This lecture by Denver Snuffer entitled “Preserving the Restoration” was originally recorded in Mesa, Arizona on September 9, 2014, in front of a live audience.
This is the concluding part of a single talk. This has been going on beginning in Boise, and now, concluding here. It’s all one talk—and it really helps if you have heard 9/10ths of the talk that preceded today—but they all stand alone; it’s just that you’ll understand things better, I believe, today if you’ve got in mind what went before.
All of this has been about Zion. The whole purpose of this endeavor is limited to that one subject: Zion and seeing that Zion comes again.
I wanna clarify a couple of things preliminarily. If you go to the testimony that John the Baptist gave of Christ that is recorded by John in the third chapter of John—it runs on for a number of verses from 27 to 36, but I want to only take out of that one reference that John makes to our Lord. He says that Christ had the Spirit given to Him without measure (see John 3:34), meaning that when our Lord was down here accomplishing what was expected of Him, He had to have access to the Spirit in a degree to which none of us can equal. That was necessary in order for Him to fulfill His responsibility.
We are in a very different state—all of us, even the very best of us. We are being “proven.” Christ came to prove us; we are here to be proven. As a result of that, all of us (according to the scriptures) are given weakness. You are not going to perform in this estate at the same level as our Lord performed in this estate—period. You are given weakness, and He was given the Spirit without measure.
And so, adding to what went on before (about the ascent up Jacob’s ladder and the arrival to the state at which you’ve completed the course and you’ve “attained unto the resurrection”), understand that our Savior—who accomplished that—did it in this world using a very different criteria and experience by which to live His life from the one in which we live ours. And that’s just the way that the plan operates, the way that the development operates.
Now, it’s clear when it comes to “the gospel” that the gospel has—as its standard—absolutes. Doctrine and Covenants 1
section [verse] 31 says: For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance (emphasis added). And if that’s not a troubling enough idea, then if you go to King Benjamin in Mosiah 4, verse 29, it says (this is King Benjamin talking): 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’s an infinite supply of opportunities with which to commit sin, and God cannot look upon that with any degree of allowance.
It’s sort of a formidable challenge for us to look at, but there is a Divine purpose underlying that. And that Divine purpose is to bring us—in humility—to God, recognizing that there’s a gulf between who and what we are and what it is that is expected of us in order to be truly holy.
Think about all the ways that there are to err. In the warnings that are given in section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants concerning priesthood: [It can] be conferred upon us, [it’s] true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or…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… (D&C 121:37, emphasis added). And by the way, “any degree of unrighteousness”—it tells you in verse 41 how power or influence is to be affected, and it is not by virtue of the priesthood; it is only by persuasion, …long-suffering, …gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; [
By pure] By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy (D&C 121:41-42).
This presents an opportunity for everyone, every time, to fail. In addition to all this, if you go to Second Nephi chapter 26, at verse 29: He commandeth…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’re in the employ of the Lord, you ought to be sacrificing. It shouldn’t 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 that, among us sitting 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.
[Phone rings] Oh, hey—hold my calls, will ya? [laughter]
In Alma chapter 1, it talks about a circumstance in which the priests served. Alma 1, beginning at verse 26:
And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did…labor, every man according to his strength. And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely. (Alma 1:26-27)
You see, they prospered in this, and they were blessed because of it. We should learn from their example, when they were prospering, about what it was they did that was right that brought it about. The ideal is not to have a professional class of clergymen. The ideal is to have every one of us being equal.
In our own day, in a revelation given through Joseph, Doctrine and Covenants 52, beginning at 39, it says:
Let the residue of the elders watch over the churches, and declare the word in the regions round about…and let them labor with their own hands that there be no idolatry nor wickedness practiced. (D&C 52:39)
Labor with their own hands means that they’re not professionals—because as soon as you turn them into a professional clergy, people idolize them; and the object is to avoid idolatry, to avoid the professional class of clergy to whom people look for blessings at their hands. That there be no idolatry nor wickedness practiced—“wickedness” because when you have people elevated that have control… Almost invariably, the existence of control tends to lead, invariably—to lead, inexorably—to abuse. Because if all you have with which to work is persuasion, you’re gonna find out that there are a lot of people who you will never persuade. There are a lot of people who will never get aboard.
Therefore, if you’re limited to persuasion alone, you have to afford people the freedom to reject, to be contrary, to raise their hand and make a contrasting point, and not have someone say, “Your point isn’t welcome here. You’re not doing what you need to do!”
And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that [doth] not these things, the same is not my disciple. (ibid, vs. 40)
And isn’t it interesting that both in the case of Alma (talking about how their system worked with their priests) and in the modern revelation (talking about how things should be among us), there is no such thing as a “professional clergy,” followed immediately by, “remember the poor, remember the needy”—in both instances. That’s not happenstance.
Well, I’m talking about priesthood because I want to remind you of a few things about priesthood conceptually. The priesthood was restored by John the Baptist before there was any organized church. Therefore, it is before, and it is independent and has never required a church in order for priesthood to exist.
If you go to Doctrine and Covenants section 84, verse 6: And the sons of Moses, according to the Holy Priesthood which he received under the hand of his father–in–law, Jethro… Now, just to remind you about this, Jethro was a Midianite. He was a descendant of Midian; Midian was the son of Keturah. Keturah was the wife of Abraham after Sarah. After Sarah died, Keturah bore him children, one of whom was Midian. The birthright had already been given to Isaac.
See, there is so much about the priesthood that has yet to be clarified (and I think that is a good thing, and I’m not going to clarify enough for mischief to ensue). But the fact of the matter is that that priesthood which Abraham handed to Midian—which then descended down and came to Moses—did not possess the birthright; didn’t possess that. Therefore, it was not the same thing as the priesthood that had belonged previously to the Patriarchs. It was something less, and it was something different.
But Moses obtained that priesthood through Jethro, a Midianite—not even an Israelite, because Midian was named at the same time genealogically as Isaac, and it would be Isaac’s son, Jacob, who would be named Israel; and it was Israel who possessed the birthright that descended down. And so, Moses inherited a form of priesthood that was, by its very nature, lesser. It’s one of the reasons why the prophets of the Old Testament all had to be ordained directly by heaven in order to obtain what they obtained.
In any event, this point is only this: priesthood exists independent of Israel; it exists independent of a church; and while the church may be dependent upon priesthood, priesthood is not and never has been dependent upon a church—period. I hope you understand that. Priesthood is not and never has been dependent upon a church! These are two entirely different topics and very important to be understood for our purposes here today.
In addition to this, I hope you all understand that the Holy Ghost can and does speak to everyone—Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics. C.S. Lewis could not have written and comprehended what he wrote and understood unless the light of the Holy Ghost shown upon that man’s mind. Period. There is no organization which controls the Holy Ghost. It is untrue to say that there is some organization(which itself must be dependent upon the existence of priesthood for its order) has the authority to control the priesthood in all the world! That is utter rubbish!
And the practice of the missionaries demonstrates the “rubbish-ness” of it all—because when the missionaries come and teach about the Book of Mormon, they get out Moroni chapter 10, verse 4 and admonish you to pray and ask God…if these things are not true; and …[God] will manifest the truth of [that] unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. To the unbaptized, to the unwashed, to the uninitiated… They’re invited to come and listen to the Holy Ghost. And if they submit and if they do that, the Holy Ghost will speak to them. And the Holy Ghost does, can, will speak to anyone. You need these concepts in your mind in order to understand.
The Holy Ghost and the claim of owning a franchise is hollow, and the idea that the Holy Ghost can be controlled is false. The fact that LDS Mormons have some acquaintance with the Holy Ghost means very little. It does not distinguish Latter-day Saints, and it should not separate you from the Holy Ghost and its ministrations.
The Holy Ghost does not thrill you; it informs you. It gives you understanding. If you want to be thrilled, I can get that from Braveheart (because the Bruces are in my ancestry; Alice Bruce is one of my ancestors, and I was glad to see the repentance of the son who led the rebellion). In any event, thrilling music can do it. A great TV show can get you thrilled and feeling goose-bumps. And that’s not the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost enlightens your mind; it enlivens your senses; it brings light into your life; you understand something anew. There are some people who have the Spirit with them in such a degree that to be in their presence is to understand things better—understanding, comprehension, light and truth.
I have never said this publicly, but because of what I think will ensue after this talk, I’m going to say it (not for my sake and certainly not for the sake of anyone who believes the truth or has the Spirit)—but I say it only to benefit those who may view things completely otherwise. The Lord has said to me in His own voice, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” And therefore, I want to caution those who disagree with me to feel free—feel absolutely free—to make the case against me. Feel free to disagree, but take care; take care of what you say concerning me.
I talked about paying and ministering your own tithes. I wanna remind you if you do that, that none of it should go to the priests. None of it should go to any other than to helping with the poor. And if—after all is done to help with the poor—there’s money left over, well, we’ll talk about that before we finish today too.
A great deal is made of Joseph’s first vision and almost nothing made of his last one. But I wanna turn to his last one, given on the morning of the martyrdom. Joseph’s last vision, taken from The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, beginning on page 393. This is Joseph—it’s being recorded and recounted by someone else, and I’m not sure that they got everything right in the way that they recounted it, but nevertheless, this is the best source we have of Joseph’s last vision. “I…”—this is Joseph speaking:
I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn, which I found without floor or doors, with the weather-boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the farm. While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me. The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it. I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church. He then grew furious and began to rail upon me, and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the Church. I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about, and that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him…but leave; but my assurance that I would not trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with the destruction of my body. While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises, and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud. When I was a little distance from the barn, I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as…appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged, the dream or vision ended.
Joseph did not live long enough after receiving this vision to offer up any comments upon it. But I can tell you that if the “farm” is the church he established, that today Joseph would have no welcoming arm within it. It would suffer from a curse in its present state, and they would quarrel with him and tell him to leave if he came among the church today. I believe that the farm in the last vision was the church.
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 and reject and be neglected by Him at another. Just because God undertakes one work doesn’t mean that He cannot undertake yet another. And just because He ordains one system at one time it does not mean that, when that system becomes abusive, He will not deal with that system according to its own standards in order to bring about the result that He warned about. He follows a pattern and therein is the house of order.
At the time I was excommunicated, I was in good standing with the Lord. I had nothing amiss in my personal life. There was no sin warranting church discipline. As a former member of the High Council for years, every church disciplinary proceeding I attended that resulted in excommunication, always involved serious moral transgression, betrayal of marriage covenants, and in some cases criminal wrongdoing. In contrast, the reason for my discipline was a book [I’d] written about church history, in which I attempted to align the events of the Restoration to the prophecies of the Book of Mormon and…Doctrine and Covenants. The stake president admitted to me and my wife before the Council began, that I was then worthy of a temple recommend. By any standard of moral conduct, I was an innocent man, whose only offense was believing the scriptures revealed our condition before God. On the evening of May 1, 2014, the Lord gave me further light and knowledge about His work in His vineyard. The Lord is in control over the church, men, and all things. When He undertakes to accomplish something, “there is nothing that the Lord God shall take in His heart to do, but what He will do it” (Abr. 3:17.) Often the means used by the Lord to accomplish His “strange act,” and to perform His “strange work” (D&C 101:95), are very small indeed. “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small [things] in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.” [That’s Alma 37:6 and 7.]
It is almost always the case that the Lord uses simple things to confound the mighty. I can think of nothing smaller or simpler and less important than myself. Inside the great church to which I once belonged, I was obscure. However, I lived my religion, attended faithfully, served to the best of my ability, upheld church leaders with my prayers, paid tithes, fasted, observed the Word of Wisdom, and helped answer questions for those needing assistance with troubling issues. There was no reason to regard me as a rebel who should be singled out for discipline. Nevertheless, the Lord chose to use a faithful and believing member to accomplish His design. Only someone who is devoted to His will could accomplish what the Lord had in His heart. Now He has accomplished it.
The Church has Doctrine and Covenants 121, verses 36 to 40, to warn it about abusing His authority. There is an “amen” or end to authority when control, compulsion, and dominion are exercised in any degree of unrighteousness. Therefore, when using authority, great care must be taken. In any case, the church was careless. Therefore, those involved, are now left to kick against the pricks, to persecute the Saints and…fight against God.
Section 121 is a warning to church leaders. It is addressing the powerful, not the powerless. It is addressing those who occupy the seats of authority over others. Only those who claim the right to control, compel, and exercise dominion, are warned against persecuting the saints, who believe the religion and practice it as I did from the time of my conversion. My excommunication was an abuse of authority. Therefore, as soon as the decision was made, the Lord terminated the priesthood authority of the stake presidency and every member of the High Council who sustained the decision, which was unanimous. Thereafter, I appealed to the First Presidency, outlining the involvement of the 12 and the 70. The appeal gave notice to them all. The appeal was summarily denied.
Last general conference, the entire First Presidency, …12, …70, all other general authorities and auxiliaries, voted to sustain those who abused their authority in casting me out of the church. At that moment, the Lord ended all claims of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to claim it is led by the priesthood. They have not practiced what He requires. The Lord has brought about His purposes. This has been in His heart all along. [He’s] chosen to use small means to accomplish it, but He always uses the smallest of means to fulfill His purposes.
None of this was my doing. The Lord’s strange act, was not, could not, be planned by me. Was not, could not, have been controlled by me. It was not anticipated by me, or even understood by me, until after the Lord had accomplished His will, and made it apparent to me on the evening of May 1, 2014. He alone has done this. He is the author of all this. (Journal of Denver Snuffer, Vol. 8, entry of May 2, 2014, pp. 29-33, emphasis added)
Well, just because something is true at one moment does not mean that it is true at another moment. Things change; decisions matter; what we do matters. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the same thing as it was when I joined in 1973. And at this moment, it is not even the same thing that it was in 2012.
Now, prophecy… Prophecy is not given so that you know the details beforehand. Prophecy is only given so that after the event takes place, you can look at the scriptures and understand what the Lord meant to accomplish. Its purpose is not to allow you beforehand to know the events with enough specificity so that God’s will cannot be accomplished. If you knew what He was up to, you could prevent it. But because you don’t, when the prophecies are fulfilled, then you know that the Lord has acted. God can use any means He chooses to accomplish His promises. Everything that God is doing is not disclosed at the time He’s doing it.
We all know and accept John the Baptist because history tells us that we ought to accept John the Baptist. But it was not until a revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith that we understood the greatness of the effort behind the scenes that were involved in bringing to pass the mission entrusted to John the Baptist. We knew none of what I’m gonna read to you at the time that John acted, but we know it now.
Doctrine and Covenants section 84, beginning at verse 27:
Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and 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 [coming], to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power. (D&C 84:27-28, emphasis added)
It was because of this that Joseph observed concerning John: John “wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, by the holy anointing and decree of heaven.” It’s from the Teachings of the Prophet [Joseph Smith] on page 276.
Did the Jews notice?
In like manner, God’s house is a house of order. He does it according to patterns. It is not God’s purpose to abandon the Restoration; it is His purpose to preserve the Restoration, which at this moment is in terrible jeopardy. The Restoration itself must be rescued.
Well, baptism has always been required, from the days of Adam until the present. Baptism is always the sign of acceptance of what it is that God is doing, of penitence—that is, turning and facing God and then walking in a new path. From the days of Adam, it will continue through the end of the millennium. And whenever there has been a believing people upon the earth, they have always been invited to partake of the ordinance of baptism as a sign of their faith.
Authority was restored as part of the ministry of Joseph Smith and should be remembered. In fact, everything that was accomplished by the Lord through Joseph should be both remembered and respected. We should not abandon anything that has been given by heaven, but we should also not neglect anything that has been given or commanded by heaven. We should not be forgetful. It is a sign of ingratitude when we forget and neglect.
And no church organization or man claiming authority should hijack your obedience to God. You’re accountable to Him. You’re accountable to only Him, not to me and not to any man. When Joseph wanted to know what his state and standing was before God, he asked God. It is to God alone that you must answer, and it is to God that you must be grateful. And before Him, you must be humble.
That having been said, religion—when it exists—always exists in its true form as a community of believers. Community is required. If we don’t have a community then we cannot be willing to mourn [for] those that mourn. We cannot comfort those that stand in need of comfort. We cannot stand as [a] witness [to one another] of God at all times and in all places. We cannot bear one another’s burdens that they may be light (Mosiah 18:8-9), as is required by the Gospel and by the covenant of baptism. None of this can be done without fellowship.
However, we do not need a new church. The only thing we need is a community of fellowship. Legal entities, when they are formed, become prey to the law; legal entities can become controlled by men who have ambition—sycophants, brown-nosers, people who are willing to do whatever is required of them in order to show that they are desperately submissive to the one above them so that they might join them in having control over others. This is the way that organizations go.
In the “Sunstone Conference,” I wrote a paper; I presented part of it there called Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge (it’s available on my blog with all of the footnotes—I think the footnote version is much better than what I was able to do verbally). But that process is the inevitable result. Aspiring men will always corrupt whatever there is that is organized on the earth.
So ask yourself, what can remain pure? Even here, in this awful world, what can remain pure? Because there are three things that can remain absolutely unmolested and uncorrupted: the truth, which is fixed and cannot be touched by us; God’s love, which is free and available to all. Neither the truth nor God’s love requires effort on our part. But the third thing that can remain pure here is our desires. That, however, requires effort. Nevertheless, it is possible that perfection can touch each of us, as well, if we have the right desires.
The fact is (as I began), however, we all have weaknesses. We all need rest. We all need food. We all wear down. There are things that trouble each one of us, and even your desires are gonna be better than you are. At least I hope they are.
But these three things can be perfect, and they can be pure: the truth, God’s love, and our desires.
You do not need to leave anything behind that is good or noble or virtuous. And you (and we) do not need to establish another entity. You can serve wherever you are. However, to preserve the Restoration itself, starting now, we need to more closely follow the pattern of scripture.
The baptism prayer was given by Christ. This is in Third Nephi chapter 11, beginning at verse 19:
And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet. And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him. And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven. And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. (3 Nephi 11:19-22, emphasis added)
I’m not gonna take the time to do it, but if you wanna check this out, you can check this out on your own:
Christ did not touch them; He said to them, “I give you power to baptize.” When Christ touches them (which will be later still in the narrative), the fact that He touches them is so remarkable in the narrative that the verse talking about it repeats three times that the Lord touched them. The presence of God touching them being so significant that it’s mentioned three times in the narrative when it happens drives home the point that it’s missing here.
How then does the authority to baptize come? Well, once John the Baptist came and laid his hands on Joseph, we’ve had a practice of continuing that—and we ought to continue that. But before any of you baptize any other of you, do this. Do this! It’s the same thing that Alma did in Mosiah chapter 18. If you go back to Mosiah chapter 18, before he baptized, Alma took Helam (this is Mosiah 18:12): stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart. And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him (Mosiah 18:12-13).
He got the authority to baptize. If you’re going to use the priesthood, (no matter what the Church has told you, and no matter what quorum leaders and respected others—including your own father, perhaps—have taught you), before you do so, ask God to give you the authority. And if you get it, you get it from Him, and then you’re not dependent upon someone else. But get the authority from Him. Power is required. It must come from Christ. The pattern must be followed.
John the Baptist—when he restored the authority (in Joseph Smith verse 69… Joseph Smith History 1:69)—said that it …holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken…from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
The Gospel of repentance is returning to face God. Baptism by immersion is for the remission of sins. And John’s declaration does not say that it will not be taken from the church; it says it will be [not] taken…from the earth. It was restored to remain on the earth. And no matter what happens among those that choose to abuse one another, it needs to be preserved by a faithful few so that it doesn’t cease from the earth. It is still here—though it has been much neglected, and it has been much abused. But with you, renew it. Renew it using Alma’s example.
He’d been previously ordained as one of the priests in wicked King Noah’s court. And he’d been ordained by him precisely because he was wicked: he qualified; he was corrupt. Noah wanted him, and so he got ordained. But before he undertook to use the authority, he asked God to give him power. And God, seeing penitence on the earth, respected it and poured out His Spirit upon him so that Alma could baptize with authority. And the proof of that consisted not merely in what it was that Alma experienced with the Spirit empowering him to perform the ordinance, but it consisted also in the effect that the ordinance itself had upon both Helam and Alma (who himself went into the water at the same time). The Spirit was poured out upon them. Renew it.
Likewise, we need to renew a community—not an organization, but a fellowship; not a hierarchy, but a group of equals. The community needs to be renewed. Men who have been ordained already should renew this in the manner I just described.
In my disgust and in my personal preference, I asked that priesthood get extended beyond the confines of the men who have continually abused and neglected it. And I was told that priesthood is confined to men because of the Fall and that until we reverse things in the Millennium, that’s the way it’s going to remain (as to the ordinances thus far given in public). I asked the Lord to change that order. And it’s not going to change. Here is how, then, you should proceed:
Even if you have already been ordained—as part of the community, the community itself needs to recognize that someone is authorized. However, given the fact that men have abused and neglected the priesthood that they’ve been given, and given the fact that if men are only going to hold the priesthood that there ought to be some other independent check, I would suggest—and it is agreeable to the Lord—that when it comes to sustaining men to perform as priesthood, only women should vote. No man should be allowed to vote to sustain another priesthood holder—period. If only men hold it, then only women should sustain them.
The saying pleased the Lord, but He set a criteria. He said if that is to be the case, then there must be at least seven women who vote. Call a conference. In the conference attended by a minimum of seven women, at least seven women must vote to sustain. When that’s done, all seven who vote to sustain should sign a certificate. If you look in the Joseph Smith Papers, these were just handwritten things. But they did it, and they did it in the early church, and you can look, and it was the practice back then—except back then it was men. We’re gonna change that. Call a conference, at least seven women vote, all seven sign the certificate. If the man is married, his wife must be among the seven women. If his wife will not sustain him, he is unworthy.
When you ordain, you should ordain no one to an office; you only confer the priesthood. Have no offices among you. Let everyone be equal. Be without ranks. Keep your lines of authority—it reckons from the one ordaining—but power can only come from Christ. And without ratification (from the Spirit) of your ordination, wait until the Spirit ratifies it before you act.
After April 2014… After April 2014 General Conference, only reckon your line of authority in these proceedings—not from LDS Church lines after April of 2014. All ordained keep a record of your line of authority and pass it down. And be prepared to defend your line of authority because of the records you keep. All of the women who vote to sustain: Put it in your diaries and in your journals. Let the records be kept so that if anyone questions, there will be an abundance of witnesses.
Conferences can be called by any who desire it, but you must have seven women if the business includes a priesthood ordination. There’s absolutely no need to purchase a building. You can meet anywhere, including in your own home. You can meet in parks.
Continuing then with what Christ said:
And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water… (3 Nephi 11:22-23)
I would recommend, if it is at all possible, that the water for a living ordinance be living water. I would not perform this… I would get out of the buildings that are built by the hands of men, and I would use the things of God. You’re trying to connect to God. Use the things that He has made. I recognize there may be circumstances where that becomes impossible. I‘ve been baptized twice—once in the Atlantic and once in a stream in the Little Cottonwood canyon. Both times it was so cold my lips were blue. And I recognize that some of you hardy people may not want to experience a baptism that invigorates you to the point of turning your lips blue. But I would recommend when you go down and stand in the water that it be living water.
…and in my name shall ye baptize them. …now behold, these are the words…ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (Ibid, vs. 24-25)
When I was baptized into the LDS Church, the baptismal prayer was: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father….” When I was re-baptized, I was re-baptized by one who had authority from Christ; therefore, in that baptism the words were: Having authority…of Jesus Christ. If all you’re going to do is baptize someone again according to the LDS pattern, with a commission in a Church, don’t bother doing it. But if you follow these principles and if the Spirit empowers you to baptize, then baptize having authority from Christ, and follow His words. We’ve deviated long enough. It’s time to return.
Then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. (Ibid, vs. 26-28)
I’m telling you, in the name of the Lord, that that commandment is renewed again by Him today to you. This is His command. Do it on this wise.
And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another. (Ibid, vs. 28-30)
Do it… Do it in this way. If someone disputes and says, “They ought not be doing it, and you ought not be doing it,” leave it alone. Don’t fight. Don’t quarrel. Invite; persuade. And if they’re unpersuaded, let them go. If you invite and they will not come, let them go. If you entice—if you entreat—and they say, “We will not hear your entreaty…” If they mock you, let them go. There is no need to harbor ill-will and to fight with people.
Any—any—who desire to be baptized, should be baptized. If you have this authority and you practice this and anyone comes to you, baptize them. Refuse no one. Freely you get from God; therefore, freely give to others. Do not charge to perform an ordinance. The ordinance is between them and God. And they need to have it performed between them and someone God has asked to do it. You become the people God asks to do it.
Before baptism, teach them the Doctrine of Christ, which Christ immediately discusses following His instruction on baptism.
Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. (Ibid, vs. 31-35, emphasis added)
That’s the purpose of the baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The doctrine of Christ is connected to this so that, once baptized, you can have the testimony of the Father concerning His Son shed upon you by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And again I say unto you, [you] must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth. (Ibid, vs. 38-41, emphasis added)
This is Christ’s doctrine—nothing more and certainly nothing less. This is His doctrine. This is the power of redemption. This is the means by which the Holy Ghost is given. And it is the Holy Ghost which, when given, bears record of all things. It is the Holy Ghost by which you learn.
Believe in Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and become as a little child. There is no more inquisitive a creature on the planet than a little child. That’s who you’re to become. You should hunger and search for understanding. This is all of the doctrine. There is no more doctrine. This is not all of the teachings; this is not all of the tenets; these are not all of the precepts; this is not all of the covenants; this is not all of the commandments; and this is not all of the principles. But it’s all of the doctrine. There is no more doctrine than this.
- Joseph F. Smith wrote a book called Gospel Doctrine.
- Joseph Fielding Smith wrote a three-volume work called The Doctrines of Salvation.
- Bruce R. McConkie wrote Mormon Doctrine.
- Bruce R. McConkie wrote The Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, which is multiple volumes.
- Millet, Fronk, Skinner, and Top wrote LDS Beliefs, A Doctrinal Commentary.
- There’s The Development of Temple Doctrine.
- There’s Unlocking the Doctrine of the Fall.
- There’s The Doctrines of the Kingdom—that’s Hyrum Andrus.
- There‘s The Doctrinal Developments in the Early Church.
If you go to Deseret Book and you search the word “doctrine,” they will sell you 791 items. Whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock (ibid). I haven’t titled anything I’ve written “doctrine,” but I do admit that we use the word “doctrine” very sloppily. And sometimes we apply the word “doctrine” when we really mean a tenet, when we really mean a teaching or a precept or principal or a covenant. Well, Christ has sort of narrowly-defined what we ought to be declaring as His doctrine, and I’d suggest that He did that on purpose in order to avoid com[ing] of evil (ibid).
(Do we have to take a break because of the recording? Is that… Oh, okay. We’ve been just a little over one hour. I think we will take a short break in order for them to serve up the next disk in the recording. So, let’s take a five-minute break.)
[In answer to a question about a single man, and the recording began mid-sentence] …then, I don’t think there’s any impediments to conforming with the pattern and being ordained in the absence of having a wife—but if you add a wife? You better add a wife who’s going to sustain you. But that’s your problem.
“Does this mean you have to leave the Church?” . Of course not. I said this is to add to anything that you already have. There is no reason why you can’t be part of this community and part of a Lutheran community and part of a Catholic community and part of a LDS community. I wouldn’t leave until they throw you out—but they’ll probably throw you out. But I wouldn’t leave. I don’t… If you find value in service there… I think the youth programs are wonderful…
I sent my son because (the winning-est high school baseball coach moved from Taylorsville High School to Juan Diego Catholic High School)—and I wanted my son playing for him. And so, my son played baseball at Juan Diego Catholic High School. And they had devotionals, and they had, you know, Catholic stuff going on. And while he was at Juan Diego Catholic High School, he heard a bunch of Catholic stuff. And he’d come home, and we’d talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with letting your kids learn within the LDS community. I wouldn’t run away from it. Though, if they find out that you’re participating in another community (particularly one that says that there’s been some loss of authority), my suspicion is that immediately—at a minimum—you’re gonna forfeit a temple recommend, and you may suffer more than that.
“What about ordinations that occurred before April ?” . Yeah, I would respect them and keep them in place. God didn’t do this until April of this year. It’s His act. It’s not mine. It’s His purpose. It’s not a man’s. And so when that’s accomplished… If I had a son and I were still attending, if I were serving in a position in the church and I continued to serve and I ordained my son in the regular course of events in the LDS Church, I’d go ahead and participate in that. And then I’d come to one of these conferences, I’d get the vote for my son (including with my wife being one of those who sustained him), and I would have him ordained again, and I would have the seven women certify the new ordination. And I would tell him this is your LDS Church ordination, and this is your ordination according to the pattern of God. And I would hold onto both of those. I wouldn’t abandon… For goodness sake, some of the people that need to hear what you have to bear testimony to are ideally situated within the LDS church.
And then the question is… “Do you lay on hands?” Yes, I would follow everything that has been given to this point. We’re “adding to”; we’re not throwing away. We’re trying to preserve, and we’re trying to return, and we’re trying to renew. We are not trying to tread under our feet anything that is useful, laudable, worthy, desirable, or that came down from the Restoration. It is not God’s purpose to abandon the Restoration. But it is His purpose to preserve it.
There are changes presently underway that are going to jar the LDS community more and more in the coming years. If you are not prepared to preserve what has been given, everything will be lost in what will soon happen. It’s necessary that there be someone who seeks for some community that tries to preserve in its purity what is rapidly becoming at an accelerating pace more and more corrupted. It has to be preserved. Every one of you have some issue that you would say to yourself, “If this, then I would no longer follow.” All of the “if this”-es are in the wings. Inexorably, they are coming. It has to be preserved. And it has to be preserved in a manner in which it can remain pure.
In modern revelation, once again, the Lord clarified, in Doctrine and Covenants section 10, verses 67 and 68, exactly what He said to the Nephites. Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. So, if the LDS Church chooses to do more or chooses to do less (and they are choosing to do both), then His church will consist of those who choose instead to do what He says.
It’s what He said to the Nephites; it’s what He said in modern revelation. It is exactly the same. Not only does it appear there (as if that were not enough witnesses), Nephi taught it as well. In Second Nephi he explained the Doctrine of Christ. Second Nephi chapter 31, beginning at verse 5, he talks about the need of baptism. The Lamb of God…being holy, [He needed] to be baptized; therefore, don’t we likewise need to be baptized? And then after baptism,
…if [you]…follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that [you’re] willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea… following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and…the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that [you’re] willing to keep my commandments, by…baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that [you’d] not known me. And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved. (2 Nephi 31:13-16)
Then He goes on to talk about—all the way through—the “way”:
There is none other way nor name given under heaven… this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and…the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (Ibid, vs. 21)
It was what the Doctrine of Christ consisted of at the time of Nephi. It was what the Doctrine of Christ consisted of at the time of the Restoration. It was what the Lord taught in His own voice to the Nephites in Third Nephi. That is the doctrine. Baptize. Preach Christ’s doctrine; any who will receive it, baptize them. I don’t care if they’ve never been a member of any church. I don’t care if it’s a Catholic priest that comes to you. I don’t care if it’s a Mormon Apostle that comes to you. If they come to you and they’ll accept the Doctrine of Christ, baptize them.
One other thing is required. The other thing that’s required is a record of the names—not email addresses, not vital statistics, not phone numbers, not any contact information—only names. Therefore, after you have complied and someone is being baptized, choose a recorder—someone that has to record who the names are. Faithfully record the names every time there is a baptism. There will be various recorders in various locations. The various recorders need to submit them to a single, central, record keeper on an annual basis. Have the recorders identify themselves (and I can give them some further direction), but there should be annually compiled a single volume which will be deposited in a temple when it is built. Because there will be a temple ultimately built.
Grand Junction had a talk in which I spoke about tithing. I talked about organizing yourselves, collecting your own tithing, and managing it yourselves among yourselves, and for you to assist the poor who are among you and to do this by the voice of your own local group—do it by common consent—and to provide for those who need housing, food, clothing, healthcare, education, and transportation. Do it without a leader but by the voice of the united agreement of you all. Since that time, there have been several groups that have begun. Two groups are assisting single mothers with their needs. One group is assisting a family. One group has no needy among them, and they’ve accumulated for large charitable purposes, and they bought for a quadriplegic a sophisticated electric wheelchair with the tithing money that they’ve gathered.
There is no reason ever to pay for priesthood service. Serving should require sacrifice, always and continually. We do not pay for ministers. I would recommend that if you choose to participate in a tithing group, that you do it in the same manner that was described in Grand Junction, and you do it among yourselves. Community is necessary. I don’t know how you can bear one another’s burdens without administering your own tithes, without administering your own fast offerings, without doing things to help people in need.
It’s hard, I think, to give away what you have to an organization that is purchasing real estate and farms, and purchasing and developing shopping centers—and then have anything left over to assist with the poor among you. But if you choose to do that, that’s fine too—but try and care for those among you who have needs.
As to the Sacrament, only an anti-Christ would forbid you from partaking of the Sacrament in the way commanded by your Lord. That is an abomination. If you get together, even if it’s only in your own family, partake of the Sacrament together. Let no one forbid you from partaking in remembrance of Christ, because He commanded that you do it. Follow the pattern that is given to us. In Doctrine and Covenants section 20, verse 76, one of the things that used to be practiced (that has since been abandoned and ought to be renewed among you) is that when the Sacrament is blessed, kneel. Kneel. Kneel with the church. Remember it. Keep it. Do the things that have been instructed in the pattern that He commanded that they be observed.
If you partake of wine and for some reason you either are opposed to alcohol or, alternatively, you have some medical condition, use grape juice. Use red grape juice. Use the symbol of the blood of our Lord. I can tell you that, generally, red wine is bitter for a reason. And partaking of that bitter wine in remembrance of the blood that was shed is apt.
Here is the doctrine that is required for us to be gathered. Doctrine and Covenants section 10, beginning at verse 57: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not (D&C 10:57-58).
Even today, He is the light that shines in the darkness, not comprehended because there’s just too much darkness. We forbid His presence by quenching the Spirit and not allowing utterance in our meetings. That’s where we should be hearing from the Spirit and edifying one another.
Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but…shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me. And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir…the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they…wrest the scriptures and do not understand them. Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery; For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts; Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine—[whoso] repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. [Whoso] declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. And now, behold, [
whatsoever is of my church] whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And now, remember the words of him who is the [light and life] of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen. (D&C 10:62-70)
There is… Priesthood is confined because of the Fall to the way in which it presently operates. But when He gathers… When He gathers them together, every time He refers to that gathering, the identity of the sex changes. It’s not as a rooster; it’s as a hen—and she preserves her chicks. There is something more to be looked forward to, if there should ever be a gathering.
Christ taught this. Nephi taught this, anciently, at the beginning of the Nephite dispensation. Christ taught the same doctrine, and modern revelation reaffirms it—not only there [in D&C 10] but earlier, in March of 1830. This is in Doctrine and Covenants section 19:
I command you that you [shall] preach naught but repentance. (D&C 19:21)
And then 29:
And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see. And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers. And of [the] tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost. (Ibid, vs. 29-31)
That’s the Gospel. That’s what needs to be preached. That’s what needs to follow. But there are tenets. There are tenets to the faith. And those we’re commanded also to search into but not declare as doctrine necessarily. The things about which we need to have unity and absolute agreement is the Doctrine of Christ.
Every dispensation of the Gospel has left only a remnant behind. Christ’s work is designed to preserve a remnant and, at the end, gather all remnants together again. The Restoration that was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith has likewise put itself in a position where, now, it can only produce a remnant—but one that will be preserved and not abandoned.
In Third Nephi chapter 21, the Lord talked about some things that become exceptionally relevant in light of what we’ve covered today.
And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that [you] may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and…establish again among them my Zion [this is addressing all of those various remnants, wherever that they may be found, so long as they are some residue of the house of Israel]. And behold, this is the [sign] which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles [see, the Gentiles had to first receive some things] that they [the Gentiles] may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them [the Gentiles]. Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them[some constituent group of Gentiles] of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you… (3 Nephi 21:1-3)
It can’t come from any source other than from the Father—the Father and Christ being one—the authority to minister and to deliver it coming from Them, the power to baptize being brought forth from some remnant of the Gentiles who care to bear it.
For it is wisdom in the Father that they [the Gentiles] should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted [
with this people] with his people, O house of Israel. (Ibid, vs. 4)
“O house of Israel” is much more. “O house of Israel” is that same inclusive of all bits and remnants, wherever they may be found. I talked about covenants when we were in Centerville and about the fulfillment of the covenants. All of the covenants which apply to people scattered everywhere, all of those included within the previous remnants—they need to be gathered into one constituent group.
Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles… (Ibid, vs. 5, emphasis added)—
Not their “book”; their works. Not their “book”; the works: bringing to pass the Doctrine of Christ, establishing repentance, declaring and baptizing by the authority of Christ, having people visited by fire and the Holy Ghost—these are the works. These are the works.
…shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity; For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles. (Ibid, vs. 5-6, emphasis added)
That’s what He needs now to do. That’s what He intends to do—if you will receive it.
For this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. (Ibid, vs. 6, emphasis added)
You can’t get there except through the power of the doctrine and the power of the ordinance that God has given, in the way that is has been given, performed with the exactness, fidelity, and language that has been given to us by Christ Himself.
When these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he…made unto the people who are of the house of Israel. (Ibid, vs. 7)
All of them. It’s a witness that His work has commenced.
And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and…marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them. But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring [it] forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant. …[whoever] will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ. (Ibid, vs. 8-11)
These are Christ’s words. We touched on these words all the way back in Boise. It was quoted by the angel Moroni, referring to Joseph Smith. Acts 3, verses 22 to 23:
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
That prophet is Christ. It doesn’t say Christ is going to come and deliver His words; it says, His “words.” Those who will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, …they shall be cut off (3 Nephi 21:11). And the angel Moroni said to Joseph, in verse 40 of the Joseph Smith History, The day had not yet come when ‘they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,’ but soon would come.
That prophet is Christ. His words are what I’ve spoken to you today.
And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; And I will cut off the cities of thy [lands], and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of [the] land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images will I also cut off… (3 Nephi 21:12-17)—
Graven images are people you worship. Graven images include men to whom you submit as objects or idols of authority in whom you trust, thinking that they can deliver you by some magic, using some key that they purport to hold, whether Catholic or Mormon or Fundamentalist. Graven images—they’re going to be cut off.
...thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities. And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away. For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel [that’s all remnants gathered together]; And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. But if they [speaking of the Gentiles—if they] will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance. (3 Nephi 21:17-22, emphasis added)—
…because every time there’s a covenant, there is always a land. And this is the land that God covenants He will give. And the people to whom He will give it are those that come back and receive the covenant, including the Gentiles in whose ears this first shall sound…if they will come. And coming unto the covenant—that is not yet possible. It requires more than has at present been given. It is possible to come in and become part of His church. It is possible, if you follow as you’ve been instructed today, to become part of the church He recognizes and will preserve. But coming fully into the covenant… That will require more than has at present be given. It will require a covenant. It will require adoption. It will require sealing. It was what Joseph looked forward to have happen at some point in the future during the days of his prophecy.
And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of heaven [in this case, it is the singular—it’s not the “powers”—because when you have Him present with you, you have all the authority—then shall the power of heaven] come down among them; and I also will be in the midst. And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day… (Ibid, vs. 23-26)
Christ will come. Once the covenant has been renewed, the city of Zion will follow. The Lord’s presence will come, and then the final stage begins.
…even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among…the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may [be]come [in] unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name. Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance. And they shall go out from all nations; …they shall not go out in haste, nor…by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward. (3 Nephi 21:26-29)
It’s not gonna happen in haste. And the work of the Father that will commence in those nations, to commence the possibility for the gathering, will involve destroying a great deal of political, social, and military obstructions that prevent the gathering, prevent even the preaching to those that would gather if they could hear. But the work of the Father (and it’s always masculine when it comes to destruction)… The work of the Father is going to bring this to an end. All the scattered remnants will be brought back again. The original, unified family of God will be restored again. The Fathers will have our hearts turned to them because in that day, once it’s permitted to get that far, we will be part of that family again.
Our day is filled with darkness and deception. Our day is the day about which Nephi wrote. If you turn to Second Nephi chapter 28, beginning halfway through verse 4:
…they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. (2 Nephi 28:4)
This is why the ordinance has to be renewed. This is why the pattern has to be followed. This is why the light has to be turned on. Because the Holy Ghost has not assisted with the kind of robust assistance that it can if you’re penitent. God cannot dwell in unclean vessels, and so He remedies that by cleaning the vessel, cleaning it in accordance with the pattern that He’s given, thereby making it possible that the Holy Ghost can give to you utterance.
And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold [there’s] no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men [you can hear that every Sunday if you want]; [But] behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they…say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; [
for his day] for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work. (Ibid, vs. 5-6, emphasis added)
See, God doesn’t do miracles—but if there’s a miracle done, then that’s the devil. So, the only one that’s responsible for anything miraculous is necessarily the devil, and you’re following the devil.
…there shall be many [that] shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. (Ibid, vs. 7)
Indulge yourself. You needn’t be caring for the poor,. You needn’t be attentive to their needs. You don’t need to minister to those who are in want. Eat, drink, and be merry! It‘s gonna be well with us!
There shall…be many which [will] say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; …lie a little, take…advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; …do all these things, for tomorrow we die [and that’s, by the way, how you get ahead: digging a pit for your neighbor]; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. (2 Nephi 28:8)
“Don’t worry; there is no hell. There is no hell, no awful pit, there’s just degrees of glory. Don’t worry about it!” …which suffering caused myself, …the greatest of all, to shrink…to bleed at every pore, …how sore you know not…how hard to bear you know not, how exquisite you know not… (D&C 19:15,18). There is no hell. There is no need for repentance. There is no need to come to Him to be redeemed and to seek to remove from us the awful burden of sin:
…there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord. (2 Nephi 28:9)
How might one better “hide their counsels from the Lord” than to conceal all the money that’s gathered from the tithes, all the revenues that are paid to the authorities of the church, and even admonish the paid mission presidents that they must never disclose the revenue benefits that they are receiving? How better to hide your counsel than to conceal it from the very sheep that are being shorn by the people who sit in positions of authority, claiming they have the right to come to the stake that I lived in, as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, and to hand my membership record to the Stake President and insist that there be disciplinary council held against me. Now, I know, President Hunt, that I told you that I wouldn’t mention that, but I have no intention from coming back again. Therefore, for us, it’s over.
The Church seeks deep to hide their counsels. I participated in that conspiracy when I agreed that I would conceal that Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve came on the day that he called my new Stake President and handed to him my membership record and instructed him that I was to be excommunicated. And to his credit, President Hunt took 18 months fighting that decision (because he knew I was an innocent man) before he submitted. I will no longer participate in concealing the counsels that are kept from the public! It’s wrong! President Hunt shouldn’t do it. Elder Ballard, Elder Russell Nelson should not do it. None of them should do it! They should come clean.
When Elder Neil Maxwell (with whom I had correspondence) died, shortly after the funeral, Elder Dallin Oaks showed up at
the widow the widow’s home and demanded the journals that Nelson [Neil] had kept—because one of the conditions of the agreement that General Authorities must sign is that all of their diaries become the property of the Church once they become a General Authority. And Elder Oaks went and gathered back the personal diaries of Elder Maxwell (because a great deal of information about what goes on spilled out into the public when the diaries became public).
Seek[ing] deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark is exactly what the authorities of the LDS Church now do! It is exactly a description of the hierarchy of Mormonism. Put your budgets online. Disclose your revenue. Show us what you do with the poor. Don’t hide… We don’t even know what the revenue is.
…seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; …their works shall be in the dark [indeed]. And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them. …they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted. Because of pride, …because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; …they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:9-14, emphasis added)
The dedication of the first book I wrote, The Second Comforter, Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil, was dedicated to “the few who are the humble followers of Christ,” and it cited this verse. Some people say, “Well, he was, you know, enlightened at one point, and then he fell victim to a dark and evil spirit, and now he’s an apostate!” I’m closer to the Lord at this moment, than I’ve been at any time when I was a member of the Church. I know His will more today, and I understand it better than I’ve ever understood it before. It is not a different spirit than the one that brought me into the church, and it is not a different spirit than the one that animated The Second Comforter, Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil. At the time I wrote that, I was keenly aware of the fact that, from among us, there were only a few who were the humble followers of Christ. And I understood that we were, nevertheless, led that, in many instances, we err.
Working within the system, I did everything I could to preserve the doctrine, to preserve the truth, to testify of Christ, to teach the precepts, to remember the covenant. I would still do that today if I were left alone by them.
Clearly, those of you who think I’m a rebel don’t get it. God knew exactly what He was doing. I would’ve taken a bullet for Spencer Kimball. I was among the most devoted of Latter-day Saints. I viewed the Church as a source that had rescued me from a life that was headed into something terrible. I had friends I grew up with who became alcoholics, drug-abusers, whose lives were in tattered ruins. One of my… One of my good friends in Elementary, Junior High, and High School died, stopped his heart with cocaine abuse when he was 26. The LDS Church introduced me to a form of cleanliness-in-living that I have nothing but high regard for. And if every one of you choose to remain active in the LDS Church while you do these other things, you won’t hear me complaining or criticizing. You’ll hear me praising. It’s a community trying to do good, but they are led, that in many instances they do err, and you should not go partake of that. Accept whatever is good, and hold onto whatever is good, but seek for something higher and better.
These are the kinds of precepts. “Hearken to our precept,” “hear my precept,” “hear my precept.” This is where we get into all of the mischief. The precepts, if they’re not true, are not worth having. And it is the doctrine, above all, that saves.
Go to Isaiah chapter 29—this is beginning at verse 13:
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me [that’s where the Holy Ghost must reside, in your heart] and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
“You better stay in line! You better get approval! If the bishop hasn’t authorized that, you’re being… What?—You cannot pass the Sacrament in your ho… You’re an apostate! You‘re just an apostate!” Fear, taught by the precepts of men! Be free. Be free.
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isaiah 29:13-14)
Their precepts are nonsense, and they don’t save. And they change from handbook to handbook and leader to leader. It is so unstable a reed that if you lean on it, it’ll break and pierce your hand, to use Isaiah’s analogy.
Now, let me remind you of what precepts—false precepts—include, because this is an example Christ gives:
And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?
This is, I don’t know, somewhere in the New Testament. I photocopied and put it in my book, and I didn’t write down the cite. So, you’re just gonna have to trust me and use a word search when you get home to find out where this is at.
And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. [And] for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he [said] unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. (Mark 10:2-12)
This is Christ talking about a false precept—the false precept being divorce.
One of the reasons why the wife should sustain in order for a man to be worthy (and one of the reasons for the comments that were made in St. George) are because that is a false precept. And I have to tell you, if you’ve read The Second Comforter, you know that I had a wife divorce me. And you know that I viewed myself as an absolute failure. I was still worthy for a temple recommend, but I had the words of President McKay echoing in my mind—you know, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” And so, while I teach this and while I know this to be true, the only thing I can be thankful for is that it was not I who set her aside, but she who chose to do so.
Zion will require a worthy people. There’s a Second General Epistle as we’ve got it preserved for us in Peter 2—Second Peter—in which he talks about what he would like to see. I’m gonna begin at verse 5.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they [shall] make you that ye shall [be] neither…barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)
This was a great admonition, and this is a great path. And I think Peter thought this through because he knew that this was a progression that actually follows in almost this order in almost every life. However, those Saints of that day did not have Zion, despite this admonition. Therefore, if you’re going to see it in your day, you have to do something more. We have to be more holy than were they. We have to be more disciplined than were they. You see, the word “discipline” and the word “disciple” come from the same word. We need to have greater virtue than they did.
I read this before, and it belongs again right here. This is Joseph Smith, writing from confinement in Liberty jail. This is after Joseph has been confined in the Liberty Jail and had months of opportunity to reflect upon what it was that had gone on among the Saints while he was still free and living among them:
The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! None but fools will trifle with the souls of men. How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations—too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God. (A letter to the church signed by Joseph Smith Jr. and four others on 20 March 1839, from Liberty Jail, Clay County, Missouri)
Don’t waste your time when you’re with one another! Learn, study, testify, search the scriptures. Worship God. If you are still LDS, use whatever good you find there. But I’ll tell you the definition of an active member of the LDS Church: it’s someone who has attended one meeting every ninety days. They measure it every three months. And they only report Church-wide activity based upon two quarters: that quarter which has Easter in it, and that quarter which has Christmas in it. And if anyone comes to one meeting during that time period—that quarter—they’re considered active and will not become inactive until more than ninety days has passed. Therefore, activity rates are skewed and overstated.
The LDS Church claims it has approximately 16 million members. Activity—they claim to be somewhere between 4 and 5 [million] members. That’s less than 33% of the Church in activity rates. People who self-identify (depending upon which poll you look at) are between 3 and 4 million. That means that there are less than 22% who self-identify. Therefore, the greatest majority of Latter-day Saints don’t support the Church or its programs. “Follow the majority.” “Stay with the majority.” I’m quoting them when I say, “Follow the majority.”
If you choose to remain an active Latter-day Saint and you’re a minimalist (going once every 90 days), just remember you cannot delegate the responsibility that you owe to teach your children to someone else. You have a duty to teach your children, and it is a duty that is imposed upon the parents…in Zion (D&C 68:25); it is non-delegable. You have to do it. In many respects, what I’m doing in these talks is addressed to children who no longer live at home. You cannot delegate the responsibility that you have.
You do not need buildings to hold meetings. Joseph Smith only built one building— completed the Kirtland temple, got the Nauvoo temple started. Joseph Smith only built a temple.
Tithing is for the poor. It is not designed to pay for a professional-clergy class. If we have no buildings, more money can go to assist with the needs of people. In this day and in this economy, anything that can be done to assist with the poor is a good thing.
If Joseph Smith were here today—looking at the Latter-day Saint church—he would have (and I am quoting from his last vision), “no desire to live upon it in its present state.”
Now, we’ve looked at Joseph’s admonition that people were depending upon the prophet and, hence, were darkened in their minds in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves. Ask yourself this: If Joseph Smith had it all to do over again—and if Joseph Smith had no desire to live upon it in its present state and wanted to avoid the problem that darkened the minds of those he left behind—how could you go about accomplishing that? I mean, there seems to be one very obvious conclusion: Refuse. Just refuse to do so. If he handicapped us by taking too much on himself—and we refused to not handicap him—then the best thing would’ve been if he’d kept riding when he crossed the Mississippi river with Hyrum (and he had his horse)… He should‘ve just kept riding to the Rocky Mountains.
The weak things are always preferred by God because it requires faith for the weak things to succeed. It’s only when you’re placed in the most vulnerable spot that you realize that you’ve got to rely on God. And the only way that you can become strengthened is if you rely on God and not some man. Because when you depend upon a man, what you do to that man weakens him as well. The…
[It is] by sad experience [we learn that when] men…get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to do things that are inappropriate (D&C 121:39). I’m personally tired of all the sex and all of the wealth and all of the abuse and all of the nonsense that has gone on in the name of religion by people claiming that they ought to be respected as some giant, freaking, priesthood-key-holding, omni-competent bafoon. I’m tired of that. I don’t want any more of that. I’ve had enough, and that’s what you get when you submit to the rule of a man. But when you submit to the rule of God and you place yourself in a position in which you must be dependent upon Him, every one of you realize your own weakness. Every one of you has to grapple with the uncertainty. Is this right, or is this wrong? Every one of you has to grapple with the fact that in answer to some questions there is silence, and you’re forced to choose—and if you choose right, you don’t know that you chose right, because He refused to tell you; and then you act in reliance on that going forward, only later to be told, “If you’d made the mistake, I would’ve corrected you; but you needed that experience.”
God answers prayers, and sometimes He forces you to make choices. And very often (I can’t tell you how often…), very often I make the wrong choice. It’s almost like I got a compass pointing south; I don’t know what the deal is there. I choose wrong, and then I get an answer—but I got an answer because I made a mistake. I have no clue (other than the fact that I was so converted and faithful to the LDS Church) why the Lord would’ve chosen me to accomplish what He’s accomplished. Because I sincerely believe that most of you here are just genuinely better people than I am. And that I have nothing but weakness to offer. Weak things are used by God because that requires faith, and faith requires that we have a correct belief and then that we take action. That’s from the Lectures on Faith. “A correct belief,” and then we take action. If you’re converted to everything that is said in this meeting today (and in all nine of the preceding sessions of this one talk) and you do not take action, then you do not have faith. But if you do take action, then you will receive the reward from your faith. Do not rely on man.
You need to baptize because the LDS church no longer preaches the doctrine of Christ, but they have added to it the commandments of men. In the baptismal interview, the second question that is asked is: “Do you believe that [current church president] is a prophet of God? What does this mean to you?” You can find that on page 206 of Preach My Gospel. As a condition, therefore, today of being baptized into the LDS church, you must offer up, as a catechism, your confession that the current church president is a prophet of God and explain what that means to you. This has been added and, therefore, does not conform. Therefore, you need—as part of preserving the Restoration—you need to practice in the way that we’ve outlined today.
(Well, there’s one more section of this. This is a good moment to start—I’m getting signaled that we only have a few minutes left on the disk. We’ll take a five-minute break for the disk transition, and then we’ll wrap this up in a final session.)
“What do you do if you’re alone, you’re the only person, and there is no priest available to administer the Sacrament?”
It’s a commandment that we partake of the Sacrament. It’s a commandment that we do it— and do it frequently. In fact, if you read the record in Third Nephi, one of the things the Lord did was to administer the Sacrament with surprising regularity. One time He did it in a miraculous manner because it was that important an ordinance to have take place. I think if I were alone, and I didn’t have any authority, I think I’d bless the Sacrament and partake and then ask to be forgiven afterwards. I think it’s like the fruit of the Tree of Life—you know, probably one of those things that ought to be done.
I was also asked, “What do we do to get started?” Look, I mentioned conferences. You can call conferences in your home, anytime, anyplace. All you need is to have a minimum to sustain that will sign and say that they’re sustained. In terms of those who are already ordained? You can function as a priest in the LDS Church. It’s just if you’re going to begin to function under this system among this community with these people, have a conference, and get sustained. You don’t need to be re-ordained if you were ordained before April of 2014. If you were ordained after April of 2014—I don’t care if you got ordained in the LDS Church or not—you should get ordained as a consequence of these proceedings among this community with any group that has the required number in order to create the vote necessary and to have the signatures to prove it.
There is nothing special about us…YET. But there can be. We do not need numerous temples, but we will need one to which Christ can come. We do not need to perform endless work for the dead until after there has been a covenant made for us. We must be first connected. Only then can we do something to liberate them. I’ve written so much on that, I won’t repeat it.
There is so many opportunities to go off the rails that I want to remind you of some of the early problems in Kirtland. In Doctrine and Covenants section 50:
Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you. Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment. Behold, verily I say unto you, [that] there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed [not the hypocrites; He’s gonna reclaim those that are deceived]. But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me.
And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand; Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. And then received ye spirits which [you] could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this [ye are] justified? Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be…some other way [it’s] not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way [it’s] not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which doth…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 light groweth 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; He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all. (D&C 50:2-26)
This is what we should be. This is how we should teach. This is how we should edify one another. This is how we should be preparing our children. This is what we should lay hold upon: truth, light, understanding, edifying, growing in knowledge of the principles of truth.
You should not waste another three-hour block of time fiddling around with nonsense, because you don’t have permission from God to do that. Preach the principles. And if you don’t think you know enough to do anything else, get together and read the scriptures out loud. In the early church, when they… In this dispensation, when they got together, one of the things that they regularly did was they got together, and everyone prayed in turn. Everyone prayed. And the meeting would last until all had prayed. They called it a “Prayer Meeting,” oddly enough. One of the early brethren didn’t like that. He didn’t feel like he could pray vocally around other people. There’s a section in the Doctrine and Covenants admonishing him in a revelation that he needs to pray.
If you don’t have any wisdom to impart to one another, get together and pray; get together and read the scriptures; but don’t get together and read out loud out of any recent publication from Deseret Book.
If we are going to begin again, it must be in conformity with the Doctrine of Christ; it must be taught by the spirit of truth; and it must follow the pattern that was given in Kirtland for us to follow.
Now, having said all that, let me read to you some things which the Lord said concerning this moment, because He’s talking about an event that will happen.
This is from Matthew chapter 22, beginning at verse 2.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son. And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go…therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So [the] servants went out into the highways, 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. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:2-14)
Now, several things about this: This is one of those places in scripture in which “remnant” is used in a negative way. A remnant. God invites all to come to the wedding feast of His Son. This is when the kingdom is going to be established in the last days. He invites all to come. And from among all of those people who had been invited, there’s a remnant of those who still hold onto the Restoration, and they are the worst of all. They have the hardest hearts. They are the ones who will not come.
And after the Lord deals with them, then He goes out and invites everyone to come. Everyone! Come in! And included among those that are invited in are as many as they found, both bad and good. They’re all invited to come in. And there’s no excluding the bad (speaking after the judgments of this world). Bad people get invited in! And when they come and when they arrive, it’s not whether they’re a bad person or a good person that determines whether they get to stay or not. It’s the presence or absence of a wedding garment.
Well, turn to Luke chapter 18. This is Luke chapter 18, beginning at verse 10.
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, …the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14)
Didn’t matter that he was a “bad man.” Didn’t matter that the other was a “good man.” I tell you, at the wedding feast, it would be the publican who wore the “wedding garment.”
The first wedding garment, if you want to call it that, is the original garment that was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden to cover their nakedness and to cover their shame before God—all of which is an allegory.
The covering required the sacrifice of an animal to teach them the principle of sacrifice and to foreshadow the death of our Lord that would be required in order to restore us back to a state before God. And so, what the covering given to Adam and Eve in the Garden represented was the sacrifice of our Lord. It was our Lord’s atoning sacrifice which makes it possible for us to be covered, so that our shame is no longer there. Instead, God looks upon the righteousness of His Son who has clothed us and not upon our own guilt and our own weakness and our own shortcomings. He beholds the image of His Son in the garment that we have put on.
And so it is that, in the wedding feast to which people are invited, the first who got invited would not come. But even the bad ones, even the bad ones who are out in the byways, even the ones… There’s… There’s about 13 million inactive Latter-day Saints. There’s a lot of “bad ones” out there who are only kept from the truth because they haven’t heard it yet.
If I had the means, I’d buy an ad space in the Los Angeles Times, and I’d say, “Here’s the Doctrine of Christ.” And I would quote Third Nephi. I would say afterwards, “If you believe this doctrine and you want to be baptized and get the Holy Ghost, meet me at…” and I would put a location. And I would hope that included among those who came would be gang members, inner-city people who live lives of desperation and violence who want a way out. Can you imagine what would happen if you sent someone back into an abusive neighborhood clothed with the power of repentance and the Holy Ghost?
We can’t fix this world by legislating, but we can fix anything by changing hearts. Those that are invited will not come. They’ll even abuse those who try to take them in. But there are plenty of folks in the byways who are only kept from the truth because they don’t know where to find it. This is your responsibility. This is your work to do. This is the day in which these things need to be done.
Oddly enough, in our own day… In our own day, the Lord tells a slightly different version of exactly the same stuff, prophesying how it’s going to happen among us in our day.
Go to Doctrine and Covenants section 58. This is talking about… Well, I’m gonna begin in verse 7:
And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand.
I’m gonna put this into some footnotes when I finally get around to publishing, in a book- form, the talk that was given in Grand Junction. But I’ll stick it in here because we’ve touched on the words: the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand. I pointed out there all of the historical reasons why Zion could exist somewhere other than in property owned in Jackson County, Missouri and could, in fact, be constructed elsewhere.
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, in their first trip out to Jackson County, Missouri, came there in order to confirm and ratify that this was the place where Zion would be built. And they got language and revelation that said this was “the land of Zion.” And so everyone since then ‘til now are all relying upon that language saying, “It’s gonna be Jackson County, Missouri.” That same month that Joseph and Sidney went out, Sidney Rigdon gave an explanation of what the geography of that “land of Zion” was. He said it began at Kirtland, Ohio, and it ran to the Pacific Ocean. So, the land of Zion is rather flexible in where the Lord might choose ultimately to locate it.
So, there’s gonna be some land where Zion will stand.
And also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor [so the feast that is being prepared has a highly specific audience in mind in the revelation, it’s “the poor”]. Yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail; Yea, a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited. First, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble; And after that cometh the day of my power; then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come. Behold, I, the Lord, have spoken it. (D&C 58:8-12)
Did you get that? First they invite the “rich” and then the “learned”; and the nations shall all be invited. The “wise,” the “noble”—doesn’t say they enter in. Doesn’t say they’ll partake. It was prepared, after all, for the “poor.” And the people who will enter in?—who do finally make it into Zion where they get to partake?…
Then shall the poor [that’s who it was prepared for], the lame, …the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come. (Ibid)
Every time you partake of the Sacrament, it’s a reminder of the promise that there will, at last, be some great wedding feast. It’s not just in remembrance of the blood and of the body, but it’s also a preliminary to the final feast that the Lord intends to offer.
Well, who are the “rich?” Who are the “learned”? Who are those that are presently considered “wise”? And who are those that make the claim that they are the “noble,” the “elect”? They do not enter into the wedding feast in Zion.
And who is it that is the “poor?” Who is it that is derided—even in today’s vocabulary—and accused of being “lame”? Who is it that is considered to be “blind” and misled? Who is it that is referred to as being “deaf” because they cannot hear and respect all the great wisdom that pours forth from these empty cisterns, having nothing but drivel to offer, quoting one another endlessly—as if one misled man on a false path can offer light to a fool following after him.
I hope we are the “poor.” I hope I am speaking to the “lame.” I hope you are counted among those that are considered “blind,” and I hope that you have ears not for what any man has to say but for what the Spirit alone has to confirm to you. I hope you’re “deaf” to everything in this world but have ears for what our Lord has to say.
This is the day in which, at long last, it is possible for what God intended to happen before His return to actually begin. The Gospel is not supposed to be merely a record of how God dealt with other people at another time. Joseph Smith talked about how we can’t read the words of an old book and then apply those words (in an old book that were meant for someone else at some other time) to us and then restore ourselves back to God’s grace. That is just as true of the revelations given in the days of Joseph Smith as it is true of the revelations given in the New Testament.
It becomes really apparent when you read them out of the scriptures. Because all our footnotes and all of our chapter headings and all our cross-referencing, it sort of gives you an impression that this stuff is talking about us—right here, right now. When you read them as they were written in the Joseph Smith Papers, it really becomes clear that when God is talking about how the church is “living” and “alive” and “approved,” it’s because He’s talking to Joseph Smith. And the church is listening to what Joseph Smith had to say. And “rolling forth” is the voice of God in that day. And Joseph Smith commissioned people to go out and to take it. And they took it, and they went out, and they preached it; and when they preached it, others were converted. And the people that were converted actually had experiences and came to know God. But that’s because God acted to set it in motion in the person of Joseph Smith. Joseph had a covenant given to him by God. Therefore, Joseph could testify to these words, and they were true, and God owned them. And people who follow them received the wages of those who follow God. It worked! We can’t mimic that and have the same effect.
God has to say, “This is what I want to do.” And if no one else will say it to you, I’m saying it to you. Everything that has been said in this talk—which began in Boise and concludes here today—everything that has been said is, in fact, exactly what happened when God offered something through Joseph. He’s offering something again, right now, in our day, to you—to any that will hear, to any that will listen. The work is beginning again.
I suppose it was necessary that what began in Joseph’s time had to run down to the condition that it’s in at present—that it had to become a leaky ruin of a farm that Joseph himself no longer even wanted—before it was possible for the Lord to say, “At this moment, we turn a new leaf.” But… My word! Can’t you see the signs of the times? Can’t you look about and see that the whole world is waxing old like a garment? Can’t you see that there is right now a balance of things that are kept at bay only to preserve the possibility that a remnant might be claimed? God promised He would do this.
Until today I really haven’t done anything more than read scriptures and bear testimony to you that they’re true. This wasn’t my idea, and I can’t tell you how happy my wife and I will be when we conclude this and this project is done. There’ll be some… This transcript, and they’ll be… I’m gonna edit them all and put them into a book. And the book, in order to be readable, has to have run-on sentences and grammar and everything fixed, so it has to be readable in its own way. So, there’s that still left to do. But the project and the labor and the work that needs to be done is you.
If you don’t lay hold upon this, if you don’t move this forward, if you don’t rise up, then I suppose He’ll find another people. But you ought to allow yourself to be found, and you ought to allow yourself to be numbered among those who choose to have that Gospel live again. The Gospel shouldn’t be the words of an old book. The Gospel should be alive in you, rolling forth with new vigor, every day a revelation of His involvement in your life and in the lives of those around you.
I know it’s not easy to let yourself stand out. It’s… For some of us, it’s really unpleasant. I’m a trial lawyer, but you have to understand that what that means is I’m usually engaged in an intellectual fight in a room with six or seven people in it. If we have a jury, we may have up to 18 in the room. What I do, I don’t do in front of big crowds. And this is not a pleasant thing for me. I enjoy the law; I particularly enjoy appellate argument, because there it’s just a three-judge panel or a five-judge panel, depending on which court you’re in. It’s just a small, intellectual undertaking in which you’re trying to reason something through.
This is not pleasant for me, but I suppose that what you’re being asked to do will be even more unpleasant for you—because all of you have your families; you have your friends; you have your neighborhoods; and you have your wards. And many of you are faithful members of the church, and I commend you for that. And I wouldn’t… I wouldn’t want to be the source of creating a problem there. But the Lord has in His mind a way of doing things in which, if we follow the pattern, we get authority from Christ. We may get ordained by a line of authority that comes down from another man laying hands on our head, but authority to activate that comes from heaven, by the voice of God. If you follow that pattern, the fruits will follow.
Whether or not these talks make any difference at all does not depend upon how well I‘ve spoken at these things. They depend entirely upon what you now do. If there is any fruit to be born, the fruit of that is not me talking—or CDs, a book, ultimately. That’s not the fruit. The fruit is to be found in your lives. The fruit is to be found in your influence, in your family with your children, in the light that comes into your lives and the lives of those that know you.
This process can be so informal that when we conclude today (if there’s still time left), everyone who wants to can call themselves a conference and begin doing some things right now today. It’s that informal. There’s at least seven women here. And some of you brought your wives. That’ll teach ya, for not bringing her. I brought mine.
Let me end by testifying to you that, however improbable or unlikely all of this may seem to those of you who spend any time at all thinking about this, it was just as improbable when John was baptizing. It was just as improbable when Christ taught. It was just as improbable when Joseph Smith said, I [saw] a vision; I knew it, …I knew…God knew it, …I couldn’t deny it, neither dared I do it (JS-H 1:25). It may seem improbable. It’s true!
Now, in order to conform with the burden that has been laid down, I need to turn time over to Keith Henderson. (Keith, if you’ll come up…) Because he has something which he necessarily must add as part of all this.
So, Keith—it’s all yours.
KEITH HENDERSON: 52 years ago, I came to this area on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I came to bear testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith. Today I stand before this people again of this area to again bear testimony. My growth in these 52 years has been great, but my testimony still remains very simple.
My name is Keith Henderson. At the time I bear this testimony, I am still an active member in good-standing with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m grateful for this opportunity that I’ve received to lift up my voice and bear my witness and testimony before the Most High God, before His holy angels, and before all of you who would be witnesses with me that this talk given this day by our friends and God’s servant is a message given from God to all men and women everywhere who will hear or read. I so witness that I know that it is.
I have attended every portion of this talk, making now ten in total. I have listened time after time to the recordings, and I have read every transcript made up until this one. I bear solemn testimony that I have received a message by God’s voice of their truthfulness and also of His desire for us to believe in and act upon these things that have been spoken.
I stand as another witness with Denver in the law of witnesses that these things are true, and I expect to be held accountable for this in the days and the eternity to come before God and my Father and to all men.
I bear this testimony humbly and solemnly but in the power of the most holy priesthood, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.