Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Circling The Wagons

Previously: My Testimony of the Church

Regular readers of this blog will be thrilled to learn that this post will be mercifully short, because I'm going to spend it mostly explaining why there will be no post this month. The reason is that frankly, at the moment I can't see well enough to write anything. In fact, you wanna hear something really tragic? I haven't even been able to watch TV for the past three days, my eyes are so bad. My daughter Amy, who is now grown with a family of her own, fondly remembers a lesson I often taught the children when they were young and clamoring for my attention: "Television is more important than family. Leave me alone."

So you can imagine how much I miss TV.  I can't read, and I can't watch TV. My eyes can't focus on anything.  Everything I try to look at swims before my eyes, which is why even now I am not writing this myself.  I am dictating these words to Amy, who has kindly consented to type them out for me in spite of her own tragic upbringing.

So here is what happened: For some weeks I have not felt very well at all, and then a few days ago I got really sick. I mean incredibly sick. Sicker than I think I have ever been if you don't count those many miserable bouts of pneumonia related to my chronic asthma. This was different, and left me with some weird severe equilibrium imbalance that has me knocking sideways into walls and opening the bathroom door into my own face. It would be quite comical had I seen this happening to somebody else. My stumbling about has managed to provide Amy with a laugh or two, though she quickly changes her expression to a worried look of concern when she sees her mother watching. (Note from Amy: not true. I was very worried and did not see anything funny about it at all.)

Anyway, I was so helpless that I was unable to keep balanced enough in the kitchen to fix Connie's meals, so I called Amy and asked her to come over for a couple of days and look after us.  You know how in the movies there's that effect where we see the room swimming from another person's point of view? I thought that was just in the movies, since I had never gone through anything like that myself. It turned out in this case to be exactly like that, and when I tried to walk from my bed to the bathroom it was like trying to make my way through that flying saucer shaped centrifugal force carnival ride while it's going full tilt.

Yesterday there was a small window of time in which I felt somewhat better so I sat at my desk intending to catch up with email. I read and responded to one email, then it all started swimming again and my eyes went out of focus. That is why I have Amy as my hands and eyes at the computer screen right now.  I have been all but helpless for three days now, and both womenfolk have ganged up and persuaded me to go into the doctor and find out why I seem to be turning into Annette Funicello. So I will do that tomorrow.

In the meantime, August is rapidly dwindling and I have not yet posted the piece I intended to this month, and I wanted to write about it while the topic is still timely. With this imbalance thing, I don't know how soon I will get to it, and I don't know how much longer Amy will be in the mood to kowtow to my incessant demands, so we are taking this opportunity to refer you to some blogger friends who, it so happens, have already covered what I had intended to, so the best writing on the topic has already been done. I am not needed now, except to help spread the word.  Many of my readers have written wondering what can be done to help move us to a more Zion society, and I think this is a worthy start, particularly for those of you currently residing on the Wasatch Front who might have some unneeded material goods to assist with. Here are those links:

Bare Record of Truth: Circle the Wagons

LDS Perfect Day: Participate in a Modern Day Circling of the Wagons

The Voice of One Passing Through

In the event anyone is interested in my dizzy little adventure, when my eyes are able to focus again, if I get any answers from my doctor I will mention the outcome in the comment section below, or have Amy write something there.

Anyway, weird, huh? Apparently the room does swirl around and around just like in the movies, and even when I'm lying on the bed with my eyes closed it often feels like I am spinning around on the edge of a whirlpool. I'll bet later I will wish I enjoyed that sensation more instead of letting it scare the hell out of me.

Oh, by the way, I usually keep up with comments daily, but have not been able to get to any of the comments on my other posts here for about a week. So if someone has asked me a question directly and not received a response, this is why. Ditto if you have sent me an email and not heard back.

Well, we're going to wrap this up. Amy is already starting to complain about how she would rather be watching TV than spending time with her father. Kids today. I don't know where she gets it.

Update Friday August 23, 2013:
Okay, I'm Back 

I just re-read the above and my goodness, I ramble on as much when I'm dictating as when I'm writing it myself.  Poor Amy. Poor readers.

I have read your kind comments below and I'm grateful for your many prayers and good wishes, which surely are the reason that by the time Amy had gotten me to my doctor Wednesday afternoon, I was much improved. I'm still a bit unsteady on my feet, but my vision is fine now and I'm on the mend. Thank you all sincerely. Frankly, I wouldn't belabor the topic further, because I believe talking about illness tends to call forth more illness, but my email box is full of concerned queries from many of you, so the best way to put everyone at ease is a brief explanation of what all that was about.

It was food poisoning! Probably. At least that was the doctor's best guess, based on the description of symptoms I gave. I told him I had eaten a jumbo hotdog 24 hours previous, and he supposed that was the culprit. He gave me some anti-dizzy pills and some antibiotics ("Warning: May cause dizziness") and told me I should be completely normal by today.

So in the car on the drive home, I told Amy his diagnosis, and she admitted to having eaten two of those same hotdogs out of my fridge the night before, and she still has shown no ill effects. So go figure. There should have been no problem with those hotdogs anyway, as they are new and tightly packaged. Amy has a theory of her own: the Mormon Mafia poisoned me. Yeah, that's the ticket. The story I'm going with is that the Mormon Mafia is trying to shut me up.

Actually, I suspect the real reason for that weird bout of unsteadiness is connected to a bit of difficulty I've been both fighting and trying to ignore for several years. Some time ago it was discovered that there has been some wearing of the myelin sheath inside my spinal column. The way I've had it explained to me, the myelin sheath is like a coating of insulation around the nerves that send signals to and from the brain. When that insulation gets worn or damaged, it can cause mischief. In my case this bit of unpleasantness manifests as severe fatigue and frequent stupors, which I have been putting up with for years, but I'm guessing this present difficulty in keeping a steady gait may be related. So I'll be keeping an eye on things and checking in next week with the specialist I used to see about this thing. Again, I attribute my rapid recovery to your prayers, and thank you all sincerely for your kind words.

So. Enough about this crazy shell I'm currently inhabiting while on this planet. Let's get back to the topic I meant to address here. Warning: Any promise about the brevity of this post is hereby revoked.

Circling The Wagons, Take Two
One of the unexpected perks of maintaining this blog is that I have had the privilege of becoming acquainted with some extraordinary people. For the past year or so I have been conversing with a lovely young mother from Australia named Eva, whose exceptional spirit has impressed both Connie and myself as we have written, spoken by phone, and Skyped with her. (Is there anything more delightful to the ear than the Australian female voice?) It seems Eva had a run-in with her bishop awhile back, who had strong objections when he heard her testimony of having given her sick child a blessing of healing.

It used to be quite ordinary for women in this church to bestow blessings not only upon their own children, but upon each other if they so desired. Some years back, Linda King Newell documented this once common practice in Sunstone Magazine:
“Someone apparently reported to Joseph that the women were laying their hands on the sick and blessing them. His reply to the question of the propriety of such acts was simple. He told the women in the next meeting “there could be no evil in it, if God gave his sanction by healing...there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with water.” He also indicated that there were sisters who were ordained to heal the sick and it was their privilege to do so. “If the sisters should have faith to heal,” he said, “let all hold their tongues.” (Relief Society Minutes of Nauvoo, 28 April, 1842)
That article cites many other statements from subsequent prophets confirming the absolute right of women to be vessels through which the Lord can provide healing miracles. But Somehow in modern times we came to confuse gifts of the spirit with priesthood authority, and so it was that my own mother, whose husband was off fighting in North Korea, often sat helplessly at home wringing her hands when her children were ill until a couple of men in the ward got around to putting on their shirts and ties and making it over to our house to perform a simple ordinance that she was perfectly capable of doing herself.

When my friend Eva was heard to have performed such a vile act on her own child, she was called in for a meeting with her bishop to answer for this blasphemy. Somehow during the interview, Eva also let slip that she questioned the propriety of the Brethren in Salt Lake City investing Church funds in a lavish shopping center, and this proved too much for her bishop. He convened a bishop's court and disfellowshiped Eva for the crime of "being out of harmony with the Church."

We do indeed live in strange times when a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who makes a serious attempt to live the precepts of her religion, finds herself accused by those holding administrative office of being out of harmony with it.

Eva's reaction was not quite what her bishop had expected. This bishop, a militant former SAS officer (the Australian equivalent to U.S. Special Forces) expected her to grovel her way back into the good graces of her local Priesthood Authority.  Instead, Eva reacted with a shrug and walked away.

When Eva's husband, Andrew, was instructed to "correct" his wife, Andrew refused to do so and was also disfellowshipped for his insubordination.

Guess what? Andrew and Eva learned it was quite possible to remain in the faith even if the local authorities did not think them worthy company. They believe, as the apostle Peter said, "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29) and with Nephi who tells us it is the Holy Ghost who will show us what we must do (2 Nephi 32:5).  If the local LDS congregation had no further need of them, fine. They still had their scriptures and the Holy Ghost as their guide. What further authority is necessary?

But if rejection by the church they loved was not trial enough, their lives were further upended when Andrew lost his job.

I wish you knew these two the way I do. They really do live in the spirit, and know no fear. Instead of reacting in panic as many of us would, they saw their new circumstances as a wonderful opportunity provided to them by the Lord. Andrew and Eva received a strong witness that they were to sell all their belongings and make their way to the Rocky Mountains.  They have already experienced many miracles. After listing their possessions on the Australian version of Craigslist, early one morning they found a man standing at their front gate. He had seen their listing, and told them God had impressed him to make the five hour drive to their home. He handed them $1,000.00 to use toward their journey.

I could write many more things about this remarkable couple, but instead I'll direct you to their blog, "The Voice of One Passing Through" where they are logging their progress.  What I wanted to mention here was the project they have inspired in others, Circling the Wagons.

A few months back, before Andrew lost his job, he had reason to come to Salt Lake City where he happened to attend a presentation by Denver Snuffer. At that presentation were several people who I had also become acquainted with, both online and in person, and they were singularly impressed with Andrew. These people separately described to me how they had felt an instant and intense spiritual power in him. After Andrew's job loss, one of these friends actually traveled to Australia and spent a month living with them, and she returned and reported some amazing things to me.

Long story short, this group of friends had been talking for awhile about founding some kind of shared charity that believing Latter-day Saints could draw from when in need, a charity that would include material goods as well as money. Yes, the corporate Church already has such a program, and this particular charity is not intended to supplant, replace, or compete with it. The founders encourage members to continue to support their brothers and sisters in their various wards.  But one difference between the Church welfare program and Circling the Wagons is that with the latter, the giver is provided accountability as to where their contribution goes, and can decide specifically what their contribution is used for, who gets it, and for what purpose.  After my separate posts here on tithes and offerings, I received numerous queries from readers asking me if I knew of any suitable charity where the giver could control where his contribution went.  This project sounds to me like it would fit that bill, and that's why I'm taking the time to write about it.

Those involved with founding Circling the Wagons have set this thing up as a legitimate charity. They do not take a cut of administrative costs, but administer it voluntarily. When they learned about Andrew and Eva's circumstances, they decided this young family would be a good place to start practicing a type of Zion society. The idea, as I understand it, is that those who contribute now may find themselves in need of future assistance, and could then draw on the resources themselves, similar to how Joseph Smith envisioned the ideal.

There is a member who is already fixing up a temporary cottage for this family to live in when they arrive, so, if you live on the Wasatch Front and have some spare household necessities, you might consider dropping them off.  You can also contribute pocket money through Paypal or directly to the account at Zion's Bank.

I am not directly involved in Circling The Wagons, so please address all inquiries to the email address found at the websites listed above.  My only part in this is that some of you readers have asked me for ideas on how they can become more faithful givers, and I think this is a worthy endeavor.  In my opinion, Andrew and Eva are certainly the right people to start this experiment with. Here are those links again:

Circle The Wagons

Participate In A Modern Day Circling of the Wagons

Here is Andrew and Eva's account, beginning at the outset:

The Voice of One Passing Through

Eva's testimony to "My Brothers in Leadership"

It wouldn't hurt if those of you reading about this project were to share one or all of the above links. Let's see if we can give this thing some traction.


 

231 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 231 of 231
Anonymous said...

Steven,

Indeed, you’re right..who am I to judge... guess I was annoyed, which is never good. It does take one to know one, and for that i apologize...it's a different day, I was being very prideful, who am I to say anything...not my place or my blog. Thanks for bringing me back to reality this is a blog after all. As for being Anonymous, I have that as an option to select, so I choose to remain that way....but you are right there as well, it doesn't do me much credit. I've been humbled.... It's funny I've been reading this blog for well over a year now and have always thought your comments were very spot on...so having my "humble pie" from you is well, an honor :-) good day to everyone here. don't think you'll be hearing from me again. Robin Hood, for what it's worth, say what you need to say...who cares what some Anonymous person has to say.

-Little John

Robin Hood said...

Steven,
I agree with you about the identification thing. But, to be entirely honest, I think it would come as no surprise to anyone if I declared that "Robin Hood" is not my real name. I use this name because I am from the part of England associated with this character, and because I am a serving Bishop in the church. I have found in the past that revealing my real identity online can cause problems. Rock knows my name.
More generally, I was not aware that I came over as exhibiting pride. Here in England it's just called confidence.

Anonymous said...

Steven,
It appears my apology didn't post. Indeed you are correct, it does take one to know one....i was feeling prideful the other day and took it out on Robin Hood, sorry for that. As for being Anonymous, that is an option to select, so I'm going to remain that way...however you are correct as well...it doesn't do me much credit. I did mention that i have been following the blog for over a year now and have always respected what you have posted...so with that, I'm honored to receive a "humble pie" from you :-) As for Robin Hood, say what you need to say....don't listen to me I'm just some Anonymous person...what do I know anyway....you won't be hearing from me again...take care all.

-Little John-

Anonymous said...

Ha, it appears that both have posted...go figure...i know some English guys...i get you now....:-)

- Little John-

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Oh, Okay Robin Hood. NOW I know what you were getting at with those hints. I'm pretty slow on the uptake these days. Happy to hear from you.

ShawnC said...

I was accusing Rock of nothing. Only asking the question sort of retorically (spelling?) that the comment thread seems to go the way of polygamy eventually even though the topic post had nothing to do with that.

Anonymous, while I appreciate your calling me out, your understanding may possibly be flawed. To not take the Lords name in vain is not referring to swearing, but is referring to not trying to use the name of the Lord and excercise His authority without having His permission.

Often is the case when people want to back up thier words by claiming God's authority, when they either have none, or are unworthy to use such. Enough so that God made it a commandment.

best,
Shawn

LDSDPer said...

@Rock at 8:13--

I appreciate knowing that Denver Snuffer tells people not to follow him. I may be literal-minded, but that increases my respect for him. I have never intended to be disrespectful to anyone.

Goodness, I'm STILL trying to find some respect for Brigham Young!!! LOL!

I'm just so overwhelmed with Joseph Smith's papers and trying to memorize (LOL!) the Book of Mormon and abide by its teachings--

that I don't have room in my age-failing brain for Denver Snuffer. I defend his right to write.

My greatest fear in all this is that we as LDS become dishonest as we keep low profiles about what we believe. There are only a few people my husband and I feel safe talking to about our feelings about the Book of Mormon, and that includes church members!

LDSDPer said...

@Robin Hood--3:18

You know, I respect your right to disagree with Snuffer. Unfortunately, I have experienced the "proud Nauvoo" syndrome. I am descended (7th generation) from people who came from Nauvoo. I only have one line that came to Utah after the railroad, and that is a MOST interesting story.

I grew up with this pride. I was not comfortable with it. I grew up with the feeling of elitism that some of my family members had. Do you know what the DUP is? Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. I was invited to join them and was horrified by the pride. You had to bring along your 'genealogy' to prove you were descended from "Mormon pioneers"--

I began to read my ancestors' journals, and I got a different perspective. I found out that some of my ancestors were wary of some of the leaders. I found out that they went west, because they were tired of the mobs. I found out that some of them wondered what had REALLY happened to Joseph Smith. I began to feel uncomfortable with the romanticizing of the trek West and all the sacrifices, etc.

I found out that some of the things the brethren taught were not true, because of my ancestral journals. That doesn't mean I shot them down (the 'brethren'; everyone is human), but I began to question.

*I* was taught that the 'gentiles' were exactly what you believe they are, non-covenant people--

but if you believe that you as an LDS are descended from Israel, that isn't found in the Book of Mormon. The "gentiles" I know are either Christians whose religions and churches are no more 'adorned' than our own--

and many of them think they are "Israel", too; they will argue with you vehemently about that--

or are the gentle people I know who are Bhuddists and Hindus and Muslims, who do not adorn their churches as much as we do--

Before I ever heard of Denver Snuffer or of anyone who believed that the 'gentile' church is US--

we, LDS, Mormons--

I began to suspect it. I remember how my face burned, how I felt shame, how it came to me as a powerful witness that I needed to repent and not get caught up in the rampant materialism. It came to me, as I was studying the Book of Mormon. It came to me during a time when my husband and I had lost a lot of financial power. I have never openly rebuked any wealthy LDS. I have not stood up and expounded about how too much $ is invested in huge church buildings--

but there are things I cannot share on here (safely) that could prove quite beyond argument that the 'church' (as a collective) cares more about its buildings than it does about individuals. It's my trump card, and I hold it close, and I wouldn't expose it to you. I don't rant and revile; the Book of Mormon warns us against reviling. But I know the truth now, and it has opened my heart and my mind.

You can believe what you wish to believe however. But I have lived where there are many Bhuddists, and their places of 'worship' are very simple.

We stand condemned. If you doubt that, listen to this:

http://mormonmatters.org/2008/04/02/the-whole-church-is-under-condemnation-the-talk-that-changed-the-church/

(or read)


even better:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1986/04/cleansing-the-inner-vessel?lang=eng

I don't think Denver Snuffer is the problem. You can dislike his book without impunity.

But, be aware that many LDS have independently come to SOME of the same conclusions after immersing *ourselves* in the Book of Mormon.

I find it interesting that some of the people I know in the ward in which I reside--

who subtly persecute the poor--

don't give much time to the Book of Mormon and get annoyed when anyone brings up its importance. I AM in a position to see this.

LDSDPer said...

@Robin--

8:47

Some of *us* have warned people before. I used to. Please understand that I don't have a problem with your not liking the book (Denver Snuffer's). I don't have a right to criticize the book; you are right; I haven't read it. I haven't wanted to.

But I feel uneasy about being 'connected' (caught you on that word) to Denver Snuffer, because I, independently, not having an idea who Denver Snuffer was--

began a number of years ago, before I saw Rock's blog, long ago, actually, over a decade ago--

to believe that *we* LDS are the 'gentile' church Mormon mentions.

I had immersed myself in the Book of Mormon, and I admit that I am NOT immune to being deceived; none of us is immune to being deceived; the 'very elect', whoever that is, will be deceived.

So I have been cautious about this, but I believe that I am part of the gentile church that has become apostate, and I would rather repent than be sorry!!!

Let others come to it as they may--

I am not responsible to teach the 'brethren' what I believe. But what harm is there in my repenting? How can it be damaging to ME to feel shame at the materialism that I embraced for so many years?

And how I ignored the plight of the oppressed and fatherless and widows and impoverished and hungry throughout the world until I read that scripture and had that "aha!" moment.

So I am a little uneasy about having it be assumed that anyone who believes THAT about Mormon and the gentile church is a Denver Snuffer follower, because I'm not.

I just needed to make that clear. Honestly, I don't see a lot of danger in repenting--

LOL!

But I also believe it is up to anyone else to manage his/her own remorse and repentance, including the 'leaders' of the church--

let them "(repent) how, where, or (of) what they may"

Yes, I'm being 'cute' with the 11th article of faith, and I wonder how many other people believe, along with me, that that is a powerful witness to the importance of individual agency--

and that none of us really has a right to do anything beyond express our own beliefs about 'things'--

to 'warn' others or rebuke others is a risky thing--

LDSDPer said...

Don't go away, Little John.

Robin Hood, I always wondered what happened to those who stayed in England.

I had one ancestor who tried. His wife left him for America, and it constituted a divorce; that was, to me, very wrong. I sympathized with him; he wanted to stay. He led a branch. Eventually, though, his entire family left, and he was lonely.

There was something wrong about that--

about how everyone HAD to leave. Just really wrong.

I have a lot I could say about some of my ancestors from England. But I'm just another blog reader myself, and I have no right to say so much, I fear.

I am ashamed of the Nauvoo pride. My English ancestors were poor as church mice--

LOL!

Desperate to get out of the coal mines--

but great great great grandpa hated the thought of the American desert. He was right to hate it--

LOL!

some of his descendants got out of there as soon as they could!

*trying to lighten things up*

just as another, little, insignificant reader of Rock's blog--

don't anyone go away, please--

I like reading what you have to say.

Peace?

From an anglophile with a VERY unique ancestry--

somewhat unusual, to be exact.

Um, let's see, can it be a problem to be proud of having absolutely impoverished ancestors?

:)

LDSDPer said...

@Steven,

then you won't read me. I don't DARE to publish my real name. Not only are all three of my names highly unusual and could easily identify me right down to the house I live in--

!

but it's already hard enough.

And, frankly, I am a coward.

How is that for brutal honesty?

Thanks for what you said--

you ring true.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in asking a Mormon this question: Would God really have left the world floundering for generations without the true gospel, only revealing it again in the 1800s? It's easy for the Mormon to say yes, because he or she didn't live or die before that time. There's no personal cost in saying yes.

Also, if the true gospel had been lost until Joseph Smith, why do Mormons sing Christian hymns written long before his day? Wouldn't the message of them be corrupted?

me said...

I'm thinking about the first question. I don't have an answer yet.

"If the true gospel had been lost until Joseph Smith..."

I don't believe the true gospel was lost to all the world. From what I understand, there is always a remnant of believers somewhere. Individuals seeking truth and open to it would receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit and learn truth. I think that the world in general was ready to receive more and therefore the Book of Mormon was released from it's hiding place and brought to light for the whole world to partake of when they would. The Christian hymns written long before Joseph's day were (I hope) praising God and Jesus. The messages in old and new hymns could be equally corrupt depending on who writes them and what their gospel understanding is. Just my opinion.

Very interesting questions. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

The true Gospel of Jesus Christ was never taken from the earth. It's been here for 2000 years since Christ 1st preached it, it's even been around since Adam. Though few have been willing to study or follow it's high laws, despite Prophets trying to teach them to through the ages.

Joseph Smith only preached Christ's same Gospel, no more no less. He didn't restore the Gospel, for all the Christian Churches of the day still had Christ's full Gospel, they just maybe didn't interpret or live it all correctly. But it's all in the New Testament.

The Gospel message is very simple, it's all about having 'unconditional everlasting love' (Charity) & relieving the suffering of the poor & needy around us.

But I believe most Christian Churches today preach and practice the true Gospel of Christ far far better than the LDS Church ever has, especially since Brigham Young took over.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

No matter how often I beg and plead with readers to use a username instead of choosing "Anonymous" no one seems to pay me any mind.

Folks, please use a username! I don't care if it's fake, and I don't even care if you choose the Anonymous box, but please sign off with something so we can tell one anonymous from another.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm not sure Steven Lester is so concerned with people using their real names as he is they use SOME name! At least that's the frustration I feel.

I certainly understand why many latter-day Saints prefer anonymity when discussing things their family might be concerned for them about. And those who live in Utah often have to think of their livelihood. Criticism of the corporate Church, however warranted, can get a person blackballed professionally.

I have been contacted by three bishops who approve of most of my positions on this blog, but of course if they were to use their real names it could cause them problems. Robin Hood is a good pseudonym.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS Dper,
I'm also learning that quite a number of those who went west didn't do it because they chose to follow Brigham Young. They went west because the persecutions were intolerable. Others went to Wisconsin, and still others remained where they were throughout Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio.

Certainly the majority of English converts followed the Brethren, who consisted of Heber Kimball, Orson Whitney, Pratt, and others followed those who had been instrumental in their conversion. As I noted in my piece "Lake Wobegon Mormons" the lower castes of England were practically bred to follow "authority."

Porter Rockwell couldn't stand Brigham Young. But he could not very well stay in Nauvoo after shooting Frank Worell off his horse. Worell was one of the leaders of the mob that killed Joseph and Hyrum, and he had a lot of friends. Rockwell did not "follow Brigham." He just went somewhere safer.

LDSDPer said...

@2:34--

in my opinion, it doesn't matter when a person lives or when he/she dies or where--

this earth life is a test for everyone, and sometimes it is HARD to be LDS--

LOL!

Really hard--

I know people who seem to have 'it all' and who have a very pat view about religion, and I even know some people who believe that those who are 'born' LDS are/were superior in a previous 'world'--

such people are thorns in the side of anyone who really wants to find and live the truth--

Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, and, ultimately, *I* believe, LDS who are smug and self-righteous will bow their heads (not their knees) before Baptists, Bhuddists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Shinto and Sikh--

who are righteous and refined. This is what I believe; some of the early LDS believed it, too--

the LDS church became very mainstream and narrow later--


AV said...

I just don't get it. How did Brigham Young get so many people to follow him, for polygamy is just so repulsive, at least to most women. Not to mention that the scriptures then totally taught against it, so did Joseph all his life.

How could people follow someone like Brigham Young or fall for something like polygamy? I get why most men did, but how could good men who loved their wives do it or how could women believe such ridiculous unfair and vile teachings?

If the Church started teaching polygamy today and letting men have a bunch of wives, would most members really just blindly go along with it? I guess I don't understand most people. I would be like Emma, trying to teach women to have a little self respect.

Anonymous said...

Per his blog hours ago (which may have been know to those who attended last night), Snuffer was excommunicated.

Anon 23 said...

No loss for Denver, it was even a good thing, they did him a huge favor, though Denver probably doesn't know it yet.

swplaza said...

What is the moral of this story?

anonymous, sort of said...

TO everyone but Steven Lester (since he won't listen to my anonymousness anyway):

Snuffer's stake president probably TECHNICALLY fulfilled the requirement for 2 witnesses to complain...I personally know one who could fit the bill of the required complainant--wouldn't take much to find another in the stake.

Regardless, it wasn't so much a local issue, as it was a directive from higher in the food chain. Here is an excerpt from Denver's blog 2 days ago:

"During our hour long discussion, the stake president admitted to my children he got a call during one of his meetings with me from one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy. He was instructed to "stand down" while the Seventy and one of the Twelve read Passing the Heavenly Gift. Then he (the stake president) did nothing further until he was told to proceed. I asserted that if he believed I was really "apostate" he would never have stood down. For that reason it was him merely following commands from higher up, and not a local matter."

All the chatter ABOUT Denver and Denver's teachings is usually less-informed and often inaccurate...or at least in the order of summing things up, critical elements are left out. It takes millions and millions of carefully chosen words in the right sequence to convey correct ideas--they can't be adequately summed up pro or con...without having acquired and processed the information themselves--especially since so much of what is considered has nuances and hinges and small turning points that have greater ramifications along the way.
Just like the virgin's oil for their lamps, the oil/light cant be gotten/borrowed with having spent the effort and time to acquire the oil/light themselves.


If one has only read one book out of the 13 books he has written (not for profit--proceeds donated to LDS church), one probably comes up short on a qualified understanding of what Snuffer has to say.

I know I know, I have heard it a zillion times and I see it coming again-- "I can already tell he is a deceiver. So I won't read anymore. I saw some reviews on him..." That's the beauty of it...you are free to choose. There is nothing about Snuffer that would compel you to believe--no office, no keys, now not even any membership. But yet it is compelling and it invites us to come to Christ. He has a message to deliver and invites you to hear it.

http://www.denversnuffer.info/

Oh what the heck, Ken Jensen

Anonymous said...

Ken: What's your point? Given all the talk on here, I have been following his blog recently to see what's the interest (in retrospect I think that was a mistake). I don't get it. He made a public event out of what probably should have been kept a private matter (maybe this is where I'm missing something). He was blatantly defiant of their requests, and essentially mocked them in an attempt to follow their request to notify his blog readers of disapproved content. Plastering the council summons on his blog. Refusing to cooperate about the book and speeches. Relaying private conversations with the leaders to the world, usually painting them in a negative or self-contradictory light. Insisting on who attends the council. Defiant until the end. I just don't get it.

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
Thank you for your comments.
I believe Bro. Snuffer's is a very sad case really. But he, like the rest of us, has chosen his path.
You and I do not agree on the Israel/Gentile issue, even if we put literal lineage to one side for the moment. This is because for me, the scriptures make it abundantly clear that any gentile who joins the church is considered Israel. That principle alone disqualifies us from being the subject of Moroni's concerns. We can't have it both ways. His description of the conditions amongst the gentiles is very accurate when applied to western society, but a bit of a stretch if applied to members of the church.
Getting back to lineage, even the Nephites Israelite lineage was questionable by the time Moroni wrote, as intermarriage with the other races found in the Americas must have been rife by that time. The labels of Nephite and Lamanite were largely political by then anyway and had very little to do with ancestry. This is illustrated by the fact that a number of writers pride themselves on being descendents of Nephi or a "pure Nephite", which suggests to me most others weren't.

Putting the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to one side, we should also perhaps remember that we have over 3,000 prophets in the church; one in each stake. We call them patriarchs. When they pronounce a blessing they do it under divine inspiration and direct revelation. I have known people who have been identified in their PB as gentiles and their adoption into one of the tribes pronounced. I have spoken to a number of patriarchs who have all stated they get definate and powerful revelation on this matter. My own PB states "you are one who has come through the loins of Ephraim, bringing with it all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which is of great worth". Later it identifies me as "choice in the House of Israel". I am not prepared to disbelieve the Lord when he inspires his prophets to declare these words directly and personally to us.
In this land (England) it is difficult to find anyone (in the church) who is not declared a literal descendent of Israel.

With regard to the plural marriage issue, I came to the conclusion a number of years ago that Joseph was not polygamous. I believe he was sealed to a number of people, but that does not constitute marriage and he knew it. like you I have concerns regarding Section 132.

Getting back to Denver Snuffer, I think perhaps it is unwise to assume the SP violated church procedures as you state. How do you know he did not receive complaints from 2 people? Considering the number of people Bro. Snuffer addresses on his speaking engagements, who read his blog, or his books, I think it is almost inevitable that at least two people, and possibly many more, have taken issue with his views and expressed them to his priesthood leaders.
It is very easy to label the SP as apostate, because he can't and won't respond due to his sacred duty and the absolute requirement for confidentiality. I think it's a great shame that Bro. Snuffer has failed so publicly to exhibit such restraint.

Robin Hood said...

LDSDPer,
Over the years 100,000 British saints have emigrated to "Zion". At one time there were more saints in England than there were in Utah. Had all those saints stayed here the Mormon faith would probably have been headquartered here.

One issue that I have with many of the blogs and message boards I have read over the years (when I have the time) is that they are all very US-centric, as if that is the only place the church is established. There are more non-US saints now than Americans in the church. So when people on these blogs etc label their fellow saints with some judgement regarding their behaviour or their wealth, materialism etc, and then apply this observation to all or even most of the saints, they often forget that they are seeing a very small part of the picture. They are in the Utah or even US bubble.
I have been to Utah. Though this too is a generalisation, it seems to me that Brigham's prediction that the tome would come when the saints would be tried by the "test of gold" and be found wanting, is happening before our eyes. This is not the case eleswhere in the world - generally speaking.
So when I hear people apply Moroni's comments to the church (which, remember, is the ecclessia, the congregation of believers - not the corporate entity) I realise they have a very limited view and are unwittingly passing judgement on saints living in very different circumstances.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood,
Regarding the Israel controversy, you provide much food for thought. It has always been obvious to me that the British Isles are descended largely from Ephraiam, and that that Nordic nations are of Dan. The vikings retained many cultural and governmental traditions we read about in the Old Testament.

It's certainly possible that Snuffer's SP received complaints from fellow Saints, but from what we learn of the provenance of the process on Snuffer's blog, that does not seem to be the case. As when the September Six disciplinary courts were clandestinely orchestrated by Boyd Packer (in violation of protocol), in Denver's case, we learn of the involvement of a member of the Seventy and one of the twelve giving the go ahead to the Stake President.

I never did believe this was an order handed down by the top leadership as a body. Unfortunately however, the other GAs don't tend to speak out against one of their own because projecting an image of unity is more important than just about anything else. I believe there is a general feeling among the GAs that if the members were to learn there were disagreements among them, it might somehow give the impression the "Church" isn't true.

For those interested in how church courts are supposed to work and how far they often seem to have strayed from the procedures laid out by the Lord, an excellent and very thorough analysis can be found in "The Doctrine Against Dissent" here:

http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-doctrine-against-dissent/

LDSDPer said...

I don't know why I'm defending Denver Snuffer. I haven't read his books or heard him or met him, and I've read very little of his blogs--

the internet has changed a lot of things--

What one person things is defiance, another believes is honesty--

I'm not sure what it is--

I have read a few of his recent blogs, and I get the idea that he's journaling--

if that offends some people, well, then--

I think this shows that the man doesn't want to skulk--

he doesn't feel he is guilty, so why should he act guilty? He has a lot of people who have read his books; he is trying to communicate to them his feelings, testimony, and the feeling that he does not believe himself to be guilty.

My husband and I were just talking a little about this. I don't have the time to invest in reading Denver Snuffer's books--

but my husband and I have agreed that if we had been as open about what we believe about church history (that it has been revised), etc.--

we would come out as being even more radical than Denver Snuffer--

!

It's terrifying. We're keeping our mouths closed. The last thing we need right now is this sort of thing in our lives--

life is hard enough--


AV and Rock,

Among my ancestors were people who were not thrilled with Brigham Young and didn't live polygamy; they went west, because their homes had been burned, and the prophet whom they followed was dead--

So, AV, not everyone 'followed' Brigham Young at all, and Rock--

you are correct. My American ancestors were very individualistic; the English converts followed--

LDSDPer said...

@Robin Hood--

Utah has always been a test of my faith--LOL!

I'm a poor American by most American LDS standards--

and I have experienced (well, my family) persecution--

we work very hard, but we are working poor--

Some of my ancestors left England 'dirt-poor', and some of their descendants have prospered; others have not.

There is a fairly high level of education here, though, and for that I am grateful. I was educated; that is a huge 'wealth'--

but I see Mormon's prophecy as fitting in the church very well, because of the huge disparity in incomes and race(s)--

Because of the saints in Africa and India and Asia and South America and Eastern Europe (etc., etc.)--

I am sure you are quite correct that there is not as much pride as there is in America.

And I do and have borne that in mind--

there are LDS children going hungry in 'third world' countries, and this is a huge concern to me--

But I know wealthy LDS who are so concerned about their next trip to Europe that they care very little about those hungry little Mormons--

I read it from my perspective, indeed, and I do know, from experiences I have had, that many of those who do lead the church are extremely wealthy--

perhaps it is the leaders who are being warned--

and those who follow them into false prosperity--


AussieOi said...

I know the Gore's. I was her home teacher over 20 years ago.
She is a miracle in many, many says.
Australia is worse for losing them, she is better for getting out of the country and leaving all the sickness behind.

MrHFMetz said...

Brother Rock and his wife Connie seem not to enjoy the best of health, as I gather from this post. It is now two and a half year later and I don't hear too much about sickness, so I assume they are feeling better these days. I hope so. My dear old grandfather (who was also a mormon and the sweetest man you can imagine) also had asthma, and I know how he suffered. About a month ago I have started to read this blog right from the beginning, because the posts are so interesting and so well written too, with humor, and with interesting links. I may be half way now. I am also delighted with the comments. It is a relief to me to find so many people here with values that I can share. We are not alone, and this blog serves as a meeting point. I look forward to read the coming posts. Thanks a lot for writing them. May the lord bless you and your family. Rik Metz, Nieuweschans, the Netherlands.

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