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Idaho Falls

Please have your scriptures and The Lectures on Faith  for the upcoming Idaho Falls lecture.

Elder Christopherson of the Twelve gave a speech at BYU Idaho this week. It fits in nicely with the upcoming talk, therefore I am linking it here. I’d recommend you listen to it. His defense of the Prophet Joseph Smith is needed as more and more believing Latter-day Saints get a little troubling information, and collapse in disbelief. The cure, as Elder Christopherson explains, is to not know too little, but to immerse yourself in study and find the answers to any troubling information you unearth.

We have greater access to information today than we have ever had. But if we neglect studying it, then it serves no purpose. Whether Joseph was a prophet or not should matter to you. If you conclude he was, then he affords an opportunity to better understand the relationship between God and man. Joseph’s life is recent enough, with sufficient enough material, that we can learn things about him that are not available to us about Paul, Peter, John the Baptist, Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, Isaiah, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Enoch or Adam.

Learning of the difficulties Joseph endured, understanding the tendency to attribute ill-will to his words and actions despite what motives were in his heart, and the subsequent drift away from his preaching and teaching is important to understand. That understanding should help you in your own effort to live in harmony with God.

I believe that the many revelations in the D&C identifying Joseph as the spokesman for God means exactly that: Joseph was and IS the spokesman God sent. Joseph’s words need to be heeded as if they came from God directly to us. No one has the right to change or ignore them. No one (and I mean NO ONE) has the right to claim they are Joseph’s equal. There are no “keys” or “key holders” who can alter Joseph’s teachings except at their peril. When they ignore or contradict Joseph’s revelations, and teach others that they can ignore the message and warnings given by that prophet who was called by God to begin this dispensation, they damn themselves and any who listen to them.

When Elder Christopherson defends Joseph, I want to rejoice and shout my own “Amen!” to his message. He is my brother in belief as he makes that defense.

Missionary Mishap

When we got back from a walk the other night, there was a missionary tract with $5 in it, a note, a pumpkin, and some tomatoes. The note apologized for destroying our watermelon. The $5 was to pay for the lost watermelon.

On Saturday when the missionaries returned, we learned that the pogo stick on the front porch was too tempting to the Jacksonville, Florida Elder. In his attempt to impress, he mashed the porch watermelon. I told him that I’d like that on video if he filmed it, and that since the garden produce was an unexpected gift, the watermelon wasn’t missed. I gave him his $5 back.

If the Jacksonville parents read this, your Elder is fine, and in the good care of a Missouri companion. If the mission president reads this, I gave the Elders some referral information they could use.

Comments come to the blog and we read every one of them. They are not posted, but are read. Comments degenerate and quickly get off topic. They made this into another discussion blog/board. This is not intended to be a discussion board.

If I wanted to mislead people and never brook even constructive criticism, I would want to make people believe I could never lead them astray. In that regard, instead of telling you that you should always ask and defer to God, because He is unchanging and unchangeable; and instead of explaining that everything you believe should be measured against the scriptures and consistent with what was revealed through Joseph Smith, I would expect you to accept my pronouncements and whims. I respect your intelligence too much to attempt such a foolish undertaking. If I tried to do anything other than persuade with meekness and pure knowledge, you would be able to discern I was up to no good. You know better than to trust any mere man with your faith and confidence. At least I hope you do.

The Red Sox have locked up the AL East. My daughter hit a two out RBI double last night in a boy’s league hardball game. Life is good.

A Contemplated Rebuttal

I received two emails notifying me there is a man, woman, child, or committee who is now getting ready to do a “rebuttal” to Passing the Heavenly Gift. It can be found at: http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/an-evening-in-boise-with-denver-snuffer-part-one/

Normally I would just dismiss someone who lacks the courage to stand up for what they write by identifying themselves. Only then can they be tested by the kind of criticism, disdain, insults, derision and discomfort my family and I are constantly subjected to. Denver Snuffer is my real name. However, this particular woman, or committee, or man has some thoughtful material that I have enjoyed reading. Therefore, despite her/his/their anonymity, I am hopeful there will be worthwhile and productive criticism given.

I suspect this is written by a single individual, because of the constant use of the word “I.” However, that could be a collective agreement to use the singular. It is clear the individual/committee want to be viewed as masculine, but I’ve seen this done by women as well. You will note in the first installment that when they agree with me, I am called “Denver” and when they disagree I am “Snuffer.” That suggests some internal disagreement, so there’s either more than one or the individual is conflicted.

In any event, I’m hopeful this can provide what the church never has: some feedback based on history that shows PTHG errs in retelling the events of our dispensation.

Schedule

The next lecture in the fortieth year series will be on Saturday, September 28th in Idaho Falls (Skyline Activity Center, 1575 North Skyline Drive, Idaho Falls.) Since it is a Saturday it will be casual dress. The site will accommodate 200 people. There is overflow potential outside, and the intention to put two speakers for that area (if needed). This would allow some folks to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and (weather permitting) listen outside. Or just get a CD afterwards and listen to that. Copies can be preordered at http://www.publishinghope.info. The following day in Logan (The CopperMill Restaurant, Emporium, upstairs, 55 North Main Street, Logan, Utah. Enter off Center Street or 1st West.) The talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. I will be in Sunday dress.

Each talk is entirely different material, laying a foundation to understand the topic of Zion. All the talks will be leading into a single theme: the restoration of Zion.

The fourth talk will be on October 6th in Centerville, Utah. It will also be Sunday dress, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Do not think you need to attend. The talks are recorded. They will be available on CD’s. The CD’s will be transcribed. Once they are transcribed they will be made available here on this blog. Eventually the recordings will be made available as a free MP3 download. When the entire subject is concluded next year, the transcripts will be gathered into a book and the book will be available. So whether you ever attend or not, the information will all be available in two formats: recorded and written. Both will be available for purchase (CD’s/book) and for free (MP3/blog entries).

The discussions will mean a good deal more if you just listen to the material. The ideas and doctrine matter. The scriptures and their language matter. The message, not the messenger.

I like criticism more than praise. Criticism, particularly well thought through criticism, is appreciated. Never shout down critics. Let them have a full say. If they make a good point then think about it. Always remember that redemption comes from the only Holy Being who condescended to come here precisely because of His perfection. He alone could break the bonds of death.

Remember that in all the diversity and wonder of nature there is very little that is identical. Each one of us is unique for a reason. Your unique existence is a reflection of God’s great liberty given to us all. There is no uniformity of thought. We ought to exchange ideas, never try to control the thinking of others. Let everyone believe as they may. If you have a better idea, articulate it and persuade others. But never think your view alone ought to rule everyone else’s thinking. God doesn’t do that. He persuades. He invites. He entices. Gently. Lovingly. Patiently. So stop acting like you shouldn’t be bound by the same constraints. Also remember that when discussing an important topic, it is not possible to set out every detail in one statement, one comment or one discussion. The entire scope and sweep of the matter takes time and patience for clarity. If you’ve read it, the discussion in The Second Comforter about the first year Torts class in law school is a good illustration of how confused the subject was before clarity was found. It is good to let a matter emerge incrementally until you can see enough of the topic to have it form a clear image.

On Marriage

A couple trying to lose weight decided they would be more motivated if they began to weigh themselves together. As they did, the husband complained that all the increases were the fault of his wife. He took credit for all their losses. Over time she became very thin, and he quite corpulent. But they did lose a little in the process.

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The Talk Transcriptions

For those who read the newly linked talks, the transcripts will differ slightly from the talks. In the talks I spoke spontaneously using lists of scripture as my only text. The remarks were free flowing and unrehearsed. Then they were transcribed verbatim.

I took the verbatim transcription and edited it to reflect better sentence structure and subject-verb agreement. I took some compound sentence fragments and reshaped them into actual sentences. NOT perfect, but somewhat better. Then I added parenthetical references to show where an unexpressed scriptural cite could be found because that was what was in my head when the remark was made. It gives context to the reader.

I also corrected some misstatements, such as “Articles of Faith” when I meant “Lectures on Faith.” Since I knew what I meant, the transcription corrects that. Also there was a “Levite” which was meant to be “Judah.”

I also noted that one thought I began wasn’t finished. So in the transcript I finished the thought.

When these get gathered together and published as a book, it will be edited further. At that time, it will be edited with readability in mind and a good deal more grammar and sentence structure will be imposed on the text. Also, there are numerous footnotes that will be added when I make them into a book.

None of the talks are written or will be written in advance. They will just be given – then transcribed. The only talk I’ve written in advance was the paper presented at Sunstone last year. They required it. Otherwise, I speak spontaneously.

Transcripts

On the right column of this page there is a new section where you can link to the talks/papers I’ve given. The transcript of the Boise talk is available there now, as well.

Evil Speaking of Anointed

I was asked how I justify “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed” –a question I’ve already answered here, here, and here, among other places.

It would be better to read what I write than to presume something about me. If you’re interested enough to criticize, then why aren’t you interested enough to read what I’ve written so your criticism can be grounded in more than your imagination?

It used to take a hundred years for changes to come about. Now those same changes in understanding take about 5 to 7 years. A whole new understanding of the history of the church is coming. Just wait, and remember when it does, how very foolish the church’s reaction to Passing the Heavenly Gift was back in 2013.

I spoke with a member of my ward (leadership) the other day. He said he thought I’d gotten all the facts right in the book. He said the church can differ in interpretation, but no one can really argue with the facts.  

I kept all my covenants with both the Lord and the church. I would never have broken my covenants with the church. But the church has broken them. That will not change what covenants I have with the Lord. They will remain unbroken.

Sometime after Joseph’s death, there was one covenant the church changed. Instead of consecrating everything for the building up of Zion, the covenant was reworked to consecrate everything to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the establishment of Zion. That reworking of the covenant means that if the church doesn’t do it, then someone who honors the covenant with the church cannot. Or, alternatively, it means that when the church neglects to build Zion, then the church has broken the covenant and that relieves the other party of their obligation to consecrate to the church. I took the first view. I would not depart from that covenant, even though I’ve had more than one conversation with the Lord about it. Now I find the church has broken the covenant, relieved me of any further need to involve them in the matter, and allowed me to pursue this as a matter of faith. The irony of that is they broke the covenant on the day I was traveling to Boise to begin a year-long series of talks about Zion. I see the hand of God in that.

As soon as the Boise talk is transcribed I will post it/link to it here. I imagine that will be within the next two to three weeks.