Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Plea Unto Every Latter-Day Saint



I was recently contacted by a good brother who identified himself  as "a faithful latter-day Saint." He told me he had been given a clear and unmistak-able prompting from the Lord to write a  letter to his fellow brothers and sisters in the church. Under the direction of the Lord, he told me, he sat down and wrote out the words the spirit prompted him to write. 

The reason he contacted me was that he had just come upon my two recent blog posts (you can find them here and here) and was inspired to reach out to me because he needed advice. He told me the Lord had instructed him to get his letter out on the 15th day of March. The date was firm, although he had no idea why the Lord insisted on that particular day.

Most curiously, this good brother confessed to having not the slightest idea how to go about disseminating such a letter. He had no blog, no forum, no platform. He didn't even have a Facebook presence.  He told me he was prompted by the spirit to reach out to me to see if I had any idea how a person could go about getting such a letter out into circulation. Frankly, I didn't give a lot of thought to his story, but I invited him to go ahead and send the letter to me so I could have a look at it. After reading it, I found myself in agreement with this man; that letter was indeed inspired of the Lord. I asked him if I could publish it here on my blog, and so here it is.

I hope everyone who reads this will be inspired to share it with others so it gets the wide attention it deserves:

A Plea Unto Every Latter Day Saint


2018 General Conference   

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another - as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

"How well Your Majesty's new clothes look. Aren't they becoming!" He heard on all sides, "That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit." Then the minister of public processions announced: "Your Majesty's canopy is waiting outside."

"Well, I'm supposed to be ready," the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror. "It is a remarkable fit, isn't it?"

He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest. The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn't dare admit they had nothing to hold. So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy.

Everyone in the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes!"

"Don't they fit him to perfection?"

"And see his long train!"

Nobody would confess that they couldn't see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.


"But," said a little child in the crowd, "He hasn't got anything on!"

"Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said the child's father.

But soon one person whispered to another what the child had said: "He hasn't anything on."


"A child says he hasn't anything on."

"But he hasn't got anything on!" the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all.

Do you believe Jesus Christ, Moroni, and President Benson?
As Latter Day Saints, we have this funny thing we do about the church. When we hear something we feel might be true but which makes us uncomfortable or requires us to change, we assume it must be of the devil! Even if what is being shared is scripturally accurate, and even if God is willing to confirm the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:5), most of us tend to cling to our assumptions more than we love the Truth.

One of the great things about President Ezra Taft Benson is that he told us the truth, even when it was difficult to hear. During his ministry he reminded us that the church was still under the Lord's condemnation (D&C 84:54-57), and that the way out from under that condemnation was through repentance and coming unto Christ through the Book of Mormon. He also warned,
“It is important to realize that while the Church is made up of mortals, no mortal is the Church. Judas, for a period of time, was a member of the Church-in fact, one of its apostles-but the Church was not Judas…”(To the Humble Followers of Christ, Conference Report April 1969) 
The Great Deception
My own family began to realize the church was in trouble back in 2003. That’s when Elder Russell M. Nelson published that article in the ensign titled "Divine Love." Have you read it and prayed about the things Elder Nelson believes about God? His views were very disconcereting. "Heretical" is the word that came to our minds.

When my wife and I read Nelson's teaching, we felt sick inside and very conflicted. It entirely contradicted the Lord's teachings found in our scriptures. Naturally we all know that blessings, salvation, and exaltation are conditional upon our repentance, but to see Elder Nelson teach that God’s love was conditional was quite a shock. We realized right then that God really does respect free agency, both on a personal level and within the Church as a whole. (Mosiah 27:13) 

A lot of our friends have been reading church history and comparing scripture to what the church now teaches, and then coming to understand things are not right. It reminds us of the reality that history really does cycle, and that what Joseph Smith saw taking place in the church in his day is happening again in ours:
“No quorum in the Church was entirely exempt from the influence of those false spirits who are striving against me for the mastery; even some of the Twelve were so far lost to their high and responsible calling as to begin to take sides secretly with the enemy.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol 2, pg 488)
Satan knows that the most effective way to destroy the church is from the inside. And just as God allows Satan to attack America and the divinely inspired Constitution, He also does not stand in the way when latter-day saints allow "spiritual wickedness in high places" to infect the church. (Ephesians 6:12). Despite what you have been told, God will not violate the eternal law of agency.  Joseph taught that if God's people insisted on clinging to idols (in particular their penchant for depending on the prophet) God would not stop them. But make no mistake: if they persist, He will cut them off. (Ezekial 14)

Today, the Lord requires each of us to discern good from evil. (Moroni 7:16-17) Sometimes the Holy Ghost will confirm a truth that seems to contradict a teaching we may have learned in church.  We may be surprised by the contradiction, but when the promptings we receive from the Holy Ghost are in conflict with any other teaching, we are instructed to abide by the spirit if those promptings are in harmony with the scriptures as well.

Let it be known:

The great deception in the church today is to dismiss truth and label it as "apostasy." (2 Nephi 28:14)

There is a significant difference between speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed and realizing a particular person never actually was anointed. (D&C 121:34-37, D&C 107:81-84,)

Each of us is required to take the essential step in our growth from idolizing men, to having an “eye single” to His glory, that our “bodies shall be filled with light.” (D&C 88:67).

For surely, there is a fundamental difference between “follow the prophet,” and “come unto Christ.” (John 17:3).

Whatever happened to following Christ and His Word?

Didn’t you find it odd that just recently the twelve decided to randomly sustain Elder Nelson as the President of the Church? Those who believe in the Doctrine and Covenants could only wonder what happened to the Lord’s directive that “all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith.” (D&C 26:2). This example, and many other unscriptural actions by the Church reminds us why Joseph Smith taught:

“If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, or Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an impostor.”(Times and Seasons Vol 5 April 1st 1844, Pg 490-491) 

The Lord himself warned in Matthew 24:24:
 "…there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Today the world is swarming with “false christs,” and “false prophets,” who invent stories, dreams, and false precepts to mislead those who could have been elect. Elder Nelson has done this before, and he will likely do it again. Most of us just accept whatever the church enacts because we have been taught we can never be led astray. (Please review Wilford Woodruff’s promise in context and then compare it to the church statement on Race and the Priesthood for a more accurate interpretation).

Today, “having keys” is used to imply that every decision made by the brethren is of God, even when our church history is full of leadership error - and even when the Lord makes it abundantly clear we are to follow Him and not trust in the arm of flesh. (2 Nephi 4:34).


Follow the Savior
“Jesus Christ is the only beacon on which we can rely. The message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that there is but one guiding hand in the universe, only one truly infallible light, one unfailing beacon to the world. That light is Jesus Christ, the light and life of the world, the light which one Book of Mormon prophet described as “a light that is endless, that can never be darkened. (Mosiah 16:9).” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, pg 42)
The Real Test


Please understand: Joseph Smith worked for years to help the Saints correct error and receive the Fulness being offered by God. He mourned, “It is often the case that young members in this church, for want of better information, carry along with them their old notions of things, and sometimes fall into egregious errors.” (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 242)

When Joseph and Hyrum were tragically martyred, not all of the false beliefs the new members brought with them had been eradicated from the church. These incomplete understandings then became the “traditions of the fathers” that were passed down by the church during the last 185 years. (D&C 43:9-11)

Having a fuller understanding of our complicated church history, and the doctrinal digression that has occurred since the death of Joseph, is important so we can repent and personally reclaim the light that has been lost. (D&C 84:26-27).

In relation to you and the Lord, and the salvation of your family, our latter-day situation is not really about the Church and the Brethren at all. In reality, the upcoming choice of whether to sustain Elder Nelson or not is representative of the greater issues involving God and being faithful to the cause of Christ. This moment is actually about our personal accountability before God. Our willingness to stand for Christ and our personal integrity in relation to truth.

Elder Nelson will come and go. Choosing Jesus Christ is forever.

Historically, this is the same test the Jews faced when they rejected Jesus in favor of what the Pharisees were teaching. It is the same test which occurred during the time of King Noah, when a true prophet came among the hierarchy. And it is the same test the early Saints faced during the time of Joseph Smith, when they failed to receive the fulness of the Gospel.

Our chance to receive the Fulness
"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; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. "
"And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (D&C 45:28-30 
There is a pattern one must follow in order to please God and reclaim the fulness of the gospel. It requires a person to be in tune with God and His holy Spirit to the degree that they can differentiate between truth and tradition. Trusting in men and their rhetoric about "keys" will damn you.  (2 Nephi 28:21) Trusting in Christ and His Word will save you. (3 Nephi 11:35-41)

There are, of course, no other churches to join, and no other men to follow. But there are essential decisions for you to accomplish privately with the Lord.

Will You?

Will you come unto Jesus Christ in a deeper way than ever before-by ending your idolatry towards men and putting GOD above all things? (Exodus 20:3-5)

Will you remain loyal to Jesus Christ, Scripture, and the teachings of Joseph Smith, even when the LDS Church does not? (Acts 5:26-29)

Will you study church history and realize that what you have been taught about “keys” and “authority“ is inaccurate and empty? (D&C 124:28, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Moroni 6:9)

Are you willing to compare what the Lord teaches in His Holy Word and receive the truth about our latter-day situation? (Mormon 8:35-41, Isaiah 28, 2 Nephi 28, D&C 86:1-4,)

Today every Latter Day Saint must choose: truth or tradition, God or man, Zion or Babylon?

On our face before the Lord

Perhaps instead of raising our hand to support a particular man, we should be falling down before the Lord, pleading with Him that He will forgive us of our many sins. (Alma 38:14).

The Mormon mainstream will soon sustain Elder Nelson as a prophet, seer, and revelator, trusting in him to know the way. If you choose to support this, you will be fulfilling all of the assumptions, habits, and false traditions each of us have been taught since the days of Brigham Young.

But within the church there are also thousands of Saints having a hard time doing this, because in their souls they know something just isn’t right. And it is to YOU, to whom we make this plea:

Right now, reading this letter, you could listen to that part of you that already knows what is true. You could make the painful and necessary step of casting off the false traditions you have been handed, and instead come into the peace of pleasing Jesus Christ. You could individually choose to preserve the Restoration.

Let us all fall before the Mighty Christ and trust our salvation to no man! (John 14:6)
"Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor." (D&C 88:81)
The choice is real. This warning is not a deception.


261 comments:

1 – 200 of 261   Newer›   Newest»
Rhone said...

Great letter. I desire all to receive it and choose this day whom they will serve.


Rock, one of the links is pointing to the wrong scripture:

Will you study church history and realize that what you have been taught about “keys” and “authority“ is inaccurate and empty? (D&C 124:28, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Moroni 6:9)

The D&C 124 reference is pointing to the previous reference to Acts.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for catching that mistake, Rhone. It's now fixed. That was my fault. Although the author provided the parenthetical citations, I'm the dolt who went through afterwards and provided the links.

Daren said...

Rock, I love your blog, but it's possible that some active LDS members may be turned off by it before they even bother to read the letter. Is there any way to share the letter (like in PDF format) without connecting it with your blog?

Daren said...

Here is a PDF version of the letter, in case anyone else wants to share it that way.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x1cbkru9ohl6hnd/?raw=1

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for making that available, Daren. Any method available is much desired.

Radio Free Mormon said...

Just say No!

If you love me, keep my commandments said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
If you love me, keep my commandments said...

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love." John 15:10

1) Therefore, it is possible not to abide in His love. Otherwise, abiding in His love as a benefit of keeping the commandments would be completely pointless.

2) Therefore, if you do not abide in His love (which is entirely possible by 1 above), then you surely did not keep His commandments.


“If a man love me, [then] he will keep my words: and my Father will love him.” John 14:23

1) Therefore, it is possible for the Father to not love somebody. Otherwise, saying that "my Father will love him" is entirely pointless and illogical if it's the case that the Father loves everybody without condition.

2) Therefore, somebody who keeps Jesus' words but whom is not loved by the Father, does not love Jesus. And, somebody who does not keep Jesus' words, does not love Jesus. These are just basic logical consequences of the scripture.


There is really no denying the condition nature of God's love. It's blatantly written in the scriptures. Therefore, the whole premise of this "urgent letter" is void.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
If you love me, keep my commandments said...

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love." John 15:10

How are these plain words recorded by John about conditional love wrong here?


“If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you.” D&C 95:12

How are these plain words recorded by Joseph Smith about conditional love wrong here?


“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him.” John 14:23

How are these plain words about conditional love wrong here?



“I love them that love me; and those that seek me … shall find me.” Proverbs 8:17

Again, a condition. Note that it does not say, "I love them. Period." It says "I love them that love me." Why is there the clear distinction to "them who love me" if His love is unconditional?


The Lord “loveth those who will have him to be their God.” 1 Nephi 17:40

Yet again, another distinction (same as before) "those who will have him to be their God". Did Nephi get it wrong too?



“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21

Again and again in the scriptures, God's love is expressed as condition.



What again, is the problem with Pres. Nelson's talk?

matt lohrke said...

If you love me:

Love: "In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification." (Webster's 1828)

God is pleased and regards with affection all those who obey his commandments. He still has unconditional love for all (Agape), for He gave his only begotten son. However, he favors and blesses those who love Him and do His will.

I strive to love all mankind, yet I prefer to spend time with those who reciprocate kindnesses.

***

Russell Nelson was ordained and set apart as president of the church without a sustaining vote of the Body of Christ.

Therefore, the premise of his presidency is void.

Best.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

matt:

You are just splitting hairs then regarding conditional love since Pres. Nelson said as much in his talk. That's hardly a basis for getting bent out of shape about him. There must be something else behind the disdain for him. What's the real reason?

You say "Russell Nelson was ordained and set apart as president of the church without a sustaining vote of the Body of Christ."

Yet the members did and do sustain him. In my stake, for example, there was not a single dissenting vote. You cannot say he did not get a sustaining vote. You can argue about the timing and sequence of the vote and the ordination, but not that he was/is sustained.

Rebecca Brent said...

To not receive the Love of Christ or the Father does not mean they won't love us anymore. It means we will not be able to FEEL or know of their love for us or have a relationship with them. Their love will not be able to abide in us because by our actions, we have rejected them.

It is through divine love (charity) that we have the potential to progress and become one with Christ. HIS charity, which He will bestow upon us if we seek Him. By rejecting Him or not heeding Him we cut ourselves off from His love but it doesn't mean He or the Father stops loving us. We just won't be able to benefit from their love anymore because of our actions. Therefore, those who love Him and keep His commandments will be blessed by not only feeling the love of Christ for them, but the Savior's love (charity) for all men will abide in us as well.

The blessing is that we will know and feel the Savior's and our Father's love, and with that comes a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with them! This is what is meant by the Lord "loveth those who will have Him to be their God", to be loved by them means they will abide in us and we will know them.




matt lohrke said...

I'm not bent out of shape at all. If I gave that impression, please accept my apology.

"No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church."

We were not given a chance to vote before he was ordained to the office of president. This is a violation of procedure.

Therefore, his presidency is void.

Godspeed.


Rebecca Brent said...

(Sorry I meant to include this):

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, AND WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM.

this is the love ad the gift we are cutting ousrselves off from. Gods love FOR us in not conditional. The blessings of His love are.

Daren said...

1 John 4:8: "He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love."

24 And lastly, but not less important to the exercise of faith in God, is the idea that he is love; for with all the other excellencies in his character, without this one to influence them, they could not have such powerful dominion over the minds of men; but when the idea is planted in the mind that he is love, who cannot see the just ground that men of every nation, kindred and tongue, have to exercise faith in God so as to obtain eternal life?
25 From the above description of the character of the Deity which is given him in the revelations, to men, there is a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him among every people, nation and kindred, from age to age, and from generation to generation.

Question 19: Is it not equally as necessary that man should have an idea that God changes not, neither is there variableness with him, in order to exercise faith in him unto life and salvation ?

It is; because without this, he would not know how soon the mercy of God might change into cruelty, his long suffering into rashness, his love into hatred, and in consequence of which doubt, man would be incapable of exercising faith in him, but having the idea that he is unchangeable, man can have faith in him continually, believing that what he was yesterday he is to day, and will be forever. (3:21) (from Lectures on Faith chapter 3)

Simply put, God is love. If He were ever not love, then He would not be God. If men believe that God loves us one moment and does not love us the next, or that he loves some of us but not others, then it would be impossible to exercise faith in Him.

Russell M. Nelson's teaching is false doctrine because any person who believes it would be prevented from exercising saving faith, and therefore would be damned.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Daren,

God is love = a metaphor. It's not literal. God is obviously a Being with lots of great attributes, including having perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal love. But His love is not unconditional. The scriptures make that plainly clear.


Nowhere in scripture, not even once, does it say that God's love is unconditional. You cannot find the word "unconditional" as a description of God's love. In contrast, there are countless verses that say directly or indirectly that it is conditional, and that specify what those conditions are.

Pres. Nelson teaches the truth of the scriptures on this point in his talk. There is nothing in there worth raising an alarm about.

Saying to oneself that "I have faith in God because God loves me no matter what I do" is to adhere to a false doctrine. It's an invitation to disregard His commandments. It's an invitation to tolerate sin and wickedness. One can just excuse it all away by saying, "no big deal, God loves me anyways, so I will just do whatever I please." False. God loves those who love Him and those who strive to keep His commandments. That's what He says, so that's how it is.

Daren said...

The scriptures DO speak of God's unconditional love, though in different language.

"And behold, it is written also that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy, but behold, I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you that ye may be the children of your Father who is in Heaven, for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good." (3 Nephi 12:44-45)

The Lord's sermon on the mount is a description of himself. He invites us to be perfect by doing these things. Therefore, He loves his enemies and causes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good (without condition).

"45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." (Moroni 7:45-47)

This is likewise a description of the type of pure love that Christ (and the Father) possess. If they did not possess this love, then they would be nothing. If they did not personify love at all times, they would cease to be Gods. The phrase "God is love" is more than just a metaphor. He is the personification of love. There is no degree of love that God does not possess.

"We ask, then, where is the prototype? or where is the saved being? We conclude as to the answer of this question there will be no dispute among those who believe the bible, that it is Christ: all will agree in this that he is the prototype or standard of salvation, or in other words, that he is a saved being. And if we should continue our interrogation, and ask how it is that he is saved, the answer would be, because he is a just and holy being; and if he were any thing different from what he is he would not be saved; for his salvation depends on his being precisely what he is and nothing else; for if it were possible for him to change in the least degree, so sure he would fail of salvation and lose all his dominion, power, authority and glory, which constitutes salvation; for salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses, and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him..." (Lectures on Faith 7:9)

It is one thing to be loved by God, and another to be favored by or pleasing to God. It is important not to conflate the two.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Rebecca Brent said...

If what Pres Nelson is saying is true and God's love is conditional, then what does he feel for us instead of love? How can He stop loving us without feeling something else for us? What replaces the love? Does He just LIKE us now? Did Jesus stop loving the soldiers who crucified Him? Or the Pharisees, He called them vipers, does that mean He didn't love them?

How could Christ perform the atonement and attain the resurrection with ANY other motive or power in him besides love? Without Charity, THE PURE LOVE OF CHRIST, we are nothing, which means without pure love He would be nothing too. Did He not teach to LOVE EVERYONE, EVEN THOSE WHO HATE YOU AND DESPITEFULLY USE YOU? But He who COMMANDS us to be like Him, who is PERFECT, can stop loving those who hate Him? Is this not hypocritical? How can anyone justify or WANT to justify such a God as this? Do we, who are weak and evil, stop loving our children because they piss us off?

Jesus is perfect like His Father is perfect, and He is teaching us how to be like them. The prophets in the scriptures, including Joseph are telling us that to be loved by them is to feel of their love for us and gain a personal relationship with them. This is how we become like them, we cannot become or follow someone we don't know!

And I believe a true prophet would know the meaning of these scriptures and not distort their teaching, because he would have experienced this love and would be able to testify to it as well. Just as Joseph did. We are all to seek after this LOVE, this RELATIONSHIP with them.

This is how one is favored or loved by God. When the scriptures say that God will love you, it is means He is able to SHOW YOU this love by blessing you because of your faithfulness.

I'm sorry I just can't understand how a "prophet" would want to teach it as something else. The whole point of this plea for every Latter-day Saint is ask us to stop trying to justify and rationalize what we know deep down to be wrong! Our fear over this "authority" card is causing many to lose understanding of what the true message of the gospel is! The gospel is not the church or its leaders and we need to seek for truth in everything that comes from them. Not to blindly accept everything they say as truth. That is not agency or faith. It is submitting our will to men, not God. The Lord expects us to test every message delivered by those who claim to be His messengers. That is the only way to prevent idol worship and from following men, or the "arm of flesh."
As members we have spent too much time defending the history of the church, or what the Brethren have done that we have become blind to what truth and light is. The truth is simple and should NEVER HAVE TO BE JUSTIFIED.

I spent so much energy trying to justify and rationalize what these men have done or said, that the idea of not believing their authority was devastating to me. It has been a journey to the light for me, one that has taught me that the first sign that something is not true is when I feel like I have to justify or defend it. "For perfect love casteth out all fear." To rationalize and defend is fear driven. Truth is love and you never need to justify that.

God will fight His own battles. We only need to seek and teach His truth, which are His words from His scriptures, and let Him gather in His sheep.

Mormon's warning to those who teach incorrect doctrine about baptism can be applied to all corrupt teachings:
"Wo be unto him that shall pervert the ways of the Lord in this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold I speak with boldness, having authority from God and I fear not what man can do, for perfect love casteth out all fear. And I am filled with charity which is everlasting love. Wherefore I love all children with a perfect love, and they are all alike and par takers of salvation. For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being. But he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity."

matt lohrke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
matt lohrke said...

IYLMKMC - I disagree that "God is Love = metaphor." Everything He does is motivated by love. It's his modus operandi. Because of love he condescended. Because of love, he wrought the atonement. Because of love he laid down his life that all might return to him. The two great commandments are love God and your neighbor. Love, love, love... As Daren correctly stated, without love he is not God.

Ultimately its up to us whether or not we abide in that love, as it exists whether or not choose to partake of it. I think Russell was simply trying to state the importance of following God's commandments and unnecessarily brought "unconditional love" into the picture.

And while it's true the phrase "unconditional love" doesn't appear in the scripture, neither do the phrases "follow the prophet," "eternal family," "eternal marriage," and a whole slew of contemporary LDS doctrines.

I've now read in a couple of places that Correlation Committee disallows the phrase "unconditional love" in Church materials. An interesting thing, if true.

Good Will said...

Well said, Rebecca Bent. I agree with you (and with "If you love me, keep my commandments").

I read Russell M. Nelson's talk and found little, if anything, to quibble about. (His claim that we must satisfy certain church or temple "covenants" in order to be exalted gave me pause, but this is hardly an "argument" to depose RMN or oppose his leadership.)

An argument COULD be made, but THIS ISN'T IT!

This is the FIRST Pure Mormonism post I have read which, IMO, lacks merit.

Zebedee said...

Unfortunately Nelson's comments are not quite correct.

He says: "“While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional.” And again, “Understanding that divine love and blessings are not truly unconditional can defend us against common fallacies…”

I see what he is trying to communicate on the surface, but messages like this muddy the waters and can become false traditions in time, especially when imperfect mortals feel we can never do enough to be saved. This is more a "saved by works" precept, which we as a Church are guilty of promoting.

The truth is, it is His love (aka grace) that saves us. We love Him, because He first loved us. He demonstrated His love by the atonement. Our love to Him is shown by keeping His commandments, which is really loving God and our fellow men in purity. Love is a circular thing. Like eternity itself.

God's love is always unconditional. His blessings, however, are conditional. We shouldn't confuse the two.



Underdog2 said...

I wrote this last night and then it got accidentally deleted. I hate when that happens! Here's my attempt at recreation.

Nelson's article is nefariously sophistic because it conflates two things: God's love and God's blessings. God's love for all His children is unconditional and His unchanging love for us never should be questioned, while blessings are indeed conditional because they're predicated upon obedience to law.

The evidence of Nelson's sophistry is here: "The word ["unconditional"] does not appear in the scriptures. On the other hand, many verses affirm that the higher levels of love the Father and the Son feel for each of us—and certain divine blessings stemming from that love—are conditional." He deliberately chooses the word "and" to conflate the two independent ideas.

One who practices sophistry uses fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving. Combining two ideas into one is a popular method of deceit. One idea is true and EVERYBODY knows it (which makes conflation effective), but the person not paying close attention may fail to detect that the second idea is false, and fall prey to the fallacy that BOTH are true. Was Nelson acting like a lawyer to cleverly deceive, or just unwittingly offering an illogical conclusion?

It is beyond question that "certain divine blessings" are conditional. But to affirm that the love of God is conditional is particularly pernicious because it plants the idea that "God may not love me." Holy cow! Really? This is a potential thought that Nelson wants to risk running through a young person's mind, or anybody's mind, as they strive to have faith in God? Nelson occupies a very high place in the Church, and with great influence comes great responsibility. Does he really want members of the flock doubting God loves them? A wolf in sheep's clothing would.

Could he be wolf? To me, it really seems like an impossible "mistake" for someone of his stature and intellect to make, unless he's a wolf or a hireling. A wolf would deceive. A hireling really wouldn't care about the flock, so could be prone to errors (John 10:12-13).

We are engaged in a battle against evil and falsehoods. We wrestle against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Nelson is in a very high place.

His deception is crafty (DC 123:12). He asks, "Does this mean the Lord does not love the sinner? Of course not. Divine love is infinite and universal. The Savior loves both saints and sinners." He teaches the truth here, but then makes the heretical statement that "divine love...cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional."

Each of the seven scriptures Nelson quotes can be easily interpreted as us withdrawing ourselves from God's love, not the other way. Rebecca Brent said it well, "To not receive the Love of Christ or the Father does not mean they won't love us anymore. It means we will not be able to FEEL or know of their love for us or have a relationship with them. Their love will not be able to abide in us because by our actions, we have rejected them." The principle of how we grow in God's love was expressed by James 4:8: "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." Likewise, light and truth leave us when we sin.

It's wicked to teach the notion that God's love is conditional. The word "conditional" is open to interpretation, and therefore one such as Nelson should take painstaking care to steer clear of the idea that God might not love somebody because His love is "conditional". That's beyond inappropriate. It's truly dangerous. It's destructive to one's faith in God. In order to have faith, we must understand a correct understanding of His attributes (LoF), and Nelson teaches a false attribute of God, which is an attack on faith in Christ!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If You Love Me, etc., etc.,

I'm always entertained when I see you weigh in on this forum, for three reasons:

First, you remind me of myself and my own blind allegiance which I held toward Church "authorities" my entire life up to the time I was truly converted in February of 2007.

Second, you have an amusing way of straying off point, citing scriptures that do not apply to the argument you're trying to make.

And third, you have chosen a username that consistently contradicts what you appear to stand for.

Case in point: I presume you have chosen "If you love me, keep my commandments" as your handle because you place primary emphasis on that statement of the Lord's. Yet you are quick to jettison Jesus whenever His commandments do not sit well with your personal prejudices. You cite your own experience in your ward where Russell Nelson was sustained AFTER he was ordained by his brethren in the quorum, as if that action by some members supersedes the commandment Jesus gave that expressly prohibits that activity.

For the umpteenth time, here is what the Lord said about keeping His commandments:

"Ye shall see that my law is kept. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is NOT my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.” (D&C 41:4-5)

And what is the rule regarding ordinations to office in the church?

"NO PERSON is to be ordained TO ANY OFFICE in this church without the vote of that church."

That means the vote comes BEFORE the ordination, not after. Any straying from that rule constitutes disobedience.

I know I shouldn't have to belabor this, If You Love Me Etcetera, Etcetera. After all: Matt, Rebecca, Daren, Zebedee and Underdog have all done smashing jobs of assisting you in understanding what the scriptures you cited actually mean. Still, I feel to add to their comments myself, since you insist that the phrase "God is Love" is a mere metaphor, and that the term "unconditional love" does not appear in scripture.

All I can tell you regarding the first is this: if you believe love is merely one attribute among many that God possesses, I'm afraid that you, my friend, have not even BEGUN to understand who and what God is. God is quite literally love, in person and in attribute, in a manner that is admittedly incomprehensible to us lowly earthlings. So I won't beat you up for not understanding the concept -who truly does? But I assure you, God being the very personification of love IS an ineffable cosmic reality.

As for the term "unconditional love" not appearing in the bible, you appear to suffer under the same misconception Russell Nelson does in thinking the bible was handed down to us fully formed in English.

As Matt has already pointed out above, unconditional love is encapsulated in the Greek word "agape" which can be found all over the New Testament, to differentiate it from another type of love, "Phileos" (brotherly love, as the love of one man to another) which also appears quite frequently. "Charity" is also a word that has been translated into English from the Greek word for love. It appears 29 times, and guess what it means? "To love without conditions," "to love others in spite of their weaknesses and shortcomings," having benevolent will toward all mankind."

You know, CHRISTLIKE love.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If You Love Me Etc., Etc., (Continued)

You'll recall that Jesus was trying to get Peter to admit to having unconditional love for Him.

"Peter, do you have agape toward me?"
To which Peter replied, "Lord, you KNOW I love you like a brother!"

In Peter's defense that was probably the highest form of love Peter was capable of at the time, the highest compliment he could pay his closest friend, Jesus -to love him like he was his own brother. In the early Greek translations, the word Peter used is rendered as "phileos."

But Jesus wanted Peter to discover a deeper form of love, one that had no conditions. So He repeated the question:

"Peter, do you love me unconditionally?"

And Peter, wanting Jesus to understand that he loved Him in the most powerful way he was capable of expressing, replied again, "Lord, you KNOW I love you like a brother!"

Then Jesus asked the question again, this time on Peter's level, using the word Peter had used, "Phileos." Peter, do you love me like a brother?

"That's what I've been trying to tell you!" Peter must have answered with some exasperation.

Of course, after Jesus' resurrection, Peter did indeed come to know the meaning of agape, to love his fellow man unconditionally as Jesus loved him. But it was quite a journey for Peter to get from phileos love to agape love.

I like how David Nelmes describes agape love, the love God has for ALL of His children:

"Agape love is unconditional love that is always giving and impossible to take or be a taker. It devotes total commitment to seek your highest best no matter how anyone may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not. This is the original and only true form of love."

THE HIGHEST FORM OF LOVE, the form of love that is TOTALLY SELFLESS, that makes you want to seek your HIGHEST BEST, the kind that was ORIGINAL WITH GOD, and the reason why we are COMMANDED to emulate Him. Christlike love; the love Jesus Christ has for ALL of us, whether we are deserving of it or not. Because, of course, none of us truly is.

Your attempt to argue that those describing God's unconditional love are suggesting God loves them no matter what they do" is a straw man argument. No one here has taken that position nor advocated for what you think it means, or as you put it, "it's an invitation to disregard His commandments. It's an invitation to tolerate sin and wickedness. One can just excuse it all away by saying, 'no big deal, God loves me anyways, so I will just do whatever I please.' No one besides you think it means anything like that.

You present scriptures that say God loves those who love Him and those who strive to keep His commandments as if it says God loves ONLY those who love him and ONLY those who strive to keep His commandments.

As Rebecca explained, there's a difference between God loving his children unconditionally and God "abiding" with certain of His children forever. You cite the Lord saying "If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you” as if you don't have the faintest idea what the word "continue" means. You might want to review Rebecca's explanation at 8:05 above if you need help understanding that God can both love us AND be upset with us when we fail to keep His commandments. Of course God wants us to reciprocate His love. But He has the infinite patience to wait His children out in order to provide them with every opportunity to repent.

(Continued Below)


Alan Rock Waterman said...

If You Love Me Etc., Etc.,

I encourage you to get yourself a dictionary and look up the words "abide" and "continue." And read your scriptures more closely to make sure they say exactly what you think they are saying.

If you've ever had a wayward child as I have, you'll have the opportunity to understand the tiniest bit of what God's unconditional love means. And God will provide you with a remarkable teaching opportunity. Although Connie and I were often angry (like God gets) and running out of patience (like God often does), we never stopped loving our daughter (same as God never did), even when she repeatedly robbed us, cursed us, and rejected us.

God knows something about His children that Connie and I only began to fathom after years of being hated and rejected: eventually, AS LONG AS YOUR LOVE NEVER WAVERS, sometimes that wayward child could return in your lifetime.

Here's something Amy admitted to us years later when she repented and returned as an adult, and it has meant more to us than anything else: She told us it was primarily because we never stopped loving her and never let up, that she eventually came to realize that our unconditional love for her was stronger than any influence pulling her in the other direction. Had it not been for our resolve to follow the Savior's example to love her unconditionally, had we instead turned our backs on her until she decided to straighten up and begin obeying our commandments...well, there's a real good chance we may have lost her forever. As things stand now, she is a new person, and we are indescribably proud of her.

What worked for us with our daughter is the same thing that works for God with His wayward children: Unconditional love, the most powerful force in the universe.

If I can offer you a bit of advice, If You Love Me etcetera, etcetera, it would be this: Don't look to Russell M. Nelson to provide you with truth. He doesn't traffic in truth.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Good Will,

If you didn't find this post to your liking, why don't you take a look at some of the others on this blog?

I'm betting you'll find several here that you'll like even less!

matt lohrke said...

Perhaps pertinent this topic, or not, is something that stuck me profoundly when reading the BOM with new eyes. The fruit of true conversion to Jesus is unconditional love and concern for our fellow humans. You see it over and over and over. Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Alma the younger, the sons of Mosiah, Mormon, Moroni. Every last one of them. The first thought after their witness or repentance was the welfare of others. None could bear the thought of the brothers and sisters falling into darkness. They dedicated their lives to spreading the Good News of the Gospel. Heck, the entire BOM is a giant love letter to the Lamanites, so that they would know that they are of the House of Jacob, that they aren't forgotten, and that they are loved (they have a great work to do!). It's the primary reason the Mormon compiled the record. Amazing.

I think our love for others may be pretty good gauge of our personal conversion.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Dear Alan Rock Waterman:

I don't have blind allegiance as you allege. Rather, I'm inclined to give a person the benefit of the doubt unless and until I have sufficient cause to the contrary. I believe that is fair and I apply that to virtually anybody.

It's arguable that the verse "no person is to be ordained to any office in this church without the vote of that church" requires that the vote precede the ordination. It could just as easily be understood as "every ordination of any kind must be accompanied by a vote of the church." I don't see the words "before" or "precede" anywhere in that verse. Pres. Nelson's ordination was indeed accompanied by a vote of the church---a vote that was scheduled before the ordination took place, by the way. If there were no vote at all, then I think you'd have a major point to raise here and I would agree strongly. As it stands, it's a matter of difference of opinion on what is required. You interpret the word "without" as "before." I see it differently.

Likewise, the scriptures I cite might seem unrelated, to you, but they are related, to me, based on my study and my understanding of things.

You are correct that I chose my username because I value this scripture very highly. A lot of Christians like to think that a mere utterance “I believe in Jesus” is all they have to do and they are saved. Of course, belief is much more than uttered words. Real belief alters behavior. Real belief in Jesus manifests by striving to keep His commandments. Otherwise, it’s just pretend belief. It’s not the keeping the commandments that saves, it’s the true belief in Jesus that saves. And the true belief in Jesus manifests as loving Him and thereby keeping His commandments.

You are taking a metaphor literally, in my opinion. It's easy to see how that goes too far and leads to absurdities. For example, take 1 John 1:5: "...God is light..." Is God literally light? As in, a collection of photons? Of course not. But if you insist that He is literally light, then your insistence that He is also literally love, means that light=love. So, love is just a bunch of photons after all? Of course not. But if you still insist that He is literally light, then you have to grapple with Genesis 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Did God create Himself there when He created light? Of course not. God is not literally light. But, light is a great metaphor to describe one of His greatness attributes. At some point you have to depart from the literal and understand things at a deeper level. Metaphors offer such contemplation.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

(continued...)

Your responses to the specific scriptures I cite is: (1) allege irrelevance; (2) appeal to translation problems with the Bible; and (3) note the technical absence of the qualifier “only” in the conditional phrases. Let’s look at sample verse again and see if your objections make sense.

“And he loveth those who will have him to be their God” (1 Nephi 17:40).

Why add the clause “who will have him to be their God”? If your assertion is correct, then this verse should be replaced by the much plainer “And he loveth everyone.”

(1) relevance: This verse is clearly talking about a specific group of people whom God loves. Highly relevant to the discussion.

(2) translation: The Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, so, unless you believe Nephi made an error or Mormon made a transcription error copying Nephi’s words, we should be able to take the translation as correct. A different word could have been used here if it were meant to convey something else.

(3) “only”: Indeed, the verse does not say “And he loveth only those who will have him to be their God.” However, let’s read a little further on. Nephi was explaining things to his rotten older brothers. “Behold, my soul is rent with anguish because of you, and my heart is pained; I fear lest ye shall be cast off forever.” Why would Nephi fear his brothers would be cast off forever? Forever! Does unconditional love mean casting somebody off forever? ---> forever <--- Clearly, his older brothers would not have God to be their God. Miracles, angels, all right before their eyes, and they still would not have God to be their God. And Nephi feared they would be cut off forever. I believe Nephi meant “only”. It would not make much sense to add the condition “those who will have him to be their God” when it’s a lot plainer to just say “God loveth everyone, even you my older brothers, no matter what evil you do to me or others.” But, he didn’t say that. He didn’t even come close to saying that. In fact, it’s essentially the opposite of what he was saying.

I appreciate your personal challenges with a wayward child. That was no doubt a great heartache. I’m sure Lehi had anguish about his older sons’ rebellion too. But, there was also the fear that God would cut them off forever.

So, there remains the fact that a perfectly loving, all-powerful God will not bring all his children home. It is in this sense that His love has its limits and its conditions. It is in this sense that Nephi feared for his older brothers. It is in this sense, that understand Pres. Nelson is calling God's love conditional. God has a perfect, universal love, but it will not get every wayward child back home. Thus, it is conditional.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Also take a look at Alma 14:10-11. Amulek asks Alma for them to stretch forth their hands and stop the people from being burned. Alma tells him that the Spirit stops him from doing it because

"he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day."

God allowed this to happen so that He could justly destroy the evil doers and condemn them at judgement day. That sounds to me like they were firmly outside of “God’s love”.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Also, take a look at Joseph Smith's words from his letter to Church members in Caldwell County, Missouri, Dec. 16, 1838, Liberty Jail, Liberty, Missouri:

"Renegade “Mormon” dissenters are running through the world and spreading various foul and libelous reports against us, thinking thereby to gain the friendship of the world, because they know that we are not of the world, and that the world hates us; therefore they [the world] make a tool of these fellows [the dissenters], and by them do all the injury they can, and after that they hate them all the worse then they do us, because they find them to be base traitors and sycophants.

Such characters God hates; we cannot love them. The world hates them, and we sometimes think that the devil ought to be ashamed of them."

Joseph Smith is somebody I trust had a good idea of the nature of God's love. Moreover, he could have corrected it in the 6 years afterwards if it had been written in error.

bom pogp said...

I have read many of these posts and it is in circular motion.
....... John 13.........
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth [Jn 14-26] [Moroni 10-5]; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
>>>> I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. <<<<
MUCH confusion in here, Christ's doctrine is simple and easy, believe in him, repent of your sins be baptized in his name and endure to the end all the while keeping his commandments and loving your neighbor's and earning his love and the love of the Father in the process and the spirit will guide you safely back to his face.

If you do NOT believe or trust in the GA'S, don't,YOU have that right. Do as he Christ asked the [3rd] Nephites, go to your homes and ask the Father in MY name whether I have spoken to you is the truth and I'LL see you back here same time tomorrow.

But as another commented here, where will you go and to whom will you follow, knowing the world at large is in error and wrong? ONLY one place and that is Christ. Though the church maybe corrupt[ed] and in error, I believe God will not abandon us but by his spirit will he guide us till "ANOTHER" shall come and the mighty one shall appear and put us in order or the Gentiles will lose the gospel and THEN it will be the reign of the Jews once more..

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Yikes, If You Love Me etcetera, I barely know how to respond to such blatant, deliberate, stiffnecked assertions of certitude.

I count nine separate instances on this page where commenters (not counting myself) have kindly, gently, and patiently explained to you what is meant by God's "unconditional love" and how that love is THE essential characteristic of God. Yet after all those attempts to walk you through the process, you are still unable to grasp the concept. You insist that for God to have unconditional love for His children, it would prohibit Him from ultimately exercising judgment against those who refuse to repent. I seriously don't know what else any of us can say to reach you. To be humble means to be teachable, and I'm beginning to wonder if you CAN be reached through reason, logic, or even simple facts.

God indeed IS love, and He is also light. Literally. Ask Joseph Smith if he was overcome by light surrounding God, or if the light emanated FROM God's person.

The problem with trying to explain such concepts as God's love and light to someone who sees them as mere appurtenances to an exalted being rather than as essential qualities OF that being, is that it's barely possible to conceive of such things except with spiritual eyes. Read section 93 of the D&C and try to describe what is being related using only man's limited understanding. You can't. How do we "explain" what it means to be "clothed in glory"? What IS glory? Is it just some kind of poetic-sounding descriptive term, or does it actually define something? What is intelligence? Well, we're told it is truth and light, but what do those words mean on the cosmic scale in which they are to be understood?

You see how one can engage in endless theological debates and never come to an understanding UNLESS he has been bathed in the baptism of fire and made to understand these concepts with his spiritual eyes.

I don't even know how to think about your interpretation of an ordination to office somehow being okay months prior to the vote taking place, when the scriptures are very clear that the person cannot be ordained WITHOUT the vote of the church.

Good gracious, man! You can read, can't you? You do understand that "the church" means the whole membership, do you not? (See D&C 10:67.) And you can grasp the simple concept, can you not, that the words "without the vote of the church" in the context of that sentence means "without the vote of the members having taken place before the ordination"?

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If You Love Me etc., (Continued)

Need I remind you that there is nothing in scripture either requiring or inviting the membership to "sustain" any officer? The widespread use of that word in the Church today is a relatively recent adoption. The rule in scripture is that the members are to "vote," and if one needs further clarification, he can turn over to section 124 and note it means choosing to approve or disapprove.

When you "sustain" someone, you are demonstrating your support for someone who has already, PREVIOUSLY been put into office. An example of the use of that word in the D&C (and the only use of it as far as I can tell) is how it is used in section 134 to indicate one's support of existing governments (as long as those governments are protective of the people's inherent rights). I can't find any other use of the word "sustain" in modern scripture. It certainly is not synonymous with electing a man to office, whether that office is secular or ecclesiastical.

So I'll give you that. If the only thing required of the members is to SUSTAIN a man in his office, then it's fine that the members of your ward sustained Nelson after he was ordained. But if the requirement is to VOTE (and that indeed is the scriptural requirement)
then that vote has to occur BEFORE the man takes office. I stand in slack-jawed amazement that you would try to convince me those words could be interpreted any other way.

If you believe an ordination can take place BEFORE an election, then I wonder if you would explain to me why Brigham Young felt it necessary to keep Wilford Woodruff awake for two days in order to wear down Woodruff's resolve sufficiently to get Woodruff to go before the congregation and nominate him (Brigham) to be president of the church. (Woodruff said he believed it would take a revelation to do that, but Brigham argued all that was necessary was a vote of the people.)

Once Woodruff was persuaded to nominate Brigham Young as president of the church, an election was called where the members voted to ELECT Brigham Young president.

So I would ask you to further explain why it was that Brigham insisted that the church president and his counselors needed no setting apart or ordination even AFTER they were elected. All that was necessary, in his view, was an election by vote of the congregation.

Fine. I disagree with Brigham, of course, but only because he wanted to be president of the church. Had Brigham wanted to be elected president over any other body, say the local Kiwanis Club, it's likely an election would be all it would take.

But Brigham wanted to be elected president of the church of Jesus Christ, and I maintain that the order of procedure would have been that FIRST Brigham should have been appointed by the lord through revelation (which he was not) Then AFTER that appointment there could be an election called so the members could approve or disapprove of his appointment (which he did). Finally, after those two requirements were met, Brigham would have to be set apart or ordained to the office by those authorized to do so. (Which he was not.)

News Flash: Brigham knew that no one alive in the church at that time had authority to ordain him.

If You Love Me Etcetera, Etcetera; My friend. Let me put this as kindly and as gently and as patiently as I know how:

You are entitled to your opinion in these matters. No one is going to twit you over your personal beliefs; you are welcome to them. But if you are going to come onto this forum again and again insisting that thousands of other readers are dead wrong, many of whom have gone to the trouble of becoming better informed on questions of theology and church history than you have, then you might want to come prepared to argue using facts and evidence.

Abram Hatch said...

God’s love has to be unconditional. He loves Russell Nelson, right?

Dave P. said...

He does, but that doesn't mean He gives Nelson a free pass to corrupt His Word and church. Like Hinckley and Monson, Nelson has a limited window of opportunity to repent of, confess, and forsake the false doctrines he's been teaching.

God's love is tough love. Remember the promise to the Nephites that they'd be left alone unless they fell into sin? Having their enemies attack them was a reminder to repent while they still could.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Dear Alan Rock Waterman:

You urge me to "come prepared to argue using facts and evidence." Yet, I have. I have provided numerous scriptures and historical references. I have carefully outlined my reasoning and responded to each of your objections, point by point. (By the way, I have not impugned yours or anybody else's character in the process. I would appreciate the same courtesy.)

Regarding your claim that I "insist that for God to have unconditional love for His children, it would prohibit Him from ultimately exercising judgment against those who refuse to repent" and that I cannot "be reached through reason, logic, or even simple facts." I have yet to read a response from you or anybody else that explains how cutting someone off forever is compatible with unconditional love for them. Or how permitting the innocent to be burned alive in order to be able to justly condemn the perpetrators to destruction is compatible with love for the perpetrators---or worse, equivalent love for the perpetrators as the love for the victims or for His Son. Or how Joseph Smith's description of "such characters God hates" is compatible. Perhaps you or others could address the specific points I have raised and provide a coherent explanation instead of just saying how terrible you think I must be.

Regarding the timing of the ordination vote, you merely assert that "without" must mean "before." The scripture does not say that. There is no translation error here to appeal to. The word is "without." Webster's 1828 dictionary does not support "before" as a synonym for "without."

Think about the case of baptism. The scriptures teach us that we must (1) believe in Christ, (2) repent, and (3) be baptized to be saved. Suppose somebody gets baptized but doesn't believe in Christ or has not repented. Suppose that afterward he or she develops a deep-seated belief in Christ and sincerely repents. Is the baptism of force in this case? Will this hypothetical individual receive the Holy Ghost in this case? How critical is the order of steps as long as all the steps are completed? Now apply consistently to Pres. Nelson's ordination and vote.

Regarding the matter of "vote" versus "sustain," nobody is elected to any office in the church. They are merely sustained or not. The Lord does the calling (electing) to office, not the members. Indeed, it's not the local Kiwanis Club. Every member of the first presidency and the quorum of the 12 is presented before the body of the church for sustaining vote at every general conference. The opportunity to oppose is given again and again and again. Pres. Nelson has been sustained as an apostle every six months for over 30 years. Those opposed have had their say and it has been virtually unanimous again and again. It seems to me you are straining at a gnat to disregard those decades of steady, repeated, sustaining votes as an apostle and later as president of the quorum of the 12, with every case an opportunity for the church to oppose, but to focus on the timing of the latest vote and ordination within the same body of apostles.

Compare to D&C 42:11: "Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church." Pres. Nelson's case meets this criteria.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Perfect example, Abram Hatch! And Dave P had a perfect response.
No one gets a free pass. Eventually there IS the judgment. That is inescapable.

Here is the sad vision received by someone I know regarding Thomas Monson immediately after his departure (and yes, I believe this to be a true vision):

"The Spirit told me when I learned the news last night of Thomas S. Monson's passing that he was at that moment learning the meaning of pain. After 24 hours of straight torture, he is now beginning to get a glimpse of what everlasting torment is all about. When it comes to the wolves, Jesus said they'd have been better off never being born in the first place. Had they chosen Lucifer's plan and become demons instead of humans, at least then they wouldn't have to suffer everlasting torment for many centuries prior to the judgment of the great day. Jesus also said some torments in hell are worse than others. They save their most wretched torments for the wolves, and especially for the wolves in sheep's clothing who stole tithing money and diverted it from the assistance of the poor.

"If you've ever watched a show called 'The Mole' or 'Celebrity Mole', you know that the mole is hard to ferret out. They work with subtlety. They can derail a whole project just by getting the rest of the team to divert efforts into activities that have no payoff. Every President of the Church since Joseph's death has done this, but none more so than the Presidents since Harold B. Lee's death. It was on Spencer Kimball's watch that the missionary program exploded and D&C 138 was voted in as scripture. It has been one thing after another since then to keep the members occupied with dead works and dead meetings and dead talks. Endless genealogies and endowment sessions to save no one. Endless programs and handbook rules. Endless correlation of approved teaching materials and missionary propaganda. It has been a huge heist by a succession of moles to remove the Spirit of God from every aspect of official church affairs.

"I sorrow at Thomas Monson's passing, but only in the general sense that he denied the light of his Creator and Savior and transmitted the light of Satan's platitudes and worldly philosophies mingled with scripture. Like the majority of earth's population, he had been a dead man walking the wide road to hell for many decades. But he is unique in that it's not every day the demons get to have their way with someone who led so many millions away from Jesus by his pleasant stories and executive decisions.

"It's not every day the demons get a new victim who was so directly responsible for officially altering scripture (as part of a 3 man committee in the 1980's), leading millions in an assail against the Lord's dispensation head, puffing people up to think they are Saviors on Mount Zion through dead temple ordinances, and spending the whole of his long life supported by priestcraft. If rumors are true that he sexually assaulted some women in his younger years, that's the least of his worries. Practically every torture imaginable is on the table for this poor man. I don't even want to know what his poor spirit body has already been put through down there. It would give me nightmares for weeks."

Underdog2 said...

Part 1 of 2:

To IYLMKMC,

You: Regarding your claim that I "insist that for God to have unconditional love for His children, it would prohibit Him from ultimately exercising judgment against those who refuse to repent" and that I cannot "be reached through reason, logic, or even simple facts." I have yet to read a response from you or anybody else that explains how cutting someone off forever is compatible with unconditional love for them.

Perhaps you definition of "forever" is mistaken. And you impugn God, when you should glorify Him and His infinite wisdom and mercy. Read the Lord's words on this topic you raise from DC 19:

6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.

7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.

9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.

10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—

11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.

12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.



Or how permitting the innocent to be burned alive in order to be able to justly condemn the perpetrators to destruction is compatible with love for the perpetrators---or worse, equivalent love for the perpetrators as the love for the victims or for His Son.

God is bound to honor free agency. He loves us too much to violate our agency, even to let Nelson lead millions of sheep astray by teaching the precepts of man.


Regarding the timing of the ordination vote, you merely assert that "without" must mean "before." The scripture does not say that. There is no translation error here to appeal to. The word is "without." Webster's 1828 dictionary does not support "before" as a synonym for "without."

The proof that even Church leaders define "without" to be mean "before" is how things are done in the Church. Have you ever heard of anybody in your home ward or stake, from the stake president down to nursery leader ever being set apart (ordained) without the body of the Church first given the opportunity to sustain or reject the choice? It doesn't happen. If that were to happen, there would be a rebuke by the presiding official. This is how it's been done for decades. It's the "common law" if you will, so the common law of the Church proves that "without" means "before." The exception is the "prophet" of the Church who is exempt. This is pure dictatorship and overt tyranny. Try questioning what happened in your ward, and see what happens to you. Section 6.7.3 of CHI 1 is what will happen to you. "Obey us, or be cast out for apostasy!"


Part 2 next...

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 2:

You: Think about the case of baptism. The scriptures teach us that we must (1) believe in Christ, (2) repent, and (3) be baptized to be saved. Suppose somebody gets baptized but doesn't believe in Christ or has not repented. Suppose that afterward he or she develops a deep-seated belief in Christ and sincerely repents. Is the baptism of force in this case? Will this hypothetical individual receive the Holy Ghost in this case? How critical is the order of steps as long as all the steps are completed? Now apply consistently to Pres. Nelson's ordination and vote.

First of all, you might as well baptize a bag of sand, without the baptism of fire, Joseph taught. The fact that you argue the order is to defend tyranny and censorship of those who question. Is that the side you wish to be on? If all wards and stakes are governed by this particular order, why should the so-called "prophet" be an exception?


Regarding the matter of "vote" versus "sustain," nobody is elected to any office in the church. They are merely sustained or not. The Lord does the calling (electing) to office, not the members.

That's what a tradition-believing TMB believes. What if men are doing the calling? When is the last time you've heard any president of the Church claim he's been "sent" by God, that he's been "chosen", that he's got an actual revelation from the Lord?


Compare to D&C 42:11: "Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church." Pres. Nelson's case meets this criteria.

Again, who in the Church leadership claims to have an authorized message from Jesus Christ, i.e., a revelation, i.e, a specific task to perform, i.e, a clear message to deliver? Such a man in the Church hierarchy doesn't exist. They pretend. They are impostors. They take the name of the Lord in vain by their pretending. There has been a break in the chain, and the evidence of that break is NOBODY is claiming to be a revelator by saying, "The Lord gave me this message, and commanded me to deliver it."

jjkram said...

IYLM...
I would submit that these men were sustained all these years because we have been conditioned that this is what we were to do...period. When a person "awakens to their awful situation," it is realized that we are actually expected by God to "know" and not just raise the right hand like a puppet. All those years of "sustaining" mean nothing when the people are acting as sheep. And when there have been those who have opposed, they are ignored. And then there are those who preach and are not open to learning or seeing other than their own view. Everyone is entitled to their agency. This is a gift from God. Perhaps you should look at the "gnats" in your own expounding. As for me and my house...we do NOT sustain Nelson. Our choice and our salvation. Lucky us!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If You Love Me, Etc.
It's getting tiresome for me to continue to beat a dead horse, but I guess you deserve a few quick responses this one last time. Not sure why I bother, because you haven't made an attempt to respond to my points, e.g. provide an explanation how in your mind Brigham Young was elected by the people without ever receiving an ordination even before OR after. As for your insistence that "without" in this case does not imply the vote must take place PRIOR to the ordination...well, I don't know what I could possibly say to convince you. This is niggling. Straining at a gnat. Avoiding the obvious truth that virtually anyone else could instantly recognize.

Neither have you directly addressed the evidences brought to you by others on this forum. Instead you respond with "examples" that have no bearing on the matter at hand.

I think you are confusing "selection" with "election." J. Reuben Clark noted that the presiding authorities are the only ones with the power to "select" or nominate the candidate.

“When the presiding authority presents any man to the body of the Church to be sustained, the only power which the assembly has is to vote, by uplifted hand, either to sustain or not to sustain.

“Obviously, neither the body of the Church, nor any of its members can propose that other men be called to office, for the calling of men is the sole power and function of the presiding authority."

I would add that President Clark has left out the role of the Lord in this process. The Lord should have appointed that man to the office BEFORE the presiding authority presented him for nomination. But never mind. For our purposes here, the rule under which the candidate is presented to the church for their vote has a long and clear history in the 20th century. See how involved and complicated the process was at conference for the sustaining of Harold B. Lee, et al. and compare it with the way things have been done since Hinckley:

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1973/01/the-sustaining-of-president-harold-b-lee?lang=eng

You inadvertently make my argument about a sustaining being an ongoing expression of support with your declaration that the members are asked to sustain the same men at every conference session. That proves it's not the same as the "vote" required in section 124. It is instead a recurring vote of confidence in support of men previously elected.

If you truly want to gain an understanding of the meaning of God's unconditional love (it has no bearing on the frequent examples you keep throwing out), I would encourage you to re-read the explanations given to you by the other readers above. I think they made their points as clear to you as they could, and they provided plenty of scriptural references.

Then get on your knees and HUMBLY ask the father to aid your understanding. You won't come to the truth if all you do is insist you are right and everyone else is wrong.

Some very kind people have reached out to assist you. Be grateful they bothered to take the time.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Dear Alan Rock Waterman:

You: "Neither have you directly addressed the evidences brought to you by others on this forum. Instead you respond with "examples" that have no bearing on the matter at hand."

I disagree. I'm happy to respond point by point. Let's take one at a time. Which one do you think I have not addressed? Please be specific.

I did not respond to your discussion regarding Brigham Young because his case is not relevant for several reasons. First, it was a time of great confusion about succession of leadership and there had been no precedent set as it was the first such crisis. Today's situation is far different. The church is not in a succession crisis. The protocol for leadership continuity is clear. Second, we were talking about Pres. Nelson's ordination. Perhaps you'd rather talk about BY because there is a lot more material to attack him with. I concede that BY did a number of questionable things. However, it's not valid to attack Pres. Nelson by conflating him with BY. They are separate cases. Third, BY's actions are not canonized in chapter and verse as are the points we had been discussing. So, while it's interesting to talk about what BY might have done correctly or incorrectly, it does not really rise to the level of relevance as the writings of Joseph Smith, John, Nephi, etc., recorded in the scriptures. Fourth, I'm not here to defend BY. I have a long list of issues with him, myself.

"You won't come to the truth if all you do is insist you are right and everyone else is wrong."

Pot, meet Kettle.

"Some very kind people have reached out to assist you. Be grateful they bothered to take the time."

Your tone is highly condescending. Is that how you intend it to be? I merely disagree with you, politely. Not sure what warrants the invective.

Have a nice day.

Underdog2 said...

IYLMKMC,

You said, "Today's situation is far different. The church is not in a succession crisis. The protocol for leadership continuity is clear."

You are saying here that the emperor has clothes on! But because of confirmation bias, you can't acknowledge his nakedness.

The Church is now in the midst of a major crisis!

Growth is reported at 1.4% this last year, perhaps lowest in history and it will probably soon turn negative because of the crisis.

What crisis? A credibility crisis, I.e. a true succession crisis. The leaders persecute sincere members who point out the emperor is naked instead of humbling themselves and confessing their sins and acknowledging the sins of current and past leaders.

You say, "protocol for leadership continuity is clear."

The corporate charter makes it clear. But you don't mean the charter of The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do you?

In your mind, you mean that the protocol for leadership continuity is clear and made manifest in unmistakable terms in the scriptures, don't you? However the proof that you are misled is that you cannot, because there is none, point to any scriptures which show the protocol for leadership continuity being clear.

The fact is, the Lord has stated the church is under condemnation, and the last time that was referenced by a president of the church, was by Ezra Taft Benson, and he clearly stated that the Lord had not lifted the condemnation.

The ingoing condemnation should give you great pause (does it?), before you go on defending leaders who are pretending to speak for God, i.e., use His name in (vain) vanity.

Whenever we seek to gratify our pride or our vain ambition, and to exercise control or dominion upon the souls of men in any degree of unrighteousness, the heavens withdraw, the spirit of the Lord is grieved and priesthood and authority is forfeited.

This is precisely what is happening now with the church hierarchy, and when people point it out they are excommunicated or are ridiculed by people like you who can't see the naked emperor.

matt lohrke said...

I'm at the point now that if people want to tow the corporate line, that's their prerogative. I wish them the best in that endeavor. All we can do is testify of Christ and his love and mercy. Some seeds we plant will sprout in fertile soil, others will land on rocky ground and die. Our only job, I think, is that "we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest." (Jacob 1:7)

But to anyone who decides to stick with LDS, Inc, please consider the Lord's words:

"And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it. (The membership is declining and there's an objective lack of miracles and other fruits of the spirit). But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return." (3 Nephi 27:10-11).

LDS, Inc., is built on living prophets (the works of men), so-called "modern revelation," (hey, when we all agree, it's God's will!) and temple work ("dead works"). Just today I see on LDS.org that if you "need to feel closer to Christ, join us at general conference." Come, here our precepts! It boggles the mind.

The Gospel of Christ, on the other hand, is faith, repentance, baptism water/fire, loving and serving God and your fellow man. My gut feeling is that the collapse will happen sooner rather than later, though I suspect there will be a large number of holdouts.

Testify of Christ and if rejected, simply move on...

Zebedee said...

OK I'm going to be a little geeky here: Yes God IS literally light. How do I know that? Because He said He is and he dosen't lie. No he's not photons. He is the source of all the energy in the universe, some of that is illuminated energy we can see. When we see Him He is "brighter than the noon day sun." So, yep He is light. (And forget the photon theory, that's not light. Photons are charged particles, reacting to an external energy source.)

D&C 88

7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.

8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;

9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;

10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.

11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;

12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—

13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

Now you may say, "Wait a minute, the moon reflects sunlight so He can't be in the moon." Who told you the moon reflects sunlight? Do you believe men and doubt God?

Here's a tidbit: Moonlight is a cooler temperature than moon shadow, the complete opposite of sunlight and sun shadow. God doesn't lie.

Cheers.

Mr. Ball said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Ball said...

I am commanded to love my enemies. I am commanded to offer this love unconditionally. Why would God command me to do something He Himself does not do? It would appear to me that His love is unconditional, but I accept the fact that blessings are based on obedience to the law. Furthermore, one of the laws is to love. In fact, aren't the two greatest commandments to love God and to love our fellow man?

Choose ye this day whom you will love, as for me, I choose to love all. May God grant me the strength and grace to realize this aspiration.

MC said...

Romans 9

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

There's no question that God loves his children, but it's not unconditional. He loves some more than others.

He does not love son's of perdition like he loves his faithful followers.

It's also important to point out that merely being a human, does not make one a child of God in the fullest sense. We must rise up to become his children and heirs.

God is just. He doesn't just act out of love. He acts out of justice, too.

When the Lord returns his garments will be died red because he will have recently killed all the wicked in the day of his vengeance. He's not going to kill them out of love. He is going to kill them because they are wicked and filthy and the earth must be purified prior to the millenium.

There also times when God has stepped in and kept people from fully exercising their free agency, so the argument that God allows the wicked to do terrible things because he loves them enough not deny them their agency doesn't stick.

He slew the Lamanite who attempted to kill an unconscious Ammon. He did this because he loved Ammon, and because Ammon still had a work to do for him.

Just because God commands us to love our enemies, doesn't mean he loves his. He commands us to forgive all men, but says he will forgive whom he will forgive.

God's ways are not our ways.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I have found that it's rarely a good idea to take one's theology from the King James Version of the bible. Greek and Hebrew words translated into English, then taken at face value, often lack the subtle nuances of the original language. And so we have that word "hated" that has created problems for translators for a very long time. It is often used in both the old and new testaments, but if taken literally in one verse, it contradicts scripture in another.

Let's examine that verse you brought up in Romans 9:13, which seems to have the Lord saying "I loved Jacob but I hated Esau."

Paul is reminding his readers ("It is written") of a statement in Malachi where God also seems to be saying "Yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau."

But is that what God REALLY said? The translation we have of Paul's word "hated" here is translated from the Greek "miseo," but that is further complicated by Malachi's use of the Hebrew "Sane" (pronounced "saw-nay.")

Sane, unfortunately, does not express degrees, or what an English teacher might describe as "the comparative sense," such as we might express when we say "I like chocolate more than I like vanilla." A Hebrew writer might say instead, "I love chocolate, but I hate vanilla."

He may not actually HATE vanilla. He means to say he simply prefers chocolate. Unfortunately, "hate" or "sane" is the word we have to work with in the Hebrew scriptures. So it's important to apply the context and nuance the writer intended whenever we see that word -ESPECIALLY if it appears to come out of the mouth of God.

Fortunately for the Hebrews, they seem to understand what they are saying to each other because they take context into consideration. Likewise with the Greek "miseo" which is the version of "hate" "hated" and "hatred" we find sprinkled about the New Testament.

Thus when Jesus says "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26), we don't take that to mean we are actually required to HATE our family and our own lives in order to follow Christ. We understand Him to mean our loyalty to Him must be greater than our loyalty to anyone else, even greater than our love for our own family members. All it means is that we put Him first.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (Continued)

So I agree with you when you say, "God's ways are not our ways." But we should also remember that God's WORDS are not our words, either.

Those words words that come to us from the Hebrew and the Greek, sane and miseo, have degrees of meaning. The verses in question can be given several interpretations. A translation of the bible that I prefer is my Ferrar Fenton translation because Fenton translated the bible directly from the original Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldee texts available at the time (circa 1910), and he was fluent in all of them. Here is Fenton's Malachi 1 (he spelled it properly as "Malaki" -that's what a stickler Fenton was for accuracy):

"Was not Esau brother to Jacob?" -The EVER-LIVING asks,-"yet I befriended Jacob and disliked Esau."

That properly nuanced "disliked" is quite a bit softer than "hated."

(By the way, did you see what Fenton did there? Where the King James translators later inserted "The LORD," whenever God is referred to -a title they used because the Jews in their manuscripts avoided using "Jehovah" or "YHWH," Fenton did the KJV scholars one better by translating the equivalent of "I Am That I Am," rendering it more accurately as "The EVER-LIVING.")

Here's Fenton's translation of Romans 9:13 as rendered in the Greek:

"I have chosen Jacob but rejected Esau."

Better, don't you think? Certainly closer to what God would have actually intended.

Other translators of that statement in both the Hebrew and Greek have tried to convey the proper nuance, depending on whether they were going by the Hebrew "sane" or the Greek "miseo." And take note that even the word "loved," depending on where and how it is used, conveys different shades of meaning. Strong's Concordance at 157 pegs the meaning in Malachi 1:2 as being closer to "have affection for" as in "I have affection for Jacob, but I have less esteem for Esau." Or,

"I favored Jacob but I rejected Esau."

However you look at these nuanced uses of the words, it's a lot softer than the starkness of "I HATED Esau," because that is simply NOT what God was saying in either verse.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

Adam Clarke, upon whose commentaries Joseph Smith frequently relied, expounded thusly:

Malachi 2, "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" - Have I not shown a greater partiality to the Israelites than I have to the Edomites?

"I loved Jacob" - My love to Jacob has been proved by giving him greater privileges and a better inheritance than what I have given to Esau.

Malachi 2: "And I hated Esau" - I have shown him less love.

(Note that Clarke there says God has SHOWN Esau less love. His capacity TO love Esau is not affected by that interpretation.)

Clarke makes a point to remind the reader that there is not a word spoken here concerning the eternal state of either Jacob or Esau, and that what is spoken concerns merely their earthly possessions and, most notably, it does not concern the two brothers at all, but the posterity of each.

The question we might ask is whether it is possible for God to love all His children unconditionally, yet reward them differently. I'd say of course it is. Isn't that what so many of the conversations were about on this forum yesterday?

The scriptures are clear on that. That's why the discussion yesterday focused on the fact that rewards, blessings, exaltation and more are dependent on whether or not we repent, or whether we prefer to remain in our sins. The LOVE of God for us never wavers. He gives us plenty of time to turn away from our sins and turn back to Him.

If it were me, I would have had less patience for the bad guys throughout all of history. I would have given up on the people who later came to call themselves the Anti-Nephi-Lehites because they were merciless butchers without any hope of redemption as far as I could see. But God waited until they finally came to a realization of their awful state, and look at how they turned themselves around! They remain an example of a people who changed so completely that when others came to exact vengeance on THEM, they just got on their knees and allowed themselves to be killed. They were completely changed. What was it that finally got them to change? God's unconditional love.

Rebecca C. said...

I don't have a problem believing God is made of photons of light, that makes sense to me. No reason to just assume it's metaphor but I don't want to get into it further. I really want to say that if Nelson repented and made it right by admitting faults or whatever is necessary, God immediately forgoves. As he immediately forgives anyone who wants it. He doesn't hold a grudge and make them go through probation, etc. Its immediate, probably the speed of light.

MC said...

Rock,

I agree that hate may be too strong in the verse I quoted.

Even if we soften it up, it is still saying that God loved Jacob more than Esau.

You went to great lengths to avoid saying that, because it shows that God's love is not unconditional.

God doesn't just bless some people more than others, he curses people. Cursing someone is not a sign of love.

Go read 2 Nephi 1:13-22. Lehi is warning Laman and Lemuel that they will be cursed and hated if they don't repent and change their ways.

I believe that God loves all of mankind, but this love is not equal for all or unconditional.

Why did the anti-Nephi-Lehis have a change of heart? It was because they repented and had faith. Once they called upon God with full purpose of heart, he was able to heal them.

Lynne McKinley said...

Nice. Thanks.

Leonard said...

God's love is infinite and endless and to attempt to limit it's scope or define it through the human lens as mortals always tends to be inadequate to say the least. God's love being as it is it really comes down to how we choose to expose ourselves to it. It has nothing to do with God loving one more than the other but how one loves Him and is exposed to His glory. In other words it's not Him who limits His love but it is us who choose to be loved. His love in that sense is "unconditional" in that it is available to all as is the sun that shines on all or the rain that falls on all but those who choose to turn and face him receive more of His love which is immense and eternal than those who choose not to receive. Brother Nelson attempts to define Divine Love through a narrow lens and misses the opportunity to recognize that the Lord's love is unconditional meaning it is available to all as a mother's love is unconditional to her baby but it falls on the child/us to accept and expose ourselves to that love by our choice to return that love as best we can by loving as He loves us.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Dear Leonard:

Pres. Nelson says very clearly at the beginning of his talk that God's love is perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal. He goes on to describe each of those qualities in detail. It seems that you are applying negative spin to his words to call this characterization "narrow." Do you have a personal gripe against him as many on this blog do?

Pres. Nelson clarifies that a proper understanding of God's love guards against the false doctrine that many out there are promoting that "since God’s love is unconditional, He will love me regardless ..." That kind of doctrine encourages people to continue in sinful behaviors. There are major branches of Christianity that promote such harmful doctrine. As an apostle and prophet, Pres. Nelson is raising an important distinction that has been blurred by popular Christian notions. He is trying to guard against such worldly ideas creeping into LDS thought.

Andy said...

I appreciate all of you for your sincere labors (especially Rock) in helping us to understand your points-of-view in this matter.

I grew up in the LDS Church knowing nothing else but the traditional LDS interpretations and doctrines. As a result, I have found myself to be a very good follower but lacking the ability to think objectively the way the you all have demonstrated here. World history shows diligence to following authority without objective thinking to be very, very dangerous.

For years I have valued God’s Truth above everything else but I still find that I cannot break free of the traditions of my LDS heritage that have been conditioned into me since I was a baby. I have always had a hard time understanding the concept of God's unconditional love and the seeming (traditionally interpreted) quandaries in the scriptures (cited here) on this subject. I always try to keep my hand firming on the iron rod (having my understanding and practice firmly based in God’s Words). Thanks for sharing God’s inspired words and solving this long-held dilemma (for me), by presenting a coherent argument for the correct interpretation. God's mercy, of unconditional love for all; and justice, only the righteous (those that truly become like Our Lord through practice of His truth), come to behold his face and thus know that he is). It is truly awe inspiring.

May God continue to bless you with inspiration and unconditional love for all!

Sincerely,
Andy Boucher

MC said...

Yes, God's love is available to all, though it is not available to all in the same degree. Not everyone will hear the gospel, in fact most won't. Not everyone will even live in time period were the fullness of the gospel is on earth, in fact most won't.

Some people are born into the house of Israel and have a right to have the priesthood and its blessing. Others are born into the cursed race of the Canaanites who have no right to the priesthood.

God's love is infinite, so is his mercy, justice, power, wisdom, righteousness, etc.

Our mortal minds cannot comprehend the true depth of his love and other attributes.

That being said, God's love is not unconditional. The scriptures are clear on this.

If his love was unconditional we would always be wrapped in the arms of his love not matter what we do. This is not the case.

Do I believe Nelson is a full-fledged prophet? No, but the fact that he is being attacked over correctly stating that God's love is not unconditional is very telling. There clearly is a great deal of bitterness and fault finding among many of the commentators here. Very sad indeed.

Leonard said...

IYLMKMC...

I am sorry that you feel my comments had a "negative spin" on Elder Nelson's message I just feel he may have missed the boat. There is no gripe on my part only my lowly opinion.

Your comment that the concept of "unconditional love" is a detriment may be so but that doesn't rule out that the concept isn't true. The statement you quote "since God’s love is unconditional, He will love me regardless ..." is actually a true statement. The Lord continued to speak to Cain even after he slew his brother. The choice then lies with the person to choose whether to continue with their sinful conduct and not tap onto that love or stand and face the love, light and truth of the Lord which is there for anyone to receive if only they choose to do so. This is the Lord's way and to characterize it as the Lord has conditions to his love is misleading and false. The conditions are ours to choose. He will always love us even to damn us if it is what we desire and have chosen. He desires all to receive Him...He is the source but we must choose.

Ryan Nickel said...

This letter is more of the same.

There’s a faction that believes the Church to be true and there’s a faction awakening that all isn’t well in Zion. What if the church hasn’t been the Lord’s church since before Joseph was martyred?

Why would the Lord care about a group now that He already had “rejected as a church, with [their] dead” (D&C 124:32)?

This letter begs the question, when did the Lord’s spirit cease to strive with its church?

MC said...

Ryan,

All is not well in Zion. No doubt about it.

Does this mean that the Lord's spirit has ceased striving with the church altogether?

From my experience, the spirit is still with the church to some degree.

Even if the church has been completely rejected, which I don't believe is the case, the Lord would still care about it. The LDS are his chosen people, the house of Israel. He never stops caring about the house of Israel.

I see you've bought into the church was rejected in Nauvoo for failing to complete the Nauvoo temple in time theory. That's the one watcher got from Lyman Whight. Denver Snuffer then copied it off watcher.

That theory has a lot of holes in it.

Ryan Nickel said...

Thank you MC for the reply.

Whether it is full of holes or not, it’s pretty easy to see that the fruits of the restored church we’re already on the decline prior to Joseph‘s death.

For the mere fact that over 100 of the revealed revelations that we now have in the Doctrine and Covenants were revealed to Joseph Smith prior to the 1833 publication of the Book of Commandments.

Shortly thereafter the church was condemned and its name changed and Christ’s name was removed from it. We see that for one reason or another the Lord has been displeased with his people for a very long time.

Zebedee said...

The problem as I see it is we hang too much importance on the Church. It is condemned because we give it and its leaders more importance than God in our lives. If we do that we are idolators and are doomed, unless we repent.

Salvation only comes from the Lord, there is no servant employed there. True prophets point us to Christ but never come between us and Him.

It's vain to think LDS are His chosen people. He can raise up rocks to be His chosen people. Beware of pride.

MC said...

Ryan,

I understand your perspective. I've studied most of what Watcher and Searcher have written. They make some good points.

The drop in canonized revelations after 1833 is interesting. Perhaps things were on the decline and the heavens were beginning to close. Then again, perhaps the Lord had less to reveal, because he had already given so much. He could have been giving the saints more time to practice what he had already revealed, instead of giving them more and more. The saints had a hard enough time living what they had been given.

Now as to the church supposedly being condemned by 1834 and the name changed, that is a stretch in my opinion. Why would the Lord have commanded the saints to build the Kirtland Temple and accepted it in the powerful way that he did if the church was condemned and his name was no longer on it? To me it doesn't make any sense. If the church had been in a spiritual free fall since 1834 I could see it, but it wasn't.

Think about all the miracles that have happened in the church since 1834. The missions to the British isles where thousands were converted, the healing of the sick, the miracles that the pioneers and early Utah saints experienced, etc. These aren't the fruits of a condemned or rejected church.

Like I said, if if the church was/is rejected, the Lord still cares and loves the LDS people. They are his chosen people. He will yet gather the lost sheep of Israel.

Ryan Nickel said...

Hi MC,

If you’ve studied Watcher and Searcher then you’ll know that the Church of Christ’s name was changed and the name credited to building the Kirtland Temple was The Church of the Latter Day Saints and not the Church of Christ.

There’s clearly a LOT to share and not to highjack the thread I’ll keep it simple.

The missions to the British Isles was under the Godpel of Abraham. Which if you’ll recall, was given to Joseph and Oliver a week after the temple dedication.

Why a lesser gospel? Why the Gospel of Abraham and not that of Christ?

All things point to a decline.

Doesn’t mean that we can’t still strive to live what was revealed to the best of our ability and search God’s word. I’m just trying to be as clear as I can as to where I believe the church currently is ... in the wilderness.

Underdog2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MC said...

Ryan,

Who says the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham is a lessor gospel?

This is Watcher's interpretation. Are the keys to the gathering of Israel a lessor law as well?

It is much more likely that the gospel of Abraham refers to the Abrahamic covenant be reestablished among other things.

I agree with you that the church today is in the wilderness (if not completely nearly completely). I believe this was a gradual process and didn't happen in a couple of years. A gradual apostasy is the pattern in the scriptures.

Underdog2 said...

IYLMKMC,

I feel it's important to attempt to help you see your confusion.

Elder Nelson should know such basic truth and should have a personal testimony of God's unconditional love. I believe he DOES know, at least he has book knowledge. The explanation for his perfidy is found in Matthew 13: "an enemy hath done this." Elder Nelson is without excuse. He cannot be this incompetent or lacking in understanding.

Elder Nelson wants us to buy his warning (which you have bought hook, line, and sinker) against the fallacy that because "God's love is unconditional" (which he says is false), that we have free reign to sin and procrastinate our repentance. But he doesn't have to conflate divine love and divine blessings to make his point. He could and SHOULD HAVE cleared up any confusion by a statement like this:

"Divine love is distinct from divine blessings. Understanding that divine blessings are not “unconditional” can defend us against common fallacy such as this: “Since ‘God is love,’ He will love me and bless me unconditionally, regardless of what sin I commit.""


The above statement deconstructs the common fallacy instead of promoting it.

Elder Nelson's sophistry reminds me of the #1 example of unquestionable sophistry in the Church today. The Church is 100% committed to promoting the conflation that the Church IS the Lord, that the gospel = the Church, or that the Brethren are equal to the Lord (whether by mine own voice or by the mouth of my servants...). One is true (that would be the Lord), the other (the Church) is compromised of infallible and error-prone men. A clear distinction between the two is absolutely essential to preserve one's faith in God as an unchangeable God who will not and cannot lead us astray. Conflation of the two make idols out of graven images (the Brethren), and assures our damnation, as we devote ourselves to the wrong source of salvation.

IYLMKMC, do you concede how Nelson's article totally blurs the distinction between divine love and divine blessings?

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Dear Underdog2:

Your description of unconditional love without "blessings" is tantamount to passive love.
It seems like you are saying God loves unconditionally in some sort of passive way without any involvement, standing by idly waiting for people to take a good action; and to those who do right He takes action and blesses on top of that. What is love without action behind it? Your description seems to reduce love merely to state of mind and to separate it from the active attribute that gives it power.

Moreover, you have omitted the fact that God also curses some. He does not merely withhold the benefit of blessings. He actively curses them. How does that fit into your story? And I'm not talking about chastening. We know that God chastens those whom He loves. That's consistent with love. You sometimes exercise tough love when it's in the best interest of somebody, because you want them to learn and recover. Rather, I'm talking about cursing and other actions in which God is giving certain characters over to delusion and to wickedness so He can justly judge them and cast them off. How does that fit into your version of unconditional love?

By the way, is it not sufficient for you (and others) to discuss the doctrine without personal attacks? You are assigning mal-intent to Pres. Nelson's words and calling him an "enemy" guilty of "sophistry," etc. etc. etc. You do not know his heart. You do not know his struggles or his internal experience nor his dealings with God. It's one thing to analyze the doctrine and to talk about the fruits of his teachings, whether you perceive them as good or bad. It's entirely another to pretend to read his heart and mind. I'm not receptive to nor swayed by such imaginations. What has he done to deny him the courtesy of benefit of the doubt?

jjkram said...

IFLM...

2 Nephi 9:32 Wo unto the blind that will not see...

Mr. Ball said...

I have been actively reading and pondering the comments posted regarding this article. I get it, it is important to discuss, think, and ponder. However, it seems most are so caught up in trying to prove themselves correct that we seem to have forgotten we are talking about love!

The gospel is simple, why are we making this so complicated? Do good unto others, help them, and ask yourselves, "How can I make my brother's or sister's life better today?" Is there really anything more to love? If we are asking how we can make another understand us, we are asking a question that will most likely come to nothing. It would be far better if we asked how we can better understand others.

Just a thought, if you want to understand love, take care of a living thing and devote yourself to making sure it has its needs met. Soon you will see that love transcends all this argument over nuance, definition, and who is doing what or saying what. Didn't the Prophet Joseph say we would learn more about the heavens by gazing into them for a moment than anything else we could do? Similarly, we will learn more about love by doing it than arguing over it. Anyway, I do appreciate the thought provoking conversation.

matt lohrke said...

Listen to Mr. Ball.

Underdog2 said...

IYLMKMC, (part 1 of 2)

You: Your description of unconditional love without "blessings" is tantamount to passive love.

It seems like you are saying God loves unconditionally in some sort of passive way without any involvement, standing by idly waiting for people to take a good action; and to those who do right He takes action and blesses on top of that. What is love without action behind it? Your description seems to reduce love merely to state of mind and to separate it from the active attribute that gives it power.


The blessings are a result of what WE do. This isn't hard to understand. I assume you're a parent. When you have a disobedient child, do you stop serving him? Do you stop reaching out to him? When Peter cut off the ear of Christ's attacker, did Christ stand by passively?

Curses, likewise, are a byproduct of our actions. Blessings and cursings are predicated upon our obedience to certain laws, or our disobedience.

The prodigal son was cursed for his disobedience. He'd readily admit it. His father loved him, and was looking for him, as he spotted him "a great way off," and before he heard a word of apology or remorse from his son, he "had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." That's not passive.

You and I can only imagine how God is reaching out to us EACH day and not only wanting us (in a state of mind, as you say) to come to Him, but He sends people to serve us or to deliver a message or He creates opportunities for us to love our neighbor and thus love Him.

I generally agree with what you say about personal attacks. I don't mean to be mean to Elder Nelson, I mean to expose him. All impostors will be exposed. DC 64 says "they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known."

Elder Nelson's day of exposure is coming. God has commanded us to judge the righteous from the wicked, the tares from the wheat, indeed, to judge whether somebody is a false prophet or not.

I testify Elder Nelson is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The person who wrote this letter did a nice service to us by referencing Nelson's "Divine Love" article from 2003. I wasn't very familiar with that article. Upon reading it without the burden of a confirmation bias, it's clear that he's misled, to say it nicely.

What has he done to deny him the courtesy of benefit of the doubt, you ask?

The list is long, but I'll spare you the cognitive dissonance you'll experience unless you decide to concede some of your unbeliefs. But to give you an answer.... the #1 thing he has done is to prevaricate. In his premature inauguration back in January, what did he want us to believe by saying, "I know Them, love Them, and pledge to serve Them—and you—with every remaining breath of my life"?

Many people understand what "know" means, or alludes to. It's a very loaded word. Christ said eternal life "knowing" the Father and the Son. So Nelson is saying he's seen them, and that he's received a covenant from them that he will inherit celestial glory. That is what he MEANS to communicate to the many who know what "know" means. This is called prevarication. This is calling acting as an impostor. Nelson violates the the 2nd Commandment by using the Lord's name to serve his own vanity and vain ambitions. It's a serious sin. In short, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Part 2 next...

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 2


I once reverently asked him directly in a priesthood meeting Q&A, "Have you seen the Lord?" He responded with more prevarication, "Good brother, there are some things too sacred to talk about publicly. Next question." Then the next day, he was asked the same question, coincidentally in a nearby town where my friend was. He answered that time, "No I haven't." What a difference 24 hours makes. Like I said, the list is long as to why I deny him the benefit of the doubt. And really, it's not me denying, it's his actions which are proving his true colors.

You said, "Rather, I'm talking about cursing and other actions in which God is giving certain characters over to delusion and to wickedness so He can justly judge them and cast them off. How does that fit into your version of unconditional love?"

The honoring of agency is something that many (most?) Mormons have a problem with, I've noticed through the years. A regular Mormon won't go up to a neighbor and pull a gun out and force them to do something, but has no problem with authorizing the government to commit the crime. Most/ virtually all of the killing our military does is blessed by rank and file Mormons. They don't lose a second of sleep at night while hundreds of thousands have died by the tip of the sword of our imperial military over the years.

I'm impressed with God's honoring of our agency. It's an incredible act of love and restraint to not interfere with our agency, even if it means we delude ourselves into thinking we'll be saved by following a prophet (DC 76:98-102). It's not Him judging us. We judge ourselves (Alma 12:13-14). My version of unconditional love is him patiently reaching out to us and forever trying to gather us without giving up hope, though the spirit will not always strive with man, we are warned in the BoM.

The article of Divine Love we've dissected is an irrefutable piece of evidence that Elder Nelson has tried to trick us into believing God's love is conditional. He also plays the card, like many of the apostles play, that the Church = the Brethren = the gospel = the Lord. In other words, they are incapable or leading us astray. This is another irrefutable piece of evidence he is a wolf. Do you think he's not intelligent and can't comprehend the distinction between the gospel and the Church? As Elder Poelman taught in 1984, the Church is a delivery vehicle of the gospel, but it's not the gospel, anymore then the UPS truck is the product Amazon sent you. Nelson deceives us into thinking the truck is the product. That's evil. I'm not personally attacking, I'm exposing a truth. Normally ad hominem is used by people who avoid sticking to principle. I'm not avoiding any principles, but actually teaching them, or trying to.

Ryan Nickel said...

MC,

If all we went by were our own feelings and thoughts I don’t think I ever would’ve questioned the church.

It was bloggers like Rock and Watcher who have taken the scriptures as their guides that have caused me to dive deeper into God’s holy word looking for answers.

The Lord in the D&C clearly points out that the Church was in the wilderness in March 1829.

D&C 5:14

14 And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the COMING FORTH OF MY CHURCH OUT OF THE WILDERNESS—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.

However, by October 1830 it had come out of the wilderness.

D&C 33:5

5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that THIS CHURCH HAVE I ESTABLISHED AND CALLED FORTH OUT OF THE WILDERNESS.

But mysteriously by March 1836 it was back in the wilderness.

D&C 109:73

73 THAT THY CHURCH MAY COME FORTH OUT OF THE WILDERNESS of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;

What happened between then?

Christ’s name was removed from the church and the saints had failed to live the law of consecration.

One week AFTER the Kirtland Temple dedication, Joseph and Oliver receive the Gospel of Abraham. Yes, a downgrade. Still no Christ in the name of the church.

Shortly thereafter there would be the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society and a mass exodus from the church.

Jospeh received no revelation for almost a year. And then in June 1837 in “this state of things God revealed to [Joseph] that something new must be done for the salvation of His Church” (History of the Church 2:489).

It’s hard to argue that it was a gradual decline. Especially after reading Rock’s two posts from Radio Free Mormon on how Brigham strong armed his way to the top.

MLH said...

Interesting argument, some good points made on both sides. Here's my take. Gods love is in fact Conditional. It's currently conditional upon the "Lost and Fallen State", same as Salvation.

Zebedee said...

It is a sad commentary that this discussion of whether God's love is conditional or unconditional is even taking place. I suppose it's an indication that the Spirit is distant, otherwise we wouldn't contend with each other attempting to prove our own opinions. I myself am guilty of it and I now realize my folly. If the Spirit was with us we would all know the truth and rejoice in it. There would be no debate.

Good luck and good bye.

MC said...

Ryan,

I totally get where you're coming from. Watcher has put together a compelling case for his interpretation of history and the supposed downgrade to the Gospel of Abraham.

As I mentioned before, besides Watcher saying so, there is no evidence or support whatsoever for the Gospel of Abraham being a down grade from the Gospel of Christ. If you have some evidence from the scriptures or statements by Joseph Smith to back this up, I would love to check it out.

Now as for the Christ's name supposedly being taken off the church is concerned.

Watcher has again put together a semi-compelling case, which you have restated here.

The biggest problem is that the scriptures and church history flat out do not support this.

Both the Lord and Joseph Smith refer to the church as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints after the dates you referred to. Look at D&C 115 (1838), D&C 128 (1842), D&C 127 (1842), and D&C 136 (1847).

History will show that at times Joseph Smith used the name Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints interchangeably with the Church of the Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, or the Church. He was not using it to denote a down grade as Watcher interprets things.

Now let's assume for a moment that the Church was back in the wilderness during the dark days of apostasy in Kirtland in 1837. Based on the words of Joseph Smith and the Lord between 1838-1844, the name of Christ was put back on the church.

Only if one cherry picks statements by Joseph Smith after 1837, as Watcher does, can one make a case that the church was in a full state of apostasy before Joseph's death. If one looks at the scriptures and statements and actions of Joseph Smith collectively from the Missouri and Kirtland period, the case that the church was in full-on apostasy by then completely falls apart.

I'm not trying to be contentious here, nor am I trying to attack Watcher. I like Watcher. I still frequently read his blog and chat with him via email periodically. He has great insights and observations. However I have found that the overall picture he paints from church history and the scriptures is quite biased and flawed.

He has chosen to turn his back on the church, yet if you read his early blog posts he reminisces over the spiritual experiences he had while on his mission and while he was serving in a bishopric. In many ways I think he has become like a wave tossed in the ocean, running after one contradiction and so called issue with church history after another. Each time he struggles, to make history and the scriptures fit the conclusions he's already reached. This why there are so many blind spots in his interpretations. He wants the scriptures to say and support what he believes, and often times they don't. It's a problem we all face. Watcher is no more of an authority on the scriptures than the next scriptorian and church historian. He'll be the first to admit that.

Brett Reynolds said...

Please answer my opinion twitter poll regarding how russell nelson will respond to the MTC sex assault scandal https://twitter.com/aLoafOfBrett/status/976271750336933888?s=19

Jonathan Horton said...

Rock,
God's in control. All the world's a stage. I don't care who plays what role. People are thrown in the roles they can learn the most from. Mormons need Nelson to be their prophet, not because he is best for the job but because he has the most to teach. Not only because of his spiritual insights (I can't remember one of his talks), but because of his particular brand of imperfections. Spiritual knowledge isn't obtained easy. He isn't in that position because it will make it easier for people, but God is in control and he has his resons. It is the best thing for Mormonism. How do I know because it is what happened. How could you have learned so much without the lds church? If I had better parents would I have an easier life? Probably. Would I give up that knowledge I got from having their particular brand of crazy in my life? Hell no. There is no perfect place in the world. No perfect family. No perfect religion. Just different roles you can play. I just have a good laugh over people taking their roles and others roles to seriously.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jonathan Horton asks, "How could you have learned so much without the lds church?"

Don't you mean, "How would I have had to UNlearn so much without the LDS Church"?
I can certainly thank the church for introducing me to the Book of Mormon, but many of the things I learned in Church contradicted that sacred scripture. What I learned in Church were false traditions and the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. It was only after I figured out that the truth is to be found in the scriptures and NOT in the Church, that my religious education truly began.

Right now the Book of Mormon is beginning to be accepted by Christians who are wise enough to realize it's message stands independent of the LDS church. Indeed, the fastest way to water down the message of the Book of Mormon is to assume the the LDS Church is required in order to fully understand it.

See this for only one example of how the Book of Mormon is beginning to flood the earth among people of varying denominations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_v2xG-MRY0

Underdog2 said...

Rock,

I watched the video of that Baptist preaching from the BoM and was filled with the Spirit of God like I have not been for a very long time in any Church meeting.

Thank you for sharing.

I wonder what that spiritual experience I just had means. Several thoughts came into my mind, which I'll keep to myself for now.

It makes me wonder, why Church meetings are so bereft of the Spirit these days.

Btw, I had a nice spiritual experience at the end of my sacrament meeting a few days ago. We had two speakers. One taught the terrible and vain false doctrine that the bishop has the keys to repentance. The other speaker quoted some General Conference talk and put me to sleep. He's normally a very good speaker. But I've noticed that requiring otherwise good speakers to regurgitate the topic of a random, recent General Conference talk is a sure-fire way to get a boring, uninspired talk.

Anyway, at the conclusion of the meeting we sang Rock of Ages, and I paid attention to the words, and was filled with the Spirit.

Not the labors of my hands
Can fill all thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and thou alone.


This, to me, wrestled back the audience from the false doctrine that was taught minutes earlier. "THOU must save, and thou alone," corrected the false notion that the bishop has the keys to repentance and that we need him.

Amen and amen,

The Underdog

Robin Hood said...


Rock, seriously? You have been taken in by this "inspired" letter?
Surely not even you at your most gullible could be so, well..... gullible!
I despair.
I predict that one day you will look back on this episode in your online career and candidly admit this was not your finest hour.

At least you have the good grace to put your name to your work. Clearly this anonymous letter writer doesn't demonstrate the same standard of integrity. However, by posting this nonsense you are complicit in the deception Rock. I think you owe your readers an apology.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC said, "These aren't the fruits of a condemned or rejected church." I guess it depends on what you mean when your reference the church. The only way Jesus and Joseph Smith ever spoke of the church was in reference to the individual people. Synonyms for that church include "community" "congregation" and the like. ("congregation=individuals who gather.) So I fully agree with you when you say the Lord still loves the LDS people.

But usually this blog is critical of the institution that stole the religion from the church and has taken to referring to itself as "the Church." The Lord did not organize a Church when he was on the earth, nor did he instruct his apostles to create an organization, nor did the apostles rule over the individual congregations that formed in various parts of the world. It was the medieval Catholic Church that changed the churches from individual congregations into one catholic (universal) organization with a hierarchy at its head. When you look at the Kirtland/Missouri/Nauvoo "church" you don't see that kind of top-down organization.

So does the Lord love his church? I say emphatically yes. Does he abide with the corporate counterfeit? Well, just attend a local ward and you tell me how often the spirit is apparent in any of those meetings.

Ryan Nickel was correct about the name change, but I believe that change came about when the name of the church was officially and legally changed from the church of Jesus Christ to the Corporation of the President. "If it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man."

I'm pretty sure God does not consider the LDS people His chosen, as you aver above. "All who repent and come unto me, the same is my church." That would include everyone who qualifies; he doesn't limit His church to one denomination.

But he does tell us who is excluded from His church: those who would define His church as anything other than the way he had just defined it in D&C 10:67:

"Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is NOT of my church." (verse 67)

My take on this is that the Brethren, who constantly refer to "the Church" as the organization they control, are clearly not of Christ's true church. That would include Russell Nelson and his cohorts.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Underdog2,
I understood your reference to the Lord's declaration "An enemy hath done this" a bit differently than our esteemed correspondent to whom you were responding. He accused you of calling Russell Nelson "the enemy."

I would argue that yes, Nelson is AN enemy of the church, but when the Lord referred to someone having planted tares among the wheat, I think "the enemy who hath done this" was referring to Satan, who sneaked counterfeit wheat in alongside the faithful believers. Satan was the enemy referred to in that verse, and in our present situation Russell Nelson is the tare the devil has planted among us. Nelson looks like us, acts like us, and tries to appear to be one of us. But he is an anti-Christ, which is the label the Book of Mormon applies to someone who craftily attempts to limit God's influence, or to place himself between the saints and God.

Our friend also objected to your use of the word "sophistry" in describing Nelson's sly misrepresentation of scripture. Well, what other word fits, I wonder? Sophistry is rhetoric that appears on the surface to be correct and persuasive, but upon closer examination does not hold up to reasoned analysis.

Nelson's clever prevarications are designed to be indiscernible to the average latter day saint. On the surface, his sophistic reasoning seems to make sense. It's works on some people, as evidence by some on this very forum who are not able or willing to critically assess whether Russell's words contradict scripture. I don't think one latter-day saint in a thousand would pause to analyze Nelson's heretical teaching and come to a realization that it is undoctrinal. And that is clearly what Nelson hoped to accomplish.

That's what a tare is in the modern church today. Someone who looks like a believer, but preaches unbelief.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Underdog2,

I contacted Lynn Rdenhour a few months back and he tells me he has made over 30 videos preaching the Book of Mormon. Here's one I just started watching where he discusses Joseph Smith:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92hokFQbWl4

And I have to chuckle when I hear people who don't know Denver Snuffer referring to him as trying to lead some kind of church made up of disaffected latter-day saints, because he long ago moved on from reaching out to Mormons. He is now busy introducing rooms full of Christian ministers to the gospel of the Restoration, as evidenced by these three talks given in L.A., Dallas, and Atlanta respectively. They're one hour each, well worth everyone's time, and he was VERY well received by people who normally have no interest in hearing anything positive about Mormonism at all.

This is what we get when we finally realize the gospel of the Restoration can catch fire when divorced from the LDS Church which has corrupted it.

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

matt lohrke said...

I think -- I hope -- we're entering a phase were The Book of Mormon does indeed stand independent of LDS, Inc. It's so magnificent and plain in its teachings. I'm glad that people from other denominations are beginning to see that. The challenge will be peeling it off LDS, Inc and its goofy teachings and encouraging people to take it on it own merits, but I believe it can be done.

I've been researching "baptism for the dead" the last few days and I can find absolutely nothing in the BOM that supports the concept, but I find quite a bit that disagrees with it: 1 Nephi 15:32-33, 1 Nephi 10:21, 2 Nephi 9:25, Helaman 13:38, Alma 48:23, and most devastatingly, Alma 34:31-34 and Moroni 8:22-24. This, of course, supports the Bible in that this mortal probation is given us to choose God or not. (We consequently have major problems with D&C 138 and 124, but that's another story. And think of how much time and money is spent on the dead instead of the living.)

In my view, the BOM has far more in common with mainstream, evangelical Christianity than it does with LDS theology. The Book of Mormon Jesus IS the Bible Jesus. The LDS Jesus is someone else. It makes my heart hurt to think of what could have been had the BOM been the focus of the early LDS church.

Side note: There's a FANTASTIC documentary on Netflix right now called "Is Genesis History?" (Catastrophism is the future!) It's worth 90 minutes of your time. Another excellent one is "Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus."

MC said...

Rock,

If you're suggesting that the Lord never set up a corporate organization as his church, then I absolutely agree with you.

I also agree that the church is certainly supposed to be a community of Christ's followers.

However, you are 100% incorrect that the church was not an organization.

It was organized and structured, with a hierarchy. The BOM, NT, and D&C thoroughly explain the organization of the church (community of followers).

There were apostles, bishops, elders, high priests, priests, teachers, deacons, seventy, etc.
Each of these has different responsibilities and each one is a neccesary office in the church.

The Lord's house is a house of order.

I think you're forgetting that. So is Denver Snuffer apparently, since he instructed the remnant not to ordain men to ANY of these offices.

Recently you tried to deflect this very damning critique of the remnant by saying that your "not a church".

Well if you're not a church, then your not members of the Lord's church either.

You're also wrong that the Lord doesn't limit his true church to a single denomination. This is an Evangelical doctrine, that goes against the scriptures and teachings of Joseph Smith. It's another one of those false teachings by Snuffer I'm afraid.

Joseph Smith registered the church as a legal entity under the laws of the US. Maybe you forgot that, too.

Now were things supposed to be rigid and completely controlled in almost every way from the men at the very top like it is in the LDS church today? No of course not.

People were supposed to fulfill their responsibilities as guided by Gods word in the scriptures and by the holy spirit, not a correlated handbook.

The church is out of order, no doubt about it.

Also, I said that the LDS PEOPLE are the Lord's chosen people. I didn't say the corporate church is. The members are by and large of the tribe of Ephraim which has the birthright in the house of Israel. That doesn't mean we're not in a state of apostasy. Isaiah clearly says we are.

Now the LDS are not exclusively the Lord's chosen people. There are also the Jews and the lost ten tribes. But the LDS are Ephraim which has the birthright as well as the keys to the gathering of Israel.

Of course thechurch will have to be cleansed and put in order before the gathering to Zion takes place.

Craig Norton said...

Personally, I think that each one of us has to decide what a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator is before any discussion can be worthwhile. I've heard some people say that you can call yourself whatever you want, and if you get someone to vote for you, or to sustain you, you are what you want to be. Hence, you can be a noun.

But, if you want to be the verb form, you need to do or show something; hence, the verb form. The action word.

I have also been contemplating what it means to 'sustain' someone and I think that we've given ourselves quite a little bit of latitude when it comes to that word too. To sustain means to strengthen or support physically, or mentally; to undergo or suffer (something unpleasant, especially and injury) or to uphold, affirm or confirm the justice of validity of. Hence, unless I know the person really well, I don't sustain anybody.

Now, my litmus test for a prophet, seer and revelator comes from a talk that given by Hugh B. Brown back in 1965. It was called Profile of a Prophet and it can still be found online. In his talk he gives eleven things to look for in a prophet, and this is my litmus test in first determining that person that I'm going to sustain.

They are:

1. He will boldly claim that God had spoken to him.

2. Any man so claiming would be a dignified man with a dignified message—no table jumping, no whisperings from the dead, no clairvoyance, but an intelligent statement of truth.

3. Any man claiming to be a prophet of God would declare his message without any fear and without making any weak concessions to public opinion.

4. If he were speaking for God he could not make concessions, although what he taught would be new and contrary to the accepted teachings of the day. A prophet bears witness to what he has seen and heard and seldom tries to make a case by argument. His message and not himself is important.

5. Such a man would speak in the name of the Lord, saying, “Thus said the Lord,” as did Moses, Joshua, and others.

6. Such a man would predict future events in the name of the Lord, and they would come to pass, as did those predicted by Isaiah and Ezekiel.

7. He would have not only an important message for his time but often a message for all future time, such as Daniel, Jeremiah, and others had.

8. He would have courage and faith enough to endure persecution and to give his life, if need be, for the cause he espoused, such as Peter, James, Paul, and others did.

9. Such a man would denounce wickedness fearlessly. He would generally be rejected or persecuted by the people of his time, but later generations and descendants of his persecutors would build monuments in his honor.

10. He would be able to do superhuman things—things that no man could do without God’s help. The consequence or result of his message and work would be convincing evidence of his prophetic calling: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

11. His teachings would be in strict conformity with scripture, and his words and his writings would become scripture. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).

There you have my definition and my qualities that I take to the Lord and the Father to ask for a witness.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for the tip on those documentaries, Matt. I wonder if they incorporate some of the findings of Immanuel Velikovsky?

Interesting questions about baptisms for the dead. I've been wondering lately if "Families are Forever" is doctrinal, or simply a marketing gimmick I was taught as a missionary in the 70's. I don't doubt that a couple can be eternal if they wish, but are they actually prevented from doing so if someone on earth fails to act as proxy? My guess is the Lord isn't cruel; everything else being equal, people are permitted to make their own choices as to who they'll pal around with in the next life.

I read recently (wish I could recall where) that early sealings under Brigham Young only applied to plural wives; the first wife wasn't sealed to her husband because I guess she was already considered his through marriage. The "sealings" connected the additional wives to the husband. Food for thought, grounds for further research.

Regarding baptisms for the dead, I've heard from ex-Mormon temple workers who say there simply isn't any more genealogy records available; every birth, death, and marriage that has ever been recorded (and let's face it, these records don't go back too far) is already in the databases, so the naughty little secret in the Church is they keep circulating the same names over and over. One temple worker admitted to seeing the same dead person get baptized several times over the years, and other former temple workers had similar stories.

Anyway, I don't get excited over the temples the way I used to. Seems like a lot of empty busy-work to me; something to keep the mainstream members feeling like they're actually making a difference, since a lot of them aren't that interested in serving the living.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I'm happy to see you and I are once again finding some areas of agreement. However, I feel to clarify a couple of things.

The Church of Jesus Christ most definitely was not registered as a legal entity under the laws of the U.S., nor was it organized with a hierarchy. It was organized, yes, meaning the six people present who sat around the table that day agreed to consider themselves a "religious society." It was registered "agreeable to the laws of our country," not established as a legal entity UNDER U.S. law. What this means is that under American common law (tradition, for lack of a better term) they effectively published their intent to be recognized as a "religious society" of individuals with some common interests. "Registering" consisted of little more than announcing to the world that this new religious society had come into existence -an announcement similar to a birth or wedding announcement, also common law traditions.

Such an announcement would have been published for the purpose of notifying all interested persons of the existence of a new "religious society" -that is what they called themselves. Organizing a legal entity under U.S. law (whatever that might mean) would have been incompatible with a religious society claiming Jesus Christ as its head. Like a corporation, that would have made Jesus subordinate to the civil law.

Regarding your claim of a hierarchical organized church, I think you are reading Ephesians 4 and applying it to the way things are done in the LDS church today. I suggest that is a misinterpretation.

"And he gave some [i.e. he gave some people the gifts and responsibilities to be] apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;"

These are not management nor administrative positions, and they certainly were not hierarchical, any more than the priesthood quorums in Joseph's day existed as a hierarchy. (see D&C 107.) They were callings equal in authority for the purpose of serving one another in various capcities. Look, here are the reasons these people were given these varying duties:

"For the perfecting of the saints ["each other," not some members below them in rank known as "the saints"], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ"

Where in there do you see a hierarchical structure? Where do you see some members with callings more important than others? Even Joseph Smith the prophet did not see the role of prophet as being higher than another calling. Likewise his election by the people to be their president (when he wore a different hat than a prophet) only meant he would PRESIDE, not rule over them or issue commandments. He was constantly frustrated that some men who held high office thought that entitled them to command respect from those they considered below them in rank.

The Lord's house is a house of order, you're right about that. But it has nothing to do with a hierarchical order. It's about not being out of order.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

I'm not sure what you mean when you say Denver Snuffer instructed the Remnant not to ordain men to any offices. He may have taught or suggested it, and I would agree that it is no one's right to ordain others to priesthood offices similar to those in the church today. But Denver Snuffer does not command, order, govern, manage or issue instructions to anyone else. He is not the head of any movement, so why would you think it his place to issue "instructions" of any kind?

When I said previously that this movement -you can call it the Remnant movement if you want, but most of us recognize ourselves as nothing more than followers of Christ-is not a church, I meant that in the sense that Mormons today think of a church; a sect or denomination vying to replace or compete with the old one. We haven't formed any kind of new "church" in that sense. I and my friends who fellowship together informally do, however, belong to the church of Christ, same as I did when I was attached to LDS, Inc. Some in my crowd remain members of the LDS church and still attend Sunday meetings, but they recognize, as I do, that isn't the church defined in section 10.

I will never join another organized church or sect. I prefer the church of Jesus Christ to any earthly organization, as the latter always develop into hierarchies and they always become corrupt.

Those points aside, I'm glad you and I have found some common ground, MC.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Craig Norton,
Thanks for issuing that reminder. Elder Brown's talk seems to have been entirely forgotten today, although in my Institute and mission days, it was widely known.

You may find this previous post of mine of interest:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2016/12/did-lord-choose-not-to-anoint-lords.html

matt lohrke said...

Rock - no overt references to Velikovsky, but the people interviewed definitely agree with catastrophism to explain things like the Grand Canyon and various mass extinction events. Very interesting. I've watched it a couple of times. I found it very assuring and doctrinally-based. I've sure you've seen "Symbols of Alien Sky," which is based around Velikovsky's work. That blew my mind. Incredible.

Re: "Families are Forever." I dunno. I've thought about it and I just don't know. My heart tells me its a real thing. I looked to various other Christian sources to see what others think. Some feel it's an earthly endeavor - it's not good for man to be alone, etc, so let's put man and woman together for this earthly experience, but that after death we're all one body in Christ. There's a scripture in Matthew about there being no marriage in the resurrection. Some believe that reference means no "legal" marriage as was known then--strategic, political, etc, but that spiritual marriage is still very real. I've not gotten around to investigating that in context yet.

It seems cruel to create family bonds only to have them not exist in the next life. It's definitely the church's main marketing gimmick--there's currently a feature on the LDS.org landing page about "connecting eternal families"-- and I sincerely hope there's truth to it.

MC said...

Rock,

I should have been more careful with my wording when I said that Joseph Smith registered the church. I wasn't trying to suggest anything similar to the corporate legal structure today. You clarified what I was actually trying to say pretty well.

The point was that he registered the church as a church or sect agreeable to the law, like any other church of his day. So clearly he didn't view membership in Christ's church the way you do. He didn't ever in any way, shape, or form suggest that one can be a member of any sect and be part of the Christ's church. He had strong words to say against the other Christian sects on many occasions. He even went as far to say that none of them actually believed the bible. And people during his lifetime did NOT get baptized by Mormon elders and then stay in the church they came from. If they went back to their old church they were considered apostates.

If Denver is merely suggesting things, then why do the remnant fellowships not ordain people to the offices described in the scriptures? Surely someone should be able to see that this was an important part of Christ's church.

I'll tell you why. They consider Denver to be a prophet/servant/messenger/teacher/whatever and do what he says.

Believe what you want about priesthood offices. You have to admit that Christ's church in BOM times, in New Testament times, and in Joseph's Smith's time had them as an essential part of their organization.

You guys don't have them, so you're practicing a different version of Christianity than the one laid out in the scriptures. Hence, you can't truly be members of Christ's church.

You're certainly not preserving the restoration by denouncing key aspects of it.

If you guys don't have ordained priests you don't have the authority to baptize. Which means your baptisms aren't valid. Which means you aren't part of Christ's church, because that requires a valid baptism. That's unfortunately the way it is.

The Lord's house is a house of order.

A man must be called as was Aaron. Aaron was called by revelation from God to Moses and ordained to his office by Moses.

The Aaronic priesthood is required to perform valid baptisms. You guys claim to have the aaronic priesthood, but then you don't ordain people to the neccesary office to baptize. Very strange.

You also claim to have this priesthood from your time in the LDS church. A church you all attack and call apostate. How does that work?

Oh wait, I forgot the LDS church was hanging on by a thread until 2014 when Denver got exed for refusing to pull a book that contained falsehoods. He arrogantly denied that it contained falsehoods at the time, but he and you now believe things in the book are false (remember the Joseph's polygamy section). The whole thing is getting stranger by the minute.

I'm not trying to belittle you or attack you here. I'm merely attempting to take a two by four and smash the false teachings of Denver Snuffer. He's pulling the wool over your eyes. I'm trying to help you snap out of it.

As well read as you are and how sincere you appear to be, I honestly don't see how you can't see through the web of deception that Denver has been carefully weaving.

You really don't see that Denver's teachings are a departure from God's word in the scriptures and the teachings of Joseph Smith?

You really don't see that Denver has control over the fellowships. Not in the LDS hierarchy way, but emotionally and psychologically?

Come on man, you have to be able to see it?

Are you choosing not to see it, or do you sincerely not see it?

You don't have to reply. Just think about it.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

Dear Alan Rock Waterman:

Over 55 million people die each year. The vast majority of those are non members. This list continues to rise every year as record-keeping improves and as the population grows. The list continually expands over time and hence can never be exhausted. This list far exceeds the temple-recommend-holding active membership of the church, by ten to twenty fold or more. And that's just one year's worth! It might come as a surprise to you, but many different people have had exactly the same name. This is especially true in Asian countries and as you go back into history. So, the rumors you are relaying from ex-mormons about the so-called "naughty little secret" do not hold water. Be careful, spreading false rumors is a nasty business.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

On the subject of Denver Snuffer addressing Christian ministers, my wife has just informed me that he is launching a new series of short videos. The first is titled "Reformation Was Not Enough" and can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY1Zz8NxJes&feature=youtu.be

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
You keep referring to us ("you guys") as though we are some separate sect, organization, or "Church" and then you wonder why we haven't set up our own priesthood offices. Your assumptions baffle me. You want priesthood offices? They already exist. Right down the street from me is the ward I attend once or twice a month, and there they are: plenty of guys holding priesthood offices.

As for priesthood itself, it is not dependent on any particular denomination for its authority. I was ordained to the priesthood by my father, who could trace his own ordination through David O. Mckay and all the way back to Joseph Smith. I still have that priesthood. I don't rely on the LDS Church for its legitimacy. Excommunication does not nullify one's priesthood, as evidenced by the excommunication of Orson Pratt. It was understood he still held the priesthood; he was simply asked not to exercise it while he was on the outside. (He did anyway.)

You may recall the priesthood was restored to the earth years before the church was organized; it exists independent of the church, and general authorities like Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce McConkie assure us it will remain on the earth as long as there remains one Elder alive, even if all formal Churches should disappear.

Your entire argument proceeds from a false assumption, MC, which is that my friends and I here in Sandpoint, Idaho who like to hang out with each other are some type of break-off from Mormonism, and that break-off is led by Denver Snuffer.

I was an enthusiastic student of Hugh Nibley when he taught me things about the Book of Mormon I had not noticed before. Did that make me a "follower" of Hugh Nibley, or a member of Hugh Nibley's splinter group? I learned tons of useful stuff from Truman Madsen, Sidney Sperry, Cleon Skousen, and many others. I read the books and speeches of Ezra Taft Benson. These men were teachers, same as Denver Snuffer is a teacher. He, like they, expounded from the scriptures and church history. Why do you keep assuming anyone who adopts the role of a teacher must aspires to be a leader?

I would remind you that Denver Snuffer did not separate himself from the LDS Church and go his own way. He was forefully expelled for writing a book that explained things about the history of Church leadership that some in Church leadership would have preferred to remain hidden. He did not 'leave the church' and start one of his own. He was a high council member who taught Gospel Doctrine for 25 years. Just prior to the start of his disciplinary hearing, his stake president assured him he was temple worthy at that time. Denver retained the same belief in his religion that he held before they gave him the boot. Where does "I think I'll pick up some followers and start my own church" enter into in that story?

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Let me say it loud and clear, MC: THERE IS NO DENVER SNUFFER MOVEMENT. THERE ARE NO "SNUFFERITES."

There IS a spiritual awakening taking place among the latter-day saints, to be sure, but how does that translate into a religion separate from the one my friends and I grew up adhering to?

There is no new separate organization, no need for one, and no need for priesthood offices in an organization that exists only in your imagination, MC. The religion we call "Mormonism" as restored through Joseph Smith suits me just fine. I have been expelled from the LDS corporate Church, but I'm still a latter-day saint through and through. Nothing has changed about that. I remain a Mormon.

If Denver Snuffer began issuing orders, or ordaining people to priesthood offices, I can assure you there would be a lot of people running the other way, same as if Hugh Nibley or any other gospel scholar attempted something similar.

Denver and I are pretty good friends and I can assure you he does not aspire to be the leader of this imaginary movement you think he's in charge of. He would laugh at the idea that you think he's lacking because he doesn't believe it his place to ordain people to offices. You wouldn't do such a thing; why would he?

Brother Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin Hood said...

Rock,
Please don't insult us. Of course there is a "Denver Snuffer movement". Of course there are "Snufferites".
We all know this, and so do you. Baptisms, ordinations (with the consent of 7 women of course), tithes etc.
Come on Rock, who are you trying to kid? Have some respect for your readers.

Underdog2 said...

https://goo.gl/images/tZktqS

True to there's a "DS movement" and "Snufferites". In any language, you must use descriptive language to define things so we can communicate with each other. So fine.

But there are caveats that must be kept in mind.

Do you, Robin Hood, concede these three main caveats:

1) There is no centralized hierarchy in this decentralized, non-corporate remnant movement.
2) Denver, as a teacher, strongly condemns those who would follow him.
3) The strongman hierarchical (inequality) model is a flawed model, which leads to corruption and captivity, as prophesied by Jared and his brother, and Alma and King Mosiah.

You may be FOR a centralization of power that reeks of inequality. That's your right and privilege. That's the "kingmen" model. The "freeman" model is what you see unfolding before your eyes. There are LOTS of enemies to this the freeman model. Authoritarians oppose Liberty.

My guess is your not much of a Libertarian. Perhaps you're a social conservative of sorts. You maintain that certain illumined people (in government) have a right to lead the people in wisdom's paths. The ruling elite today preach security and safety over Freedom.

If you boil it down, the remnant movement believes in individual Liberty where each person is accountable for their own sins. They rejoice in such Liberty. The kingmen model promises safety and security as the followers stay aboard Old Ship Zion. Sing along..."Follow the prophet, he knows the way."

The battle has always been safety v. Liberty.

Liberty is dangerous and risky.

The opponents of Liberty promise "not one soul shall be lost". Their biggest selling point is exposing the riskiness of Liberty, and promoting the lie that all will be well in Zion, just stay worthy of a temple recommend and endure till the end of your life, and you'll pass the test.

That's the great lie of Satan. The Mormon Church teaches this routinely. The mainstream LDS bids members to follow the man in the white robe (1 Nephi 8:6). But Nephi foretold where such obedience to man leads: to "a dark and dreary waste" (v. 7). Nevertheless, the man in the white robe preaches his version of salvation, and it had a very good sales pitch for years.

That sales pitch is now falling apart rapidly. Ironically, the question of Denver Snuffer (back in 2012-2013 when Elder Nelson had singled out Denver for purposeful persecution) was the Church's chance at redemption. The Church had the opportunity to repent. Imagine what could have happened if a modern-day John the Baptist's words would have been heeded. I can only imagine.

MC said...

Rock,

I'm having a hard time making sense of your mental gymnastics.

So you're saying that you guys don't have priesthood offices because those already exist in the LDS church?

So are you admitting that Denver was full of it when he declared that the LDS church was stripped of it's priesthood when he was exed?

Regardless of what you answer about Denver's bogus claim, are you saying that the LDS church still has legitimate elders, priests, teachers, and deacons?

When I ordained my son to be a deacon, this was a valid ordination, right? And then we he becomes a priest and performs baptisms and blesses the sacrament, these are valid ordinances?

No matter what you answer here your position is comprised. If my son's ordination (after Denver's excomuncation) is valid, then Denver is full of it and a very vain and prideful man.

If my son's ordination is not valid then how can you argue that you guys don't have priesthood offices because those already exist in the LDS church?

Your priesthood chain back through David O. McKay doesn't mean very much. The Catholics can trace their priesthood back to Christ too. I suppose their bishops and priests are legit, then? What nerve Joseph Smith had to ordain people to priesthood offices. I'm surprised the early saints didn't write him off as some strong armed control freak starting his own top down led church.

It's also unfathomable that the LDS church would still have the priesthood after sustaining that lying, adulterous, blasphemous, power hungry, murdererous Brigham Young? (That's how the remnant views BY)

Remember D&C 121. If the church was as wicked as you keep saying it was from before Joseph even died, the priesthood never made it to Utah. It certainly didn't make it to when you and Denver were baptized.

Robinhood nailed it. You must think I'm stupid.

There's no remnant movement, really? Underdog2, Adrian Larson, and many others say there is.

Denver's not the leader. Really?Then why can't someone use his priesthood in a fellowship without 7 women sustaining him? Why do you guys accept the Testimony of St John as scripture? Why are Denver's parables viewed as scripture? Why don't you guys lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost? Why don't you have Bishop's to collect your tithes as outlined in the scriptures? Why do most remnant faithful now reject Joseph's practice of plural marriage?

You guys all got this from Denver.

I doesn't matter one bit when Denver says there are no Snufferites and that no one should follow him. You're clearly following his teachings.

You can keep crying foul all you want. If you're not following Denver's teachings then please tell me something he's teaching that is false. Give me an example where you are thinking and acting contrary to his teachings?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,

To your questions:

"So you're saying that you guys don't have priesthood offices because those already exist in the LDS church?"

I'm saying there are boys and men attending the LDS Church who hold priesthood offices.

"are you saying that the LDS church still has legitimate elders, priests, teachers, and deacons?"

Why not? Did they get their priesthood from "the Church" or were they ordained by one having authority? I don't see why someone holding the priesthood would suddenly have it stripped from him simply because he attends church at an LDS ward. Do you think people in the RLDS community don't hold a legitimate priesthood, or does one have to be strictly LDS? Seems to me most RLDS priesthood holders can trace their ordinations back to Joseph Smith or Oliver Cowdery.

"When I ordained my son to be a deacon, this was a valid ordination, right?"

I was under the impression you were a woman, MC. If I am mistaken and you are a man, and you hold the priesthood, and you ordained your son to be a deacon, why would you NOT feel your son had a valid ordination?

"How can you argue that you guys don't have priesthood offices because those already exist in the LDS church?"

I did not argue that. I argued that if you are looking for priesthood OFFICES, you'll find plenty of them in the LDS Church. President of the Deacon's Quorum is an office; it is not "the priesthood." Same with Teacher's Quorum President, Priests, Elder's Quorum officers, etc. All priesthood offices. Not priesthood authority. My local ward is crawling with priesthood offices.

"There's no remnant movement, really?"

I said there's no such thing as a Denver Snuffer or Snufferite Movement. Ask Denver. He long ago denounced anyone calling themselves his followers or referring to themselves as Snufferites." His exact words were, "I have no respect for them." He denies being any kind of leader of any kind of movement. I see I may have to write a post explaining the origins of what some call a "movement" because it began long before most of us had heard of Denver Snuffer. We find his insights into the scriptures invaluable, but this awakening that is often credited to him began long before he was on many of our radars.

"Underdog2, Adrian Larson, and many others say there is [a remnant movement]."

Many have attempted to put a label on it, and some feel Remnant is as good as any, but even Adrian Larsen admits that label doesn't quite fit because in his view the Lamanite Remnant of the House of Israel is what the scriptures are referring to. Strictly speaking, we are members of the body of Christ, just as I presume you consider yourself to be; other than that, we go by no name or label because we are not part of any organization to give a name to. I'm partial to "Uncorrelated Mormons myself," but only in order to differentiate us from members of the Mainstream LDS Church.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

You say to me, "Remember D&C 121."

I haven't forgotten it, MC, but I think maybe you have. Here's the pertinent part to our conversation: 'the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

'when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.'

I don't recall Denver's exact words, but after he was excommunicated under orders from Russell M. Nelson to Denver's stake president (definitely an exercise in unrighteous dominion by any definition), and AFTER Denver's appeal was rejected by the First Presidency of the Church, Denver mentioned at one point something to the effect that the Lord had withdrawn His priesthood authority from the leaders of that Church.

I don't think your son's priesthood was affected, unless he was ordained by a member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve sometime following Denver's unwarranted expulsion. Then he might have a problem.

"If the church was as wicked as you keep saying it was from before Joseph even died, the priesthood never made it to Utah."

About half the church did make it to Utah, give or take the hundreds who died along the way. I see no reason why those who held the priesthood would not continue to hold the priesthood after arriving in Utah (with the possible exception of Brigham Young and his two counselors, and maybe a few others). The other half of the church, those who remained on the plains, never for a moment felt they were any less than the saints who went to the Rockies. These "Plains Mormons" as they were known to the Utahns, were spread out across Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, and the Great Lakes areas and continued to exist as viable branches of the church with their priesthood authority intact. They remained on good terms with the Utah Saints for some years (until the cousins Joseph Fielding Smith and Joseph Smith III grew up and began feuding with each other over which of them had the authority). These Plains Mormons and Utah Mormons all considered themselves various branches of the same church. Just because a Mormon man might have moved himself and his family to the Rockies didn't nullify that man's priesthood. Why would it?

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

"Denver's not the leader. Really? Then why can't someone use his priesthood in a fellowship without 7 women sustaining him?"

I suppose he could. It would depend on whether the other members of the fellowship were comfortable with it. What you are referring to is a suggestion of Denver's in response to the controversy at the time regarding women demanding to hold the priesthood in the LDS Church. Regardless of your feelings about the "Ordain Women" movement, Look at how the priesthood is controlled in the LDS Church and you'll see the iniquity right away: Only men have any say in whether another man can or should exercise his priesthood in the church. Women have no say in the matter, even if some women might feel a particular man shouldn't have that kind of power over them.

Denver's suggestion for the fellowships was, I believe, inspired by God. Here's the deal: No one disputes a man's authority to exercise his priesthood within his own home. But before he can exercise that priesthood outside his home among others, he ought to have seven women vouch for his character, including the man's own wife. If his wife won't go on record in his favor, it doesn't matter how many other women do. This is not some order handed down from on high by our Grand Poobah Denver Snuffer, but most of us believe it was not only inspired, but a pretty good idea as well.

Why should any man be assumed worthy to place his hands on some woman's head and give her a blessing who is not a member of that man's family, without some kind of vetting process taking place? Yes, in the LDS Church, usually a candidate gets interviewed by some priesthood leader who determines his worthiness, but don't you feel women are sometimes more intuitive on these matters? Look at the current controversy surrounding the former President of the MTC. We know he was interviewed by Spencer Kimball and others before giving that position, yet he confessed AT LEAST to taking a sister missionary into a secret downstairs room where he asked her to expose her breasts. And he says she complied.

Don't you think it MIGHT have been a good idea if, before this man was ordained to that priesthood and particularly to that high office, seven women had come forward to vouch for his character?

Like I said, I think Denver's suggestion was inspired.

(continued)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

"Why do you guys accept the Testimony of St John as scripture? Why are Denver's parables viewed as scripture?"

Perhaps we differ on the definition of scripture, MC. Not all scripture in your own triple combination consists only of direct quotes from God. Regardless, a lot of it is beneficial. Denver had nothing to do with including his own words in the Restoration edition of the scriptures. Some others felt they were "of good report and praiseworthy," so what? We Mormons aren't Southern Baptists. We don't insist that every word in the bible is the inerrant word of God.

We recognize that some things that did not come from the mouth of God might deserve to be included in the record anyway. Two examples are those excerpts that were originally published in a gentile newspaper, the Chicago Democrat. If you have the 1981 edition triple combination, you'll find those excerpts placed in your scriptures right after the Pearl of Great Price, on pages 47 through 61. Joseph Smith did not instruct them to be included in our set of scriptures (he had been dead over 31 years by the time they were slipped in) but there it is anyway: a newspaper article cut and pasted into our scriptures because hey, why not?

Brigham Young declared "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture" and he was telling the truth, because "scripture" can mean "that which is written down and published abroad" as well as that which is simply written down, sacred or not. I don't take all of Brigham's "scripture" to be sacred, and if you read the Testimony of John and don't feel it is inspired, or that some of the words Denver Snuffer wrote previously and were tucked into the Restoration Edition don't do it for you, you are free to ignore those words, same as I am free to dismiss some of the teachings of Brigham Young.

On the other hand, if certain things do ring true, then as Paul wrote to Timothy "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." You therefore have no duty other than to determine for yourself if something in the RE was "given by inspiration of God." If you think not, then clearly it's not for you, so why quibble about it?

"Why don't you guys lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost?"

I don't know that we don't. If Denver teaches against it, I don't recall, but perhaps you can find somewhere in his writings where he says we shouldn't, then you can explain to me the reasons he gave for feeling that way. What I do know is that most of us have already experienced the baptism of Fire, i.e. the Holy Ghost. I got mine in February of 2007. That's what made me part of the awakening that began long before many of us ever heard of Denver Snuffer.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

"Why don't you have Bishops to collect your tithes as outlined in the scriptures?"

We collect our own tithes and disburse those tithes among the poor. Which, I might remind you, your bishop fails to do, opting instead to forward all the tithes he collects into the Church's bank account in Salt Lake City. In our fellowship we decide among ourselves how those tithes are to be disbursed, so there is little chance of those tithes going to pay the salaries of any Church leaders.

Here'a a better question I might ask you: "How did it happen that you in the LDS Mainstream came to allow an office of the Aaronic priesthood, whose scriptural duties are little more than to act as a quartermaster for the ward, become the literal head officer in the ward he resides in? Why does HE conduct the meetings, when Church law is clear that it is "the Elders that are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost"? (D&C 20:45; see also Moroni 6:9)

And as long as you're so concerned about the the responsibilities of bishops, when is the last time anyone in your stake took the trouble to ascertain whether your bishop is of the tribe of Levi before he was ordained to that office? According to Church law 'no man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron.' (D&C 68-16-18)

"It doesn't matter one bit when Denver says there are no Snufferites and that no one should follow him. You're clearly following his teachings."

I follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. If you had read much of what Denver has written, you would know he teaches the importance of following the teachings of Jesus Christ as well, and little else.

I'm beginning to suspect you haven't been getting your information directly from Denver Snuffer's writings or speeches, have you, MC? If you had, you would have a better grasp on this stuff instead of throwing out isolated allegations that look iffy on the surface, but when examined closer dissolve to dust. Are you getting everything you know about Denver from outside sources? I knew a kid in high school who claimed to know all about Joseph Smith, but it turned out his source was Walter Martin's "kingdom of the Cults." You might try getting your info on Denver Snuffer from Denver Snuffer. And not just in isolated bits, either.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

"You can keep crying foul all you want. If you're not following Denver's teachings then please tell me something he's teaching that is false. Give me an example where you are thinking and acting contrary to his teachings?"

I don't know of any of Denver Snuffer's teachings that are false because, like I said above, he doesn't teach the gospel of Denver Snuffer, he teaches the gospel of Jesus Christ. I would have to find something Jesus teaches that I disagree with, and that hasn't happened yet.

Instead of you demanding I find something Denver taught that I disagree with, I have a better suggestion: why don't you find something Denver actually teaches that YOU disagree with, MC? Two days ago I came across a website containing a number of audio snatches someone patched together of Denver's comments on various gospel topics. This is a quick and easy way for anyone to gauge some of his basic views. I think there are only ten of them available so far, but they seem to me an adequate representation. Why don't you give a listen and let me know what he says that you find objectionable. Then we'll discuss something you actually heard him say.

I may even agree with you that Denver Snuffer erred, who knows? YOU are the one assuming I see him as the Great Guru Master, not me. If you find something he teaches I disagree with, I'll tell you. If I feel he isn't wrong on a particular point, I'll explain my reasons for feeling that way, and I assure you it won't be because I believe Denver is infallible. Click here:

http://denversnuffer.com/category/podcasts/

Finally you ask me, "You must think I'm stupid."

Not stupid. Just willfully ignorant.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

A word about the Wisdom conference being held in Arizona this weekend:
Those convinced that Denver Snuffer is head of this "movement" might wonder why he was barely mentioned by the speakers. The two or three times his name came up, I don't recall it being in reference to him as "the authority." It's also worth noting that he did not organize this conference but he was invited to speak, so he'll be showing up for the Sunday session.

These videos are both live streamed, and accessible afterward, so you can still catch them if you miss them. I would be very interested in reading in this forum anything anyone might find objectionable when Denver speaks. As I write this, that session is many hours away, so there's no telling what kind of blasphemy might come out of his mouth. He might declare himself the incarnation of Quetzlcoatl; you never know.

Worth tuning in to find out.

As for the speaker in the Saturday session who was wearing the Darth Vader T-shirt: I found a picture here with the second half of the phrase, which wasn't visible on camera. So, mystery solved:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/282741682832368901/

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Oh, and here's the link to the conference:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9h01bNM3t2OZEnGC0VTgWA

mormons son said...

If I may offer my poor comment in this debate. Is Gods love conditional? Answer is yes! Why? Because does not Christ say "IF ye" love keep my commandment's as I have kept MY Father's and abide in his love! I see alot of "lawyer type" arguments in here, why? Stop dissecting every morsel and try to accept it for what it is?
Nephi says in 2Nephi 32 and 33 HE states he glories in plainness as are Gods words to them that will hear or read them as plain as a word can be?

We are instructed to ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ if we want to know the truth of all things [3Nephi 17 + Moroni 10-5] whatsoever he has spoken OR ANY prophet in his name? D+C 1:38.

Seems to me there is much confusion and alot of running here and there? Why? The foundations you are set upon are secure and solid and firm, unless you have moved?

I have always and shall always abide by the command from 2Nephi 32 >> Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Yet,some will say we need to heed the prophets. Yes, this is true, when one comes in the name of the Lord, yes, we should. But when was the last time such a person did this? Joseph is the one comes to mind? We have his work before us in BoM & D+C & POGP what do we [you] lack ? Is not wisdom and doctrine found in them? If there is where is the discomfort and why is there lack of faith?
Joseph said of his people [ a reporter if I am correct ] when asked at why his people are so happy and organized, he plainly stated I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mormon's Son,

I agree with you this debate has been never-ending. Not to mention unnecessary. It began with one reader taking issue with the author of this post expressing the concern he and his wife had over Elder Nelson's assertion that God's love is not unconditional. Said talk overturned almost two hundred years of Mormon doctrine that taught the opposite, including Russell M. Nelson himself who said in October conference 1991, "Godliness characterizes each of you who truly loves the Lord. You are constantly mindful of the Savior’s atonement and rejoice in His unconditional love."

A few years back, right after Nelson made the declaration reversing his own position, I read where someone had counted some 848 instances in church teachings where speakers had used the term "unconditional love" to describe the Savior. So yes, it is a bit disconcerting to hear one man (a man who thinks nothing of implying another of Christ's commandments has been overturned by revelation, without pointing to the revelation) turn that well-established teaching on its head.

It seems clear as crystal that the Lord's love is unconditional. Was not the atonement evidence of that? Certainly everything else is up to us, but His ransom is evidence of His unconditional love. He even forgave the very people who were torturing and executing him, an act of love I don't think has ever been witnessed in history, before or since.

I have seen some say that Jesus' love for us may be unconditional but the Father's is not. Okay, fine. NOW you have an argument. But it's an argument worthy of Rabbis hashing out the minutia of the Talmud. I, for one, am not interested in such an unproductive quarrel.

Still, at the risk of parsing words, I would point out that the example of Christ's words you present, "if ye love me, keep my commandments" is in reference to our love for Him, not His love for us. He states a simple reality about human nature: it's easy for any of us to SAY we love Jesus; it's something else for us to demonstrate it.

He has already demonstrated HIS love by ransoming EVERYONE. No exceptions. He has proven His love is unconditional. Overlooking that overwhelmingly selfless act, or trying to make it seem less than what it is, just strikes me as an exercise in futility.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm on my way to attend a worship service this morning with my daughter Amy at the local Church of the Nazarene, which I do now and then. Sure hope that doesn't make me an infidel.

At least I'm not headed out to one of those unapproved "Fellowship" potluck gatherings. I hear that act of clear opposition to Christ can get a feller excommunicated for apostasy.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Whoops! Looks like I spoke too soon.

This afternoon we've been invited to one of those potluck gatherings, this one at the home of yet another couple who have recently aligned themselves with our little group of ne'er-do-wells here in Sandpoint, Idaho. I'm told the husband's famous guacamole is so amazing, it's worth the disapproval of the pharisees down at LDS, Inc just for a taste of the stuff.

DeeLyn said...

Rock,

Wouldn't you say that a man (or woman), has to be 'righteous' in order to retain any priesthood they may have? Isn't that what D&C 121 (and Christ) says? And if so, then how can someone be considered 'righteous' if they support unrighteousness or a false church or leader?

Did Christ not teach that his true disciples would see thru and thus not fall for or support false prophets and their churches and doctrines?

So if the LDS church is false now, since BY took over, then wouldn't us who have supported it been deceived and support the kind of false prophets that Christ warned about and thus even by JS's standards (D&C 121) loose their priesthood and not be able to pass it on?

So then Priesthood can only be passed on by humble righteous men or women? So to know if one has the real priesthood (if there is such a thing) one would have to make sure or somehow know if everyone in their Priesthood line since Christ (or JS assuming he was righteous) was righteous and without pride?

And I totally agree we should follow Christ, but all Christians and their churches say they believe in and follow Christ's teachings, but everyone seems to interpret his teachings differently, even having all kinds of opposite beliefs which they all believe Christ taught and that God has confirmed to them are right. So not everyone can be right, so how does one know they have the right interpretations of Christ's teachings or if he was even quoted correctly or if the quotes or scripture even came from him?

Since Christ taught that the Golden Rule is the basis for all God's laws and commandments, and it does seems to be 'natural law' and common sense, then it seems the 'Golden Rule' is the defining standard to tell if one interprets Christ correctly or not, or if Christ was even quoted correctly, or at all, in any scriptures.

The Golden Rule then seems to be the supreme standard of truth, and trumps anything Christ supposedly said, in case he was wrong or recorded wrong or interpreted wrong.

So wouldn't that mean that first and foremost we have to determine if what Christ taught in scriptures is even true or not, by comparing it to the Golden Rule? For even if Christ's supposed words came to us by way of a true but fallible prophet or person, they could still be wrong, no? Either with false revelation or revelation that came from his own mind, etc?

Just curious how you would determine the true interpretations of Christ's teachings and if Priesthood was valid. Thank you!

MC said...

Rock,

I'm a little shocked that you thought I was a woman. I suppose that's the chance I take when I use my initials to identify myself online.

You really thought a woman would defend polygamy and denounce blacks having the priesthood? Or even have a problem with 7 women having to sustain a man in the priesthood?

I thought it was pretty clear that I'm a man. Born and raised in the church, returned missionary, held leadership callings etc.

You're mental gymnastics amaze me.

There's no movement, then their is a movement. Denver's no prophet, but he teaches the pure teachings of Christ and his revelations and parables are accepted as scripture. You also follow what he instructs, but not because you're following his teachings, only Christ's. If his instructions come from Christ then he is receiving revelation from him. But then he's a prophet who Christ is speaking through, but no he isn't because then you would have to do what Christs says through him, but you don't have to do this, but you do anyways.

Why is it so hard to admit that you and the rest of the remnant believe that God has spoken and is speaking through Denver? Why deflect this over and over again?

You say the LDS bishops are not doing their calling correctly. So are they legitimate bishops or not?

If they are legit, then what gives you the right to collect and distribute your own tithes and not give them to the LDS bishop in your area?

If their not legit then why don't you appoint your own to collect these funds? The scriptures say to give your tithes to a bishop. You don't do that.

The scriptures say that one must be ordained to the office of priest or higher to baptize and administer the sacrament. You guys don't do that.

The scriptures say to lay on hands for the Holy Ghost after baptism. You guys don't do that.

If you don't have the authority to lay on hands for the Holy Ghost what makes you think you have the authority to behold the face of God?

The logic is completely flawed.

No, I'm not getting my criticism of Denver from a third party. I have read and listened to several of his original 10 lectures, read many of his originally blog posts and some of from his new blog, read PTHG, read the polygamy lecture, read Brigham Young's Telestial Kingdom, read his TSJ, listened to the first lecture he gave to the protestants you recommended, etc.

So though I'm not going to take the time to dig up exact quotes by Denver, I have a fairly good understanding of what his teaching.

As I recall he instructed the remnant not to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost because the baptism of fire naturally follows a proper baptism. (This is in direct conflict with the scriptures and practices in Christ's primitive and restored church).

He instructed the remnant not to ordain a man to a specific priesthood office, but to merely bestow the priesthood upon him. He said that God would determine what his office is. (This is again completely contrary to the scriptures and practices in Christ's primitive and restored church.)

I'm restating both of these unscriptural teachings of Denver from memory so if I didn't explain it perfectly this is why.

It's clear that Denver is not teaching Christ's pure teachings, because his teachings blatantly contradict the scriptures in at least some cases.

So Denver is a phony.

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

Linda Gale said...

Interesting discussion.

I wonder why such emphasis is placed on doing temple work for the dead? It seems to consume huge amounts of time for the members of my ward (plus having the assignment of cleaning the temple after the 7 pm session).

I consider D&C 137 to be true revelation, and since it was canonized in the 1980s, shouldn't it apply to the LDS people today?


4 I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold.

5 I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept;

6 And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.

7 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;

8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;

9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.

10 And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.

Just sayin', if we believe this to be true scripture, why the emphasis on doing work for the dead? Do we believe our scriptures (especially the more recently canonized ones), or do we disbelieve them? If we believe them to be true, why are we still doing ordinances to the contrary?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DeeLynn,

I honestly have no idea whether or not God "honors" the priesthood of a righteous man if he obtained that priesthood through a line that has been corrupted. It certainly appears that at times the Lord honors a healing blessing given by a man who ostensibly holds the priesthood (and such occurrences have become more rare in recent decades) but the question can be raised, whether that healing occurred through the faith of the giver, or did he really have the "magic invisible beans" that seem to be the way members believe power is transferred by the laying on of hands in the church today?

I have read some opinions that the Lord recognizes the priesthood in a righteous man according to his faith, regardless of whether the line he got it from is corrupt or not. If true, that's the Lord's decision to make, not mine. I simply don't know.

I'm unaware of anyone in the modern Church exhibiting anything close to the gifts promised to those holding the Melchizedek priesthood, which leaves the possibility that MC's son the Deacon possesses whatever authority needed for his calling in the Aaronic priesthood, but may not have more power than that when his father ordains him an Elder. Having been a deacon once myself, that calling probably doesn't require a whole lot of authority. But the Melchizedek priesthood appears to carry things to a whole 'nother level. Here is what Joseph taught us should be observable from one holding the higher priesthood:

"Every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from the foundation of the world." (JST, Genesis 14)

Of course it's possible that many holding the Melchizedek priesthood don't have such power simply because they don't have faith, which that section states is necessary, and if they do have faith, perhaps they would exhibit such power. Sadly, pretty much the only thing members of the Church seem to think this priesthood is good for is pretending to pass it on to each other via the laying on of hands. Whether that ritual actually "takes" is beyond my ability to discern.

DeeLyn said...

It's interesting that Joseph Smith seemed to have a very clear understanding of just how wrong and abusive polygamy always was and is, and how contrary to Christ's teachings it is, even repeatedly teaching (verbally and in his BoM & D&C) that those who support or fall for polygamy or fall for any person or prophets who encourage or live it will lose their salvation, yet he doesn't seem to apply that to Abraham, and as Linda showed above, JS still holds Abraham up as righteous?

Why did Joseph give Abraham a pass for polygamy and other sins, but not a pass for other polygamists like David or Solomon or those in the BoM or in modern times?

DeeLyn said...

Rock,

Thank you for your response and thoughts on the Priesthood issue. It does seem to me that any personal righteous power depends on the man or woman's individual righteousness and faith, and not on any authority from another person, even in the rare instance you could find a righteous person with the Priesthood. For it seems people in other religions/churches have the gift of healing and revelation, etc, as much as or more than the LDS.

And certainly there were many righteous people who would have also maintained the priesthood,(assuming it was a real thing) that refused to follow BY and went elsewhere or into other churches. So either way the Priesthood couldn't be exclusive to the LDS Church today, and would be more likely found to a greater degree in other churches or people that follow Christ far more than the LDS Church does.

It's also interesting to study the very common occurrence of miraculous healings from illness and accidents of those who have Near Death Experiences, and who are often told by God/angels they would be healed, quickly or over time, when they returned to their body.

matt lohrke said...

Unsolicited opinion on priesthood, as I understand it:

There are no extant documents conflating church office with priesthood until June 1831 (Sidney Rigdon arrived winter 1830).

The Levitical/Priesthood of Aaron is inseparably tied to the Law of Moses. It was an earthly priesthood based on performative ritual/sacrifice. That priesthood was abolished with Christ. (See Hebrews 7 and Christ's statement to the Nephites that their sacrifices were no longer acceptable.) Why the Aaronic Priesthood would hold the keys to baptism doesn't make any sense to me, other than that John was of that lineage, but he introduced a new requirement of baptism, instead of having the priest offer a sacrifice on your behalf.

The Order of Melchizedek/High Priesthood is conferred by God himself on those who have demonstrated great faith unto mighty works (Alma 13, 1 Nephi 1:20). Most immediate references are Melchizedek (JST Gen 14/Alma 13), Nephi (Helaman 10), Nephi/Jacob (Jacob 4:10), The Brother of Jared (Ether 12:30) and Alma/Amulek (Alma 14:10). We also know that Alma dedicated his life the High Priesthood. He was a "true messenger" after the Order of Melchizedek, which is why there was nothing taught to the church save it came from Alma.

David Whitmer was right: there should be no office of High Priest in the church. Christ is the last great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14).

Priesthood is not authority and authority is not priesthood. "Priesthood authority" is a misnomer. There are church offices, such as Elder, Priest, Deacon, etc. They are administrative, not priesthood. The 12 Nephite disciples had power given them to baptize. (1828 Webster's: power in scripture = right/privilege.) There was no mention of priesthood. The Holy Spirit fell on Alma and he received authority from God to baptize. The baptism prayer should be "Having authority," not "being commissioned."

Continued...

matt lohrke said...

Part 2

But ultimately, priesthood is useless in and of itself, if it exists at all.

As the Lord said, "faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work." Not priesthood.

He said also, "And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care." Not priesthood.

Similarly, the Lord said to Moroni, "Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me, the fountain of all righteousness."

Faith is what produces miracles and taps into the Power of God. When sufficient faith is achieved, one becomes of the Order of Melchizedek (I think). (See Ether 12: 9-22.)

"And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God." (Ether 12:18)

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12) Faith, not priesthood.

If there are no miracles, there is a lack of faith, not priesthood (Moroni 7:37-38).

Priesthood, of course, is the lynchpin of the LDS church. Without a claim of "priesthood," it can't be the "true church." We need something that makes us special. However, God's authority cannot be contained in or limited to a specific "church," because it's available to anyone with requisite faith. It's not unique to Mormonism.

Here's what church historian B.H. Roberts said about the alleged restoration of the Order of Melchizedek:

"The promise to confer upon Joseph and Oliver the Melchisedek Priesthood was fulfilled; but as there is no definite account of the event in the history of the Prophet Joseph, or, for matter of that, in any of our annals..." B.H. then goes on to say that Peter, James and John declaring their priesthood on the banks of the Susquehanna was Joseph's allusion this ordination. (History of the Church 1:40) Why would Joseph allude to it?

But trust us, guys. It totally happened. Regardless of what Joseph, Russell or Denver teach, if it doesn't square with the written word, throw it out. By their fruits (teachings and doctrine) shall ye know them.

Faith, hope and charity. Baptism of fire/water. Keep the commandments, which leads to faith on the Son of God, which leads to mighty works and miracles, including rending the veil, which is required of us to receive the brass plates.

This is our charge.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

This blog has strengthened my faith that the LDS church is indeed the Lord's. I've been able to see the evolution of estranged church members from being questioners with valid concerns to being stubborn and proud of their rebellion unto excommunication and to ultimately being bitter enemies devoting great energy to tearing it apart. Amazing. This was all prophesied by the very prophets whom the rebels hate with growing passion and whom the rebels refuse to acknowledge as the Lord's mouthpieces. The proof of their prophetic calling that the rebels demand so loudly is in the extinguishing of the rebels' light by their own actions, which the prophets said would happen. Amazing.

MC said...

If you love me...

You make a very good observation. Clearly there are many bitter people here who will attack the church every chance they get, no matter how small the supposed issue might be. They accuse the membership of blindly following the brethren, but hypocritically blindly follow false prophets and teachers outside the mainstream church.

Often times they nit pick at very small issues while ignoring or explaining away huge issues with their own sacred cows.

There are very real problems in the church. The church has drastically changed since the early Utah days. The church today is guilty of many of the things the scriptures, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, etc warned about.

But where should one go? Should one chase after false prophets like Snuffer? Should one trust other online bloggers such as onewhoiswatching or the great and marvelous work bloggers? Certainly not.

There is nowhere else to go right now. If the church has lost it's way, which it has in many respects, there's still nothing better out there.

No one else has true prophets and apostles. No other group is manifesting the mighty miracles promised to true believers in the scriptures.

It's either stick with the church and do one's best to love and serve as best as one can, or one can go it alone in the hopes that the Lord will clean things up soon.

Everyone will have to decide that for themselves.

For the time being I'm sticking with the LDS church. In spite of the problems I still see good fruit there.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

One can just go to Christ. No one needs a church or prophet in order to follow Christ, in fact most agree churches in general hinder following Christ, except their particular church.

Most all churches think they are the one true church with only true leaders and doctrine. Most everyone thinks God told them their church or beliefs are true and the others are wrong.

People go with the church or version of Christ that agrees with the level they are willing to live.

People that believe in polygamy go with a Church that has a Christ that is ok with polygamy, while those who believe in the Golden Rule and equality go with a Church or belief of a Christ that doesn't believe in polygamy. Etc.

The way scriptures have been written by men, Christ can be fashioned to agree or disagree with almost anything. It all depends on what we personally want to believe, then we find a church or prophet or scripture that supports that.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

The scriptures make it clear that Christ has a church and sets forth how that church should be organized.

A man must be born again of water and the spirit. One must receive a valid baptism and the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. So where does one go to receive this?

One can not merely go to Christ for this. One must go to one authorized by him to perform these saving ordinances.

Seeing how Christ never once condemned polygamy in the scriptures it's hard to make the case that he declared it evil. The only scripture that can be interpreted this way is from Jacob 2 in the BOM which you don't believe in anyway.

I agree that most people believe they have the truth. Few do though.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,

I had always assumed you were a man, but at some point I thought I recalled seeing you mention to another commenter that you were female. It's probable I misread something somewhere, perhpas in reference to someone else. It might have been someone else on the Missionary Committee who inadvertently made that statement under your initials, but never mind; that's immaterial.

Anyway, to you questions and concerns:

"You're mental gymnastics amaze me."

Thank you! I try to exercise my mind quite frequently, so it's good to get some recognition for it now and again. (P.S. You might try exercising your mind a bit yourself; there's no apostrophe in "your.")

What amazes me about you, MC, is your inability to see our shared religion in any way except through the lens of the institutional Church, which you know I consider to have been on the downward slide since the death of Joseph Smith. This would account for your practice of reframing the same questions again after I've already answered.

This tendency you have of starting out with the assumption that if the LDS Church is having problems, then some other institution must have the answers, is, I'm afraid, what colors your thinking. You seem unable to grasp the motivations of those like me who are attempting to get back to the roots of the faith. In your way of thinking, it must be "either the Church or Denver Snuffer" when the true dichotomy is "it's either the Church or Jesus Christ." Since you disagree with Denver Snuffer's views, why don't you just let go of the man? Why continue to obsess about him? Put him out of your mind. You spend a lot more time thinking about Denver Snuffer than I do, that's for sure.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

I don't know of any place where the Lord instructed anyone to heed the words of Denver Snuffer. As far as I'm aware, that instruction (found in D&C 21) was given regarding Joseph Smith only. Not in reference to Denver Snuffer, nor Thomas Monson, nor Russell Nelson. You have the scriptures, and you have the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. Why not rely solely on those for your walk with Christ? What's with these constant attacks on Denver at all if you don't think he has anything beneficial to offer?

In the beginning of our discussions on this forum I thought you were honestly seeking to understand my views. But lately your responses have been strident, challenging, and insistent. The questions and accusations you make ("so what you're saying is..." makes me feel like I'm trying to hold an intelligent conversation with Cathy Newman. I keep waiting for you to respond with "So what you're saying is we have to construct our religion after the lobsters."

Since you went to the trouble of restating your objections to my last response, I'm going to try and clarify my positions one more time, then I feel that should be sufficient. So strap yourself in; this may take awhile. I'm going to be as careful and patient with you as I can so that this time you shouldn't find it necessary to keep this thing going. The tone of your recent responses tells me you are not really interested in understanding where I am coming from, so I don't wish to continue contending with you. I expect this will be the last time we go over this ground.

As I see it, you are attempting to resolve "Mormonism" as you understand it (as embodied by the institutional Church) with the "Pure Mormonism" I and others embrace. I think it may be too late for such a resolution. If there is anything you and I should be able to agree on, it is that an honest seeker will eventually find he has to choose one over the other: It's either the Church or Jesus Christ. Your arguments focus on a false dichotomy that I am not advocating, which is "it's either the Church or Denver Snuffer." I believe your arguments fail because no one I know advocates the position you think they do.

If Denver Snuffer bothers you, let him go; I don't see why you can't live your entire life and still attain salvation without ever having read a word of Denver Snuffer. He would be the first to tell you his is no one of importance. He would prefer you place your focus on Christ. Stop thinking about Whether Denver Snuffer is the answer; clearly he is not your cup of tea.

Your position appears to be that you feel I am wrong to reject the modern LDS Church. So fine. Go in peace and practice the gospel of the Restoration the way you are most comfortable with and allow me the same courtesy. At this point there is little reason to to quarrel about it. Presumably we both put Jesus Christ ahead of any man or institution. At least I hope that's as true of you as it is of me.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

So, to continue with your accusations:

"[Rock says] There's no movement, then their is a movement. Denver's no prophet, but he teaches the pure teachings of Christ and his revelations and parables are accepted as scripture. You also follow what he instructs, but not because you're following his teachings, only Christ's. If his instructions come from Christ then he is receiving revelation from him. But then he's a prophet who Christ is speaking through, but no he isn't because then you would have to do what Christ says through him, but you don't have to do this, but you do anyways."

That's a big chunk of allegation to respond to, but I'll see what I can do.

I don't think I said there isn't a movement, I believe I said it isn't quite accurate to call it a movement, because there is no organization, no email list, no report to central HQ. "Phenomenon" is a better description of what is going on; "Awakening" is even better, because the evidence I see is that the Lord has extended His hand a second time to gather those who would seek for Zion. The Restoration was not completed under Joseph Smith. The Saints never even canonized the Book of Mormon. (Though they had no problem canonizing the Wentworth Letter and the Proclamation on the Family, neither of which were obtained through revelation. Do we really believe the 12th Article of Faith to be doctrine? I sure don't.)

I don't think I've ever said Denver Snuffer is not a prophet. I did say somewhere that he never claimed to be a prophet. If your definition of "prophet" is the leader of a religious movement, then Denver Snuffer most definitely is NOT one of those. But if you want to quibble, I suppose one could make the argument that it might be reasonable to refer to him as a prophet based on other factors we find in scripture and Church teachings.

First, let's recall that Moses wished all men were prophets. So that sounds as if you, I, Denver, and every other follower of Christ has a responsibility to become a prophet. If that idea disturbs you, then again, I point to your faulty understanding of "prophet" as the leader of a religious movement. That was NEVER what the label meant.

I would remind you that in all of scripture, prophets were not the leaders of a people; they were outsiders at best. The only reason Joseph Smith is seen as the leader of the latter-day Saints in his day was not because he was their prophet, but because they desired him to be their president as well. When Joseph ordained his brother to replace him as prophet, seer, and revelator so that he could focus his efforts on establishing the kingdom of God instead of overseeing the comparatively mundane interests of the church, the saints still looked to him to preside over them. He couldn't get them to understand he was NOT someone they should be looking to as their leader.

Second, the apostle John tells us that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Christ, and Denver appears to have that box checked. He has a testimony of Christ.

If you continue to insist that Denver Snuffer aspires to the leadership of ANYTHING, I suggest you tune in and listen to his opening remarks here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9h01bNM3t2OZEnGC0VTgWA

If what he says in the first few minutes of that speech don't disabuse you of your concerns about Denver Snuffer leading an army of disaffected Mormons, then I'm afraid I can't help you further.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

Thirdly, if you insist on imagining Denver Snuffer as a prophet, I guess you could say he fits B.H. Robert's definition. According to Elder Roberts, being a teacher is the prophet's "highest and noblest calling," and I'm willing to go on record stating my belief that Denver C. Snuffer, Jr is an exceptional teacher. Here's Elder Roberts:

"First of all, a word of definition: This term "prophet" -what do you make of it? Generally, when you speak of a "prophet," you have in mind a predictor of future events, one who foretells things that are to come to pass, and indeed that is, in part, the office of a prophet -in part what is expected of him.

"But really this is the very least of his duties. A prophet should be a "forth-teller" rather than a fore-teller. Primarily he must be a teacher of men, and expounder of the things of God. The inspiration of the Almighty must give him understanding, and when given he must expound it to his people, to his age. He must be a Seer that can make others see. A Teacher that can make others see. A Teacher sent of God to instruct a people -to enlighen an age. This is the primary office of a prophet." (B.H. Roberts, Joseph Smith The Prophet-Teacher, 1907.)

You insist, MC, that Denver Snuffer is a false prophet. You'll have to explain how you came to that conclusion, because every scriptural description of a false prophet indicates that for a man to be a FALSE prophet, first he would have to declare himself to be a prophet, and then he would have to announce a prophecy that turned out to be false. It is not enough for you to THINK someone has claimed to be a prophet and then disagree with him on that count. You have to show the claim, then you have to show evidence of a prophecy that didn't wash. It is not enough to disagree with him. What you have provided is a very weak argument: "Some people think he's a prophet and I say he isn't."

If you insist Denver Snuffer is a false prophet, can you share some examples with the rest of the class?

The best you might be able to attempt is to charge Denver with being a false TEACHER, but then you would have to point out specifically where he has erred; not where you disagree with his interpretation of scripture, but where you can demonstrably prove he is dead wrong in his interpretations. And if you are willing to do that, you might want to start in with the errors in doctrine currently promulgated by the LDS Church. I promise you it will take you much longer. (Hint: you can find a lot of them by simply combing through this blog.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

Moving on:

Your obsessive clinging to this idea that people who have read Denver's books or listened to his lectures must organize themselves as the LDS Church is organized or they somehow lack legitimacy doesn't cut it with me. We don't seek legitimacy. We do not seek to be an alternative denomination to Mormonism. Some of us feel we represent Mormonism more accurately than the LDS Church currently does.

Understand this: the gospel of Christ is entirely contained within the savior's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. That is why those teachings are repeated in the Book of Mormon; they are essential to the religion you and I both claim. The church of Christ is defined by the Lord in D&C 10:67. The physical "Church" organized in 1830 is an imitation of the real thing, permitted by the Lord for those who were incapable of living in Zion without being given a bunch of busywork, and the prophet Joseph repeatedly lamented his inability to get the saints to understand where they really ought to be. Rituals, rites, symbols, titles, offices -all are a prison for the minds of those not ready to fully embrace the gospel with reservation. The goal was to get the saints to eventually graduate into the Kingdom of God, which Joseph said was distinctly separate from the church. They weren't ready, so here we are, with you wondering why those seeking Zion aren't living in imitation of the imitation Church you admire so much.

The priesthood was restored before the LDS church came into existence, and continues along its proper path despite anything the institutional Church might attempt to do. Churches, institutions, and organizations can be corrupted, but the priesthood of God cannot. It either operates under His control, or it does not. No man can use the priesthood to order God around. It doesn't work that way. The very idea of men holding "Offices" in the priesthood is almost laughable. When the people prefer to trust in men than in God, He gives them offices, which allow them to feel as if they are doing some good in the world.

It's foolish to believe that men hold offices in heaven, so why would they hold offices in the earthly Kingdom? The answer is, they wouldn't. That kind of pettiness is reserved for terrestrial churches.

"You say the LDS bishops are not doing their calling correctly. So are they legitimate bishops or not?"

I already showed you in D&C 20 that bishops who are not descended from Aaron are illegitimate. What part of 'no man has a legal right to this office except he be a literal descendant of Aaron' don't you understand? Or did you not know that 'legal' is the root form of 'legitimate?'

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

"If they are legit, then what gives you the right to collect and distribute your own tithes and not give them to the LDS bishop in your area?"

Well, in the first place, you must be unaware that some of us are no longer members of your Church, and are forbidden by the Church Handbook of Instruction from paying tithes to your bishops. In the second place, you seem to have overlooked the three enumerated purposes for tithing as the Lord instructed the saints in Missouri:

1. For the building of the temple.

We don't have a temple, you do.

2. For the debts of the presidency of the church.

We don't have a presidency, you do.

3. For the laying of the foundation of Zion.
Your Church has completely abandoned the work of building Zion. We have not. Salient to the idea of building Zion is to make certain there is "no poor among us." The LDS Church has abandoned that commandment in favor of investing the peoples tithes in interest bearing bonds, so the profits can be reinvested in massive real estate holdings. We do what we can to ensure there are no poor among our little group. If we have anything left over, we donate it to those in need elsewhere.

What is YOUR church doing with the member's tithes once they leave the hands of your bishops? Why do you advocate trusting in the arm of flesh rather than to obey the admonitions of the Savior and give alms directly to the needy?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

"If their [sic] not legit then why don't you appoint your own to collect these funds?"

We choose to collect them ourselves, among ourselves, then we immediately discuss how and to whom we will disburse those tithes.

"The scriptures say to give your tithes to a bishop. You don't do that."

Yep. We sure don't.

"The scriptures say that one must be ordained to the office of priest or higher to baptize and administer the sacrament. You guys don't do that."

There isn't a male member of my fellowship here in Sandpoint, Idaho who had not already been ordained a priest or higher long before we joined together as friends and fellow Christians. I suspect the same is true of the other fellowships around the world. When someone comes along who has not already been ordained, I'm sure some of our number will ordain him. Or did you think we need permission from an apostate Church in order to exercise our God-given priesthood?

"The scriptures say to lay on hands for the Holy Ghost after baptism. You guys don't do that."

We don't? That's news to me. Everyone I know who has been baptized has had the laying on of hands following his or her first baptism, and everyone I know has received the baptism of fire either sometime after that, or immediately following their rebaptism. So tell me: in your opinion, what are they lacking?

"If you don't have the authority to lay on hands for the Holy Ghost what makes you think you have the authority to behold the face of God?"

Again, who says none of us have the authority to lay on hands for the Holy Ghost? And as for the "authority" to behold the face of God, I don't think "authority" enters into it. From my reading of D&C 67, the Lord describes this as a privilege He extends to any member of His church who diligently seeks Him and strips themselves of jealousies and fears, and humbles themselves before Him. "The veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am..." is how the Lord describes the experience. I see nothing in there about the "laying on of hands" from another man before the Lord extends anyone that privilege.

"The logic is completely flawed."

Funny, that's exactly what I was thinking the whole time I've been reading your words!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (continued)

MC, you assert that Denver, as you put it,

"instructed the remnant not to ordain a man to a specific priesthood office, but to merely bestow the priesthood upon him. He said that God would determine what his office is. (This is again completely contrary to the scriptures and practices in Christ's primitive and restored church.)

Interesting that you would bring that up as an example of acting contrary to scriptures and practices, because wasn't it Heber J. Grant who first turned the process upside down? Until his presidency, the method of ordination was that first a man would be ordained to the priesthood, and THEN he would be ordained to a specific office. Grant thought that ordination to the office was the only thing that was required. He believed ordination to the priesthood was redundant. Thus for many years men were ordained to various offices of the priesthood WITHOUT EVER HAVING RECEIVED THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD!

Happily, David O. Mckay reversed this clear violation, but there's no telling how many members of the church today come from a priesthood line that was compromised in the days of Heber J. Grant.

This takes us back to the discussion we had previously, where you posited that only those in the Church were capable of having priesthood "authority" by dint of them somehow remaining in the Church. And it raises the question why today many if not most priesthood blessings are ineffective, and probably would remain ineffective if not for the Lord honoring the faith of the person giving the blessing in spite of that person NOT having received the priesthood at the hands of one having authority.

This is a discussion I am not prepared to enter into; certainly I'm not ready to examine that can of worms at this time, but it would not surprise me to learn that Heber J. Grant cut off most men from the Melchizedek priesthood. Well, at least we still have the Aaronic. Maybe.

I'm going to wrap this up now. I spent way too much time on this than I had intended, MC, but I trust you and I can quit contending over these very petty concerns. I realize you take all this to heart, but I can't imagine why, because if you don't agree with the way I and my friends practice our religion, you ought to find a way to let it go so it stops burdening you so. Before you insist others follow the scriptures to your satisfaction, I suggest you examine the many ways the Church leaders you embrace continue to ignore the ones they don't find to their liking.

One more thing. I hope you don't feel it necessary to respond, but if you do intend to, I'm not promising I will answer. I will also require you to use your real name, and identify yourself as the person formerly known as MC. I will also insist you contact me privately BEFORE you post here with your personal contact information so I can determine you are not simply trolling me. My email address is rockwaterman@gmail.com. Please put "MC" in the subject line so I can find it when I search.

I have been remiss in enforcing my own rules, but I intend to from here on in because this blog does not allow anonymous comments.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

To My Readers,

This morning I received two phone calls from friends wondering why I continue to allow contentious commenters to repeatedly take up space here with quarrelsome screeds. They reminded me that whenever they sign on, a notice comes up declaring this blog does not permit anonymous submissions. Why, they asked, don't I enforce that rule?

I confess I did not have a ready answer, other than I desire to have a completely open dialogue and I've been too lazy to police this comment section every day to ensure our commenters all use their real names.

An argument against that lethargic attitude can be seen by those who had the patience to follow the back-and-forth between the reader identified only as "MC" above. Some suspect this person of actually being more than one person, and employed by the Church in their wrong-headed program of having special "missionaries" troll blogs and online forums where criticism of the Church can often be found, to the end of disrupting the discussions by "defending" the Church's status quo. One jokingly suggested the initials "MC" stood for "Missionary Committee."

I have no way of knowing whether this particular commenter is officially in the employ of the Church, but for those who are not aware, this kind of practice has been exposed as an actual program of the Church, an outgrowth of the Church Public Affairs department and the Strenghthening The Members Committee first discovered by a blogger ("One Who Is Watching" if memory serves) who traced the IP address of several hostile commenters who went by different names, back to the same computer, and that computer was registered to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and located in a building owned by the Church.

The program has since become more sophisticated and the commenters harder to track (they no longer work out of Church-owned offices, nor does more than one of them share the same computer). But the methods used by MC in recent weeks are illustrative of methods used by Church trolls. At first the writer appears to be honestly curious, but in time, as the answers they receive to their questions expose the flaws of the current Church policies, the writer becomes more and more hostile, and rather than ask questions, they pose contentious challenges, repeating questions that have already been answered and challenging the intelligence of the their opponents. No longer are they interested in learning the views of the blogger, but in challenging, criticiszing, and mocking, those views.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

To My Readers, (continued)

I regularly receive comments by a couple of readers whom I consider harmless because their comments are so transparently silly. I, as well as others, no longer bother responding to them because that only encourages them to continue. Some months ago I stopped reading the comments by one reader in particular, because I simply don't have the time nor inclination. I'm simply no longer interested in what he has to say, so when I see his username appear, I simply scroll past to see what else there is.

So until now I have been satisfied to just let the sillier anonymous comments sit there like a brick on the floor for all to see and enjoy, but from here on out, hostile comments written by people who do not feel the need to identify themselves will be deleted as soon as I come across them.

Why? Because one of the reasons I maintain this blog is I like what I learn from my readers. Some people consistently fail to contribute anything of worth to the conversation, and don't move the dialogue forward. Many readers have all but begged me to put a lid on these guys, so from here on in, I intend to.

There remain quite a few friendly commenters I've come to know over the years who for various reasons use pseudonyms, and at this time I don't intend to restrict them; not because they support my views (I don't know anyone who agrees with me all of the time) but because they are civil and respectful of the beliefs of others who post here. This notice pertains only to those who are hostile and disrespectful, or whom I suspect might be Church trolls. I reserve the right to make the decision.

Anyone with honest disagreements who is able to articulate their disagreements in a civil manner, is still welcome here. But unless they have a proven track record of civility, they will have to use their real names if they expect to see their words published on this page.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Brett Reynolds,

I don't tweet, so I was unable to participate in your poll, but the answer I got (Big Surprise!) was a resounding "no."

I would remind others that the Lord still expects us to study and work things out in our minds before we ask a question of him. I did this, of course, and was not surprised by the answer I received.

Dave P. said...

Looking at those poll results I can see that a lot of people got the answer that "just happened" to align with their own desires.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Yep, Dave P. This is the one area in their lives where the typical Mormon never questions, never studies, and never examines the question of whether or not their leaders are led by God. They simply take that as a given. Naturally when praying about the question (which they almost NEVER do) they receive the answer they expected. As I read recently from one committed Brethrenite, "out leaders are the Lord's representatives on earth."

Never mind he offers no evidence of the Lord saying so, the way the Lord endorsed Joseph Smith. They just are, and the person who asks for ANY evidence of the truth of that claim finds himself ostracized from the church he grew up in.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

Actually, though I don't believe the BoM is divine, it does have a lot of truth mixed in, and condemns polygamy alot more than just Jacob 2. It teaches that false prophets, wicked leaders and unrighteous societies almost always desire and live some form of polygamy. The BoM even holds up polygamy as the sole reason why the Nephites were destroyed, and why the Lamanites survived, because they did not live polygamy, but instead loved their wives. Not to mention Christ condemned multiple spouses in 3 N 12:31-32.

Even JS condemned it repeatedly and in the strongest ways in the D&C and his other writings and teachings. He couldn't have been just lying for he set himself up to be totally rejected as a prophet if it was ever found out he really believed in or lived polygamy.

Christ also used multiple ways in the NT to teach against all forms of polygamy, by his teachings of the Golden Rule, love, equality, and his teaching that once married we can't marry anyone else, thus he was clearly talking about and condemning all polygamy, thus why his apostles were so astounded and wouldn't have been if polygamy was still an option. (Matt 19:9, Luke 16:18, Mark 10:11-12, etc).

But again, people interpret Christ's teachings differently, thus why there are so many Christian churches and even LDS prophets with opposite teachings from each other about this and other issues, and why it's usually useless to discuss the particulars of polygamy, for our interpretations are usually according to our personal desires.


If you love me, keep my commandments said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Underdog2 said...

IYLMKMC

I'm an active LDS and have and do find great value in reading this blog. It's a very useful blog if you're okay with challenging your assumptions.

Clearly you are not comfortable in questioning cherished beliefs. Got sacred cows?

If you have something of value to share, then share it. Otherwise why not depart in peace?

You really do not see the clear evidences of apostasy of the LDS Church, meaning mostly the Brethren. The rank and file may be idol worshippers, but many of them are innocent, so to speak. As I was. I honestly believed the apostles were "especial witnesses", that they "know" Jesus because they've seen Him.

But they don't claim to have seen Him. Denver not only claims that, but testifies God asks him to share messages at certain times and in certain places.

Apostasy, we LDS teach, follows restoration. This is Mormonism 101. But if that is the case, the apostasy would naturally follow the restoration that came through Joseph Smith. It's too basic. And yet, you believe "that couldn't happen to my church. We're different. We have the keys. KEYS, KEYS, KEYS. Joseph rolled them onto the shoulders of the apostles before he died, and they are held by the latest "prophet", Russell M. Nelson."

You claim no LDS leaders care what Rock or the Remnant is doing/ saying. Take your head out of the sand. They don't "care." Why all the excommunication? Why the censorship? Obviously they care a great deal. And you say Rock suppresses voices here when this blog is filled with oppositional comments.

Censorship is the tool of unrighteous dominion tyrants. LDS Incorporated uses the tool of censorship like it's the only tool they have. What is the saying, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"? The hammer is unrighteous dominion in many forms used by people seeking to cover their sins, gratify their pride and vain ambitions, and to control people.

This blog pokes the guilty in the eyes? The Jewish hierarchy were so inflamed and disgusted that they murdered Jesus. The Mormon hierarchy does the same, but their death penalty is called excommunication, and lasts for eternity.

You say, "Stop attacking my faith and its stewards." We are supposed to distinguish the tares from the wheat. This blog exposes the tares. We're supposed to discern false Christs and false prophets. Christ commanded this. This blog exposes the stewards as false.

Why are they for hire? How much money do they make? Why do they lie by insinuating they have seen Christ? Nelson just did this at his inauguration press conference in January. Why do they censor? Why do they excommunicate temple recommend holding members? Why do they claim (lie!) they cannot lead us astray? Why do they not teach true repentance? Why do they practice blatant priestcraft? Repentance is turning towards GOD, not towards MEN. Why do they spend so much time and energy practicing and justifying unrighteous dominion over members?

collin banks said...

I've personally witnessed the Church murder an elderly man, take his home, sell it and pocket the money. I struggled for years after witnessing this tragic event. Why would "The Only True Church" do something like this? Years later, after marrying a woman with such strong faith in Jesus Christ and his profound love (not a Mormon btw) I decided to read the Book Of Mormon and the rest of the LDS scriptures. The truthfulness of these scriptures helped to reconcile my faith and come to an understanding that God loves me. These scriptures also made very clear that the LDS church is full of corrupt, self-loathing, wolves in sheep clothing leaders. Time and time again I would pray about attending the LDS church and I would always receive the same answer, "No."

Then I read a warning by Christ himself in 3rd Nephi 16:10:

"And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them."

The fullness of the gospel no longer resides in that money loving, murderous, deceitful corporation. Christ spoke those words and they spoke to me that day. What I witnessed as an 18 year old, the Church leaders sending a kind, gentle, God loving man to his grave was exactly the picture Christ warned about in 3rd Nephi.

These so called 'Prophets' are not prophets at all. We should be looking to Christ in all we do, not these self-proclaimed prophets leading their people from Christ. I never felt the Spirit more than when I decided to never step foot in another LDS Chapel again.

Alan, your blog has helped me in ways I can't even describe. Thanks for all you do.

Underdog2 said...

Collin,

I'll bite.

How did the institution murder an elderly man? Please share what details you can, if you don't mind.

Thanks,

Underdog

collin banks said...

Basically here's what went down.

My family was taking care of an elderly man in the church who was like a grandpa to me and my brothers. His health was deteriorating and he became more reliant on us to drive him around, pick up his groceries, and take care of him on a day to day basis.

The trouble started when the church caught wind that he had a lot of money in stocks. At the same time they found out about this, the branch was assigned 2 elderly missionaries who made it very clear that they were there to track down the older members of the branch and see what has become of their estates after they've passed.

At this time I had just started college and this elderly gentleman whom I knew since I was a baby, helped with my first college payment. The church did not like this one but. The older missinary, we'll call him Elder Moon, caught wind of this and confronted the elderly man one day at home and threatened him, telling him he'd go to hell if he helped with my college bill.

The next Sunday I saw the missionary and he made a comment to me with a devilish smirk, "How are you going to afford college? Brother Stewart will no longer be helping you," and he walked straight away. This sent chills down my spine.

Shortly after that, the bishop called my mother to his office and confronted her. He told her that she was after Brother Stewart's money and was trying to seduce him with her 'womanly ways.' She was instructed to never talk to him again.

The missionaries, along with the bishop, went to Brother Stewart's house, and told him that my family is apostate and he can no longer have any contact with us. Meanwhile they were digging around in his finances and realized he had stocks worth over $100 grand.

Knowing that this man was a God-fearing individual they, once again, threatened him saying he would go to hell if he didn't give his stocks, his house and all his assets over to the church, claiming he would break his temple covenants and could never be forgiven.

Brother Stewart gave everything he worked for in his 91 years to the church in his will. After singing the will, the church became his gaurdian, locked him up in a nursing home (which he never wanted to go to in the first place), neglected him for a week and left him for dead after taking everything he owned. He died a week later.

The church then auctioned off his house and all his personal belongings. The bishop and the elderly missionaries we're there overseeing everything. They never shed a tear for the man they sent to the grave. They literally took everything, threatened his eternity, and left him to die knowing he had nothing left on this Earth.

It took years for my family to come to terms with what happened. We loved Brother Stewart like he was family. The Church took everything he had and left him to die.

I struggled with my faith for years after this incident. How could the 'True Church' do something so terrible? Ultimately, the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon led me to stop believing in that institution and instead believe in God.

Anyways, that was my trial of faith and I'm grateful for the time I had to share with Brother Stewart.

jjkram said...

IYLM...

"Don't take this the wrong way"...
If this blog is offensive to you, why not quit reading it. Problem solved.
And perhaps you ought to look in the mirror when casting judgements, and practice what you preach. So grateful for all those who respond with patience and love. And grateful we all have our agency. As was stated before...if it offends you, quit. We, including Rock, do love the Lord. Thank you for strengthening my testimony of the truthfulness of the things shared in this blog. Have a happy life...

Dave P. said...

Remember the idolatrous covenant made in the endowment: People are tricked into consecrating everything to the corporation and not to God. The corporation can and will easily use that to stake a claim on any endowed member's property, fortune, and posterity. If the members don't kowtow to the corporation's demands, their temple recommends (and thus their livelihood and standing within the Mormon community) are threatened.

Zebedee said...

Just have to share this. It looks like Grand Poo-bah Nelson is planning an all-expense-paid vacation around the world just after General Conference. Ah, the perks of being CEO.

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/president-nelson-global-ministry-tour-locations

Meanwhile, in other news, thousands of LDS primary kids are starving.

https://liahonachildren.org/blog/lcf-children-in-the-philippines-data-report-2017

Alan Rock Waterman said...

AT LEAST he's going abroad, which is the only thing he is commanded to do as an apostle. (Yes, the president of the church is still an apostle.)

Too bad he's ignoring the commandment to go without purse or script. You know that security alone for these excursions into the Third World are going to run into the millions.

Robin Hood said...
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Jared Mata said...

Robin Hood

"I bet there was a lot more to it"

Based on what?

collin banks said...

You don't have to believe it. My family lived it and an innocent old man died over the church's love of money.

Zebedee said...

Here's some backup to what Collin says. I've had some contact with LDS Philanthropies and one of their "missions" is to encourage members to leave their estates to the Church.

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/why-plan-your-giving

Go ahead and explore the site. Just make sure to read between the lines of all the feel-good copy writing.

Dave P. said...

Most of the previous corporate presidents did the same thing: left pretty much everything to the corporation in their wills. The one exception in recent memory is Howard W. Hunter. He didn't have a will, so everything went to his next of kin by default.

Robin Hood said...
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Alan Rock Waterman said...

Boy, Zebedee, how insidious is that? While the Church promotes the idea that the giver's estate will be used for philanthropic purposes, we all know that the money just goes into the general fund, most likely to be put to use in more real estate investments to enlarge the wealth of the conglomerate.

If folks don't feel comfortable leaving their money to their children, there are more than enough recipients who would actually put their money to philanthropic use, rather than in extending the empire.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Radio Free Mormon has now presented the best, most thorough, and most insightful analysis of the MTC president sex scandal cover up available anywhere. This is not to be missed. If you think you understand how dishonest our church leaders can be, you'll still be shocked when you fully comprehend what lengths they will go to just to protect the image of the corporation.


https://radiofreemormon.org/2018/03/radio-free-mormon-28-church-sex-scandal-cover/

If you love me, keep my commandments said...
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If you love me, keep my commandments said...
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Underdog2 said...

IYLMKMC said, "It is not your church and they are not your leaders any more. You gave it and them up for your blog, remember?"

Let me ask you, what is your priority? To have Christ as your King, Leader, and Master, or to have the Brethren / "the church" as "your leaders"?

Of course, in your mind you rationalize that you BELIEVE (I say this is an unbelief, meaning, you believe something to be true which is false) your leaders/the Church (and what they say) to be 100% in harmony with Christ, to in fact be authorized by Christ.

Have you considered...just maybe, is there even a remote chance that "the Church/the Brethren" could not be equivalent to the Lord Jesus Christ? Could the the precepts taught by the Brethren be fallible and therefore in error or in opposition to Christ's gospel? Or is the Brethren's teaching ALWAYS in harmony with Christ's gospel and will?

But you come back in weak defensive posturing and say, "Of course they are fallible. I'm not like those deceived Catholics who believe their pope is infallible.".

You don't realize you've painted yourself into a corner.

The big "gotcha" point then is this: what examples of their doctrinal (even policy) fallibility can you identify? If you believe they're fallible, please give some examples of errors they teach now or have taught! (Hint, this blog is filled with examples).

Please do not cowardly shrink from these questions. Please choose a side. As for you and your house, whom will ye choose to serve?

1) You believe the Brethren/ "the Church" (at least the 15 apostles, or at least the president of the Church) to be infallible in their teachings and can't name even one error they now teach or have taught. You insist you follow true prophets.

Or...

2) You believe only Jesus to be infallible, and CAN name errors taught by the current Brethren. You follow only Jesus Christ.

Underdog2 said...
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Underdog2 said...

IYLMKMC,

"The voting for the prophet and the apostles took place with order and clarity. Every member had an opportunity to vote. The vote was virtually unanimous.

"Amazing."


Elder Anderson is speaking at this moment.

We are witnessning a priestcraft love fest.

Anderson congratulates or welcome the two newest apostles to "an unparalleled brotherhood."

That comment is proof of the iniquity present in the Church. "Iniquity" is mentioned 213 times (if I recall) in the BoM alone. The BoM condemns attitudes like we just heard from this priestcraft-practicing idol, that he is part of an unparalleled brotherhood." Puh-leeze. "Iniquity" is referring to inequity, an UNEQUALNESS, an INEQUALITY among members. The BoM strongly condemns this over and over.

Elder Anderson continues as I write this to heap praise on Pres. Nelson. He's glorifying Pres. Nelson. He asks, "Why do we follow Pres Nelson, why do we follow him"?

Because the Lord has chosen him, and anointed him "a watchman on the tower," he says.

But what evidence do we have the Lord has made Elder Nelson a "watchman on the tower"? We heard from the previous speaker that Elder Nelson has a special "gift". What gift, you ask?

The gift of being able to remember people's names!

But what about spiritual gifts, such as the gift of prophesying, of seeing, or revealing, of translating? Where do we see these gifts manifest?

What is "amazing" is that you think that "virtual unanimity" is an ironclad proof of Nelson's DIVINE approval.

What is "amazing" is the scriptural mandate to have the body of the Church to sustain anybody (ESPECIALLY the president of the Church, wouldn't you say?!) was completely ignored and justified in this Sat morning session of General Conference. Multiple voices present in the upper room of the temple back in Jan 2018 have said how sweet the experience was when they laid their hands on Nelson to ordain him BEFORE the body of the Church voted to sustain him.

Try to do this in your local stake or ward, and you'd get publicly reprimanded. But the apostles do it openly, in an act of gross despotism, and you call this "amazing"!.

THAT is what is amazing.

Anderson is concluding, "a prophet doesn't stand between you and Christ, but stands next to you and points to Christ." Implying equality. But he lies!!!

This is true, but try challenging the Church hierarchy. You will be muted and excommunicated. No, they are ABOVE us, not "next to us." "Next to us" implies they are not better or possess not more authority than us. Elder Anderson boldly lied to us.

The Brethren are busy hugging each other and self-congratulating each other after the closing prayer. What a spectacle of priestcraft. Looks like Noah's court. And sadly, there is no repentant "Alma" among them. They all are in lockstep with each other.

Linda Gale said...

Hurray! dear Underdog2,

"Anderson is concluding, "a prophet doesn't stand between you and Christ, but stands next to you and points to Christ." Implying equality. But he lies!!!"


If the prophet is standing next to us and points to Christ, then he is no different than a dozen TV evangelists. Who needs someone to point to Christ? The reason we have the Holy Ghost is to guide us to Christ..... no middle man pointing a finger is required.

This lovefest was nauseating. I wouldn't have endured it, but the TBM hubby is so worth not causing a ruckus!

It was interesting how many speakers were focused on supporting the new president, not necessarily focused on Easter or Jesus.

Dave P. said...

Sadly, the cover-up behind the sex assault scandal is nothing new and it's harder and harder to be surprised with the corporation's "The end justifies the means," mentality. This is just the tip of the iceberg and the corporation has yet to realize, the more you sweep under the rug, you end up with quite a visibly lumpy rug.

IYLMKMC,

The problem is that the leaders of the corporation have completely overstepped their bounds of their supposed authority. They act and behave as if they have influence over everything. This would simply be delusions of grandeur if it wasn't so true, especially in Utah. LDS state legislators have admitted to the church leaders telling them how to vote on issues against a position that would grant further agency and liberty to the people both without and within the church.

They lie. They deceive. They steal. They ruin the lives of good people within and without the church because someone dared to cross them. This can and has been proven time and time again. But I guess it's okay because a "feel good vote" at the semiannual corporate brainwashing session took place. Who is a master deceiver? One who can deceive people without them ever realizing they've been deceived until way beyond it being too late.

15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.

17 But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.

18 But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.

19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;

20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

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.

24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!

26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

2 Nephi 28

If you love me, keep my commandments said...
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If you love me, keep my commandments said...
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Underdog2 said...

Part 1 of 2:

IYLMKMC,

You said: "You ought to be consistent. All of your arguments attempting to put a wedge between God and his *modern* prophets could be used to put a wedge between God and his *prophets of old*. You would have to list all of the faults and shortcomings of Isaiah, Moses, etc. in order not to paint yourself into your own invented corner."

There SHOULD be a wedge. There should be a perceived VAST gap between the Lord and any man. A true messenger will not draw attention to himself and ask people to follow him. Elder Anderson said a truth, "A prophet doesn't stand between you and Christ, but stands next to you and points to Christ." Anderson correctly states here Christ is above, and we ALL are below Christ as sin-laden equals, including any prophet. There's no intermediary like a prophet between the Lord and us. But IN PRACTICE awakened LDS know the Church's teachings are quite the opposite.

You said: "Your test sounds silly if you merely shift the context back a few thousands years

"1) You believe the prophets of old (Isaiah, Moses, etc.) to be infallible in their teachings and can't name even one error they have taught. You insist they were true prophets.

"Or...

"2) You believe only Jesus to be infallible, and CAN name errors taught by prophets of old. You follow only Jesus Christ."


Good try. We don't have (or at least I'm personally not aware of) volumes of "General Conference" talks or "Ensign" articles, etc. written by OT prophets. What we do have is their words (in the OT) which we believe to be correct, insofar as they were translated correctly. Joseph made many corrections via the JST.

There's no doubt that if we had lived in their day, AND had exposure to the sayings of their day, that we would be able to see mistakes or errors in some of their words, as they would not have taught everything perfectly.

The thing I would point out is I doubt they would be engaged in blatant and unveiled priestcraft, as we see the Brethren narcissistically engaging in today. What a disgusting sycophancy we are forced to witness so often! They lift up their heads in iniquity!

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 2:

You said: "The whole notion of worshiping them is absurd and they would say so themselves."

Are you denying what we are seeing in spades even in TODAY'S General Conference?? We are being exposed to in-your-face priestcraft.

You "I do not know their hearts or their struggles with the natural man. Neither do you. You pretend to know. It's wrong to do that."

I agree with you. Not sure what you're referring to. I don't know them personally. All I have is their words and messages and some few actions I see.

You: "All we have is the fruits of their teachings. Show me evidence in which people have followed the advice and counsel of the prophets and apostles, say, advice given in a general conference talk, and the souls of those people were negatively impacted as a result of following that advice."

Are you serious? This blog is replete with example after example of what you ask (as if you're not aware). Here's one: 'Stay on Old Ship Zion.' The Brethren implore us to do this. Also, they claim they can't lead us astray. That's a HUGE one. Heeding both of these counsels result in an immediate spiritual separation from God. Of course, the blind following the blind can't see this obvious truth. You will object. The result is ending up with darkness of mind.

From 1 Nephi 8:

And it came to pass that he (man in white robe) spake unto me, and bade me follow him.

And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.


The dark and dreary waste is the result. That's a "negative impact," won't you agree? But for those whose hearts are far from Him, they will call darkness light. So we speak a different language and live in two different realities. In truth, we're in a matrix within a matrix. We must depend on Christ to deliver us from all matrices of falsehoods and deceptions. Every couple of years (lately it's been every few months), it seems a layer of deception is pulled off my eyes (i.e., a truth is discovered), and I'm amazed that I could have been living in darkness without perceiving my ignorant state.

Line upon line we learn! To him that receiveth, is given more. To him that receiveth not, is taken away that which he had!

Linda Gale said...

I just finished watching the end of Saturday afternoon's session of GC.

I still am wondering about temple work for the dead. No one has addressed my question about D&C 137 WHICH WAS CANONIZED IN THE 1980s.

Why are we still hearing GC talks stressing the importance of temple work for the dead if the ones who will believe are all already in the celestial kingdom?

Comments? Please someone give me something to consider concerning this topic.

Thank you in advance.

Linda Gale

matt lohrke said...

Linda -

False traditions. The BOM tells us our mortal probation is this life. No work can be done in the afterlife.

However, LDS, Inc. needs something to differentiate it from other denominations--a super special ritual that only they can give you. Its another control measure to control your behavior. You can't come into our super special building unless you conform to our super special standards and pay an entrance fee.

Linda Gale said...

Thanks Matt Lohrke,

It is a "headscratcher" as to why LDS disregard this canonized scripture, which has not been rescinded, and is therefore valid. It seems like no one acknowledges its existence, even though it was canonized in 1981. There hasn't, to my knowledge, been an more recent revelation which would cause this revelation to be disqualified as scripture.

The last speaker in the afternoon session today talked about the awesome, wonderful, exalted communion with the Holy Ghost as they went about their temple duties, baptizing the dead by proxy. Geez!

All the while I am wondering how the Holy Ghost communes with people who are going against their own scripture?

Zebedee said...

Well it looks like High Priest groups are no longer. They are now merged with Elder's Quorums. Reminds me of what they did with the Ward Seventy quorums years ago.

They say this is "inspired" but no revelation was mentioned, recorded, or voted upon. And this new reorganization came about prior to Nelson being sustained. Interesting.

I haven't looked up the D&C revelations regarding High Priest quorums, but I'm going to.

Linda Gale said...

Zebedee,

Could it be downsizing?

They have made stakes with fewer wards in order to tout more stakes.

My own ward was split a few years back. There are now parts of 3 wards which all have members from the original ward, but most have 10-12 women attending RS in any of those wards. One ward has 1 YMan, so he has to combine with our ward for activities. Most Sundays the chapel is 2/3 full in our ward. Would love to have weekly communion with those members who were shuttled off to other wards; many are long time friends and some are close family members.

Change is inevitable, but it really should be change in the right direction, not "if you build it, they will come" change, which has stagnated growth in our area.

JR said...

Billy Graham was more of a prophet than Hinkley, Monson and now Nelson.

Billy Graham went out among the people and spoke to them, shook their hands. The Salt Lake City leaders never, never ever walk among the members to speak to them and shake their hands. Neither do the Apostles, the Seventies, etc. NEVER!!!!

The top church bleaders don't even walk among the missionaries at the MTC. I served a mission and when a top leader would speak to us at our respective mission field, he never ever walked among us and engaged us in conversation, shake our hands.
Never.

Billy Graham taught all to come to Christ, he spoke out against all things bad. The Mormon "Prophets" never speak out against the bad things happening, wars, society breakdown. They only give stories that give warm fuzzy feelings.

I could go on.
After watching conference today I have no words. Disappointing.

I honestly believe the last true Prophet in my lifetime was Ezra Taft Benson.

Since President Benson I have felt that the church has really gone astray. The general membership is no different than any other religion.
With the age of Internet I have come to find out I am not alone.

Thank you Mr. Waterman.

matt lohrke said...

Zebedee - I'm glad you came back. ;)

Linda - this is what happens when we rely on leaders instead of the written word contained in the Book of Mormon. Had the early saints not taken the BOM lightly, we wouldn't have most of the problems we have. As High Nibley wrote in the intro to Avraham Gileadi's "The Last Days," "all the answers are in the scriptures, but the LDS people do not read the scriptures."
And if they do, they don't understand them.

Linda Gale said...

Thanks Matt Lohrke. I appreciate your comments.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Reminder:
As I wrote previously, this site does not accept anonymous comments. I have an assistant administrator who is able to check in here more often than I can and he tells me he has already had to delete a handful of comments in the days since I stated I would be enforcing this policy. I have not read those comments; I have no interest in them. The policy is not new. I just haven't enforced it until now, and I'm only doing it because several readers whose opinions I value have politely asked me when I intend to enforce my own policies.

This policy of requiring commenters to go by their real names will not be enforced on everyone; I reserve the right to continue to allow civil commenters to post here while using the pseudonyms they have long been known as. At this time the policy of requiring actual names is being enforced only on those who have refused to advance a civil dialogue due to being consistently contentious and quarrelsome.

Disagreements are ALWAYS welcome here. Anyone who wishes to bring to my attention errors in doctrine or history on this blog are welcome to point them out to me so I can correct them. If you believe I or another reader has taught falsehoods, or advocated contrary to scripture, please offer a reasoned argument pointing out those errors and explaining why you feel as you do. However, if your only aim is to make a fool of yourself by being contrary for the sake of being contrary, you must use your real identity so that everyone else will know exactly who they are dealing with.

With the exception of a particularly vulgar and insulting commenter who regularly posted here in previous years, no one else has ever been banished from this site. And I have no intention of banishing anyone. Even if you come across as a complete imbecile, your comments WILL be published here. The only thing that has changed is that imbeciles and troublemakers will no longer be permitted to hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

Zebedee said...

Matt, I guess I couldn't stay away. :-) And you're spot on, LDS people (as well as most Christians) don't read the scriptures. Like Linda pointed out, the contradiction between Section 137 and the "doctrine" of vicarious work for the dead is glaring if people would only read the books.

I think the real reason there is such as HUGE push regarding LDS temples is found in the BoM. (No, I'm not saying it preaches temple work for the dead. Their temples were built to keep the sacrificial laws of Moses only). I'm saying the reason for modern-day temple building projects is found in Mosiah 11. Note the various projects mentioned here and why they were built. Management fees and other "overhead" costs need to be justified to the taxpayers (or tithe payers) with ongoing "examples" of progress.

Christ told us what manner of men and women we need to be, even as He is. And He was homeless, penniless, and spent His time among the poor. He had no buildings, no position, no place of His own to rest His head. He told us not to lay up treasures on earth (and that would include real estate and various investments).

So if we're not like Him, what are we then?

matt lohrke said...

Zeb - you're right. No projects = no taxes.

Linda - you bet. I'm just trying to figure it out.


Last night I was listening to a lecture by this South African man, Walter Vieth, on youtube. He has a slew of lectures. The one I listened to last night sounded exactly like he was teaching out of the Book of Mormon. He's 7th Day Adventist, I believe, but he was using all the phraseology of the Book of Mormon. It was really something. I was like, "yes! yes! yes!" I think he whiffs on a few things, but I tell ya, 90% of what I've heard from him agrees perfectly with BOM theology, which agrees with Bible theology.

There are so many people out there who are clued in to what's happening and preparing for the 2nd Coming.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...
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mormons son said...

Alan Rock Waterman...Fair comment to make and I agree. But all this internal bickering reminds me of the Catholics and their turmoil in the 60's and on-wards.

I see so much confusion and anger and I am dismayed but hopeful people will realize what they believed in the first place may be found again, IF ANYTHING else?

We have the tools [scriptures] to guide us and keep us in the way, hold to the iron rod is all I can say 1 Nephi 11.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Amen, Mormons Son!

Everything I write on this blog can be distilled into those few words: "hold to the iron rod."

It is the sad penchant many Mormons have of clinging to something other than the iron rod that is causing the problems we're seeing in the church today.

Dave P. said...
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Dave P. said...

So the claim was that this last conference was "historic" because the board of directors made some administrative changes (without input and consent from the members, of course) that ultimately mean nothing in the long run given the corporation is still under condemnation and the window of repentance is closing.

(Go me, deleted the original post to correct what I thought was a grammatical error that wasn't.)

Underdog2 said...
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matt lohrke said...

You should see TBM Mormon Twitter right now. We're past hagiography.

Zebedee said...

One thing's for sure, Nelson wasted no time in making changes. And these aren't small changes either. He's very smart and a go-getter that's for sure. All I can say is that I have never seen a General Conference quite like this one.

As Linda said above, are these changes in the right direction? Are we moving closer to Zion or further away? There was a lot of talk about Christ-like love today, which I'm glad to hear. And there were some really good talks on Christ.

Could it be that there is hope yet for the corporate Church? Is this a sign that they are trying to make amends and correct past errors? We shall see.

However, I was a bit disgusted with all the prophet worshiping going on. But that's to be expected I suppose, as old traditions die hard.

And there was the lack of any published revelation from the Lord on any of these changes, only more hints that some revelation took place, or as one person said today, "revelatory inspiration."

Still... these are things to ponder about for the next few days.

What think ye?

Dave P. said...

Zebedee,

The best way I can think of describing the whole thing is as "a spiritual sleight of hand."

The prophet worship will continue.
The corporation still bases its marketing gimmicks on false doctrine.
The Book of Mormon will still continue to be treated lightly.
There will still be no accountability for tithing funds.
The new apostles appear to have been called more for political reasons than spiritual ones.
The idolatrous temple covenants with the blasphemous recommend interview process will continue.
Truth-seekers will continue to be excommunicated.
The corporate leaders will continue its deceitful practices and deny/cover up any they get called out on.
The image will still be the #1 priority.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

"By their fruits ye shall know them."

matt lohrke said...

Piggybacking on Dave:

- No boldly calling the world to repentance - the primary role of prophets
- No concern for the restoration of the House of Israel
- No calling out the secret combinations that continue to run world govts
- No mention of the brass plates (Who needs all of God's mysteries, the account of the creation of the world, prophecies concerning the end of the world, etc, LOL)


Zebedee said...

Dave and Matt,

Yep I'm afraid you're both right, although I was hopeful. Looking back now it's clear the focus was on the programs of the Church and not on the core doctrines of salvation or calling all to repent of their idolatry. (I was aghast at the hoots and hollers when the new temples were announced. My teenager said, "It sounds like a sporting event." I suppose it is in some ways.)

From my perspective it seems they are trying to do at least two things with these changes: (1) minimize the perceived sexist view of the Church by marginalizing the priesthood, essentially making the quorums a men's group on par with the Relief Society. (2) Increase the "easiness of the way" by eliminating the structured home and visiting teaching programs, perhaps in an attempt to make the Church more popular.

There could be other reasons, but these two stuck out in my mind.

When I think of D&C 112 and the Lord saying he will begin the earth's cleansing starting at His house, then I suppose it makes sense that His house needs cleaning too. And that likely means nothing will improve until He comes.

24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

matt lohrke said...

My favorite TBM tweet last night was "I prayed before conference to know President Nelson was a prophet and when he told the story about smashing his parents' liquor, I knew he was."

Ok.

I've always believed that "upon my house" referred to the Church, and it very may well be. I think it's the most logical conclusion. Not to long ago I heard someone state the Lord referred to America as "His house." That makes sense to me, too. They both could be correct, I honestly don't know. It seems there is sometimes a micro and a macro in the Lord's revelations. Given Moroni's warning to the Gentiles on this land, I believe it could be both. I seem to remember something about a devastating illness covering the face of the land...

It will be interesting to see if LDS leaders follow the pattern of declaring a warning before destruction, or the watchmen on the tower are asleep at the wheel. My guess is no. But hopefully I'm wrong.

Anyway, just something to consider. Or not.

Jared Mata said...

Had an interesting conversation with my whatsapp group of former missionaries. I asked them why did they think General Conference announcements given were revelation. I was told I was an antimormon. One guy said new temples in India and Russia and a latin apostle, were a sign that the Lord is coming. Asked why. I was answered with nothing but non scrpitural (paraphrased) quotes. I was told that my questions were not in line with the purpose of the group: not uplifitng, etc. I was only quoting scriptures and baring testimony, apparently that was not uplifting to them. People laughed at me. Was asked if I was active. Said "no". I was answered "now it all makes sense". Some guys offered me help. One sister said I was in abyss. I said I was in search of no help and that I love my religion and feel more mormon than before.

Dave P. said...

Yep, that's the usual SOP. Rather than deal with having to answer difficult questions, they just throw the "You obviously are apostate and must always be wrong as a result," label around.

Underdog2 said...

Zeb,

What think I?

You: Could it be that there is hope yet for the corporate Church? Is this a sign that they are trying to make amends and correct past errors? We shall see.

Me: Being that the Church is right now engaged in lying and covering up the MTC Pres abuse scandal, I do not see this past GC as a sign in any way that the Church is trying to make amends and correct past errors.

You: However, I was a bit disgusted with all the prophet worshiping going on. But that's to be expected I suppose, as old traditions die hard.

Me: Is there any evidence that the idol-worshipping tradition is dying? In fact, it's being constantly fed. The "we can't lead you astray" Satanic teaching is so alive and well. The "we have the keys, listen to us" false idea is being nourished and dunged and incessantly trained in virtually every priesthood training meeting for the last decade. The "we know Him" deceptive testimony is intentionally used by the Brethren (several times this past weekend). The intent to deceive is quite obvious. I do believe there could conceivably be some lower level GA's who sincerely believe the 15 "know" Jesus. The "keys" false precept is closely linked to temples. The logic: Members get sealed in the temple, and such sealing is required for exaltation, and the Brethren, control who gets temple recommends. The foundation of the false ideology is "the keys", born of pride and vanity. If the keys (and pride) were stripped away, the entire "logical" basis (for keys) would cease to exist.

All of this means the prophet-worshipping fest MUST irrevocably continue, and not only continue but the status quo (of inerrant Brethren) cannot be allowed to be challenged. Thus, there MUST be a cover up of the sex scandal and there can NEVER be an admission of error or guilt, even when the evidence is straightforward and undeniable.

Joe said...

Underdog 2,

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. However, a slightly different perspective to consider....

To the best of my understanding, the "we know him" testimony is not used with intentional deception. The incumbent officers actually believe that they "know" Christ. They think it is possible to know him well enough to bear that kind of testimony based on the "hundreds" of small spiritual experiences they have -- see the talk by Faust in October 2000 general conference, titled "A Growing Testimony".

In a way, they are like Saul of Tarsus, persecuting the innocent based on good intentions, not with intentional malice or intent. They sincerely believe that God is backing up everything they do, and that in order to protect the "fragile testimonies" of new converts and weak members, they are justified in various policies and behaviors. For example:

“The church wants to portray this image of being unified in all it does…. It wants Mormons to be unquestioning…. I worked in public affairs for the church for 13 years, and I had to lie all the time, and this has really battered my faith.” (Paul Richards, former BYU spokesman, Arizona Republic, October 10, 1993)

In my opinion, the leaders are so obsessed with artificial unity (which they equate to actual unity) that they are willing to engage in morally questionable behavior to maintain that unity. But this is different than intentionally trying to deceive people into thinking that they "know" Christ when they actually don't. They believe that they do know him.

I think that the current officers do lead many people astray in matters of spirituality, but not because they are being intentionally deceptive or poisonous. They are not wolves in sheep's clothing (like early leader John Bennett was, who was a serial adulterer). Instead, they are partially blind and partially deaf sheep dogs who are doing a piss poor job of leading the Saints in some areas, and an okay to excellent job in other areas. There are many shades of gray, with lots of good and bad mixed in. For example: through their efforts, a lot of people are exposed to the Book of Mormon (albeit they poison it with unintentionally bad interpretations of key passages).

The officers were raised with false traditions deeply ingrained into them. They are prideful and abusive. But they do try hard to build the kingdom, according to their understanding. Unfortunately they can't progress past their immature understanding in some areas of the gospel because they think they already have the right answers. It is a tragic situation to watch. I think the Lord allows them to remain in power because it allows the wheat and tares to be separated. It would be cool if one of the top officers had a Saul of Tarsus conversion, (visitation of Christ) and started teaching good doctrine. That would rock the boat and cause a sharp separation. Not sure if it will ever happen, or if it will be a gradual separation.

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