BOWbutton

This button is a resource to link those desiring baptism with those having authority to baptize. More information can be found here.

 

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:

_____________________________
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.

Two Ways

There are two opposing powers which use two different forces. There is love and fear.

Love invites, encourages, waits, supports and rejoices in progress. Love is undeterred by setbacks. Instead, love finds a way to address obstacles and tries again. Love creates.

Fear inhibits, controls, discourages and limits progression. Fear offers setbacks and looks for obstacles to end creativity. Fear rejects what love offers.

If we were all motivated by love, we would never demand anything of one another. Instead we would request, and then be grateful when we received.

Love allows differences in religious views to be shared in a mutual search for harmony. Fear prevents this. Indeed fear causes religious differences to descend into hatred.

Religion cannot bring Zion if it uses fear. It must reject it and allow itself no tool other than love to overcome this world. God is love.

Utopia

Sir Thomas More titled a 1516 book Utopia, coining a term used forever after for an ideal society. Sir More may have coined the term but Utopian ideas go back to Plato’s Republic for scholars, and Enoch for Christians and Jews. Fiction writers often try to describe an imaginary perfect society, and Hollywood regularly uses the theme. Mankind yearns for it.

There will be a latter-day Zion. The scriptures give little description, and the smallest of criteria for Zion. “The Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18.) That is the list:
-one heart
-one mind
-dwelt in righteousness
-no poor among them.

Seems simple. The list is so short it begs the questions: Why haven’t we done this? Why aren’t WE doing this?

There are a lot of “rich, learned, wise and noble” (D&C 58: 10) who think they are going to be residents of Zion because, well, they’re rich, learned, wise and noble. They believe they came here with noble heritage making them elect, special, chosen and endowed with great power. I hope they gather. I hope they move right into their Utopian experiment and get to enjoy each other’s prideful company.

The ideas given by a kind and patient Lord in Mesa were not mine. I am trying to understand them myself. Here is what I think at present in my struggle with the material:

Families need to develop independent and strong faith in God by worshiping together, praying together, studying the scriptures, performing ordinances like baptism using power given by God, and the sacrament. They should pay tithes and help those in need among them. If there is excess, reserve it for a worthy purpose. There will be some challenges, and some divisions will no doubt require study, faith, prayer and humility to overcome. Eventually they will become one.

When families expand by marriage the new sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and their families should likewise fellowship with one another and practice their religion. As soon as anyone new joins an association, everything fractures again. But time, patience and careful repetition of what went before will eventually restore unity.

If several extended family groups unite in fellowship, disunity returns and rough edges will need to be smoothed out, feelings respected, and different views discussed. Because families have an existing order and likely have a father whose priesthood is known and respected, these groups will require some mechanism for resolving cross-family priesthood questions. Outside a family, a man does not get an automatic recognition to perform an ordinance or render priestly service. The means for recognition of a man’s right to serve was provided in Mesa. No fellowship automatically respects any man’s claim. Approval will need to be given. Unlike present methods, in these fellowships since only men will have recognized priesthood, they will receive approval to perform by the sustaining by at least seven women. Once this has been done, the combined groups of multi-family fellowships have the means to continue to perpetuate religious service, perform unifying ordinances and worship God together.

At this point I think of the early experiences Joseph Smith had. There was an outstanding, well educated, and politically astute man who helped negotiate the Nauvoo Charter through the Illinois Legislature. He impressed everyone. He was admired, trusted and immediately accepted by the Saints. Joseph added him to the First Presidency. He was elected the first Mayor of Nauvoo. He was the Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion. All of Nauvoo took pride in John C. Bennett and thought themselves blessed by having a man of his stature among them.

His meteoric rise ended in May 1842 when he was excommunicated for adultery. In addition to adultery, he was suspected of polygamy, homosexuality, and performing abortions. The abortions were part of the underground practice of polygamy, terminating unwanted pregnancies to prevent public notice of these sexual improprieties. Joseph Smith learned of these underground sex rings as he presided over Nauvoo High Council proceedings. He was later accused by some of the participants of having approved it in the first (and only) edition of the Nauvoo Expositor.

I also think of the earlier ambitious and enthusiastic Mormon converts who shone brightly for a brief season, then turned cold and dark. Kirtland itself rose in spiritual splendor and promise, only a few years later to drive Joseph and Sidney away under the cover of dark, while a mob gave chase for 200 miles. Kirtland became a community-wide failure.

What has changed? How have we become so much better than they? It is because we have abandoned communitarian ideals and are now stratified into economic divisions, educational divisions, hierarchical divisions, and the “haves” take their status for granted while the “have nots” accept their fate while awaiting a glorious afterlife? Is it because we have pseudo-stability? We have an accepted status quo? Is it because we tolerate a disparate society and that is proof we live in peace?

But one heart? One mind? Living in righteousness? No poor among us?

We are no better than Kirtland, and may be a lot worse. There are just as many Wilson Laws, John C. Bennetts, Chauncey Higbees, William Marks and Ezra Booths among us today as during Joseph’s time. Our pride and haughtiness is just as fractioning now as you will find in any generation among any people. We will have to LEARN to be one. Such a distant and guarded mountain peak seems unlikely for us to scale. (At least without considerable individual Divine assistance.)

We have a chance, but only a chance. Required work begins among the people who are the very closest to you – your own family. There you begin to develop the skill to work out interpersonal conflict and resolve turmoil. These are the people you are closest to and should have the greatest willingness to compromise with to problem solve.

We grow incrementally. We develop in stages. We learn skills then use them to solve greater problems using the same skill set we learned through experience.

There may be some great, towering lights who do not need to develop skills at problem solving and who are ready to found Zion today. If so, they should do so. Let us all stand back and admire them. Surely they have much to show the world. Many of these self-proclaiming great ones never sacrifice their name by stepping forward and letting themselves be identified, their reputation attacked, their motives questioned, and their church membership threatened or lost. As the Lectures on Faith inform us, without sacrifice we have no faith, for faith comes by sacrifice and in no other way. Read the Lectures on Faith.

The lecture in Mesa drove many people away and will continue to do so. That is a good thing. Those leaving will not make the required sacrifice, and therefore will not develop faith. They will not be able to gather. God will not allow it.

The lecture, parts 1 through 10, give us the means to develop incrementally. It was to help those who, like me, are not part of the great, towering nobility needing no refinement. It allows me and my fellow poor, lame, blind, and deaf associates (D&C 58: 11) a chance to grow as we struggle to overcome our weaknesses and many shortcomings. I need to work on a great deal. To me, it does not seem easy.

There will be imposters. They will be exposed so they can repent, or they will be sent away. There will be those who are cruel, proud and unkind. They need the opportunity to overcome their character flaws. If they refuse to reform, eventually they will stop associating with us and we with them. Malignant hearts are not easily concealed. Ambition and pride destroy, not build, communities.

I have had high hopes in the past for some seekers I have met. People who have made strong, favorable impressions, at first. A few years later, some of these people I had high regard for prove themselves proud, controlling, dictatorial and unworthy.

Similarly, I have seen some who did not stand out at first but who, over time, have proven themselves godly, self-sacrificing and brave. Time and experience change people. Even now some who are “great” stand in peril before God and may fall. Those who exalt themselves have never been candidates for Zion. Gradually, by degrees, we will see maturity, repentance, kindness and even charity become part of these communities.

The great ones who can bypass such effort should do it now, if they can. They should be the shining example so we can learn. They ought to point the way and let us admire their greatness. Show us Utopia, ye noble and great! I won’t ask to be permitted to come in, I only want to admire your accomplishment in the hope I may learn from you.

As for the residue, where I believe I remain, I hope to work out my own development with fear and trembling before God. One day I hope to be gathered. If that day comes, I hope to present no threat to the community because of ambition or pride. I hope to come already disposed to be of one heart and mind with them, having made enough sacrifices along the way to crawl in upon my knees as one of the least. I hope to have developed the skill to be an adept problem solver and an aid to my fellow saint by practicing the things I learned in Mesa in the ways suggested there.

When there is a gathering, I do not think the people invited will believe they are better than others. I doubt very much they will think they have accomplished anything extraordinary. Instead they will marvel at how simple it was to work it out peacefully beforehand, and wonder why mankind has not lived in peace continually since the fall of Adam. Zion will not be proud of itself, because it cannot.

Small choices change destinies. Those who gather before skills have been refined, and before the proud, learned, noble and rich have left, will produce nothing other than Kirtland, Jackson County, Nauvoo and Salt Lake. People need to be driven away, and people need to be refined. This happens simultaneously. It is for a good and wise purpose.

I gave a talk about Zion years ago. In it, I took note that the description in 4 Nephi of the Nephite generations of peace following Christ’s visit included three levels of harmony:

One Level:

“there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.” (4 Ne. 1: 2)

A Second Level:

“And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land;” (4 Ne. 1: 13)

A Third Level:

“there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” (4 Ne. 1: 15).

I think this pattern will need to be repeated. We will not get to a third level of harmony among us unless we first work out and resolve contentions in our families, and then in fellowship groups before we have the ability to do so as a gathered community. Zion must have
-one heart
-one mind
-dwell in righteousness, and
-no poor among them.

If that is not us then we are not Zion.

Questions?

From an email I received. This is an exchange between third-parties. 
I’ve attended many of the ten lectures and I’ve listened to all of them. I was at the Phoenix lecture. At the conclusion of the lecture, different people had different understandings of what was communicated, what was to be done, and what they were to do. It is interesting to see all the discussion online and in the social media about what “Denver said.” Some of what I’ve seen is a reasonable, fair summary. Some summaries are downright wrong and could only be spread with malicious intent to confuse or deceive others. Reading either fair or unfair summaries lead to poor understanding. 

Most people interested in these things are familiar with Mormon investigators who tell the missionaries or members that they heard X, Y, or Z about the Book of Mormon  and the Mormon church from their pastor. The typical response is to encourage the investigator to read the book themselves and to make up their own decision and ask God for wisdom over the matter. I think the same thing applied here. 

If anyone is curious about what was said in Phoenix, they should listen to, or preferably read, all ten parts of the one talk that culminated in Phoenix. 
____________________________
I’m getting a lot of questions. I will not be answering. So far as I know, I have completed everything asked of me concerning those talks. Until asked to do something else, I wait on the Lord, and will only proceed when told to do so.
If you re-read the earlier 9/10ths of the talk you will find there are answers to be found there. Let me refer you to the Orem talk on priesthood. In the beginning there was one priesthood, not three divisions. That same priesthood which was in the beginning will be in the end of the world, also. Read the talk.
If I were ordaining anyone to any priesthood today as part of a community, I would ordain them to “the Holy Order” and leave it to God and the angels to decide how far the individual is permitted to progress in their association with the Powers of Heaven.
When the high priesthood was first restored in the June 1831 conference, those ordained failed. (I have already given an account of this in the post on August 19, 2014 titled “Laying On Hands.”) Later that year, in a conference held in October 1831, another group was ordained to high priesthood. They likewise failed.

Joseph was undeterred by the persistent failures. He believed anyone could rise up if they were taught how. Joseph believed it was ignorance that damned us and a man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge. Boise lecture.

Rather than throw his hands up at the failure, he set to work compiling a series of lectures to be given to these prospective “prophets” in a School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio. By 1835, he carefully edited the lectures to print them for the entire church. The Lectures on Faith were the first part of the Doctrine and Covenants, published in 1835, and vouched for by Joseph Smith. This was the Idaho Falls lecture. The Lectures tell you what the religion was designed to accomplish. They were composed in an effort to get the early church to rise up and reclaim power from heaven. 

The failure to secure power in the priesthood was so complete, widespread and thorough that by 1921 The Lectures on Faith seemed only to mock the church. So a committee took them out of the scriptures. Idaho Falls.
There are many answers to the questions you may have because of the 10th lecture found in the previous 9. Read them.
The struggle, questions and dilemmas you face are good. Hopefully they will take you to God looking for answers. 

Mighty, Strong, Davidic

I have never claimed, in public or private, to be anything other than a weak and foolish man.

The notion that I think I am anything other than that repulses me.

For years I have said that until someone actually accomplishes something, they have no right to claim they are something great or wonderful, that they fulfill prophecy, or are God’s chosen anything.

Nobody has accomplished anything since Joseph Smith. There is a great hill to climb. Until someone climbs it and serves to guide others, we are left with pretenders, ego-maniacs, fools, impostors and villains.

Something is underway. Nothing has been accomplished. You need to participate. Starting a project, and getting 1% of it accomplished, and then claiming you are a “great” anything is not just a mistake, but it takes the eye off of the unfinished project – a very difficult project. Getting to your own 2 yard line still leaves 98 yards to go.

Without the refining of a transition phase, we will be utterly unprepared. But the refinement itself will be very hard, and there will be many who fail.

If a few succeed, then those can be gathered. Once gathered, there is still work to be done. Those who believe we can take a giant step do not comprehend how natural the evolution of God’s work is. It requires effort every day, and will require as much of latter-day Zion as was required for Enoch and Melchizedek. It’s difficult to imagine how much needs to be left behind and how much needs to be added.

If you think I’m something great and important, you miss altogether what is YOUR responsibility. The restoration belongs to YOU. No one is going to invoke a magic spell and spare you the development, maturity, selflessness, patience, growth and determination needed to be part of a healthy, functioning society worthy of the presence of God and angels. It is They (God and angels) whose company we seek. Not mine.

Phoenix/Mesa Transcript

The Phoenix/Mesa transcript is up on Scribd. Also, I fixed the link for the St. George lecture. You can find links for them on the right hand side of the blog under DS talks.

Tuesday Lecture

The final lecture will be on Tuesday beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Mesa. The time is local, which in Mesa is Mountain Standard.

Each of the lectures make sense as a “stand alone” but the final installment assumes anyone attending will be familiar with the content of the nine prior talks.

September 9 Lecture Location

Date:    Sept. 9, 2014
Time:    9:30 AM
Place:    Hilton Phoenix/Mesa
            1011 West Holmes Ave
            Mesa, AZ  85210

Seats 700 plus
60 Fwy and Alma School Road

PLEASE NOTE THAT ARIZONA DOES NOT HAVE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS. THE TIME IS ALWAYS LOCAL AT EVERY LOCATION.