Dallas Talk

I will be speaking on Thursday, October 19th at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas, Texas from 6-7:30 p.m. CST. This is the second in a series of talks about Christianity and the Reformation and will be followed by a third talk in Atlanta, Georgia in November.

If you live in the Dallas, Texas or Atlanta, Georgia areas, and are willing to help us with invitation and other needs for the lectures being delivered in those cities, please contact Vern or Whitney Horning: vernwhit@msn.com

Update and Correction

I announced the new website for the scriptures committee in my last post. I characterized it as a “Guide and Standard” website. That is the issue currently occupying a lot of attention, but the committee’s website has a larger purpose. The committee’s website is for reporting to the assembly of believers what the scripture committee is doing and how the final steps for publishing the scriptures are progressing. Providing a platform for those who don’t have a platform of their own is a secondary (and necessary) function. Submitted proposals might have personal opinion in them, but the committee does not see a need to curtail anything unless it is disrespectful.

I wanted to correct my earlier, limited description of the new website. The site provides its own explanation of the purpose and scope.

Guide and Standard Website

The original intent for the scriptures.info website was to house the scripture project and provide research tools. Because the Guide and Standard has now become the subject of extensive discussion, the topic needs to be moved onto a new discussion site. The Scripture Committee has developed a new website for discussion of the Guide and Standard and as a venue for announcements. The new site is titled Scriptures Project and can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

Scriptures Project

This will allow the original scriptures.info site to remain dedicated to the original purpose of providing the various source materials for the scriptures as a reference and research site.

Sexual Fidelity

There are too many false, foolish and untrue things said about me for me to be able to denounce them all. I could accomplish nothing else if I were to spend my time denying all these falsehoods. So I leave them unaddressed and continue to move forward accomplishing such little good as I am able.

One recent false attack suggests that, contrary to the many talks, posts, books and teachings I have provided defending sexual purity before marriage and fidelity after marriage, that I am somehow involved in promoting something called “bonded marriage.” I may not have the name right. I do not fully understand the false idea.

Let me be clear, again, that I denounce polygamy, adultery, fornication and sexual impurity. Those who read what I write know there is really no reason for me to even make this denunciation. But almost all opinions about me are formed second-hand, and the tale-bearers speak their falsehoods with the enthusiasm that persuades many people of their lies.

A recent incident involving a man’s improper conduct was discussed in a private meeting a few weeks ago. I attended a portion of that meeting. The man involved was charged, in part, with spreading a false teaching. The facts turned out that he was not spreading the falsehood, but was the victim of the teaching. He, and a married woman together were taught the falsehood by a woman who believed in the idea. The woman who introduced it to them contacted me directly and confessed she was the source of the false teaching and regretted very much her involvement with the fiasco. To my surprise, two other women contacted me and admitted they had a role in teaching this false idea and were also aware of the harm that followed such erroneous beliefs.

To me the man stated that he realized his error, confessed his mistake, denounced the teaching, and sought to apologize many times to those involved with him before the private meeting I attended. He had also been rebaptized to repent of his error. I don’t defend his actions. I never said he was “innocent.” I did say he was penitent. His penitence before the meeting and while I was present at the meeting was apparent. He admitted his wrongdoing, despite the personal humiliation involved, and he wept over his failure.

As for the man’s involvement in the scriptures project, he had no effect on the final product by his preliminary work. He worked on the Book of Mormon, and everything he did was discarded a couple of months ago and the whole redone. It was redone because of a recently released publication that provided side-by-side comparisons for every single word of every version of the Book of Mormon in existence. These include, among others, the original, the printer’s manuscript, the 1830, 1837, 1840, 1841, 1840 London, 1920, 1981, and all the others. Every word from the beginning word to the last was detailed. The set was purchased and provided to those who were doing the work. The books were used by two teams; each having two members. All of them are in Utah. Both teams worked as pairs with one another to recheck every word and solve the word discrepancies, deferring to the original manuscript whenever it was available. Joseph’s 1840 version was deferred to secondly. Joseph made changes in 1837 and 1840 to conform back to the original translation.

What the man contributed most meaningfully was peace-making between members of the committee when discussions resulted in disputes. He helped make peace. The rule for the committee was that any question required unanimous agreement. He was part of the unanimity, and no one ever made a solo decision. His greatest contribution was to be the voice speaking for peace and harmony as difficult challenges were faced during the work.

Not only do I teach marital fidelity and sexual propriety, but the new scriptures will include Hyrum Smith’s general epistle to the church, published when he was the presiding authority in the church. His general epistle teaches marital fidelity, and counsels against breaking up marriages because of religious differences.

A man should have only one wife. And he should be faithful to her. Likewise wives should be faithful to their husbands. Everyone should act honorably and keep their marital vows, even when there are differences between spouses over religious ideas.

I alone am responsible for receiving from the Lord the content of the Prayer for Covenant, Answer to Prayer, and Covenant language. The Prayer for Covenant was provided by revelation from the Lord to me alone. It took me nearly 200,000 words in a book to say what the Lord, by inspiration, provided in the Prayer in less than 3,000 words. He is a great deal better at revealing the truth than am I.

____________________________

Women who participated in the private meeting have now released a statement that is linked below:

Clarifying Light and Darkness

Covenant People

Man does not make covenants with God. God offers a covenant and people either accept or reject God’s offer. But until God offers, mankind can do nothing to create a covenant with or for God.

The preface to the Doctrine and Covenants was a revelation intended to introduce an accompanying volume.

the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord neither his servants neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles shall be cut off from among the people; for they have strayed from mine ordinances and have broken mine everlasting covenant. They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness but every man walketh in his own way and after the Image of his own God whose Image is in the likeness of the world and whose substance is that of an Idol which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon even Babylon the great which shall fall. (D&C 1, Emphasis added.)

The Lord cannot fulfill His promises, prophecies and covenants without a covenant people. There are always those who will stray and break His covenant. Among the problems the Lord has to overcome when He makes an effort to gather people together to become His, is the tendency of the proud and defiant to “walk in his own way” and to have an “Image of his own God” as the guide. The path to becoming God’s people does not lie in a solitary walk by those who claim they have their “own way” to follow. It is to be found by living the commandments of Christ among brothers and sisters who grow to have one heart and one mind.

Given the tendency of wicked men to exploit the weak, society has made it impossible to live the Sermon on the Mount or Sermon at Bountiful as a solitary individual. In a godly society where people ‘do unto others other than as they wish to have done to them,’ it is possible to live in peace. Those Sermons by the Lord are meant to change a culture. It is the blueprint for a community that can grow in understanding until they have one heart and one mind. The Lord’s teachings lead inevitably to having “no poor among them” because the society is able to learn to have peace with one another.

California Talk September 21

I will be speaking on September 21st at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in the Los Angeles area. If you are in that area I would appreciate any effort you can make to let local non-Mormons know about the talk.

The talk is tailored for a Christian audience and is connected with the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was needed, but was only part of what God planned to happen before the Second Coming of the Lord. The Restoration is also necessary.

There are many things about Christian history that the paid, Protestant and Catholic clergy will avoid. I am not a paid minister, and no donations will be solicited at the talk. It is a sacrifice and a labor of love intended solely to help advance preparations for the Lord’s return.

Individual efforts by those of you willing to help inform others in the Los Angeles area will be appreciated. Feel free to use your best efforts to make people aware of the planned talk. It will be at the following address:

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Sierra Room

12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos, California.

More information is available at the “2017 Events” page on the website Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Reconciliation (A Little)

A joint accord has been reached by the Lutherans and Catholics on one issue that has divided them since Martin Luther. Luther, because he rejected Catholic authority claims, needed another basis for salvation. He identified God’s grace alone as the solution. Catholicism, however required the accouterments it offered through its claims to priesthood authority, and by extension authoritative ordinances. Therefore the Catholic claims required believers to respond with suitable submission, or works, to be saved.

The joint accord now allows the question of grace vs. works to be buried, as between Catholics and Lutherans. Harmony is found in the statement which contains these words:

“By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part,  we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works.”

The whole accord can be found here: Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church).

Paragraph 25 explains:

“We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. By the action of the Holy Spirit in baptism, they are granted the gift of salvation, which lays the basis for the whole Christian life. They place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. Such a faith is active in love and thus the Christian cannot and should not remain without works. But whatever in the justified precedes or follows the free gift of faith is neither the basis of justification nor merits it.”

The entire statement is interesting and can be seen at the link above.

What if salvation is not determined by grace alone, by works alone, or even some combination of the two? What if it comes from the ministry of one sent by God to declare salvation? And faith comes by hearing the message like Paul taught. (See Romans 10:17.) Paul was expounding a passage from Isaiah (Isa. 53:1), a prophet sent by God. Paul was likewise sent with a message from God. What if the meaning is that in order to receive salvation it is essential that the believer receive a message from a minister actually sent by God with a message for our day and time?

What if salvation requires the same thing now as when Isaiah preached and prophesied, and when Paul taught, and when Christ ministered to mankind? What if there is a necessary relationship between the sender of a message (God) and the speaker of the message (one sent by God) in order for the message to actually result in salvation for the hearer-believer?

Who has believed our report, indeed? And who, then, has saving faith?

This is a moment that has been 500 years in the coming. But it does not carry the certifying imprint of God’s word. Instead it carries the authority of compromise between two institutions whose link to God is borrowed from those who did speak with and for God, but who have long been dead. Does living faith require a living message? If so neither Lutheran nor Catholic institutions can save. Nor can their new agreement signal anything important for anyone’s salvation.

Scripture Voting

Some issues raised by the scripture project now underway are most appropriately decided by common consent. Here is the link to voting where the issues are set out:

There will be a second round of voting later this month where additional matters will be addressed.

 

 

New Video

There is a new video on the website for the 500th Anniversary of the Christian Reformation. The video is titled:
Reconsidering Everything

A link is provided by clicking on the name above. You can access all six of the videos on that same page.

Prayer

I received the following email:

Denver,

I know you are used to far more profound questions, but do you have any suggestions on how to make prayer meaningful? I find it hard to pray, given that God knows whats in my head and what I will say, but I have been making an effort to pray more. Any tips?
_______________________________
I sent the following reply:
Talk like you are addressing your most intimate friend and have nothing to hide. Tell Him about your regrets, hopes, frustrations, concerns, fears, and confusion. Before long you will discover that whatever you care about God also cares about. He can give perspective that changes everything. Prayer should not recognize the distance between us and God, but should become the way we close that distance.