best compensated workers on the planet. Should this be so? We may feel we are providing something for someone that is a benefit to society–and we are. But are we doing it honestly or is there a smidgen of extortion that goes on? How many of us in this industry chose it because of it’s great paying compensation rather than the effect of helping the sick? Let’s go back and ask question one about how it may also drag down society by placing extraordinarily large burdens upon them by how we choose to charge people. A Zion-like attitude would indicate that at whatever level you are in this vast industry, you ought to attempt to minimize the financial burdens you place upon others. This may include taking a lower cut in pay, or charging less for something, even at the expense of what is considered fair-market value for salaries and services. Perhaps we need to lower our own standard of living so that we do not need this extra income to provide for our own excesses. That is one way we can patiently wait to be refined by the Lord to be prepared for Zion. In our so-called services sectors of banking, medical, law, accounting, etc. I believe there is much room for improvement in ceasing the iniquities that occur. The Book of Mormon has some very prescient warnings to these industries in 3 Nephi 6, as well as any who are involved in Priestcrafts. If I was a very-well high-paid minister in a church, or a highly-paid church employee or compensated General Authority, I would take pause and consider what I could do to not waste the “widow’s mite.”
  4. Work Tips – Here I want to give some tips that can help make your work productive in the Lord.
    1. Silent Times – Use commutes and work trips to pray and talk with the Lord. They can be very productive as long as we turn off the music, books, and talk radio.
    2. Bad boss or customer – Pray for them by name every day, learn to love them
    3. Use breaks wisely – Instead of water cooler talk, how about shutting the door to your office, turning off the lights, and communing with the Lord.
    4. Manual labor – Find times where you can exert yourself in your employment. Physical work brings us all down the the same level–we strain and notice the limitations of our bodies. Some of the best jobs in the world exalt us precisely because they have no hierarchy. Blue collar labor has some added benefits to finding the Lord that white collar jobs do not have. If you have a blue collar job, use that precious time in repetition with your own thoughts to pray, ponder, and meditate on the things of the Lord.

Leisure and Recreation

When we are not at work, our time is ours for the most part. We need to find the most worthy things to do. Leisure trips, cruises, vacations, camping, may be useful if done with the right spirit, recognizing that funds may be best spend on other more worthy projects such as helping others. Simple leisure vacations may work the best, as they are often less stressful, allow us for time to be close to the Lord, and if camping, allow us some inconveniences that can humble us. I find that staying in nice hotels often makes me feel more privileged and does not help with myfishing refinement. Anything from boating, fishing, cooking, camping, hiking, horse-back riding can be places of quiet contemplation, and if undertaken with the right spirit, CAN be temples dedicated to our God. I would avoid noisy recreation and crowded experiences–these tend to create avenues of comparison–even lust, or experiences that focus our attention on the world, such as rock concerts, motorized ATV trips that disturb your own peace and the peace of others. It’s not that these things are necessarily BAD in and of themselves, but there are better uses of leisure time. Include plenty of time for personal and family solitude.

Some of us have been “meeting oft” to partake of the Lord’s supper. There is no prohibition on how many times we can do this in scripture. This in and of itself can refine us as it focuses us on the Lord. Make them productive. Casual gospel discussions or complaining about other churches get us nowhere. We ought to start with prayer, song, and decided upon a topic of discussion in the scripture. This IS church. You may want to figure out the best days to worship, such as Sabbath days (according to Jewish and lunar calendars) It may not be necessary, but shows an added effort to meet on the Lord’s timetable. Other feast days should be observed as well, for they reflected the signs in the heavens and honor the covenants the Lord made with the Fathers. For a good resource on Israel feast and Sabbath days and how they correlate to our calendar, this is a good resource.

Service time is crucial. It is our charity that will refine us and bring us heaven’s blessings. I find that if I’m stuck in a spiritual rut, if I do charitable service, I’m blessed with the grace of heaven. I would look for efforts to serve in your own fellowship groups, your LDS wards and stakes (even if you’re not attending), praying to find someone who needs a hand up that day–perhaps a beggar you feel called to serve. Some followers have made it a practice to go to places where the homeless congregate and help them, not just give them money, but give them your time, attention, and love. You may be inspired to use the Gifts of the Spirit on their behalf. Do it! If you like to Blogging-Wordswrite, ask what He would have you write for the benefit of others. If undertaken with the right spirit, it could become a form of scripture, particularly if you are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. Far from being crazy, we internet bloggers who spend all of our time staring at computers in our pajamas and not doing our home teaching or visiting teaching (which we SHOULD still do), blogging can be an incredible source of assistance to others. In days of old we would stand out on street-corners and cry repentance. These days, the lions’ share of that crying out comes through social media and blogging. Do it! Missionary work is different among the remnant. It’s less intrusive than LDS missionary work. It’s quiet, unassuming, and requires a level of discernment to know if someone is ready. Pray to find someone who is ready to hear more and whose heart is softened and will have faith to go past the boxes they have been placed in by their church leaders and the arms of flesh. Then Do it!

Time is Short

I really do believe time is short. I find no value in watching television or movies, or wasting time. I think that we are months away from critical tribulations that will try us all. Even if it’s not the big one, tribulations of this sort tend to happen every 70 years in America, and we are overdo. So whether it’s the natural business cycle of depression, collapse, and war, or whether it’s something larger, it WILL happen, and happen soon. There isn’t a moment left to waste. We can use the crisis to refine us or we can run and hide. Food storage and emergency preparation may be helpful, as it may keep us alive, but it will not refine us. Spiritual preparation is paramount!

A Wild Man Hath Come Among Us


OgdenKraut.comI remember the excitement in the online world when the document “Further Light and Knowledge” made the rounds among the early Mormon Internet reading groups. I’m an old man so I remember Mormon-L and other such groups where communication was not like it is on Facebook or blogs. It was more of a mailing list where people shared documents. We read them then offered our opinions and observations.

I think it came into my life just after I had been ordained a High Priest some twenty years ago. I down-loaded and printed it, studied it, marked it up, prayed about it and then did a foolish thing. I went to the Los Angeles temple President (Glen Walker) to discuss it with him. His reaction was astonishing to me. He quickly escorted me out of his office saying, “Prayer circles are only to be held inside the temple.”

jim-harmstonThat always bothered me. Frankly, I didn’t believe it. When I prayed about it, I felt otherwise. It was many years before I found the courage to pray in my home as taught in the temple. I learned long ago prayer circles were regularly conducted outside the temples in homes and stake centers until banned in 1978. I guess the Brethren felt the people couldn’t handle it. Looking at Jim Harmston, perhaps they were right.

Opening the Portal to Heaven

I have always been a rebel and I know it. I have always questioned why we do things a certain way. I guess it started in elementary school. I am a kinesthetic learner, although I didn’t know it at the time. I simply couldn’t sit still for lectures. Unless I was doing something with my hands, I was not learning. I am still that way today. My work on computers today is hands-on. I learn new skills only by practicing.

Tribune File Photo James D. Harmston.

Tribune File Photo
James D. Harmston.

Shouldn’t it be the same way with spiritual skills? Adam and the patriarchs built altars. Why don’t we? What is significant about altars? Does it mean something to heaven when we build an altar and then consecrate it to the Lord? I think so. What about a home altar? Why are we not taught about this in the LDS Church today? Do the Brethren not trust us? Apparently not. Yet they were common in early Utah.

I confess I was attracted to the writings and activities of Jim Harmston. Here was a man who was holding study groups in his home. The Brethren became so concerned they published an edict that such groups were not to be held, mainly because it could lead to experimenting with spiritual things that could open the portals of heaven and hell. Guess what? In this case, the Brethren’s warnings were are still are correct.

Watch Out for False Prophets

Jim Harmston is dead now. Died of a heart attack a few years back. His movement, the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ, based in Manti, has all but died out. We called them the Manti group and spoke of them in hushed tones. They were onto something. Jim claimed heavenly visits at the altar. He went past the will of the Lord when he instituted polygamy and then predicted a day that the Lord would return.

TLC_redbrickstoreWrong. Big mistake. False prophet. I can see why people compare Denver Snuffer to Jim Harmston. Denver has declared he has met with the Savior. Not once, but many times. He claims he has communed with the members of the Church of the Firstborn. I believe him. He says he is doing the work of the Lord. He declares the heavens are opened. He has declared we will need a temple to be sealed to the Fathers.

Hmmm…what makes him different from Warren Jeffs of the FLDS and whoever is leading the AUB today? Or one of the many dozens of offshoots that are all insignificant and failing or failed? There may be thousands who have read Denver’s writings and thousands who have been baptized. The Brethren are obviously concerned about him as evidenced by the recent “Boise Rescuemeeting with Dallin Oaks last month.

How can one know for themselves that the work being conducted by Denver Snuffer is approved by the Lord? It seems to me it will always be a small minority of people who adhere to what he has shared, but maybe I haven’t caught the big picture let. I confess I’m a fledging when it comes to what Denver has said is possible. I have not been in the presence of the Lord, nor do I expect to be for many years to come.

40-years-in-mormonismPoor deluded Tim. He says the Lord has confirmed to his soul that Denver is a prophet. Yet, not even Denver has made such a statement. In last month’s interview, I asked him about his use of the phrases, “Servant, “Witness” and “Messenger,” all words he has used to refer to himself. In his answer, which seemed to be offered in humility, he said he is naught but a teacher – “at this point.” More Hmmm…

Please don’t tell me I’m obsessed with Denver. I’m just trying to analyze the remaining questions from the interview. I can’t wait for the next one in which I asked him about dancing on the Grand Mesa and calling for Mother in Heaven to manifest herself. His answer leaves no room for doubts. Some early students who listened to what Denver had to share have now turned away. But that’s for the next post.

Prophet, Servant, Messenger, Witness or simply Teacher…

Question Seven: I have heard you say, and read in many places in your books and on your blog, you dislike the public attention received as a result of performing the assignments given you by the Lord. You’ve been emphatic we should not replace one idol with another. Yet the people look to you for leadership. For example, in the Phoenix lecture you provided some direction on tithing, the sacrament, ordinations, worship or fellowship groups, and in particular, the requirement that the approval of seven women is needed to sustain a man in performing ordinances in public. You also said a man was unworthy – the Lord’s word – if his wife will not sustain him.

SnufferiteIn the Jewish tradition, when questions arise, everyone turns to the Rabbi. In the LDS Church, local leaders consult the handbook or turn to a General Authority for help with difficult procedural questions. You have stated you don’t like the term used by some – Snufferites – to describe those who read your writings. You have made it clear every man should have a sufficiently strong relationship with the Lord to get answers to procedural and doctrinal questions. Yet, you are the one the Lord sent as a servant, witness or messenger to declare the orderly dismantling of the established hierarchy. Does that not make you a prophet and de-facto leader?

Search the Scriptures for the Role of True Leaders

ANSWER (Denver): Let me clarify. I view my role only to be a teacher at this point. I hope to remain in that role alone. But I would hasten to add, that if you search the scriptures to look at what role was occupied by Enoch and the success that he had in his day, the only thing he claimed to be was a teacher and a preacher of repentance. That’s it. The success he had was not because he was some great dictator, it was because he was a teacher that provoked people to repent.

Melchizedek, Joseph Smith clarified, was not a king of a city, or king of a country, he just preached. He was a teacher and a preacher. He preached and the people, according to the Book of Mormon who heard him, Alma clarifies that they were wicked people, but they repented. (Alma 13:17-18.) And because they repented they were able to gather and live the principles that brought them together.

kirtland-temple-teachingI think the idea of a strong central leader is no more likely to succeed in our day than it was in Joseph’s. At the end, when Joseph lamented that the people were depending too much on the prophet, and they were neglecting the duties that were devolving upon themselves, therefore they were darkened in their minds. (TPJS, p. 237-238.) It was too late. In 1842 when he made that comment in the meeting of the Relief Society, it was too late. The moment had passed. They were dependent upon him. I try to learn from earlier examples and not repeat the same errors. If there are errors to be made, I want them to be new ones, not a repetition of the same old ones that caused the failure before.

The Strong Man Principle – Doomed to Fail

The responsibility of preaching the Gospel is to take the burden and put it upon the individual; to have the individual connect to God. One man being saved and saying, “I’ve got a pipeline to God, and so now I get to be your boss,” won’t save him nor those who listen to him. But someone who says, “God is willing to speak, and does speak to every one of you,” and who teaches to encourage you to use the gifts that God gives every one of us, that teacher may help others. All individuals have gifts, and curious though some of them may be, all of us have some kind of gift. Use it to reconnect to God. And then build upon that to have your life filled with light and truth.

denver-snuffer-booksI really think it is unnecessary to build a new canon of scripture when we haven’t paid enough attention to the canon of scripture we have already. We need to plumb the depths of the volumes that we have been given and figure out what they are saying, because they say whole lot more than we have drawn out of them as yet. What I’ve talked about in the 10 lectures and in the 14 volumes I’ve written is the scriptures. Hopefully it serves to remind people of what the scriptures actually do contain, because they are plentiful. And I think the only role I would carve out for myself is a teacher.

Epilogue – A Few Closing Thoughts

Denver’s answer here was rather short. I suspect there is so much more that he could have shared. His humility is evident, at least to me. I like the man. Carol does not. She sees what he has done or is doing as divisive. I see it as fulfilling a deep-seated and long-held request from the Lord to understand Zion and how I can participate in the bringing forth of the latter-day Temple. Lord, I ask to be used in this area.

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

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

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

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

 

Tithing, the first step to Consecration


mormon-tithing5I used to diligently draw 10% of my income from my monthly paycheck and hand it over to the bishop. I knew I was doing the Lord’s will. I would encounter a sense of relief for doing my duty (as my paychecks got bigger, the sacrifice did as well), as well as a sense of peace for keeping the commandments. I didn’t think much about how my tithes were used. As far as I was concerned, it was the Lord’s to do with what He wanted, and He would direct His Church in the wisest and best uses of my funds. I also gave a generous fast offering (1% usually), and that was the end of my charities. I had very little to give for other endeavors after all of this, and I trusted the funds would be best used in Church hands. My mind was little engaged in such a task, other than in the satisfaction that I was being obedient.

Developing Charity

I have since adopted a different strategy for tithe-paying, under the Lord’s direction, with a little help from a great article on tithing. We give our tithes directly to the poor. We typically tithe at least 10% of our surplus income and sometimes more as directed. Under the old system, my wife had to work so that we could pay a gross tithe. Now, we have found that our tithes are more vibrant and fruitful. We find ways to pay our tithing that engage us with the Lord instead of making it a mindless habit. Such ways include helping a poor immigrant family we find on the roadside, paying to help a battered woman leave an abusive relationship, and paying tithes to local fellowship communities that distribute them through common consent. All of these methods have enriched our lives and made us feel more charity for the poor, and we have been blessed with an added measure of the Lord’s grace as we have done so. Furthermore, when we were paying under the old system, our mentality for our material blessings typically consisted of feeling grateful for them, feeling that our righteousness in our tithe-paying was earning us such blessings, and feeling justified in enjoying those blessings because we were full tithe-payers. Now . . . we still feel blessed, but we also feel burdened in a good way, we feel the burden of material wealth, even though we are not wealthy. We have noticed a marked decrease in covetousness of our neighbor’s wealth, his home, his status. We measure a dollar differently, for we can feel and touch the needs that dollar can do to lighten another, and we are much more careful at spending that dollar for our own needs.

Defining Down Needs

Which brings us to the next benefit. We are now searching to downsize our home, our vehicles, all of our needs, so that we can increase our surplus income,needswants so that we can afford to tithe more. I feel the Lord’s wisdom in this as we are slowly defining down what we consider needs. We want to have more resources so that the Lord can direct us in giving, the benefits thereof we have found to be energizing to our spiritual lives. We pray for the Lord to direct us and He has. The result has been an overflow of love and grace into our lives. Here are some concepts we are using to give:

Deny not the Beggar

 16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

 17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

 18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.” Mosiah 4:16-17

21202651_BG1We like to consecrate some of our tithes to those who we see on the street that are in need. We don’t care if they are panhandlers. We don’t care if they are going to spend it on booze. We care about giving them love. We look for people that need love, not money. We listen to Spirit and actively search out a giving situation. The money is just an excuse to go up and spend some time with them and give them a hug. Once the money is donated, it is their stewardship to do with what they want. It’s the love, not the handout, that has the potential to help change a person who is begging. Not to mention the fact that we take Hebrews 13:2 seriously:

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Giving in Communities

Giving in communities is where we will be able to bring Zion. In communities we have the capacity to bear one another’s burdens, helping lift a brother, become one in purpose, and have “no poor” among us. I have actually seen this occur over the past couple of months. My wife and I have occasionally attended a fellowship community called a “tithing meeting.” In this meeting, we take the sacrament to remember the Lord, but also to sanctify each of us to discuss solving each others’ needs. Here is how the meeting goes:

  1. Sacrament is served, along with prayers and hymns to bring in the Spirit of the Lord
  2. Tithing is collected. There are no slips, no receipts, you get no charitable giving deductions on your taxes.
  3. Everyone is given an opportunity to report needs. This has since been split into defining primary needs (typically food, housing, some health, etc.) and secondary needs (debt obligations, utility bills, etc.). Everyone is given the agency to define what is a primary and secondary need because individual situations differ.
  4. An account is made to the group, which assigns the funds first to the defined primary needs, and then to the secondary needs by common consent (no strong men here, in fact, I’ve seen mostly women in charge of the welfare effort). (In the meeting last week, all primary needs were met, and there was a handsome sum left over to cover some secondary needs.)

The potential for bickering, anger, resentment, abuse, finger-pointing all have the potential of undoing such a meeting. It was the reason primarily that Zion failed in the early church. So far, the meetings I have attended have gone smoothly, and I have seen an outpouring of love. But there is always potential for problems, and I’m sure some day these problems will arise. How does one deal with any of these potential situations:

  • People that attend only to take from others; they are slothful and rely upon others resources for their sustenance?
  • People that are more liberal in defining their own needs, while others withhold and sacrifice?
  • People who define their surplus more conservatively than others, and thereby, give less?

All of these problems will occur as some date. The question is, how do we handle them? The Church has set up rules in welfare (working, going to Church, callings, accountability of time) etc. that they exchange for the benefit of receiving Church welfare. In this new system, no such ability exists, and to be frank, people who have been on Church welfare (I was at one time in my life as a youngster) find it a little degrading. In this system, people are generally taught the principle of giving generously on one hand, and not taking from others if they need not, on the other. There will be a variety of applications and a variety of responses. I just assume that at some point, my gift will be misused, that there will be moments where the distribution is unfair and I have to be okay with that.

A Refining Process

Yes, people will misuse and mistrust. But when undertaken with the right heart, the process can be a refining one. For the giver, the process of giving, even under abuses, can remind one of how the Savior was abused, how HE was treated unfairly, how HE gave all that he had, even the most precious gift, and some took it for granted. For those that accept with a humble and glad heart, a gift given can strengthen the bonds of love. It brings the giver and the receiver closer in the bonds of a sealing-type of relationship, a Zion-like one. For the poor, receiving a gift given reminds us that we all must receive the greatest gift given, the gift the Savior gave us with his atonement for all of us, who are indeed “poor.”

new-jerusalem1Right now, this process represents another kind of practice for Zion. Eventually, however, when Zion is redeemed, and we repent enough to be considered in that great endeavor, all who participate will do so without any attempt to dig a pit or take advantage of a brother, or to withhold because of mistrust or vanity. Any who would attempt to enter such a place would find it impossible to do so. They will have to be redeemed in the cleansing fire of sanctification to be permitted such entry. They will have to be . . . perfected.

38 And behold, it is written, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;

39 But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that wouldborrow of thee turn thou not away.

43 And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;

44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, andpray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

46 Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled.

47 Old things are done away, and all things have become new.

48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. 3 Nephi 12:39-48

Special Consecrating Circumstances

When we get to the point where we are willing to part with large sums of money, when there are a few rich after the manner of the world, that repent and undertake some of these challenges, they may want to consider some unique types of tithes and consecration of wealth that could truly lift this movement. Some of these may include:

richyoungruler

  • Helping the Saints to cancel debts and mortgages, which thereby increases their ability to donate more and extend grace to others and themselves
  • Purchasing simple homes or vehicles for the poor
  • Financing conferences and reunions to gather for the sake of worshiping the Lord and practicing other Zion-like efforts
  • Helping to construct a temple
  • Publishing reading materials or advertisements for missionary efforts

There are diverse ways and means one could consecrate their wealth to the efforts of the Lord, and it is between YOU and the Lord. I can only imagine the great sacrifice that would be to consecrate great sums of wealth, but then there must also be corresponding blessings. Remember the rich man in the Bible:

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. Mark 10:21

Reconnecting to the Fathers


Matt 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…”

D&C 20:73 – “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Mosiah 18:13 – “I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.”

Baptism of Repentance

jacobs-ladderThe first two scriptures I’ve quoted are performed in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Those who have been endowed and are familiar with the sealing ordinances in the LDS Temples will also recognize the use of the phrase, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” Few men on earth are authorized to use this phrase today.

At the end of the series of ten lectures delivered by Denver, Keith got up and offered his witness, sealing it in a similar fashion. Surely there must be some significance to this phrase when it is used. It must mean something in heaven. It does. It caused me to sit up and take notice. I knew he was using the sealing power, but not in the same sense it is used in the LDS Temples today.

“I stand as another witness with Denver, in the law of witnesses, that these things are true. And I expect to be held accountable for this in the days and the eternity to come, before God and my Father and to all men. I bear this testimony humbly and solemnly, but in the power of the most holy priesthood. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.”

The Patriarchal Priesthood

abraham-isaac-altarI have been re-reading, studying and praying about the priesthood talk given in Orem back in November of 2013. Its chalk full of information about the higher or patriarchal priesthood. I remain convinced not many people understand there is such a thing. In the LDS Church, we are used to referring only to the Aaronic and the Melchizedek priesthood. It seems there is more.

Yes, I know and have read the arguments that there is but one priesthood and that the patriarchal priesthood is lesser than the Melchizedek. I agree there is really only one priesthood, but within that priesthood, I hold the Patriarchal to be the higher priesthood. I understand it can only be received from the Lord, which is why Joseph was so insistent on completing the Nauvoo temple.

This higher priesthood is not received in the LDS temples. It is not obtained by going and being sealed in the temple. It is only obtained when one meets with God in His temple. That’s why I was not concerned and remain unconcerned about resigning from the LDS Church. The church does not control the priesthood. It is controlled by God, confirmed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

The Holy Spirit of Promise

psalm-2-7I have not yet heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee.” I know that day will come. The Lord has told me so. It was in a dream but when I asked for the interpretation, it was clear. I rejoice in this promise. I rejoice I have a calling and election. I rejoice in knowing it is what the Lord desires of me. I am working to make it sure. It will be so.

I understand receiving the Lord is an ordinance. I await further light and knowledge on this. I am grateful for the blessing of time. It teaches me patience. I know a man’s life can be snuffed out at any minute. I take my life in my hands each day I drive to and from work on the freeways of Los Angeles. I wait upon the Lord. When He is ready, I will be connected to the powers of heaven.

In the dialog below you will find Denver’s answer to my question about the higher or patriarchal priesthood. He was smiling at me as I read it to him. I think he knew what I was asking. Note the humble response deflecting honor and attention to John the Beloved. There are others as well. I pray the Lord’s blessings upon each of us to connect to the Lord and prepare to live within Zion.

Question Three: In the Phoenix or Mesa lecture (9-9-14), you stated, “The Lord has said to me in His own voice, ‘I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.’ Therefore, I want to caution those who disagree with me, to feel free, to feel absolutely free to make the case against what I say. Feel free to disagree, and make your contrary arguments. If you believe I err, then expose the error and denounce it. But take care; take care about what you say concerning me for your sake, not for mine. I live with constant criticism. I can take it. But I do not want you provoking Divine ire by unfortunately chosen words if I can persuade you against it.”

In Genesis 12:3, The Lord said unto Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” Abraham was further blessed to be the father of many nations, that in him “shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Abraham was a prophet. Isaac and Jacob were prophets. Abraham referred to the Fathers going back to Adam. You spoke about that in the talk on plural marriage and elsewhere. It seems there is something significant about connecting to the Fathers. Abraham was a patriarch. The LDS Church no longer has a presiding patriarch, or even such an office. Is there a patriarch on the earth today who can connect us to the Fathers?

ANSWER (Denver): Well, the simple answer is there’s always one on the earth. That has been true from Adam to the present.

(Tim): John the Beloved.

(Denver): Yes.

nauvoo-1844Remember that in Nauvoo the Lord had offered to reconnect the Saints, with the clearly defined condition that for that to happen it was necessary for an acceptable temple to be constructed where He could come and restore the connection. The reconnection is ordinance-based, and will require an acceptable temple before it goes beyond the single representative.

First, ideas need to be advanced and accepted. Then second, we need to act on the ideas primarily by repenting and opening ourselves to the influence of God. Third, we have to be humble and patient and willing to practice the religion before we can have any hope of God deciding to gather us.

Practical experience is absolutely necessary. Theories and pretensions are not going to get us anywhere. The gospel requires hard won virtuous experience and not just theoretical or imaginary virtues. Everyone can theorize the virtues that are necessary to gather people together and live together in harmony. Everyone can envision themselves as one of the residents of the City of Peace. But the practical experience required to iron out our selfishness and competitiveness so that we can actually live in peace is another order of magnitude harder.

In the Nauvoo City Council minutes you see them grappling with a society that is trying to be composed of Saints, and the practical problem-solving that happened. There were moments when I was reading the Nauvoo City Council minutes when I was laughing out loud, because they go to solve one problem but the solution creates another.

Basically people are discourteous of one another. Because they are discourteous of one another the City Council adopted an ordinance in order to end one discourtesy, only to create yet another discourtesy on top of that.

Practicing Zion in Nauvoo

zion-imageFor example, one of the problems that they had was that Nauvoo was organized as a city in which everyone had a garden plot. Because most of the garden plots were not fenced, horses and foot traffic would go through the gardens. That killed the plants and caused the destruction of needed foodstuffs. They couldn’t get people to build fences around their gardens despite encouraging them to do so. The solution to the problem to was to turn the hogs loose, because when the hogs are loose they go in the gardens and root around, killing the plantings. And so they adopted an ordinance that let hogs in Nauvoo go free. In pretty short order that produced the required fences they wanted, at the expense of creating a hog problem. There were hog wallows in the middle of the streets of Nauvoo. Until finally some guy, tired of the hog problem, went out and killed, butchered and ate a couple hogs that another guy said belong to him. The owner sued him, and they had the public fight over it.

The point of this isn’t hogs and the Nauvoo City Council, the point of this is we need practical experience and not theory. The way in which the practical experience can be had is in gathering in fellowships and societies, collecting our own tithing, and then grappling with the fact that there is a pile of money sitting there, which is ever a temptation, and to deal with that in a responsible way. That forces individuals to confront their own self will, their own pride, their own desires, their own jealousy, their own envy, their own ambition, and their own covetousness.

Practicing Zion in Fellowships

CityOfZionIn the fellowships that have been organized there have been moments of profound breakthroughs in the kind of attributes required for Zion. One group, when they begin their meeting, gathers all the needs on written slips of paper and put all of the needs together in an unopened basket. Then they gather the money, which is always cash, into another unopened container. They don’t know how much cash there is. Without opening the cash then, they first open the needs. As a group they reason together and agree on what the priority of the needs are, so that they have a list of the most compelling, and on down.

Once they know what the most compelling, the second, the third, the fourth are, they open and count the money. On one occasion, there was a married couple whose need could be satisfied because there was enough money, but they looked at the person next in line in priority behind them, and concluded that in their heart, they thought that need greater than their own. If they satisfy the next person’s need, there would be nothing left for them. So they voluntarily passed on their priority and took none of the money, and allowed it all to go to the next person in line behind them.

That is a couple that I would willingly add to a community, because they’ve learned self-sacrifice. They are no threat, and are instead an ideal contributor.

Seek to Benefit and Bless Others

Someone who advocates incessantly, “We’ve got the live the United Order! We’ve got to have consecration,” –because he intends to benefit from that change and better his circumstances—is unfit to be gathered. He would destroy Zion because he is selfish and thinking of what he can gain. Someone who says, “What can I give?” at the cost of his own self-sacrifice, and yet is willing to live the Law of Consecration in order to bless and benefit others, not expecting themselves to be blessed or benefited but instead expect themselves to carry a burden, those people can be gathered. They present no threat. They can be “one” with others. They are willing to lose themselves, as Christ instructed.

The way in which those people get identified is by practical experience, which is what the fellowshipping communities are designed, by the inspiration of God, to allow to now begin to take place. Every one of us theorizes themselves a great candidate for Zion. But go out and get some practical experience and see how great a candidate you truly are. You will be disappointed in yourself. Most of us would be anyway.

Sources:

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

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

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

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

Zion’s Biggest Enemy, Century 21


Last week, I shared some basic ideas pertaining to Zion and how it can be accomplished. Some good comments ensued. When I write about Zion, I’m interested in some of the practical aspects of Zion for a reason. Practical is another word for “practice.” Ultimately, Zion is the Father’s work, and He sends His angels to do that work, as well as servants. Nothing we can do will bring Zion, economically, religiously, or politically. Only our individual salvation can qualify us to be a part of this Great and Marvelous Work. Our “practice” however, can be counted to us for righteousness. If, in our “practice” we consecrate resources to others to elevate them, will that not affect our personal righteousness? Thus we may move from grace to grace, perhaps even earn grace, if there is any grace to be earned at all.

Real Estate

venezia-european

When we think of the biggest purchase in any of our lives, the number one item is usually real estate. The next status-oriented symbol would be the automobile, then toys and clothes. But as a percentage of wealth, real estate takes the cake. It ties up most of the resources we have. It is the single largest thing that will bring us “status,” “enjoyment,” and comfort. The industry is built to play on a person’s emotions, bank account, affordability maxims, sell-able features, even neighborhood status and school boundaries. In the 1950’s, the first time in modern history where home-ownership was available to many, people would purchase homes and in 30 years, pay them off. In today’s world, we live in real-estate bubbles, waiting anxiously to see how much our home has appreciated so we can upgrade to a better home with more features, more comfort, and more status.

I find brother Heber Kimball to be a visionary man, often because the fruits of some of his visions and prophecies seemed to have born out.  Said he,

“After a while the gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage. Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize and others will be still, not knowing what to do … Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to tests that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes.” (Deseret News, Church Department, p. 3, May 23, 1931.)

1024px-Salt_Lake_City_panorama

Today in Salt Lake City and in Utah County, there is another real estate bubble intoxicating the residents there. If the first bubble breaking in 2008 did not teach them a lesson about “a spirit of speculation and extravagance,” certainly this next bubble will when it also ultimately collapses. The Saints of the Wasatch Front often seem to equate spiritual blessings, the damnable “prosperity gospel,” with a blessed increase in status. To be fair, the Brethren have taught against this at least over the pulpit from time-to-time, the most recent being Dallin Oaks in the last General Conference (April 2015). Words, however, are cheap.

The Brethren, along with Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Area Authorities, are often awarded such positions PRECISELY because of their prosperity and status. They have some of the most extravagant homes on the Wasatch Front in some of the nicest neighborhoods, and they also own secondary properties and cabins, some of them gifted by the Church, the higher up one is in the hierarchy. Brigham Young first modeled this as he amassed millions living in his Utah mansions from Salt Lake to Saint George. This did not set a good example for those that followed. The Saints can smell the hypocrisy over the pulpit when such things are taught, otherwise, they liken it not unto themselves, but see only the extravagance in others. To be fair again, some reject such extravagances. Thomas Monson and Gordon Hinckley lived in modest homes, as do many others, stake leaders and the like. We should honor such examples of modesty.

 beehiveHouse_main

Brigham Young vs.

 monson_home

Thomas Monson*

*Note: I’m aware Thomas Monson has other properties gifted him by the Church, but this is his primary home, which I’m using primarily as an example.

Why does this matter?

The obvious first reason is one of pride. Anytime we seek to gratify our lusts, vain ambitions, and cover our sins with beautiful homes, AMEN to our ability to be a tool in the hand of the Lord. We have chosen our God, and it is Babylon. But there is a more practical reason why it’s so damnable. Simply put, if one does not have expendable income, one cannot “expend” it on behalf of others. It is tied up and useless. Now . . . everyone’s situation is different. I will not wax as a Pharisee and rise up to condemn you for your beautiful home, even though it seems like I just did. Some people with beautiful homes have homeless people, families, and others living in their empty rooms. THAT is Zion-like behavior. I happen to have six rooms in my home when I only probably need three. I was ashamed of my own opulence, even though I live in a modest home. However, modesty is a relative principle. One can be just as guilty of status-worship if they are poor but sacrifice everything to look like a middle class family. I was guilty. I now allow people who are in need to live in my home with me. It is part of how I tithe and consecrate my surplus (which IS unfortunately tied up in a home). If you practice modesty, you have the freedom to do good things for others with you resources. You can consecrate, and THAT is why it matters.

What you can do

If I were in the market for a new home in Utah these days (I don’t live there now but did), feeling the call of the bubble equity in my home, I might pray to the Lord to ask him to guide when I would sell, perhaps who I would sell to, and what I would purchase, all in a way that would elevate my righteousness and help me to bring Zion. This might mean I would sell my home under-market to a family in need and consecrate that equity surplus to them. It may mean I downsize and park that profit somewhere that is more liquid and usable to Zion-like projects. It may even mean that I live in a trailer or in a van down by the river, or a small farm-house in the country. If the Lord commands it, you should listen. There is value in mobility, especially as society begins to deteriorate. A nice home in a collapsed economy is often nothing more than a gold-plated coffin. A trailer could allow you some get-out-of-Dodge space. You must be prayerful about such circumstances.

realestateWhen you go to look for a home, recognize that the real estate agent is not your friend in Zion. He wants you to spend as much as you can afford. He will sell you on status. He will sell you features. He will even try to sell you value or return on investment if you are that savvy. Before you visit the agent (in fact you may even want to pray about finding the right kind of agent), go to the Lord and prayerfully ask which features you NEED in a home. That is totally up to you and the Lord. I don’t need to judge you for deciding to get that four car garage if the Lord has Zion-like plans for you. I will say as an aside, however, that I do NOT buy the “I need a large home for my family at Thanksgiving” motive unless you find a way to fill that home in the Thanksgiving off-season. Look, I’m only trying to protect you Zion seekers from asking for that which is amiss. The Lord honors agency and will often deliver according to your faith. Pay careful attention to what the Lord thinks you need and not what YOU think you need. Once you have your list of must-needs, then visit the agent and don’t allow him to up-sell you.

Now, you can apply this to all material things, be it cars, clothes, toys, recreational vehicles, other properties, etc. Let me give you a word of caution which I recognize is my own opinion, but it is probably a good guess. I’ve heard many prosperous Saints give testimonies of their material things being gifted to them through prayer in the Lord. They seemed to get confirmation for their extravagances. I suspect that they were probably asking amiss. I suspect that if one were to REALLY ask the Lord His will, they may be disappointed with His answer. They may be asked to give up their home to a family in need and move into a trailer. I believe THAT kind of behavior would be something that could stir the angels to begin gathering you for Zion. I’m not sure I’d be willing to do it, but if I’m going to ask Him, I better be prepared to accept and embrace that sort of an answer. Two very good examples, the Savior, and Joseph Smith, most likely died penniless. We know Joseph likely died bankrupt and left Emma in distress. How did a man with such power and such authority, running for President, mayor of the largest city in Illinois at the time, commander of the Nauvoo Legion place himself in such a predicament? Those kind of questions may be the kinds of questions that will help us attain Zion.

My apologies to Century 21 and the real estate industry. They are a great agency, and I bought my last home from one of their agents, who was very tuned in to my list of features and needs. There are good agents who will help you with whatever you want, and will try to sell you a home with integrity.

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