174: Cry Peace, Part 3

In this series, Denver addresses the importance of becoming peacemakers, learning to live together peacefully, and crying peace in these last days.

Moses had power to divide the seas. And he did that by the word of God (see Exodus 14:15-16, 21; see also Exodus 9:3-4 RE). And yet, when Moses used the power to cause the rock to bring forth water (and not at the command of God), he suffered some loss. Possession of the power does not mean you freelance. Because in the very statement about the possession and the capability and the capacity, it says it’s according to His will. Therefore, in order to be someone who can be trusted, you have to be someone who will subordinate to His will.

The Lord was not mis-stating the case, when He said, “No man takes my life,” because the Lord had the capacity, at His own word, to prevent the entire armies of Rome from doing any harm to him. “Don’t you know,” he asked Pilate, “if I asked, there’d be twelve legions of angels?” (see Matthew 26:53; see also Matthew 12:11 RE). You know, you don’t even need a legion of angels to take on a legion of Rome, much less a little Centurion’s cohort in Galilee (or in Judea, rather).

When you have someone who arises to this point and can be trusted, they nevertheless can be slain. Because, like our Lord, they don’t get to use… Well, they are trustworthy enough so as not to misuse what has been entrusted to them. Therefore, the fact that they can “hold at defiance the armies of nations” means that they will do so only in accordance with His will—because sometimes it is His will to destroy the children of Israel, when they have sinned against Him. And then, they have to detect the error and repent of it before they can go forward. Well, 

[all] men having this faith, coming up unto this order…were translated and taken up into heaven. (JST Genesis 14:32) 

…that being a statement about not today but the moment of Melchizedek’s ordination, his day, and those that had lived before him, in their day. Translated and taken up into heaven—we will get to the point later where we’ll find out that this same authority that was in the beginning is going to return at the end of the earth, also. But its return at the end of the earth has a different purpose. At the beginning of the earth, this was the purpose. 

And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, …was called the Prince of peace [that is also is one of the titles given to the Lord, the Prince of Peace]. …his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world. (Ibid, vs. 33-34)

See, and you wonder what they’ve been doing for lo these many thousands of years; and yet, if you understood the physics of it all, you’d realize that you can go out and back in a hurry, and it’s overnight if you travel fast enough and far enough and return.  There’s really… Ah, well, that’s another matter altogether. 

And [He] hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together… (Ibid, vs. 35, emphasis added) 

See, they… That city of Enoch is reserved until the latter days of the end. It was separated from the earth, but it’s going to come again in the latter days. And the Lord swore, 

…with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire. (Ibid) 

…meaning that when they return again, those sons who remain standing are going to have to be able to endure the fire that is coming. They who come shall burn them up—we talked about that briefly in Boise, and we’ve been trying to track that down through Idaho Falls, and now we see it again here. Therefore, this priesthood has something to do with all of the talks that I’ve been giving up to this point and where we go from here.

And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace [because he brought peace to them]. And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God; [whom] Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor. [And] Abraham paid…him… (Ibid, vs. 36-39; see also Genesis 7:18-21 RE)

…and so on. In any event, Melchizedek established priests/established righteousness; his city was a city of peace.

Doctrine and Covenants section 133, beginning at verse 25 is a description of the results if there is a people who get prepared. This will be the result (133, beginning at 25):

And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh. And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; …they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory [in this context, it’s an ordinance], even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows. (D&C 133:25-34; see also T&C 58:3)

Ephraim the proud. Ephraim the headstrong. Ephraim—the one who is constantly in rebellion. Ephraim must come back, must heel to, must at last allow the Lord to rule over him, because Ephraim has got to rise up in order for this to happen—not in haste; never in haste. 

Crowned with glory or in other words “with intelligence” or in other words “light and truth” or the “knowledge of God” so that no one need tell you Know ye the Lord—because you’re all going to know Him, from the least to the greatest.

Going back to 3 Nephi chapter 21:

But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this…remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance

They are the Gentiles. They are Ephraim—you. 

And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. …then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, …unto the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I [will also] be in [their] midst… 

The word “Powers of Heaven” is talking about the angels. In this circumstance, the power is singular. Not only because they are one, but because among them will be our Lord Himself. And where He is, there is the Power of Heaven, and it is singular.

And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people… 

Because when you gather to hear what you’re going to hear there, this is the final stage in the Father’s work. This is the work that requires holiness to accompany even its teaching.

Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name. Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance. And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward. (3 Nephi 21:22-29; see also 3 Nephi 10:1 RE)

Again and again, the notion that this work can be hastened is denounced. Again and again, it’s to be a place in which the preparations are done first. Again and again, it suggests that before we can gather together, we must have that heart/that mind which can make us one.

Turn back and look at the results—Doctrine and Covenants 45, beginning at verse 65:

And with one heart and with one mind, gather [you] up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God; And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion… 

They won’t come unto it because to go there is like Acts chapter 5. You cannot endure that environment if you’re abiding a Telestial law. You’d be consumed.

And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand. And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.  (D&C 45:65-67; see also T&C 31:14-15)

Think about what it would take to transplant various populations, from various locations (not in haste), with everything having been prepared in advance. And in our currently fragmented society, unless you’re willing to experiment with your own effort to live the Law of Tithing by organizing yourselves and governing yourself… Miscellaneous groups will never make it—but people of God will.

Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; [for] I the LORD have spoken it. 

And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them…the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing[s]. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand[s] of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I [am] the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 33:25-34:31; see also Ezekiel 17:2-11 RE, emphasis added)

God dwells in everlasting burnings. In order to be with or near Him, a man must be “quickened” in order to endure the presence. Does that mean that in a quickened state it is impossible for a quickened being to manifest itself in a solid form? Well, take a look at Doctrine and Covenants section 131, verse 7. There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.

Doctrine and Covenants section 77:2 includes the statement: …that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; …that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual (see also T&C 74:2).

D&C 88, verses 15 to 16: …the spirit and the body are the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul (see also T&C 86:2). This definition was given by revelation to Joseph Smith in 1832. Three years later in 1835, Chandler came through and sold the mummies to Joseph Smith. He did not bother translating the end part of the book of Abraham, as we have it, until the 1840s in Kirtland (or excuse me, in Nauvoo). But when he translated it in Nauvoo, he knew the definition of what a “soul” was, that is, [a] spirit and [a] body. When he translated the book of Abraham… In Abraham chapter 3, verse 23, speaking of those in the pre-existence, he says: God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These [will I] make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits (see also Abraham 6:1 RE). They were souls—possessing, therefore, a spirit and a body. And they were spirits because they had not come down yet in the beginning to be in this condition. And it’s speaking about the noble and great (ibid).

By the way, I talked before about the definition of “rulers” in the Gentile world, and that’s someone who exercises authority over them. In the vernacular of both the Book of Mormon and in the vernacular found here, “rulers” in the house of God have nothing to do with dominion over someone else. A “ruler” is someone who teaches. A ruler is someone who is able to give an accurate gauge by which to measure things. A ruler is someone who teaches the truth. If you would want to be a ruler in the house of God, then you have to be someone who declares and teaches the truth.

Take a look at Alma chapter 13—because this is where it becomes very important for us. Alma chapter 13, beginning at verse 17:

Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness [this is his audience]. But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, …received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. (emphasis added; see also Alma 10:2 RE)

First, he received this priesthood. Second, he preached repentance. But nothing would have happened except for, third, the people who heard him did repent. And because of that, people who are described as having waxed strong in iniquity, people who are described as being captivated by abomination[s], people who have all gone astray turned out to be the very people among whom this City of Peace got established. But they did it. They did it by repentance. This isn’t something Melchizedek pulled off, this is something that the people accomplished, and they accomplished it because of their repentance.

I want you to contrast that with another group. This group is in Mosiah chapter 12. Mosiah chapter 12, beginning halfway through verse 12. This is people reacting to the message that Abinadi was delivering to them. They’re accusing Abinadi, and they’re saying: 

And he [Abinadi] pretendeth the Lord hath spoken it. And he saith all this shall come upon thee except thou repent, and this because of thine iniquities. And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged [by] this man? …now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain. …behold, we are strong, we shall not come into bondage, or [being] taken captive by our enemies; yea, and thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper. (Mosiah 12:12-15; see also Mosiah 7:14-15 RE)

Here is the pride, here is the vanity, here is the very thing which, had the people to whom Melchizedek spoken, had they done this, there would have been no City of Peace, there would have been no Salem, there would have been no second Zion.

You generally hail from a tradition that assures you that you’re in the right way. You generally come from a tradition that says you’re better than others. You are able to look down your nose at other people who stumble about in the dark because they don’t have all the great truths that you have. The fact of the matter is you (generally, not specifically, because there are some to whom this absolutely does not apply—your hearts are right before God—but there aren’t many)…  

You have been handed this tradition, and the wicked one cometh, and he takes away Light and Truth, and he does it because of the false traditions you’ve been handed. The greatest among us is wholly inadequate. The greatest among us can’t be trusted with the power of God, not yet anyway. The greatest among us is still in need of repentance. Every one of us should walk fearfully before God, not because God isn’t generous, but because what He offers can turn you into a devil. The only way to be prepared and not fall is to realize the enormous peril that you present, potentially, to the universe. Before you get in a position to enjoy the status that God offers to us all, you need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, exactly like Paul said. You need to purge, remove, reprove. 

This is in Moses chapter 5, verse 9:  And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I’m the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will (see also Genesis 3:4 RE).

So, these are the events that took place in that first generation of Adam and Eve among their descendants. If you want to have peace and harmony for a community, it has to begin inside strong marriages. Zion necessarily requires holy matrimony.

Children need to be taught. Children need to be challenged. Children are the most inquisitive creatures on the planet. Children are eager to learn. They not only don’t know a lot, they know they don’t know a lot. They’re sponges. They want to learn. Boring a child about the gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to the child and an offense to God! Preach the gospel to them. Tell them the truth. Take the material and challenge them to see that this gospel is infinite in scope, that Joseph Smith did not (indeed, could not) have written the Book of Mormon, that there are at least two voices that appear in the dialogue that we looked at yesterday in the book of Ether, that one of them never uses the word “prayer,” and the other one never uses the word “cry.”

Show them from the scriptures what it means to be saved. You will be astonished at how much children are capable of understanding! But I have to warn you, when you begin to teach your children, if you decide to discharge your obligation to them, you’re gonna make them strangers and foreigners and sojourners—and you’re gonna have to find other people who are like-minded and willing to teach their children and discharge their responsibility, so that your kids know that there’s more than just your family that’s interested in comprehending the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Look, go to D&C section 88. I wanna read this and take a slightly different view of it. Beginning at verse 119 of Doctrine and Covenants section 88: 

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord; that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High. Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings. Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, that every man may have an equal privilege. See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires. Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to your bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. And above all things, clothe yourselves with a bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace. Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come. Behold, and lo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself. Amen. (D&C 88:119-126; see also T&C 86:29-30)

Think of this as a description of you (as husband), you (as wife), and your children. And make your house this house. Make this your family: a family of prayer, a family of fasting, a family of faith, a family of learning; therefore, a family of glory—which will bring about a family of order; and therefore, a house of God.

This is seven things. Seven is a symbolic number that gets used to signify the completion or the perfection of something. Finish your house. It has yet to be built if you haven’t built upon that foundation. Let this description not be of some multi-million-dollar building that’s built somewhere using the finances you donate to the organization. Make this you. Make this your people. You should be the temple of God.

That building involves a ritual designed to depict the coming back into the presence of God. Make that ritual a reality in the lives of you and your children. “Where two or three are gathered in my name;” make it possible for Him to come and be with you. Make it possible for Him and the angels themselves to take note and to say, “Look! It’s beginning again! There is faith again on the earth, and the children are being taught. We must act! Let us go down and gather them.” Make yourselves worthy of preservation. Get your own houses in order.

Remember that in Nauvoo the Lord offered to connect the saints. A clearly defined condition for that to happen was necessarily an acceptable temple where he could come and restore the connection. The reconnection is ordinance based and will require an acceptable temple before it goes beyond the single representative.

First, ideas need to be advanced and accepted. Second, we need to act on the ideas. Primarily by repenting and opening ourselves to the influence of God. Third, we have to be humble and patient and willing to practice the religion before we can have any hope of God deciding to gather us. Practical experience is absolutely necessary. Theories and pretensions are not going to get us anywhere. Everyone can theorize the virtues that are necessary to gather people together and live in harmony. Everyone can envision themselves as one of the residents of the city of peace. But the practical experience required to iron out our selfishness and competitiveness so we can actually live in peace is another order of magnitude harder. In the Nauvoo city council minutes you see them grappling with a society that is trying to be composed of Saints. The practical problem solving goes on. There are moments when I’m reading the Nauvoo city council minutes that I’m laughing. Because they go to solve one problem, but the solution creates another.

Basically people are discourteous of one another. And because they’re discourteous of one another, they adopt an ordinance in order to drop one discourtesy only to create another discourtesy on top of that.

For example, one of the problems that they had was Nauvoo was organized as a city in which everyone had a garden plot. But because the garden plots were not fenced, horses and foot traffic would go through the gardens. The result of that was the destruction of needed food stuffs. So they couldn’t get people to build fences around their gardens. The solution to the problem was to turn the hogs loose. Because when the hogs are loose the hogs are going to go into the gardens. So they adopted an ordinance and the ordinance let the hogs in Nauvoo go free, and that produced the required fences that they wanted at the expense of the hog wallows in the middle of the streets in the middle of Nauvoo until finally some guy, tired of the hog problem, went out and killed and butchered and ate a couple of guys that another guy said belonged to him and he sued him and they had the public fight over it.

The point of all this isn’t hogs in the Nauvoo city council, the point of all this is we need practical experience, not theory. The way in which the practical experience can be had is in gathering in fellowships of societies collecting our own tithing. Then grappling with the fact that there is a pile of money sitting there which is ever a temptation and to deal with that in a responsible way that forces individuals to confront their own self will, their own pride, their own desire, their own jealousy, their own envy, their own ambition, their own covetousness.

In the fellowships that have been organized there have been moments of profound breakthroughs in the kind of attributes that you would want for Zion. One group, when they begin their meeting they gather all of the needs and they put all of the needs together. Then they gather the money and the money is always cash and in a container that they don’t know how much cash there is. Without opening the cash then they open the needs and as a group they reason together and agree on what the priority of the needs are. So that they have a list of the most compelling and on down. Once they know what the most compelling, the second, the third, the fourth are they open it up and they count their money. There have been occasions, on one occasion the person whose need could be satisfied – because there was enough money there – looked at the person next in line in the priority behind them. And concluded that in their heart they thought that need greater than their own. If they satisfied that need there would be nothing left for them. So they voluntarily passed on their priority and took none of the money and let it all go to the next person behind them. That is a person that I would willingly add to a community because they’ve learned self-sacrifice.

Someone who advocates incessantly, ‘we have got to live the United Order. We have got to have consecration,’ because they intend to benefit from that, is unfit to be gathered. They would destroy Zion. Someone who says, ‘what can I give? At the cost of my own self-sacrifice.’ And who is willing to live the law of consecration in order to bless and benefit others. Not expecting themselves to be blessed or benefitted, but instead for themselves to carry a burden. Those people can be gathered and they represent no threat. But the way in which those people get identified is by practical experience, which is what the fellowshipping communities are designed – by the inspiration of God – to allow to take place. Every one of us theorizes that we are a great candidate for Zion. Go out and get some practical experience and see how great of a candidate you truly are. You’ll be disappointed in yourself. Most of us would be anyway.

Try to envision yourselves as a temporary family. A temporary gathering together of members of a family. If you don’t have some wonky aunts and some curious uncles, in fact maybe an uncle or two that you want to keep the kids away from. Every family has some strange folks in it. Consider the fellowships nothing more than an extension of that and try and love one another. The fact is that there are going to be those who through their behavior in fellowships are going to disqualify themselves from being able to be gathered because they are just not the kind of people that can live in peace one with another. That also is a good thing. Then there are others who come to the fellowships and their primary interest is in what they can take and what they can get. There are others who come with the only idea in their heart being what can I give, how can I serve. And even through they may not be able to give or serve much that’s what’s in their heart. And you all recognize that, you can all see that in people. Those are the kinds of people from which the Lord is going to gather and build Zion. 

No one in Zion is going to be a threat to someone else. It can’t be. It defeats the purpose of it all. To be able to live in peace with one another means that you literally are harmless to one another. The diversity in which you find yourselves and the ability to bump the corners off one another in fellowships, those are healthy, good, normal things. Hopefully they run their course and eventually result in people becoming smoother and becoming easier with one another. There are some people I admire immensely and they’re tough personalities and they are difficult to deal with. And there are other people who are hard to deal with because they are too easy going and they really need to speak up more. They have more to add but they won’t do it until you coax it patiently out of them. If you don’t figure out that you have to coax it patiently out of them, you’re missing the treasure that this person represents. In your fellowships think of one another as members of a family and then work out your issues, because that is how you grow into being a community.

This is chapter 9 verse 6 of Isaiah: 

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.

This is a prophecy about Christ coming to restore, in the meridian of time, the government of God in which He, Christ, represented the “Father” of all, as the Redeemer of all, as the bringer again of the holy covenant. 

He is prophesied to return with the description provided in the Book of Revelation, chapter 19 verse 16, as “the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords.”

In D&C section 76 He explains what His intention is with respect to mankind. He intends to make men: 

[T]hey are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness and glory, and are priests of the Most High after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. (D&C 76:56.) 

That’s the intention that He has for all men; that men should become like Him: “kings and priests.” 

Zion is a mortal responsibility. Men must cooperate with God for God to be able to bring it. It is not something that heaven is going to provide for us. 

When Enoch and his city were established, it was not until after it was established and people had gathered together that the Lord came and dwelt with them. They prepared the place, they extended the invitation, and the Lord came.

Likewise, in the city that was established by Melchizedek, it wasn’t the angels who built his city. He preached repentance; men repented, and as a consequence of having repented Zion was taken up into heaven. Enoch’s Zion fled. Melchizedek’s Zion fled.

The last days Zion will be built not to flee. It will be built as an established beachhead to which the Powers of Heaven will return in order for He whose right it is to govern the earth can assume the responsibility of governing the earth. He intends to overthrowing every other government there is and to establish as the King and as the Prince of Peace, and as the Father of Righteousness, His rule and His reign over the earth once again at His coming.

Joseph Smith described the priesthood that will function in Zion preliminary to the Lord’s return. This is a quote from one of his teachings: “That priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy and stands as God to give laws to the people.” (That’s from The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith on page 322.) In that same talk there is a better elaboration made [by] one of the note-takers. You can find this in The Words of Joseph Smith, page 246. Joseph said: 

It is understood by many by reading this chapter [referring to Hebrews chapter 7] that Melchizedek was a king of some country or nation on earth. But it was not so. In the original it reads ‘king of shalom,’ which signifies ‘king of peace or righteousness’ and not of any country or nation.

What Melchizedek established was a community of peace, and as the one who preached the peace to which the people came he was acknowledged as the prince of peace or the King of righteousness. 

Well, the original priesthood and the original pattern will have to return in order for the last days Zion to exist. The first Zion, in Moses chapter 7 verse 13: 

And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, …so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

When the government of God is upon the earth in the form of Zion, as it was established by Enoch in his day, then God protects and defends it. God will be the force with which the nations of the earth must contend if they intend to do harm to Zion. Because it is His government, it is His handiwork, and it is an affront to Him to challenge His authority in attacking Zion, hence Enoch’s ability to speak the word of God and to have those that would bring harm upon Zion vanquished. 

Hence, further, the reason why, before the Flood, it was necessary to remove Zion, because God cannot destroy the [righteous]. The wicked can destroy the wicked, and the wicked can destroy the righteous. But when Zion is here, the wicked cannot destroy Zion because God is asserting His government. And because the wicked cannot destroy Zion, and God will not do so, Zion necessarily was taken up into heaven. The same thing happened with Melchizedek’s city.  

The Lord lamented: “How oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and ye would not!” There have been occasions on which it would have been possible to have established Zion, but men would not. When that happens, and men will not, the same rules apply as applied at the beginning. Hence the necessity for removing Moses out of the midst of Israel because through Moses we could have had Zion, but the children of Israel were not interested. Hence the reason why Elijah was taken up into heaven, because Elijah was an opportunity in which it would have been possible for Zion to have been established.  

Well, that same priesthood which was in the beginning that allowed [Melchizedek] to establish the city of peace, the city of righteousness, the city that God Himself would defend, necessarily must return. If you look at D&C Section 133 beginning at verse 26:

And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows.

Heaven will protect the last day’s Zion. It will belong to Him, and therefore God will not allow it to be overtaken or overcome. D&C Section 45 has another prophecy about the last day’s Zion. Beginning at verse 66: 

And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God; And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.

When they came to arrest the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane after His suffering, even though He intended to submit Himself, and to be abused and ultimately killed. When they entered the Apostle John records that Christ, despite the ordeal he had just concluded, stood up, confronted them in their arms and said: “Whom seek ye?” And they said: “Jesus of Nazareth.” And He said: “I am he.” And they stumbled backwards, tripped over one another’s feet, and they fell down. 

An armed group bearing swords and weapons were intimidated by the Lord identifying Himself. He made no attempt to defend Himself, but had He elected to do so, they could not have taken Him. He went as a lamb to the slaughter because he intended, though the Lion of Judah, to become the sacrificial lamb.  

Heaven protected Zion in its first iteration and heaven is going to protect the last day’s Zion. As a consequence of that, the time is going to come when it will not be the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt that people cite as evidence of the power of God. You see, Egypt had to be subdued. Moses was sent to subdue them because Egypt was, at the time, the greatest kingdom, the greatest nation on the earth. Moses was sent to them to establish the government of God. When you confront the government of God against the most powerful nation on the earth, it’s the most powerful nation that must yield the field, and not the Lord.

In the last days Jeremiah prophesied that the time is going to come when the talk about the power of God is no longer making reference to what the Lord did anciently with Egypt. It’s going to be what the Lord intends to do with the last days Zion. This is Jeremiah chapter 16 beginning in verse 14:

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

That will be the reference point to which people will point as evidence of God’s intention to establish His rule, His reign upon the earth, His authority over the nations of the earth.

It is going to come to pass. In your enthusiasm, it would be better to demonstrate the virtue of patience as the Lord brings His work about, than to exhibit the character flaw of impatience and enthusiasm in trying to bring about what the Lord intends Himself to cause to happen because you cannot give birth prematurely to a living Zion, or it will choke and it will die because it is unable to be viable outside of the hands of the Lord. We have to wait on Him. 


The foregoing excerpts were taken from:

  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #5 titled “Priesthood” given in Orem, UT on November 2nd, 2013
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #6 titled “Zion” given in Grand Junction, CO on April 12th, 2014
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #8 titled “A Broken Heart” given in Las Vegas, NV on July 25th, 2014
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #9 titled “Marriage and Family” given in St. George, UT on July 26th, 2014
  • A Q&A session titled “A Visit with Denver Snuffer” held on May 13, 2015
  • A regional conference Q&A session held at Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT on September 20, 2015
  • Denver’s talk titled “Zion Will Come” given near Moab, UT on April 10th, 2016