I got the following request by email:
I got the following request by email:
Today I gave a talk in my home to a small group on the subject of plural marriage, focusing on Joseph Smith alone. The talk was recorded digitally and is available as a downloadable MP3 on the “Papers and Lectures” tab on this site for anyone interested to hear.
I received an email that made this observation and suggestion:
Your blog is the only site that nearly all who are taking part in this resurgent restoration have in common. There are at least 4 forums, 2 Facebook groups, and two chat groups, and an unknown number of ‘gatherings’ where your readership communicate. We have no central place to vote. There are many persons, as you know, who don’t participate in any forum or group. Your nomination of Keith, therefore, has unbalanced influence. Is that what you want?
If you genuinely want to nominate Keith Henderson as one voice among many and allow others the real opportunity to do the same with equal weight as your own nomination, then you need to use your blog in some way to allow others the opportunity to voice their own nominations and provide a means to tally votes. That responsibility to tally votes could go to any number of people, but contact info for such a person would need to be posted on your blog, otherwise it’s just a shouting match where timid voices aren’t heard.
I suggest nominations go to Ken Jensen’s email. —kenjensen.insurance@gmail.
He’s willing. If you like you could post this:
For any wishing to nominate another recorder, contact Ken Jensen at email@example.com. He will take nominations and tally votes.
I do not think I have any right to determine or appoint a recorder. There have been three different people who have asked me about being the central recorder. I have told all of them the same thing. It would be fine for them to proceed. I think they may all have some of the names and do not know if they have been consolidated.
There have been enough baptisms that names should be compiled, and the need is great enough there should be a recorder elected. The elected recorder must have the common consent of those involved, and no one has the right to appoint someone to the position.
Because of some recent developments I want to nominate Keith Henderson to be the recorder. These developments include:
1. Disciplinary actions have taken place or are threatened because of re-baptisms of active LDS Church members. Therefore, the names should be kept confidential to prevent this. Keith Henderson is a man whose discretion I trust.
2. Keith Henderson has been re-baptized and excommunicated. There is no pressure that can be leveled by the LDS Church against him that would either motivate him or make him fear.
3. Keith Henderson is willing and has time to do the work.
4. He has been active with others in fellowship meetings, has baptized a significant number of people, and has shown his love of others and of this work.
I leave it to all those involved to make the final determination by your common consent, but nominate Keith Henderson for your consideration.
Work on a new book is taking a great deal of my time. It is the most labor intensive book I’ve written. Below is a draft of the Preface to the book (which is likely to be changed before it is finalized), but which explains why so much time is being required. The “footnotes” appear as endnotes below:
In 1832 the Lord posed this question: “For what doeth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given him, neither in him who is the giver of the gift.” From the moment Joseph Smith died those who believed he was a prophet began to lose memory of what God revealed through him. Recently the pace of forgetting is accelerating.
This book begins discussing Joseph Smith’s 1838 history, followed by the topics of faith, repentance, covenants, priesthood, Zion, Christ, King Benjamin’s example, prayer, coming to Christ, marriage, family, the cultural and legal forces that have eroded the institutional church, and concludes with a discussion of how to preserve the religion. Our obligation to respect Joseph’s revelations is very clear from the Lord’s declaration, “no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.” Upon his death, the church wanted a replacement strong figure. When Joseph was unavailable, an imitation served.
In the initial decision made August 8, 1844 the quorum of the twelve were voted to lead. By December 1847 Brigham Young no longer wanted to share power with eleven others, and against Wilford Woodruff’s recommendation and the active opposition of John Taylor and Parley Pratt, Young successfully won a vote at Winter Quarters making him the church’s second president. From Young till David O. McKay in the 1950’s, when the word-title “the Prophet” was used it still meant only Joseph Smith. But rhetoric matters, and the word-title began to be used to first secure acquiescence, then to compel compliance by LDS Church leaders.
Elevating the church’s presidents to claim they too, could communicate “commandments and revelations… even as Moses” began the process of accelerating forgetfulness of Joseph’s words. He became less important as successors claimed equality. Who cannot see the logic in preferring a “living” prophet to a deceased one? Ignoring Joseph means forgetting. Through forgetfulness we have refused the gift God offered. Our first obligation now is to remember. Until we remember what was given before, there is no reason for God to give more.
The primary repository of Joseph Smith’s work has been The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are others, of course, who retained valuable parts of Joseph’s work. Emma Smith kept the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, something Joseph explained was necessary for the church to have or it “would yet fall.” The translation became the property of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was not until the 1980 edition of the LDS Bible that the Joseph Smith Translation was first used by the LDS Church, but only in footnotes and an appendix.
As soon as Joseph Smith died, a spirited competition developed to control both documents and access to information. As one writer described the conflict:
“The official History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published in book form under the direction of the First Presidency in 1902. The introductory assurance that ‘no historical or doctrinal statement has been changed’ is demonstrably wrong. Overshadowed by editorial censorship, hundreds of deletions, additions, and alterations, these seven volumes are not always reliable. …The nineteenth-century propaganda mill was so adroit that few outside Brigham Young’s inner circle were aware of the behind-the-scenes alterations so seamlessly stitched into church history. Charles Wesley Wandell, an assistant church historian, was aghast at these emendations. Commenting on the many changes made in the historical work as it was being serialized in the Deseret News, Wandell noted in his diary: ‘I notice the interpolations because having been employed in the Historian’s office at Navuoo by Doctor Richards, and employed, too, in 1845, in compiling this very autobiography, I know that after Joseph’s death his memoir was ‘doctored’ to suit the new order of things, and this, too, by the direct order of Brigham Young to Doctor Richards and systematically by Richards.” The Quorum of the Twelve, under Brigham Young’s leadership, began altering the historical record shortly after Smith’s death. Contrary to the introduction’s claim, Smith did not author the History of the Church. At the time of his 1844 death, the narrative had been written up to 5 August 1838.'”
Today the challenge is two-fold: First, finding the truth through the deliberate efforts to conceal and modify the record. Second, once found, whether we will accept in gratitude what God offered by repenting and returning to His path. We fail these tests when we ignore, oppose, dismiss, reject and allow our fear to control us. As Christ put it on the day of His resurrection: “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Nothing has changed. Our challenge is identical to that faced by all believers since Adam.
As a public act of remembrance I spent a year, beginning September 10, 2013 giving a series of ten lectures reiterating the faith’s foundation. These lectures ended 365 days later on September 9, 2014. The lectures marked 40 years as a faithful, believing Mormon. At the conclusion of 40 years of faithful membership in the LDS Church, I was sent by the Lord to preach the restoration so others would also remember.
This book was written using transcriptions of those lectures as a starting point to prepare this reference work on the restoration. This book is a separate project. The lectures were given entirely within the Mormon Corridor, and addressed only to the residents there. This is written for a different audience living outside the Mormon Corridor as a reference work on the foundation God provided through Joseph Smith.
The lecture transcripts are insufficient, both as a reference work and as something intended for a different audience. The talks were not written in advance, but given spontaneously using only a scripture citation outline. Therefore many redundancies and asides in the lectures needed to be eliminated to focus on the essential content in a readable book. Editorial refinement and many additional footnotes have been added to support and clarify core content. The recordings and transcriptions will always remain available and can stand on their own. This book is not a repetition of the lectures in a third format. It is more, and addresses all who are interested in the restoration through Joseph Smith. The lecture material has been expanded to include more about the various topics, while eliminating unimportant personal information. Time constraints for lectures do not exist for a book. Therefore additional explanations have been added. Asides, humorous recollections, and personal stories distract more than they contribute for this format. Therefore they have been eliminated to focus only on the restoration.
The order of the discussion has been changed where appropriate. Subject matter has been consolidated, moving some of the material originally delivered in one lecture into a chapter based on another lecture.
During the same year I wrote a series of blog posts about King Benjamin’s sermon between the 4th lecture in Orem, Utah (Priesthood) and the 5th in Grand Junction, Colorado (Zion). Those posts have been added as the 5th chapter in this book.
Finally, a paper delivered at the 2014 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium after the 9th lecture in St. George, Utah (Marriage) has also been edited and added as a chapter. With the addition of the King Benjamin and Sunstone materials, there are 12 chapters.
The restoration is not the property of an institution. Although dozens of churches claim the role of succeeding to Joseph Smith’s ‘true and living’ church, the restoration belongs to us all. Whether you belong to some denomination claiming Joseph as a founder, or you are a traditional Christian, the things restored through Joseph Smith came from God as a gift to us all. Because of this, we all have the responsibility to remember and respect the inspired work of Joseph Smith.
The restoration is God’s call to action and offer to renew His direct contact with mankind. The response during Joseph’s day was less than adequate. The restoration was founded on revelation, but when Joseph and Hyrum were martyred no one suggested revelation could solve the succession crisis. Instead the crowd in Nauvoo voted, the quorum of the twelve received the majority of the votes, and the most successful version of the restoration, LDS Mormonism, has perpetuated itself by voting to install leadership continuously ever since.
LDS Mormonism leadership have increasingly ignored and replaced the commandments and revelations given through Joseph with a new model in which church leaders claim the right to issue commandments and direction, followers fall in line, and the various denominations morph into increasingly altered forms varying from the original. Gordon B. Hinckley institutionalized a public relations oriented management style for LDS Mormonism. The opinion polling and focus group testing for decisions and campaigns has increasingly taken hold until now, LDS Mormonism is changing at a stunning pace reflecting the shifting opinions of the society around it. The LDS Mormon tradition now repudiates its history, curtails its curriculum, and discards essential elements of its earlier belief system to be more acceptable to others.
If the restoration is to have any chance to be remembered, then the time to do so has come. If we do not soon awaken and arise there will be far less chance to keep ahold of the restoration with each passing decade. The potential of Mormonism has never been realized. Until the restoration is remembered, it cannot continue to its completion.
This work is more than a tribute to the Mormon faith. It is an effort to restate the religion and recover its original potential. The destiny of the Mormon religion has become imperiled by neglect, deliberate alteration, and increasing forgetfulness. Mormonism was never intended to merely be another Christian denomination. Instead it is destined to reunite the all mankind into one great whole. Truth is Mormonism. All truth, wherever located and in whatever form it is presently practiced, belongs to the Mormon religion.
Mormonism requires study and contemplation. Social change, educational disintegration, and the lack of critical thinking have made modern Mormonism a shallow relic unworthy of the original. Across the board, society has surrendered to the “sound-bite mentality” in which quick and quotable phrases substitute for deep understanding. The restoration cannot be understood that way. It requires contemplation, thought and study.
I was converted to the Mormon faith through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For forty years I belonged to that church and served in it faithfully. The day I drove to Boise, Idaho to give the first lecture in the Forty Years in Mormonism series, I learned I was excommunicated. My stake president called as my wife and I were driving to Boise and we heard the sad news together.
I hold no animosity toward the LDS Church. Instead I am grateful to it for introducing me to Joseph Smith and Mormonism, which remains my religion, though now I practice it independent of institutional control.
There are many churches claiming Joseph Smith as their founder. None of them adequately practice the original faith. This book is written to persuade all to believe in the restoration, and remind all who already believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and accept the Book of Mormon as scripture, of the original greatness this revolutionary religion. Mormonism should once again become revolutionary.
It is time for the Mormon faith to begin a new phase. One in which all are equal before God, and believers are free once again to worship Him according to the dictates of their own conscience. Priesthood should not rule over any man, but should serve. “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood.” In the LDS version of Mormonism, that limitation has been reversed. LDS Mormonism today has been reduced to nothing other than “priesthood” dominion and control through the “correlation” process. It is unscriptural, indeed anti-scriptural.
Mormonism in its purest form can only attempt to persuade you, gently, to believe its precepts. This book will attempt to persuade you to believe once again in a dynamic, truth-filled, confident and powerful religion. Mormonism should free your soul, and reunite you with heaven itself.
In this book, unlike all those I previously wrote, there are many scriptures only cited in footnotes, and the full text is not included. This deliberate departure from my earlier books is because the LDS church has deemphasized the scriptures in their curriculum. I feel compelled to invite readers to use their scriptures to check scripture references in this book. Hopefully the footnotes will inspire you to review all of the verses cited.
Mormonism must become alive again. It belongs to all of us. We should all believe in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith’s status as a prophet sent by God, and become willing to approach God directly. In the final analysis, the entire restoration is nothing more than a modern affirmation of the New Testament promise found in James 1:5.
 D&C 88:33.
 D&C 28:2. The revelation allows for the possibility for someone else to be later appointed “in his stead.” (28:7.) It would be through Joseph, however, the power was given “to appoint another in his stead.” (D&C 43:4.) That appointment came in January 1841 when Hyrum Smith was appointed. (D&C 124:91-96.) Hyrum, however, was slain moments before Joseph, and therefore no one else has been appointed to amend, supplement, disregard, alter or reject commandments and revelations given through Joseph Smith.
 Technically he was the third, but no one counts Hyrum Smith despite his actual appointment and service.
 Forgetting includes re-interpreting the language by divorcing it from context, supplying new meaning not originally intended, and improperly using Joseph to vindicate later improper innovations.
 The minutes of a conference on October 25, 1831 meeting tell of Joseph Smith’s need for assistance while he worked on “the fulness of the Scriptures.” This reference to scriptures is defined by the LDS Church Historian as “JS’s Bible revision.” (JS Papers , Documents Vol. 2: July 1831-January 1833, p. 85, footnote 76. The minutes include this statement by Joseph Smith: “God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church. Said the Lord would cut his work short in righteousness and except the church receive the fulness of the Scriptures that they would yet fall.” Id., p. 85, as in original.
 Often referred to as the “Documentary History of the Church” or the “DHC.”
 Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, Signature Books (Salt Lake City, 1994), p. 322.
 Luke 24:25.
 Satan’s original and continuing urging remains the same: “Believe it not.” (Moses 5:13.)
 I learned I had been excommunicated from the LDS church because of a book I had written about Mormon history as I was driving with my wife to Boise to give the first lecture. The excommunication and lecture were exactly 40 years to the day of my baptism.
 The yearlong ministry was not my idea, nor the locations, or the subjects. I was sent by the Lord and told what to discuss. The talks were the first step addressed to the first audience.
 Meaning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquartered in Salt Lake City. They are referred to throughout this book as “LDS Mormonism.”
 “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” Discourses of Joseph Smith, p. 199, Kindle Book, (Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2009).
 I put the word “priesthood” in quotes because it is the LDS Church’s claim, and therefore I use their word. However, as this book will clarify, the claim is not the reality.
 See, Peggy Fletcher Stack, New Mormon Curriculum Divides Scholars, Salt Lake Tribune, October 28, 2014.
The reason the MP3 recordings are ‘zipped’ is if we leave them as straight MP3 recordings then people can stream them, causing heavy bandwidth use. We zipped them to prevent streaming so that visitors do not wind up exceeding the bandwidth I am paying for, resulting in slow, or stopped interaction on the website. However, there may be other ways we can go around this issue and we are investigating alternatives.
I appreciate suggestions. Right now the website has been months in creating, and diverted attention that I now want to give to finishing a manuscript so it can be in print. I will add content here, but I am spending time on another project that will reduce the rate at which improvements and additions will happen here.
Also, there was a “warning” for the website which some ISPs put up when connecting through their server. This is likely due to the fact that denversnuffer.com was a parked site while being developed, and could not be accessed. Some ISPs automatically flag a site like that, and the issue should be resolved shortly after this site went live.
I’ve said it a number of times and want to reiterate: I am not “disaffected” from the LDS Church. I was evicted, but hold no ill-will.
I am not a critic either. But since I have no membership interest in the LDS Church, my only objective is to understand the truth about Mormonism, its past and present, no matter the cost.
Loyalty to the truth does not endear me to anyone who has a cause to defend. Everyone accuses me of having an “agenda” when I disagree with their point of view. I’m not trying to curry favor with anyone other than God and only seek the truth– even painful truth.
Welcome to the new website. This has been months of effort and took more work than we ever expected. We had hoped to bring this online for Christmas last year, but missed that mark. Well, Merry Christmas anyway.
I sincerely thank all those who have made this possible and have donated their time to assist.
The earth’s orbit is ecliptic and asymmetrical. Science prefers neat divisions and imposes symmetry.
This Vernal Equinox is set by the calendar for March 20th. But nature is going to put the sun in the spot crossing the plane of the celestial equator on March 18th.
There are a lot of these differences in nature, planets, star fields that varies from man’s desire for even divisions. We have split the Zodiacal constellations into 30 degree increments, despite the fact that some constellations are quite a bit bigger and their star fields occupy much more than 30 degrees (Pisces, Virgo and Aquarius for example) and some are much less than 30 degrees (Aries, Gemini and Cancer for example).
The incongruities between the mathematical order we prefer in contrast to the “chaos” of nature means something if Genesis 1:14 is to be trusted. Despite mankind’s desire to make everything fit neatly, God has decreed events to happen on His time-frame.
Star fields overlap. We think we know when one age ends and another begins because of the 30 degrees allocated to each of the twelve constellations. But in the heavens above, Leo invades Cancer, and Pisces invades Aquarius. There is no neat division allowing anyone to say with certainty when God believes one age ends and another has begun. God may have one age begin before another ends for His reasons. Very rarely does man see this.
So you are left to decide if the coming Equinox is March 20th (based on neat divisions of the year) or March 18th (based on the movement of the sun overhead). And also to decide when Pisces ends and Aquarius begins–or if Aquarius has already begun. Many things begin and the world barely notices they are underway. Heaven testifies and men fail to notice.
Below I have copied and pasted a transcription from the Joseph Smith Papers publication of the LDS Church Historian Press. The letter is written in September, 1833, while Joseph was working on a series of lectures which would eventually become scripture. They would not be published until 1835 as Lectures on Faith. But the thinking of Joseph in September 1833 shown in this letter to his uncle show how the analysis of the later published Lectures on Faith came from the mind of Joseph Smith. This version is taken from the website, but a printed version appears in JS Papers, Documents Vol. 3, pp. 303-308.
Kirtland Mills Ohio sept 26 1833
Respected Uncle Silas
It is with feelings of deep interest for the well fare of mankind which fills my mind on the reflection that all were formed by the hand of him who will call the same to give an impartial account of all their works on that great day to which you and myself in common with them are bound, that I take up my pen and seat myself in an attitude to address a few though imperfect lines to you for your perusal.
I have no doubt but that you will agree with me that men will be held accountable for the things which they have and not for the things they have not or that all the light and intell igence communicated to them from their benifficen [beneficent] creator wh ether it is much or little by the same they in justice will be judged, and that they are required to yield obedience and improve upon that and that only which is given for man is not to live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds [p. 228]
out of the mouth of God
Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to unders tand by anything heretofore revealed that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures when saught unto in a proper manner why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation Perhaps you may be surprized at this assertion that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days since we have already in our possesion a vast volume of his word which he has previously given But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not suff icent for Abraham or it was not required of Abraham to leave the land of his nativity and seek an Inheritance in a strange land Country upon the word spoken to Noah but for himself he obtain ed promises at the hand of the Lord and walked in that perf ection that he was called the friend of God Isaac the promi sed seed was not required to rest his hope upon the promises made to his father Abraham but was priviledged with the assu rance of his approbation in the sight of Heaven by the direct voice of the Lord to him If one man can live upon the revelat ions given to another might not I with propriety ask why the n ecessity then of the Lord speaking to Isaac as he did as is record ed in the 26 chapter of Genesis for the Lord there repeats or rath er promises again to perform the oath which he had previously sworn unto Abraham and why this repet[it]ion to Isaac Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham. Was not Isaac Abraham’s son And could he not place implicit confidence in the word of his father as being a man of God.
Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man and different from men in these last days consequently the Lord favored him with blessings peculiar and different as he was different from men in this age I admit that he was a peculiar man and was not only peculiarly blessed but greatly bless ed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the [p. 229]
man or all the difference between him and men in this age is that he was more holy and more perfect before God and came to him with a purer heart and more faith than men in this day.
The same might be said on the subject of Jacobs history Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same prom ise after he had made it once to Abraham and renewed it to Isaac why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt why was it necessary that the Lord should begin to speak to them The promise or word to Abraham was that his seed should serve in bondage and be afflicted four hun dred years and after that they should come out with great substance Why did they not rely upon this promise and when they had remained in Egypt in bondage four hundred [years] come out without waiting for further revelation but act entirely upon the promise given to Abraham that they should come out.
Paul said to his Hebrew brethren that God b[e]ing more abu ndantly willing to show unto the heirs of his promises the immu tability of his council [“]confirmed it by an oath.” He also exhorts them who throug[h] faith and patience inherit the pro mises.
[“]Notwithstanding we (said Paul) have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us which hope we have as an an chor of the soul both sure and steadfast and which entereth into that within the vail.” Yet he was careful to press upon them the necessity of continuing on untill they as well as those who inherited the promises might have the assurance of their salvat ion confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of him who cannot could not lie for that seemed to be the example an ciently and Paul holds it out to his brethren as an object atta inable in his day and why not[?] I admit that by reading [p. 230]
the scriptures of truth saints in the days of Paul could learn beyond the power of contradiction that Abraham Isaac and Jacob had the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the Lord but that promise or oath was no assurance to them of their salvation but they could by walking in the footsteps <and> continuing in the faith of their fathers obtain for themselves an oath for confirmation that they were meet to be partake[r]s of the inheri tance with the saints in light.
If the saints in the days of the Apostles were priviledged to take the saints for example and lay hold of the same promises and attain to the same exhalted priviledges of knowing that their names were writen in the Lambs book of life and that they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face of the most high will not the same faithfulness the same pur ity of heart and the same faith bring the same assurance of eternal life and that in the same manner to the children of men now in this age of the world[?]
I have no doubt but that the holy prophets and apostles and saints in ancient days were saved in the Kingdom of God. Neither do I doubt but that they held converse and com munion with them while in the flesh as Paul said to the cori nthian brethren that the Lord Jesus showed himself to above 500 saints at one time after his resuretion [resurrection]. Job said that he knew that his Redeemer lived and that he should see him in the flesh in the latter days. I may believe that Enoch wa lked with God <and by faith was translated. And I may [believe] that Noah was a perfect man in his generation & also walked with God.> I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed with holy angels and heard the word of his Maker. that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed and obtained a blessing I may believe that Elijah was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses I may believe that the [p. 231]
saints saw the Lord and conversed with him face to face aft er his resurection I may believe that the Hebrew Church came to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God the Heaven ly Jerusalem and to an inumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into Eternity and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; but will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me to the regions of Eternal day with my garments spotless, pure, and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and dilligence, in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself And have I not an equal priviledge with the ancient saints? and will not the Lord hear my prayers, and listen to my cries, as soon [as] he ever did to their’s if I come to him in the manner they did or is he a respecter of persons?
I must now close this subject for the want of time; and I may say with propriety at the begining; we would be pleased to see you in Kirtland and more pleased to have you embrace the New Covenant. I remain.
Joseph Smith Jr [p. 232]
The God of Heaven tells me all the world should pray that Baghdad does not fall.
We should only “Follow” Christ. See, e.g., Matt. 4:19; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21; Mark 2:14; 8:34; 10:21; Luke 5:27; 18:22; John 12:26; 21:19.
Prophets are not to be followed; only “received” or, in other words, to be heard. See, e.g., Matt. 10:14; Mark 16:11; D&C 76:101. If sent by Him they testify of Him and not of themselves.
If you will not receive Christ’s prophets and apostles, you will be condemned. See John 3:10-11.
But you are under the burden of determining whether a man is a true or false prophet, true or false apostle, because following a false one will condemn you. Christ will expose the false prophets and apostles. D&C 64:39. But that will be by-and-by, for they must be given their season to claim falsely to be prophets and apostles.
If you will not hear a prophet, you will be rejected. See D&C 1:14.
Those who claim you should “follow” them put themselves in the place of Christ. They are, in effect, a false Christ. We were promised they would come in the last days to deceive the “very elect” as false Messiahs. See, JS-Matt. 1:22.
The trial is underway. The world must choose correctly.
It is impossible to have religious freedom of expression and protection of gay rights without requiring the religious expression to include endorsement of homosexual conduct.
Can gay rights be protected without demanding churches stop denouncing homosexuality as “sin” or as “offensive to God” or “evil?”
If a church believes homosexuality is sinful, offensive to God and evil, but cannot say what it believes because law protects against “discrimination” against such conduct, how are the two reconciled? One must trump the other. One must be given priority over the other. Which? How?
Can a church be called “hateful” when it expresses its honest view that homosexuality is morally wrong and sinful without any legal protection against the “hate?”
Should we be free to hate?
If a Muslim hates a Jew, does he have the right to say it publicly? Advocate for others to likewise hate Jews?
Should ideas be free from legal control? If they are, will we see KKK rallies, jihadist news broadcasts, black liberation ministers advocating revolution, white supremacists denouncing “mud people?” Is that sort of fall out bad? Bad in an absolute sense, not in a relative sense. Is foolishness portrayed as insight bad in a relative sense? That happens everywhere and all the time. Should the limits of free speech be nearly absolute?
The Supreme Court set a limit using the analogy of “crying ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater” that results in injuries and even death. That analogy has been adopted to limit speech elsewhere by saying “hate” will result in injuries and even death, and therefore it is no different.
When it comes to freedom, however, there must be absolutes or freedom will continually be eroded and eventually lost.
We must allow people to say things we disapprove of, disagree with, resent and wish were never said. Tolerance has no meaning if we only permit things we like to be done, said or thought. The meaning of “tolerance” is to permit what I absolutely disagree with to be “tolerated.” I don’t have to love it, nor do I have to approve it. I only need to “tolerate” it.
If we “tolerate” it, is there an obligation to leave it unmolested, uncontrolled and uncurtailed by law? Whether that is homosexual conduct or condemnation of homosexuality.
The role of legislation is not to carve out ideas for suppression and punishment. Until someone actually assaults another, shouldn’t he be able to think what he wants, and say what he thinks? If anyone assaults another it is a crime. Whether the crime was motivated by hatred of homosexuals, hatred of Jews, or Catholics, or Hindus, or Mexicans or Mudbloods or any other group, no one is allowed to assault another person. The crime consists in the act, not in the thought.
Thought should be as near to absolutely free as possible. No matter how peculiar or offensive, thought ought to be unrestricted. It is not possible to police thought without losing other freedoms.
The purpose of the Holy Ghost is to convey truth, understanding and knowledge. Our reaction may be emotional, but the Holy Ghost is informational.
The information we obtain from the Holy Ghost checks emotions, and produces self-control. Paul explained that our flesh is prone to lusts (Gal. 5:19) and to “hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, …envyings” (Gal. 5:20-21). But the Spirit helps check those through self-control. A healthy appreciation of our limitations leads to “longsuffering, gentleness, …faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23) which are gifts produced as a byproduct of recognizing our weakness.
If there is a consistent experience produced by an encounter with God while filled with the Holy Spirit, it would be “dread” or “fear.” Comparing our fallen nature to the purity of God causes shame. (The language used by those who experience this include these accounts: “racked with a consciousness of your guilt”—Mormon 9:3-5; “Woe is me, I am undone”—Isa. 6:5; “a great quaking…they fled to hide”—Daniel 10:7; “an horror of great darkness”—Genesis 15:12.)
We become meek, temperate and long suffering with others as we comprehend how little we are in comparison to God. We have no reason to boast after we have encountered purity and intelligence. It is a fearful thing to come into contact with the Living God (Heb. 10:31.)
Intelligence is light and truth (D&C 93:36). Truth is knowledge of things as they are, were, and are to come (D&C 93:24). We clearly see our weakness when in contact with God (Ether 12:27). But the purpose of showing us our weakness is to cause “weak things become strong” (Id.). This “strength” does not produce bragging, assertiveness or boasting. To the contrary, it produces recognition, meekness and fear.
When an authentic encounter with God happens, the person will be filled with anxiety for the salvation of others. (See, Lehi’s immediate concern for his family: 1 Ne. 8:12; Enos’ desire for his brethren and his enemies, the Lamanites, who he viewed as “brethren” also: Enos 1:9, 11; the Sons of Mosiah, who after their own conversion could not bear to have any soul lost if they could convert them: Mosiah 28:3; and the Apostle Paul, who went from persecuting to proselytizing; among many others.)
The results are not magic. It is a natural progression based on knowledge and understanding. God shows us something, and we take it into account. We know more, understand more, and have a far more realistic recognition of what is happening here in this fallen world. Then, with that increased understanding, we look to contribute to saving souls (our own included). This is comforting, because it is real.
The frequent testimonies declaring that a person “knows” something is true because the speaker or writer was stirred with emotion is not enlightening, enlivening, increasing understanding, bestowing knowledge, telling us saving truths, or based upon an actual encounter with God. God awakens us from slumber; which can be distressing and even alarming.
But we need to awaken. And we ought to be alarmed.
(I have used the terms Holy Ghost, Spirit and Holy Spirit interchangeably. I have previously explained how I understand the terms are correctly used in scripture.)