Denver Snuffer

“[After the Babylonian captivity,] only a remnant chose to return [to Jerusalem], but a larger body of the Jews would settle in Babylon to mix bloodlines into the Arab world and spread the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into the seed of Ishmael and Esau. It is one of history's ironies that the modern Muslim populations of Iraq and Iran have within them the descendants of this larger body of Jewish exiles. They are heirs of the promises and will, in due time, receive their own restoration to the fold of covenant Israel, although that notion offends them greatly today.” (Denver Snuffer)

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"Gifts of the Spirit cannot be feigned. New and inventive ways to describe what is passed off as gifts of the Spirit cannot substitute for the traditional gifts named in scripture." (Denver Snuffer, The Second Comforter, p. 139)

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"We ignore the Lord's own words of inspiration which direct us that: 'No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall gready enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile' (D&C 121: 41-42.) We have rewritten this to say, in effect: 'all power and influence is exclusively maintained solely by virtue of priestly presiding office. Nothing else, however loving, gentle, inspired or stirring from any other source can be accepted.'"

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"In our own day we are oftentimes no better at recognizing and accepting truths sent us than were Laman and Lemuel.  We tend to accept truth from what we regard as "bona fide" sources, even when those sources are corrupt or uninspired.  And we tend to reject truths from sources which are not considered bona fide, even when their words are certified by and accompanied with the willing witness of the Holy Ghost." (Denver Snuffer, Nephi's Isaiah, ch. 7, p. 111)

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How futile the effort to please the world will prove to be.  Saints are not welcome here.  They are always unwelcome strangers on the earth; always a "peculiar people" who fail to conform to prevailing cultural norms.  The Saints hope to welcome the Lord into their presence, in the Millennial reign of peace.  About such people, however, the Lord says such people will "confess...they [are] strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (D&C 45:13)

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"We face an increasing and deliberate attempt to make the faith of the Latter-day Saints look, sound and read like mainstream Christianity. Opinion leaders believe we need to be accepted. Our faith came, however, because Heaven was revolted at mainstream Christianity, whose creeds were and are abominable and whose professors remain corrupt and unredeemed. The faith which was restored through Joseph differs markedly from what existed and still exists under the broad banner of Historic Christianity. There are limited similarities between the two. We should be criticized by them, because we are so very unlike them. At least we ought to be unlike them if we are interested in escaping the condemnation Christ leveled at them." (Denver Snuffer, Beloved Enos)

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Time Required to Repent

"Repentance does not require a time period. Look at Alma the Younger, the sons of Mosiah, and the Apostle Paul. Now these were encounters with God, but so were the conversions of many of the Lamanites. (Alma 18: 40-42; 22: 18, among others.)

"The Lord tells you to repent. If you do, He remembers your sins no longer. Confess and forsake them, and you will be forgiven. (D&C 58: 42-43.) Or, in other words, change. Turn away from your sins and face God instead.

"All those labors performed by Alma the Younger, the sons of Mosiah, and the Apostle Paul, after repentance, were not to obtain forgiveness. They were the "fruit" of repentance, or the result of the new direction that they were heading. (See Matt. 3: 8; Luke 3: 8; Alma 5: 62; 13: 13; Moroni 8: 24-26.)

"God alone forgives. His forgiveness is not dependent on your good works; your good works are proof of His forgiveness. (Helaman 12: 24; Gal. 5: 22-25.)" (Denver Snuffer)

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"Many [members] assume the language 'special witnesses of Christ' to mean continuing visitations by Jesus Christ, angels and visions....It is the gap between the misconception held by many Latter-day Saints of Christ's regular appearances to church leaders, and the reality of His absence that creates distress." (Denver Snuffer, Passing the Heavenly Gift)

“I know of no instance where the Lord has appeared to an individual since His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith.” (Heber J. Grant, Letter to Mrs. Claud Peery)

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"Therefore, when knowledge about adoption was lost, so was the chance to avoid destruction on the coming day when those who will return will burn them up.  On that day only those whose 'hearts are turned to the fathers,' and who are regarded as their children, and held in rememberance by the 'fathers,' will be able to endure glory that would otherwise 'burn them as stubble, leaving neither root nor branch.'

"Brigham Young confessed he did not understand the doctrine. Inexplicably, he taught these matters would be attended to and sorted out during the Millennium.  He knew it needed to be done, didn't know how to do it, and concluded that when Joseph returned through the resurrection, it would all be sorted out.

"The obvious defect in this approach is the pre-Millennial return of Christ, and the returning "fathers" to a body who has not prepared for their return in advance.  The preparation must precede the return. In other words, if they are unprepared, or not recognized as desendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through the sealing to the 'fathers' through Joseph Smith, they will be burned.  The Gospel was returned primarily to prepare a people for the retun. To say the preparation will happen sometime after the return, during the Millennium, suggests the coming day which will 'burn them up' is inconsequential, or can be ignored with impunity.

"In fourth phase Mormonism, Joseph's "adoption" theology has been converted into something altogether different. It is biological and genealogical, not priestly and dispensational. The church now markets itself as an institution that will 'strengthen families.' It does not inform its members, or prospective converts that the day will come they will be burned up unless they have connected to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Joseph Smith as the Dispensation head in a necessary priestly ordinance." (Denver Snuffer, Passing the Heavenly Gift, ch. 18, p. 485-486)

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From Passing the Heavenly Gift : "...the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."

When Moses came into God's presence, was redeemed from the fall, and obtained His promise of eternal life, he became the Lord's temple.  When we read the Lord's admonition to Moses to "[put] thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standes is holy ground," we tend to put the emphasis on "the place." We should instead put the emphasis on "thou." That is, no matter where Moses stood, having been redeemed from the fall, he always stood on holy ground.

The true temple of God is therefore the redeemed individual.  A revelation to Joseph explained:

For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;  And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.  The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple. (D&C 93:33-35)

"The Apostle Paul put it more simple: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16)

(ch 10, p. 281)

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"Christ captured the essence of repentance in the Sermon on the Mount. He said: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matt. 5: 6.) Repentance begins by wantng to be more in harmony with God. It involves hungering and thirstng for something better. Done correctly, there is an eager willingness about repentance. Too often we associate it with guilt and being shamed into changing. The Gospel is more positive than that. It presumes the repentant soul is intrigued by what Christ offers. Those who most fit the model are they who drop their nets, abandon their fishing ships, and follow Christ as He strolls along the shoreline asking for followers. There is an ease and alacrity to repentance which we should not miss. It is not dreadful. It is not guilt. In fact, it is unlikely guilt alone could ever get anyone to repent in the way the Gospel requires. Inexperienced teachers often resort to guilt and shame as a substitute for preaching the Gospel in a way that invites interest. Their inexperience should not leave you feeling guilty or shamed. See the Gospel for what it was meant to be: an exciting, even thrilling invitation to reconnect with the Living God. Reconnecting in this way requires repentance. Or, in other words, it requires you to change and leave some things
behind.

"The Adversary is probably delighted with our traditional, narrow view of repentance. We associate it almost exclusively with stopping something. ' need to repent' most often is an expression for 'I need to stop doing that.' In that sense repentance is exclusively 'deduction' or 'subtraction.' In the real sense of the word, however, repentance is 'addidve' and 'positive.' It is the process of growing and receiving new information, new oudooks, and new positive behavior into your life. It is discovery filled with wonderment and joy. If you view repentance only as 'stopping' then you need to repent and begin 'startng.'" (Denver Snuffer, Eighteen Verses, p. 197-198)

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"In another place Joseph said: "A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God."  (TPJS, p. 217)

"We equate in large measure, repentance, with whatever it is you're doing with your genitals. Joseph equates redemption and repentance with whatever it is you're doing with your heart and with your mind. The problem we must overcome to obtain salvation is our profound ignorance. And what the gospel offers defies ignorance, subdues it, challenges it, destroys it, and leaves it in the dark. So let's try and search into, and obtain some illumination." (Denver Snuffer, Be of Good Cheer, Be of Good Courage, Talk given on 9/10/2013)

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Our job is to overcome what is given to us.

(p. 282) Much of our individual frustrations as Saints come as a result of trying to move too quikcly toward perfection....¶ We have a great work before us to attain exaltation...This life's agenda is very limited, even though the full effort involved will last many lifetimes....(p. 283) ¶ At some point, you will have recieved what you need in this sphere, and can move on to the next stage of development.1  When you have gained everything you need from this life, you will have received the 'fullness' from God.  It is called the 'fulness' because it is all that can be obtained here....

We don't need to take on everything at once. We only need move in the right direction. If we walk gracefully through the troubles which come our way, we are doing what is needed. The only battles we need fight are the ones which block our path. Other people's battles are not ours. Our fight is with our own weaknesses, temptations, and lack of charity [pride, vanity and selfishness]. That fight is conducted a few minutes at a time. We shouldn't run ahead, nor do we need to mourn past failings. It is enough to start where you are and live gracefully the next few minutes; then again the few minutes after them; and then continue to do so. The greatest task for all of us is to endure to the end....(p. 284) ¶ There are limits as to what can be learned here, and there for there are limits to what is expected here....

(p. 284) Christ set the great example.  He progressed from less to more.  He may have been exalted before birth, but He nontheless was not all he would become as a result of His mortal experience.  He had the 'fulness' before birth, but remained less than what He would become as a result of coming into the flesh. While in the flesh, he was less than He would become after His resurrection.

It is important to realize this word 'fulness' is referring to completion of development.  Each stage of experience has its own definition of what it means to gain a 'fulness.'

(p. 289) Even if you think those who preside over your ward, stake or area are unworthy, it is unimportant.  The Church is comprised of flawed mortals, and that will not change.  The character flaw of any given Church leader is irrelevant to his standing in his office.  He will be released soon enough.  No one remains a Bishop or Stake President for long.  And if they failed to develop charity and the pure love of Christ while serving, that is their failure and not yours.  On the other hand, if you fail to develop charity and love for a flawed man, that is your failure.

(p. 290) The Lord wants us to gain equilibrium. Gifted saints are a part of the Church. So, too, are leaders. Leaders may struggle with their own personality quirks and egos. They may resent being called to preside over a ward member whose own gifts are greater than the theirs. Such a leader will need to grow, and develop charity for themselves and for the ward member whose gifts belong as a part of the Church. All gifts, just like all callings, come from above. They both belong to the Church. Gifted members must find a way to love, and show charity to the insecure and resentful; even if these weaknesses manifest themselves in a leader. They cannot retreat into judging and bitterness over the reactions they excite. Saints, just as all other humans, fear things which they do not understand. It is important to realize possessing gifts may seem threatening to many others. The "order" we are reminded of requires each of us to work to accommodate one another. None of us is without flaws, fears, and anxieties. Your calling will not make you more gifted. Your gifts will not make you called. You are both a Saint and a fellow citizen in the Church of God. Each of us is given for the blessing and benefit of the other. If we can find how to love each other, and how to lose resentments and jealousies, we will also find ourselves all closer to God. We cannot bridge the gap which separates us from Zion until we confront this issue. Zion will need to be one: One heart, and one mind, living as one....

(p. 291) "We need each other. The circumstances in which we find ourselves help shape us. When we want to sprint, we find we are limited by our family, friends, callings, neighbors, jobs or other circumstances. This is not inadvertent. It is necessary. It is a blessing to be given these tensions and conflicts. Reconciling them requires patience and compromise. The greatest revelations of our hearts to the Lord, ourselves and to others comes as we struggle to show kindness and patience while confronted with all the inevitable conflicts of life. When we lose ourselves, we find ourselves. The graceful resignation to accept our circumstances as a gift from God comes only through having circumstances which differ from our own view of the 'ideal.' What you have in your life is ideal. Keep in mind Alma's reflection as he wished for better circumstances for his ministry: 'But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me (Alma 29: 3). We are meant to see the gulf between our present life and what would be 'perfect.' Then we are meant to live perfectly inside the life we have been given. There is enough difficulty, enough challenge, enough struggles, enough opposition given to every one of us to allow us to grow into a meek and graceful disciple of Christ." (Denver Snuffer, Eighteen Verses, ch. 16, p. 282-292. Emphasis Added)

 

1. See The Missing Virtue in Denver's Ten Parables

2. See 1 Corinthians 12: "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, and it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need; but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked; That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 7 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Corinthians 12:18-27, Inspired Version)

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"Take a look at Doctrine and Covenants 93: 36: “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one.” What if, instead of repentance being related to your misdeeds, which are so plentiful and persistent, and will continue; instead it is related to the acquisition of light of truth - that is intelligence? What if repentance requires you to take whatever it is you have that is a foolish error, a vain tradition, or a false notion and replace it with truth?

"My suspicion is, that whatever it is that is troubling you, will trouble you considerably less if you begin to fill yourself with light and truth. Until at last you arrive at a point you look back upon your sins and you say. “I have no more disposition for that. Now I know enough not to do that anymore because I prefer the light. I prefer God's intelligence and glory over that which I used to trade, or substitute for it.” You see repentance may have a whole lot more to do with your own feeble education in the things of God than it has to do with the time you spend wasted, looking at some vile picture or other. We have these Victorian sexual mores that everyone in Wall Street tacks against. Like when you're in a sailboat and there's a head
wind you "tack" against it. By using this cultural background they get instant attention by showing something sexually suggestive to sell you beer, or fast food, shoes, ships, sealing wax and cabbages.

"Quite frankly, I find most of the marketing exploitation of sex to be boring, not titillating. Some of the more graphic use of sex is somewhat medical, but it's not enticing. From a certain perspective, if you will acquire enough light and truth, you're not going to be contaminated by exposure to the things that are degrading.

"The Book of Mormon was abridged by a man who lived in an environment filled with sex and violence. He was untouched by it. He was a man of righteousness. Why is it that he could preserve himself in such an abhorrent environment? Because he was filled with light and truth. He educated himself, and had learned the things that are true. When you minister to someone who is suffering, their sins ought not to shock you. They should cause compassion to well up in you. People struggle with some very difficult, very challenging things. You need to try and overcome that by the light within you. The glory of God is intelligence. Be intelligent.

"At one point Christ talking to Abraham said He was more intelligent than them all. (Abr. 3: 19.) One will be more intelligent than another. These two things exist, that if there be two beings, one will be more intelligent than the other. I am more intelligent than them all! That's what Christ said. And Joseph Smith talking about the Holy Ghost says, “I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him .” (TPJS p. 350.)

"The fact of the matter is that you can fill yourself with the mind of God. If you fill yourself with the mind of God, you are going to find yourself in a position where you, like the scriptures recite, have no more disposition to do evil, but only to do good continually. (Mos. 5: 2.) That kind of repentance is as a consequence of the things of you know. That repentance comes as a consequence of the light and truth within you. That repentance doesn't require you to spend time saying, ‘I'm not, I'm not, I'm not going to watch porn on the Internet anymore.’ The temptation just disappears.

"There was a big announcement from Google on April 17, 2013 about the fiber internet upgrade coming to Provo, Utah. They are bringing the Internet upgrade to Provo, Utah to really speed up the access of the Internet. That was based on a lot of statistical studies about consumption of on-line pornography in Utah County. (See Utah is No. 1 –for online pornography consumption, Salt Lake Tribune study Mar 2, 2009.) So it is a great target audience. And we say well, shame on them. Why are they watching so much of that in Provo? Well, it is because there is a bigger population attending Brigham Young University than attending Utah State University here in Logan. So numerically there are more of them down south.

"But the problem is not that God has built within you the desires, appetites and passions which He does not intend to have you filled. He intends for you to eat. He intends for you to sleep. He intends for you to reproduce. He intends for all of the appetites and passions put within you to be intelligently organized and gratified in a sacred manner, in which the purposes of God are advanced; so that you may find within yourself holiness in everything that you do. Love and understanding in everything you do. Repentance is the process of figuring out exactly how and why God made all the things available to you that he made available to you. Each of the things provided to us is to be used with prudence and with skill, including what we eat. (See, e.g., Section 89: 7-11.)" (Denver Snuffer, Repentance, Talk given on 9/29/2013)

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"You break yourself against the laws that have been ordained. (D&C 130: 20-21) You condemn yourself by the things that you bring upon yourself. God just is. And He gives you opportunity. He opens opportunity to allow you to enter in if you are willing to enter in. (Rev. 3: 20) Whether you are willing to enter in or not, is predicated upon your own conduct, your own desires. The best way to determine what your desires are is based upon what it is you do.

"We are so situated that we have the inability to do two things at once. No matter who you are, you are only doing one thing at a time. Your entire life you are either focusing on one thing, or on something else. Whatever thing it is upon which you dwell that's what you've chosen. Hence the saying we read a little bit ago: "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly then shall the confidence wax strong in the presence of God." Is the power of godliness related to that? Is the power of godliness related to the presence of God?" (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years Series, "Be of Good Cheer")

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"Folks, in general, have your skulls so junked up with the crap of the Internet that you don't even have the capacity to labor (the way it needs to be labored) in order to solve the questions that need to be solved. It is labor for anyone seeking to know God. It is labor over the Scriptures. It is labor always under the extreme difficulties caused by these parties of religionists who will speak in opposition to one another always contending, always claiming “Lo, there” when there is nothing “there” to offer." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years Series, "Be of Good Cheer")

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"God's house is a house of order, but that does not mean what you think it means. God follows patterns. He establishes and ordains things according to one pattern, and then He takes them down again according to another pattern, and He does not vary. There is no guarantee, when He establishes a house in one instance, that that house cannot rebel, reject Him, and be rejected by Him at another. Just because God undertakes one work does not mean that He cannot undertake yet another. Just because He ordains one system at one time it does not mean that, when that system becomes abusive, He will not deal with the system He ordained according to its own standards in order to bring about the result He warned about. He follows a pattern and therein is the house of order. 

"When Christ came the first time, God took down a previously established hierarchy using an orderly process, informing us about His house of order. He ordained John to bring it to an end, which put him on a collision course with the hierarchy. John the Baptist was 'ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord…' Joseph Smith elaborated, 'The son of Zacharias wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, by the holy anointing and decree of heaven.'

"For His return, we should expect something similar to His first coming. That is, an orderly take down of a competing hierarchy using someone ordained to accomplish that end that is put by God on a collision course with the targeted power structure. John’s mission required them to reject the truth and testimony he offered. It was orderly, public and required a conflict followed by rejection. In any modern take down of the LDS hierarchy the Lord will allow those involved to act freely. The hierarchy must voluntarily and clearly violate God’s standard. It must be orderly, public and the result of a conflict ordained by God’s will. This is how a house of order operates anciently and again today. 

"The Book of Mormon is more prophecy than history. Before the Lord’s appearance to the Nephites, society broke down into tribes consisting of family and friends. Immediately before the Lord’s return we should expect something similar. Therefore, part of the preparation by God’s house for coming social chaos is likely to include some preliminary preparations by families and friends to fellowship with one another in local gatherings, perhaps completely apart from control by the LDS hierarchy. Only by independently functioning can they hope to prepare for social chaos prophesied to accompany Zion and precede the Lord’s return.  There will also be indigenous prophet-led people coming through God’s assistance to Zion.

"Joseph Smith cautioned the saints about violating God’s trust. As Joseph put it: 'His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. We should expect God’s house to be ordered around only one principle: repentance. When the pride of a great organization replaces repentance, the heavens withdraw, and when they do, 'Amen' to that portion of God’s house. But the restoration through Joseph will always remain, even if God chooses to order it differently before His return. It is His to do with as He determines best....

"His house is a house of order, but since the days of Abraham God’s house has included things about which we have very little knowledge.

"Because of apostasy by the overwhelming majority of Adam’s posterity, Abraham was born into apostasy. Abraham’s struggle to overcome an apostate world qualified him to be the father of the righteous. His struggle to return and reclaim faith is the model mankind would see, with very few exceptions, forever after. He was the prototype of 'everyman' in a post-deluge world, cut off from God, the Patriarchs and the Garden.

"Abraham’s chosen son, with whom the covenant would continue, was Isaac. God renewed the covenant with Isaac, and again with Jacob, and again with Joseph. But Abraham married after the death of Sarah. His wife, Keturah, bore him sons also. Among these was Midian. Generations later, the chosen line was devoid of priesthood, but through Midian a descendant named Jethro was still a 'priest' whose line of authority reckoned back generations. This priest who had seven daughters, ordained Moses to the very priesthood that allowed him to enter God’s presence. From this we know the 'house of God' extended beyond the Biblical narrative involving Abraham’s lineage. God’s house included generations of righteous, priesthood empowered, independently functioning families lost to the scriptural record and our memory. 

"Even if only the chosen line from Abraham is God’s house, the Assyrian captivity of the Northern Kingdom removed ten tribes from the Bible’s account. The apocryphal book of Esdraus records they were led away to the north by God, at which point they vanished from our record. While absent from our Bible, these missing people remained prophet-led. They kept a sacred record we have yet to have revealed to us. Christ following His resurrection visited them, like the Nephites. God’s house of order spread in all directions and vanished from view.

"At approximately 600 B.C., a party of believers were prophet-led to abandon Jerusalem and flee to the Americas. Their record is the Book of Mormon. They, along with the missing ten tribes, remained part of God’s house of order, although we knew nothing concerning them until the Book of Mormon publication in 1830.

"Despite being widely separated, Christ considered them all 'one fold.' He was their 'one shepherd.' 

"Moses founded a religious establishment headed by descendants of Aaron and assisted by male members of the Tribe of Levi. This hierarchy, however, never controlled the Old Testament prophets, who were outsiders frequently condemning the religious establishment. God ordained them directly, outside Israel’s religious hierarchy. One of these independently ordained prophets declared: 'I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit. And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.' Called only by God, they functioned outside of man’s authority and control. The house of order God establishes and watches over has frequently refused to obey Him. Prophets roundly condemned Israel’s priests and false prophets for failing to follow His path and respect His commandments. All of this is God’s house of order.

"The Book of Mormon follows a splinter group led by Zeniff into the land of Lehi-Nephi. His kingdom was conferred on his son, King Noah, who was wicked. His wickedness included an aggressive building program, while neglecting the needs of his people. He released all his father’s priests and called new ones 'such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.' Among these was the priest Alma. 

"When Noah’s people departed from God’s path, a single man entered the scene. He was unconnected from any known genealogy. Only he bears the name 'Abinadi' in the book, and therefore we cannot know for certain if he was Nephite, Lamanite, Jaredite, or something other. The lone witness, Abinadi, condemned King Noah, his court and his people. The established authorities were incredulous. King Noah declared: 'Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?' The house of order, as far as the king and his priests could tell, could not include such an outsider.

"Joseph Smith explained John the Beloved was still here, laboring with the lost tribes of Israel. There were three Nephite disciples who similarly 'never taste of death' and remain here. LDS scripture also mention there are yet others 'ye know not of' who are likewise here with no account given us.

"Many more examples could be given, but this is enough to show the house of order established by God is beyond man’s will and never fully disclosed. Although an orderly process fills offices in His house, God can, has and will still speak up through whomever He chooses. Just because He says something to one, we should not conclude He is prevented from speaking with another." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years in Mormonism, Preserving the Restoration, 9/9/2014)

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"Let me read it to you again and offer another definition. 'If a man gets fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments, and by obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.' I want to redefine that 'house,' not in terms of physical structure or a building, but in terms of familial relationship, in which God alone establishes His house. And that to by acknowledging who His sons and daughters are. That house can never be overtaken, touched, trampled, broken, forsaken, compromised, or adulterated, because man is powerless to control God. And so when the house of God is to be set in order in the last days, don't think of that as a movement that you are a waiting for someone else to accomplish. How do you not know that the One Mighty and Strong, to be sent to set in order the house of God, is not Jesus Christ himself? Our Lord is waiting to minister to all those who will come to Him. Because, receiving our Lord is in itself an ordinance." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years in Mormonism, Priesthood, 11/2/2013)

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"After nearly a millennium-and-a-half, there was a great gulf between God’s last revelation and Catholic doctrines. When Gutenberg’s 1439 press and an increasingly literate population made it impossible for the Roman hierarchy to control information, Catholicism fractured. The Internet is to LDS Mormonism what Gutenberg’s press was to Catholicism. It is no longer possible for an institution to control the narrative." (Denver Snuffer, "Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge")

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I struggle to understand the point of attending church. I currently go for one main specific reason. The only time being at church is beneficial, is the point just after someone asks that a scripture be read, and just before anyone gives their opinion on it.

I never enjoy hearing a talk or a lesson when scriptures are used, because they are used to back up a false doctrine, like "follow the prophet". This wouldn't be such a problem if this wasn't the God of modern Mormonism. The religion IS "follow the prophet", thus every lesson, every talk, every connotation of everything that is said, and every historical rendering is painted with this brush. The saving doctrines become bereft of power. We think we still believe in Christ, but really, what we believe in, is the prophet and we have rejected Christ.

I stopped reading Denver Snuffer because I didn't want to feel aggravated with the church more than I already was. "It'll get better," or "it's not so bad" I continue to tell myself. But there really is no point. The relationships are phony, the assignments to be a friend or home teacher sets real personal relationship up on a phony ground.

I am kept from the temple because I cannot answer the test of loyalty affirmatively.

I liked what Elisha said as we read today, that he had been jealous for the Lord, and for it, he was despised, rejected by his fellow men and he was ready to be taken.

I came home today and saw this post by Denver: Only One Doctrine Left

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"Christ came to end the Mosaic Dispensation and begin new forms of worship. The religious leaders of His day were so steeped in their form of religious observances they viewed Christ as a threat to the order of things. These were not irreligious people. Quite the opposite was true. They were devoted to the faith they practiced. It was their security, their tradition, their identity. Through it, their place in the world was established. The entire Roman Empire knew of the Jews. Their religious peculiarities were well known. Their synagogues were spread from Jerusalem to Antioch, from Alexandria to Rome. Paul's later missionary efforts would use the local synagogues throughout the Mediterranean as places to preach. The Jewish faith was the seedbed from which Christianity sprouted. The leaders of this faith were justifiably proud of their religion's successes. However, whatever light may have been possible to gain under this religion, the leaders were so opposed to Christ they conspired to have Him killed.

"The religion established through a prophet of God became the superstructure used to kill the Lord who first revealed it to Moses. As these devoted followers of Moses' law were killing Christ, they were satisfied their judgment was more than justified by their religion. Religion and the religious were the ones who opposed the Lord. The sinners and irreligious were His followers." (Denver Snuffer, Eighteen Verses, p. 191-192)

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"Religious movements begin with an individual soul gaining enlightenment. Some person profoundly connects with God and changes the course of history. "Religion" follows in the wake of personal or individual enlightenment as others are taught by the enlightened visionary. It is not easy to transfer a connection to God from one person to another, and religion is the unavoidable result of enlightenment as the transfer is attempted.

"It is impossible to institutionalize enlightenment. Although that is the object of every religious movement at the start, none of them able to reach that goal. What is institutionalized is an echo of the enlightenment experience. It is always left to the individual participant to find the experience for themselves.

"Moses' experience on Sinai resulted in a new Dispensation, because the heavens had opened and God had spoken. From this original contact with the ineffable, a religious construct was organized. It involved organization, priestly officiators, ordinances, rites, rituals, laws, social order and a body of teachings. The purpose of it all was to allow those who followed Moses and believed God had revealed Himself to Moses to worship in a form which would bring them into harmony with God. However, as the Old Testament account shows, those who followed in these religious observances would be at times cruel, mischievous, perverse, hard-hearted, vain and rule-ridden. Often, the whole of the Old Testament is viewed as a time of darkness and ignorance. The whole of the Mosaic Law is viewed by the Christian world as inferior to what was to come.

"The Mosaic Dispensation was a time of religious importance, however. It lasted for more than a millennium and is still remembered for its religious rites and observances. This epoch was dominated by religion. There may have been seasons when there was precious little enlightenment for a time, but throughout the era the people are still remembered for being religious. As the New Testament unfolds, we find just how entirely possible it was to be devoted to the religion, and yet so unenlightened to the truth that people would reject God. This gulf between religious people and their God highlighted Christ's ministry. Christ's teachings attempted to bring people back to God by focusing on what was truly important." (Denver Snuffer, Eighteen Verses, p. 189-191)

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"Some of you read my blog and saw a post I put up about a talk given by Elder Oaks in the last General Conference. It's important to talk about because of the dynamic on public display. 

"When Joseph Smith established the Relief Society, he established an independently functioning women's organization the women controlled and ran. They were an auxiliary to the church to be sure, but it was a women's organization. Today, we like to say that it's the longest lived, oldest women's organization on the earth. That was true at one point, but it is no longer true. Through the process of correlation, the Relief Society, which once had its own budget, its own checkbook, its own control, its own magazine, its own lessons, and it was a women's run organization, no longer exists. Through correlation, the women's organization was brought under the authority of the general and local priesthood which now runs everything. As a result, the women lost their budget, their magazine, and control over the curriculum. In short, the women lost the Relief Society. It became an appendage to the correlated priestly control. As a result of it becoming an appendage to the correlated priesthood control, it was just a matter of time before some woman, as a Relief Society President, knowing what needs to be done, will want to do what it is necessary. Then some priesthood local authority, Bishop or Stake President, is going to say “no.” He will say “no” for not a very good reason. Before long, there will be an accumulation of incident after incident, problem after problem, disappointment and frustration after disappointment and frustration, to the point where, in the natural chain of events, there will be women who say, “We've got a problem.” The solution to the problem in the correlated church consists in obtaining possession of the right to be the one who asserts control. The women will want to be the one with the thumb and not the one under the thumb. 

"Since they are not allowed to govern themselves, the solution to the women?s problem is to get control over the government. Relief Society is now a man's organization, populated by women. So what do the women say? They want control back. The way to get control back, since it's a correlated organization, and that means priesthood, is to get for themselves the priesthood. This is the only way women can get control back in the correlated church. The oblivious correlators do not recognize the problem is correlation itself. Elder Oaks? talk is the proposed solution. The solution to the problem, proposed in our last general conference doubles down on correlation. It is now the position of the church that key holders can take out a key, touch the disgruntled little lady and say, "There you go little lady, now you have the authority from the key holder!” Voilà, Elder Oaks? talk has brilliantly solved the problem! It preserves the correlated church while removing any need to ordain women.

"The brilliance of this position, it is supposed, is that the women agitating for ordination are now empowered by the authority of the priesthood and can do all kinds of priestly things. That is what Elder Oak's talk was about: giving the women of the LDS Church the authority of the Priesthood, with which they can go out and perform a function as if they were a priesthood holder. But it misses the point. It went right over their heads. I would say it gave Elder Oaks a haircut, but he's like my friend Jon here, follically challenged. So there?s no hair to cut.

"But the problem went right over the heads of those who do not recognize the real underlying issue. The problem is correlation itself. The LDS Church can now allow women to exercise the authority of priesthood, but that's not what they want. They would like to get back their organization. And I don't blame them. Looking at the problem from the women?s perspective, the only cure is to have women bishops, women stake presidents and omen apostles. Elder Oaks? talk would allow that, so long as there remained a “key holder” above them to delegate to them. But since President Thomas Monson is regarded as the fully equipped key holder, I suppose he wears a belt full of them and can use them to touch the little ladies of the LDS Church and give them authority indeed." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years in Mormonism, Zion)

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"In the Church, there are many men whose devotion to Church leaders goes beyond hero-worship. They make themselves "ladies in waiting" hoping to secure for themselves favorable attention from Church leaders who can "call" them to positions which they covet. Their slavish focus on Church leaders, and desire to get noticed, makes them fit decidedly within the Telestial description given here. It is no wonder such people are only capable of handling Telestial glory, for they have failed to face the fearsome responsibility of acting before God as an agent for themselves. Agency has done them little good, since they have surrendered it in favor of following men to their damnation." (Denver Snuffer, Eighteen Verses, p. 29)

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"Legal entities, whenever they are formed, become prey to the law. Men who have ambition can control legal entities. They can be sycophants, brown-nosers and people who are willing to do whatever is required of them in order to show they are desperately submissive to the one above them so that they might join them and have control over others. This is the way that organizations go. They invite abuse." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years in Mormonism, Preserving the Restoration)

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"And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another--some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant." (D&C 76:98-101)

"All those named (Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Christ, John, Moses, Ellas, Esaias, Isaiah and Enoch) were true messengers or authorized prophets of God. In the list is the Son of God Himself. These claims are not being made by those who were following Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Zarathustra, Vishnu or Krishna. They are being made by Saints, who thought themselves justified because of their belief in authorized messengers sent from God." (Denver Snuffer)

Receiving the testimony of Jesus is more than believing in Jesus. "Eternal life", Jesus said was to "know God", and knowing God is more than knowing about him. Receiving the testimony of Joseph Smith, without going on do that which Joseph taught, that is having our own face-to-face visitation, which is a fulness of the Gospel, wherein we receive the actual Everlasting Covenant, and not just it's symbolic version which we receive in the temple.

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Go to Luke 22 where Christ makes an observation about Gentiles. Luke 22: 25-27.  "And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth?  is not he that sitteth at meat?  but I am among you as he that serveth." 

The Gentile affliction is the widespread desire to have someone rule over them. Gentiles call such nonsense by these pseudo-royalty "a benefactor." This is precisely the motivation in the souls of the Gentiles who have inherited this land. This longing now creates so many of our current political problems. "Take care of us, rule over us…rule with a strong hand. Take away things from us that we shouldn't have. Curtail our liberties and show us the right way." Oddly many of you can look at the government?s present abuses and detect that something is very much amiss. But you look at your own religious structure and you're entirely oblivious to it. Governmental paternalism is deeply offensive to some of you. Yet you see church paternalism as good, and right, and righteous, and holy, and wonderful! They dispense nonsense, children?s fables, vacuous and insipid sermons and the response is:  “I just thought it was so special - the things that they said.” You measure their dross with a micrometer seeking anything to praise, but disregard truth when it is give you in full measure, pressed down and flowing over. You always mistake a false prophet for a true one. “The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves „in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth?(see Hebrews 11: 38), and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men.” (DHC, Vol. 4, p. 574; also TPJS, p. 206.)

Turn to 2 Nephi 10:11 and remember the warning given there: "And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God. For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words." (2 Ne. 10: 11-14.)

Those who will establish Zion must reject even the idea of a king. I know that embedded in the doctrine of the Restoration is the notion that we're going to become “Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses.” I want to suggest to you that when Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world," (John 18: 36), and he gird himself with a towel and he knelt down and he washed the feet of those that he was ministering to, implicit within that act is the kind of conduct of our real King. (John 13: 4-16.) Those who are His kings and priests will do likewise. They too will kneel and serve. They will not be “Strongmen.”  They will be meek servants to the Gentile?s way of reckoning. If He says, "My kingdom is not of this world," and He came merely to be a servant, how much more gratefully should we look at the opportunity to kneel and to serve, rather than to say, "I want the chief seats," (Matt. 23: 6) rather than say, "I want to be upheld and sustained and lauded and praised." We are not here to be flattered and extolled. We are here to serve in any way we can. 

Christ is our only King, and His kingdom is not of this world. John 13: 14-16: "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord;"

The twin of kingship is priestcraft. In 2 Nephi 26: 29, (the denunciation of kingship came from the same prophet who also denounced priestcraft) he condemns priestcraft: "He commandeth that there

shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years in Mormonism, Zion)

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"Moses went up the mountain, and he talked with God, and spoke with Him face-to-face. Moses wanted to bring the people up there with him so that they, like he, would speak with God and be in His presence, face-to-face. That's what Moses sought after. At which point Moses' status as the leader would have ended because no one would need to say to another, "Know ye the Lord," for they all would know him. This is the prophecy about Zion in the last days. (Jer. 31: 33-34.) That accomplishment requires people to know God, and not merely an individual. When the people refused to rise up, that ended the possibility of Moses establishing Zion.

"It did not end the people's desire to be merely led by a strong man. Because they kept Moses for another 40 years, wandering about in the wilderness, as they did. They trudged in a wasteland because they would not accept anything better, eating manna from heaven and grousing and bitching about it, as they did. But they had a strong man to lead them. So what? You can't get there by relying on the strength of a leader, even if the leader is the meekest of all men. That model will not work and cannot work." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years in Mormonism, Zion)

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"The coming change at the Lord's return is going to alter the Telestial condition of the world to a Terrestrial condition. To the extent any church tries to convert you to follow men, as I read you just a few moments ago, if you are of Paul, or of Peter, or of Spencer, or Ezra, or Howard, or Gordon, or Thomas; if you're of them, you will not survive the Lord's return. You will not survive the Lord's return, period. A revelation was given to Joseph Smith informing you of that. I am not, I never have been, and I never will be “of Thomas,” or of any of those who will follow him and sit in that same chair. I would recommend you hesitate also.

"I have to tell you though, and this is one of the ironies of the Second Coming. The Lord is big on irony. If you look at the description of those in the Terrestrial condition, from Doctrine and Covenants 76: 72, 'Behold, these are they who died without law; And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.'

"So if you're in the world and blinded by the preaching of false ministers, but you live honorably according to that - but you don't follow them, you don't worship them, you simply do the best you can - you will survive the Lord's coming. If you are instead worshipping a man as your leader, to whom you look for your salvation, who holds 'keys' to take you away from death and hell and put you on a throne somewhere in heaven - that group of people have gotten too close to the truth to be excused for their error. They are idolaters, blinded by the craftiness of men. Without idolatry, they are simply confused about the nature of God, which is different from approaching nigh unto it, and then following and idolizing a man. I don't know if you can create idolatry outside of a religion claiming 'keys.' That limits it to the Catholics and the Mormons. And various off-shoots of Mormonism." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years in Mormonism, Zion)

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"We are witnessing revolutionaries in the very act of overthrowing their past beliefs."

Denver Snuffer: New, Improved Mormonism

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"Afshin Javid was born in 1972 in southern Iran in a city called Abadan. His earliest childhood memories was the islamic revolution in 1979. When he was about 8 years old he remembers a plane flying about 40 feet above his head and a few seconds later there was a loud sound and the ground shook. This was the first bomb dropped by the Iraqi Airforce. At this point they got into a car and left everything they owned and went to a city about an hour away. When the Iraqi's advanced they had to move four more times before they had to leave the country in 1987. As a 15 year old he crossed the dessert walking into Pakistan and witnessed the poverty in Pakistan. From 1990-1992 he spent time in Bangladesh as a missionary while waiting to move to Canada. He is now the founding member of I AM Thirsty Ministries in Vancouver. Afshin is happily married and recently renewed his wedding vows for his 15th year anniversary. Afshin and his wife have four beautiful children."

 

"[After the Babylonian captivity, only a small part of the Jews would] choose to return and the larger body of Jews would settle in Babylon, to mix bloodlines into the Arab world and spread the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into the seed of lshmael and Esau.

"It is one of history's ironies that the modem Muslim populations of Iraq and Iran have within them the descendants of this larger body of Jewish exiles. They are heirs of the promises and will, in due time, receive their own restoration to the fold of covenant Israel, although that notion offends them greatly today." (Denver Snuffer, The Second Comforter, p. 340)

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"Heaven responds to questions." (Denver Snuffer)

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"Whatever the numbers were, the significance of Zion is not, and never was, its numerosity. The significance of Zion is its spiritual endowment. It is the power of heaven....It is not their big numbers which intimidate the ungodly. Even a handful is sufficient. Righteousness is a power in itself.

"Remember from the account of John when they came to arrest the Savior. He asked who they were seeking. They said "Jesus of Nazareth." He declared, "I am He." The guard stood face to face with righteousness. The imposing figure of the righteous Lord was enough to intimidate those who came with swords and with shields, protected and armed, while He was clothed only with the garments He had on and the force of righteousness within him. The guards "went backward, and fell to the ground." At that moment in that garden, in that presence, confined to the person of one individual, there was Zion." (Denver Snuffer, The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered)

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40 Years in Mormonism

Be of Good Cheer Be of Good Courage. (Boise) Audio Transcript
Faith. (Idaho Falls) Audio Transcript
Repentance. (Logan) Audio Transcript
Covenants. (Centerville) Audio Transcript
Priesthood. (Orem) Audio Transcript
Zion. (Grand Junction) Audio Transcript
Christ. (Ephraim) Audio Transcript
A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit. (Las Vegas) Audio Transcript
Marriage and Family. (St. George) Audio Transcript
Preserving the Restoration. (Phoenix) Audio Transcript


Other Talks

Road to Emmaus Audio   Book
Zion Symposium Audio    
First Three Words   Transcript Book
The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered Audio Transcript Book
Mormon Stories Audio    
Brigham Young's Telestial Kingdom   Transcript Book
Temple Talk Audio    
Constitutional Apostasy Audio    
Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge   Transcript  
Plural Marriage Audio Transcript  
Q&A with Tim Malone Audio    


Books
The Second Comforter
Nephi's Isaiah
Eighteen Verses
Ten Parables
Beloved Enos
Come, Let Us Adore Him
Removing the Condemnation
Passing the Heavenly Gift
Remembering the Covenant volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Essays: Three Degrees

Web Sites:
DenverSnuffer.com
From the Desk of Denver Snuffer

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"In the Harry Potter series, I like how Dolores Umbridge turns questioning her actions into questioning the Ministry of Magic. And by extension questioning the Minister of Magic. What a power-hungry wench she was. She parlayed herself and her every move or decision by extension into the acts of the very pinnacle of their social authority. It is a sort of pathology you only see in very unhealthy social groups who are ruled by fear and intimidation. I thought it was brilliant of J.K. Rowling to envision such a character." (Denver Snuffer)

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"A man is his own tormenter and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man." (Joseph Smith, King Follet Discourse, TPJS p. 357)

"A lake because it engulfs them so tightly they are flooded with the guilt. Fire because it is designed to purge and refine. Brimstone because of the bitterness of the experience. The torment there is 'endless' meaning from God." (Denver Snuffer, Removing the Condemnation)

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"Indeed, God has given us a test worthy of a God. And only those worthy of becoming among the gods will be able to solve the riddle.  Because only they will humble themselves, come with a contrite spirit and broken heart to offer upon the altar a sacrifice worthy of being accepted. Others will proceed in ignorance and arrogance to proudly proclaim: "I know my culture is true!" "I know all is well in Zion!" "I follow a broad and safe mainstream into a great and spacious building where there is peace, pride, success, prosperity and assurance that I am saved while all around me there are those who will be cast down to hell!" Or similar such nonsense... Warmed over Evangelical gibberish, with a vague Mormonesque vocabulary applied to it. Having a form of godliness, but without power. This new form of ungodliness will not be lacking in body, parts and passions, for the image of the idol raised will be the very image of the person looking in the mirror. They will think themselves destined to rule and reign over principalities, dominions, heights, depths and others. They are their own idols! What irony it all invokes! It must make the devil look up to heaven and laugh still. (Moses 7: 26.) Perhaps we ought to see some humor in it as well.  ...Or, since we're speaking of the loss of men's souls, maybe it can never be humorous.  Only tragedy. Only disappointment. Only foolishness.

"Where is the hope? Is there none? Yes, in repentance! Changing our course! Remembering God again! Restoring what has been lost! Returning and repenting! That's right! And Nephi has invited us to do just that." (Denver Snuffer, 2 Nephi 31:16)

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"Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time. And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings." (2 Nephi 30:18)

"The truth will be revealed. But truth of this nature will involve something else. Satan will have no power. When we gather enough light and truth, Satan's influence and power ends. We find that Satan is "cast out" because he can no longer deceive.

"His primary tool is the lie. When there is enough truth, there is no longer any reason to believe or teach a lie. Therefore, he has lost power.

"His secondary tool is the lusts and appetites of the flesh. When these are controlled, he is rendered completely ineffective. He is bound.

"Once the lies are exposed and the appetites of the flesh are subdued, the hearts of men are freed from captivity. Nephi is describing a future day when this will be the the common situation for mankind.

"Of course, this doesn't have to be a future day. It is possible to gain enough light and truth today so the lies are exposed to your view. It is also possible to subdue the appetites of the flesh. In any event, the desires, appetites and passions ought to be kept within the bounds which the Lord prescribes. We say that, but we don't often do that. Most people are not willing to actually subdue their desires, passions and appetites. It seems weird to suppress the desire for revenge, to actually turn the other cheek, and to return good for evil. In short, it would appear the Savior's conduct in willingly going to His death without accepting Peter's offer to use the sword in His defense was a bit nutty. At least from the perspective of the damned. (They can't even stop watching pornography. Latter-day "Saint" indeed. What's saintly about the vengeful, lustful, and gluttonous? But that's an aside...)" (Denver Snuffer, 2 Nephi 30:18)

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"Who is Nephi describing? Is it possible it could apply to us along with all other organized faiths?

"I have often heard my fellow-Saint speak of the sense of pride the Conference Center gives them. It is a great, spacious and technologically advanced center. I've thought the ceiling of that building looks somewhat like that very successful evangelist Joel Osteen's amazing church. I've wondered if the architectural firm took hints from other successful mega-churches when designing the Conference Center.  Have you noticed how the dimmed lights and the magnified images, magnified voices and focus upon the great pulpit is designed to use all the modern audio-visual technology to create heroic images within the building for the audience? It is a technical marvel. Really state of the art. It is hard for me not to take some pride in it all. Anyone who wonders if our church is respectable, successful, powerful or advanced, who visits the facility will no doubt leave with the conclusion that, despite our humble origins, we certainly have made a success in the world for ourselves. It is a story of overcoming and prospering.

"If those whose bloodstained footprints covered our westward migration could see what we've become, I wonder what delight (or disappointment) they would feel. Would they have any mixed emotions at seeing this monument in granite, glass, brass and walnut? The third-of-a-billion dollars we spent on it produced a landmark of splendor for the ages.  Poor Joseph had only an open air bowery to use. Adam, too, used the open plains of Adam-Ondi-Ahman to meet. We are, of course, blessed with more resources to use as part of our 'worship.'" (Denver Snuffer, 2 Nephi 28:10-12)

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"And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation." (1 Nephi 13:36 )

"Christ's Gospel is in the Book of Mormon. I've written books explaining just how much of His Gospel is contained in the Book of Mormon. When writing The Second Comforter I found the Book of Mormon was the best source to explain the process. In the Preface to Eighteen Verses I wrote (and meant) the following: "I am convinced the Book of Mormon is the preeminent sacred text for our times. All other volumes of scriptures are not just inferior to it, but vastly so." (Id. p. iii.)

"The Book of Mormon contains Christ's Gospel. It also contains His "rock" and His "salvation." What is the "rock" contained within it?

"John Hall thought the better translation of Christ's colloquy with Peter would have included the Lord identifying Peter not as a "rock" but as a "seer stone." And upon the stone or seership would the Lord build His church.

"I've thought the Book of Mormon was more a Urim and Thummim than a book. It is a tremendous source of subject matter upon which to ponder, oftentimes drawing a veil at critical moments while inviting the reader to ponder, pray and ask to see more. Used in that fashion, the Book of Mormon can open the heavens and make any person a seer indeed.

"The words of a prophet are best understood by a prophet. If you can come to understand the Book of Mormon's words, you can become a prophet. Or, more correctly, a seer before whom scenes of God's dealings with mankind, past, present and future, will be put on display. Mosiah 8:17 reports: "But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known." (Denver Snuffer, 1 Nephi 13:6)

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"To make the time frame abundantly clear to both the Nephites and to us, the Lord explains in passing that the Gentiles will come to "this land." The full description of them coming is set out in the earlier prophecy of Nephi as set out at length in First Nephi.  (1 Nephi 13 & 14.)  But here Christ reminds the audience that when the Gentiles come, they will "scatter my people who are of the house of Israel."

"Gentiles certainly did come. They did scatter the remnants who were on the American continent. Not only did they scatter them, but they also "cast out" and "trodden down" those populations who were here when the Gentiles arrived. Smallpox wiped out the Great Plains Indians. There were an estimated 20 million plus Plains Indians when Columbus arrived. Smallpox all but annihilated them.  So few survived that by the time of the western push of the United States, it was believed the Great Plains had never been populated.

"To say they were "trodden underfoot" is descriptive. The native populations were destroyed. They were conquered. They died.  Their remains returned to the earth upon which the Gentiles trod.

"You must keep this image in mind as you read about the future of the Gentiles being trodden underfoot. We will get to that later in this same prophecy by Christ." (Denver Snuffer, 3 Nephi 16: 8)

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New, Improved Mormonism

Lots of excitement arises from the statement by the church denouncing past practices and teachings in its editorial on its website titled “Race and the Priesthood.” Lots of buzz on the Internet and in news outlets. The thesis of the editorial is that the church, which today is headquartered in a nation with a black president, has overcome racism, which was a sin, and now can denounce it (and past president's of the church) with passion, like others in modern society.

The LDS position is that the church leaders can never lead its members astray, except in the past - and then it can correct it - in the here and now. When corrected, the LDS church can then consign its past leaders to condemnation for their sins. Sort of ex post facto “we’re still not going to lead you astray” as long as you are living when we fix it... or something like that. It’s really hard to keep up with the “we’re not going to lead you astray” component of modern Mormonism with all the dramatic changes and strong denouncements of past errors and sins and mistakes by racist, sexist, polygamous church presidents. But, trust them, they’re somehow not going to lead you astray.

The minions in the faceless editorial composition unit (I envision them as little yellow chaps who are constantly engaged in slapstick shenanigans) need to move forward now to continue their fix of the LDS position. I’d like to point out for their revisionism some more editing now needed:

The new editorial explained: “According to one view, which had been promulgated in the United States from at least the 1730s, blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain, who slew his brother Abel. Those who accepted this view believed that God’s ‘curse’ on Cain was the mark of a dark skin.” This view was based on a verse in Genesis. But they can leave Genesis 4: 15 alone, because the “mark” put upon Cain is not defined there. It is only in LDS scripture the mark is clarified. It was blackness: “And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.” (Moses 7: 22.) This uniquely LDS scripture clarifies what Genesis does not make clear. For the Christians “in the United States from at least 1730's” this idea of blacks descending from Cain was merely a theory. But for Latter-day Saints it was a matter of actual canonized scripture. So the purging of the LDS sins is only partial. They need to condemn Enoch as yet another past, false leader who subscribed to a now discredited view.

The editorial continues, describing “Black servitude was sometimes viewed as a second curse placed upon Noah’s grandson Canaan as a result of Ham’s indiscretion toward his father.” This is derived from the account in Genesis 9 where Noah curses Canaan with these words: “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” (Moses 7: 22.) These Biblical words have been used to justify slavery. This raises two issues: first, slavery, and second, a cursed lineage. These are two altogether different topics.

As to the first, slavery was practiced throughout the Old and New Testaments. Further, if you look at the specific curse of Noah’s, it did not relate to Ham. Nor to all of Ham’s descendants. Ham married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain. However, the curse of servitude Noah pronounced did not target Ham, nor Ham’s sons Cush, Mizraim, or Phut. (Gen. 10: 6.) The curse of servitude was only on his grandson Canaan, the youngest son of Ham. Examples of servitude in scripture are too numerous to list, but the Law of Moses adopted rules governing how to treat slaves because slavery was permitted. Even Christ presumed slavery, using slaves in His parables. Most telling of all, however, is the unique future LDS heaven which envisions servitude for the unworthy. (See, e.g., D&C 132: 16-17.) So there’s some work left to do for the editorialists in conforming LDS scripture to the newly enlightened position. We will need for them to condemn past leaders like Moses, Christ, Joseph Smith and the God of the future LDS heaven for their errant positions if they expect to make full recompense for LDS past errors.

On the second idea of a cursed lineage, there’s more work to be done with LDS scriptures as well. In Abraham we read of the “Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry.” (Abr. 1: 27.) This makes it plain enough there was a “cursed lineage”– an idea which survives in LDS scripture despite the editorial.

The editorial continues: “Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse,” Stopping just there, we need to have the following language taken from the Book of Mormon: “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.” (2 Ne. 5: 21. There’s also mention in 2 Ne. 26: 33 and 3 Ne. 2: 15) This was designed by God to prevent intermarriage (“that they might not be enticing unto my people”). In the LDS scriptures the word “enticing” is footnoted to the Topical Guide subject “Marriage, Temporal.”

Then there is the editorial remark denouncing “that mixed-race marriages are a sin.” This brushes up against the verse in 2 Ne. 5: 21 as well as Abraham’s commandment concerning his chosen son, Isaac. For that son and the chosen lineage Abraham commanded: “I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.” (Gen. 24: 3.) Strong, even racist language from father Abraham. He refused intermarriage for his son. The editorialists announce that “Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.” The word “unequivocally” means without any hesitation or limit. So we now have the editorialists speaking for the “Church leaders today” denouncing Abraham. It was a racist demand imposed by Abraham, while swearing by the God of heaven and earth, that his son must not marry a Canaanite.

I’m impressed with the LDS leader’s bold, historic, revolutionary break with their past, their scriptures and their future heaven as well. This is courage and drama on a scale seldom seen in religion. We are witnessing revolutionaries in the very act of overthrowing their past beliefs.

There’s a lot of the LDS past now denounced, unequivocally, by the “Church leaders today.” They’ve judged and dismissed God, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Joseph Smith, along with past church presidents Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Councilor J. Reuben Clark, and even President Spencer W. Kimball who made the change in 1978 (because he denounced interracial marriage).

I was excommunicated after being accused of among other things "denigrating every church president since Joseph Smith." I don't think the accusation was true. In fact, I merely quoted them or their diaries. But even if you accept the accusation against me, I managed to stop short of denigrating Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Christ and Joseph Smith along with "every church president since Joseph Smith." The "Church leaders today" have raised their game to a whole new level. I know when I've been outdone. I'm an underachiever by comparison. These "Church leaders today" will even take on God in their denigration of past leaders!

The trouble I see the LDS church editorial writers now making for the church is conflating racism (which everyone should recognize as bad) with priesthood. They ought to have stopped short of this overreaching effort to fix their public reputation. One (racism) is decidedly bad. The other (priesthood) is not at all related to racism. Racism which results in afflictions visited by one group upon another merely based upon their racial status is invidious. That should be something all mankind can overcome at some point.

But priesthood is something quite different. It is so narrowly distributed that even the lesser priesthood was limited to one tribe (Levi) and even then could not be given to a man with a withered limb, or some other physical defect. Higher priesthood was yet more restrictive, almost never given to anyone, in any age. It is extraordinarily limited in numbers. God controls that Himself, directly.

For mankind to complain about God's control over His own power is beyond arrogant. The LDS church asserts it has some control over God's priesthood (a position that is increasingly dubious with each act of rebellion against God, and usurping power and control over the conscience of its members). On the assumption the LDS' claim is true, then they are merely stewards. They have no right to tinker with something God alone controls.

Fortunately, the highest form of priesthood requires a visit from God, who alone confers it. Therefore, no policy change, or enlightened new political position, will ever have an effect on who receives such an ordination. When (if) it reappears on the earth, it will have only one purpose: To bring about Zion and enable God's promises to be fulfilled. It won't be for empowering priestcraft and enabling multi-billion dollar purchases of land and buildings by an elite group who fare sumptuously while the poor are left begging

This is a great moment - and another example of the LDS church’s “continuing revelation,” because it surely is revealing.

http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-improved-mormonism.html

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3 Nephi 12: 30:

"For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell."

Each person's cross is individual. Carrying "your cross" is not the same as carrying mine. Therefore, when you "deny yourself of these things" what you surrender and what you take up will be "your cross" and never mine.

It is odd how we are able to spot from a distance the weaknesses of others. We have highly acute sensitivities about others' flaws. But we rarely appreciate the crosses they bear.

How hard a burden a man carries when he disciplines himself to rise daily, and work to sacrifice for his family, is not at all the same across the economic scale. Nor, for that matter, is the daily service carried on by mothers who have deprived themselves of other pursuits to raise sometimes ungrateful children.

But "hell" is where we are cast when we are pained by the regrets of having lived without discipline, having lived selfishly. (Mormon 9: 4-5.)  We will stand "naked" before God. All of what we want hidden will be before us, revealed and exposed to view.

The "hell" of it all will be our regret, for we are our own tormentor. The torment of a disappointed mind will be like fire and brimstone to the regretful. (TPJS p. 357.)

Christ is advising us in a kindly way how to prevent that moment of fear, regret and torment. He is telling us how to escape it. These teachings are not a threat addressed at us, but a caution about the future moment when these teachings apply to us all.

It is as if the Lord wants us to know clearly beforehand what we are going to wish we had done instead. Now, in mortality, while we can still change how things will turn out, He is telling us how to accomplish that. In an understatement, He advises: "it is better to deny yourself" than it will be to indulge. You may find it a "cross" as you do, but if you deny yourself now it will let you escape "hell" in the future. It is kindly advice, without a threat. It is a warning about the road you have taken, and guidance on how you can avoid the collision that is coming.

Whatever the "cross" is you take up in your daily effort to live inside the bounds prescribed by the Lord, it will be worth it. By heeding His counsel, you will become someone better and avoid becoming devilish.

The temptations each of us face are unique to the individual. What is universal, however, is the limit placed upon temptations. They are never too great to resist. There is always an escape provided by the Lord. (1 Cor. 10: 13.) Nor are you given any commandment you cannot obey. (1 Nephi 3: 7.) However, that is not to say temptation is easily overcome. Weakness is our lot. (Ether 12: 27.)

What then are you to make of your cross? If you've tried to deny yourself and failed, does it mean you are hopeless? Is the persistent failure to lift the cross you have been called to bear proof that you are just unable to merit salvation? Does the relentless return to temptation mean you are lost? Are you necessarily doomed because you have not found the escape promised by Paul's writing to the Corinthians?

Life is filled with cycles. When we battle and fail one day, then join the battle again, but fail again; then another, and another and another, what is the use? What do we make of such persistent failure, such continuing weakness? Is the lesson that we are lost? Or is it that we are weak? Weaker than we had ever imagined. Weaker than you could ever suppose man to be. (Moses 1: 10.) Is this evidence that you are doomed? Or is it merely a patient God proving to your utter satisfaction that you are indeed in need of saving grace to rescue you from where you find yourself? Is this the moment when, while filling your belly with husks along with the swine you've descended to accompany, you wake up? (Luke 15: 11-17.) If you will finally surrender your pride, come forward with a broken heart and real intent, returning to your Father, He will joyfully receive you still. (Luke 15: 18-24.) There is joy in heaven over you when you awaken.

Weakness is nothing, for all are weak. It is a gift, given to break your heart. Your broken heart will qualify you for His company. Whether a leper, an adulteress, a tax collector or a blind man, He can heal it all.  But what He cannot do, and you must alone bring to Him, is that broken heart required for salvation.

 

William Ernest Henley wrote Invictus:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

 

Orson F. Whitney penned the response in The Soul's Captain:

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear. –
The God who died that man might live,
And endless glory share?
Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth
Who gave that place to thee?
Free will is thine -- free agency
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.
Bend to the dust that head "unbowed,"
Small part of Life's great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

 

We choose. We live with our choices. It is better to deny ourselves and take up our individual crosses.

--

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"And by the way, the answer to the question you ask from God will always be "yes." However, if you are not ready for the "yes" then you will go through a period of renovation and repair. How long you need to be renovated and repaired, depends upon just how much of the toxic nonsense of this Telestial Kingdom you've drunk in and how much of it you continue to drink in as the Lord works to answer your inquiry. Everything you take in which opposes the ability of God to speak to you will hinder Him answering you. So as soon as you will lay down that nonsense and in faith become believing, so soon will God be able to plug the leaks, repair the hinge and fix the broken window. He really does have a house of order, or better put He will only enter a temple that is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Cor. 3: 17) It's not built by human hands. It was built by God in the womb of your mother. And you were endowed with it when you took your first breath. That, and you are wearing it now, is His temple. The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple. (Mal. 3: 1) But it must not be defiled. Clean yourselves up. If you want to know what your state and standing is, because you are uncertain, then ask God. Expect Him to answer." (Denver Snuffer, Be of Good Cheer Be of Good Courage)

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A friend reminded me of something this week. I coined a term, he suggested the idea. It’s important that you don’t think that before you wind up in the presence of the Lord you have the responsibility of making yourself absolutely spic and span. In terms of connecting with the Lord, it is essentially a "come as you are party." You are never going to be able to do the heavy lifting required to be clean in his presence. He does that, you don't. He extends the invitation, you accept it. It's a come as you are party. There are two parables that the Lord told, and I want to put them together to help illustrate the point. One is in Matthew chapter 22. It's a parable about a wedding feast. The Lord in that parable talks about how the folks who were invited wouldn't show up. Because the folks who were invited wouldn't show up, in invitation was extended to essentially whoever was out on the streets. The folks who were out on the streets were brought in. Let's begin at verse 8 of chapter 22, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.” He is telling a story, largely about a condition that persists whenever you find a functioning religious organization. Institutions have a way of having their own cares. Joseph Smith was a disastrous businessman. He created financial debacle after financial debacle. The notorious one was the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-banking Association. Anti, because they couldn't get the bank charter. If you file for bankruptcy in the state of Utah, one of the things that one of the local bankruptcy judges has done at the discharge hearings, in order to help people feel better about themselves, is to remind people that at the time of his death Joseph Smith had a pending petition in bankruptcy. That is supposed to salve the conscience of those who find themselves in that extremity.

The fact is Joseph was not a particularly good businessman because he didn't care for business. He wound up giving away his inventory to needy folks, rather than trying to profit off the needs of the Saints. There was some exasperation about that in his family, among his peers, and among LDS historians. Well, we fixed that. We have managing the church, and attending to the financial interests of the kingdom (as we call it now), those that are more than qualified financially. I suspect a profligate like Joseph Smith would be unsuitable for church management today.

In any event, the parable starts with the Lord trying to get people to come to the wedding, telling the servants that it's ready, but the ones that I've asked are not worthy. “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways,…” [It's always the servants, always angels who do this work. They do the gathering.] “…and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 22:8-13.

So I want to put that on the table. In this part of this parable you have anyone who will come being invited, because the people who were targeted for attendance simply aren't worthy to come. So anyone gets to come. But you have among them one who doesn't have on a wedding garment. For that I want to refer you to Luke chapter 15. In Luke chapter 15, we run into the Lord talking about a robe being supplied. This about the son who found himself having been in a far-off land, filling his belly “with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” [Look at what happens in Luke 15:22 when he goes back to his father.] “But the father said to his servants, [Again it's the angels who do this.] Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:”

You see, this has to be kept in mind whenever you're looking at someone who has arrived at the feast, bidden from the highway, and doesn't have on the robe. The Master is the one who wants you to wear it. The Master is one who will furnish it. Don't think the purpose of the Lord is to judge. The purpose of the Lord is to redeem, and for that purpose, he is infinitely patient and willing, if you will respond with forgiveness of your sins, as He does consistently throughout the Book Mormon.

The formal invitation (through His church) is not accepted. The members just aren’t interested. Therefore He invites everyone else, even the stranger. These people are unprepared, having not anticipated they were going to a wedding. Therefore one of them was unsuited. This is a powerful lesson about the Lord’s intentions when it comes to His great day of judgment. It ought to help us put into perspective how little an organized invitation (through His church) will matter in the end. It is His presence that matters, after all.

(40 Years in Mormonism, Faith)

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Lecture 8, A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit

What did Joseph say about all the prophets of the Old Testament? He said they all held Melchizedek priesthood, and were all ordained by God Himself.  They ministered in a society that was deficient, limited, excluded from the presence of God. But those who received and entertained angels were brought up to where they needed to be for redemption. God Himself ordained them. Should you not likewise have this same hope? Should you not rise up above the level of those who are content to have less? Should you not be willing to mount up on that fiery mountain? Despite the thunderings and lightnings, despite the earthquake; despite the fact you may not believe yourself to be worthy, you're still capable of coming aboard.

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3 Nephi 12: 27-29:

"Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery;  But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.  Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart;"

Here it is again - the heart. It is the intent and not just the act. It is not enough that you stop short of doing the thing commanded in the Law of Moses. Christ is attacking the root cause, the internal trouble which causes the mistakes.

The Law of Moses is not being replaced with a new era of easy grace triggered by confession for salvation. The Head of the new Dispensation, Christ, is instead providing a much higher standard for mankind to adopt in place of  carnal commandments.

You must raise your thoughts to a higher level. Sexual appetites and passions must be kept within the bounds the Lord has prescribed. For this new, higher standard, it is not enough to just refrain from immoral acts, but you must purge thoughts. Neither lust of a woman, nor any of "these things" should "enter into your heart." This uniform standard applies to all: male and female, married or single, without regard to who or what causes your lusts. It is universal.

The raging controversy going on at present over President Packer's last General Conference address entirely misses the point. Whether your sexual attraction is male or female, it is to be confined in thought and deed to the bounds prescribed by the Lord, and the Lord has rather clearly identified the bounds in this sermon.

The heart is where sin begins. So it is the heart which Christ would have us cleanse. All else will follow.

No one knows how formidable an obstacle this is until they have confronted it themselves. Nor can a person who confronts this challenge succeed at the first attempt. C.S. Lewis made such a profound observation on this subject it is worth quoting here:

"No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist." (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, Chapter 11.)

Those who would rather settle into a comfortable enjoyment of their sins find discomfort in being reminded they are wrong. So when President Packer reminds them of this, it is painful, and they want him to retract his words. It would be better to consider them, for whether he retracts them or not, it will not change the underlying problem of sin. Only by confronting and overcoming sins within us will we ever become people who will be preserved in the coming harvest.

Imagine, if you can, the idea of impurity being a compound which exists within you. A compound that could be identified by the Lord and burned away. Think of it like the fuller's soap or the refiner's fire, where impurity is removed and something pure and clean is left behind. (Mal. 3: 2-3.) To survive that burning purge there must be so little to burn away that the injury from the burn will not threaten life. It is a useful way to examine what is inside you. And a useful way to reconsider your thoughts.

This leads to the final question: What is the difference between the mind and the "heart?" This commandment addresses the "heart" in you. What is the "heart?"

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3 Nephi 13: 22-23

"The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

The "eye" is better put "your mind's eye." It is what you meditate on, what fills you. You choose what you fill yourself with by what you give attention. What you notice is what you care to notice.

Christ's admonition is troubling because the cares of this world distract us all. They impose upon us all.  But Christ advises us to search endlessly for light.

The difference between filling yourself with light and filling yourself with darkness is what thoughts you entertain.

Everything begins in the mind. Words and works flow from thoughts. (Alma 12: 14.) While all three will be judged, it is in the mind where all else begins.

It is not enough to attempt to avoid evil by memorizing hymns. You can spend as many wasted hours humming hymns as singing rock songs.  Neither one will particularly elevate you. Meditating on doctrine, pressing understanding, pondering deeply and engaging the mysteries of God are what will fill the mind with light.

There is so much in our faith that distracts and substitutes for light and truth. Think about these verses and filling your mind with light and truth:  "And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that lightgroweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;" (D&C 50: 23-25.)

http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/10/3-nephi-13-22-23.html

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"'Such was, and always will be, the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course they are pursuing is according to the will of God they will grow weary in their minds, and faint;' That's the problem with many of us. We grow weary in our minds and faint because we don't know that the course we are pursuing is according to God. Don't grow weary. Stay on that course. I have the absolute conviction that the much of the stuff that we plague ourselves with, and think is such a heavy burden of sin is because our minds are occupied with the wrong stuff. Study the things of God and fill yourself with light and see how quickly it is that all the rest of that stuff will simply dissolve away and evaporate. President Boyd Packer said that you can fix behavior a lot more quickly by studying doctrine then you can by studying behavior.

"You know, it's really that first parable where the busy young man who was on his way winds up braiding rope. (Referring to Ten Parables.) He was doing that for years on end - braiding rope, occupying his hands. Then he’s tying the net with the Master. And during the course of that apprenticeship, he came to know who the Master was. When finally the Master asks him whether he knows who He is, he did. Then the Master then asks of him, “What do you want of me?” The response comes, “Well, there was a time when I would've asked a lot. But now, I'm just content.” It's enough. It's enough and to spare. Having an actual knowledge that the course that you are pursuing is according to the will of God, is enough and to spare." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years, Faith)

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"As the missionaries interviewed me for baptism, I acknowledged having a testimony. However I told them I didn’t think I would make a very good Mormon. The lifestyle they expected me to lead seemed beyond my capability. It was only because I had received what I believed was an answer to prayer that I felt the need to be baptized. But I had no confidence in my ability to live the Gospel.

"As I was interviewed for baptism, I told the missionaries there was perhaps no sin I had not either committed or contemplated committing. I had not been what I regarded as a very good person, and there was no precedent in my life which would lead me to believe I could live a 'Mormon' life. They told me that was exactly what Christ was looking for, and I would be forgiven and cleansed through the baptismal ordinance as long as I was willing to repent and follow Him. I was, of course, willing to attempt that, but believed I would ultimately fail.

"On September 10, 1973, I was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean at Kittery Point, on the southern coast of Maine. It was a cool, sunny day. I was confirmed a member while kneeling on the beach, with a small gathering of local Saints who had come to the service.

"Kneeling on the beach, as I was given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I felt a presence from head to toe unlike anything before. I was electrified by this presence and felt a joy unlike anything before. It was palpable. Cold from the water of the North Atlantic, wet and kneeling in the cool Atlantic sand, I felt warmth which transformed me.

"Life began anew that day on the beach in the south of Maine as I was 'born again.'

...

"Before baptism, although I had an answer to prayer, I was not confident I would make a very good Mormon. There was no power within me which could overcome the temptations to which I had always succumbed in the past.

"But everything changed at baptism. The apparent 'heavy lifting' I thought I would be in for turned out to be a light yoke, just as Christ had promised. And I found within me a new power of goodness which came as the Elders laid hands on my head and gave me the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I hadn’t reckoned on that.

"Despite those pre-baptismal doubts over my own weaknesses, I have found the Lord has provided a constant companion, a Comforter, ever since baptism. He supplies what I have lacked, and living as a Mormon has become comfortable and preferable. I could never go back.

"Through the decades that followed I have remained an active member in good standing, through seasons of triumph and success as well as seasons of failure and difficulty. There have been times when I thought I would prefer death to continued life, the despair of some trials has been so great to bear. And there have been times when the joy and happiness has also been overwhelming. Through it all the Holy Ghost, given as a gift at my rebirth, has been a guide and companion.

"And now, over thirty-two years later, I have found 'rest' with the Lord, and know the peace of an untroubled conscious. Miraculously I have avoided serious, though certainly not all, sin. Though troubled by seasons of doubt born from disobedience, I have found persistent faith."

(Denver Snuffer, The Second Comforter, Chapter 5)

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Fasting in the form of abstaining from all food and drink may not be practical for the elderly, those who are diabetic or ill. For some, refraining from food and drink is possible without any danger to their health, but if they choose to do so for more than a day, then eating once in the evening allows the fast to continue the next day. For someone unable to fast, but who can surrender some part of their diet–abstaining from all sweets, for example–it can serve the purpose. Underlying the idea of the fast are two things. First, submission to God. Second, aiding the poor. (Isa. 58: 6.) You can accomplish those purposes even if the "fast" you choose has nothing to do with food. However, our appetite for food is one of the most direct ways to discipline the will of the body. Remember though, it is your thoughts, not your belly, where the real battle is fought.

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Blog post: Trust in Man:

Because if we had to rely only on something as flimsy [sarcasm] as the Holy Ghost to choose we would be forced to fast and pray, be humble and penitent to solve this terrible dilemma for us; working out our salvation with fear and trembling before God. (Philip. 2: 12.)

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From Lecture 8, A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit:

This text in Ether chapter 3 is probably the best single text in existence to study about gaining the knowledge of God, and the process by which it is gained. Most importantly, it exposes the attitude possessed by the person who comes back to be redeemed. It tells you, not directly, it tells you indirectly by telling you what the brother of Jared did. Go thou and do likewise.

Everything that you have been put through, and every challenge that you have been given, and every weakness that you possess, have all been given to you in a studied way to bring you, hopefully, to your knees. To bring you, hopefully, to feel the chastening hand of God, so that you, in your day, in your circumstance, can look upon it all as a gift, because it surely is.

"I give unto men weakness that they may come unto me, and if they humble themselves and come unto me, I'll make weak things strong." That is also in the book of Ether. It is an aside in which Moroni was complaining that the Gentiles were not going to believe his book. Moroni feared the Gentiles were not going to believe this record but would notice its weaknesses.

Ether chapter 12 verse 26: "And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness." [That's unavoidable. That's an inevitability. You stand in the presence of a just and holy being, you will realize your weaknesses. You are going to recognize what you lack.]

"I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

How do weak things become strong? Not by fighting a battle you are going to lose. It is by appreciating as the brother of Jared did, the fact that none of us can come into the presence of God without feeling keenly this scripture. "Fools mock, but they shall mourn." This is Christ speaking. "I give unto men weakness, [for one purpose], I give unto them weakness that they may be strong."

That anvil you are dragging around was given to you by God as a gift. Don't curse it. Pray for God to come and lift it. You are never going to be able to get far carrying it anyway. You may not even be able to lift it, but in the economy of God, that is a gift. A gift! Not for you to act upon, nor to surrender to, but for you to fight against in humility and meekness and to say, "I'm not winning. I haven't won. It goes on and on, and yet still I fight against it."

When will you finally come to Him and cry out? When, in the bitter anguish of your soul, like Joseph Smith in Liberty jail, will you cry out, "How long must I endure this? How long do I have to suffer from the abuse of the guards? How long do I have to sit inside a gated room, in a dungeon, to hear stories about the rape of the people who followed me? And the murder of the people that believed what I was teaching?"

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From Lecture 2, Faith:

A friend reminded me of something this week. I coined a term, he suggested the idea. It’s important that you don’t think that before you wind up in the presence of the Lord you have the responsibility of making yourself absolutely spic and span. In terms of connecting with the Lord, it is essentially a "come as you are party." You are never going to be able to do the heavy lifting required to be clean in his presence. He does that, you don't. He extends the invitation, you accept it. It's a come as you are party. There are two parables that the Lord told, and I want to put them together to help illustrate the point. One is in Matthew chapter 22. It's a parable about a wedding feast. The Lord in that parable talks about how the folks who were invited wouldn't show up. Because the folks who were invited wouldn't show up, in invitation was extended to essentially whoever was out on the streets. The folks who were out on the streets were brought in. Let's begin at verse 8 of chapter 22, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.” He is telling a story, largely about a condition that persists whenever you find a functioning religious organization. Institutions have a way of having their own cares. Joseph Smith was a disastrous businessman. He created financial debacle after financial debacle. The notorious one was the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-banking Association. Anti, because they couldn't get the bank charter. If you file for bankruptcy in the state of Utah, one of the things that one of the local bankruptcy judges has done at the discharge hearings, in order to help people feel better about themselves, is to remind people that at the time of his death Joseph Smith had a pending petition in bankruptcy. That is supposed to salve the conscience of those who find themselves in that extremity.

The fact is Joseph was not a particularly good businessman because he didn't care for business. He wound up giving away his inventory to needy folks, rather than trying to profit off the needs of the Saints. There was some exasperation about that in his family, among his peers, and among LDS historians. Well, we fixed that. We have managing the church, and attending to the financial interests of the kingdom (as we call it now), those that are more than qualified financially. I suspect a profligate like Joseph Smith would be unsuitable for church management today.

In any event, the parable starts with the Lord trying to get people to come to the wedding, telling the servants that it's ready, but the ones that I've asked are not worthy. “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways,…” [It's always the servants, always angels who do this work. They do the gathering.] “…and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 22:8-13.

So I want to put that on the table. In this part of this parable you have anyone who will come being invited, because the people who were targeted for attendance simply aren't worthy to come. So anyone gets to come. But you have among them one who doesn't have on a wedding garment. For that I want to refer you to Luke chapter 15. In Luke chapter 15, we run into the Lord talking about a robe being supplied. This about the son who found himself having been in a far-off land, filling his belly “with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” [Look at what happens in Luke 15:22 when he goes back to his father.] “But the father said to his servants, [Again it's the angels who do this.] Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:”

You see, this has to be kept in mind whenever you're looking at someone who has arrived at the feast, bidden from the highway, and doesn't have on the robe. The Master is the one who wants you to wear it. The Master is one who will furnish it. Don't think the purpose of the Lord is to judge. The purpose of the Lord is to redeem, and for that purpose, he is infinitely patient and willing, if you will respond with forgiveness of your sins, as He does consistently throughout the Book Mormon. The formal invitation (through His church) is not accepted. The members just aren’t interested. Therefore He invites everyone else, even the stranger. These people are unprepared, having not anticipated they were going to a wedding. Therefore one of them was unsuited. This is a powerful lesson about the Lord’s intentions when it comes to His great day of judgment. It ought to help us put into perspective how little an organized invitation (through His church) will matter in the end. It is His presence that matters, after all.

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From Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge, Question & Answer – Sunstone Symposium 8-2-14:

Voice: The more these situations are going on, I feel so strongly, more and more, I just keep getting that this is all about unity, and it's an opportunity for us. And if unity is about "agreeing" then frankly God did a terrible job. So the more I see of this, what I keep going to is, the quest for Zion seems to me, to be the quest for open heartedness, and charity, and unity. And so when I see one side that says, An actively gay person will never come into the presence of God. This person will go to hell. And then on the other side, I see a person who is an active Mormon, or a person who doesn't approve of homosexuality, who is an awful person because he's a hater. And I see those two things. And I see Christians say that Mormons are going to hell. It seems to me that we more dig our feet in and say, I'm right, and I'm trying to push this agenda…we are working away from God, and away from Zion. More and more I think that if we could say, This is my experience, this is what I believe, and let me hear where you are, and what you believe, and let's talk and consider. I think that's great. Even though I may disagree with you and think you're wrong, I trust God to lead you to what is right, and I trust the atonement of Christ to take care of whatever you've got wrong, just like I trust that for me. I think that truth exists, but I think when we all know all truth, we'll all agree. And in the meantime we are trying to find a way. So my question is, first of all, is that possible? I mean do you agree?

Denver: I agree very much. In the first book I wrote I said, "Religion was intended to be applied internally only."  

Voice: Thank you. My other question is, my theology for the issue of our day, homosexuality, is that I believe that homosexuals are a gift to us, to teach us great things. I think we need to learn charity. I also believe that God does have a standard, but I want to know if those two things can coexist. Can we say, I truly love you, I'm thankful for you, I accept you, but this is my theology and morality. Can we be in this place where we love each other and seek unity without agreement?

Denver: I grew up in a little town in Idaho. Homosexuality in the 1960s was almost a nonexistent issue (and even though it existed, it was not a source of fighting). There was a restaurant in Mountain Home, Idaho that was owned by a gay man and his boyfriend, who lived together (in a house about two blocks away from my parents’ home). Everyone knew that they were "funny." They were comfortable living in a community that was full of a bunch of retired military and active military people in Idaho in the 1960s, where I suppose, they were just as Republican then as they are in Idaho now. It was known, it was not talked about, I mean there might be a passing reference, but that was it. I worked in those guys’ restaurant. One of my first jobs was washing dishes in a restaurant owned by a gay fellow and his live-in lover. It was no big deal. There was no politics involved, there was no agitating on the issue.

One of my law school classmates is here. A few years ago he wound up on a drive (to a business meeting in) Idaho with a fellow who was gay. (The gay fellow) announced (to my classmate) that he was attracted to him. It was one of those awkward moments. [laughter] 

When (he and I subsequently talked about it), we kind of chuckled about it. But the fact of the matter was that both he and I had a business relationship with that fellow and (his announcement) was essentially a nonevent. It was strange. It a was, (however, merely) "Thanks, but no."

I think we ought to be ginger about the way in which we deal with one another's weaknesses and problems. I think we ought to be firm in what we believe, and apply it rigorously internally, and then have compassion on every idiot you are going to meet-- because we are all idiots, myself included. I agree with you.

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"The plan of salvation is the plan of education, the plan of knowledge about God and the principles of godliness. And the basis upon which, all of you, can live together, and be of one heart and one mind. It doesn't matter that some of you have strange political beliefs. It doesn't matter that some of you would like to see every gun in the universe recalled and melted down. And others of you, would like every child issued their own concealed carry permit and to be armed in kindergarten. None of that stuff separates you from being able to love one another and be one. Because much of what you think matters doesn't matter one whit to the Lord because when you're anxiously engaged in the right cause you will all be surprised how much of our deepest concerns, are merely trivial. The things of the heart are what matters. The things upon which we are capable of becoming one, in love toward one another, are infinitely greater than the political, social and economic issues that divide us.

"That's why in this fallen, dark well it is necessary to keep you distracted by this Telestial kingdom in which you presently reside. You are fixated by all the crap that goes on down here. You're worried about the Kardashians. It doesn't matter." (Denver Snuffer, "Be of Good Cheer Be of Good Courage")

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"The Book of Mormon was abridged by a man who lived in an environment filled with sex and violence. He was untouched by it. He was a man of righteousness. Why is it that he could preserve himself in such an abhorrent environment? Because he was filled with light and truth. He educated himself, and had learned the things that are true. When you minister to someone who is suffering, their sins ought not to shock you. They should cause compassion to well up in you. People struggle with some very difficult, very challenging things. You need to try and overcome that by the light within you." (Denver Snuffer, Repentance, 40 Years in Mormonism)

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From a Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit:

Remember His disciples who had been following Him, who were His faithful followers, those disciples couldn't fix this boy. Those disciples had given up everything to come and follow Him. They knew much more than this man. But their knowledge did them no good.

Jesus healed the boy. After the incident the disciples came to Him and said, "Why could we not cast him out?" Christ answered them and said, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."

Why do you have to be afflicted by prayer and fasting, if you're a follower of the Lord, in order to get to the point you can accomplish this? Because you don't fall prostate, crying out with tears from a broken heart and a contrite spirit. If this man, in this condition, can say, "I believe, help thou mine unbelief." If this man can do this and have the Lord on his behalf work a miracle, you too can believe enough, you too can accomplish what you desire, you too can come to Him.

Matthew covers the same incident. This is Matthew chapter 17, beginning at verse 19: "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

Faith as a grain of mustard seed is what the Lord said they needed. The defect does not consist in the absence of faith in the Lord. The defect is the arrogance and hardness of the heart that prevents you from crying out, in the realistic and anguish of your heart, looking to God who is trying to bring you to Him. That depth of humility, that status of being someone who is utterly harmless, that condition in which you present no threat to the righteous, you are harmless as a dove, and you seek only the betterment of others. That is who God is, and what you must become in order for God to be able to redeem you to be like Him. That involves you voluntarily changing to be that person, by your submission to Him. Because there is no reason to give to the proud, the vain, and the warlike, the ability to torment and to afflict others because they have authority from God. There is every reason to give authority only to someone who would ultimately be willing to give the rain to fall on the righteous and the wicked, and to make the sun shine on both the righteous and the wicked. They can be trusted with the power of God, because the power of godliness consists in this kind of a heart. And in this kind of heart God, can accomplish anything.

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From The Second Comforter, Chapter 5

Christ touched upon the subject of getting answers to inquiries. He taught us to “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7: 7–8.) Just before these promises about getting answers, He taught in the same sermon: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Id., 5: 6.) There is a direct relationship between “hunger and thirsting” for an answer, and the required “desire” to receive an answer.

Once again, the Book of Mormon’s plain superiority in explaining these connections comes through. Alma the High Priest taught: “Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.” (Alma 5: 46.) Here “fasting and praying for many days” is related to “the spirit of revelation which is in me.” The concept of “hungering and thirsting”72 and receiving answers to prayers are tied together here in a plain explanation of the path. When Alma the Younger met the Sons of Mosiah after years of separation, he observed: “They had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught they taught with power and authority of God.” (Id., 17:2–3.) This principle of asking and receiving on the one hand, and the spirit of prophecy and revelation on the other are directly related. Without an inquiry, you are not able to receive.

Footnote 72

One brief comment on fasting: You may not be able to hunger and fast for many consecutive days. Not all of us are Gandhi. But if you reduce your caloric intake, live with “fasting” while still eating enough to subsist, you can subordinate the flesh to the spirit while still eating and maintaining health. And, most of all, you can do so without calling attention to yourself since fasting should always be a private matter. Sometimes it does take days to receive an answer. Do not abandon the powerful tool fasting can provide to you because you cannot fast for many consecutive days. Instead, “fast” while eating enough for subsistence, and you will find you can accomplish the same things without jeopardy to health. Many of us eat too much anyway, and reducing food may be a boon to physical as well as spiritual health. (Emphasis Added)

 

I wonder if this has anything to do with the revelation to Hyrum “he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive” (D&C 124:95)

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From The Second Comforter, Chapter 5

When the Lord came to visit the Nephites, the Father introduced Christ three times before the audience gathered in Bountiful could recognize the words He spoke. This voice was described in these terms: “It was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear it to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.” (3 Ne. 11: 3.) This is the Father’s voice. They had heard it before. It reminds anyone who hears it of their primordial existence, when as a spirit being you dwelt with Him. He is familiar to your spirit, because your spirit came from Him. Yet here in mortality, you have not yet seen Him. And so you are both familiar with Him and will recognize Him the instant you hear His voice again, and you are a stranger to Him because in the flesh you have not yet seen Him. That underlying spiritual familiarity with the Speaker is what caused the Nephites to “quake” to their “very soul.”

There is a veil to the flesh. This veil causes the spirit within us to forget what went before. But our spirits retain awareness of this Being. It is the longing for Him which makes mankind search for what is missing in their souls. It is why men resort to hero worship, and want celebrities and people who are ‘larger-than-life.’ We long for this Being whose seeming lack of presence has left us all incomplete here in mortality.

You may not be able to see Him here without first developing the faith to rend the veil, but you can still feel Him here anytime you are willing to do so. There is no veil to your feelings. Fasting helps in the process because it weakens the flesh, and thereby strengthens the spirit within. Similarly, as we grow old and infirm, the veil of this flesh draws thinner and our spirits are freed, in a measure, to greater promptings of the spirit.

This perfectly mild voice is generally not heard when it is in competition with the distractions, noises and offenses of daily life. You need time apart where you can listen. You will recollect Christ was often found apart, praying and meditating during His ministry. If Christ needed time for contemplation, prayer, and pondering, then how much greater need do we have to do the same?

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From The Second Comforter, Chapter 9

To be most meaningful, sacrifice by one person should bless and benefit another person. When Isaiah taught the highest principles and aspirations of the law of the fast, he linked it to blessing others. This is exactly what the Church’s fast offering program allows the Saints to do. Isaiah wrote:

Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (Isa. 58: 3–7, emphasis added.)

Here He is teaching the difference between meaningless sacrifice as a hollow religious observance, in contrast to relieving the suffering of others through your fasting (and sharing abundance). Helping and blessing others is the highest form of sacrifice. When you act to relieve the burdens of others, you are acting as Christ would. You are rising to another level of living where angels themselves dwell. You are becoming a “type” of Christ. It is not merely asking yourself “what would Jesus do?” but rather it is doing what Jesus did and commanded you to do. Action in conformity to commandments brings light into your life. You follow His path and you will be walking up that same mountain in which you, too, will be transfigured.

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From The Second Comforter, Chapter 18

The Lord attempted to point the Saints toward understanding what He was providing to them in D&C 88: 119: “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” The house was to be a seven-fold blessing to the Saints: 1) prayer; 2) fasting; 3) faith; 4) learning; 5) glory; 6) order; and 7) God. This list of seven, ties the mind back to the original list of seven in the creation. The number seven is a symbol of completion, perfection or the entirety of the matter. The Temple is, therefore, a complete, perfect and entire presentation of the Lord’s Gospel. This list, too, is a progression from one degree to another in grace, light and truth.

  • Prayer prepares you to enter into the right frame of mind to receive these things.
  • Fasting prepares your spirit and subdues the flesh.
  • Faith grows from the prayer and fasting which precedes it and prepares you to learn.
  • Learning in the highest sense comes from faith, fasting and prayer.
  • This brings to you the “glory of God” or in other words “intelligence” or “light and truth.” As you receive further light and truth, you gain an appreciation for the order of heaven and earth.
  • This order requires a ceremonial orientation and understanding.
  • All of which prepare you for the presence of God, or the Second Comforter.

This seven-fold list is, therefore, a perfect whole and complete description of the Temple’s purpose.

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From The Second Comforter, Chapter 20

We need more of those who say, “I know,” and testify, “I have seen,” and proclaim, “He lives!” Though authoritative declarations of doctrine may be limited to a single presiding office, the great confirming testimonies of witnesses of our Lord should be spread far and wide among us, as should the great abundance of the gifts of the Spirit. You need to join the chorus of witnesses and seek for and obtain the gifts of the Spirit. You need to become the greatest, most inspired, and Spirit-filled version of yourself. You were sent here to do that, and you rob your fellow Saints when you fail so to do.

The overwhelming majority of us will, ten minutes after death, regret we did not do more with this second estate. Our regrets will be because we did not seek more earnestly, pray more devoutly, fast more frequently, and gain a greater measure of truth and light than we gained here. Change that for yourself.

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From blog post: Forty is a symbol

The number 40 appears in a several different places in the scriptures, almost always in the context of purging or purification. When the Lord destroyed the wicked at the time of Noah, He caused it “to rain upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.” (Genesis 7:4.) When Moses met with the Lord on the Mount, he was in the presence of the Lord “forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:18.) When Israel proved unprepared to inherit the promised land, the Lord left them in the wilderness for forty years. (Deuteronomy 8:2.)

Elijah was fed by an angel before being sent into the wilderness. After the meal, Elijah “went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.” (1 Kings 19:8.) In preparation for His ministry, the Lord likewise “fasted forty days and forty nights.” (Matthew 4:2.) That preparation culminated in angels ministering to the Him. (Matthew 4:11.)

In these examples, it is not a man volunteering or choosing to afflict his soul for forty days. The period of purification is imposed by the Lord. We do not get the choose to be purified through suffering for a period of forty days, or forty years, or any other amount of time. However, if the Lord chooses to purify a soul, and that suffering does last for forty days, you can take it as a sign that the purification was given of God.

I know people have tried to voluntarily afflict themselves for forty days. I think an effort like that shows a poor understanding of how God deals with man. We wait on Him. We submit to Him. Then He alone chooses.

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From Lecture 6, Zion

Here is a description given through the Joseph Smith translation of Exodus 33 :20. And since it's the Joseph Smith translation, you are going to have to look there to find it. "And he said unto Moses,? [this is the Lord speaking] "thou canst not see my face at this time lest mine anger be kindled against thee also, and I destroy thee and thy people. For there shall no man among them see me at this time and live, for they are exceedingly sinful. And no sinful man hath at any time, neither shall there be any sinful man at any time, that shall see my face and live." You might catch a glimpse just before you ignite: "I think I saw Him!"

That's not Zion. In D&C 1: 31 the Lord says it again to us in this dispensation: "For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance." Contrast that with, "I cannot look at myself without the enormous latitude of allowance because I'm very forgiving of myself." You'd be better off saying, "I will recognize, I will admit, and I will hold myself to every failing I am prone to make. But as for all the rest of you, I don't see anything wrong with any of you. I cannot detect a flaw in the least, because I'm going to judge you by the standard with which I would like to be measured; which is, I take no offense, I freely forgive."

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From blog post: God is no respecter of persons

I am surprised by how people regard me as something special.  I have been blessed by the Lord to be able to write some books and put some information on this blog. However, if you were raised LDS and put forth some nominal effort to living your religion, you have lived a better life than I have. I wasn't raised LDS and had no understanding of the Gospel, or the underlying reasons for the commandments.  Therefore, I never obeyed even a fraction of the commandments that you have grown up following.

I am absolutely convinced that any one of you is a better candidate than I was to receive an audience with the Lord.  The wonder of this process is not that someone has done it, but that so few have.  Given that I am probably the least qualified, the point should not be lost on you.  If it has happened to me, then it absolutely can and should happen to you.

God is no respecter of persons.  All are alike to Him.  Qualifications are based upon the behavior and faith of the person, not on their status or past mistakes.

You probably think your errors are more serious an impediment to God accepting you than He ever has.  He doesn't want to judge you, He wants to heal you. He wants to give you what you lack, teach you to be better and to bless you.  He doesn't want to belittle, demean or punish you.  Ask Him to forgive and He forgives.  Even very serious sins.  He does not want you burdened with them.  He wants you to leave them behind.

His willingness to leave those errors in the past and remember them no more is greater than you can imagine.  It is a guiding principle for the Atonement. Asking for forgiveness is almost all that is required to be forgiven.

What alienates us from Him is not our sins.  He will forgive them.  What we lack is the confidence to ask in faith, nothing doubting, for His help.  He can and will help when you do so.

The sins that offend Him are not the errors, weaknesses and foolishness of the past.  He is offended when we are forgiven by Him, and then return to the same sin. That shows a lack of gratitude for His forgiveness.  Even then, however, there are addictions, compulsions and weaknesses that we sometimes struggle with for years, even decades.  When the sin is due to some difficulty based on biology, physiology or  an inherent weakness that we fight for years to overcome, then His patience with us is far greater than our own.  He will help in the fight.  He will walk along side you as you fight.  He does not expect you to run faster than you have strength.  When, at last, because of age or infirmity, a troubling weakness is at last overcome, He will readily accept your repentance and let you move forward clean, whole and forgiven.  That is His ministry - to forgive and make whole.

I know all my mistakes.  They are greater than most of yours. I am in awe of His mercy and forgiveness.  I am not at all impressed by my worthiness.  It is nothing.  It consists of borrowed finery from Him who has let me use His great worthiness to cover my own failings.  To the extent that I have any merit, it comes from Him.  I remain astonished that He would condescend for someone like me.

It is a wonder some think I have an advantage.  I assure you that the promised blessings are available to ALL.  If that were not true then someone as weak, simple and flawed as I am would never have had the hope that I now have in Christ.

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"Forsaketh his sins"

Lecture 3, Repentance

Doctrine and Covenants section 93:1: “VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;” Every soul who “forsaketh his sins.” You are not going to get past your sins until God forgives you. But you need to awaken to the fact that you possess them and turn from them. Because turning from them is repentance, it's turning to face Him. You can still have a load that needs to be dropped because we are all heavy laden with sin. But forsaking your sins means that you would prefer Him over everything else that there is. So turn and face him.

“…cometh unto him…” [Well, the only way you can leave that load behind, is to get down in prayer, seeking Him, and asking Him to free you from the load; to allow you, as Alma recounts in his 36th chapter of the book of Alma, the terrible agony that he felt, and calling upon God to be redeemed. Then when God answered, the pain and distress that he had, was equal to the joy and the exhilaration he felt on the other side of being cleansed.] “…calleth upon my name….” [You have to do that.] “…and obeyeth my voice…” [That would include not merely the things that were given to us by Joseph Smith that you may be neglecting, but obeying His voice in what He tells you here and now. The agenda for you is different than the agenda for me. Your needs are different than mine. Your responsibilities are different than mine. You have your own family, you have your own ward, you have your own neighbors and you have your own issues. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters – you are part of a community somewhere. And inside of that, all of you need to listen to the voice of God because he loves everyone. He loves that eccentric aunt that you just dread having come around. You can't for the life of you, understand why she thinks cloves should be poked into a turkey on Thanksgiving. You wonder if maybe there should be a procedure that more easily confines her to someplace where they administer psychotropic drugs. God loves her as much as He loves you. God loves all of us. Your agenda, and the people you can affect, and the relief that you can administer, and the needs that are in front of your eyes day by day, are uniquely yours. And the relief that you can grant to those around you, that's yours. It was given to you by God as a gift. Don't harden your heart.]

I was reading about the problems that the early saints experienced in that 1856 - 1858 timeframe. I was reading from the diaries, not the official history, not from the stuff that is made public; these are the private diaries and journals. I was reading from that material in sacrament meeting earlier today. We went home and we attended our church meetings this morning, and I literally cried as I read what they were called upon to go through. I am disinclined to be critical and non-appreciative of the fact that those who went before us suffered as they did in order to preserve and make possible for us today the programs and the scriptures. They would not allow the restoration, through Joseph, to lapse into silence and neglect. It doesn't matter to me that they made mistakes. We make mistakes too, every one of us. If you've lived a perfect life you wouldn't be here. The fact is we all are broken, and we are all in need of repair. There was valiance among the early saints and I am appreciative of all the struggles and hard lessons they were taught. I have learned so much from studying them. Those who believe I dismiss them are utterly wrong. Trying to understand God’s hand sometimes requires us to look troubling events squarely and to realize how failure is not only part of our past, but it is an important part of it. We can and will fail too, and their struggles will be in vain, if we are so arrogant as to not deal with these events truthfully.

 

The Second Comforter

"forsaketh his sins" "i.e. through repentance and baptism, which is the only means God has ordained to forsake your sins." (Chapter 14, p. 291)

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Lecture 7, Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man

In most cases it is our disrespect for ourselves that impedes coming to Him. We tend to think we aren't good enough. However, because He is quick to forgive sins, it really doesn't matter if you are not good enough. One of the first orders of business when you come into His presence is that He forgives you. He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, but He has the capacity and the ability to forgive sin. Therefore although your sins may be as scarlet, He can, He will and He does, make you white as snow, no longer accountable for your limitations. Therefore you needn't fear, but you can approach boldly, our Lord.

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Lecture 7, Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man

The people who survived the destruction preceding His appearance to the Nephites were more righteous. We must be likewise. The Book of Mormon is the great prophecy for our day. We should look at is as warning us, not merely as history of a fallen people. It was intended as a warning to us based on their history, and not merely as history. The “more righteous” survived then, and will likewise survive His Second Coming. The “more righteous” were not sin free. They were more righteous because they hearkened to what the Lord told them.

This did not mean they weren't a work-in-process with weaknesses and frailties. They were willing to hear His voice in the messengers He sent, and to respond to Him. These were the few people spared. They were “more righteous” because they received His message from an authorized messenger. They had faith in the word declared to them. Go to chapter 10 and read verse 12: "And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared." Please notice the criteria. This is the definition of “more righteous.” That was how they, and in turn you, get spared from destruction. This is how you become “His seed” (to use Abinadi’s description): "They who received the prophets and stoned them not." Please understand this is Christ speaking.

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The pit and the mountain:

Imagine a deep and dangerous pit in the center of your community. Your community has been given the commandment to stay out of the pit. Assuming no other commandment is given, it is the nature of almost all mankind that this one commandment would result in almost everyone falling into the pit sooner or later. Curiosity, rebellion, peer pressure, pride or some other vanity would lead to risk-taking around the pit and inevitable falling in. That is the nature of most of us during the teenage years, and many of us right into adulthood.

Those disposed to being “protectors of virtue” (i.e., busybodies) would post signs nearby to try to prevent people from falling into the pit. Yet while posting signs, such “protectors of virtue” oftentimes fall into temptation themselves, and many of them would fall, too. Of course, later, the “protectors” would add a handrail. Other precautions would follow. But these would do no good, for if the only commandment is a “thou shalt not,” then the failings would follow, while the precautions taken would invite further curiosity by the unconvinced, or rebellious, or curious. Precautions at one end invite further risks at the other, since it appears safer to take the risk.

The only sure way to prevent you from falling into the pit would be to give you something positive to do that will take you in another direction. Climbing a mountain would keep you so far from the pit there is no danger of falling. If you are headed away from the pit, you can never fall into it.

This basic notion underlies many of the commandments. The “thou-shalt-nots” get accompanied by positive commandments, as well. The Sermon on the Mount/Sermon at Bountiful is filled with positive injunctions to action. This positive approach toward what the Lord wants of you is not only more satisfying to the soul, it is also the only way to avoid the “thou-shalt-nots.” Trying merely by force of will to avoid some particular weakness or transgression will generally result in failure. Ask any addict how they overcame addiction. None of them will tell you they just managed to stop. They had to get involved in some wholesome, replacement activity. That is how the commandments work. Go away and do something good somewhere distant from the temptation, and you will find you can overcome every weakness. (The Second Comforter, Chapter 15, Doing and Being)

Joseph prayed about sins, state; standing and angel comes and "shows him a mountain," or rather expounds the scriptures and reveals some of the work God has for him to do. Joseph also noted that the light in room grew brighter and brighter.

"People struggle with some very difficult, very challenging things. You need to try and overcome that by the light within you." (Lecture 3, Repentance)

 

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"You think you are just struggling with a problem or weakness."

There is an opposition to getting there. You must face an adversary who is committed to keeping you from receiving light and truth. He knows very well how this process works. Unlike you, he has no doubts about this process. So the adversary directs his efforts to keep you from closing the distance between you and God. Interestingly his role in this process is described with perfect clarity in the scriptures as well: “And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.” (D&C 93: 39, emphasis added.) The Adversary is trying to keep you from gaining light and truth. He understands how to do that: Get you to disobey the commandments.

You think you are just struggling with a problem or weakness. You think you are having some temptation that drives you to distraction. The criticism, complaint or weakness you have that challenges your faith is not that at all. It is your enemy working on taking light and truth away from you. This is the balance in which you find yourself. Choose the light. (The Second Comforter, Chapter 14, Keeping the Commandments (Reprised))

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See the entirety of chapters 14 (Keeping the Commandments (Reprised)) and 15 (Doing and Being) in The Second Comforter.

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Target Fixation

When teaching someone to ride a motorcycle, the best way is to let them ride as a passenger behind an experienced rider. The experienced rider will tell them to lean when the rider leans, and keep their bodies aligned behind the driver. After enough miles in the seat, the rider will instinctively begin to “feel” the way to turn, how to lean, how to accelerate, how to shift, how to stop, and then will be ready to try it themselves. The experience of riding behind an accomplished rider imprints on the learners. After first learning the mechanical rules for riding, the learner eventually will duplicate the ‘feel’ of what was learned. When the feel is right, they are comfortable in riding. This method of teaching motorcycling produces not only a better rider, it produces them much more quickly than any other teaching method. An experienced motorcyclist does not recognize where the bike begins and where they leave off. They become one. The motorcycle becomes an extension of the body. You “do” and then you “become.” When making a turn on a motorcycle, the experienced rider looks where she wants to go. The bike follows her sight as a natural extension of her thought. You drive down the road where you look. If there is an obstruction on the road you want to avoid, you mustn’t fix your eyes on the obstacle or you will hit it. You look where you want the bike to go. To avoid the obstruction you look to the right or the left, and the bike will follow. Staring at a road obstruction is called “target fixation” and is a common problem with new riders. If you fixate on a target, even one you want to avoid, you will hit it. You go where you look. (The Second Comforter, Chapter 15, Doing and Being)

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From Lecture 10

Now, it is clear when it comes to the Gospel, there are absolute standards. Doctrine And Covenants 1:31 says: "For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance." And if that is not a troubling enough idea, then remember King Benjamin’s warning in Mosiah 4: 29: "And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them." So there is an infinite supply of opportunities to commit sin, and God cannot look upon that with any degree of allowance.

This is a formidable challenge for us to consider. But there is a Divine purpose underlying it all. The Divine purpose is to bring us in humility to God, while recognizing there is a gulf between who and what we are, and what is expected of us in order to be truly holy.

Think about all the ways that there are to err. Consider the warnings given in Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants concerning priesthood: "That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but 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," And by the way, "in any degree of unrighteousness," is a serious warning. We are told in verse 41 how power or influence is to be affected, and it is not “by virtue of the priesthood,” it is rather "only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy."

This presents an opportunity for everyone involved, every time, to fail. In addition to all this, as to priesthood if you go to 2 Nephi chapter 26, verse 29 there is another warning: "He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion."

Zion can only come about as a consequence of consecration and sacrifice, and not as a result of seeking to get gain. In fact, when you are in the employ of the Lord you ought to be sacrificing, it should not be gainful; it should cost you in order to serve.

To accomplish purity, there are absolutes that are necessary. Sacrifice is absolutely necessary, and equality is necessary as well. Or at least, there be no poor among us. My guess is, sitting among us in this room here today, there are those who have significant issues with financial needs, and there are some sitting here today who could help in solving those.

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"It is a trick of the devil to get people to close their minds and close their hearts, because they fear what they may be learning will do damage to them. When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, and then Satan called their attention to the fact that they were naked, that is the beginning of the mischief visited on humanity by the adversary who seeks to bind, control and limit the freedom of all mankind in order to imprison them. He pointed out to them that they ought to be ashamed. Therefore, when they heard the voice of God speaking, they withdrew because of what the shame triggered within them—fear. They were ashamed to come into the presence of that being who they knew to be just and holy, because now they were naked and afraid. Their "nakedness" before God came as a consequence of understanding the difference between what they were compared to the perfection of God. That knowledge came as a result of partaking of the fruit out of season and out of sequence. They were not going to receive a command to partake of the fruit until after the day of rest had been observed. They were not only naked before God, but they were also violating the Sabbath. They were beginning the labor of mortal existence out of time, sequence and season. That is the way a great number of errors are made in mortality.

"You see, we are commanded not to partake of some things out of season. Then we are commanded to partake within season. When we get the timing wrong, we wind up with difficulties and problems we should not have encountered. When we make that mistake, we are forced to repent. Repentance is a critical thing. It is the message of the Book of Mormon. It is the greatest message contained in the book of Isaiah and it is the message of all true prophets. There are two things that generally stir you up to repentance. The first thing is to awaken to your awful situation. The second is to arise, and connect with the source that will cure what is wrong with you. We are not self-curing. We are filled with that same shame that came in the beginning as a consequence of doing what we were not suppose to be doing. The greatest way the adversary keeps us in a state of slumber is to prevent us from looking about and awakening to the awful situation we find ourselves. Hugh Nibley commented on more than one occasion that there is nothing quite as annoying as being awakened out of a deep sleep. No one really likes that. When it comes right down to it, unconsciousness is a very pleasurable thing; particularly when what you awaken to what we face here." (Denver Snuffer: The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered)

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"Adam and Eve could not have children while they were in the Garden of Eden.  They lacked the capacity to bear children in the innocent state in which they then existed. (2 Nephi 2:23)

"They had been given the gift of childbearing as an endowment from God.  The endowment of the capacity did not mean they had the means or understanding at the time to act upon it.  Without the fall, they would not have been able to act on the endowment.  They were like little children who are born male and female with the capacity to one day become parents, but who are immature and innocent, and therefore unable to bear children.

"The great offense was in Satan’s control of the timing.  Had they remained in the Garden throughout the Sabbath day of rest then they would have received the commandment to partake of the fruit in the Lord’s timing. At this point they would have moved from their innocent state into a condition not unlike the Millennial day.  The “fall” would have transitioned to a Terrestrial state, rather than a Telestial state." (Denver Snuffer: Adam and Eve)

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From a blog post: Part 2 of Passing Up the Heavenly Gift,

“Mormonism is a faith which simply cannot be confined to a single tightly controlled confession of faith, because it was always designed to "comprehend all truth." Think about that for just a moment. If it encompasses all truth, then it is vast in scope. Endless, really. So, at any given moment, Mormons will include those who are beginning to study the faith, those who have brought a background in Buddhism, those who have a foundation in science, or any number of other pre-conversion talents, capacities and preferences. These new believers will use those backgrounds to search into the Gospel.

“Those varieties of talents were always intended to be a blessing, even a strength, to the restoration. Any requirement for absolute uniformity will not permit those who have vastly different capacities to share in faith, even though they are honest, believing and acceptable to God.” (Denver Snuffer)

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From Road to Emmaus:

“If we’re straight and narrow, we must be rigid. You know sometimes, the best to conform to the surface is to be limber, is to be adaptable, is to be willing to accept some new ideas….

“I think that what we have restored to us anticipates that there will be other streams of thought which converge with our own, and as they converge with our own, those other streams of thought are going to inform us about ideas we haven’t quite got our hands around yet.

“I think as we grow into the Buddhist world, Buddhist converts to the church are going to bring to our attention understanding about the Book of Mormon that we don’t penetrate just yet. I believe that Islam is going to bring to us some understandings and insights from the Book of Mormon that we won’t get without them. I believe that the Gospel program was intended to welcome these divergent streams of thoughts and to help us flush it out and to help us see, ‘Ah, there’s more to this than we in our little narrow, western vantage point have yet been able to discern.’” (Denver Snuffer, Road to Emmaus, questions and answer session. Disk 3, Track 3-4)

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From blog post: Friends and Spokesmen

I have friends who are Buddhist/Mormon or Mormon-Buddhists. They think their study of eastern mysticism gives them an advantage in enlightenment. I have had several conversations that illustrate the difficulties of a mere transcendent enlightenment experience.

In visionary encounters, friends have seen themselves as an enlightened beings, and in that role experienced peace, joy and love. They have overcome the pains, jealousies and distress of the mortal sphere, and believe this reflects great credit upon themselves. In fact, almost all come to see themselves through enlightenment as having independent worth, no longer in need of a savior or the Christ. They think themselves equal to the Christ and responsible for their own salvation.

The frequent comment I have heard from these transcendental meditation practitioners is that there is no need of a savior. We are all god.

With newfound enlightenment they have become more dissatisfied with LDS Mormonism than before, ceased activity, and within a few years disassociated altogether from Mormonism. This has caused problems in their family relationships as they seek for something more.

We all have need of a savior. None of us come to the Father apart from Christ. Salvation depends on our rescue by Him. Seeing ourselves in that role does not make it our role. We are given a glimpse of what He is like for the purpose of making us appreciate Him, seek for Him, model Him, and understand Him. When we are relieved of pain it is because He knows how to succor each of us in our weakness and sin. (Alma 7:12) Experiencing that relief is not to make us proud and independent, but to draw us closer to Him.

These Buddhist friends, as many others who seek for and obtain visionary encounters, neglect their responsibility to then take what has been shown them and integrate the understanding of it into the pattern set out in scripture. If they use the scriptures to guide their understanding they would have known that Christ is the only one who can deliver us, forgive sins, heal afflictions and provide us comfort. Instead of accepting the truth in scripture, many of them assume the newfound Buddhist explanation negates the need for a savior. But it is the Lord, not mere man, who was God. And abandoning Christ because of an encounter with “enlightenment” is going backward, not forward.

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From Communication From the Lord:

"The closest image I have seen to the glory shown by a resurrected, glorified, celestial personage is the upper pattern, in gold, imprinted onto the Dome of the Rock Mosque.  When I saw it for the first time a few months ago, I was startled by the pattern and its radiant glory.  It is the closest earthly pattern I have seen to depicting a Celestial Glory.  I do not know who fashioned the pattern, but they were depicting something that I recognized to be inspired by what lies beyond the veil and patterned after Celestial Glory itself.

"(I'm talking about the interior finish, with the pattern shown there. The appearance of the pattern is very much like the "cloven tongues of fire" which one sees in Celestial Glory. I apologize that I don't have a link to give where you can see that artwork. But it is interior, not the exterior.)"

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Shepherds who remove fear.

"Institutions who use fear to control the hopes and aspirations of mankind concerning eternal life are in the gall of bitterness. Fear is of the devil. When the final remnant is gathered, they will have shepherds who remove fear. (Jeremiah 23:2-5.) When we are prepared by Christ, and by His word alone, we will not fear. (D&C 38:30.)"

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From article: Concourses of Angles

The object of this mortal existence is to develop faith.  We need adversity and a sense of isolation from God in order to develop the character necessary to be like God.  There is a test underway.  But it is conducted by a benign and friendly heavenly host, whose primary purpose is to develop in us a godly character and charity toward one another.

Men and women may see Christ in vision or in an appearance as a solitary personage.  But no person has ever seen God the Father without also seeing a host of others.  They are referred to in scriptures as a "heavenly host," or "numerous angels," or "concourses of angels."  There is a reason that a company is always shown at the appearance of the Father.  You should look into the matter. Within the answer lies a great truth about God the Father.

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Denver on the Nature of Zion

“The Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart, and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7: 18.) There were no poor among them physically; there were no poor among them spiritually. They did not compete, they cooperated. They did not envy, they shared. They did not pass a zoning law. I will tell you how to ruin Zion, how to keep it from coming, pass a zoning law. Decide you’re going to “police the neighborhood.” Start thinking you should have restrictive covenants so you can enforce views upon one another. The instant you start to regulate one another, Zion is gone. It slips right between your fingers. No man needs to say to another: “know ye the Lord; for they all are going to know him who dwell in Zion.” The new song to be sung presupposes the residents of Zion will know the Lord.

I thought about writing a fictional account of this curious city where those people who have several children live in big houses, while those who have no children live in small houses. In the place, no one has a job or schedule, but everyone works. One day the lead character gets up, walks outside, and notices that the lawn needs to be mowed. So he goes and finds a lawn mower and starts mowing. He mows at his house, then the next, then finds he has spent days mowing grass and is across the city to the other side. Everywhere he has been he found grass needing mowing, and he took care of it. He finishes after a couple of weeks, then returns to his house and says, “Hey, look at that the grass has grown again.” So he starts mowing again. He does this because he feels like mowing the grass at the time. He just wants to.

Then after the season, he notices there is only one person working in the local bakery. He had never worked in a bakery, but he decides to go see what it is like to work in a bakery—and he rather likes that. So he spends the next seasons in the bakery doing that. The following year he wonders whatever happened to the lawns. They have been cut since the spring, but he doesn‘t know who has been cutting them. He goes on his way to find out who has been cutting the lawn because he liked doing that and he has something in common with whoever is now mowing the grass. He would like to know how they like it and what their pattern for taking care of the work has become. He wants to ask them: “How did you do that?” On his way, he gets distracted by the orchard needing harvesting, so he spends that fall harvesting there.

So the story just ends, with what appears to be total chaos. A completely ungoverned society, where oddly enough everyone is at peace, but no one is in control. No one has a job, but everyone works, and the only thing that motivates any resident is what needs to be done. “Hey, let‘s take care of this” is the only motivation. And they do it for as long as they feel like doing it, and then they do something else. It is a story I‘ve considered writing, but have never done so. But now the idea for the story is in this talk, so you can write it in your own mind.

Our vision of Zion is regimented, regulated. We’re Mormons after all! We want to be controlled. A man cannot be saved unless there‘s a boss at the top. “This is your assignment.” “We are going to call you; we are going to sustain you.” “We are going to put your conscripted ass in this position and park it there and you must magnify that job!”—I am not sure anyone knows what “magnify” means, but I tell you, you better be calling attention to yourself so that everyone notices. We can‘t have the invisible lawn mower. We can‘t have the invisible baker. We can‘t have the invisible in harmony with everyone around them harvesting the orchard when it needs doing. Because this is the Zion Reich!—As soon as you do that, it is gone. It has slipped through your fingers. Zion is without compulsion. Zion will occur when the Lord brings again Zion. And it will happen perfectly naturally. But only among those who are fit to participate.

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"There is a description of Christ in Nephi’s words: 'Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.' (2 Ne. 2: 6) We imagine that statement to mean He had all conceivable grace and all conceivable truth. It might instead mean His life was filled with such grace as was needed for it, and such truth as was required for it. Within His sphere and element, He attained perfection. But did He know calculus (to make an illustration)? Nothing indicates Christ had any need to know calculus. It wasn’t that He couldn’t learn it, of course, but it wasn’t required of Him." (The Second Comforter)

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"Our own participation in ordinances are vital to our own renewal, and the renewal of all creation through redemption of each individual soul." (3 Nephi 11:26)

"The Lord dresses you in plenty of ceremonial attire designed to convey symbols with meaning. But they are not an end, they are merely symbols. Six days of creation symbolized by six articles of clothing in the present temple rites. Each one of which can be associated with one of the days of creation. Therefore as you enter through the veil, it is as if the entirety of creation is redeemed in your person. You represent salvation for the entirety of creation. Because in you, should you be able to be rescued, creation itself continues." (Be of Good Cheer, Be of Good Courage)

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"There is a tree growing out of a granite cliff in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. It has been twisted and contorted by the winds that whip around the granite outcropping. That yellow pine tree persisted in its upward reach, pointing to God who created it, despite the opposition of the wind and elements and the difficulty of growing out of a granite wall. These forces produced a spiral tree, twisted by opposition, yet still pointing upward to God. It preaches a sermon louder than words by testifying through its very being. Reflecting on this tree and its testimony of competing forces, God and persistence in life, brought me to a state of rest and meditation. You no doubt have something similar in your own experience. Some profound moment of insight and meaning that can be used to the same effect. The Celestial Room was intended for this purpose. But any moment of similar peace can be used in the same way. Remember such a feeling, and duplicate it when dealing with life’s stresses and challenges. Try to feel your way back into that experience by pondering on it daily. Quiet reflection and meditation will accomplish the same thing, whether in the Temple or in nature. God is in the Temple. He is in the redwoods, too." (The Second Comforter, Chapter 15)

This is so similar to Buddah as he remembered his father plowing rows on his farm.

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"I heard someone comment on how all these fellowships gathered here are remarkably diverse. That is because people are diverse. God went to the trouble of making very tree unique. Every snowflake is unique. Every living organism is unique. Every fingerprint is unique. I suspect when we are at last able to distinguish on that scale we will find that every atom of this universe is likewise unique." (DS)

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From Fellowship Conference 20-Sept-2015 Big Cottonwood Canyon Transcript:

Question: I’ve been hearing of some other groups and even some of the people in the group I meet with they talk about receiving revelations that it’s time to flee Babylon and prepare a place of refuge. So people are actually leaving their jobs, selling their homes, buying up remote properties and deciding to live together and live the law of consecration. As I’ve prayed and fasted about this I’ve felt concerned about that, I don’t know we’re anywhere near that? So the question is “Does the Lord actually want us to do something physically to prepare or is it all spiritual preparation at this point? Are we anywhere near the law of consecration?

Answer: I don’t think it is useful for people to argue over the revelations that they have received in contrast to the revelations anyone else has received. I think that we should give allowances for the possibility that someone has received for themselves some communication that for themselves they ought to act on. Therefore, I do not want to be dismissive of someone’s revelation that says they ought to be doing something. But, I was reading out loud to my wife’s amusement a letter written in 1841 by Wilford Woodruff in England sent back to the saints in Nauvoo, about how obvious it was that were right then at the end of all time. The poverty in England he saw, the abuse of people, the great pollutions on the land, and all of the signs, the cholera, the earthquakes, it was really clear the earth was in the final distress, and that God was coming soon. The plagues had been opened, the angels were then released to harvest the world, and the end was upon them. That was, I think it was in March edition of the Times and Seasons for 1841. The apostle Paul wrote a New Testament letter about the times of distress are upon us. Everyone in every generation sees that.

In order for the entire earth not to be smitten and utterly wasted at the Lord’s return it will be necessary for there to be a Zion. It’s almost a cause and effect. You have to have the reestablishment of what was in the beginning of the world in the end of the world also. That was a prophecy of Adam, he made it in the valley of Adam-ondi- Ahman. Enoch was the one the preserved Adam’s prophecy, so it appears in the Enoch portion of the Book of Moses. That same priesthood which was in the beginning of the world shall at the end of the world be also.

It is not done merely by laying hands on someone’s head and inciting an incantation. It will not be done by someone declaring, “you are senior chief, apostolic, high and holy pontificate of the 9th order,” or some such nonsense. It’s not that, it’s not that at all.

It will be reestablishing something about which we know very, very little. That has to occur only within an environment that has been insulated from the world and accepted by God. It has to be physically accepted by the Lord. That edifice has to be located in a place approved by the Lord. We don’t know the place as yet. We don’t have the right to proceed. All of this must occur before the invitation for the Lord’s return is extended. Because God is not going to come to a planet that He utterly wastes at His coming. An invitation has to precede the return of our Lord. That invitation needs to be done in His way, at a place of His choosing, in a manner that He ordains, that occurs according to His will. It will be established as a consequence of Him returning what was once here, back to the earth again.

People are wildly enthusiastic about a lot of things and I don’t deny the possibility that their enthusiasm can be based upon something that is authentic and God talking to them. But as for wrapping up of the creation and the culmination of the ages, God’s direct involvement in that and the impressive nature of how that will roll forward, will not be some people deciding to flee and go farm somewhere. It’s going to be a different kind of enterprise, culminating in a city of righteousness and a people of righteousness, and in that sense righteousness will include a great deal of knowledge. The glory of God is intelligence or in other words light and truth. Knowledge and redemption all of that go together.

I don’t talk about any of the revelations or visitations I’ve received except to say that they have happened. I will tell you, they have happened. The Lord in His wisdom does not require me to speak of them. I did a little post on Nephi and the Lord constraining him to remain silent about some things, and how smart I thought that was in the long run. The Lord in His wisdom has asked that I talk using the scriptures and the things put on the ground by Joseph Smith and not anything else. I think that is an important thing to do.

Until we have first remembered and straightened out what it was that came to us through Joseph, we have no business going out and and starting another experiment. I have used this analogy and some of you have heard it and I apologize to those that have heard it, but I’m going to use it again. Edison tried iron, he tried copper, he tried aluminum, he tried a number of elements all of which failed. Until he finally used carbon as the filament and then he got light.

Joseph Smith proceeded with the restoration as a come-as-you-are party. He believed that with the right kind of preaching he could take any people, convert them and turn them in to Zion. There was some reason to think it may be a possibility, because of what learn about with Melchizedek in the book of Mosiah. Melchizedek’s preaching resulted in people repenting from their wickedness and becoming righteous. So it’s not an irrational thought, not an unscriptural thought, for Joseph to have entertained. My conclusion however is that there is no reason to try iron if Edison tried it and it didn’t work and there’s no reason to try copper if Edison tried it and it didn’t work. There is no reason to expect that you can take people and gather them and then try to produce Zion. It makes a whole lot more sense, as the scriptures seem to indicate, that first people are taught repentance and then some few repent then are gathered, one of city, two of a family. They are gathered by those angels to whom the keys are entrusted to do the gathering. Then you put them together.

We know what Joseph tried to do failed. He did not produce Zion.

From blog:

Every dispensation of the Gospel is the "last Dispensation" until it fails. Then another is sent and it is the "last" until it fails. This will continue for so long as man continues to fail. God is in no hurry. Apparently we are not either.

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From The Second Comforter:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16: 24–26, emphasis added.) The trade-off is again put succinctly. If you want life, real life, alive in God, then you need to obey Him. Lose yourself, your pride, self-will and meaningless individuality in something much greater. Become connected to the Father by obedience to His ordained laws, and follow His commandments and find yourself growing in light, truth and intelligence.

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From The Second Comforter, Chapter 10

The setting of God’s throne tells us we are looking at the pinnacle. This is the seat of power. We see here a throne setting. It is “surrounded” or in a middle. The point from which the compass draws a true circle must be fixed by the center point. God is that center point. It is in the middle. He is that fixed, central position from which all creation arises. “Surrounding” it are the “numberless concourses” of angels. That is, the center of the infinite is God. From Him all blessings flow. From Him all sustaining power and authority rises. The surrounding concourses, infinite in number, are all engaged in “singing and praising” Him. Here the ceremony is designed to communicate to the mind of Lehi (and in turn to our own minds) the notion of God’s central position and fixed center-point, from which glory proceeds and to which all praise and thanks should be returned. The setting and the information are ceremonial and symbolic. They tell us something. They try to teach us, with the setting and brief description of events, about higher things. They use simple words describing a ceremonial scene from heaven, to tell us something about sacred things from above. They can communicate powerful things to us, if we will let them. They teach us about God’s role in creation and His continuing, presiding position to which we, as well as heaven itself, turn for light and power.

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"When you feel this harmony and closeness, remember it. When you are in balance, in harmony and at rest, you can feel His presence. Feel it, follow it, lean when He leans, and you will learn quicker what it is you are trying to accomplish with your heart, might, mind, and strength. You’ve been keeping His commandments. Now try to feel the underlying state it was intended to bring you to. God did not give you a mere ‘rule book.’ He gave you something much greater. It is a harmony and symphony. But more of a feeling than a thought. It is an experience, and not just an analysis, which brings you into balance as thin as a razor’s edge." (The Second Comforter, Chapter 15)

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"God hides most things in plain sight. It is up to you, therefore, to be willing to draw back the veil and see them." (The Second Comforter, Sayings)

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"Don‘t trouble yourself, unless it motivates you to change. Repentance means change.  Repentance actually means you turn from the direction you are facing. Whatever direction you are facing, turn from that direction, and face God. When you turn to God and face Him and let Him be the object of your focus and your attention, then you have  repented." (The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered)

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"Lose yourself, your pride, self-will and meaningless individuality in something much greater." (The Second Comforter, ch. 9)

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"'…and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear. And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen? And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.' [It frightened him to realize that the God who controls all things had flesh and blood. This was a great secret that ought not get out, and now he knows it. Knowing it frightened him. He thought he was intruding into space he shouldn’t and he felt convicted that somehow, that was something he ought not know.]" (40 Years in Mormonism, Talk 8)

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"The intelligence out of which we were created might just as accurately be referred to as the 'word' or the 'thought' of God. In Genesis 1:3 we read: 'And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.' God speaks light into existence. Or we might describe it as God imagining or conceiving light into existence. Since we are made of light, or truth, or the glory of God, it would be equally true that He conceives or imagines us into existence. It was both a creative act and an act of faith for God to conceive of us...."

"It is absolutely essential to the process of 'creation' or 'conceiving' for God the Father to have a female consort or Mother God. If we were the product of  only one mind’s thought, or word, or intelligence we could never act independently  of the one mind. Everything about the conceived individual would be under the  exclusive control of the one mind. Therefore such an individual would be wholly  predictable and subordinate in all of its acts to the single mind. Only when two are  jointly conceiving an individual does it become possible for the individual  conceived to be independent of control. So long as both have input, neither one can fully control what the personality will choose to do. The life’s choices, the  story-line, the events and decisions of any given personality cannot be fully  controlled by either the Father or the Mother when both are allowed to create,  conceive or organize the personality. Intelligences require parents in the plural;  otherwise they could not acquire independence of thought.

"When the Father and Mother hold the thought (or word, or intelligence) long enough, with faith in the existence of this new creation, while neither one is fully  controlling the individual intelligence, then existence becomes possible. The person  has everything necessary to exist in her own right. It becomes possible for the  intelligence to make her own choice. Only when the intelligence accepts that right  and makes a choice freely, without control by the Father and Mother, does the  intelligence begin to exist. 'All truth is independent in that sphere in which God  has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no  existence.' (D&C 93:30) It was an act of faith by God the Father and His consort  to cause the intelligence to be conceived or organized. But it requires an act of faith  on the part of the intelligence to exercise her own free will to accept its creation.  Unless she is free to act by making her own choice and actually does so, there is no  existence." (Beloved Enos, Chapter 1, p. 17-20)

 

"Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And that if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all [p. 7] the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man." (Lectures on Faith, Lecture First)

 

"We must conform to the truth, the pattern given to us by God in order to be true to our core. God is in our core. He is now sustaining us from moment to moment. Without Him we would not exist at all. But He intends for us to become like Him." (Beloved Enos, Chapter 1, p. 28)

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From blog post, Out of Season Fruit

Out of Season Fruit

I've been asked several times about the comment that Adam and Eve partook of the fruit "out of season" in the Elijah Talk.  Since it's come up more than once, here's an answer I gave to one of those who inquired:

They would have eventually received the command to partake.  If they had waited for that command, the "fall" would have introduced the kind of opposition experienced during the Millennium rather than the kind we now have.  Opposites only required: 1) change and 2) death.  Both will be present during the Millennium.

The Garden of Eden is an allegory, and we all pass through a "Fall from Eden" to come here.  But there are many other worlds, see D&C 76: 24.  Among these countless others, ours fell the greatest. See Moses 7: 36-37.  We are singular in our fallen state, and qualify as the "most wicked" of any of God's creations. Here we suffer, but with the opportunity to grow by making sacrifice. We all came here to offer sacrifice. Just being here is a form of sacrifice, and we will all submit to death to leave here.

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Satan Fell From Heaven

"Satan was not thrown out of heaven until after this earth was created.  Jesus remarked, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18) Similarly, John's revelation records that Satan "which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Revelation 12:9) From this we know that Satan was not cast out until after the creation of this earth had prepared a place into which Satan could be cast." (link, emphasis added)

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