Saturday, January 27, 2018

Who Died And Made Him President?

Previously: Why Heed Prophetic Counsel?

With the recent passing of Church president Thomas Monson and the installation of Russell Nelson as Monson's replacement, I was curious to see whether this time the leaders of the Church would follow the instructions outlined by the Lord regarding succession to the presidency. This is an action not to be taken lightly, if only for the fact that since the mid-twentieth century, the man selected to be president of the Church is also considered to be the Lord's mouthpiece on the earth. So my feeling is, if they're going to pick a new president, they'd better get this one right.
"There have always been false prophets and self proclaimed would-be leaders who have sought to establish their own claim to presiding authority...One's eternal salvation depends upon the ability to recognize and know the true servants of God -those who are authorized to preach His gospel and administer the sacred and saving ordinances thereof." 
That quote comes from a book by Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr. titled Prophets, Priesthood Keys, & Succession, published in 1991 by Deseret Book. Brother Brewster is also the author of The Doctrine & Covenants Encyclopedia, a reference book I refer to frequently because Hoyt Brewster knows the D&C inside and out.

Hoyt is right about the importance of knowing how to recognize a true prophet from a false one. And he shows us one method the Lord gives us, by citing from the Doctrine & Covenants:
"And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place. But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest." ( D&C 124:45-46, quoted in Brewster, pg 50.)
The indicator of a true prophet, then, consists of spoken or written evidence showing that man was actually appointed by the Lord. We have scads of evidence, through direct revelation, affirming that Joseph Smith was variously appointed, anointed, and ordained by the Lord to be His special servant. I listed a dozen or so examples in a previous post, so I won't relist them again, but here's another one I came across just last month:
"Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him..." (D&C 112:15)
It's clear from section 124 that in order for us to recognize God's true mouthpiece, we are expected to hearken unto the Lord's voice, which is always conveyed by the voice of one of His servants. Check your doctrine & Covenants. That book is chock full of declarations in the first person voice of the Lord, relayed to us through his servant, Joseph Smith.

So it stands to reason that if Russell Nelson has been called by God to lead the Church, somebody should have received a revelation from the Lord saying so, and according to established protocol, shared that revelation with the members of the church.

I haven't seen one of these revelations, have you?

Bypassing God's Instructions
What I have seen over and over in recent weeks is unsupported assurances by Church leaders, Church public relations experts, and various Church apologists designed specifically to mollify any concerns Church members might entertain, in order that all can be confident that every part of the process has taken place, as the new president himself has declared, according to "the divine plan of succession put in place by the Lord Himself."

The January 23rd edition of the Church News reports on one of many descriptions of this process, this one by apostle Gary Stevenson:
 "As the President of the Church dies, the First Presidency is dissolved and the mantle of leadership goes to the senior man and to the Quorum of the Twelve as a body. At this point the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes the First Presidency until a formal reorganization takes place."
What is lacking in Gary's description is any mention of the Lord's involvement in this process.  Did the Lord ever instruct the Twelve to dissolve the First Presidency? If so, where is the revelation calling for that action? Also, where did the Lord indicate that the presidency of the Church is to devolve to the senior apostle? And what revelation informs us that the Lord desired the Twelve Apostles to become the acting First Presidency in the interim?

Seems to me the Lord made it abundantly clear when the apostles were called that the Twelve were to have nothing whatever to do with governing the Church. But maybe the Lord changed his mind about that at some point I'm not aware of. Let's see if we can get someone to tell us where the Lord revised His will on the subject. Maybe Russell Nelson can tell us. He seems to have a handle on this:
"The Church today has been organized by the Lord Himself. He has put in place a remarkable system of governance that provides redundancy and backup. That system provides for prophetic leadership even when the inevitable illnesses and incapacities may come with advancing age." 
Okay, Russell, you've got my attention. You say the Lord has put this system in place. Please tell us about that.
"The organization of the modern Church of Jesus Christ is patterned after His ancient Church. The divinely inspired structure provides a solid foundation for the functioning of the Church."
Nelson doesn't appear to be providing any further insight as to God's direction in this matter, but he does tell us the system is patterned after His ancient church. Okay, so we know that the pattern Jesus used to appoint his apostles was by anointing them personally. That gels with His statements in section 124 above where he declares his authorized servants must be appointed by Him. "You have not chosen me," he told the early apostles, "but I have chosen you.

Yet that is not the way things are done today, and Nelson has still told us nothing about how the Lord laid out the procedure for selecting a new Church president in modern times.  The only thing Elder Nelson -excuse me, I meant to say "President" Nelson- said about the way it happened for him was his brethren in the quorum "placed their hands upon my head to ordain me and set me apart as president of the Church."

Okay, but why them? Why didn't Jesus ordain you Himself? Didn't you just imply that the Lord handles these matters the same way he did with the ancients? Could He not have at least issued a verbal approval so everyone in the room could hear it and be sure they were ordaining the right guy?

 I'm not being flippant here. Russell just got done making two important points:
1. This is Jesus' Church
2. All the living apostles gathered in the upper room of the temple and made a unanimous decision to reorganize the first presidency and choose to have Nelson serve as president of the Church.
These guys boast constantly of being prophets, seers, and revelators with all the gifts, abilities, authority, and "keys" that Joseph Smith possessed.  We have plenty of evidence that the prophet Joseph was the conduit for numerous oracles -verbal communications uttered from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself. So how come Nelson makes no mention of Jesus having any say in his "ordination"? If the Lord is not going to make an appearance at what the Brethren keep referring to as this most "historic" of occasions, when exactly does he communicate with these men?

D&C 102, one of the key sections laying out how the church was to be governed, says this:
"The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation." (verse 9.)
So far, no one in the Church hierarchy has provided any revelation that would give us reason to believe the Lord chose Russell Nelson as his latest servant. All we know up to this point is what Nelson has told us about his colleagues choosing him, and that they were unanimous in their decision. That doesn't mean a thing without an appointment from God.  Recall that Jesus makes it clear that He will appoint his servants; it is not enough for Russell's pals alone to agree he gets to have the top job. If we are to recognize Russell as a prophet, as Joseph Smith was, why won't Russell read to us from the revelation the Lord conveyed to him appointing him to his new office? There has to be one, right? So why is that important detail missing from every online account?

All we've gotten from Nelson is a statement akin to "Jesus has not chosen me, but my pals in the Quorum have chosen me."  Well, that just isn't enough. He can't get away with telling us the system has been provided by the Lord Himself and not be willing to show us the Lord's words on the subject. 

I watched the entire video where Russell Nelson and Todd Christofferson attempted to convince us this was taking place under the direction of the Lord, without either of them citing one single word the Lord said about it.  We're clearly not getting any answers from these guys. Let's try someone else.

Enter The Scriptorian
Former Church president Joseph Fielding Smith was one of the preeminent doctrinal scholars in the Church during the 20th century, and judging from the anemic crop being passed off as "scholars" today, one of the last of his kind. Surely he will be able to point to the scripture that shows the Lord designed a system whereby the senior apostle is automatically called to be president of the Church. In volume 3 of Doctrines of Salvation, President Smith wrote,
"There is no mystery about the choosing of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this a long time ago."
Well, now we're getting somewhere! I can't wait for President Smith to tell us how the Lord settled the question. You've got the floor, Joseph Fielding Smith:
"The senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding officer of the church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency"
Well, that just brings us back to square one. He still hasn't explained where we can find the Lord's instructions on this.

We're used to seeing Joseph Fielding Smith pile on the citations to back up every teaching he expounds upon, but in this instance, just after he assures us that the Lord has settled the process, he fails to provide any citation proving that allegation. We are not any closer to solving the "mystery" of the choosing of the successor to the president of the church than we were before.

We may as well quote the Church PR department, where they say pretty much the same thing as Joseph Fielding Smith did; and they're just as lax about providing scriptural attribution:
“Throughout the history of the church, the longest-serving apostle has always become the president of the church when the First Presidency has been reorganized,”
Okay, we get it. This is the way it's always been done. But can someone please show us the original revelation from the Lord so we can understand the Lord's actual instructions about it?

Uh-oh. Turns out at least one person is willing to go on the record and admit the emperor has no clothes. Earlier this month, a Church history professor at BYU spilled the beans to the school newspaper. Here is a nugget of truth from professor Casey Griffiths, who is most likely about to lose his job:
"This is simply a historical precedent first set by President Brigham Young, and despite there being nothing in the Doctrine and Covenants about prophetic succession, this pattern of sustaining the most senior apostle as church president has been followed so consistently that it might as well be doctrine.
Let that sink in. It might as well be doctrine!

Looks like we've found the problem. If we are going to accept the traditions of men over the actual doctrines of Christ, we may as well do whatever we want -and the leaders certainly operate that way today.  It might as well be doctrine to baptize infants by sprinkling water on them, because, hey, the Catholic church has been following that pattern consistently for so long. Likewise, Mormons might as well let their clearly unauthorized method of choosing a new president continue as it has because this is the way we've been doing it like, forever, dude. So what does it matter if the Lord had a different pattern in mind? Who is HE to tell US how to do things?

Make no mistake about it. The Lord most certainly did provide a method for succession in the presidency, but it decidedly did not involve anyone in the Quorum of the Twelve. In fact, those twelve men, every last one of them, is specifically prohibited from having any governing role in the church whatsoever.

Interested in false teachings in the LDS Church today? I can show you a whole book full of 'em!

Dissension In The Quorum

Edward Leo Lyman is a historian of Mormon studies who spent over forty years studying the diaries and minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve. And what their words have to tell us about their experiences trying to sort out the succession mess belies the revisionist history the Church puts out today. Lyman is author of Succession by Seniority: The Development of Procedural Precedents in the LDS Church, published in the Journal of Mormon History,Vol 40, Issue 2 (Spring 2014.) As we can deduce from the title, succession in the presidency as we know it today did not arise from any scriptural directive, but it developed over time as the leaders adopted a series of gradual precedents.

One thing that may surprise you from Brother Lyman's research is that following the death of Brigham Young, the one thing most members of the Quorum agreed on was they did not want the church to have another president.

It might be necessary here to remind the reader that the Sunday School version we were taught about Brigham Young's ascension to the presidency is simplistic, to say the least. The story, as understood by the typical latter-day Saint, goes something like this: when Joseph Smith died, Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon debated about who should be president of the Church. Brigham Young won.

The reality is a bit more involved. In the first place, as the Radio Free Mormon Mormon broadcast thoroughly documented, it was not called a succession "crisis" because there was a shortage of claimants; it was called a crisis because there were so many contenders with reasonably valid claims. But let's focus for now on the Sunday School/Primary description of what happened, the debate between Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon, because that debate is instructive.

The debate was not over who should be the president, but who should be the "guardian" of the church until Joseph's eldest son, then 11 years old, came of age. Rigdon argued that as remaining member of the First Presidency, he should be the guardian. Brigham Young argued that with the deaths of two of the three members of the presidency, that body was effectively over. Kaput. Dissolved.* He insisted there would be no first presidency in the church any longer, but that the church would be better served if it were looked after by the entire quorum of the Twelve as a body rather than just one man calling the shots.
______________________________________
*This is the genesis of the false teaching that somehow the Twelve are empowered to "dissolve" the First Presidency. The First Presidency under Joseph Smith was automatically "dissolved"-not intentionally, but by circumstance, when its two co-presidents unexpectedly left the planet. That dissolution occurred by itself, without any required input from the Twelve.

There's more to it than that, and you can get a full account of the nefarious machinations of Brigham Young following the death of the prophet Joseph Smith by reading or listening to Apostolic Coup d'etat: How The Twelve Apostles, in a Breathtaking Power Grab, Assumed Absolute and Complete Control of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I've provided links to both the audio presentation and the transcript of this two part series on my blog where you can find them by clicking here and here.

What the saints ended up voting for -at least what they thought they were voting for- was for the church to be managed by all twelve apostles acting in concert, until Joseph Smith III could "take his rightful place among this people."  It did not occur to anyone that Brigham Young intended to be president himself, and certainly no one voted for that.

Brigham Pulls A Fast One
Three years after the people voted to be governed by the Twelve, Brigham Young led the first body of saints to the Rocky Mountains.  Then he returned to the remaining saints at Winter Quarters where he tried to persuade Wilford Woodruff to nominate him as head of a newly constituted First Presidency, with his obsequious cousin Willard Richards and his BFF Heber Kimball as counselors.

Initially Woodruff resisted, saying he did not believe such a thing could be done without a revelation. But Brigham kept Wilford awake for two days and eventually wore him down, until eventually Wilford agreed to propose Brigham's name to the people, whereupon Brigham got himself elected by the Saints to be their presiding officer. The vote was far from unanimous, because many of the Saints and some of the apostles had not participated in the voting, having by this time left Winter Quarters and moved half-way across the country to Utah territory. When it was announced to the Utah saints that Brigham was now their new president, what could they do? The deed was done.

Now mind you, Brigham never pretended to be a prophet; in fact he denied that possibility several times over the years. But he had been elected president of the church, and he presided over the saints with a "strong hand" until his death 33 years later.

As Edward Lyman documents, upon Brigham Young's death it was decided by the Twelve that there should be no First Presidency, that it would be better to go back and adopt Brigham's original proposal, where the church was managed by the twelve apostles governing as a body. Why did the Twelve decide to forgo installing someone as president of the Church at this time? Because,
"It soon became apparent that at least several apostles felt that Brigham Young had been too autocratic, particularly ignoring the possible role of other apostles of equivalent, if not senior, rank.  George Q Cannon noted with some astonishment four months after Young's death that some apostles disapproved of some of Young's actions and had felt oppressed, but had not 'dared to exhibit their feelings to him,' partly because they did not feel he would give their feelings any heed. Some felt the church leader had 'transcended the bounds of the authority he legitimately held.'" (Lyman, pg 109-110.)
So for a long time after Brigham Young, there was no First Presidency. What governing was required by the church was dealt with by the entire quorum. However, two years later, on September 6, 1879, John Taylor, the apostle next in line in seniority, decided he did in fact want to organize a new First Presidency with himself at the head, only to have his proposal shot down by the others.  Not willing to give up the dream, Taylor renewed his proposal again the following month, only to see it rejected again.
"Forty-two-year-old Joseph F. Smith, who had been ordained an apostle on July 1, 1866, noted in his diary that he was astonished that the proposal was even made. He revealingly stated that the Twelve had debated the issue for nearly four hours after which the quorum members had concluded that most apostles opposed Taylor's move because they assumed that Church members were 'not only satisfied, but happy under the administration of the Twelve.' Smith clearly spoke for some others as well and may, in fact, have revealed the main persisting issue, when he admitted that he did not 'want to see repeated what had occurred in the church [under Brigham Young].'" (Lyman, pg 110-111.)
A year after that -three years after the death of Brigham Young- John Taylor finally got to be president of the church. By this time the president of the Quorum acted as de facto president anyway, so the opposition weakened and the quorum more or less said, "what the hell, what does it matter?"

This was the beginning of the pattern of succession to the presidency we have today, which was shaping up not as a result of any revelation from God (nobody had been receiving revelations for the Church since Joseph and Hyrum were taken), but simply as a matter of tradition and expediency.

Years later still, as John Taylor's death became imminent, there was more conflict in the quorum, as some of the junior apostles claimed (correctly) that there was no reason Taylor's replacement as president had to be the most senior apostle. It could be any one of them. Of course, that was true. As long as the custom insisted an apostle was to take over the office of president, it could be any one of them, because the Lord had never declared any apostle, senior or junior, belonged in that office.

So for two years following John Taylor's demise there was more delaying, infighting, and jockeying for position in the quorum. But over time things shook out and a new first presidency was installed with Wilford Woodruff at the head. From then on, tradition has dictated that the senior apostle always moved into the spot as president of the church. The Lord has never had anything to do with setting up this pattern. In fact, the argument could be made that the reason the Lord has abandoned the Twelve to their own devices is precisely because they have disobeyed his instructions and rejected their revealed duties in favor of assuming power and authority over the church which He never gave them.

Way back when Joseph Smith was president of the church, he reminded the Twelve that they were  specifically prohibited from having anything to do with governing or administrating in the Church. As the founding prophet cautioned a group of newly called apostles prior to sending them on their first mission:
"The Twelve shall have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof where there is a standing high council. But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the church." (Joseph Smith, Kirtland Council Minute Book, pg 112.)
Conversely, the prophet cautioned the high council that they were to stay off the apostles' turf:
"No standing high council has authority to go into the churches abroad and regulate the matters thereof, for this belongs to the Twelve." (ibid.)
This echoes D&C 107, a revelation where the Lord actually does lay out the duties of the leading quorums of the Church, and in that revelation the Lord tells the Council of the Twelve Apostles that they are given responsibilities "differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling." (D&C 107:23)

So, how do the duties of the Quorum of the Twelve differ from the other leading quorums? Well, the First Presidency is a governing and administrative body within the church. The High Council is a governing and administrative body within the church. So where does that leave the Twelve?  Answer: they are not a governing or administrative body within the church.

The Twelve are "sent out" to be the Twelve Traveling Councilors, to build up the church abroad.  That's why the apostles were so often in Great Britain; their role was to function outside the perimeters of church headquarters. They were expressly forbidden from interfering where the Church had already been established. In case you're having trouble following all this, it means the Twelve were not permitted to run the church when the church was headquartered in Nauvoo, and they're not allowed to run the church now that it's headquartered in Salt Lake City.

If all this goes against everything you've ever been taught about the way the church is supposed to be governed, I understand your feelings of dissonance. But these are the rules given to the Twelve by the Lord through revelation. You can find them in your scriptures.

These instructions the Lord gave to the Twelve are not exactly followed by that quorum in the Church today. The Lord gave them no authority to dissolve the First Presidency, nor do they have any authority to reconstitute the First Presidency once they've dissolved it, nor can they fill it with three of their own. These are usurpations the Twelve have taken upon themselves, absent any authority from God to do so.

I suppose the Lord Jesus Christ, who the scriptures tell us, is the same today, yesterday, and forever, could have later changed his mind about the duties of the Twelve and put them in charge of running the entire Church. He could have. But He didn't. If He had, we would have a revelation showing us the Lord had reversed Himself.

He That Learns Not His Duty Shall Not Be Counted Worthy
The Lord created two distinct high councils: a standing high council, and a traveling high council. Their duties do not overlap. The standing high council was "appointed by revelation for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church." That body was formed on February 17, 1834, and you can read all about it in D&C 102. At that time there was no quorum of Twelve Apostles in the church. That body was yet to be formed.

That took place a year later when the Lord, through revelation, called for a traveling high council selected from twelve of the existing apostles. (The calling of apostle had existed from the beginning, when Joseph Smith was named the first apostle in the church. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was a separate group consisting of twelve specifically called apostles set apart to travel outside the church, making them distinct from any members of the church who had been called apostles up to that time. So the "twelve traveling apostles" became a separate entity all their own, with distinct duties different from any other existing apostles.)

Joseph explained to these twelve men that their duty was to preach the gospel outside the local boundaries of the church. This "traveling high council," also known as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was formed on March 28th, 1835. This was one year after the creation of the standing high council, and five full years after the church itself was formally organized. There had been missionaries sent out from the beginning, but the Quorum of the Twelve were given the authority to only do missionary work and nothing beyond setting up branches abroad. The Lord appointed Brigham Young to be the president of this newly minted traveling high council. This was the only calling the Lord ever extended to Brigham Young: director of the missionary program.

Section 107 is known as the "Revelation on Priesthood" and in this revelation the Lord is making it very clear that His church was not to function in the hierarchical fashion it has developed into today. He designated four separate and distinct quorums, each with separate duties and responsibilities, while specifically stating that each quorum was "equal in authority" to the others. That is, the church was not created to be a top-down organization as it is today, but a flat structure with none of the leading quorums in authority over another. They were all equal in authority.

There's a lot of stuff covered in section 107 (there are a hundred verses), but for our purposes here we're going to skip over most of it and focus on the relationship between four particular leadership bodies, then narrow that down to the two that are pertinent to this discussion: the body that had jurisdiction within the church, and the one that had jurisdiction outside the church. Grab your D&C and follow along with me while we look at the way the Lord lays it out.

First, there's the First Presidency. Where does it come from? Is it supposed to be made up of former apostles?

Nope. The prophet Joseph Smith reorganized the First Presidency several times during his lifetime, and not once did he cull from the Quorum of the Twelve to replace one of his counselors. Not one single time. Ever.

Why not? Well, when the Lord describes the duties of the Twelve, you'll discover that if Joseph Smith picked one of them to be in the First Presidency, he would be removing that man from the important missionary calling given to him by the Lord, and assigning him different responsibilities. Remember, the Lord told the Twelve their duties would differ from every other quorum. The other quorums were tasked with governing the church; the Twelve were not.

The Lord describes the duties of the Twelve in various verses, and it's clear they are not a governing body in the church, but instead are "sent out" into "all the world"-which means the world outside of Church headquarters. 

Then we see something interesting. In verse 24 we discover that the Quorum of Twelve are equal in authority and power to the First Presidency. That's pretty nifty, because the Twelve deserve not to be dumped on, what with always being required to be away from home and all. I had always thought the First Presidency was in authority over the Twelve, but that's not so. Joseph Smith did not see his calling as any more important than anyone else's. He just had different gifts and differing responsibilities.

Then we get to the Seventy, and their duty is to act under the direction of the Twelve, and to be available if the Twelve require assistance to fill the need for additional preachers and so on. But get this: even though they act "under the direction of the Twelve," the Twelve don't have any authority over them. The Twelve are not in charge of the Seventy. The Lord says right there in verse 26 that the Seventy form a quorum equal in authority to that of the Twelve. You see, the Seventy are also apostles, they're just a separate quorum of apostles. The actual title of this group is "the seventy apostles." Why? Because there were seventy of them.

So we had the twelve apostles, and we had the seventy apostles. Separate groups, but equal to each other in authority. Neither group was in charge of the other.

Finally, the standing High Council. This is the meat and potatoes of our quest, because if the next First Presidency after Joseph's was to come from any place, it would have come from the standing high council. Why? Because this is the governing body that has authority within Church headquarters in the same way the Twelve had authority outside church headquarters. And like every other quorum, the Lord affirms that the standing high council is equal in authority to the Twelve and equal in authority to the First Presidency. Again, no quorum was in authority over any other.

The high council of the church was originally formed in Kirtland, Ohio. When Missouri became the center place of the church, that council moved to Missouri, and even though membership in the body came and went, the high council remained the central high council to the church. Same thing when church headquarters relocated to Nauvoo. They retained their duties and responsibilities similar to those of the other governing body, the First Presidency, which they stood next to. If Brigham Young had not illegally abolished the high council, there would be a central high council governing the Church from Salt Lake City today, and Russell Nelson and his pals would not be the ones sitting around the board table at 50 East North Temple Street. They would be far away from there, handing out pamphlets in Constantinople or Timbuktu.

In the final verse of section 107 the Lord issues a warning about any of the men in the various quorums who might be tempted to shirk his duty in favor of doing something else, and it is a pertinent warning that could be appropriately directed at every future church president from Brigham Young to Russell Nelson. "He that learns not his duty and shows himself approved shall not be counted worthy to stand."

Lying For The Lord
If you spend enough time digging around for explanations by Church authorities on why they believe apostles are entitled to install other apostles into the First Presidency, you'll eventually find someone attempting to rationalize this false doctrine by actually referring to -are you ready for this?- D&C 107! Here's the late David B. Haight:



Let's break this down:
"In 1835 the Lord gave a revelation on this matter that provides for orderly succession."
Notice Elder Haight speaks in a very authoritative manner about the existence of a revelation, and even tells us the year it was received. But he doesn't actually cite the section of the D&C where that revelation can be found, making it nearly impossible for the listener to readily look it up to see if what he says about it is actually in there. That's too much of a risk for him. Haight had to be aware that anyone bothering to check up on his claim would quickly see that this particular revelation does not provide for any kind of succession at all, orderly or otherwise. He continues:
"The revelation states that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is a body equal in authority to the First Presidency." 
Yes it does. But the revelation also states that the Standing High Council is also a body equal in authority to the First Presidency. How come he didn't bother mentioning that? He goes on:
"That means that when the president of the church dies, the presidency is dissolved." 
Is that really what it means, Elder Haight? I wonder how you made that leap in logic. You have to really want this revelation to say something other than what it actually says in order to come up with that meshugganeh interpretation, David. Where the heck is there anything in there about dissolving the First Presidency? For that matter, where is there anything in that revelation that remotely refers to what happens when the president dies? Let's keep going:
"And the Quorum of the Twelve automatically become the presiding body of the Church." 
Well, that was magical. The result Elder Haight needs to have happen just "automatically" takes place.

That's quite a chunk of sophistry you've bitten off there, Dave.  Let's recap it in the form of a syllogism in order to better grasp your reasoning:

1. The Twelve are equal in authority to the First Presidency,
2. "Which means that" when the president dies, the presidency is dissolved,
3. Therefore the Twelve "automatically" become the presiding body.

 Nope, sorry, Brother Haight. I'm just not following your logic.  Give us your final summation, if you will.
"This divinely revealed procedure...revelation from the Lord"
Well hold on there. I don't think you've shown any evidence at all that the procedure you describe is divinely revealed or that it came through a revelation from the Lord, seeing as how all you did was refer to a revelation that doesn't say anything close to what you say it does. Come on now, Brother Haight. Don't you mean to say "this procedure is the result of a trial-and-error series of precepts that have developed over time?" Okay, wrap it up, please. You were concluding that this divinely revealed revelation,
 "...for installing a new president of the church...has been followed to our present day."
That part is true.

Why Didn't Brigham Young Didn't Think Of That?
If D&C 107 contained even a modicum of evidence to support the claim David Haight attributes to it, don't you think Brigham Young would have cited it to bolster his own authority claims? What about John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and others? Wouldn't it have saved a lot of hassle on the part of those who had trouble justifying their right to dissolve and reinstall a new first presidency if only that revelation gave them the authority to do so?

Here's historian Michael Quinn:
Everyone in 1844, especially Brigham Young, knew the 1835 revelation did not mean what modern Mormons think it means concerning the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. That revelation certainly did not contain or imply what the LDS church's Encyclopedia of Mormonism now claims: "Further direction pertaining to the organization of the First Presidency was given in a revelation on priesthood in 1835. Three men were to be chosen and appointed, and ordained to that office by the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, 'and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church.' (D&C 107:22). 
On the contrary, readers can examine that verse and the entire revelation in vain for such an alleged provision that the Twelve were to choose the First Presidency. No such statement existed in either the 1835 revelation or any other Mormon document. During Joseph Smith's lifetime, the Twelve did not have the right to organize even a stake high council, let alone the First Presidency." (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pg 157-158).
When I first read that in Quinn's book several years ago, I could not believe the writers of that segment in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism actually altered scripture in order to make it appear God said something he never said. So I pulled volume two of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism off the shelf and opened it up, and sure enough, there it was: a complete fabrication inserted into their telling of verse 22, deliberately intended to deceive the reader. The authors of that contribution are J. Lynn England and W. Keith Warner. If anyone out there knows them, tell them I said they are blatant liars and deserve to be publicly shamed.

Who Is Authorized To Lead The Church?
When members of the Quorum of the Twelve today declare that the Lord provided the means for a smooth transition of authority from one church president to the next, they are being completely truthful. The only thing they neglect to mention is that the Lord deliberately leaves them out of the process.

Jesus Christ, the head of the Church at the time, gave Joseph Smith the authority to appoint anyone he wanted to succeed him as president. Joseph chose his brother Hyrum. But Hyrum was murdered along with Joseph, so now what do we do?

I wonder if it had occurred to many people at the time, that by taking Joseph and Hyrum unto Himself, perhaps the Lord was trying to tell them something. Something on the order of "you don't deserve to have these men among you."

If the Saints had any sense at all, they would have realized the Lord was calling them to repentance. He already told them way back in 1832 that they were all under condemnation. (D&C 84: 55-57.) Four years later he warned them of the cursings and judgments that would soon come upon them if they didn't straighten up right away. He said if they continued to ignore His warnings, they would be moved out of their place. (D&C 124:45-48.) Those cursings and judgments took place soon after, and the people were indeed moved out of their place. But instead of repenting, every 24th of July Mormons in Utah make a holiday out of the way God allowed them to be moved out of their place, and treat it as if it were a cause for celebration.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of others I know, there is no need to be in a hurry to have someone preside over the church, at least not until they have repented and learned to govern themselves according to the commandments of God. But if there was a need for a new First Presidency to replace the last one, those men would properly come from within the standing high council, not the traveling high council as it is improperly done today.

Of course, first we would have to reconstitute the high council, because one of the first things Brigham Young did was get rid of it. As you can guess, that body stood in the way of his ambitions.

Michael Quinn noted that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, which was published by Macmillan & Co. and therefore not strictly a Church publication, fudged on the truth about Mormon succession by citing section 107 while leaving out the pertinent part about the high council's qualifications. Yet a book published by Deseret Book the year before (the same book I cited at the beginning of this piece, Prophets, Priesthood Keys, & Succession) acknowledged the truth about the succession mystery:
"Thus in the developing days of Church government, the standing high councils stood in the line of succession."
Yes, it's true. An item sold at Deseret Book actually contained something of value.

If we require further evidence that the high council should have been the logical place to look for Joseph's successor, we have the Lord's description of that body as "the cornerstone of Zion." And let's not overlook Joseph Smith's own endorsement when he addressed the high council:
"If I should now be taken away, I had accomplished the great work the Lord had laid before me, and that which I had desired of the Lord; and that I had done my duty in organizing the High Council, through which council the will of the Lord might be known on all important occasions, in the building up of Zion, and establishing truth in the earth." (History of the Church, Vol 2, pg 124.)
The Widow Knows
It's no wonder Brigham Young had it out for Joseph's widow, Emma. He desperately needed her in his corner. Had she backed Sidney Rigdon, Brigham might have had an argument against that. Unfortunately for Brigham and Sidney, Emma had a firm understanding of why neither of them were qualified to take upon them the presidency of the Church. Here is how she explained it:
"Whereas it is the business of the First Presidency, more particularly to govern the church at Zion, and the members abroad have a right to that quorum from the decisions of the Twelve. Now as the Twelve have no power with regard to the government of the Church in the Stakes of Zion, but the High Council have all the power, so it follows that on removal of the first President, the office would devolve upon the President of the High Council in Zion, as the first President always resides there, and that is the proper place for the quorum of which he is head; thus there would be no schism or jarring. But the Twelve would attend to their duties in the world and not meddle with the government of the church at home, and the High Council in Zion and the First Presidency would attend to their business in the same place... 
"Mr. Rigdon is not the proper successor of President Smith, being only his counselor, but Elder Marks should be the individual as he was not only his councilor at the time of his death, but also President of the High Council." (Emma Smith to James M. Monroe, quoted in Newell and Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, pg 206-207; see also Quinn, Supra, pg 160.)
If you grew up like me reading only "Church approved" histories, you would be entirely unaware of the fact that thousands of members argued against Brigham Young's power grab, resulting in approximately half the population of the church refusing to follow the Twelve to the Rocky Mountains.  Here is a former senior president of the Seventy, Hazen Aldrich:
"You will see by the Book of Covenants that the 12 are a traveling high council and are entirely out of their place in attempting to assume the First Presidency & dictate the affairs of the whole church." (Quinn, Supra pg 388, n.77)
Joseph's younger brother William, an apostle at the time and rightful Patriarch after the death of Hyrum, lambasted Brigham and the Twelve for their blatant usurpation of authority. Though he recognized the right of the Twelve to ordain patriarchs in the mission field, he denied they had the right even to ordain him as patriarch, because that authority was not theirs to bestow.
"That 'the 12 had a right to ordain patriarchs in all large branches of the church abroad' I did not pretend to deny. But that they had a right to ordain one of their own number and place him under the direction of the presidency, or to ordain a patriarch to the whole church, I do deny, and pronounce the position a false doctrine, and from the devil, to destroy the church. It was a right thing that belonged to the first presidents of the church, [Joseph and Hyrum] and it is plain that the 12 had not this right or power over the church to act as first presidents, as their position and place in the church is defined by revelation as a traveling council and not a local presidency." (William Smith, Melchizedek and Aaronic Herald, vol 1 March 1849.) 
Emma wasn't finished, either. She had an effective argument for electing the president of the high council to the position of president of the Church. William Marks would have been Joseph Smith's clear choice;
"According to the ordination pronounced upon him by Bro Joseph he [William Marks] is the individual contemplated by him for his successor. The Twelve never received any such instructions or commands or ordinations as would authorize them to take that office. They were aware of these facts but acted differently." (Quinn, pg 397, n.50)
Here's something else worth noting: when Joseph ordained his brother Hyrum to become co-president of the church, he was able to do so because Hyrum already held office as a member of the standing high council. Had Hyrum been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, it would have been inappropriate for Joseph to yank him out of his calling as a missionary and place him in church government. Hyrum had to hold the high priesthood inside a stake of Zion, or he could not have been given a calling having to do with governing the church.

Unfortunately for the church, William Marks was not interested in becoming president.  He did not posess the kind of blind ambition as Brigham Young. Nevertheless, Brigham wasn't taking any chances; he immediately did what had to be done to get Marks out of the way. Again, these sly machinations are fully documented in Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover.

We will never know how much different the church would be today had the members refused to "go along" with the Twelve as the Twelve began usurping power and authority the Lord had deliberately withheld from them by revelation.

We have a word for when a person substitutes his own will for the commandments of God. We call it disobedience. The Lord has told us that he is bound when we do what he says, but when we do not what he says, we have no promise. That applies to leaders of the Church as much as anyone else. Maybe even more.

If all this is new to you and your head is swimming, I recommend this thorough list of sources and citations for you to examine. It's a bit more orderly than my disconnected ramblings here, but I think it vital for every believer in the Restoration to look into the matter at this juncture if we are to awaken to our awful situation. Also, I spoke to Radio Free Mormon yesterday, and he will be posting a podcast related to the same topics covered in this post, which should appear sometime today (Sunday). He is always informative and entertaining, so keep checking there.

And I hope you'll check back here next month when I discuss some of the things to consider before sustaining Russell M. Nelson as president and prophet, given his history of open rebellion against God. Meanwhile, I'll close by re-quoting the words from Hoyt Brewster that I opened this piece with, followed by a warning from Joseph Smith.
"There have always been false prophets and self proclaimed would-be leaders who have sought to establish their own claim to presiding authority...One's eternal salvation depends upon the ability to recognize and know the true servants of God -those who are authorized to preach His gospel and administer the sacred and saving ordinances thereof." - Prophets, Priesthood Keys, & Succession, pg 38
"The moment we revolt at anything that comes from God, the devil takes power."
   -Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 181
                                                                     *****
Update:
The Radio Free Mormon podcast referenced above is now available. RFM covers important stuff I either hadn't noticed or overlooked, so this is essential listening. Highly informative AND very entertaining. He made me laugh right out of the gate. But make no mistake, things are worse than even I was aware.  Click here for "Illegitimate First Presidency."
                                      Please share this post with your friends and family.

Related Posts:

How Jesus Christ Was Ousted as Head of the Church of Jesus Christ

Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover

How We Know Thomas Monson is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator

Did The Lord Choose Not to Anoint the Lord's Anointed?

How to Tell if You Are an Idolotor





357 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 357 of 357
Linda Gale said...

Dave P.,

The blood atonement thing hasn't been totally disavowed either. Our dear leader said that Christ's atonement was conditional, that He loves some more than others.

His lovely wife wrote a book encouraging little ones to lead a sinless life.

Just cut Christ and his amazing work of love and grace totally out of the picture, for everyone can and "should" lead a sinless life. And if you don't lead a sinless life, you are a "less-than".

Dave P. said...

Of course this is all that 2 Nephi 26-28 warns about the modern corporation anyway. The members are so blind to their own self-righteousness and blind obedience that they fail to realize how they've been deceived into following satan's plan of blind obedience and unquestioning loyalty to "the church" and "the prophet."

Zebedee said...

Scary thoughts indeed.

If you want even more of a horror story go to http://twochurchesonly.com/ and read in volume 2 about satanic ritual abuse within the Church.

The tares are real and they are evil.

Unknown said...

Since the discussion seems to have come to an end, maybe you can find the time to watch this update on Radio Free Mormon's "Apostolic Coup d'état":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_IS1CAzIVg

matt lohrke said...

I'm trying to make sense of this priesthood conundrum. If anyone has any insights, or can correct anything below, please feel free to chime in.

So, in relation to D&C 84, I find this in the Historical Introduction in the Joseph Smith papers:

The Book of Mormon indicated that authority from God was necessary to perform certain ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost which led JS and Oliver Cowdery to petition God for such authority as they worked together in translating
that record. Later accounts indicate that in May 1829 and sometime thereafter, they received angelic visitations that provided them first with the authority to baptize and later with the authority to officiate in other ordinances. However, extant records up to June 1831 did not call such authority “priesthood”; that term—while appearing in both the Book of Mormon and in JS’s Bible revision—did not appear in any other contemporary documents until the minutes of a June 1831 conference which noted that several individuals “were ordained to the high Priesthood. Moreover, the “Articles and Covenants” of the church explained the different duties of apostles, elders, priests, teachers, and deacons but did not explicitly associate these offices with the priesthood."

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/revelation-22-23-september-1832-dc-84/6#historical-intro

Between 1829 and June 1831, we have the introduction of Sidney Rigdon into the fold (December 1830), who apparently had Joseph's ear.

In David Whitmer's "An Address to All Believers in Christ," we read:

"In Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831, Rigdon would expound the Old Testament scriptures of the Bible and Book of Mormon (in his way) to Joseph, concerning the priesthood, high priests, etc., and would persuade Brother Joseph to inquire of the Lord about this doctrine and that
doctrine, and of course a revelation would always come just as they desired it. Rigdon finally persuaded Brother Joseph to believe that the high priests which had such great power in ancient times, should be in the Church of Christ to-day. He had Brother Joseph inquire of the Lord about it, and they received an answer according to their erring
desires. Remember that this revelation came like the one to ordain Brother Joseph "Prophet Seer and Revelator" to the church—through Brother Joseph as mouthpiece, and not through the stone. Remember also that "Some revelations are of God; some revelations are of man; and some revelations are of the devil."

We also know from Jacob 4:14 that God will give us according to our desires, even if those desires cause stumbling blocks, confusion, or error. So I don't have any reason to disbelieve David Whitmer on this issue.

Cont...

matt lohrke said...

cont...

If we bounce that off Alma 13 and the Priesthood of the Holy Order of God, it seems to make a lot sense that "priesthood" as laid out in the Book of Mormon, is something entirely different than we currently teach. It seems those who have been ordained to that High Priesthood, which includes sanctification, is a relatively small number of people (even though many have achieved it). Nephi son of Nephi is a good example with the sealing power given in Helaman 10. It's thrilling to read of God covenanting with Nephi before the hosts of heaven. Also D&C 88 and JST Genesis 14 mention that God gives this priesthood by his own voice.

The latter-day Josephite prophet will have this power, too. (2 Nephi 3:24)

If this is true, then do we not bring upon ourselves even more condemnation by claiming and ordaining people to a priesthood that can't be conferred by man? It seems that "authority," or in other words, "permission," is entirely different from "priesthood," which is attained though obedience, works of righteousness, and sanctification through the Holy Ghost. How many times have the young men been told they are a "royal priesthood" when in reality their just a bunch of kids with titles?

The baptismal prayers in BOM don't mention any priesthood, just authority. Alma received authority directly from God through the receiving the Holy Spirit (synonymous with sanctification?) (Mosiah 18:12-13).

There's also no record of Joseph or Oliver receiving the "High Priesthood," just speculation that it had to have happened towards the end of March 1830.

It makes me wonder how many canonized revelations came not because God chose to reveal, but because Joseph, Sidney or someone else desired it? If so, how much of the D&C is reliable?

This makes sense to me, but I'm just an idiot with an internet connection.

Dave P. said...

I'm trying to remember where I read this, but I believe it was the JST that defined "priesthood" as "the knowledge of the true nature of God" in regards to Adam passing that down to his children.

One thing Joseph got right was saying that you can't worship God without an understanding of who He is. A few years ago I made this connection with 2 Nephi 26 and it scared the daylights out of me when I realized that pretty much every prayer offered in an LDS meetinghouse is actually directed towards satan because of the false teachings of the nature of God that have prevailed in LDS tradition for so long at this point.

"Yea, they are led carefully down to hell," indeed.

And Matt, one part of that Address that really hit me was the story of how not even the Book of Commandments should have never been published because the revelations given to individuals during the translation of the BoM were for and should have stayed for those individuals as they were specific sets of instructions for them alone.

But yes, the alterations in the revelations found in both the BoC and D&C are proof that any and all of them can be subject to suspicion of tampering at any time given how the ones in the latter were altered to justify Joseph setting himself up as a king and, as we discussed earlier, there are no records supporting the events that supposedly took place at the dedication of the Kirtland "temple." The RLDS already proved that the supposed restoration of the "Melchizedek Priesthood" by Peter, James, and John was a fabrication.

Underdog2 said...

Dave,

How is "pretty much every prayer offered in an LDS meetinghouse...actually directed towards satan"?

David said...

Matt,

Those are interesting thoughts. They got me thinking in a different direction, so thank you for that.

I noticed something the other day while reading 3 Nephi 11. After allowing everyone to experience Him for themselves, he called Nephi out of the crowd and gave him power to baptize after Christ would ascend back to the Father. What power? Isn't this the same Nephi from 3 Nephi 1 who was baptizing people at the time of the fulfillment of Samuel's first prophecy? If he could baptize then, what changed once the Savior appeared that caused the Savior to give him new power to baptize? Also notice how He gave him the power. No mention of laying on of hands or any specific ordination being performed.

Dave P. said...

Underdog,

It can be summarized in a few points:
* To worship and pray to God requires a true knowledge of His nature.
* The LDS church teaches about a God whose nature is not described in the scriptures.
* The LDS church envisions and prays to this "God" as a result.
* If the LDS church does not pray to the True God, they are praying to a false god.
* Any and every false god traces back to satan.
* The god of the LDS church is satan.
QED

Dave P. said...

David,

3 Nephi 11 is a perfect example of how all of the old things were done away with Christ. Entering into the new covenant He established with His people at the time required being re-baptized, even those who had been baptized previously and will be required again in the future regardless of if the current church repents and is cleansed or is wiped out entirely and a new one created in its place.

Baptism is not only a symbolic cleansing of sin, but also a washing away of old traditions that are dead.

Dave P. said...

To expound a bit further on the LDS church members unwittingly praying to satan, also remember that Nephi taught there are only two churches: "The church of God and the church of the devil" while also teaching that "the very elect will be deceived."

Those most prone to being deceived are those who truly believe they can never be deceived. As stated before, the only ones blind to the deception that goes on in the LDS Corporation today are those members who espouse, "The church leaders will never deceive us because that's what they said!"

Eric Kuntz said...

Good points on the LDS people praying to Satan, that is exactly what they are doing. The “follow the prophet” mantra has done more harm, and will continue to do more harm than almost anything else that’s been foisted upon the Mormon people with the exception of the Masonic temple ordinances. Neither of these things are scriptural truths. So yes, LDS INC. is completely Satanic. Just try telling this to a random TBM.

matt lohrke said...

David - you're welcome. Like most people (I hope), I'm just trying to arrive at capital-T Truth. One of my guiding scriptures is Alma 32:21: "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." If we are to have true faith, we have to know the Truth. I believe God is a God of miracles and the signs that are supposed to follow the believers are severely lacking.

My other guiding scripture is the same one Dave P mentions: there are save two churches. Whenever I turn on Jesus Radio while out driving, the pastors/guests/speakers almost invariably refer to the body of believers as "the church." They get it.

It's really extraordinary just how much the paradigm shifts once you peel off the Book of Mormon from LDS, Inc., and take it on its own terms. They can no longer co-exist.

Dave P - do you any additional info on the RLDS refutation on the Peter, James and John event? Sounds like a good read. Speaking of PJ&J, we've taken the statement that they "declared their priesthood" on the banks of the Susquehanna and turned it into the ordination of Oliver and Joseph (earlier I wrote it was 1830. The church claims it was 1829). I think their declaration of priesthood, if it indeed occurred, was exactly that - a declaration. Nothing more, nothing less.

Dave P. said...

Matt,

This Mormon Stories podcast from a few years ago brings it up, though I don't remember exactly which part:

http://www.mormonstories.org/a-visual-history-of-the-community-of-christ-rlds/

matt lohrke said...

Awesome, thanks!

Linda Gale said...

I am the 'pot stirrer' in my GD SS class.

Last year the Word of Wisdom was the focus of one lesson, and I commented that it was not a commandment. (although the temple recommend Q ask specifically if we adhere to it)

Several class members had comments contrary to mine, and after class the bishop looked it up on LDS.org on his phone to quietly tell me that BY had made it a commandment sometime in the 1850's, (not sure right this moment on the date). I didn't have the heart to ask the bishop how it was that BY could change Christ's words of counsel into a commandment for the entire church?

Anyway, long way to get to this point.
Emma complained to Joseph about having to clean the floors after a school of the prophets sessions.
So when the men heard about Emma's complaint, they stated that if the men had to give up chewing tobacco then the ladies had to give up their tea. 'Tit for tat', so to speak. And so with those requests in their hearts, the word of wisdom "revelation" was received. WHATEVER WAS IN THEIR HEARTS was the revelation they received!!!

Whoa! That makes me wonder what other "revelations" were merely the lusts of their hearts.

So does God give us bad or contrary things, even to our condemnation, because that is what is in our heart? The infamous November Policy comes to mind.

Dave P. said...

David Whitmer brought the cycle up several times:
* Sydney Rigdon or someone else tells Joseph about something they believe was the case in the past.
* Joseph acts as a mouthpiece and takes it to the Lord.
* The Lord(?) "reveals" something that happens to fall exactly in line with the desire Joseph had and it's accepted even if it contradicts "what is written" (the BoM).

Did no one think that an Unchanging God would ever be so flexible and His will wouldn't "just happen" to align with the desires of men 100% of the time? It goes back to Martin Harris and the loss of the 116 pages. The Lord basically told Joseph, "Look, I've said 'No!' three times and that's still not going to change. However, you're not going to listen to me anyway because you're weak and heed men over me, so go do what you want and enjoy the consequences."

God must be Unchanging, or He would cease to be God. Alma the younger makes that very clear.

You also had good timing in bringing up the Word of Wisdom, Linda, as it's used as a tool for evil these days in denying potentially life-saving treatment to terminally ill patients in the form of cannabis and marijuana, both of which are natural plants (which both the BoM and OT state were provided by God for purposes of healing), and yet Utah has one of the worst rates of prescription drug addiction in the country.

Gee, it's almost as if those men in "leadership" who place their own desires above God repeatedly screw the people over.

And, yes, if anyone says "Brigham Young made it a commandment," do not hesitate to ask him where the written revelation from Christ through Brigham is in the D&C to make it applicable to the whole church. It's just another point to showcase the sandy foundation of the corporation because it can't be trusted to adhere to the rules and processes it claims to follow.

Linda Gale said...

A very lovely lady in my ward used to be an army nurse. Her husband has Parkinson's and she declared in SS class that his dr. had suggested coffee would help greatly with the symptoms of his illness. She flatly told the Dr. to come up with something else, because LDS people know that coffee is prohibited (and therefore has no redeeming properties).

She really is a lovely lady. And perhaps coffee has many drawbacks. But her suggestion was that perhaps a prescription would suit their LDS lifestyle better than to be using coffee in an LDS household where it might give a wrong impression. OMG!

The W.of W. isn't even a real commandment! I think Paul has something to say about that in the NT, something about how we are no longer slaves, so we only have the commandments Jesus actually spoke that apply to us. And that those who press you to live by dietary laws are harkening back to pre-Christ, pre-resurrection times.

matt lohrke said...

Linda -

I think that yes, that is generally the case. Alma is a good case study. He wanted nothing more than to declare repentance to all the ends of the earth and to persuade people to come to God so there would be no more sorrow on earth. On it's face, that's a noble goal.

But Alma was smarter than that. From Alma 29:

"But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me. I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience."

In other words, be careful what you wish for, even if those are righteous desires.

"Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?"

Alma knew to stay in his lane and perform the work required of him, which was among his own people. No freelancing.

Because...

"For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true. I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me."

Man's will or God's will? I think we have to reach the point where our will is inherently God's will:

"Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments." (Helaman 10:4)

We know what happened next.

Anyway, that's how I understand it. If anyone has a different spin or can correct me, I'm all ears.

David said...

Dave P,

All things becoming new makes sense. It's interesting to me that there is no indication of an ordination taking place. Jesus simply said, "I give unto you power that year shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven."

In chapter 12 we learn that He gave them power to baptize with water, but He reserved the right or power to Himself to baptize them "with fire and with the Holt Ghost."

Even further along in chapter 18, He institutes the sacrament and says that "there shall one be ordained among" them and given power to break bread and bless it. Only one ordained to that power, and there is no indication it's any of the twelve given power to bapyize. The use of the word ordination is also interesting. He does not use that word when giving power to baptize. Though it's very possible that all that is really necessary for a true ordination is for Him to say to someone that He gives them power to do a specific thing.

Dave P. said...

"I think Paul has something to say about that in the NT, something about how we are no longer slaves, so we only have the commandments Jesus actually spoke that apply to us. And that those who press you to live by dietary laws are harkening back to pre-Christ, pre-resurrection times."

History and experience have shown that people love their traditions more than the words of Christ. I mentioned before how Peter and Paul had that debate on the continued requirement about circumcision and James had to step in to remind them things like that didn't matter any more.

It once again goes back to the natural man and the inclination to take the path of least resistance by blindly obeying everything he's told to do. Alma pronounced woe onto any man who had to be commanded in all things for this very reason as the man would rather submit to something akin to the Law of Moses or even satan's plan rather than use his own agency to gain experience and fail in some things but succeed in others.

It's an ironic lesson for Joseph Smith since he had two major complaints: 1. Everyone would go to him over every little matter rather than inquire of the Lord directly and 2. He likened trying to break people from their traditions to something like pulling teeth. The ironic part, of course, is 1. He set himself up as a king and effectively replaced God in the sense that the early saints did not inquire of the Lord directly but went to him instead and 2. It was those same traditional dictates from the time of the Old Testament and Sydney Rigdon's Campelite beliefs that led to the receipt of those "just happen to align" revelations mentioned above.

Even within the church today, someone can move into a new ward and see something being done inefficiently. After offering a suggestion on how to improve the process, the answer is often, "Well, that's just how we've always done it."

No small wonder that Christ related to the cutting away of old ideas and beliefs as akin to cutting off one's own hand. People fear change because they're conditioned to fear failure. But, to quote a friend of mine, "You learn more from getting an F than from getting an A."

Dave P. said...

David,

Also note the original baptismal prayer-

"Having authority given to me of Jesus Christ-" vs. "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ-"

The wording of the first recognizes that the authority is a gift and treating it as such. The second is arrogant in that it sounds like the person is doing the job for a commission, or fee.

Of course the even greater arrogance comes in the form of the confirmation prayer because the person being confirmed is confirmed "a member of the LDS church" before being told to receive the Holy Ghost. And I certainly haven't seen that wording (or prayer) in the Book of Mormon. One guy in one of my old wards about lost his mind when I told him that any one could be baptized and considered part of Christ's church without being confirmed a member (or subsidiary) of LDS Inc.

Linda Gale said...

Dave P.

I always enjoy your comments as they seem to be well thought out. Thank you. Your comments always add to the discussion. Rock couldn't possibly make all of the clarifications in a single post, the required length would discourage anyone from reading to the end. This is the reason I really enjoy all of the conversations which take place after the original post. I glean so much, which adds to my own sifting and distilling of points until I can make better judgements.

I have thought for a number of years, that priesthood holders are the most arrogant and prideful people on the face of the earth. They have a power given to them, which only a tiny, tiny percentage of the world's population can have. They are confident in their ability to command, and have God sustain them in whatever they say (comes to their minds during a blessing).

Christians believe in faith healings, they are known for their prayer chains, but they don't suppose that they can command, and that God is bound in that thing.

I truly have concern for the LDS people, who put their faith in the works of men.
Jesus and the Father have been relegated to errand boys it seems.

David said...

Dave P.,

I've considered the difference in wording. My assumption was/is that the difference is the fact that Nephi on the other 11 were given that power directly by Christ. Though I never considered commissioned as doing a job or a fee, it gave me reason to think about it more. the 1828 definition of commissioned is "Furnished with a commission; empowered; authorized." Authorized fits the wording currently used, and to me, there is a still a difference between authority and authorized. It still seems to me that the difference is the source. One got the power directly while the other is by extension.

Dave P. said...

Thanks, Linda. In a good deal of my comments, they're based on random musings and thoughts that come to my mind while reading the other comments and most of what I refer to is coming from memory. So, the human error is very much there, but at the same time I'm learning a lot as everyone's comments have helped connect quite a few things. Because of that, thank you as well.

The LDS church today, especially the priesthood holders, are a modern parallel of the Jews at the time of Christ. The mindset was, "We are the covenant people, therefore we are invincible and can do what we want." Given God's pattern as shown multiple times in the Old Testament, Book of Mormon, and as recorded in 73 A.D., if the church does not repent, it will be destroyed and no amount of "priesthood power" will stay God's hand.

It's much like the incident where Peter wanted to call down fire from heaven to rain down on some people and Christ told him, "Get behind me, satan!" Another thing He could have said was, "How dare you think you can order God around! Only the fallen one has that level of arrogance!"

Dave P. said...

Wow, I'm in the habit of missing one reply while responding to a different reply at the same time today. XD

What concerns me the most is why it was changed. The BoC records the baptismal prayer word for word as it appears in the BoM, and then changed in the D&C. It's a case of still taking the words of a man over the words of Christ. To consider it an extension from one who is authorized to another makes it sound like that one man can also take it away.

jjkram said...

Linda,
It's called the "Samuel principle" The Lord will give them what they ask, just as the people asked for a king and wouldn't settle for anything less, Samuel was told to get them a king. (Obviously not exact working)

David said...

Dave P.,

Thanks for info. I agree with your thoughts. Do you know when it changed from the wording in BoC and D&C? I've never read the BoC, but it sounds like I better get a copy.

Dave P. said...

Definitely between 1832 and 1835. David Whitmer in his Address confirmed what I had suspected years ago: The revelations where changed to justify Joseph Smith overstepping his bounds so the membership wouldn't ask questions. The big one, of course, is that he was called only to translate the BoM and should not pretend to have any other gifts.

matt lohrke said...

David -

I found this site useful, too.

www.comparedandc.com

You can compare any editions of the D&C, including the 1833 BOC. The changes are automatically highlighted, making for easy comparison.

Also, the Wikipedia page shows the substantial changes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Commandments

Side thought: I don't know the specifics, so I make no value judgments, offer no criticisms, etc. I'm just curious. Regarding Denver's Testimony of John - was that an undertaking of his own volition? Or does he claim that was a commandment?

I find this article interesting:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/2017/03/byu-new-testament-commentary-denver-snuffers-revelation/

The pertinent paragraph being, regarding the Testimony of St John:

"Snuffer has revised and expanded it some, but this is (John) Hall’s translation for the BYUNTC (BYU New Testament Commentary). Unlike Hall at the FHE in 2006 and at FAIR in 2007, Snuffer doesn’t claim manuscript evidence or attribute it to Nibley. He presents it as revelation, the ultimate source of authority for many Mormons, whether they be of this or that kind. I have no idea how many of Snuffer’s followers are going to realize or care that he has been influenced by Hall’s translation or that the translation is wrong."

Again, just pure speculation on my part, but is this an instance of stepping out of your lane and going above and beyond what God has asked and ultimately getting what you want, true or not? I don't mean to open a can of worms, just genuinely curious. It just seems to me that God is not pleased when people go above and beyond their specific commandments.

jjkram said...

Matt Lohrke

Have you been told that he (DS) stepped "out of his lane"? Do you know that "God is not pleased" with him? Perhaps we ought not to speculate.

Matthias said...

Why are so many people here jumping on the David Whitmer bandwagon? It's almost as if people think David Whitmer is infallible. Why is his opinion any more valid than someone else's.

I like David Whitmer. I think he genuinely believed what he said in his address to all believers. His conclusions are seriously flawed however.

In the Book of Commandments it is clear that the Lord had restored his church and priesthood authority.

People can reject that of course, and pick and chose which revelations they will believe. That's a very slippery slope, however. If the revelations in the Book of Commandments and later D&C are of God, then those who reject it are rejecting God's word. That is a very serious thing.

Joseph Smith was not perfect. He was much more flawed and weak than the modern LDS church portrays him. That does not however mean that he was not a prophet.

I'm sorry, but David Whitmer's argument just doesn't add up. What point would there be for God to bring forth the BOM and then let Joseph Smith just pull revelations out of his butt and deceive everyone before the book was even published.

Here's what happened with David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery. They felt threatened by Sidney Rigdon and they disagreed with the direction the church was taking once Sidney joined the first presidency.

According to David Whitmer Sidney was leading Joseph astray. It's just as likely, if not more so, that the Lord had more to reveal and that Sidney was called to be one of his servants. It's all a matter of who we will believe. I believe what the Lord said in the revelations calling Sidney to be one of His servants.

Also the idea that LDS members are all praying to Satan is the stupidest most apostate thing I've ever heard. LDS pray to the Father in the name of Christ, exactly as Christ commanded. The scriptures really are true that in the last days men will call good evil and evil good.





Matthias said...

David, Denver Snuffer is full of it. His testimony of St John is garbage. Just compare the first chapter of the TSJ to the JST and the contradictions are glaring. Denver actually changes some Joseph's corrections back to the original and then twists the whole thing to fit his interpretation of the second comforter doctrine.

Also the differences between the BOC and the D&C are mostly are very minor. Most of them are minor clarifications as to what was meant to eliminate confusion on ambiguous passages. Yes a few things were added and reworded because of new doctrines that were revealed. Some of the additions and clarifications may be somewhat flawed. I don't know. Joseph was a weak and imperfect mortal. I won't condemn the word of God because of the imperfections men.

Matt, if you believe Denver is the Lord's servant, then why are you questioning the origins of Mormonism and the revelations that Joseph brought forth in this blog thread, when Denver's lectures (dictated to him by Christ Himself supposedly) defend all of Joseph's revelations and actions?

Linda Gale said...

Thank you jjkram for connecting that dot for me regarding "the Samuel principle."

Thank you Matt Lohrke for the comments on church leaders receiving 'revelations'. I appreciate the things you added. It increases my understanding.

Dave P.,
Talking about cannabis or marijuana. Someone in another venue said that when God created the earth that He pronounced it was "good". So who is puny man to pronounce anything God claimed to be 'good', to be an evil herb? I thought it was a good point.

Linda Gale said...

MC,

I appreciate your comments. You must spend quite a bit of time in studying the scriptures and church history. I don't always agree with your premises but I appreciate that you can reference most things you comment on. I don't agree 100% with anyone's premises, but I learn much in the discussion of all things LDS.

I have a question somewhat related to your comments above.

Are Mormons Christians? I know the name of the church has Jesus Christ in the title, but what is it that delineates a true Christian from a non-Christian or a pseudo-Christian?

What core beliefs must one adhere to in order to qualify as a follower of Jesus?

If one assumes that they can over-ride Jesus' statements with their own updated versions, or if they assume that they can command Jesus or God, well, I'm not sure they qualify as a Christian.

Matthias said...

Thanks Linda,

In regards to marijuana, I think you're forgetting that God cursed the earth at the time of the fall. It was to bring forth briars and noxious weeds to torment and afflict man. Opium and Cocaine come from plants. I don't think any reasonable person would think they should be injested. Lots of plants are poisonous and serve no purpose but to afflict man.

Perhaps marijuana is similar to tobacco and has some useful purpose and isn't just another drug to make people high. My brother is a pothead, who works for a marijuana dispensary. He thinks it's a wonder drug that cures everything. He may have a point that certain strands of marijuana that are turned into oils and don't make you high may have a useful purpose. Then again he could be full of it, too. He was once a strong athlete and now his body is sickly and he has to light one up several times a day just to function without chronic headache and pain (which he never had before starting to smoke marijuana regularly by the way)

Smoking anything is bad for you. So is eating pot brownies.

Matthias said...

Linda,

Sorry, I didn't see your question earlier.

Are Mormons Christians?

The simple answer is of course a resounding YES. In thr simplest sense a Christian is anyone who believes that Christ is the son of God and atoned for the sins of the world.

Mormons believe in Christ. They believe Christ paid for their sins and they have faith that he can/will save them in the Kingdom of heaven.

I think the real question is are Mormons currently living Christ's gospel as it was originally taught by him?

I think the answer to that one is no. However in my book that doesn't mean they aren't Christians. I consider Luther and Zwingli, and many other people from the middle ages to be Christians and they had their fair share of false practices and doctrines, too.

matt lohrke said...

MC - I'm ambivalent on Denver. I've never once said I believe he's the Lord's servant. I've mentioned on here before that I appreciate the work he's done in restoring some lost knowledge, but that's as far as it goes for me. And I ultimately don't know that it matters, to be honest.

There are a lot of things I don't know and don't understand, but I want to understand, so I ask questions, hoping to arrive at the Truth. The great deceiver is loose and I don't want to be deceived.

Linda - I appreciate your comments, too. Thank you.

Matthias said...

Matt, thanks for the clarification. I probably shouldn't have assumed that you believe Denver is the Lord's servant. Your comment to David sure sounded like you were part of the remnant crowd.

In my opinion determining whether or not Denver is the Lord's servant is very important. If he is then his words should be taken very seriously and the Lord is currently setting his hand to gather and redeem his people. If Denver is not the Lord's servant however, then anything from him should be viewed with great suspicion, because Denver would either be a deceiver or deceived himself.

Denver has boldly declared that he is the Lord's servant and that he has been called by God to deliver God's message. I mean shoot the guy flat out said he's the Lord's servant. He produced a "revelation". He said his name had been changed to David, strongly implying that he is the Davidic Servant prophesied in the scriptures. If Denver is a deceiver or deceived then he is working for Satan and not God.

I'm curious why you think it doesn't matter whether Denver is the Lord's servant or not. I genuinely want to know why you don't think it's important to find out if a polarizing figure like Denver, who claims to be the Lord's servant, and is acting the part of a prophet, is the real deal or a phony. Wouldn't the Truth of this matter be very important for someone seeking the Truth?

Diana said...

They were right...

Why do you presume that another point of view is lacking in light? Did you ever consider that your position was lacking in light?

The traditions of the fathers have been affected the current institution all the way to the core.

Maybe someday you will see that other people's opinions are just as valid as yours, regardless of their source.

That is one of the reasons Rock publishes a Blog.

MC said...

Matt, I was just rereading through some of the recent comments, and I realized that I goofed. I thought the comment defending Denver on February 15 at 5:40 was yours, when it was in fact jjkram. I also thought your comment questioning Denver's TSJ and suggesting that Denver was overstepping his bounds was from David. Sorry for the mix up.

I'm still curious though, why you take a neutral position towards Denver? Do you think he's not what he claims, but that their is still value in what he has written because it contains truth?

In regards to an earlier question you had about the priesthood, and particularly references to the High Priesthood being mentioned for the first time in 1831 not 1830 or 1829, there's a reason for that.

The High Priesthood (aka the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood) was not restored until June 1831 at a special conference at the Isaac Morley Farm in Kirtland Ohio. The blogger who goes by the name onewhoiswatching or watcher did an extensive series on this event several years ago. Part 1 is available here:

https://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/searching-for-the-holy-order-and-23-high-priests/

You can just follow the links at the end of each part to read the whole thing. It's a fascinating read.

I'm not completely sure what was revealed to Joseph and Oliver by Peter, James, and John. Joseph's account references keys being restored, not the Melchizedek Priesthood, as has been taught at church since the days of Brigham Young.

MC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jjkram said...

Perhaps we should consider Acts 6:38-39 as many attack Joseph or Denver or whomever:

"And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought;
but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found, even to fight against God."

Unknown said...

Matt Iohrke, why ask about the temple endowment? Why not ask why is baptism required for salvation? They're both ordinances that are a part of accepting Jesus' atonement. Having said that, I understand the problems with it. For one thing, it's not in the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, or anything else. So it doesn't have as much validity as baptism which is taught in all the standard works.

It's also understandable that secret rituals are going to be seen with suspicion and it's why masons are viewed as some sort of illuminati. Does anyone here actually know a mason? They're just a fraternity group and they're not as united globally as Mormons are. Some have used they're masonic associations for selfish or malevolent reasons but that doesn't mean they all have.

There's nothing evil about secret handshakes. They're either from God or not. But something not being from God is just benign, not evil. If the handshake meant a secret plot to take over the world, then that'd be evil.

Linda Gale said...

Miguel Aveiro,

Masons look like a benevolent society on the surface. They do a lot of service projects, but their foundation is rotten to the core. They say one thing to the lower degrees, but the higher degrees have an agenda that makes the hair on your neck stand up because of its creepiness.

Here are words from Albert Pike, one of the founders of freemasonry:

"That which we must say to a crowd is—We worship a God, but it is the God that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st, and 30th degrees—The Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian Doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay whose deeds prove his cruelty, perdify and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and his priests, calumniate him? Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods: darkness being necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive. Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy; and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil."vii


http://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception-Freemason_Lucifer_Albert_Pike

Just saying, not everything is as it appears on the surface.

Eric Kuntz said...

"There's nothing evil about secret handshakes. They're either from God or not. "

OR NOT

The Lord does nothing in secret.

16 Come ye near unto me; I have not spoken in secret; from the beginning, from the time that it was declared have I spoken; and the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.

Matthias said...

jjkram, that passage from Acts 5 is a quote by a Pharisee encouraging the other Pharisees not to put the apostles to death for preaching in the name of Jesus and working mighty miracles in his name.

If Denver were locked up by the brethren and they wanted to put him to death, then it might apply, provided of course that Denver is a true servant of God.

In that very same passage from Acts 5, the Pharisee encouraging restraint provides an example of a false prophet who was eventually killed anyway. According to the scriptures death is the just punishment for false prophets.

The passage does not in any way suggest that one shouldn't point out false doctrines and blatant contradictions by those professing to be sent by God. The scriptures tell us to prove all things, judge self-proclaimed prophets by their fruits, and warn our brethren of deception.

Now of course each of us must stand on our own when it comes to judging self-proclaimed prophets. We shouldn't put our trust in the arm of flesh.

jjkram said...

Acts chapter 6. Just saying. And as you say...I do not need anyone except God to prove herewith...including you. Will not be responding again. Not needful...

Matthias said...

jjkram, that passage is from Acts 5 in the standard Bible. Are the chapter break downs different in the remnant bible?


Sorry if what I said about those verses offended you, but those verses did not mean what you were implying. They say not to kill people because one believes they are false prophets, not that one shouldn't speak out against such. The truth can be hard to accept.

You're right. Each of us must stand on our own. That doesn't mean we have to keep our beliefs to ourselves though.

Dave P. said...

MC,

To say all is well with regard to who the church prays to because they "pray to the Father in the name of Christ" and to cast labels is dodging the issue.

Who does the church teach that the Father is?
* A God who apparently makes exceptions in regards to things that He declared an abomination, such as polygamy.
* A God whose nature does not match up with how the scriptures describe Him.
* A God who answers to the whims of "the prophet."
* A God who approves of secret signs, tokens, blood oaths, and other non-scriptural practices inside the masonic lodges pretending to be temples.

Christ taught His doctrine: Repent and be baptized. He said in the BoM "This is my doctrine, and anyone who teaches more or less than this is not of me," even if that person claims to be the Lord's servant to bring more. The church takes the words of Joseph Smith and any of its "modern prophets" over the Bible, BoM, and doctrine of Christ. Any and all teachings that do not have a second witness in those scriptures should be rejected immediately as not the Word of God, because God is Unchanging, and would cease to be God.

Yes, the church teaches that the Father is flexible and changing- or rather adjusts His words and positions to make the leadership of the church sound as infallible as possible, especially with "The prophet will never lead the church astray." Praying to a God of that nature is not to pray to the Father, even if done in the name of Christ. In fact, the latter can be considered taking the Lord's name in vain.

Matthias said...

Dave P,

I never said all is well when it comes to the prayers of LDS. I do think many LDS are guilty of taking the Lord's name in vain, because they use it lightly, with vain repetition, or without real intent.

Having said that, there is no way in hell that your argument that LDS are praying to Satan has even one shred of validity.

Even if your little laundry list was spot on, your argument about them praying to Satan is still garbage and a complete outrage.

I suppose when an LDS person asks God for help and then the help comes, it is Satan helping them? I suppose when an innocent little LDS primary kid kneels down and pours out their soul in prayer they are really speaking to the evil one? That's such BS. You're completely full of it.

And your little list is full of holes, too. The scriptures do in fact show clearly that God gives different commandments at different times, and that God will sometimes appear to contradict Himself.

Christ said that if anyone harms a little child, it had been better for them to be drowned in the sea. Yet in the Old Testament God commanded Israel to massacre innocent children.

The BOM certainly suggests that the desire to practice polygamy is generally an abomination, unless the Lord commands it.

Abraham and Jacob were both polygamists and Christ had nothing but good things to say about them, in fact he said they were on the kingdom of heaven.

The bible also states that David's wives were given to him by God, except Bathsheba.

Nephi swore by his own head when he compelled Zorom to go with him into the wilderness. Nephi also killed a helpless man in cold blood, as commanded by God. Yet Nephi was one of the most righteous faithful men in history.

There isn't a single scripture that denounces all secret signs, handshakes, and oaths. The only ones that are denounced are ones to get gain or commit murder.

Sounds to me like you have decided to define God in a way that cannot be supported by all of the scriptures, and then when others understand his character differently than you do, you have the gaul to accuse them of praying to Satan.

I've got a news flash for you. The true nature of God is not completely spelled out in the scriptures. Sometimes it says that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God. Other times it is 100% clear that they are seperate. Some passages say that the Father is in the son. Other say that the son is in the father. Yet others say that we are to be one with both of them, in the same way that they are one with each other.

I don't know that anyone alive fully understands God's nature and character. We walk by faith, not by sight after all. It would make zero sense for a God whose level is so far beyond are comprehension, to expect someone to not have any misconceptions about his character in order to pray to him. The very idea of such a thing is blasphemy if you ask me.

Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

"There isn't a single scripture that denounces all secret signs, handshakes, and oaths."

I notice you don't backup your arguments with any scriptures. Let me help you out:

20 And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you...

25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, (Ether 8) Read verses 12-25 for full context.

21 But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths,

22 And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant.

26 Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit...

30 And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and their plans of awful wickedness, (Hel 6)

Read verses 16-31 for the full context.

Not only do the LDS indeed pray to Satan. Satan is the god of Mormonism.

Dave P. said...

What Christ had to say about oaths directly:

33 And again it is written, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths;

34 But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;

35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white;

37 But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil.
(3 Nephi 12)

And what Jacob said about attempting to use the scriptures to justify the practice of polygamy:

22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.

23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

If the Book of Mormon is truly the keystone of our religion, then that key passage is all that's needed to completely and utterly denounce the practice of polygamy. Yet the church today repeats the mistakes of the Nephites at the time and attempts to justify the sin because of Abraham/Jacob/David/Solomon based on a couple of isolated verses in the OT and the blatantly false Section 132.

As no unclean thing can stand in the presence of God, the LDS church simply justifies its practices and beliefs that turn away from God by worshiping an unclean God. It has been under condemnation since 1835 (at the latest) and has not been rescinded because the church has only dug itself deeper into those false practices and traditions rather than turn away from them and return to the Lord.

DeeLyn said...

I also believe the church was started and is led under the influence of the Adversary, even though Joseph and others even today may have had some sincere desires to help people do right. But Joseph didn't seem to understand or follow Christ perfectly himself, so he couldn't lead others to either.

Imperfect people lead others astray, even if unintentionally.

Christ clearly didn't intend on starting a formal church or religion, for he knew that there would be no perfect people to lead it, for even if we could find a true prophet they aren't reliable enough to trust or follow for they could still fall or be wrong. Only Christ was infallible and thus why he taught to only have him as our leader and no one else.

Thus the Church has only gotten worse with time and teaches and practices more evils today, like polygamy (in the form of serial polygamy), then it ever has.

Why would anyone believe the Bible is all or even mostly true, as if God wrote it and not fallible men? Or that people like Abraham, Moses or Joseph etc are true prophets just because they claimed God spoke to them and agreed with their destructive acts? Common sense and Christ teaches us that a loving God would never condone such things.

If Abraham, Moses or Joseph lived today and did the things history says they did would we believe them to be righteous and true prophets? I doubt many would.

Just because they taught or teach some truth doesn't mean they teach all truth or are true prophets. False prophets always teach alot of truth and do alot of good to sound and look good so they can deceive more easily.

It seems we tend to believe in those who preach things in line with our own desires and the level we are willing to live.

False prophets are popular because it's easier to believe in imperfect prophets/people, for then that helps us feel better that we don't have to live the commandments perfectly either.

If a so called 'prophet' can get away with polygamy, etc, then they will attract those who like or agree with the sound of polygamy, etc, and won't attract those who are abhorred by it.

Christ clearly taught that the only 'true Christians' are those who keep all of his commandments, not those who just profess to believe in him, for anyone can claim that, like many false prophets continually do.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 7:21

Linda Gale said...

Hey Everyone,

I didn't receive any evidentiary comments about a question I posted earlier about whether the LDS religion is a Christian religion.

Will someone please comment and answer my question -- with evidence-- as would be required in a court of law? Substantial, verifiable evidence. Or point me to a website where those questions may be answered.


What is it that delineates a true Christian religion from a non-Christian or a pseudo-Christian religion?

What core beliefs must one adhere to in order to qualify as a follower of Jesus?

I realize that MC gave "a resounding yes" to Mormons being Christian, but there was no evidence presented.

The reason I ask is: What beliefs do LDS have about Jesus that differs enough that other denominations refuse to consider LDS as Christians? Even G.B. Hinckley said that we don't believe in the same Jesus. What Jesus do we believe in?

This is at the very basic level of whether the LDS church can be 'the one true church', or just another (non-Christian) religious society.

Anyone with an informed opinion, and not just unfounded bias, please help me with this essential question.

Thank you to any who provide substantial answers to my query.

Jared Livesey said...

Linda,

Christ's church is the set of all individuals who 1. hear his word, 2. believe it as literally as a child would understand it, 3. repent to conform to it in both thought and deed, 4. are baptized by one of his sent servants to witness before God and man that they believe the word and will do it, and 5. endure to the end of their life in keeping Christ's commandments as contained in the Sermon on the Mount.

That's all there ever was to it.

Hope this helps.

Jared Livesey

Eric Kuntz said...

More warnings about secret oaths, handshakes, tokens and signs...


12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. (James 5:12)

5 And it came to pass that Akish sought the life of his father-in-law; and he applied unto those whom he had sworn by the oath of the ancients, and they obtained the head of his father-in-law, as he sat upon his throne, giving audience to his people. (Ether 9:5)

9 And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies. 10 And they did swear by the heavens, and also by the throne of God, that they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land. 14 And when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren, behold the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: (Morm 3:9-10, 14)

1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. 2 And though they say, The Lord liveth; surely they swear falsely.7 ¶How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. (Jer 5:1-2, 7)

10 For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. 11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, IN MY HOUSE have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord. 12 Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. (Jer 23:10-12)

20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. 21 And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice. 22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever. (2Nep 26:20-22)

27 And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding? (2Nep 27:27)

Matthias said...

Eric,

Those verses prove my point perfectly. All of them denounce secret oaths and covenants to get gain and commit murder. None of them denounce secret covenants with God to keep his commandments.

Got any scriptures that denounce secret covenants with God to keep his commandments?

Here I'll throw your accusation right back at you.

Satan is the god of the great and marvelous work bloggers and all those who deny the true character of the Godhead as being three seperate personages. Because of this when they pray they are really praying to Satan.

Zebedee said...

Linda,

I would add to Log's list: a true Christian is a person who literally takes upon themselves Christ's name. In other words they actually become part of Him.

In my opinion Christ's pure unaltered doctrines (outlined by Log and found in 3 Nephi) should be followed and taught openly by all true believers. And there are many in the LDS Church who honestly strive to follow that and be good Christians.

With that in mind there appears to be two LDS churches. One comprises the collective body of humble followers of Christ, and the other an organization of men that has introduced false doctrines, practices, and traditions that obscure the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. One is Christian the other pseudo-Christian. The second drawing close with their lips, but their hearts are far from God.

One thing that sets us apart from most other Christian sects is the Book of Mormon. They don't believe it, so they won't read it — even though any true Christian who honestly reads the book will find it enhances their understanding of the gospel and brings them closer to Christ.

That shows just how blinded all organized religions are to the truth, which, as we know, is by evil design.

Dave P. said...

19 For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man. (Ether 8:19) - Note that, prior to 1990, the temple endowment included a blood oath to commit suicide if one revealed the secrets of the endowment. That oath is still implied today.

23 For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness. (2 Nephi 26:23) - "Darkness" including secrets, hidden teachings, "sacred" signs and tokens, any thing not available for all those willing to come unto Him to partake of freely.



Zebedee said...

Eric and DaveP,

I'm with you on this. The doctrines and ordinances of Christ are available to all mankind, openly and freely. There is no scriptural evidence that I can find that supports any "secret covenants with God to keep his commandments." Secrecy denotes elitism, which is contrary to God being no respecter of persons.

Linda Gale said...

It appears to me that the "restored gospel" tenets go far beyond the early Christian church which it supposedly has restored; and reintroduces many aspects of the Law of Moses, which were soundly rejected in the teachings of James, Paul and John.

Most Christian denominations believe that Christ paid of all of our sins on the cross, past, present and future sins, and that nothing more is needed except to believe Christ paid the price, and love Him for doing so. He gave us a gift. A gift is not earned.

Christ brought an end to the material/physical, outward requirements. That since His resurrection, the spiritual kingdom is what we have. Just as we are the temple of God, instead of worshiping in a temple made with hands. Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world. It is not an earthly kingdom which can be seen with our physical eyes, it is a spiritual kingdom -- to be led by the Holy Spirit.

So, is faith in Christ to believe that He did all which was needed to return us to God's presence? And like the OT example of Moses raising the serpent on the staff, do we simply need to have faith that Jesus did all that was needed for His followers to return to God?

Can we have real faith in Christ (and thus be true Christians) if we believe that we need to add our own efforts to His work of salvation?

Matthias said...

Eric, You still have failed to show any scripture that shows that God is opposed to someone making covenants with him to keep his commandments and covenanting with him not to reveal certain secrets even under the penalty of death.

You keep quoting passages that refer to secret covenants and oaths among the wicked to commit murder and get gain.

The passage in James 5 you quoted is a commandment not to enter into oaths with other people, not to refrain from making covenants with God.

Please show me just one thing that is covenanted in the temple that could possibly be construed as covenanting to commit secret murder, commit gain, or do secret Satanic works of darkness. You won't be able to do it.

Before you start grasping at straws with the so called oath of vengeance or the penalty signs, I'll address those.

The first was a covenant to pray for God to avenge the innocent blood of the saints. It wasn't even a covenant to justly punish murderers with execution as authorized in the scriptures. Nothing there even remotely suggests a secret oath to commit murder.

The penalty signs were part of a covenant not to reveal certain signs, tokens, and names of the priesthood except at an approved time and place. Rather than break this covenant one would let there own life be forcibly taken. One did not covenant to commit suicide as Dave P erroneously stated. Again nothing here to commit gain, commit murder, or do secret satanic works of darkness.

Also LDS do not reveal these signs, tokens, or names to each other as some way to identify themselves as some secret society.

It's also interesting that you chose to quote Jeremiah 23 in reference to sins in the Lord's house and then apparently connecting that to LDS temples. So are LDS temples the Lord's house then? I thought you said we are founded by the devil and he is our god.

Better get your story straight.

Dave P, same goes for you. You can't jump on the David Whitmer bandwagon and say that Joseph only had one job which was to bring forth the BOM and then throw around accusations that the church is under condemnation based on a revelation from the D&C. You can't just pick and choose what suits your agenda and reject everything that opposes it.

Dave P. said...

MC,

"One did not covenant to commit suicide."

Right, the act of the ritual disemboweling was just for show.

"Also LDS do not reveal these signs, tokens, or names to each other as some way to identify themselves as some secret society."

The words of the temple ceremony contradict that. Aren't the signs and tokens used to identify one "to the angels who stand as sentinels?" Apparently, that's the only thing they'd recognize. Not to mention such things are easily counterfeit since one Nephite infiltrated the Gadiantons using their signs and tokens without taking the oath. It's a showcase of how fragile an outward declaration of devotion can be when Christ taught otherwise.

As for the church being under condemnation, that holds either way: If David Whitmer's Address is correct, the church is under condemnation for ignoring what's written in the BoM in favor of the words of "the mouthpiece," including leading to the practice of polygamy. If the words of that particular revelation in the D&C came from the Lord, it still places the church under condemnation for basically the same reason as "treating lightly" still means to not test everything against the BoM.

I'm sorry that you're so mired in tradition that you believe in a God whose Word doesn't say what it says. If the Lord doesn't work in darkness or secrets, that includes secret signs, oaths, doctrines, and covenants. But, because the scripture doesn't literally say that, you choose to follow a God whose actions according to the teachings of the LDS church has long since ceased to be God.

Linda,

Indeed it is that simple, as Christ taught His doctrine of repentance and baptism. As part of that repentance, we offer up a broken heart and contrite spirit so that we may be humble and taught/guided by the spirit. As the church has usurped His doctrine and taken His name in vain, it cannot be called a "Christian" church as Christ defined it. He will say, "I never knew you."

DeeLyn said...

Linda,

It seems that one problem with trying to prove who is really a true Christian, even with quote and verse, is that everyone can have a different definition of a Christian, and it's the natural man in us to think we are a true Christian, no matter what our beliefs or actions. And Everyone can interpret the scriptures or what they believe are scriptures, differently.

It seems different churches, including the LDS, all believe in a different Jesus, with a different Gospel and all are sure they are right. So people just take their pick of what Jesus and what Gospel sounds best to them, or many choose to interpret the teachings of Jesus in the NT on their own.

For example, many believe that the Mormon Jesus believes in polygamy, at least at certain times, or that he even lived it, while other Christian Churches and people believe he condemned all polygamy in every form and in every case throughout history.

There are numerous such doctrines and beliefs that differ from one Christian church to another, and they all tend to believe their interpretation is correct. Another example is the popular 'Christian' belief that Jesus taught there is no marriage in heaven, and thus all marriages end at death.

Joseph Smith was right that all the Churches in his day interpreted the same scriptures differently, and all claimed to be the right one. The problem was that Joseph just started another Church that did the same thing, and added to the confusion and contradictions to the New Testament Jesus.

It seems near to impossible for anyone to prove to anyone else what a 'true Christian' is, or what the true Gospel really is that Jesus taught. For everyone sees it a little differently. And I think it's mean't to be this way, so we search inside ourselves for the truth and not from man. Just like no one can prove there is a God. We will never know these things for sure til we get to the other side and if we were correct in our beliefs and actions or not, though it will likely make a huge difference in the next life if we were right or not.

I believe God has instilled the real truth in all of us deep down, so we all have a chance to know what is really right if we listen to our conscience and so we won't be able to claim in the next life that we didn't know right from wrong.

It seems that the more humble, teachable and open to learning new interpretations we are, and the more we live by the Golden Rule and unconditional love, then the more likely we will understand and see more truths, so we can figure out what Jesus was really trying to say and teach.

Pride causes us to think we are right and righteous, and that we are true Christians and have the whole truth and everything figured out and are on the right path. When actually, I have come to believe that the more right we are the more we doubt or question our beliefs and paths, for we see how fallible we are and easily deceived to believe error.

The more open we are to see how we've been wrong about so many things about 'The Gospel', the more we can find out what's right.

If we care more about finding out what 'is' right, than we do about 'being' right, then we will probably get closer to the real truth.

Most Christians are probably half right and half wrong about Jesus and what he actually taught or mean't or what's true that actually got printed about him.

Fortunately we don't even need to know anything about Jesus or need any scriptures or prophets in order to live righteously, if we just listen to the conscience God gave us and the Golden Rule and love, for that was all Jesus seemed to be trying to teach us anyway.

So probably true Christians are those who live the Golden Rule with unconditional love, which if one did they would automatically keep all the commandments of Christ.

Linda Gale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Gale said...

Thank you DeeLynn for the thoughtful comment.

Linda Gale said...

In the LDS church, Jesus has been demoted to what non-Christian religions call 'a great prophet'. For us LDS, He was a great example and never sinned. He is our elder brother. But we can become a god of our own world, and so while what Jesus did was truly wonderful, we are on the path to do as much if not more than He did. So Jesus is no big deal.

Also the Holy Spirit has been replaced by the official Handbook. Our meetings lack vitality and are boring to the point of tears, because we simply follow the rules, and follow the prophet. We take the safe, boring path.

No new thing has ever been created by doing (thinking) things the way they have always been done (thought).

To my thinking, safety is SO over-rated.

And how is it that we have "the restored gospel", when what we are practicing is a mixture of Old Testament teachings, mixed with Jesus' gospel? The teachings of Paul, John and James all claim that Jesus' gospel is totally new and different from the old ways. All of the old ways were buried with Jesus. The resurrection brought new life, and a new gospel. Why do the LDS people cling to things that were put to rest over 2000 years ago?

Matthias said...

Linda,

What scriptural support were you looking for from me to support the fact that Mormons are Christians. The scriptures are crystal clear that to be a true Christain one must have faith in Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and keep the commandments. A strong argument can be made that merely believing that Christ is the son of God and thay he died for us makes one a Christain.

Do Mormons believe in Christ, that he died for their sins and that he was resurrected? Yes. Do Mormons have faith in Christ? Yes. Do Mormons repent? Yes. Are Mormons baptized by immersion by proper authority? Yes. Do Mormons lay hands on people to confer the Holy Ghost? Yes. Do Mormons strive to keep the commandments as contained in the scriptures? Yes, most faithful LDS do.

LDS check every box.

Are even the most righteous Mormons perfect? No. Are their false traditions and practices in the church? Yes. Do Mormons put to much faith in the arm of flesh? Yes. Do Mormons think the brethren trump Christ? No, they think Christ speaks through them. Do Mormons believe polygamy is at times approved by God? Many do. (The scriptures support this by the way) Is the Lords church (LDS) out of order and under condemnation? Yes, but it is still the Lord's church and Mormons are his covenant people. In fact this is why the church will be cleansed soon and set in order.

Linda Gale said...

Dear MC,

Thank you for the point by point answer to my inquires. I appreciate the kindness with which you relayed your points.

Linda Gale said...

I am wondering what it means to have faith in Christ?




Luke 4:34
"Ha! What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God!"

“Even the demons believe that–and shudder” (James 2:19).

It seems to me that if demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then there must be more to faith in Jesus, than merely believing that He is the Son of God.

Does anyone have an answer referenced in scripture? Please, my eternal salvation depends upon my understanding who Jesus is and what kind of faith in Him is required to live with God once more.

DeeLyn said...

I believe the 'old ways', many of the Old Testament laws, were never God's laws but man's commandments who just claimed they were from God. Thus when Jesus came he taught the true but unpopular laws of God, which never change but are eternal.

False prophets and churches teach and cling to the 'old ways' because they are easier and more pleasing to the natural man and thus they fill the pews, far more then God's laws and commandments are or do.

For example:

Inequality of men and women is easier and appealing for some women who don't want equal responsibility in marriage, church or society and more desirable for men who want to be in charge.

Serial or concurrent polygamy is far easier than lifelong faithful often unhappy monogamy to 1 person.

Thinking we can just follow and trust leaders to tell us what's best is much easier than having to pray, study and determine right and wrong and receive revelation for ourselves.

Paying and trusting leaders to supposedly take care of the needy for us is much easier than taking the time to find, visit and help the needy on our own.

The idea of holding authority, priesthood or power is enticing to the natural man rather than realizing no one has any special authority, power or position than anyone else.

It's enticing to think one is part of the 'one true church or religion' rather than realize everyone is part right and part wrong and no one or religion has God's authority or the whole truth and no errors.

Etc.

There are far more enticing perks with false gospels than with Christ's true Gospel, at least in this life.

DeeLyn said...

Linda,

As far as 'faith in Christ' being enough to be considered a 'Christian', I think the following verse from Christ again shows that real proof is in our 'actions', not our 'words or feelings'.

For anyone can say or think they have faith or believe in Christ, but actually doing what he says is far more difficult and telling and makes it easy to see who is a real Christian.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 7:21

Linda Gale said...

"If you want to see the light of heaven, if you want to feel the inspiration of Almighty God, if you want to have that feeling within your bosom that your Heavenly Father is guiding you, then follow the prophets of God. When you follow the prophets, you will be in safe territory." TS Monson

“that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith." Brigham Young

I found it interesting that in 2 Ne. 9:41, Jesus said that he is the keeper of the gate, that he employs no servants there.

Jesus alone lets us through the gate to the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life. There is no bishop keeping the gate. There is no prophet keeping the gate. There is no elder keeping the gate. There is no priesthood holder there. Just Jesus.

Linda Gale said...

Dear DeeLyn,

Your comments were kind and encouraging. Thank you for the time you took to respond. I appreciate the insight you bring.

Matthias said...

Linda, I think the answer is right there in James 2. Faith without works is dead. It is not true faith.

If we say we believe or have faith, but then make no real effort to repent and keep the commandments then we're kidding ourselves and are hypocrites.

Professed faith alone can't save us. This is why most evangelical Christians will not be saved in the celestial kingdom. They believe in faith without works. According to them all you have to do is confess Jesus and you'll be saved.

The LDS church teaches that one must have works in order to have true faith. The evangelicals mock us for this.

That's not to say that all, most, or even any LDS keep all of the commandments perfectly.

Many LDS are hypocrites. Many believe that they can hold on to a few sins and will still be saved. Many are beginning to accept abominations such as homosexuality and fornication as not being grievous sins (or even sins at all). Many evangelicals are in the same boat.

Perhaps we're all going to hell together.

Eric Kuntz said...

"Also LDS do not reveal these signs, tokens, or names to each other as some way to identify themselves as some secret society."

MC, what happens at the veil then?

Linda Gale said...

Thank you MC for your response.

I looked all through the New Testament, and found that all 38 of Christ's commandments boiled down to "love one another as I have loved you."

Lots and lots of people are doing a pretty good job of keeping that commandment.

When Christ says why do you call me Lord and not do what I've asked you to do, He is telling us to love one another.

Also James 2 says the works required are to take care of the poor. Lots and lots of good-hearted people are keeping that commandment quite well.

There are LDS children in Africa, literally starving to death, and those who survive will be mentally damaged from lack of nutrition. Yet we feel good about handing our tithing check over to the bishopric, which they send off to SLC. One month's tithing receipts at church headquarters would remedy the malnutrition problem for an entire year. It appears that as LDS our priorities may need a bit of adjustment for us to be keeping the commandments, and doing the works required for salvation.

Just sayin'.

Linda Gale said...

Galatians 5:14
The entire Law is fulfilled in a single decree: "Love your neighbor as yourself."


John 15:12 This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.


1 John 3:11
This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.


Matthew 7:12
In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the prophets.


Romans 13:10
Love does no wrong to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.

Linda Gale said...

Dear sweet MC,


John 6:29
Jesus replied, "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent."

Those crazy Christians who believe that all they have to DO is have faith in the finished work of Jesus. Will they never learn?

Can you imagine anything more silly than to believe that God will justify the wicked who have faith in Jesus as his Savior?

Romans 4:4-5
But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Galatians 2:21
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Matthew Henry Commentary
Romans 3:27-31 God will have the great work of the justification and salvation of sinners carried on from first to last, so as to shut out boasting. Now, if we were saved by our own works, boasting would not be excluded. But the way of justification by faith for ever shuts out boasting. Yet believers are not left to be lawless; faith is a law, it is a working grace, wherever it is in truth. By faith, not in this matter an act of obedience, or a good work, but forming the relation between Christ and the sinner, which renders it proper that the believer should be pardoned and justified for the sake of the Saviour, and that the unbeliever who is not thus united or related to him, should remain under condemnation. The law is still of use to convince us of what is past, and to direct us for the future. Though we cannot be saved by it as a covenant, yet we own and submit to it, as a rule in the hand of the Mediator.
Romans 3:27 Commentaries

Matthias said...

Not that.

The endowment is full of symbolism. Among the many things that are symbolized, the whole ceremony is symbolic of God's purpose for man on the earth from the creation to the subsequent exaltation of the righteous. At the veil a person is symbolically tested by the Lord prior to entering his presence. I admit that I don't fully understand the whole thing. It has been corrupted over the years so I don't know exactly what the exact purpose of the person conversing with the Lord at the veil is. Certainly one is being reminded of what was learned throughout the endowment. One is also being taught new information and receiving one final promise of blessings, if one is faithful to God.

Actually scratch all that. I'll just tell you what you want to here. At the veil we flash gang signs at each other so we can identify who is part of the secret society of murderers. Then we plan out who we are going to murder and how. Each of us then swear by our heads that if we reveal this murderous plot or don't do our part in this wicked plan to murder and plunder we will be slain.

Then outside the temple we act completely normal, serving people, teaching about Christ, etc so no one knows what we're doing. Since we don't know who all the endowed murders are out there we flash our signs every once and a while so that we can identify our fellow gang members and carry out our universal scheme to murder and destroy the freedom of all people.

Come on man, give me a break. The endowment has zero connection to those verses you keep quoting. Give it a rest.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Linda Gale,
Regarding the myth that Brigham Young somehow turned the Word of Wisdom into a commandment:

First, Dave P. correctly points out that Brigham Young had no authority to impose a commandment upon the people. He would have had to have received a revelation from God, and God would have been the one making it a commandment.

In my early essay, "Too Bad I Don't Like Beer," I explained that Brigham never made any such assertion. Here is an excerpt from that essay:


But is this true? Did Brigham Young ever make such a declaration? More importantly, did Jesus Christ, author of the [original] revelation, tell Brigham Young that it was no longer voluntary?

When Joseph Fielding Smith was an apostle, he authored a set of books entitled "Answers to Gospel Questions". Here's where we get our modern interpretation:

"September 9th, 1851, President Brigham Young stated that the members of the church Had had sufficient time to be taught the import of this revelation, and that henceforth it was to be considered a divine commandment. This was first put before the male members and then before the women, and by unanimous vote accepted."

With all due respect to the late President Smith, if an anti-Mormon had tried to pass off such a misleading statement about Mormon history as this, he would have been accused of distorting and twisting the facts. Nothing like what president Smith avers occurred at all. Brigham Young didn't convert the Word of Wisdom into a commandment, nor did he claim the Lord did. Nor did the body of the church ever vote to accept it as a commandment. Here is what actually happened as recorded in the Millenial Star:

"President Young rose to put the motion and called on all the sisters who will leave off the use of tea, coffee, etc., to manifest it by raising the right hand; seconded and carried.

"And then put the following motion; calling on all the boys who were under ninety years of age who would covenant to leave off the use of tobacco, Whiskey, and all things mentioned in the Word of Wisdom to manifest it in like manner, which was carried unanimously."

As Robert J. McCue makes clear in his analysis "Did The Word of Wisdom Become a Commandment in 1851?", the vote was simply a personal commitment by those present to abstain from items condemned in the Word of Wisdom. It wasn't until nine years later that Brigham Young himself gave up tobacco, although he had long considered the habit uncouth, filthy, and offensive. In 1860, nearly a decade after he was supposed to have declared the Word of Wisdom a commandment, he advised the Brethren, "If you must use tobacco, put a small portion in your mouth when no person sees you, and be careful that no one sees you chew it. I do not charge you with sin."

The evidence is that Brigham Young regretted his earlier call for the young men and women to commit to stop using these substances, for it appears that many caught up in the fervor of the moment were unable to keep their resolutions for very long. Years later, President Young made this statement:

"I will not call upon you to make a covenant to do this, for some might break their covenants, and that would be a sin."

Brigham Young made many statements condemning the use of hard liquor and tobacco, but never claimed a commandment from the Lord on the subject. Indeed, Thomas G. Alexander affirms that there never has been a revelation from the Lord requiring obedience to the Word of Wisdom, or converting it from voluntary to mandatory.

Linda Gale said...

Thank you Rock, for your explanation of the non-commandment of the WoW.

I had previously read your article, but my bishop was so sweet and kind about quietly letting me know what the LDS.org website said about BY making it a commandment, that I didn't have the heart to challenge him there on the spot.

I came home from church and searched and searched the D&C for the added section which contained the commandment, but didn't find it (being cheeky).

I have learned so much about church dealings and church history from the Pure Mormonism blog. Thank you for caring enough to share your thoughts and discoveries with us all.

I hope you, Connie and crew are all doing just fine.

Sending appreciation and good wishes from the backwoods of Tennessee to you all.

Eric Kuntz said...

Can't let to go man, the light of truth needs to continue to shine forth and expose all secret combinations and works of darkness. The light of truth is the Word of God and it can set you free if you let it.

14 For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words. 15 Wherefore, for this cause, that my covenants may be fulfilled which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh, I must needs destroy the secret works of darkness, and of murders, and of abominations. (2Nep 10:14-15)

16 Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men. 17 There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed. 18 Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time. And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings. (2Nep 30:16-18)

19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. (Isa 45:19)

16 Come ye near unto me; I have not spoken in secret; from the beginning, from the time that it was declared have I spoken; and the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me. (1Nep 20:16 and Isa 48:16)

Eric Kuntz said...

Yes, you are right about the gang signs at the veil. They also whisper in each others ears, which reminded me of some more warning from the scriptures.

22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he WHISPERETH IN THEIR EARS, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. 23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. (2 Nephi 28)

However there is hope and THE WAY is prepared that the chains can be loosed.

45 O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation. (2 Nephi 9)

13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe. (2 Nephi 1)

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5)

23 And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? 24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction. (1 Nephi 15)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Matt Lohrke,
Re Denver Snuffer's Book of John, Denver has said very little about the origin, and I have deliberately not asked him. My immediate impression was that since John is still on the earth, the testimony was given to Denver directly by John. I'm actually surprised that hadn't occurred to anyone else I spoke to about it. We would logically have access to the words of John because John is still available, and it seems reasonable to me that at some point Denver and John would cross paths.

I intended to ask Denver directly during one of our phone conversations, but interestingly, the spirit constrained me from asking the question. Why? I have no doubt he would have answered me honestly, and it's likely that at this stage it is better not to open that controversy, as it would overshadow the message itself, as those who in the mainstream LDS Church who seek reasons to belittle those of who are seeking to worship Christ outside their "authority claims"would love the chance to ridicule us for entertaining the idea that John the Beloved might be capable of providing a better "translation" than has been handed down through the ages. Paul WHERE it came from is not as important as WHAT the message contains, so I say let those who have eyes to see, see.

Denver is surprisingly reticent about where it came from. He just put it out there, and people can take it for what it is. Denver has no desire to have any focus on himself. He denies the role of any sort of leader, and it's clear to me that if he were to announce he got the thing handed to him by John himself, the focus would be back on Denver, most likely in the form of ridicule.

Anyway, regardless of how Denver received John's testimony, the important question is this: is it legit? That is, whether Denver channeled the words, or had them handed to him, are these John's words or as close as they can be approximated? Any one of us has the ability to get the answer to that question simply by reading it and then asking God for a witness from the Holy Ghost. I've done so, and I'm satisfied that it is an incredible blessing to have these words among us. Doesn't matter how we got them.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Matt Lohrke, you've provided me with my favorite quote of the day so far:

"Do we not bring upon ourselves even more condemnation by claiming and ordaining people to a priesthood that can't be conferred by man? It seems that "authority," or in other words, "permission," is entirely different from "priesthood," which is attained though obedience, works of righteousness, and sanctification through the Holy Ghost. How many times have the young men been told they are a "royal priesthood" when in reality their just a bunch of kids with titles?"

Nicely put!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I think the opinions of David Whitmer are certainly worth reading and considering, but we need not assume everything he says is either correct or informed. Same with Sidney Rigdon, who, as Daymon Smith has shown in his 5 volume "Cultural History of the Book of Mormon" clearly muddied Mormonism by folding Campbellite doctrine into it. He was not the only one, of course, and in spite of those failings, Rigdon contributed a lot of good things, too. I find Mormon history instructive coming from the many disparate voices of those who were there at the beginning, but it is our responsibility to sort it all out and then prayerfully ask what is valid and what is not.

(Rigdon's worst contribution was the provacative "Salt Sermon," which unnecessarily resulted in targets being painted on the backs of all the Mormons at the time. We could have done without that.)

Anyway, David Whitmer has a lot to teach us, but then so did Joseph. Deciding that one is wrong while the other is not, I don't think is the way to go about it.

One thing you said that makes me wonder: Where did you get the idea that Denver's lectures were "dictated to him by Christ Himself, supposedly"? Certainly Denver never made that claim. If you read or listen to the lectures, they are primarily calls to seek our answers in the scriptures, and nowhere (at least as I recall) does he quote any direct dictation from the Lord. He did say that the reason he presented those ten lectures was because the Lord instructed him to do so, and why not? He was the perfect choice, in my opinion, having had 25 years' experience teaching the Book of Mormon as a Gospel Doctrine teacher.

And that's pretty much what he did in those lectures. Taught the Book of Mormon. I think for that reason, the lectures are beneficial.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I'm inclined to agree with you that SMOKING marijuana may not be the best idea, but I disagree if your position is that marijuana is, in and of itself, harmful.

I believe it to be medicine provided by God, WHEN used as a medicine and in the proper way. There may or may not be advantages in some instances by smoking it, but traditionally its medicinal use was as a tincture. As with nearly all medical herbs, I feel tincures are the best way to get them into the body.

Have to disagree with you also regarding your statements on opium and cocaine. The processed versions of those plants are dangerous, but in their natural state they are quite beneficial. Jungle natives of Peru would chew the coca leaf for relief of pain, but it's a very different thing when the chemicals in the leaves are processed and distilled into raw cocaine. Same with opium; converting the plant from its natural state and injecting the chemicals into the body raw was not the way God intended it to be used.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I'm making my way through the comments late at night, and though I disagreed with you a couple of times, I want you to know I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote next:

"I think the real question is are Mormons currently living Christ's gospel as it was originally taught by him?


"I think the answer to that one is no."

Look at us, MC! We've found an area of agreement!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I think you're misrepresenting (or misunderstanding) the role of Denver Snuffer in your reply to Matt on Feb 18th. You propose an either/or argument: "In my opinion determining whether or not Denver is the Lord's servant is very important. If he is then his words should be taken very seriously and the Lord is currently setting his hand to gather and redeem his people. If Denver is not the Lord's servant however, then anything from him should be viewed with great suspicion, because Denver would either be a deceiver or deceived himself."

I'm pretty good friends with Denver Snuffer, and I don't think it's necessary for anyone to make any such decisions about him. I think your Mormon conditioning is showing, the idea that "somebody has to be in charge, that if Denver is a prophet, then we are obligated to follow him."

Those are not your words, but they appear to be your sentiment. I suggest accepting him for what he is: a teacher. If you want to consider him a prophet, go ahead; but you'd better not look to him to be your leader. He'll slap you down so fast it'll make your head swim.

You are in error saying Denver "said his name had been changed to David." Not so. he said that is the name the Lord chose to refer to him as. Shortly after he revealed that, I called and asked him, "So, are we supposed to call you David now?" He laughed as though it was the silliest thing he had heard that day, and told me no. It's a name the Lord has chosen to call him.

I think that before we came to this earth, the Lord knew us by different names than the ones we have now. The Lord can call Denver by any name He chooses. I wouldn't read to much into it, if Denver hasn't implied anything more than that.

You infer by this that Denver claims to be the Davidic Servant, but he has not. He told me "I don't think we'll know who the Davidic servant was until he has completed his work, not until it's all over and done." I got the impression Denver doesn't know who that servant will be.

One of the most frustrating things Denver Snuffer experiences is that some people look to him as a leader, in spite of all he teaches about that being a false paradigm. He disdains the very thought of followers. His entire emphasis is on teaching people that is NOT the method God wants us to adopt. No one is supposed to follow any other person, and he feels those who choose to look to Denver Snuffer as their leader are damn fools.

We have to get over this mindset that someone who serves God is THE servant, the way members of the Church think their president is the one and only. I like to think that I'm one of God's servants, and I assume you are also. I don't think it makes either of us special. Denver serves God the best he can, but if you think he sees himself the way the LDS Church leaders see themselves, you're reading him wrong.

I think the best way to get a feel for Denver Snuffer is to watch one of these hour-long talks he gave to groups of Christian ministers in L.A, Dallas, and Atlanta. I'd recommend you watch the first one, and if you think he's full of himself, I'll eat my hat. (Disclaimer: I don't wear a hat.)

All three talks are different, informative, and a breath of fresh air. He was VERY well received by these groups who were ready to find something to disagree with about a Mormon among them; but he turned out to be nothing like any Mormon any of these people had ever encountered, as you'll see.

https://www.christianreformation500years.info/recordings--transcripts.html

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Linda Gale,
Thanks for your kind words above.
I appreciated your quoting the excerpt from Albert Pike's book. I bought my copy in the 70's when it cost 25 dollars -a whopping amount to pay for a book in those days when the typical book cost around 3.95. It was the equivalent of paying 200 dollars for a used book today. But it sure was insightful. I note that today you can get the Kindle version of "Morals and Dogma of the Scottish Rite" on Amazon for free.

I shoulda waited.

Most Masons do indeed see their fraternity as just that, an innocent fraternity. And the Shriners do some real good. Sadly, it is in the upper echelons where the darkness truly dwells, in higher degrees than the typical Mason will ever reach, and the every day member of course poo-poohs any allegation that there might be a darker side than the level of masonry they know.

Heber Kimball was a high ranking Royal Arch Mason before he joined the church, and remained more loyal to masonry than he did to Mormonism. He had to; he had sworn oaths that placed his allegiance to masonry above ANYTHING or anybody else.

That allegiance to the order is why Samuel Houston let Santa Anna go after he was captured in San Antonio, and why Houston and other masons guaranteed the brutal general safe passage back to Mexico. Their bonds in the Brotherhood were stronger than any patriotism they had for country or their countrymen. We should not wonder why Heber Kimball, Willard Richards, William Clayton, and Brigham Young betrayed Joseph Smith. They simply answered to a higher power.

Dave P. said...

Some more thoughts based on previous replies,

I find it interesting that the preface of the Word of Wisdom talks about how it was given to counter the designs of evil men in the latter days. Of course while growing up I was taught this was to counter cigarette companies and such who marketed their products to kids knowing full well how addictive nicotine can be, but there are other things listed on there (as well as many things the church implies are part of the WoW despite not being named) where, as Rock as pointed out, are uber-beneficial in their natural state but harmful if tampered with by man.

* Alcohol-powered engines were in development under the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, which was heavily supported by Ford.
* Hemp is among the most naturally-strong plant fibers and hemp oil is incredibly versatile, so Standard Oil fought to get it banned.
* Cannabis oil is proving to be more effective at fighting cancer than expensive, conventional treatments, but it can't be patented so Big Pharma fights its legalization tooth and nail.

Sounds to me like these days the scheming and designs of evil men come in the form of preventing those substances from being used for their original benefit for mankind by employing the force of the state to ban them because of "potential misuse" and Utah (and the LDS corporation) supports restricting such substances for that reason.

In regards to the endowment, it's in a no-win situation when compared to the scriptures primarily because the scriptures say that Lord does not operate in darkness and Christ declared His doctrine plainly in the BoM. The simple fact of the matter is, if the endowment was necessary, it would have been explicitly mentioned in the BoM. You could try to claim that Chris Nemelka's "Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon" goes into the details of the endowment for that reason, but that can also be rejected because everything that goes on in the endowment is still associated with secret combinations in the BoM and not with the Lord.

Matthias said...

Dave P, You make some great points about the Word of Wisdom.

Now back to the endowment. Nemelka is a joke, but he has a good point about the possibility of the endowment being spelled out in the sealed portion of the BOM. If the endowment is legit, then I'm sure it is discussed on the sealed portion of the plates. We won't know until they come forth.

You said "everything that goes on in the endowment is associated with secret combinations in the BOM and not with the Lord."

This is not correct. Even if the signs, tokens, and names are not correct, there is still plenty that is associated with the Lord. Covenanting to live the law of chastity, covenanting to repent of one's sins, covenanting to live the law of concecration, covenanting to not engage and unholy and impure practices, etc.

Also since the BOM does not describe the secret signs from the secret combinations in any real detail, any attempt to connect them to the signs in LDS temples is speculation.

Satan copies God. He always has. It's not unreasonable to think that Satanic signs might be similar to ones from God.

You can believe what you want in regards to the endowment, but even you have to admit that not a single scripture definitively connects the endowment to the secret evil oaths in the BOM. In fact as I've pointed out there really is no basis to connect the two together. LDS do not covenant to commit murder or get gain. They also do not use the signs outside the temple to identify themselves as some secret society built to murder and get gain.

So what are we left with? Either the endowment is legit or it isn't. Either way connecting the endowment to the satanic secret combinations in the BOM is on very shaky, unsubstantiated, ground.

Dave P. said...

Once again, therein lies the problem:

1. The existence of the endowment violates what Christ taught what His doctrine is: Repent and be baptized. Anything more or less than that is not of Him no matter what the contents are.

2. Never at any time did Christ teach about using signs and tokens, especially in regard to the implication of a punishment for revealing them to anyone. You can say "satan copies God" until the cows come home but Christ asked for a broken heart and contrite spirit, not secret signs and tokens.

3. The covenant of consecration within the endowment is idolatry because everything is covenanted to the corporate church and not to God. Showing once again how LDS Inc. has replaced God with itself.

4. If any of this is covered within the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, it doesn't matter right now because, at the rate the church is going, it will never see the sealed portion because it was tasked to live according to what we have of the BoM right now as the keystone.

5. Another big if: If the endowment is an eternal ordinance, why has the wording been changed multiple times since its introduction?

6. And, not just the endowment itself, but the notion of needing a "temple recommend" violates Christ's teachings to partake of His Word freely and none are exempt. The temple recommend creates a two-tiered system of those deemed "worthy" vs "unworthy" in regards to paying enough money and being sufficiently blindly obedient to the corporate handbook. The fact that the church has used taking away one's temple recommend as a threat to their reputation and livelihood make it more akin to the Mark of the Beast.

Why spend so much time and effort worrying about what might be the case when Christ clearly taught the truth about what is and how that plain and simple truth is what makes one free. The focus on "the temple" has become so big a tradition that it's grown into a cancer to the believers because they cause them to look beyond the mark and become deluded into thinking all is well in Zion when, according to multiple sources, a condemnation has hovered over the church for over 180 years and the window of repentance will not remain open forever.

MC said...

Dave P.

I'll answer each of your 6 points one at a time.

1. There are a number of verses that one could use to support this. I would say though, that this appears to be too simplistic. Let's take the endowment out of the equation for a moment. What about conferring the Gift of the Holy Ghost by those who having been given authority or power by Christ to do so? Is that not part of the Lord's gospel? What about having all things in common? What about enduring to the end? Is that not more than simply repenting and being baptized? What about preaching the gospel and warning one's neighbor or the requirement missionaries travel without purse or scrip? What about casting out devils as a sign of true believers and the presence of the priesthood? Could not all of these things be considered more than simply repenting and being baptized?

2. Quite frankly, we do not know if Christ ever taught about the signs and tokens in the Temple. Mormon states in 3 Nephi that only a very small portion of what Christ taught was written down and that the greater things he taught were withheld. Mormon said that Christ said things that were not lawful for man to write. Is it not reasonable to suppose that Christ may have been teaching about the sacred signs and tokens in the Temple, which are not to be uttered except at a certain time and place? Admittedly that is only speculation, he could have been teaching about something completely different. Either way there appears to be more to Christ's gospel and teachings than what what is recorded in the scriptures. Certainly there is more than just repentance and baptism.

3. I agree with you that the way the covenant to keep the law of consecration is currently worded and applied in LDS temples is flawed. Certainly God did not mean to give everything one has to a corporation that misuses much of those funds for building projects, financial gain, and other frivolous activities. We don't know how the covenant to obey the law of consecration was originally worded in 1840s Nauvoo. We don't even know how it was worded in 1877, since the church won't release the St. George endowment transcript.

4. I agree with you that the Church will very likely not get the sealed portion of the plates. The church will have to be cleanses, set in order, or completely destroyed before it comes forth. Yes we should follow what the Book of Mormon currently says. However if the D&C is also from God we need to follow what it says as well. In the D&C the Lord told the saints to follow what Joseph Smith revealed to them because he was receiving the revelations directly from God just as Moses had received them. If this is true then in my opinion this also includes the endowment since it was revealed by Joseph Smith, who said he got it from God.

MC said...

5. Since the endowment was not written down until 1877, it naturally had some variance. The biggest reason why the wording of the endowment has been changed however, is because the church has gradually fallen into apostasy and changed the ordinances as the leaders and members have sought to be more like the world. Since 1990 especially, the church has sought to mainstream the endowment and take anything controversial out of it that might offend someone or make them uncomfortable. Women no longer covenant to obey the law of their husbands, secretarian Christian preachers no longer mistakenly work for Satan, the penalty signs have been removed (thus removing the symbolism of spiritual death for breaking ones sacred covenants with God), the garments have been shortened and made tighter so the sisters can were less modest more worldly clothing, and so on.

6. I agree with you that the current temple recommend questions are a problem, especially the one about having to basically swear blind allegiance to the brethren. This is the reason I have let my recommend lapse and haven't renewed it. I don't want to be a liar, and I can't sustain them as true prophets, seers, and revelators anymore.

You asked why I defend the endowment, when I can't prove for certain that it is from God.

Well, there are several reasons. One is that I take my covenants seriously and will not mock God by calling what I sincerely believe to be a true ordinance the work of the devil. Another reason is that I have carefully studied the arguments people like you and Eric have brought up over the years associating the endowment to the satanic secret combinations in the BOM. I wanted to know if this was true, so I studied it out, fully willing to denounce the endowment if it was true. However upon a little investigation I discovered that this argument just doesn't hold water. Now it just irks me when people use it, because it's so flawed and without any merit. Another reason is that I believe in seeking out the truth and then following it. I don't know with 100% certainty that the endowment is truly a higher ordinance and/or a gift of knowledge from God. I'm taking it on faith at this point, because I have found no reason to reject it. I believe it is from God based on my own experience and study.

One final thought. You say we LDS are under condemnation and need to repent. I agree. Here's a question for you. Were should an LDS person go to be baptized once they repent? Who has the proper authority to baptize? If it's not the LDS church then who? It's either the church or no one. If the answer is no one then we're all up a creek without a paddle at this point. It still wouldn't hurt to repent of course, but without a valid baptism of water and the spirit we're all damned any way until the Lord restores the His authority again.

Dave P. said...

Last night I realized a good summary of what bugs me about the endowment and the temple in general: It's entirely artificial (and I dare say counterfeit).

Artificial worthiness from a superficial image to get a piece of paper to enter when the Lord looks on the heart.

Artificial doctrines and ordinances of dubious origin that teach the attendees they can attain blasphemous rewards when Christ taught that baptism is the only saving ordinance.

Artificial protection in the form of clothes containing Masonic symbols vs. protection from the spirit and literal guardian angels- one saved my life in college. I will never question their existence.

Artificial signs and tokens "used to distinguish a brother from another" vs. being One in Christ and a light on the hill/salt of the earth.

Artificial oaths and prayers that are just rote memorization and mindless chanting vs. Christ teaching to never swear an oath of any kind and the spirit will guide one's prayers. See also Rock's post on "Go Ahead and Skip that Temple Wedding" on the factory-like nature of how marriages are performed.

Artificial accounts of heavenly/angelic manifestations created to attempt to justify the existence of the buildings. We've already heard the tales of the Founding Fathers appearing to Wilford Woodruff, Christ appearing to Lorenzo Snow, people seeing angels/God during open houses, etc. without any actual evidence, but are artificial "faith-promoting" stories.

And I would dare say the temples are artificial idols as the church directs everyone to divert their time, resources, and money towards entering the temple while there are still plenty of members who are poor, malnourished, living in filth, and dying. As the church spends so much of its money raising up these and other golden calves like shopping malls, it's another fulfillment of them robbing the poor from 2 Nephi 26.

Matthias said...

Okay Dave P, lets assume for a minute that the endowment is false through and through. Now what?

What implications does this have on the foundations of Mormonism? Joseph Smith would have had to have been a false or fallen prophet.

What does that do to the validity of the BOM and the revelations in the D&C? What does that do to the Book of Abraham and JST?

Who has the authority to baptize and confer the Holy Ghost? Without proper baptism by one who has been given authority from God we are all damned.

Are we all damned or do you have a solution to the pandora's box you're opening?

Repentance with proper baptism won't save. A man must be born again of water and the spirit. No man can take this honor unto himself. He must be called of God as was Aaron.

So to whom do we go or do we wait until the Lord restores the authority again?

If Joseph Smith never had the authority to baptize, then the world has been without it since around AD 300 at the latest. Does God really intend to damn all of us and all of mankind since the dark ages?

Is baptism for the dead the solution? If so who has the authority to do that?

Dave P. said...

Simple, actually: Regardless of what Joseph Smith did afterwards, we still have the Book of Mormon. The fact that it is true and contains the fullness of the gospel has nothing to do with the things Joseph chose to do after the translation finished.

The greatest logical fallacy the corporate church sets onto people is the claim that, "If the Book of Mormon is true, then everything that came after it must be true and approved by God." That is as true a statement as "The Lord will never allow the church to be led astray." Or, in other words, such blatant lies that they only became "truth" via endlessly repeating their mantras. It's also for that reason that many people outright reject the BoM when they find the corporate church has been lying to them or betraying their trust. Whatever the church does does not reflect on the BoM.

Earlier you said I was in David Whitmer's "camp." If you read his actual Address you will see he wasn't trying to get people into his "camp," but to get the saints out of the various camps of the time and return to the foundation of the Book of Mormon. The reason it resonated so well with me when I read it and why I enjoy sharing it is because I had already come to the same conclusion beforehand and it is my second witness.

If the Book of Mormon is truly the keystone of our religion, then everything said by Joseph Smith, David Whitmer, Sydney Rigdon, Brigham Young, Russel Nelson, etc. is to be tested against it and rejected if the BoM does not explicitly support it. To put the words of any man above it is to "treat it lightly," as the church was warned early on. The main issues it fell short on have been trusting in the arm of flesh ("Follow the prophet"), the practice of polygamy, and introducing saving ordinances and doctrines beyond what Christ taught.

As for the baptismal authority, I can't say I have an exact answer for that, but I will tell you that the corporate church does not have exclusive rights to it, nor can it, as it is not theirs to give. One discussion I recall having a while ago dealt with not even needing to ordain someone to an "office" in order for them to receive the baptismal authority, but if someone baptizes another with that authority, that same authority is passed on to the recipient at the same time, be it a man or a woman because no spiritual gift is exclusive to either gender.

One thing the BoM does promise is an unfolding of the mysteries of God when one feasts upon the words of Christ, casts off the traditions of men, and becomes as a child: eager to learn and teachable.

Jared Livesey said...

If any wonder who has power and authority from God to baptize, why not ask him?

If any wonder if the endowments come from God, why not ask him?

1 Nephi 15:11
Do ye not remember the thing which the Lord hath said?
If ye will not harden your hearts [do not reject any possible answers before inquiring]
and ask me in faith [be willing to act upon whatever answer is received]
believing that ye shall receive
with diligence in keeping my commandments [executing his commandments in 3 Nephi 12-14 as they are written]
surely these things shall be made known unto you.

Dave P. said...

Agreed, Log,

We can discuss and debate among ourselves until the cows come home, but the real question is what Nephi asks his brothers, "Have ye inquired of the Lord?"

That's also where two other points come in: Being as a child to be teachable includes being able to accept an answer opposite to what's currently taught. And the other is part of the warning of how a revelation can come from God, satan, or one's own heart and needs to be tested against the written Word as well as seeking a second witness.

Matthias said...

Dave P, thanks for the explanation. I'm scratching my head a bit in regards to what you said. On the one hand you attack the church for following the prophet, plural marriage, and temple ordinances because as you say the BOM doesn't explicitly support these things. Then you go and say that women can have the authority to baptize just the same as men. That is not only indefensible from the BOM, it is indefensible from all scripture. Very strange.

If a prophet is speaking for God then those words should be followed. The BOM absolutely supports this. The BOM leaves the door open for plural marriage to be practiced if God commands it. The BOM is also clear that there is much more that Christ said and deeper teachings than what is contained in our current BOM and NT.

It appears that you are a confused soul. You reject the LDS church, but then you can't point someone to where they should turn for baptism by proper authority. Clearly you don't have the answers to the current dilemma with the church. Rejecting it without better option does no good. Calling into question doctrines you don't like and replacing them with clearly false ones doesn't make any sense either. Don't see the problems with your position.

Matthias said...

Dave P, You reject the LDS church because you don't like polygamy, following the prophet, and temple ordinances because you say they are not explicitly stated as doctrines in the BOM. That I could respect, even though I think your wrong.

The BOM leaves the door open for plural marriage to be practiced if God commands it to raise up seed unto himself. The BOM clearly tells us to follow the words of a prophet who is speaking for God. The BOM is also clear that there is a great deal more that Christ said and taught than what we currently have access to. In fact it is clear that he taught things that are not lawful to be written down in the scriptures, thus opening the door wide open for God to reveal truths and doctrines beyond what is contained in our current BOM.

The thing that really has me scratching my head is that you reject these things because you believe they aren't clearly stated in the BOM, but then you start preaching outright false doctrine in stating that women can have the authority to baptize. This is false through and through and has zero support in the BOM (or any scripture). You also can't point a truth seeker towards a better option after attempting to destroy his faith in Mormonism. You can't even tell me where I can go to be baptized by proper authority as you claim is all that necessary for salvation after one has repented.

Clearly you're a confused soul.

Dave P. said...

I see a great irony here, MC. Not only are you attaching opinions and discussions that I've brought up to my personal beliefs, but it's suddenly my job to have to tell you where to go and what to do in regards to the answers that corporate Mormonism cannot provide. Log and I have already brought it up: the scriptures are laid before you to feast on the Words of Christ and the invitation to take it to the Lord is forever open.

No, MC, you are the confused soul for expecting me, a man, to have all of the answers and yet you conveniently ignore the discussions that go against corporate Mormon tradition. We've discussed many times that polygamy is an abomination before God and He will never authorize it, lest He cease to be God. Jacob 2:30 is not and will never be a loophole for some exception when the seed spoken of in that verse is raised up unto the Lord by following His commandments to not hearken to the carnal lusts and desires of the natural man (such as polygamy). We have proven via the scriptures that God does not operate in darkness/secrets and thus the secret nature of the signs and tokens in the temples are not of Him.

I am simply a witness and a messenger who has opinions on some things that may or may not be correct. In the meantime, I will hold my foundation of faith in the God spoken of in the scriptures who is Eternal and Unchanging and said, "Come, follow me, and the truth shall make you free versus a corporate entity that says, "Come, follow our prophet, and for your money and blind obedience you will be saved." In many cases , the words I want to say flow freely. With you, it's a reach simply because it's been a case of having to reiterate the same message multiple times in that, according to its own keystone scripture that it doesn't really believe in, the practices of the LDS corporation do not line up with the written Word and it needs to repent. At this point, all I can reiterate is to start with the answers plainly laid out in the scriptures and inquire of the Lord. Otherwise, I'm done playing your little game.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC asked,
"Here's a question for you. Where should an LDS person go to be baptized once they repent? Who has the proper authority to baptize? If it's not the LDS church then who? It's either the church or no one. If the answer is no one then we're all up a creek without a paddle at this point. It still wouldn't hurt to repent of course, but without a valid baptism of water and the spirit we're all damned any way until the Lord restores the His authority again.

The leaders of the Church perpetuate the myth that we need "the Church" or we don't have the ordinances. In reality it is decidedly NOT "the Church or no one" to look to for baptism.

Are we to suppose that God came down and bestowed the authority to baptize on the current president or the Twelve? Then where do we have the testimony of that ever having occurred in our lifetimes? Or are we to believe that authority to control the ordinances has somehow been passed down through the general authorities? I don't know the Lord ever mentioned doing that, ESPECIALLY among a group who have usurped power that they were specifically prohibited from exercising, as documented in my curren blog post above.

The truth is this: authority to baptize was given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and every man in the church who has been ordained to the priesthood should be able to trace his own ordination back to one or the other of them. They don't need "the Church" to give it to them every time a new regime takes power at General Conference; they already have it.

"The Church" would have us believe we need them because "they have the ordinances." Poppycock! Whatever priesthood I obtained before my excommunication is still operable as long as I remain faithful to the Lord. My excommunication was a meaningless sham that heaven did not recognize as valid.

Does everyone retain their priesthood once it has been bestowed? No. There are notable exceptions, such as Church leaders who have violated the counsel in D&C 121, who use their priesthood "authority" (verse 39 refers to it as "a little authority" they "suppose" they possess) to oppress and dictate their will onto others. They are promised that misusing their priesthood to demand others obey their them, will result in THEIR OWN priesthood authority becoming null and void, pursuant to verse 37.

I would suggest there is presently more priesthood authority to baptize held by the few thousand faithful who have been kicked out of the Church in the past three years, than there exists among every member of the First Presidency, the Quorum of Twelve, all nine Quorums of the Seventy, and most local stake presidencies.

In fact, I'm positively certain of it.

Matthias said...

Fair enough Dave P. I'm not trying to play a game here. Sorry if it came off that way. I don't expect you to tell me where to go or what to do. That is of course for me to figure out.

I don't expect anyone to have all the answers. I certainly don't have all the answers. The church is a mess so I can totally understand attacking it for it's many problems. It's good to have one's eyes open to the problems and not be some blind sheep.

I just find it telling that you don't have an answer as to where one should go to receive the only ordinance you believe is required for salvation. I haven't yet found someone who has something better to offer than Mormonism. Protestant Christianity has some appeal, but ultimately falls flat for me because their really messed up too, reject the BOM, and have no authority to administer any saving ordinances. The RLDS and other offshoots have lots of problems, too. I would say the FLDS might have some potential to have the truth, but they have really messed up problems and have broken up into various factions themselves.

Of course there's always the remnant movement, but something is off with them, too. They're authority claims and their doctrines are on shaky ground.

I have to conclude that either Mormonism is still the answer in spite of the problems, or there is nowhere to go. I've searched far and wide for something better and I have found nothing. Perhaps I need to let the church go and just wait for the Lord to set his hand again. I've seriously considered that, but I still see good in the church and have not found anywhere else to go.

I study the scriptures and pray a lot about what to do, and what the truth is and there just isn't a clear cut answer. The Lord has not seen fit to show me where else to go, so for the time being I'm sticking with the LDS.

Matthias said...

You make a good point Rock.

I'm not sure Dave P believes that Joseph and Oliver ever had the authority to baptize, which is why asking him to tell me where the authority is.

Dave P, if I misrepresented you here please correct me.

The D&C states that the aaronic priesthood will not be taken from the earth until the sons of Levi offer another offering in righteousness. This leads me to conclude that the men in the church still have at least the aaronic priesthood. I don't see any evidence that we have the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood, but we may have a portion of it still. I don't know.

I would agree with you that a man who is wrongfully purged from the church retains his priesthood authority.

By the way I listened to Denver's talk you recommended. I thought it was quite good. He certainly is a talented speaker. I wish conference talks were more like that.

To me it was very apparent that Denver claims to be a prophet or apostle sent by God from that talk. I really don't see how you didn't catch that.

I do believe more than ever that Denver is sincere, but I did notice some subtle falsehoods in his talk as I always do so I'm afraid my opinion of him has not changed. I appreciate you sharing the link with me, though.

Underdog2 said...

MC,

What "subtle falsehoods" please?

Matthias said...

I don't have the time or the energy to put together an exhaustive list or dissect what he said.

So to be brief. He defines tithing incorrectly. It doesn't square with the D&C. He falsely condemns a church owning property. The Lord commanded the church to buy property in the D&C. There's nothing wrong with building a modest church building to meet in. The scriptures condem lavish church buildings not all church buildings. Having a modest meetinghouse is not being caught up in the cares and vain things of this world. Now being a Babylonian lawyer with a thriving law practice and a very comfortable home might very easily qualify for such an accusation.

There's more, but this will suffice for now.

Underdog2 said...

MC,

No. Citations or quotes?

Those are the best two examples you can come up with?

I don't know what quote you are referring to about either issue you brought up, but come on, tithing is one of the most ambiguous things out there as far as what's written in the scriptures. D&C 119 is subject to multiple interpretations.

You say you believe that Denver is a sincere man. I do too.

But if he is sincere and also declaring that he has been sent by God, then the only conclusion is that he is deceived by the devil.

And if he is deceived by the devil and is being manipulated by Satan's evil purposes, then surely, you or me or anybody else who has done their due diligence in reading Denver's testimony and writings will be able to discern the influence of Satan in his teachings.

There SHOULD be fingerprints of Satan throughout Denver's writings. Or in his personal life. But there is no such evidence.

I assume you are sincere. But could you be walking in darkness at midday? Because so much truth and wisdom is now being poured out through Denver and you have not the slightest appreciation for the pearls being freely bestowed.

Even in Denver's latest post yesterday at http://denversnuffer.com/2018/02/reliable, the reader will find an incredible insight that I've never heard taught from anybody in the LDS Church.

This type of insight is commonplace in Denver's writings. Frequently you get a nugget like that in every third paragraph of an essay or transcribed talk if his.

The astonishing thing to me, despite how well read you are, is that you don't perceive it. You don't rejoice in the gift.

From DC 45:

28 And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;

29 But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.

30 And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.


Could one particular "precept of man" you've adopted as truth be holding you back?

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Livesey said...

The law of tithing (D&C 119) is a fun one.

1. Upon joining the LDS Church, you give the bishop all your surplus property. Surplus is not defined in the revelation, but it is everything in excess of your actual and immediate needs. Remember, the Savior commanded we are to take no thought for the morrow, what we are to wear, eat, or drink; he also commanded that we are not to build up stores of stuff for ourselves for the future; and Paul taught that we should be content with adequate food and clothing.

2. After you have given the bishop all your surplus property, then you pay 10% of your interest, which means increase, on an annual basis. Simply, whatever substance above your actual and immediate needs that you possess on the anniversary of your joining the Church, you pay 10% of that to the Church.

Needless to say, not a single soul that I know of keeps this law.

Jared Livesey

matt lohrke said...

While doing some research/reading on temples and temple ordinances I came to this realization:

The Book of Mormon and LDS, Inc. can no longer co-exist. They are completely distinct theologies. This came through crystal clear while studying the idea of "Baptisms for the Dead."

LDS, Inc teaches we have to perform baptisms and temple rites for those unable to receive them in this life. Here's what Mormon has to say on the issue:

"For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works. Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law." (LDS, Inc is under condemnation, however, and thus needs to repent).

Regarding these signs, symbols, passwords, new names, tokens, etc, of the temple endowment--these are the tools the Gaddiantons used to identify one another and their secret works of darkness. Christ is available to all. He doesn't work in secret as He has nothing to hide. There is no other gate save repentance and baptism. There is no "iniatory"/initiation. Secret societies have initiations. There is no keeper at the gate, no angels blocking your path unless you know the secret handshake. Baptism is the only gate, and the Word of God and keeping the commandments (primarily loving God and your neighbor) are the only path.

LDS, Inc denies the Atonement of Christ. There's no other way around it.

MC - You are the church, even if you're a church of 1. Everything is available to each of us, regardless of church membership. I would say there's more available outside the LDS straightjacket. Salvation is open to male and female, bond and free, black and white. LDS, Inc cannot control the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, the atonement, the sacrament, baptism, repentance, priesthood or any other gift of the spirit, which gifts are available to anyone with requisite faith.

"And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto satan, for he reigneth and hath much power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation: and not far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah, do they come at this time: and behold the sword of justice hangeth over their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts, the time cometh that it must fall upon them." Book of Commandments, Chapter 4.

matt lohrke said...

Rock - thanks for your insight on the Testimony of John. (I've been traveling and fell behind the conversation). I'm still uncertain, but I think that's perfectly fine for now. I feel as though the only thing I can fully trust at the moment is the Book of Mormon. Maybe that will change in the future. Until then, I continue to try and separate the wheat from the chaff, trying to grow in faith and knowledge.

I will say this: This blog initiated my "faith crisis." I read "Too Bad I don't Like Beer" and found nothing I could argue with. I kept reading over the next few weeks until I had read every post. Then I fell. It's not an easy thing to have your entire world view upended. Three days (of course) of pure despair. I was lost, scared, depressed, sad, angry, anxious and on the verge of tears all at the same time. It was nearly an out-of-body experience. I didn't know which way was up. I didn't know anyone who had been through this experience, so I had no one to talk to. Loneliest three days of my life. At the end of the third day I sat on my couch wondering aloud, "how long is this going to last?" I couldn't take it any longer. In that moment--a snap of the figure--all that despair was replaced by the most profound peace: "I am God. I am real. The Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, Joseph translated it and I don't want you to worry about anything else."

I became a convert at age 41.

Since then my life has been consumed with studying the scriptures. I've grown and changed in ways I couldn't even have imagined. God became personal. I began communing, instead of just offering my vain repetitions. Instead of fearing what I might find in church history, I began actively searching out the falsehoods. I began learning by the spirit instead of the "wisdom" of men. "Life-changing" is an understatement.

And while I'm still learning and searching, I find myself in a better place than I ever have before.

It was all your fault. Thank you.

Dave P. said...

matt,

Much the same happened to me. I found reports and articles on the temple's masonic origins as well as the corporation's money laundering and other operations ranging from hypocritical to outright criminal and, being a TBM at the time, my first inclination was to turn away. But I felt prompted, "Keep reading. There are things in here you need to know," and did. Long story short, I was able to get my hands on a reprint of the original Book of Mormon as a result and, reading through it, I felt like Parley P. Pratt at his first encounter with the BoM with "eating and sleeping becoming a burden."

It's for that reason why I called the temples and the focus on them a cancer within the church because of how they completely divert seekers away from what they really need to focus on.

Matthias said...

Here's the thing Underdog2, there's no point in me going to all the effort to write out exact quotes by Denver and then systematically disproving them with the scriptures. I would be wasting my time. I have disproved Denver's claims a number of times but the remnant faithful aren't fazed one bit. Either they can't see or they won't.

You seriously don't see the problem with Denver teaching falsehoods such as his twisted attack on ALL Christian meeting houses, because many have become too lavish, without uttering a peep about the danger of a person having their heart set on their own riches and worldy prosperity. (The latter discredits him, and the former is an unjustified attack and a redirection of the issue)

Now as for the tithing issue. Denver said that the purpose of paying 10% of one's surplus income is to care for the poor and the needy and thus have no poor among the remnant. He also said that the remnant is trying to live Christianity as it was originally practiced.

The original Christians had all things common among them. Why is the remnant not practicing this?

Is it because Christ has changed his gospel or is it because Denver doesn't want to give up his nice home and lavish income as a lawyer?

Now if Christ has changed the terms of his gospel, fine, but then don't say that you're group is trying to live the gospel as originally practiced.

Why does the remnant not lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost as originally practiced?

Why must 7 women sustain a man in the priesthood? That wasn't in the primitive church.

Why are their no Bishops or other officers such as priests, teachers, and deacons as existed in the primitive church?

Denver also made another false claim when he said that a preacher must be directly sent by Christ in the same manner that Paul was. Implying very strongly that a true preacher must have seen Christ as Denver claims. This is false. Seventy and other missionaries can be true ministers and preachers of the gospel without having seen Christ. They are led by the spirit.

Denver also accused all of the original apostles of being cowards until they had seen the risen Lord. This is BS. Peter fought to protect Christ and Peter and John followed Christ to the house of the high priest.

Denver is clearly trying to find support for the idea that one must see the risen Lord in this life and that this is they key to gaining courage as a believer.

Denver also said that only women were present at the crucifixion. False again. John was there. Other disciples were likely there, too. Not sure why he said this. Perhaps to elevate the status of women above men? The apostle Paul clearly taught that the man was the head of the woman similar to how Christ is the head of the church.

Denver is deceived. False doctrines are the fingerprints of Satan. The pre-1990 endowment taught this clearly. Denver is unwittingly working for Satan when he thinks he's working for God, just like Lucifer's preacher.

I read the blog post you shared. It's all speculation about Joseph in Egypt. No nuggets there. In fact it's very likely false.

Matthias said...

Jared, You're right, no one is living the law of tithing as outlined in D&C 119. Why is that?

Either God has changed his commandments or the whole earth is in apostasy and there is no group of believers who currently live the gospel in it's fulness.

Also just out of curiosity. How do you reconcile your belief that Christ said not to save any money, with the law of tithing which only requires 10% of one's surplus income to be tithed. Is not the 90% an increase that will be saved up or spent on things that are wants and not needs?

Also, if Denver's teachings on tithing are correct and the D&C has it wrong, then how does this fit with your belief in not saving any money? Where is the 90% going. Is this not robbing the poor if spent on luxuries or frivolous pursuits?

It looks to me, that Denver must have this wrong. The 10% should go to the church to pay for the debts and obligations of the church. Then most of the surplus should go to help others, especially the poor.

Am I missing something here?

matt lohrke said...

Dave - that was my same thought, "I know what Parley Pratt experienced."

Reading the BOM freed from the interpretations of men, study guides, Deseret Book-approved commentaries was an entirely new experience. It completely opened up. It was incredible! Nothing like it.

Underdog2 said...

Part 1 of 2 or 3

MC,

My responses in bold.

You said: Either they can't see or they won't.

I hear what you're saying, and that works both ways.


You seriously don't see the problem with Denver teaching falsehoods such as his twisted attack on ALL Christian meeting houses, because many have become too lavish, without uttering a peep about the danger of a person having their heart set on their own riches and worldy prosperity. (The latter discredits him, and the former is an unjustified attack and a redirection of the issue)

The scriptures do the condemning, so blame the Lord. The fact that you think Denver hasn't uttered a peep shows you're not well read. I assumed you were.


Now as for the tithing issue. Denver said that the purpose of paying 10% of one's surplus income is to care for the poor and the needy and thus have no poor among the remnant. He also said that the remnant is trying to live Christianity as it was originally practiced.

The original Christians had all things common among them. Why is the remnant not practicing this?

Perhaps some are. I don't know. Do you know of it not being practiced? Has a gathering taken place? Not to my knowledge. When that happens, then please pass judgment.


Is it because Christ has changed his gospel or is it because Denver doesn't want to give up his nice home and lavish income as a lawyer?

More unfounded judgment from you. I don't know his home or income. But by way of principle, is it a sin to have a nice home and good income?


Now if Christ has changed the terms of his gospel, fine, but then don't say that you're group is trying to live the gospel as originally practiced.

Can't the group or individuals in the group be trying? Why do you think the attempt isn't being made?


Why does the remnant not lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost as originally practiced?

Denver has covered this. An easy search yields this explanation: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2014/08/laying-on-hands.html

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 3

Why must 7 women sustain a man in the priesthood? That wasn't in the primitive church.

So what if it wasn't. But maybe it was. It's at least a good idea. Why do you object? Makes total sense. Indeed, it's refreshing.


Why are their no Bishops or other officers such as priests, teachers, and deacons as existed in the primitive church?

Notice that the two Zions caught up into heaven did not have a hierarchical church, with officers as you list? They were a community of equals. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Lord intentionally set up a church hierarchy TO PREVENT the establishment of Zion, which would mess up the prophecies of the 3rd and prophesied latter-day Zion? I'm betting that the Lord could have successfully established Zion.


Denver also made another false claim when he said that a preacher must be directly sent by Christ in the same manner that Paul was. Implying very strongly that a true preacher must have seen Christ as Denver claims. This is false. Seventy and other missionaries can be true ministers and preachers of the gospel without having seen Christ. They are led by the spirit.

You obviously have a certain model you are accustomed to. Who's to say the Lord couldn't change the model? Beware of tradition. Please distinguish between law or principles of the gospel and organizational types.


Denver also accused all of the original apostles of being cowards until they had seen the risen Lord. This is BS. Peter fought to protect Christ and Peter and John followed Christ to the house of the high priest.

He did? Where? I highly doubt you can produce such a distasteful quote.


Denver is clearly trying to find support for the idea that one must see the risen Lord in this life and that this is they key to gaining courage as a believer.

Denver also said that only women were present at the crucifixion. False again. John was there. ...

I don't believe so. He HAS mentioned they were the FIRST present at the resurrection. I think you conflate. Again, evidence you don't even know the basics, and therefore giving me encouragement to not waste time on somebody who's not taken the time to read.


Underdog2 said...

Part 3 of 3

Denver is deceived. False doctrines are the fingerprints of Satan.

Have you quoted any "doctrines" yet?


I read the blog post you shared. It's all speculation about Joseph in Egypt. No nuggets there. In fact it's very likely false.

Naturally you respond this way. You make my very point. For the readers here who haven't read the link, Denver yesterday taught the principle of getting reliable information from the Lord. He wondered, after Judas committed suicide and created a vacancy in the 12, who would fill the vacancy. He thought about it for a while and concluded it had to be Paul as there is nothing written about Matthias and 2/3 of the Bible was written by Paul, who had an obvious encounter with the Lord. He took this conclusion to the Lord but the Lord corrected him. Denver then writes:

"I learned that of the original tribal leaders, eleven of the twelve fell from their positions as patriarchs. But one of the sons of Jacob never forfeited the right to be the head of his family. Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, remained worthy, chosen and fixed in his position over his posterity. There were always only eleven vacancies to be filled. Eleven of the twelve apostles, along with Joseph of Egypt, will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel in the resurrection."


I had personally never considered this option. It makes TOTAL sense though. I've not prayed about it, and even if I had and told you the Lord told me it was true, you wouldn't believe. Denver has said he could entertain people by sharing the mysteries he's learned from the Lord, but the Lord told him that (I paraphrase), "If they won't believe I sent you, they won't believe what you would teach them."

You fulfill this. Light and truth are being poured out through Denver, just like occurred through Joseph, but you trample his (His) words under your feet and regard these things as naught.

To each his own.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC wrote,
"To me it was very apparent that Denver claims to be a prophet or apostle sent by God from that talk. I really don't see how you didn't catch that."

You are incorrect, MC. Denver has never claimed to be a prophet. He most certainly is NOT a prophet as we have come to define one in the LDS Church: a man who leads and controls the Church and to whom all must give obedience. But if you believe the words of John that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" then I'd say he is a prophet, because he can check that box. He is also clearly a prophet in the same way we are all encouraged to be, and as Moses declared: "Would God that all His people were prophets!" Finally, there's the definition of a prophet given by President B.H Roberts, which you'll find in my blog post titled "Joseph Smith's Big Mistake."

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2017/06/joseph-smiths-big-mistake.html


Though Denver may indeed have some of the earmarks of a prophet, he has never claimed to be a prophet, seer, and revelator as the Church leaders claim to be without evidence. If you want to look for a group who are clearly deceived by Satan, I'd look in their direction.

In my opinion, it's pretty clear that Denver IS an apostle, since that word is derived from the Greek meaning "one who is sent," Although again, Denver has never used that word to describe himself. I don't recall which of the three talks he gave to the Christian leaders contains tht statement, but he told them straight out that he was there because the Lord sent him to deliver that message, so that's why I would say it's self evident he is an apostle of the Lord. Those Chritians in attendance had no doubt that when he said the Lord sent him, he was telling the truth. As I said before, none of them had ever heard a Mormon who spoke like that.

Denver has never pretended to receive revelation in the words of the Lord, but he did once read aloud an answer he received by the Lord in prayer. That's not much of a revelation as we think of them, but it's a LOT more revelation than any church leader has presented since Brigham Young onward. You don't believe it? Fine. But I don't think you'd find anything in that answer that contradicts scripture or is offensive or "Satanic" in any way.

I've found it's a fool's errand to try and answer every criticism someone puts forth about Denver Snuffer; I find the imaginary offenses never end. and I do get tired of typing sometimes. So I sympathize with your reluctance to document every evidence you feel you have that Denver Snuffer is a tool of Satan. I'm just as reluctant to respond to the ones you did bring up. But give me a moment here and I will address two or three of the accusations you made above.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
You criticize Denver Snuffer for belaboring the lavish Christian meeting houses "without uttering a peep about the danger of a person having their heart set on their own riches and worldy prosperity."

Oh, he has uttered more than a few peeps about that. I guess you haven't been paying attention.

You object to Denver stating that the purpose of tithing is to help the poor and the needy. Well, what do you think is meant by the laying of the foundation of Zion in verse 2? Was that about pouring the concrete foundation for a branch of Zion's Bank?

"The original Christians had all things common among them. Why is the remnant not practicing this?"

You make the mistake of thinking this references all MATERIAL things. No one in Zion is required to pool everything they own into some socialistic commune where everyone owns everything and no one owns anything. We do, however, do our best to look out for one another's needs, with the aim that there will be no poor among us. Being of one mind is not something many people are able to dive right into all at once, and the various fellowships around the world are working at being more Christlike. It's not something that anyone can accuse us of not striving for simply because to your eyes we are not yet "practicing" it to perfection.

We are all individuals, and God does not require us to submerge individuality into "the group." We don't live together on a commune and dine together in some community dining hall, nor does the Lord ask that of us. Each "Fellowship" is a very small collection of, on average, 3 to 6 families who are close friends with each other and interested in each other's well being. Last night some of us got together and had something to eat, then attended a choir performance of one of one family's daughter. That's a typical fellowship activity. Most people would call that friendship, which is what it is. If I were you I wouldn't look for any deeper meaning. We are not a church.

"Is it because Christ has changed his gospel or is it because Denver doesn't want to give up his nice home and lavish income as a lawyer?"

Boy, are you misinformed. If you think Denver Snuffer lives a lavish lifestyle, you are very much mistaken. He has sacrificed nearly all for the well-being of others, and when the Lord sent him out to deliver those ten famous lectures (compiled in the book "Preserving the Restoration") it cost him a fortune to rent the venues and cover all the other costs. Same with his recent trips to L.A., Dallas, and Atlanta. Unlike the LDS general authorities, Denver pays his own way for everything.

"Now if Christ has changed the terms of his gospel, fine, but then don't say that you're group is trying to live the gospel as originally practiced."

I'm pretty sure Christ's gospel message is the same as it has always been: repent, come unto Him, be baptized, and love one another. And yes, we are trying to live that gospel.

"Why are their no Bishops or other officers such as priests, teachers, and deacons as existed in the primitive church?"

Maybe it's because we are not a church.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC (Continued)

"Why must 7 women sustain a man in the priesthood? That wasn't in the primitive church."

No, it wasn't. May I remind you that there is nothing in the fellowships that changed or altered a man's right to exercise his priesthood? If you had read what Denver actually said about this practice, or at least listened to the recorded lecture, you would recall that this idea grew out of the controversy at the time regarding the LDS church wanting to know why they cannot hold the priesthood as in the early days of the Church.

Denver took the question to the Lord, and received an answer to the effect that the time was not yet. (I don't know why, but I have a theory.) So Denver proposed an idea to the Lord based on the scripture in Isaiah 4:1. There is very little question that many priesthood holders in the Church today require the women to effectively sit down, shut up, and do as their priesthood leaders command. In order to prevent such abuse in among the Remnant fellowships, it was suggested that if any priesthood holder wished to perform an ordinance OUTSIDE HIS OWN HOME, seven women would be required to endorse him, including the man's own wife. If his own wife will not vouch for him, it doesn't matter how many other women do; the guy can't exercise his priesthood outside his own family.

The Lord approved Denver's proposal. As we learn from Moses' experience, the Lord likes it when we reason with him.

I think this is a very sensible approach. It prevents a man from abusing his priesthood, because he can't impose his will on any woman, least of all his own wife. And it gives women some say over who they might have assisting in giving blessings to their children, blessing the sacrament, and so on.

In summary, any man holding the priesthood (which priesthood he obtained through regular LDS Church channels, traceable to Joseph Smith) is entitled to baptize his own family members, give blessing to his own family members, administer the sacrament to his own family members, and so on. Butt he is not entitled to perform such ordinances on any other person unless he is approved by seven women in the group. I don't see where that warrants criticism. Whether you feel that idea is endorsed by the Lord or not is immaterial in my mind. It's still a cracking good method, and not in the least bit inspired by Satan just because the idea came through Denver Snuffer.

"Denver also accused all of the original apostles of being cowards until they had seen the risen Lord."

That is not the meaning of Denver's illustration, as you know, having taken it out of context, MC. I call shame on you for that. It was by way of illustration. Do you think any in his audience were offended? They were not. They understood the point. I suggest you continue on and watch the other two videos. You're not getting the picture.

"Denver is clearly trying to find support for the idea that one must see the risen Lord in this life and that this is they key to gaining courage as a believer."

He is not trying to find support for anything, not the least that one MUST see the risen Lord. He is sharing a teaching of Joseph Smith AND numerous scriptures that all are ENTITLED to see the risen Christ, as long as one meets the criteria put forth by the Lord. That is the Lord's clear invitation; not Denver Snuffer's. Try reading the book "The Second Comforter" before trying to summarize it's contents in one sentence.

Well, that's more responses than I had intended to provide, so that will do. I wish you would make the effort to become better informed before concluding that Denver is inspired by the devil. Denver Snuffer has one desire: to get people to stop looking to leaders and focus on the scriptures. On those rare occasions when he offers his own opinion, he says so, and does not ask or require anyone to follow his counsel.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dave P.,
I found your take on the Word of Wisdom as commandment business very astute. I too long ago felt we were being given a bum steer with that teaching that the "evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days" was directed at cigarette and liquor advertising alone.

Certainly, it's possible that might be part of it, but now that we are in the latter part of the last days, it can't be said anyone is taken in by that faction much anymore. So I found it refreshing to entertain the idea that the evil and designing men could very well be those who would one day try to use that revelation to oppress the Lord's people by insisting it was something they must obey. Just prior to that clause, the Lord made clear it was NOT a commandment, but here we are constantly having it held over our heads as though it is. What's more evil and designing than that?

But I also think there is more than one group of evil and designing men referred to there. One of the failures of the teaching that the evil and designing men are booze and cigarette manufacturers is that the Word of Wisdom does not restrict itself to the four vices; it's mostly concerned with counseling us to eat pure food. Here in the last days, we are surrounded by genetically modified food at every turn. If we would take the entire word of wisdom more seriously, we would see that it is warning us of evil and designing men who would be striving to soft kill the entire population.

Anyway, Dave, thanks for your input. Lots to consider there.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Matt,
Imagine my joy to discover that I was the cause of your becoming lost, scared, depressed, sad, angry, anxious and on the verge of tears!

Just kidding, of course. But glad you came out of it okay. I guess that's why we call it an "Enos Moment" He too was in the depths of despair, but once he got that baptism of fire, the despair was completely gone.

I had my own baptism of fire in February of 2007, and it didn't occur to me until days later that, "Hmmm. There was nothing in there about the Church being true." That kind of surprised me once it occured to me.

The entire experience came upon me unexpectedly, but had I planned it out, I most certainly would have presumed it would result in some kind of confirmation that "the Church is true." After all, wasn't that the purpose of the Holy Ghost? To affirm our testimonies of the True Church?

The best way I can explain the experience was that this was all about God's unconditional love and forgiveness enveloping me in an ineffable feeling of warmth and security. It completely superseded anything having to do with anything as mundane as membership in a religious denomination.

Thanks for your kind words, Matt. I love your contributions to this forum.

Jared Livesey said...

"Denver is clearly trying to find support for the idea that one must see the risen Lord in this life and that this is they key to gaining courage as a believer."

I take it MC believes one does not need to know the Lord[1] and also that one need not have charity[2] to be saved. This is what he is finding fault with Denver Snuffer about.

Jared Livesey

[1] May Sunday 1 preached in the grove on the keys of the kingdom charity &c.— The keys are certain signs & words by which false spirits & personages may be detected from true.— which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed.— The rich can only get them in the Temple. The poor may get them on the Mountain top as did moses. The rich cannot be saved without cha[r]ity. giving to feed the poor. when & how God requires as well as building. There are signs in heaven earth & hell. the elders must know them all to be endued with power. to finish their work & prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs. but does not know the sign of the son of man. or Jesus. No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something. & these this can only be in the holiest of Holies. [p. 94] citation to JS Papers

See, in this order, John 17:3, D&C 132:21-25; hence 3 Nephi 18:35 and 3 Nephi 14:23 - he never knew them, meaning he never embraced them.

[2] Moroni 10:21, Moroni 8:16-17, 1 John 4:18, Ether 12:34, Moroni 7:48, D&C 88:125, Col 3:14

Before you controvert this, read all the references.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for those cites, Jared. Very helpful, as always.

matt lohrke said...

Thanks, Rock. I appreciate it.

That's one thing I forgot to mention - some guilt and shame that I had been carrying around for a long time evaporated in that moment. I, too, had no witness of the church, living prophets, temples or any of the rest of it.

I can look back now and see how the Lord brought me to that moment, step by step. I can pinpoint the moment it began. I can see how it took ten years of slowly breaking me down, little by little, teaching me in my language (which is mostly symbolism, metaphor, etc. This was a great witness to me). There was one event in particular that had it not happened, I would have been wholly unprepared to deal with the church issues. The weird thing is that I wasn't doubting and I didn't have any concerns, really. I wasn't a TBM, but more a casual Mormon. I was completely oblivious to the various splinter movements in Mormonism prior to a friend of mine forwarding me the WoW article. Truly, I knew nothing. Then I lurked for about 18-24 months before mustering up the courage to post here.

I guess the moral of the story is that for anyone going through it, there is a light at the end. The road is hard, bumpy, and devastating. But don't give up. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. The reward is great.

MC said...

Rock and Underdog2,

I was not suggesting that Denver has never said a word about material wealth and the love of riches. What I was saying was specific to the lecture that I had just listened to. In that lecture Denver said that it was wrong for any church to own any property and that because churches owned property they had all become corrupted. This is not supportable from the scriptures. He did not at any point, in that talk, say a peep about the danger of personal wealth and worldliness leading to the corruption of churches. Perhaps I was splitting hairs here. He is off base here, though. The Lord commanded the early LDS church to buy property and build a house to worship in. Clearly owning property as a church is not wrong. Building lavish fancy buildings for show is wrong. This was clearly an attempt to discredit other Christian faiths and point them to the remnant groups. There's nothing wrong with pointing people to the group you believe to be right, but one shouldn't do it with a false pretense, especially if one is claiming to be sent by God and be his servant.

Underdog, if you're curious about Denver calling the apostles cowards prior to them having seen the risen Lord, you'll have to listen to the lecture. He said it, I can assure you. I think it was towards the beginning if I remember correctly. Since he didn't say it was his opinion that they were cowards he must have received that information from a reliable source, right? Same goes for his statement that the disciples all abandoned him at the cross and only women were there.

As for me not being well read in regards to Denver's teachings you are both correct and incorrect. I know his doctrines and teachings pretty well up to about 2 or 3 years ago. That is when I determined he didn't have the truth and wasn't the Lord's servant. I stopped reading or listening to stuff, except for an occasional look here and there. He has also written and spoken a lot, so you'll have to forgive me if I don't remember everything.

MC said...

Rock, the remnant claims to not be a church or even an organization. If you have the truth why not set up an organization patterned after the primitive church or as outlined in the D&C? Why not organize your various groups after the pattern in the scriptures? Would not this be practicing true Christianity?

And I thought you keep saying there was never supposed to be a church organization, just a group of people following Christ. Those who repent and are baptized are his church right? So aren't you guys a church, the Lord's church, if your baptism is valid? Should you not have bishops, elders, priests, teachers, and deacons then?

Something to think about anyway.

I seriously don't understand why you keep deflecting the title of prophet for Denver. He claims to be a prophet and an apostle. He said as much in that lecture. He built up a pattern for what he claimed a true minister had to be, a prophet or apostle sent by Christ, who had seen Christ. Then he said he was a true minister sent by Christ and that he had seen Him. How much clearer can it be? This does not mean he is a prophet, seer, and revelator like the LDS church leadership claim to be. You keep making it sound like being a true prophet or an apostle is a bad thing. It isn't at all. It would be a huge blessing to have a true prophet like Moses, Joseph Smith, Isaiah, etc on the earth speaking for God.

I know I'm harsh against Denver. Perhaps too harsh. I do believe he means well, but either he's sent by God or he isn't. I can't take a middle of the road stance on this. He is either a true servant sent by Christ and the Father as he claims, or he is deceived or a deceiver. Denver doesn't strike me as an intentional deceiver. He seems sincere. He spends his own money on the work he does. He spends a great deal of time doing his work as well. I don't know that an intentional deceiver would do this without some type of compensation such as money. I don't think Denver is getting rich off of this. I could be wrong.

So if he hasn't seen Christ and he's not an intentional deceiver who did he see? It would have to be a false Christ. A false Christ would be a servant of Satan. There is no other option, don't you agree?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
In reflecting a bit more about some of your objections about Denver Snuffer, I surmise you have adopted the idea that those of us who refer to ourselves by various unofficial nicknames such as Remnant, Uncorrelated Mormons, Fellowships, or what-have-you, are out here forming our own churches intended to compete with LDS, Inc. That would explain your wondering "Why are their no Bishops or other officers such as priests, teachers, and deacons as existed in the primitive church?"

If I feel the need to talk to a bishop (spoiler: I don't), I can walk over to the stake center a few blocks from where I live on any Sunday and attend the ward my wife is a member of. (I'm still on the ward roster myself for some reason, although I have been officially expelled from the corporate Church.) There I will see several other people who attend my fellowship, people who have retained their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have no interest in resigning. They rub shoulders with all the priests, teachers, and deacons they have a mind to at that location. So that's where you'll find those offices; MC. In an institutional Church.

We don't have priesthood offices in our fellowship because we don't pretend to be a "Church" as generally understood these days. Of course, all of us qualify as the Lord's church per His definition in D&C 10:67, but so does everyone in town who belongs to the other various denominations, at least those who have repented and come unto Christ. But as for being a "Church" after the pattern of any of those institutions, including the LDS ward? No. my friends and I do not call ourselves a Church.

There are three separate "fellowship" groups within a few miles of me, and I'd say half of them are active members of the LDS Church. There is no reason they shouldn't be. There's no reason I shouldn't be either, except for the fact that certain parties in the Church hierarchy decided they didn't want someone like me to be associated with their Church's name.

"Fellowships" are just that. We are not a church. We have no leaders, we don't report to some "Fellowship Central," and we are not led by Denver Snuffer. Or anyone else.

Denver Snuffer has merely suggested that those who have been shut out of the LDS Church (people like me, for instance) or who are intent on worshiping Christ rather than bearing constant testimony of "The Brethren" might benefit by following the pattern of the ancient Christian Church before the Catholic Church took control of it. That is, gather together once in a while with like-minded friends in each others homes, and look after each other. Guess what? I came up with that idea long before I ever heard of Denver Snuffer, and so did quite a few others. It just shows that the Lord's hand has been gathering those who love him and inspiring them to find one another and fellowship together.

We don't have priests, teachers, bishops, and deacons for the same reason you wouldn't select those officers if your family got together in the park every couple of weeks while the kids played on the playground. Think of the last time you and your wife got together with another couple for dinner. Was anyone in charge? Of course not; you are friends, all on an equal footing. You don't need officers to have a friendly get-together

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (Continued)

Most of us have found Denver Snuffer to be a more than adequate teacher (he had 25 years experience as a Gospel Doctrine teacher), and as far as I'm concerned he is the leading Expert on the Book of Mormon now that Hugh Nibley has left the planet. But he is not the leader of a movement, He doesn't supervise any movement, and he has no intentions of founding or presiding over some new Church. In fact, anyone who calls him or herself a Snufferite will be quickly denounced by Denver Snuffer, and probably bitch-slapped by anyone else in earshot just for being stupid.

So if your opinion of Denver Snuffer falls short of your expectations, perhaps your assumptions about him could use an adjustment. I doubt you would accuse your ward's gospel doctrine teacher of having Satan's fingerprints on him or her simply because you don't agree with everything they said in all instances. So why do you feel Denver Snuffer should measure up? He's just like you and me: a guy trying his best to follow Jesus Christ.

You want a perfect man you can look up to who can do no wrong? Go check out that there Russell M. Nelson feller. I hear he's a real prize.

Matthias said...

Rock,

You don't seem to understand where I'm coming from.

Bishops, Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons are neccesary offices. The scriptures are crystal clear on this. Bishops are to run the Bishop's storehouse and collect and distribute concecrated property.

Elders and Priests baptize, adminster the sacrament, etc. Without these offices one can not claim to be practicing Christianity correctly. If the LDS church is completely apostate and has been stripped of all priesthood back in 2014, those offices don't mean jack squat anyways.

I'm not looking for a perfect person to look up to besides Christ. I do however expect a man who claims to have been sent by him to not regularily contradict what the scriptures say and snuff at the word of God. Is that too much to ask?

Matthias said...

All of the offices mentioned above were an essential part of Christianity long before the Catholic church appeared. This is all in the scriptures.

But if Denver says you guys don't need them then I guess you better go with that.

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Livesey said...

MC says "The original Christians had all things common among them."

MC is correct. The Nephites also had all thing common after Christ gave the Sermon, because they actually did what he said to do therein.

However, MC's question "Why is the remnant not practicing this?" can be rephrased "why isn't the remnant doing what Christ taught?" and has an answer.

Everyone who has Christ's commandments in Matthew 5-7, Luke 6, and 3 Nephi 12-14, and does not do them as written, knows the answer: for the same reason they, themselves do not do what Christ said to do.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

MC asks: "How do you reconcile your belief that Christ said not to save any money, with the law of tithing which only requires 10% of one's surplus income to be tithed. Is not the 90% an increase that will be saved up or spent on things that are wants and not needs?"

There is no possible conflict with D&C 119 and the Lord's commandment.

Also, here's the original of D&C 119. Who is the bishop of the church of Zion?

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

Having all things common is a logical consequence of practicing the Sermon on the Mount as it is written.

"Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your stuff back from whomever takes it."

"Do not build up stores of stuff for yourself in this world, where moths and rust corrupt, and thieves break in to steal, but build up stores of stuff for yourself in heaven, where neither moths nor rust corrupt, nor do thieves break in to steal. For where you store your stuff is where your heart is."

We know how we obtain stuff in heaven: "Go sell everything you possess, and give the proceeds to the poor, and you shall have stuff in heaven, and come, follow me."

Jared Livesey said...

So what do you do what you have many people doing these things, and excess falls into their hands from their labors? For the earth brings forth plentifully when men keep the commandments of the Lord. Well, they don't store it for themselves, but for everyone - hence the storehouse, where all put their surplus, and all may get according to their needs and wants.

Zion is a logical consequence of practicing the Sermon on the Mount as it is written.

Jared Livesey

Matthias said...

Ok Jared, so if having all things common is a natural consequence of following the sermon on the mount, then what is the purpose of tithing? Why does the Lord only require 10% of one's surplus income?

Also why did the Lord give the law of concecration or united order in the D&C and have the early LDS live it if having all things common is a natural consequence of following the sermon on the mount?

Why did the apostles in the primitive church collect everyone's property? They didn't tell them to sell it and give it to the poor. They collected it in the same way that the early LDS saints gave it to the Bishop?

Why did God slay a couple in the primitive church for retaining some of their property if having all things common is a natural consequence of following the sermon on the mount?

This goes right with my point to Rock about the lack of neccesary offices in the remnant. There has to be a bishop to collect these founds for the poor. It has always been so. Judas Iscariot was a bishop. He was responsible for the funds for the poor. He was an unjust steward and a traitor, but he was a bishop.

This means that the remnant is not following the correct protocol with there tithes.

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Livesey said...

MC asks: "Ok Jared, so if having all things common is a natural consequence of following the sermon on the mount, then what is the purpose of tithing? Why does the Lord only require 10% of one's surplus income?"

Tithing is for those that do not believe nor keep the commandments of the Lord, but who trust men, such as Joseph, and if they keep the words received through Joseph faithfully, may yet grow into belief in the Lord's words to keep his commandments. Those who keep the Lord's commandments in the Sermon would have had nothing to tithe.

MC asks: "Also why did the Lord give the law of concecration or united order in the D&C and have the early LDS live it if having all things common is a natural consequence of following the sermon on the mount?"

For the same reason he gave tithing.

MC asks: "Why did God slay a couple in the primitive church for retaining some of their property if having all things common is a natural consequence of following the sermon on the mount?"

They were covenant-breakers.

3 Nephi 12:13-14
13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.


The covenant curse gets executed when men mock God. The Jews learned this the hard way. Ananias with Sapphira learned this the hard way. The Nephites learned this the hard way. The remnant of the Gentiles may also learn this the hard way.

God is real, MC, and will not be mocked.

Matthias said...

Okay, so the law of consecration and tithing are lower laws then? I suppose that Christ made Judas a bishop and gave him charge of the funds for the poor as part of a lower law then? I don't think you can justify that, but you have to if you want to justify how the remnant collects their tithes and your interpretation of the sermon on the mount.

Could it be that you don't understand the sermon on the mount correctly?

Interesting that God would include the law of consecration as part of the celestial law of the gospel in the D&C.

Yes God is real and will not be mocked. Certainly not by false prophets who snuff at His word in the scriptures.

Jared Livesey said...

MC asks: "Okay, so the law of consecration and tithing are lower laws then?"

Tithing, yes. The law of consecration is, in essence, a partial, practical implementation of the Sermon pertaining to stuff.

MC asks: "I suppose that Christ made Judas a bishop and gave him charge of the funds for the poor as part of a lower law then?"

Whatever they got above their needs was distributed to the poor, and Judas happened to be the holder of the bag for the group.

MC asks: "Could it be that you don't understand the sermon on the mount correctly?"

If you doubt what I say about the Sermon, you could ask God to explain his law and commandments to you.

1 Nephi 15:11
Do ye not remember the thing which the Lord hath said?
If ye will not harden your hearts
and ask me in faith
believing that ye shall receive
with diligence in keeping my commandments
surely these things shall be made known unto you.
Since everyone has a promise from God to explain things when they meet certain conditions, why ask me if I know what I'm talking about? Ask of God - ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

jjkram said...

Let's move on...

Matthias said...

Jared, God has spoken in the scriptures. He has set forth the manner in which his saints are to care for the poor and have all things common among them. This is called the law of consecration in the scriptures. This law includes the need for a bishop.

As I've explained to you multiple times, "take no thought for tomorrow" is a command to missionaries not all believers. So you understand the sermon on the mount incorrectly. The question I posed you was not a request to teach me, but rather a hope that you would reexamine your understanding now that it has been shown to be flawed when compared to other scriptures.

I don't want to get into another fight. Either you accept the word of God in the scriptures or you look to your own understanding or the understanding of others. It's your choice. I can't force you to believe the word of God.

Matthias said...

jjkram,

Why don't we settle the issue first before we move on. Why does the remnant, which claims to have true servant of God in their midst, to be preserving the restoration, and striving to practice Christianity as it was originally practiced, not even remotely follow the pattern in the scriptures? Why no bishops, elders, priests, teachers, or deacons? Why no laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost?

These are basic elements to practicing true Christianity.

Jared Livesey said...

MC says: "Jared, God has spoken in the scriptures. He has set forth the manner in which his saints are to care for the poor and have all things common among them. This is called the law of consecration in the scriptures. This law includes the need for a bishop."

To which I say: "Very true, the LDS Church has such a law. For those who trust him and do not trust not men, or, in other words, his church, his disciples, his friends, his family, he has given the Sermon on the Mount."

MC says: "As I've explained to you multiple times, 'take no thought for tomorrow' is a command to missionaries not all believers."

To which I say "review Luke 12:13-48 and Matthew 28:19-20."

jjkram said...

Sorry MC. Some will never let the "issue" be settled. I still say...move on. May you find joy in the Lord.

Julene Humes said...

Could someone in this discussion explain to me the scriptures in Doctrine and Covenants 107:58 and 59 which say, "It is the duty of the Twelve also, to ordain and set in order all the other officers of the church, agreeable to the revelation which says: To the church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws respecting church business." Doesn't that mean that the Twelve have more authority than just to preach the gospel in the mission field and be witnesses? It sounds like administrative authority in the established church.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Can't blame you for being confused, Julene. At first glance that LOOKS like it's contradicting what the Lord had just said earlier in that same revelation, that the Twelve are supposed to stay in their yard, and the High Council is supposed to stay in theirs.

Part of the confusion is that section 107 is a mashup of two separate revelations along with what appears to be an excerpt from the Book of Enoch plopped down in the middle that interrupts the flow.

So let's break it down:

Earlier in section 107 we have the Lord outlining the responsibilities of the Twelve, and that their responsibilities will differ from all the others. He lays some of it out, then moves on to describe the Seventy, and how the Seventy are equal to the Twelve and so on, before returning to discuss further the duties of the Twelve in verse 39.

This is where He tells them their duty is to all the large BRANCHES of the church. Branches are the congregations of Saints out there in what we would call today "the mission field." Branches differ from the Stakes because the stakes are fully organized bodies with stake presidents, high councils, and such, where branches outside of the organized stakes are set up and put in order by the missionaries themselves; i.e. the Twelve Apostles.

We learn, therefore, that the Twelve's responsibilities among the branches is identical to the duties the high councils have within the stakes. Verse 39 begins by telling the Twelve of their responsibility to ordain ministers in those branches they are in authority over, and to do it by revelation. Then we immediately see what seems to be an excerpt or a summary from Moses chapter 6 regarding the lineage of the priesthood, plopped right down in the middle of those instructions. I imagine that might be because the author of the section wanted to clarify how important he felt it to be that the Twelve go by revelation, particularly regarding the calling of patriarchs in the various branches.

The thing that is important for us to know, is that prior to publication, some or most of the revelations we have today were "revised" by others in authority in the church in that day. We can see from the handwriting of the original documents, that at various times the revelations often amended and "improved upon" by either David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and one or two others before they went to press.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Julene, (Continued)

If you are reading verse 39 and then jump directly to verse 58, skipping all that stuff about lineage that got sandwiched between them, you can see where verse 58 seems to pick up directly from verse 39 without interruption.

So that brings us to the verses in question, 58 & 59, which should be read together so there's no misunderstanding. This is where the Lord is telling us "It is the duty of the Twelve ALSO..."

Also what? Well, also in addition to ordaining ministers in the larger branches of the church (per verse 39). they are also "to ordain and set in order all the OTHER officers of the church..."

What "other" officers is He talking about? Why, the other officers in those branches under the Twelve's authority. And here comes the important clause. These ordinations are to take place "AGREEABLE TO the revelation which says "To the church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws respecting church business-"

Ah ha! The Twelve are to ordain the officers in the branches "Agreeable to" -in other words, "in a manner similar to" the way in which He had earlier instructed officers to be ordained IN ZION; a manner which we he had already spelled out in a much earlier revelation.

So now, where in the heck do we find that other revelation? It doesn't seem to be in the Doctrine & Covenants. Turns out it's a revelation that was given four years previous, on November 11th, 1831. And just as the Lord indicated, this other revelation starts out saying 'To the church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws respecting church business-" It's the very same wording.

You won't find that exact revelation in the D&C, but you can read it on pg 217 of the Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Manuscript Revelation Books. (That's the big oversized volume that was so expensive no one could afford it until they put it on sale.)

It isn't in our D&C because someone decided to abridge it and fold what they thought was important about it into section 107. It was given in 1831, three years before the standing high council was ever formed (1834) and four years prior to the creation of the traveling high council (a.k.a. the Quorum of the Twelve.) But it laid out the method for selecting and ordaining officers in the church. So there's no great mystery about what is being said in section 107:58-59. It's saying that this method of ordaining officers in the church is also to be used by the Twelve when they "ordain and set in order all the OTHER officers of the church" -the officers in the branches they, the Twelve, will be forming.

Remember the Lord telling us that these councils are equal in authority to each other? They are. Everything the Standing High Council is authorized to do WITHIN the stakes of Zion, the Traveling High Council is authorized to do OUTSIDE the stakes of Zion, or in the branches they build up during their labors "in the world."

So, to recap: Section 107 describes the duties of the Twelve as being every bit as important as the duties of the High Council or the duties of the First Presidency. But they all must perform the work they were called to, and not step out of their appointed spheres, or they "shall not be counted worthy to stand."

Matthias said...

If God's law is strictly the literal interpretation of the sermon on the mount, then why the other thousands of pages of scripture?

Why set forth the law of concecration and the united order as part of the celestial law in the D&C? For that matter why reveal any of the D&C?

The answer is that the sermon on the mount is not the end all be all that you think it is. God gave us the D&C and other scriptures so we could have a correct understanding of his commandments and the gospel, and not be dependent on one sermon for our understanding.

That sermon is very important, but there's a lot more to the gospel. The sermon on the mount is basically a very brief summary of some of the major principles of the gospel, not the fulness of the gospel and the law of God.

Brett Reynolds said...

Im doing a quick poll: Please go to this tweet and vote about whether or not God has told you that Russell Nelson is a true prophet https://twitter.com/aLoafOfBrett/status/977969186881265664

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