Answers/Email

I received an email that refers to some specific people, events, places and individuals. Therefore I will not put the email up. But the response has a broader application and it is copied below for anyone who is interested to consider.

The reference to the “light winning over darkness” on the Winter Solstice is based on natural ebb and flow of sunlight on this planet. The longest night and shortest day are the day before the Solstice. The beginning of light returning, and lengthening daylight, is the Solstice.


I understand the dilemma you mention. I also think that Joseph rushed in to correct errors and preserve the group too quickly, and with too much centralized control. Had he allowed others to wander away, the restoration may have included fewer people, but they would have had a greater chance of achieving Zion. For Joseph, the mission was global and he wanted to have the entire human family reached by his ministry. It is apparent, now in hindsight, that the world will never qualify to be gathered. Now the focus must be to find only the very few who, by their patience and heed can qualify to be true, faithful, patient, meek, humble and willing to allow the Lord’s timing and not their own control the events.

I know of all the things you mention. I am acquainted with the various things underway, and have some understanding of the errors of each of these various groups. I have not, and will not intervene. They must be allowed to take their own course. In the end, there will be only a few gathered. Those who qualify will have proven themselves true and faithful in all things and prepared to converse with the Lord through the veil.

________________________________________________

In response to a question about God not presently having a house on earth, it should be clear this is not a reference to men as the temple of God. God does dwell with some now living.

Nor is it a reference to the various synagogues, cathedrals, chapels, temples and religious facilities constructed by all the various religions in which men practice their rites and devotions to God. Some of those are lovely, quiet and filled with reverence and beauty.


It is a reference to a House God will visit and accept as His. He will appear there, send His messengers (angels) to visit and open a fiery corridor between heaven and earth. Or, in other words, a place where a pillar of fire will dwell. 


This was not a criticism of places of worship used by men today. It is an observation of present conditions and a description of what will need to be built and accepted prior to the Lord’s return. It will need to be constructed strictly, in accordance with the pattern God requires, and not something men presently construct as their places of worship. 


Everything from the location to the details of the design must be according to God’s instructions. It will be proof on the earth for heaven to behold, showing to the Powers of Heaven that mankind (however few) are listening to Him and are now willing to do what He asks. God will control if and when it will be done, and who will be permitted to construct His House. This will not be a volunteer project. God alone will bring it to pass, using means determined by Him.


There must be a site prepared, and an invitation extended, before the Lord’s return. That place must be hallowed. It is a necessary precondition for His return. It is from that site the sanctification of the earth will proceed. Eventually the whole earth will be renewed. 

MP3s

With help from a volunteer the 40 Years in Mormonism has now been converted into a downloadable MP3 format. We hoped to release those before Christmas (and still may). This blog site is not equipped to handle that kind of service. Therefore, we have secured a new website from which all the papers and the recordings will be made downloadable. There remain some technical details to coordinate on that website, and so we may not make the Christmas target. But it is coming, and as soon as we can solve the issues of uploading and authorizing the downloading, a link will be put here on this blog.

I appreciate all the work done by everyone involved to record, copy and preserve the talks. I also appreciate the work done to convert the material so it can be made available.

I am working to produce a book based on the talks and some other material from the blog and the Sunstone paper delivered this year. The book will be different than the talks. It a different and more extensive project involving thousands of additional hours of editing and writing to add additional scriptural and historical support to the topics discussed. It is the most work I have ever invested into a single volume. There is no projected completion date. At present I am only finished through the Las Vegas talk in a first edit. It will go through approximately 3 edits. Completion of the book will likely be sometime mid-2015, at the earliest.

Strange Incense

Light won the annual battle with darkness yesterday on the Winter Solstice. I wish light could win the battle in mankind’s dark heart.

God requires holiness and cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, as explained in D&C 1:31.

If we fail to keep God’s ordinances exactly as prescribed, they are broken and no longer effective. (Isa. 24:5.)

God’s House is always to be built for His presence. When accepted by Him it must remain exactly as He ordered it, or there are only two results:
1. If the ordinances are not kept, He withdraws and the house is no longer His. Men are then free to do what they choose within the temple because God neglects it.
2. If He still claims it, then those who offend within His House offend God, and they will die.

Nadab and Abihu were the oldest sons of Aaron, Nadab being the oldest. (Num. 3:2.) They had been in God’s presence with Moses on the Mount. (Exo. 24:9-10.)

Despite their standing, they chose to practice a rite within God’s House (at that time it was a temporary tabernacle) without God’s sanction or approval. God had commanded what was to be done, how it was to be done, and who was to perform the rites. These two were apparently worthy and qualified to have seen God and enter His presence. Despite this, they apparently thought of some additional way to honor God, perhaps by incorporating what they sincerely thought was a worthy act of devotion. They were, after all, within the tabernacle and “before God” when they acted.

Since they came out of Egypt, it is probable the offering they made was taken from the Egyptian practices with which they were acquainted. No doubt they thought some particularly impressive portion of the Egyptian rites would evidence their sincere admiration and veneration for God.

The problem is that the Lord’s House is His, not theirs. They are not justified when they presume they can take just any impressive rite and practice it before God to earn His respect. They were showing disrespect, even rebellion, by incorporating into their rites a foreign idea not commanded by Him.

When they went into God’s House and offered before Him a rite He did not command to be done within His House, they were trespassing and rebelling. They took Telestial behavior within a site hallowed by God to be His, requiring a Terrestrial law. Like those who will be unprepared for His presence at His return, they were killed by the “fire” or glory of God’s presence. (Lev. 10:1-3.) Moses reminded their father, Aaron, that those who come to God must be “sanctified” by the means He prescribes, and no other.

There is no accepted House on earth today wherein God dwells. We are therefore free to observe whatever we think will please God in our individual houses of worship. But when He establishes a House and His presence is to be found there, nothing can be done apart from what He commands to be done, when He commands it to be done, and in the manner He commands it to be observed. If anything varies, then the results will be:
1. He withdraws and it is no longer His House; or,
2. Those who violate the conditions for entering His House will pay with their lives for their rebellion; even if they have been in His presence before.

Given the vanity and pride of mankind, it seems unlikely there will ever be people who are willing to strictly observe only what He asks as He asks it. It is a mistake to think we can improve on what He gives us, and yet we do.

When there is a House built for God (and some future people will build one), it will necessarily be through people of restraint, meekness, humility and patience who take no credit and think themselves no better than their fellows. It will be an undertaking requiring a heart like our Lord’s, full of the virtues He displayed. There will need to be a priest, like Moses, who was the meekest of all men. (Num. 12:3.) There will need to be someone, at last, who knows the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven, and when the heavens are offended, they withdraw. When withdrawn, other false spirits rush in to please and reassure us in our vanity and pride.

There have been so many generations of disappointment for heaven. Even if God sent another like Joseph Smith, it is doubtful anything more could be accomplished today than was done in Nauvoo. Like Nadab and Abihu, we stray, offering up our strange incense rather than strictly observing what God asks, how He asks it to be done, when He asks it of us.

Moses took Israel out of Egypt because God knew the traditions of that culture were corrupt. A new and more correct pattern was revealed to Moses. But Nadab and Abihu took it upon themselves to bring Egypt with them, and thought they could please God with their pleasant, but unauthorized, worship. They died.

Why are many called and so few chosen? Why can we not learn from past failure enough to avoid repeating it in our day?

Vanity, pride, looking beyond the mark, self-will, arrogance, and reckless enthusiasm all proceed from a lack of gratitude to God for what He gives us. Instead of accepting in gratitude and practicing it with patience, we demand more, insist we can improve on His ways, and charge ahead into the pass to be destroyed by the beast. The chosen of God remain scatterlings, unable to dwell in the House of God with Him, because it cannot be built with the unclean hands of a wayward generation.

We have moved into a season of increasing light now. But I do not think mankind has yet reached its winter solstice. From all I have seen, darkness continues to hold sway among even the very elect.

Received Email

I received the following email, which I believe worth sharing:

___________________________

This is as good a spot, and manner, as any to thank you for staying aloof recently, and for resisting the urge to be a strong man. In the last month, I have had a vision and have been led by God in several ways. I now feel that I have a calling in life. I thanked you because, after the vision, one of my first thoughts was to send it to you and ask what you thought. If I’m being honest, I still would like to know your thoughts…but I instead went to the Lord, and have received much more than just that initial opening. There have been other experiences (like after my recent rebaptism) where I reached out to my friends to share the experience. It was harder than going to a ‘strong man,’ but both they and I have been strengthened by exercising those spiritual muscles. Keep going strong brother. May enough of us arise from the dust to actually see Zion brought about in our lifetime! 
_______________________________

I rejoice in the strength of others. All who rise up to know God will understand the source of the words I have spoken and written.

Patience and Faith

I received an email from a fellow struggling with a spouse who opposes his understanding of the institutional church and the present state of the restoration. What can be done when one person views the present circumstances (and these will continue to change), the church and needed preparations differently from their spouse or other family members?

Families are and must be a priority. Children are owed a duty by both parents. Spouses and children deserve our unconditional love, support, and encouragement. The most important arguments are never won by words, but by our deeds. Live true principles and the example, not your words, will convert others.

The changes will continue apace. There are many reasons for this. The LDS church is not the same today as it was 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. The church makes decisions using models based on business and political theories. This is ill-fitted for a religious movement. The result is that changes are made hastily and without careful consideration given to doctrine or how abandoning doctrine affects members.

The LDS church sells the product “Mormonism” to a target market of the unconverted or non-members. Their present customer base (members) have been put through jarring changes. These include changes in temple rites, exclusion/inclusion of blacks for priesthood, stripping women of control of their own organization through correlation, and others. Despite these dramatic changes, the institution has largely managed to keep their loyal customer base. This gives the leadership confidence that the greatest part of their customer base is secure and will never leave. Therefore, their adaptation is tailored to their target market. This includes a demographic who are in large part younger, liberal, progressive, self-centered, emotional, and noticeably lacking in the ability to think critically. This is the future Mormon consumer or target audience.

To make this work, the church pares down its teachings, and reassures the loyal customer base that the radical changes are okay because the church cannot lead its customers into error or apostasy. There are two important tenets that have superceded all others: the church is led by a “prophet” and the leaders “cannot lead you astray.” These MUST emerge as the primary themes. Any dedicated study of doctrine and history shows the church is riddled with contradictions, mistakes, missteps, changing and untrue claims regarding history and non-scriptural dogma. This is excused and rationalized by the propounding of the two mandatory teachings of a “prophet” who “cannot lead you astray.”

Inadequately prepared young men and women are now shouldering the missionary burden. As the older ones cycle through, and the youngsters fully man the missionary effort, the numbers of missionaries out will decrease back to the pre”hastening” numbers. (The math is simple: The population of prospective missionaries was expanded one time. Those who would have waited another year were able to leave a year earlier because of the change in age eligibility. Those already serving, who had gone out at the older age were in the mission field at the time the policy changed. So an additional year’s missionaries were immediately eligible and added to the ranks. Within three years, all the older missionaries who were serving when the change was made will be back home. Those who were able to serve a year younger will also return, leaving at that time only the younger population as missionaries. The willing and available number within any given two-year block is about 50,000. Within three years the temporary increase to 88,000 will subside back to the pre-change number. However, when that happens the maturity and commitment problems caused by the younger missionaries will remain.)

The timing of the age change was to increase the missionary force for the Mitt Romney Presidency. The age change was announced in October general conference before the election in November. Presidents are sworn in in January. By January the policy-change surge in missionaries was well underway, but Romney lost. The surge is not repeatable, unless, of course another age-lowering change is adopted. 

Historically the Lord sends a message. Then He awaits the reaction of the people to the message He sent. After an appropriate amount of time has passed, and a fair chance has been given for people to heed or ignore the message, the Lord will preach His own sermon. His sermon is in the gift of tribulation and calamities to afflict us and refocus our attention onto more important, even eternal things.

In our patience we possess our souls. So be patient. Be steady. Be believing and do what you believe God bids you to do. You will not be disappointed. Those who judge the truth through you need your example to show them what faith looks like, what faith acts like, and what faith truly is. Display it in meekness and they will be persuaded far more than through any sermon you can deliver. Sermons are for the believing. Your life lived becomes the means to persuade others.

LDS Church Not Exclusive

In a Press Release by the LDS Church on their website on April 18, 2008 titled Respect for Diversity of Faiths, this church has explained how God works with others outside the limited membership of the LDS faith:

“We honor and respect sincere souls from all religions, no matter where or when they
lived, who have loved God, even without having the fullness of the gospel. We lift our
voices in gratitude for their selflessness and courage. We embrace them as brothers
and sisters, children of our Heavenly Father. … He hears the prayers of the humble
and sincere of every nation, tongue, and people. He grants light to those who seek and
honor Him and are willing to obey His commandments.”

The late Krister Stendahl, emeritus Lutheran Bishop of Stockholm and professor emeritus 
of Harvard Divinity School, established three rules for religious understanding:
(1) When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of
that religion and not its enemies; (2) don’t compare your best to their worst; and
(3) leave room for “holy envy” by finding elements in other faiths to emulate. These
principles foster relationships between religions that build trust and lay the groundwork
for charitable efforts.

The spiritual and physical needs of the world require goodwill and cooperation among
different faiths. Each of them makes a valuable contribution to the larger community of
believers. In the words of early Church apostle Orson F. Whitney, “God is using more
than one people for the accomplishment of his great and marvelous work. The Latter-day
Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous, for any one people.” Thus, members of
the Church do not view fellow believers around the world as adversaries or competitors,
but as partners in the many causes for good in the world. For example, the Church has
joined forces with Catholic Relief Services[.]”

Krister Stendahl’s three rules for religious understanding are ones we all should apply.
In particular, LDS members should accept them when viewing others who do not share their understanding of latter-day history, scripture or doctrine. Tolerance for differences is a
customary courtesy. But, increasingly, tolerance for a different view of LDS history is met
with closed minds, open mouths, and insulting questions about motives and ambitions. It is
just possible that a difference in viewpoint can be the product of sincere inquiry, humble
acceptance, and broken hearts by those seeking.

Similarly, the acknowledgement that “God is using more than one people for the
accomplishment of his great and marvelous work” should limit LDS criticism of all others,
including those who believe in the restoration and accept Joseph as a prophet of God.
This certainly allows for the possibility God will do something more with someone else.  

I Post Here

I do not post on other blogs either in my own name, using an avatar, or anonymously. Someone has posted using my last name on another blog, the blog owner inquired and I responded that it was not me. This morning I checked and he clarified on his blog that the comment wasn’t mine.

Also, I was told some stake president now claims I advocate killing children or wives, or some other such nonsense as part of his effort to deter people from reading anything I’ve written. When I stopped laughing about it last evening, I thought about our Lord’s blessing upon us when all manner of false things are said about us. Inadvertently this ill-motivated stake president has invoked the Lord’s blessing upon me once again. (And the Lord’s ire upon himself.)

God’s Great Work

There are many great things underway. I want to encourage and reassure those involved. The greatness of the gospel has nothing to do with our human weakness and limitations. Our weakness is a given, and anticipated by God. His plan requires only a willing and penitent heart. He can do great things with the penitent. In some ways our weakness stands as proof this is God’s work.

Those who are now suffering rejection and persecution should rejoice, for so persecuted they the prophets who went before.

To the South American missionary sent home 37 days early for having an inadequate testimony of Thomas Monson: Rejoice in the Lord. Know that the district leader, mission president and area authority seventy will mourn for what they have done.

To the parents in Boise, who after their meeting re: excommunication, are waiting to hear from the twelve whether their 9 year old and 14 year old children will be excommunicated for their rebaptism: Rest assured God hears your prayers and knows the goodness of your heart. Nothing can separate you from His love.

To the man whose excommunication was recently announced in sacrament, relief society and priesthood meetings where your children and grandchildren attend: Know that this violated the church’s policies and makes a sham of the appeal process, but you are nevertheless now better acquainted with our Lord. Those who hope to be like Him must endure some of what He endured from His fellow man.

To the tithing groups who have blessed the lives of the needy among them with thousands of dollars of assistance monthly: Many have heard of this and know if there were more doing likewise the world would be a better, healthier place to live. Children in your group see these acts of devotion and have more confidence in Christ’s Gospel.

To those who meet over the internet because there are not enough of you in an area to meet personally: Be patient. This is just beginning.

To the thousands who have been rebaptized: This is a sign you are not an idolator and will not be destroyed at the Lord’s coming.

To those who are informed by your fears: The Lord works through love, not fear. When you allow your fears to inform your choices, the distance between you and God widens.

To the former Mormon fundamentalists who have always been willing to endure difficulty for what you believe: You will bring a great wealth of information into any of the fellowship groups you may join. Plural marriage shouldn’t be practiced, but your families should be kept together.

The spiritual experiences many people are receiving for the first time are what the restoration was intended to produce.

Proceed in faith. Practice the principles of the Gospel in your individual lives. Leave the rest in God’s hands.

Mysteries And Truth

Joseph Smith taught that it is critical for us to know the mysteries of God. “Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge.” TPJS, p. 357.

“A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world.” TPJS, p. 217.

Joseph understood we are saved by gaining knowledge about God’s mysteries. When we are ignorant of them, we cannot be saved. No one can be saved in ignorance. It is not possible.

Joseph’s knowledge mirrored what is taught and reflected in the Book of Mormon:

Alma 12: 9-11 explains:
It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.”

The definition of being taken captive by the devil is to “know nothing concerning [God’s] mysteries.”

When a person knows nothing concerning God’s mysteries, they are then “led by his [the devil’s] will down to destruction.”

When they are taken captive by their ignorance, they are then bound “by the chains of hell.”

The result of ignorance of God’s mysteries is “destruction” and “captivity.” The ignorant will remain devoted to falsehoods, blinded leaders, and guides who give no truthful accounts of the awful situation faced by the ignorant because they do not understand truth.

D&C 93: 24-25: “And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.”

We must know the truth. The truth informs us how things are (now, today, in the peril we presently face–unvarnished and in all its terrible meaning).

The truth informs us of how things were (by accurate history, revealing exactly what happened, without mythical or political overlay, with its disappointments and tragedies candidly depicted).

The truth informs us of the things to come (even if the prophecies and promises dash our hopes, crush our vanity and expose our foolishness).

Truth can be startling, but it is necessary. Without the truth it is impossible to repent. We will never change while trusting a lie. But we will never fail to repent when the truth is laid bare before us.

In order to take people captive, all that is required is for people to be content with their ignorance. The greatest threat to salvation does not come from teaching false doctrine, but instead comes from ignoring doctrine altogether. Substituting platitudes and truisms for careful, ponderous and solemn investigation of the deep things of God will suffice to keep people in the chains of captivity. It isn’t necessary for the devil to convince you of lies, only for him to make you content in your ignorance, or fearful of the search for truth.

History Is Not A Sin

I have provided a link to the FAIR website where they amalgamate criticism of me. The criticism is fine, but there is one point where I believe they crossed a line. It needed a response.

I have said I was worthy of a temple recommend when I was excommunicated. FAIR has denounced this as “false” and “dishonest” and included their analysis which I copy below:
_______________________________________________________________________
Snuffer’s claim is false—by his own description of his behavior, he was not “worthy of a temple recommend.” He either does not understand the temple recommend questions, or he is being dishonest with his readers, the First Presidency, and perhaps himself.
He also says:
“I had a current temple recommend at the time of the disciplinary council. I was not asked to return it before the council, nor asked to return it even after the council’s decision. It expired in March, 2014, six months after excommunication.”
Snuffer’s recommend would have been automatically deactivated upon his excommunication; this is done electronically, and should not be interpreted to mean—as Snuffer implies by raising it—that he was known to be worthy and no one dared say otherwise.
Snuffer’s letter from his stake president (published on his website) makes it clear that he may not wear temple garments or exercise priesthood functions: both prerequisites for entering the temple:
You should not engage in activities which require an exercise of priesthood power. You should not pay tithing or wear the temple garment.____________________________
http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Online_documents/Denver_Snuffer/Excommunication/Temple_worthiness_claims

This point of criticism by FAIR should be withdrawn from their website because:
1. They do not grant or deny temple recommends. That is the responsibility of bishoprics and stake presidencies.
2. My bishop and stake president at the time considered me worthy, as did I.
3. From the time the disciplinary council was noticed until the decision was made there was never a request for me to return my recommend. I could have attended the temple up to the day of the council.
4. The interview questions were put to me, and I answered truthfully, fully, candidly and without any dissimulation. The bishop and stake president accepted my answers and issued the recommend.
5. On the day of the council, one of the two whose opinions mattered (my stake president) agreed I was worthy of a temple recommend at the time of the council. As astonishing as this may seem to the people at FAIR, I believe he was correct. I spent three hours with the entire stake presidency a few weeks before the disciplinary council in the High Council room. I used the whiteboard to lay out my understanding, the scriptures, my testimony and various experiences. It was very clear to those three members of the stake presidency that I was a devoted convert to the faith.

I was not dishonest, as FAIR suggests. It is foolish and wrong for anyone to label another as “apostate” because of disagreements about Mormon history. It is offensive for FAIR to declare that I am “dishonest.” These sound bite arguments and labels damage open and healthy discussion about remarkably important issues. We should be deeply involved in carefully re-examining Mormon history to see why the present state of Mormonism is so markedly different from where it began.

Incremental changes do not startle people as much as contrasting the beginning with the end/now. The contrast between what Joseph was doing with the religion and what we are now doing with the religion is important. The LDS curriculum hides these things from average members. They need to be revisited. It is not a sin to study and search for the truth of events.

The idea that history is not a sin would make a good bumper-sticker to respond to the bumper-sticker mentality that consigns study to apostasy. Indeed, understanding things differently is never a sin. A bumper-sticker stating “History is Not a Sin” will be available through the Publishing Hope website and Confetti Books. I do not receive anything from the sales, but I support the idea expressed on the sticker. Study and discussion of LDS history is not sinful.

What’s Wrong

An email. 

My wife and I, with some other believers, were baptized recently. I fully expected that now I could receive the power of the Holy Ghost. I believed what you said, that “today is once again a day of salvation, and He has set His hand again.” If today is a day of salvation then surely He will now hear my prayers and pour out his Spirit upon us who are striving, with all our hearts, to come unto Him.

It has been over two weeks since my baptism. The entire time I have been pleading with the Lord to forgive my sins and allow me to enter in at the gate. I have felt nothing. I talked to one of the other couples that were also baptized that day. They told me that they had felt their baptism was pleasing to God, as they saw a white dove fly by their car as they drove to the chosen spot that day. Yet, they likewise have received no outpouring of the Spirit. This has been very discouraging for them and for me. The husband of that couple remarked to me that he has been thinking, “Is this just another pantomime? Have we been following another illusion?”. I have also read the experiences of others on forums, Facebook, etc. who have been similarly baptized since your last lecture. There seems to be a lack of outpourings of the Spirit or baptism of fire experiences. 

Your words from your books and your recent talk speak to me, as they do to others. I’m willing to accept that they come from God. I just don’t understand why He isn’t following through with His promises. 

I desire to receive the baptism of fire and to take the Holy Spirit as my guide. I’ve tried to keep the commandments to the best of my knowledge and I believe others have as well. I don’t know what we are doing wrong.

______________________
I gave this response:

The Holy Ghost has as the primary effect giving intelligence to man. It is true there are many “gifts” from the Holy Ghost, but the first, most important and clearest effect is to increase intelligence, or in other words light and truth.


The Holy Ghost “grows” in light as we give heed and diligence to the light. (These are all paraphrases of TPJS and D&C.)

Ask yourself:
-Do you believe you understand better now than before your journey began?
-Do you believe you can see more clearly what you need to do next?
-Do the scriptures reveal more to you now than before you began this process?
-Is there any more “intelligence” or light and truth in your life today than before?

If you can answer any of these “yes” then do not doubt, but press on. I have labored decades to learn what I have learned, and I spend some time daily now studying, praying, contemplating and pondering. Although I have had remarkable experiences, I continue to study because the the things of God are deep, and require careful, patient, solemn and ponderous thought to acquire some of what He has made available.

I believe He will not give an original revelation to reveal what He has already revealed to us in scripture. Instead He requires us to first study His words, then when scripture becomes unable to answer the inquiry, He shows us by revelation how to see what is there before us. Some of the greatest things I have beheld by revelation I have then found to be already described in scripture. I just did not have the eyes yet to see it.

Trust God, but follow His pattern.
If on the day of His resurrection Christ spent the day expounding scripture; 
And if Moroni spent the night teaching and reteaching from the scriptures;
And if I spent a year on an assignment expounding scripture;
THEN look to your scriptures. See if you have any assistance studying them. Let them prove to your satisfaction the Holy Ghost can and will speak to you.

____________________________

As I reflected further on this email and my response I thought of Oliver Cowdery’s effort to translate the Book of Mormon. The Holy Ghost does not relieve us of great effort, but instead equips us to obtain truth as the yield from our effort.

Joseph Smith proved the pattern true. He investigated all the religions. He attended their meetings, spoke with the ministers, and paid attention to their claims. He could not determine the truth. Then he “labored” over the scriptures. “At length” he finally decided to do as James asks and prayed. His prayer was answered because he did the preliminary work, the required study, and put in the necessary labor.

For three decades I studied and taught the scriptures. Each week between 10 and 40 hours were invested as I prepared to teach a 50 minute class. I labored, the scriptures yielded to study, and I learned more and more about God. The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead found in Section 138 was likewise obtained by study and prayer.

The scriptures are a Urim and Thummim designed to provoke revelation. You cannot divorce the process of getting revelation from necessary scripture study. God made no such thing known to Laman, Lemuel or us when we do not search the scriptures and invest our heart and mind in learning His ways.

I have studied the scriptures for years. By now, they inform most every thought. 
Fill yourself with scripture and see what the Holy Ghost can do then. Read them now and see how they open to you. If you take no thought except to ask and expect God to do the work, you do not understand the difference between “magic” and salvation. We are saved no quicker than we gain knowledge. 

Study the scriptures. Include the Lectures on Faith as part of that curriculum. Study Joseph Smith. Prepare your mind first, then see what God will reveal to you.

Standing Aside

I love the response to the lectures (one talk). But I must stand aside now or wound this process. There are still important things left for me to do. Taking a role in establishing communities would harm, not help. I have had numerous requests to baptize people. When I refuse, then someone else will step up. They will ask God for authority, receive permission by the power of the Spirit, and gain familiarity with a process they need to help them. A process that will empower others through that first step to take another step, and then another. I’ve spoken with the Lord face to face, as one man speaks to another. Now you need to do likewise.

Joseph Smith spoke to the Relief Society on May 26, 1842: “the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption… applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall—that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves.” (TPJS, pp. 237-238.) 

Ask yourself this: If Joseph Smith had it all to do over again, and wanted to avoid the problem that darkened the minds of believers, how could it best be accomplished? There seems to be an obvious conclusion – just refuse. Refuse to do what caused their dependence in Nauvoo. 

Joseph’s lament in 1842 was too late. He had a twelve-year practice of being the answer-man, and he would die just two years later. If he wanted to avoid this problem, he needed to begin many years earlier.

It was easy for Joseph to make himself indispensable. It was tempting to do so. But he and the saints would have been better off had he refused to shoulder responsibilities that belonged to others. There are incidents along the way that can be identified as moments when Joseph could have seen a pattern emerging. One example was in November 1831 when a conference was convened to approve publication of the Book of Commandments. The book would need a preface. A committee was assigned to draft the preface. “[William] McLellin said that he, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery had been given the assignment to write the preface to the Book of Commandments, but when they presented their draft to the conference, the ‘Conference picked it all to pieces’ and requested that J[oseph] S[mith] petition the Lord for a preface. After J[oseph] S[mith] and the elders bowed in prayer, JS, who was ‘sitting by a window,’ dictated the preface ‘by the Spirit,’ while Rigdon served as scribe.”(Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Vol. 2: July 1831-January 1833, p. 104.) He then dictated what has become D&C Section 1. 

What if Joseph had refused? What if he told them God had a revelation, but the committee should receive it? What if Joseph insisted others perform their duties, rather than relieving them of their responsibility? Had he declined in November 1831, would the talk given in May 1842 have been necessary?

We are going to make mistakes, but we should not make the same ones. Sometimes the only way for people to become better acquainted with the Lord is for those who know Him to remain silent and allow others to go before Him in prayer for themselves. Why intervene to prevent others from gaining strength and experience for themselves?

Joseph handicapped the saints by taking too much of their responsibility on himself. The saints refused to let him alone and required him to be their answer-man. The best thing Joseph could have done would have been to keep riding when he crossed the Mississippi River with Hyrum. He should have headed to the Rocky Mountains. He didn’t. The saints continued to depend on him. When he died, they were unable to call down a revelation for themselves. No one proposed to solve succession by revelation.

Consider that for a moment. A church, which was ostensibly founded and based on revelation, gave no thought to asking God for a revelation when Joseph and Hyrum were slain. They held a convention, and several aspirants electioneered to gain control. The campaign speech by Brigham Young won. Then the saints, already conditioned to “follow the leader,” trudged off into the wilderness, dutifully submitting to a strongman to guide them. It has been exactly the same since that time. 

How can you be strong if you depend on another to speak with God for you? Moses sought diligently to sanctify his people so they might behold the face of God. (D&C 84: 23.) But they hardened their hearts and could not endure God’s presence. (D&C 84: 24.) They demanded Moses speak to God for them. This was a catastrophe which ended any possibility for Zion in Moses’ day. Moses could not get those he led to enter God’s presence. Joseph failed to have God come to dwell with the saints of his day.

We may fail also. But we will not fail because I accepted a role that has never worked before. We need to repent, be baptized in a way authorized and accepted in heaven, receive the Holy Ghost, and bear one another’s burdens so they may be light.

Some are going to be seduced by false spirits. They may or may not repent. Whether they repent and press forward to be ministered to by a messenger from God, and then find God, will depend on how closely they follow truth and light. False spirits prop up egos and pride. Anything of that sort will lead to darkness. 


True messengers and true messages conform to a pattern: “Behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.” (Moroni 7: 13.) More importantly, they have a central focus that will NEVER change: “Every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth man to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil[.]” (Moroni 7: 16.)


Any preacher, leader, bishop, president, apostle, seventy or elder who asks you to believe in men, trust men, accept authority of men, is most certainly not of Christ. (See D&C 76: 99-101.) Anyone who points you to Christ, asks you to seek to know Christ, invites you to struggle to hear and follow Christ, you can know is of Christ. 


Those who boast of their own spiritual prowess as a credential to have you notice them are dangerous. Those who testify of Christ, preach of Christ and ask you to know Him, while admitting their own insignificance, are worth hearing. Everything I believe is anchored in the scriptures. 


Those who are deceived as they struggle to find Christ can repent as soon as they realize they have listened to a false spirit. Joseph was overcome by “thick darkness” before he called upon God and was delivered. Lehi walked behind a man dressed in white for the space of many hours in a “dark and dreary waste” before he called upon God and was delivered. When Adam built an altar and called upon God, it was Lucifer who replied, “I hear you, what is it you want?” Adam had to refuse the offer and await true messengers sent from the Father. 


You will encounter false spirits, as well as true ones if you will persist. You need to be familiar with both in order to choose. These opposing forces are part of the process of becoming competent and adept. No one lacking knowledge of these things can be saved. “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power.” (TPJS, p. 217.)


Do not fear learning and experience. Fear ignorance. Ignorance will damn you.

Will Fail Again

I got an email asking why I thought this new direction would be any better than the many prior attempts launched through Joseph Smith. My response is given below:

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Unlike the institution Joseph left us (which may not have been the end of his work had he gone to the Rocky Mountains), the new opportunity is diffused, non-hierarchical, incapable of central control, and free to permit the Spirit to guide.


Unlike Joseph’s successors, I have nothing to take, nothing to envy. I paid a great deal to give the talks. Not just in time, but also in money. I had to rent these venues, and allowed the public to come attend for free. Anyone wanting to do likewise will have to incur losses, not obtain gain.

Unlike Joseph’s institution, there is no profit in this new restart. Money is not gathered, but used directly among the Saints to help the poor. No one will aggregate money, and therefore no one will likewise aggregate influence, control or political status.

Unlike the many prior groups claiming Joseph as their point of origin, this is entirely equal among all who participate. 

Unlike the prior order, this can spring up anywhere in the world at the same time, if but one person there decides to take action. It is instantly global.

Unlike the prior nearly two centuries, it returns only to the essential, basic doctrine of Christ, allowing all to freely come and accept what is essential, basic and saving. That agreement can unite any of the many divergent faith-traditions, even if they are not otherwise “Mormon” in any sense.  Agreement on what is essential allows all to come and partake freely.

This is Christ’s work, not man’s. Men participate, respond, and seek for God’s approval. But the divergent nature and requirement to connect with heaven before even attempting baptism shows it requires a connection to heaven to even begin. The rudimentary first step is taken with heaven holding the participant’s hand. They are NOT and cannot rely on some strongman to guide them, but instead they become strong in their own right to participate. 

These steps were given to allow us to avoid, not repeat, the errors. We will make new ones, but will avoid the big ones from before. Because it is diffused, however, some spirit-filled groups will be allowed to rise, even if others are corrupted by vain and proud participants. There is no overall “organism” that can be co-opted. It will require every single one of the fellowships to all become corrupt before it can fail. Then, too, it can revive again among a worthy fellowship on the same terms still later.