On May 13th 2015, Tim Malone sat down with Denver and asked a number of questions on a variety of subjects, including questions about specific statements made in the 40 Years in Mormonism talks.
TM: In a recent talk (3-22-15) on plural marriage, you said (page 39),
“There have been many signs given by God that He was about to do something new from the time of the death of Joseph Smith till today. All that was left at the end was for a witness to be appointed, to come to declare, ‘Now it has come to an end.’ In the last talk in the ten lecture series I said, the witness has now come, and I am he. It has come to an end with something new now begun. One of the signs of it having come to an end was the passing of Eldred Smith.”
Will you elaborate on the significance of the passing of Patriarch Eldred G. Smith on April 4, 2013 and how or why we should take this as a sign that something has come to an end? In particular, what has come to an end? You are declaring you are a witness of an end-time event. This seems vital. What is that event, how are you a witness, why is it important for us to recognize this event and how should we, or how do you think God expects us to acknowledge such an event in our own lives?
DS: In a word, the fullness of the Gentiles is ending – one of the last signs of that was the passing of Eldred Smith in 2013 and with him the office of patriarch to the church. That office was never well understood. And I’ve never been told it was necessary to fully explain the significance so I’ve left most of the details unexplained. But to what I’ve said already I would add the following. The LDS church makes enthusiastic claims about their priesthood. And those claims would be much more accurate if they were dialed back some. If they were considerably more modest. They claim to have Melchizedek priesthood which has the following list of things associated with it, when it is described for us the first time in scripture in Genesis chapter 14, Joseph Smith translation: the authority ‘to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn waters out of their course, to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God.’ I pointed out that it’s not necessary to do all these things. But any one of them is sufficient to show the authority is present. But this priesthood does have signs.
The ordination of Hyrum in 1841 was and, I’m reading from the scripture, to “the office of Priesthood and Patriarch.” That’s in section 124 verse 91. What was intended with that ordination was so that, and again I’m reading from the same revelation:
“His name be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.” (D&C 124:96)
There was a colorable claim to priesthood while Hyrum and his descendants remained in office. That ended. So far as the LDS church was concerned, it was good riddance. Because they found the office was troublesome. It was not part of the twelve, yet it claimed the status of prophet, seer, and revelator while it was part of the general authorities. It was uncontrollable because only the descendants of Hyrum were holders. That gave them independence and leaders wanted the office to be discarded and it has been. There are many prophecies that foretell the Gentiles will reject their invitation to have the fullness of the gospel. Christ said that this would happen in 3 Nephi 16:10. There have been many signs Christ’s prophecies were fulfilled. Only one thing now remained to be done, God needed to send a witness to be the final required sign – sent by God to declare his intention to begin something new. The signs include, but are not limited to, the condemnation of the church in 1832, which is in D&C 84:54-58. The expulsion from Missouri that happened and was explained in D&C 101:1-2. The forced winter exodus from Nauvoo. The suffering during and following the exodus. The afflictions, judgments, and wrath of God at the saints. All of which was foretold in D&C 124:44-45. Their pride, lying, deceit, hypocrisy, murders, priestcrafts, and whoredoms. All of which Christ foretold in that 3 Nephi 16:10 verse. There has been inquisitorial abuse of the saints once they were isolated in the wilderness. As part of the Mormon reformation the population was interrogated to root out heresy, sin, and root out disbelief with a threat of blood atonement – which was slaying the sinner to save them from hell – then being taught. There were mass murders. Over 200 non- Mormons were executed at Mountain Meadows to vindicate an oath to avenge the death of the prophets. Originally that was aimed at those who slew Joseph and Hyrum, but news of Parley Pratt’s death and slaying arrived just at the time that the Mountain Meadows crew was going through Utah. And since Parley Pratt was regarded as a prophet by the saints it included him also. Brigham Young traditionally has not been directly implicated, but everyone including LDS church assistant historian, Richard Turley, admits that his rhetoric – during the Mormon reformation – coupled with the temple oath of vengeance that Brigham Young added to the rites of the temple…
And just as an aside, an oath of vengeance for slaying the prophets could not have been put there by Joseph Smith because he and Hyrum Smith had not yet been slain. And so the oath of vengeance was necessarily the product of the mind of Brigham Young. But it was part of the temple rhetoric and everyone admits that the blood atonement and the oath of vengeance and the Mormon reformation, and Brigham Young’s fiery rhetoric, and Jedediah Grant’s fiery additions on top of that, were responsible for creating an environment in which the slaying took place.
Other signs are contradictions in what are called fundamental teachings for example plural marriage was once required for exaltation, now it will result in excommunication. Ordaining blacks would once forfeit all church priesthood, now it is unequivocally condemned as false. Adopting a well-paid professional ministerial class. In Alma, the Nehor incident included Nehor advocated that priests should not labor with their own hands, that they should get supported with the believers’ money and this was something the Book of Mormon condemned being guilty of priestcraft. Alma, on the other hand, ordained priests in Mosiah 18:18 and he instructed them that they must labor with their own hands for their own support. In Mosiah 18:24:
“And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.”
King Mosiah adopted this standard as the law. In Mosiah 27:4-5:
“That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support. Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God.”
See, I could raise money if I wanted to. I could raise a lot of money if I wanted to. And if I raised money off of the religion I preach I could get a lot more done. Instead I labor with my own hands and I work nights, evenings, weekends. The amount of work that is going into the book that will come out next – that includes not just me, but my wife, and practically every spare moment that we have – involves enormous sacrifice. But it has exactly the effect, “we should esteem our neighbor as ourself laboring with our own hands.” We should not think that we are better than anyone.
If you take money from someone in order to advance your religious purpose. The mere act of doing that creates an inequality. It creates an arrogance. It removes the burden of sacrifice. It removes the humiliation of having to lose sleep, and to fret, and to worry about things, and to face an uphill battle, and everything that you do in order to please God. But you can’t please God by taking advantage of your fellowman. There have been changes to the ordinance. Isaiah 24:5 warned:
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Emphasis Snuffer)
Those changes include the most single radical change to the temple endowment in 1990. In 2005, they eliminated washings and anointings. Before the January 2005 changes, washing and anointings were literal. The change made them only symbolic thereafter. That has significance, and I leave it to people to query why it has significance.
There was a reason why Christ was anointed preliminary to his death, by the woman that blessed and anointed him. It was to preserve him into the resurrection. Now we don’t do that.
There’s a quest for popularity. Gordon B. Hinkley was the original employee and secretary for the, what was then called the radio, publicity, and missionary literature committee in 1934. The predecessor to the public communications department. By the time he became the 15th LDS church president his work had hardwired public relations to the institution. Another problem has been the centrally controlled, tightly correlated rejection of teachings. Which David O. McKay predicted would lead the church into apostasy. I discuss this in “Passing the Heavenly Gift,” you can read about it there, if anyone is interested.
The history of gentile Mormonism has been a long downward path. I laid that out in “Passing the Heavenly Gift.” The gentiles have walked away from the light and increasingly embraced darkness and foolishly trusted in men. All Mormon sects are now ruled by traditions contrary to the scriptures and commandments of God. They are asleep, and cannot be awakened. God is now leading something new and has left the leaders of all the various Mormon sects to find their own way.
Emma Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and William Marks said that without Joseph Smith there was no church. That comment was preserved by William Clayton in his diary in August of 1844, because to William Clayton that was offensive. The election had taken place on August the 8th. So when Emma Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and William Marks said that without Joseph Smith there is no church, he recorded it in his journal because he thought that was inappropriate and offensive. But they were right.
Following Joseph’s death there was a complete overthrow of the church by the quorum of the twelve. The quorum of the twelve substituted themselves in the place of the equal distribution of power established by revelation. The first presidency and the quorum of the twelve are supposed to be equal in authority. That’s in 107:24.
Joseph never moved a single apostle into the first presidency. They were independently equal bodies. Likewise, the quorum of seventy was equal with the twelve. That’s in 107:25-26. And therefore should be equal with the first presidency also.
The standing high councils of Zion were also equal in authority. That’s in 107: 36-37. All the keys, to the extent that there were any, were and are held one hundred percent by the first presidency, one hundred percent by the twelve, one hundred percent by the quorum of seventy, and a hundred percent by the high councils. There was no primacy in the twelve – when originally organized by Joseph Smith according to revelation. In the years before Joseph’s death the twelve were away from Nauvoo doing missionary work as their calling required. Joseph spent his final three years in close association with the Nauvoo high council, as the Nauvoo high council minutes reflect. Following Joseph’s and Hyrum’s deaths Emma remarked:
“Now as the twelve have no power with regard to the government of the church and the stakes of Zion; but the high council have all power, so it follows that on removal of the first president the office would devolve upon the president of the high council in Zion. The twelve were aware of these facts, but acted differently.”
Emma was the wife of Joseph Smith and I know that she’s taken a lot of bad press from LDS Mormonism. At one time I enjoyed that same opinion. But these are comments that she made in the immediate aftermath of Joseph Smith’s death.
None of the equality of these four different bodies survived Brigham Young. When Brigham Young assumed control all equality was destroyed and the church became an oligarchy run by the twelve. This continues from Young until today. Now, the senior apostle automatically becomes the church president. An unscriptural and unwise system for consolidating power.
Equality among many has been replaced with the dictatorship of one. Here’s another quote:
“Emma bore testimony to Lucy Massur that Mormonism was true as it came forth from the servant of the Lord, Joseph Smith, but said the twelve had made bogus of it.”
Bogus is another word for counterfeit. Bogus was always a reference to counterfeit money. Joseph cautioned the saints about violating God’s trust. As he put it:
“His word will go forth in these last days in purity. For if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things in his sight, he will seek another people. For his work will go on until Israel is gathered. And they who will not hear his voice must expect to feel his wrath.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 18)
To the same effect, during the Mormon reformation, Heber C. Kimball said:
“We receive this priesthood and power and authority – if we make a bad use of the priesthood do you not see that the day will come that God will reckon with us and he will take it from us and give it to those who will make better use of it.” (Journal of Discourses, Volume 6, page 125)
George Albert Smith said essentially the same thing, Brigham Young said essentially the same thing.
We should expect God’s house to be ordered around only one principle – repentance. When the pride of a great organization replaces repentance, the heavens withdraw and when they do amen to that portion of God’s house.
The restoration through Joseph Smith will always remain, even if God chooses to order it differently before his return. It is his to do with as he determines best. He’s now sent me as a witness.
The passing of Eldred Smith was a moment in time that reflects the cumulative effect of a lot of decisions – including and beginning with the initial overthrow of the government of the church by the twelve at the passing of Joseph and Hyrum. Culminating in the final overthrow of the priesthood itself, by the death of the discarded Eldred Smith and the discontinuation of the authority that was supposed to have been kept in honorable remembrance from generation to generation. God will bestow that authority again and it will go forward. But it will go forward without these organizational pretenders that amass wealth and practice priestcraft.
TM: In the lecture on Christ, the Prototype of the Saved Man given in Ephraim (6-28-14), you said,
“…either I am a liar, and you ought to forget everything I’ve said, or I have been sent by someone greater than I am. If I have been sent and you reject and quibble over the things I declare to you, it is at your peril! It ought to be that way. I ought to be damned if I’m a pretender, and I ought to be damned and rejected by God if I’m saying things about which I know nothing! But I bear witness to you I know what I’m talking about. I have no reason to lie to you. I have no reason to pay to reserve a place to speak to you, and ask nothing of you but to listen. It requires a sacrifice to do what I am doing. I have no other reason to do this than to tell you the truth. Joseph Smith testified to these things and I am come as a second witness. Therefore you now have two proclaiming the same doctrine.”
You bring up Joseph Smith. Joseph testified the heavens are open. He bore witness of God the Father and His Son as two separate and distinct personages possessing glorified and perfected bodies. He also testified he was an instrument in the hands of Christ to bring about a restoration of things hidden since before the foundation of the world. You say you know what you are talking about. Do you mean this in the same sense Joseph Smith declared his knowledge, that it was received through revelation, vision and the visits of angels? As a second witness, how is the Savior working through you to continue the restoration He began through Joseph Smith?
DS: The answer to that question is yes. If that were not the case, I would not be doing anything. What I do, teach, and write is a product of contact with heaven. I’ve not elaborated on all the contacts, messengers, and visitations I have received because that would be, in my view, very counterproductive. It would suggest I am more important than I am. God matters and men do not. God can save you and I cannot.
The most important issue involves the substance of what is taught. The most important individual is whoever hears what is taught. When Christ appeared on the road to Emmaus, to announce his message, he did not bother announcing who he was. All he did was announce his message which was to expound the scriptures beginning with Moses and all the prophets. In order to show how in all things it was testified that he needed to suffer and he needed to die.
All I’m doing is modeling the one I serve. That is, by taking Joseph and all the revelations of the restoration and showing how in all things it is necessary for exactly what has and is happening to occur in order to fulfill the word of the Lord.
If I started talking about all the visits and visitations immediately what people would say is that, ‘this is a great man. He has stood in the presence of various angelic personalities, he’s had various interviews and instructions. Oh my! Isn’t he wonderful?’ And the fact of the matter is, I’m not wonderful. I labor for my support. I have a hard time making all of my ends meet. I have a very difficult time meeting all of the responsibilities my wife and I have. She and I work together on a lot of problems that deal with family, that deal with money, that deal with budget, that deal with just life’s challenges. I am no better than the next guy. To say something other than the content of the message is to inspire either adoration or envy. It’s foolish, it’s unnecessary. But the answer to your question is: Yeah. If it were not so I would keep my mouth shut.
TM: As a second witness then, which you have proclaimed you are, how is the Savior working through you to continue the restoration, he began through Joseph Smith?
DS: God could, does, and will work through anyone who awakens and then pays attention. There’s an army of witnesses and awakened individuals that are being assembled by God. It’s required to know him, and I know him. I’ve been taught and understand his gospel. The first task is to assure people that he lives and that his gospel is an authentic method for saving souls. The second task is to remember the restoration Joseph gave his life to begin.
We’re ungrateful when we fail to remember and practice it. At the moment, there is almost no clear understanding of that gospel. I’m working to set that out in a comprehensive way. It’s never been completed. There’s a great deal prophesied to roll out as part of the restoration that has not even commenced! Do we have Zion? What about the lost teachings of the brass plates? Do we have the rest of the Book of Mormon? Do we have the testimony of John? Do we have restored knowledge of the Jaredites? The list could be very long. But the fact that there is a list, tells us that the restoration must resume at some point in order to be completed. We don’t have it on the table, but we’ve forgotten what we once had.
So the first job is to show that we are grateful enough to remember. And to remember it in a fulsome, comprehensive way. Before God is going to say, now I will permit it to move forward. We haven’t gotten to the point of remembering yet. Which is why we ought to be studying a lot more diligently the material we got in the restoration. We ignore it at our peril.
TM: In the Phoenix or Mesa lecture (9-9-14), you stated,
“The Lord has said to me in His own voice, ‘I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.’ Therefore, I want to caution those who disagree with me, to feel free, to feel absolutely free to make the case against what I say. Feel free to disagree, and make your contrary arguments. If you believe I err, then expose the error and denounce it. But take care; take care about what you say concerning me for your sake, not for mine. I live with constant criticism. I can take it. But I do not want you provoking Divine ire by unfortunately chosen words if I can persuade you against it.”
In Genesis 12:3, The Lord said unto Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” Abraham was further blessed to be the father of many nations, that in him “shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Abraham was a prophet. Isaac and Jacob were prophets. Abraham referred to the Fathers going back to Adam. You spoke about that in the talk on plural marriage and elsewhere. It seems there is something significant about connecting to the Fathers. Abraham was a patriarch. The LDS Church no longer has a presiding patriarch, or even such an office. Is there a patriarch on the earth today who can connect us to the Fathers?
DS: The simple answer is that there is always one on the earth. That has been true from Adam to the present time. Remember that in Nauvoo the Lord offered to connect the saints. A clearly defined condition for that to happen was necessarily an acceptable temple where he could come and restore the connection. The reconnection is ordinance based and will require an acceptable temple before it goes beyond the single representative.
First, ideas need to be advanced and accepted. Second, we need to act on the ideas. Primarily by repenting and opening ourselves to the influence of God. Third, we have to be humble and patient and willing to practice the religion before we can have any hope of God deciding to gather us. Practical experience is absolutely necessary. Theories and pretensions are not going to get us anywhere. Everyone can theorize the virtues that are necessary to gather people together and live in harmony. Everyone can envision themselves as one of the residents of the city of peace. But the practical experience required to iron out our selfishness and competitiveness so we can actually live in peace is another order of magnitude harder. In the Nauvoo city council minutes you see them grappling with a society that is trying to be composed of Saints. The practical problem solving goes on. There are moments when I’m reading the Nauvoo city council minutes that I’m laughing. Because they go to solve one problem, but the solution creates another.
Basically people are discourteous of one another. And because they’re discourteous of one another, they adopt an ordinance in order to drop one discourtesy only to create another discourtesy on top of that.
For example, one of the problems that they had was Nauvoo was organized as a city in which everyone had a garden plot. But because the garden plots were not fenced, horses and foot traffic would go through the gardens. The result of that was the destruction of needed food stuffs. So they couldn’t get people to build fences around their gardens. The solution to the problem was to turn the hogs loose. Because when the hogs are loose the hogs are going to go into the gardens. So they adopted an ordinance and the ordinance let the hogs in Nauvoo go free, and that produced the required fences that they wanted at the expense of the hog wallows in the middle of the streets in the middle of Nauvoo until finally some guy, tired of the hog problem, went out and killed and butchered and ate a couple of guys that another guy said belonged to him and he sued him and they had the public fight over it.
The point of all this isn’t hogs in the Nauvoo city council, the point of all this is we need practical experience, not theory. The way in which the practical experience can be had is in gathering in fellowships of societies collecting our own tithing. Then grappling with the fact that there is a pile of money sitting there which is ever a temptation and to deal with that in a responsible way that forces individuals to confront their own self will, their own pride, their own desire, their own jealousy, their own envy, their own ambition, their own covetousness.
In the fellowships that have been organized there have been moments of profound breakthroughs in the kind of attributes that you would want for Zion. One group, when they begin their meeting they gather all of the needs and they put all of the needs together. Then they gather the money and the money is always cash and in a container that they don’t know how much cash there is. Without opening the cash then they open the needs and as a group they reason together and agree on what the priority of the needs are. So that they have a list of the most compelling and on down. Once they know what the most compelling, the second, the third, the fourth are they open it up and they count their money. There have been occasions, on one occasion the person whose need could be satisfied – because there was enough money there – looked at the person next in line in the priority behind them. And concluded that in their heart they thought that need greater than their own. If they satisfied that need there would be nothing left for them. So they voluntarily passed on their priority and took none of the money and let it all go to the next person behind them. That is a person that I would willingly add to a community because they’ve learned self-sacrifice.
Someone who advocates incessantly, ‘we have got to live the United Order. We have got to have consecration,’ because they intend to benefit from that, is unfit to be gathered. They would destroy Zion. Someone who says, ‘what can I give? At the cost of my own self-sacrifice.’ And who is willing to live the law of consecration in order to bless and benefit others. Not expecting themselves to be blessed or benefitted, but instead for themselves to carry a burden. Those people can be gathered and they represent no threat. But the way in which those people get identified is by practical experience, which is what the fellowshipping communities are designed – by the inspiration of God – to allow to take place. Every one of us theorizes that we are a great candidate for Zion. Go out and get some practical experience and see how great of a candidate you truly are. You’ll be disappointed in yourself. Most of us would be anyway.
TM: In the same lecture, you quoted from your journal, describing the disciplinary process you went through, your appeal and the significance of section 121 which contains the phrase, “Amen to the priesthood of that man.” You then read,
“Last general conference (April 2014), the entire First Presidency, the 12, the 70, and 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.”
This is an astounding declaration. It has been the subject of much discussion on the forums and blogs. It was and is a difficult thing for many LDS members to hear or read. FAIR and other apologetic sites have fallen all over themselves to show how impossible such a claim can be. The idea of a modern, living prophet, authorized and in possession of all priesthood keys held by Joseph is the bedrock of the LDS Church claims to be God’s kingdom on earth today. Your claim evokes emotional distress in some who consider it. It’s been a while since this declaration came out. Is there anything you would add now to help multi-generational members of the LDS Church deal with such a devastating, all-encompassing foundational claim?
DS: I would add that it’s a mistake to focus on me when you think of this issue. The issue is larger than a single man. And the issue deserves careful consideration of everything that was covered in that first answer.
I am no happier than others are about this. Does anyone really think that this doesn’t upset me? Does anyone believe that I have pride in this or it makes me pleased to say what I have said? Those who think that have no idea who I am or what’s in my heart. I’m probably more broken hearted by the things I’ve been told and commanded to teach than the audience could be.
I have spent days mourning. Unable to speak about some things, even with my wife as this has unfolded. There have been times when I have been so upset that I’ve not been able to carry on a conversation. It’s required two and three days to adjust. I could give you an example, but I’ll pass on that. Well – I will give you the example. The section I read of my journal was written months before it was read to an audience. And when it was written, I thought that writing was only for my family, my kids.
There are some times when the Lord gives you the words to write and there are some times when you compose it yourself. That was given to me to write. But I considered it extremely private. I considered it extremely personal. Outside of my wife alone, no one was aware of that until the talk.
Every one of the ten talks were given to me in outline form before they were given. On the day that I began to prepare to give the talks, I sat down and in one sitting I wrote all of the notes for the first five talks because I ran out of time. I didn’t bother putting notes down for the next series until after I delivered the first two because they were in fairly rapid succession. Then I went on from the sixth, seventh, eighth, and then finally the ninth talk. I never got anything for the tenth talk. And understand that these were prepared months, months, in advance. And I had a long hiatus between the first and second parts of the year during winter we didn’t drive. And so I had all nine talks and I had nothing for ten. Nothing. My conclusion, because it had been given to me on one through nine, my conclusion ultimately was all the tenth is going to be is a summary of the first nine. So literally I began to go back through the notes and to highlight what I was going to use as a summary in the tenth talk.
I prayed about it, nothing happened. Finished the talk in Saint George, so the ninth talk was given and on the night that the ninth talk was given, that night the tenth talk was revealed to me. If I had known – if I had known anywhere along the line the content of the tenth talk, I would have done something to prepare the audience for what was coming. I didn’t know what was going to be in it. When I got the content of the tenth talk it was so distressing to me that I told my wife the next day on a walk in Saint George, we stayed in the area for a while, that this was not going to be good. This was not going to be a pleasant thing.
I wrote out all of the notes. I transcribed what needed to be said, but I didn’t give the talk to her, unlike the other ones. I just continued to try and change the Lord’s mind about the content. She heard the talk for the first time during the audience. She knew how upset and distressed I was about what I was saying. During the first break she got up and came up to me and said to me “I now get it.” Because it wasn’t easy. That was not easy.
People who think that I’m enjoying this and that I look out and say, ‘Good. Now I’m giving the Mormon church their comeuppance,’ don’t realize anything about what it takes to get up and say this stuff. Or how extremely difficult it is. I’m not happy about it.
Multi-generational families may have a family tradition but I was converted at the age of nineteen and I invested my heart and soul into the church. I was the single most successful missionary in the mission that I got baptized in as just a lay member of the church. When I was sent down by the military to Texas I was called to be a stake missionary. We had through one missionary waiting for a visa to go to Brazil, we couldn’t get a visa for him. Every night when I came home that missionary showed up and he and I were missionary companions. And we went out and we tracted, and we taught, and we baptized. We had a young couple, the husband was studying to become a minister for the Church of Christ. And we began teaching him. We got them to the point of having a testimony. They got an answer, they had a testimony. But they were faced with the crisis of losing his profession and of alienating his family. So they concluded, despite the fact that they had been converted, they concluded that they couldn’t pay the price. They told us they didn’t want to have us come by anymore.
I taught Gospel Doctrine for nearly three decades. I was on the high council, when I spoke in the high council in my stake the bishops announced in advance who the high councilman was, because attendance would go up. Because I loved the gospel and I was devoted to the church.
To say it was more distressing to multi-generation families than it was to me is incomprehensible to me. It’s a tragedy. I’m just on the scene, to focus on me is ridiculous. Forget about me.
TM: That multi-generational reference was in regard to my wife and how strong and powerful that tradition is. How devastating it is.
You have proclaimed God has ended the way he works with his children on the earth today. You have announced yourself to be a witness of this fundamental change. You have declared yourself a second witness of the many works of God through the prophet Joseph Smith. You have reaffirmed the importance of the Patriarchal Priesthood, the law of adoption or sealing to the Fathers in the family of God. You have announced the LDS Church can no longer claim to be led by the priesthood of God, virtually making it no different from any other church today.
Yet the title and focus of the last lecture in the series “Forty Years in Mormonism” is “Preserving the Restoration.” You have counseled those who have accepted this message and you as the Lord’s servant, witness or messenger in this great change, to be baptized. Specifically, you quoted 3 Nephi 11:26–27 and said,
“I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command … confirmed again today.”
Thousands of individuals have been baptized at your invitation. Will you elaborate on how your declarations and baptismal invitation preserve the restoration, as opposed to tearing it down?
DS: All – universally – all of the various iterations of Mormonism are less and less like the foundation and we need to return. If you go back to what I said about baptism you will find that on the topic of baptism there is an example taken from the Book of Mormon in which Alma, who had been ordained in the court of King Noah. He was chosen precisely because he was wicked. Alma, who probably had a line of authority that was compromised by wickedness that had intervened, went out to baptize Helam. Before he did so he asked heaven to give him the power to baptize. He got the power to baptize and he baptized Helam.
What I suggest in the talk is that everyone who has been ordained in the LDS tradition, who fits in the category that President Boyd Packer, in general conference, lamented that we’ve done a good job of spreading the authority of the priesthood but we’ve done a poor job of getting power in the priesthood. Go out and obtain from heaven the connection that gives the power in the priesthood. Those who get the power from heaven, let’s have them go out and baptize again, so that we know it is done with power. And not done merely with an authoritative tradition lacking in power that cannot be accepted by heaven.
The evidence of Alma’s authoritative baptism was the outpouring of the Spirit. There have been those who have been baptized, and spent their life in Mormonism, or some other sect – Mormon related, who say they never felt like they had the confirmation of the Spirit. They have gone out, sought for, obtained power from heaven, baptized, and the ordinances had an effect upon people.
The purpose of renewing baptism is to take what may be a hollow gesture, performed by people who have authority with no power and turn it into an event with power that connects people to heaven. So that we can renew the restoration like it was renewed in the days of Alma through Alma and in the model of the Book of Mormon; which answers so many doctrinal, imponderables for us today. ‘Why do we have authority and now power?’ as the president of the quorum of the twelve apostles in general conference lamented to the church. It’s because we’re not doing what we should be doing. It’s not necessary to have a revolution that divorces us from the restoration. It’s necessary to have a revolution that connects us back to the restoration and its beginnings.
TM: You proclaimed Jesus Christ has revealed Himself to you. You declared you have seen Him, embraced Him and have been given specific assignments of things to teach, which you have done at your own expense in publications and lectures. The focus of these teachings is the establishment of Zion. You have counseled those who wish to prepare for Zion to institute fellowships for gathering and practicing the principles of Zion, specifically to use tithing as a means to help the poor. You have taught there is to be no new church, no legal entity to receive and centrally manage funds and property, yet you acknowledge the need for a temple.
A new website has been established for a central recorder, where those who have been baptized are encouraged to submit their names. The purpose of this gathering of names is to present them to the Lord in a temple. You said in Mesa,
“We do not need numerous temples, but we will need one to which Christ can come. We will not need to perform endless work for the dead until first there has been a covenant made for us. We must be first connected to the fathers in heaven. Only then can we do something to liberate the dead.”
You have already taught much on the sealing to the fathers, but will you take a moment to elaborate on the difference between the visit of Christ to an individual and the visit of Christ to a temple yet to be built?
DS: Individual salvation and promises of eternal life are just that, they are individual. A restoration of the family of Israel requires more – including cooperation and interrelationships that will be formed by God himself. Promises made to individuals give the individual hope.
If you take the vision of the redemption of the dead – that we find in D&C 138 – he saw a vision where they were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality. And who had offered sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, and had suffered tribulation in the redeemer’s name. All these had departed the mortal life firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. All of them. These were the righteous. They were in paradise and all of them were worthy, they had hope, and not only did the Savior give them hope before death, he visited with them in the spirit world during the time between his death and his resurrection. But that did not get them reconnected to the fathers in heaven. Nor did it even get them resurrected because it goes on to say in the same vision, ‘from among the righteous he organized his forces and appointed messengers clothed with power and authority and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness. Even to all the spirits of men, and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.’ So the righteous who departed this life firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, who had offered sacrifice in the similitude – many of whom had seen him in the flesh, who witnessed him and were ministered to by him, and given authority by him in the spirit world, remained in the world of the dead to preach to the dead.
Only the organization through a temple and associated rites results in finishing the family of God in the house of order, following the results achieved – or allowing the results achieved – by Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. Which are described in D&C 132:37.
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation according to the promises. And they sit upon thrones and are not angels, but are Gods.
In D&C 138:41, Abraham, the father of the faithful, Isaac, and Jacob were also there. In verses 41 and 42 of D&C 138 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were there, but in the revelation given in 1843 they’re sitting on thrones. They’re not in the spirit world proselytizing. They’re sitting on thrones. The difference between these two categories are the differences between individual salvation, which can come, and reorganizing the family of God, which must occur by an ordinance in a temple, to be acceptable to God.
This is why the command was given to build the temple in Nauvoo. And why God offered to restore to them the fullness that they did not achieve. We need to let God take the lead and we need to patiently await each step along the way. This is the stuff of which the prophecies speak. And it is the stuff that will be fulfilled. But the rites and the ordinances necessary to accomplish that – people in this generation don’t even have a clue how that necessarily has to roll forth. But rest assured, it will. It will.
TM: I have heard you say, and read in many places in your books and on your blog, you dislike the public attention received as a result of performing the assignments given you by the Lord. You’ve been emphatic we should not replace one idol with another. Yet the people look to you for leadership. For example, in the Phoenix lecture you provided some direction on tithing, the sacrament, ordinations, worship or fellowship groups, and in particular, the requirement that the approval of seven women is needed to sustain a man in performing ordinances in public. You also said a man was unworthy – the Lord’s word – if his wife will not sustain him.
In the Jewish tradition, when questions arise, everyone turns to the Rabbi. In the LDS Church, local leaders consult the handbook or turn to a General Authority for help with difficult procedural questions. You have stated you don’t like the term used by some – Snufferites – to describe those who read your writings. You have made it clear every man should have a sufficiently strong relationship with the Lord to get answers to procedural and doctrinal questions. Yet, you are the one the Lord sent as a servant, witness or messenger to declare the orderly dismantling of the established hierarchy. Does that not make you a prophet and de-facto leader?
DS: Let me say and clarify, because I think it is an important point to clarify. I view my role only to be a teacher at this point. But I would hasten to add that if you search the scriptures to look at what role was occupied by Enoch and the success that he had in his day. The only thing he claimed to be was a teacher and a preacher of repentance. That’s it. The success that he had was not because he was some great dictator. It was because he was a teacher that provoked people to repent.
Melchizedek, Joseph Smith clarified, was not a king of a city or a king of a country, he just preached. He was a teacher. He was a preacher. He preached and the people, according to the Book of Mormon, who heard him – Alma clarifies they were wicked people, but they repented and because they repented they were able to gather and live the principles that brought them together.
I think the idea of a strong central leader is no more likely to succeed in our day than it was in Joseph’s. I mean, in the end when Joseph was lamenting that they were depending too much on the prophet and therefore they were neglecting the duties that were devolving upon themselves. And they were darkened in their minds. It was too late. In 1842 when he made that comment, in the meeting with the Relief Society, it was too late. The moment had passed. They were dependent upon him.
The responsibility in preaching the gospel is to take the burden and put it upon the individual and have the individual connect to God. One man being saved and saying, ‘I’ve got a pipeline to God and so now I get to be your boss,’ won’t save him nor those who listen to him. But someone who says God is willing to speak and does speak to every one of you and who encourages you to use the gifts that God gives every one of us. Every individual, though curious some of them may be, all of us have some kind of gift. Use it to reconnect to God. And then build upon that to have your life filled with light and truth.
I really think it is unnecessary to build a new canon of scripture, when we haven’t paid enough attention to the canon of scripture we have already. We need to plumb the depth of the volumes that we have been given and figure out what they are saying. Because they say a whole lot more than we have drawn out of them as of yet.
What I have talked about in the ten talks and the fourteen books I have written is the scriptures. Hopefully it served to remind people of what the scriptures actually do contain. Because they are plentiful and I think the only role I would carve out for myself is a teacher.
TM: A follow-up to the last question about the need for leadership in this movement can be illustrated by a recent post from Keith on the Recorder’s blog. In there he noted some people are submitting names of children baptized as young as five years old. The scriptures specifically teach the age of accountability is eight years old. He also noted the fact that some baptisms are being submitted for recording as having been performed by a woman. He quoted, again from the Phoenix lecture, your statement about priesthood being confined to men because of the Fall. You elaborated much on the idea there are so many opportunities for believers to go off the rails. I see it all the time when we discuss doctrinal questions on my blog.
For example, the worship of Mother in Heaven is a subject about which some people feel very strongly. They advocate a practice – a sacred dance – in which the objective is for a manifestation of divine favor. Specifically, they look for, expect, and report they have experienced the presence of Heavenly Mother in their ritual. This is similar to what happened with the children of Israel when Moses was up on the mountain for forty days communing with the Lord. In the end, Moses wore himself out because he had to judge every little thing that came before the people. What is the right way? How will the Lord provide leadership for His people who are awaiting His return? I’m looking for a practical answer here, not idealism.
DS: For those who think they can please and appease Heavenly Mother by that sort of innovation, I think they will be very surprised when they finally have an opportunity to meet her. She may not at all be the soft, kindly, genteel, little old lady that people imagine. She may be tougher by far than our Father. Do you imagine for a moment that Lucifer would have been cast out of heaven without the Mother consenting, approving, and advocating? Do you think for a moment that would be the case? Do you think that those who were cast out with him had some weak-willed woman weeping at their departure? Do you think she wasn’t protecting and approving? I don’t talk about her, but I think there’s a lot of imagination that needs to be reined in.
Gifts are an open conduit. What flows through the gifts will include opposition. Just because you have a gift doesn’t mean that that gift is not equally accessible by the opposition as it is accessible by God. It must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. You can’t bring about righteousness without there being an opposition in all things. So how do you avoid mistakes when you allow something to influence you through your gift that actually comes from the adversary who pretends to be the source of light, the bringer of light, the light-bearer which is Lucifer’s name’s meaning.
Well, to avoid mistakes, first of all I would look to the scriptures as a standard against to which measure. If you look at Christ on the road to Emmaus and you look at Moroni’s lectures to Joseph everything they did was scripture based. I’ve given a greater restatement of the restoration than anyone since Joseph, but have almost entirely confined it to the scriptures and statements attributed to Joseph. That measuring standard is where you first find the anchor. People who don’t read their scriptures are subject to all kinds of foolish presumptions about things that aren’t there. If you go back and look at the exact wording sometimes the foolish presumption is not justified by the actual language and content of the scripture you think justifies what you are doing.
Secondly, personal worthiness – we have to live our lives in conformity with the light that we have. We cannot ignore or excuse ourselves and expect that we can avoid deception. If we’re willing to disobey and excuse ourselves then we become unable to distinguish the light from the shadows. It’s just the way it is. If we lie to ourselves we love a lie. And if we love a lie, we are going to be deceived by lies. We make ourselves open to them. We make ourselves willing to accept them. We have to rely upon light and truth and the Holy Ghost.
D&C 45 beginning at 56:
“And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived – verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.”
The way you do that is by knowing what’s in the scriptures, with some considerable care, living according to the truth that you have, and allowing the Holy Ghost to become your guide even when what you hear from the Holy Ghost challenges, disappoints, or even frustrates you in what you learn.
TM: Did you want to address the part about leadership? I know it was kind of an add on, it didn’t quite fit there. What I added at the end?
DS: Yeah, in fact the narrowness of the question at the end was really kind of delightful because it allowed me to avoid that. (Chuckle)
TM: Very good. (Chuckle)
DS: Yeah. But I do think that the work that I have been doing, the lectures that were given as part of a single talk, the stuff that I have been trying to remind people of, it’s all in the scriptures. It’s all in the foundation of the restoration. I don’t think that leader as micromanager is an answer to anything. Teacher, as someone who brings material to your attention, allowing you the freedom then to choose is good. If people engage in a sort of inordinate wickedness that Moses found when he came down from the mountain is practiced anywhere among those who are responsive to this they simply won’t be gathered. They’ll be left behind. Those that are patient and humble and those that inspire the confidence of angels that are going to do the gathering, they will be gathered. It won’t be because some boss manages to whip them in line. They need to be given the freedom to get out of line. Then once they’re out of line, be allowed to go their way.
TM: You have declared we have an opportunity to bring about the conditions for Zion. You had proclaimed the Lord is willing and ready to help individuals and groups prepare themselves to become the kind of people who can be sealed to the Fathers, join with the City of Enoch when the Lord comes and not be burned at His coming. Joseph tried to accomplish this in his day. The people, he said, were too thick skulled to accept the things he wanted to teach them. They would fly all to pieces, he said, at the first hint of something not held in their orthodox tradition.
The response to some of the things you have tried to teach has been similar, even though you have taught them from the scriptures. Change is hard for most people, especially when it involves changing long-held beliefs that are mostly tradition. One of the most difficult things for the LDS people to accept is the idea that the Lord could possibly have had in mind what you have declared has taken place. In particular, Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is interpreted by most LDS folks to mean the LDS Church IS the kingdom of God, that it IS Zion and that they are the chosen people. How do you help closed-minded people who are steeped in tradition open their eyes to the idea of non-traditional possibilities?
DS: I can’t, but if they will pay heed to the scriptures, the scriptures can. That wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth through disobedience from the children of men and because of the tradition of their fathers.
One of the tools used by the enemy of your soul is to take away light and truth through the tradition of your fathers. If the tradition of your fathers is what governs you then you can’t be saved. You just can’t be saved. You have to become childlike. You have to be humble. You have to be teachable. The theme of the book, “Come Let Us Adore Him,” is how very offensive, revolutionary, and difficult it was for those who heard Christ to recognize who they were hearing. The test is exactly the same. If people will not hear what I have to say they would not have listened to Joseph, nor would they have listened to Christ. The test is exactly the same. I’m not saying anything that Joseph wouldn’t teach in our day.
TM: I’d like to end this first section of questions with something near and dear to my heart and that is the pursuit of personal spiritual communication with the Lord. I have delighted in your focus and emphasis from your first book that we can and should seek an audience with the Lord. You have declared He is willing to come to us in a literal, physical sense and that we can come into His presence, embrace Him and be taught by Him personally. If there is anything that gives more power to your teachings than your declaration you have seen Him, I don’t know what it is.
In my own pursuit of an audience with the Savior I rely on a sacred dream received shortly after I read The Second Comforter for the first time. Without going into any detail, the dream satisfied my desire to know when I could expect to enter into the presence of the Lord. In interpreting my dream, which I prayed to understand, it is not soon. I have years of work ahead of me – years of faithful and diligent effort to do as the Lord asks. And He has asked things of me, some of them very difficult. I note some people looking to unusual sources for inspiration and help – Shamans, questionable scripture, etc. I know you’re asked this all the time, but if you don’t mind, what counsel would you give for my readers who are anxiously seeking an audience with the Lord, and have become weary with the length of the process?
DS: The fact is, it requires patience, and patience is an absolute necessary virtue that even Christ was required to accomplish. He thought he was ready at age twelve and eighteen years later he finally had the day come when he was allowed. He wanted to be about his Father’s business and his mother told him to get back home. The fact is, there are those who, including our Lord himself, find the most difficult virtue of all is patience. It was twenty-seven years in the coming for me. Godliness, is a gradual thing. Even what is revealed is not necessarily going to be immediately understood, as that last talk I gave mentioned. It’s one thing to receive, it’s another thing to comprehend. And it’s still another order of magnitude difficult to teach. They are a gradual process and to think that you can leap, that’s remarkable, because I don’t see a precedent in scripture where that was the case. What did the apostle Paul take? Fourteen years? From the encounter on the road to Emmaus before he began to preach? What did it take, forty years, from the date Enoch was ordained at twenty-five before he walked with God at sixty-five? And that was a remarkably quick accomplishment. Moses forty years in the wilderness before he had his encounter with God at age eighty. If you think you can rush it, you are probably going to be deceived.
TM: May I share something? This is from a fellowship community member in Arizona. It’s called “River Church.” I’d like to know your impressions after hearing it if this is what you had in mind when you talked about organizing:
“What a beautiful day. The water was so clear I could see the bottom. The sun was bright and warm. I arrived at the Waters of Mormon about 4pm. As I walked down the bluff, I could see many people going in the water. So many were gathered at the edge of the water cheering and clapping. It was a magnificent scene for sure.
“As I arrived, so many of you greeted me with warmth and kindness. It was like the first time walking through the veil into the celestial room with loved ones there to greet the newly endowed. Such a feeling of peace and acceptance. Thank you. I counted about 33 members of our community there.
“The most wonderful part of the afternoon was right after the bread and wine were blessed and passed. There was such a wonderful feeling in the group. It was so quiet, just children playing in the distance and toddlers cooing. The rest of the group sat earnestly as the waters rushed by.
“Right then I was in the moment. I pushed myself to take mental note. A wonderful experience to hold in my memory. For all my life I will remember that wonderful moment. This morning a word came to me to describe the feeling of that moment: ‘solemn’. I hope many more of you will join us in the future. I love River Church.”
DS: To me, the description sounds heavenly. It’s in nature, it’s worshipping God. It describes fellowship and worship, both of which are godly. It’s necessary to allow creative solutions to the independently functioning among different groups. There was not a single “New Testament church.” There wasn’t one. There were churches.
Each of the twelve and Paul established different churches with markedly different emphases. Petrine churches emphasized authority and order. Johanian churches emphasized love. Pauline churches emphasized both evangelical fervor and gentile participation. Jacobian churches emphasized charity. They were all adapted to teach of Christ. There wasn’t a central hierarchical command and control.
In fact, there is a book, and the title of the book really says it all. It’s The Churches the Apostles Left Behind. The idea of a universal Catholic church was imposed some centuries later and it was adopted as the title Catholic, or universal, in order to try and achieve a missing ingredient of diversity. The fellowships ought to have diversity. We should not think it is impossible to have godliness with diversity. Nor should we assume that a one size fits all solution is going to work among different groups.
There’s some groups in which there are a lot of children. And the emphasis needs to be directed toward the needs of the children. There’s some groups that are primarily childless adults. They need to emphasize what suits them. Every one of them needs to adapt to whatever the local conditions are and have the freedom to do that as was once the case with the churches. At the beginning of the restoration they were called churches – plural, they were not called a church. They were societies of believers in different locations and they governed themselves differently and locally.
TM: Daryl’s group is just one of dozens of communities organized in a tithing and fellowship group. However, as far as I can tell, most of these fellowships are only along the Mormon Corridor, specifically in the areas where you presented the lectures. I know some have created web pages to help interested people connect to one another in a specific geographic region. In my case in Southern California, our fellowship is very, very loose with participants ranging from Alaska to San Diego.
I see the movement growing. I imagine you get a lot of emails from people asking about organizing and fellowshipping. You gave good counsel in the Mesa lecture when you suggested our time would be well spent if we did nothing more than read the scriptures – printed version – to one another and pray together. Will you share a little more about why fellowships are so important in bringing unity to the church?
DS: We cannot bear one another’s burdens without fellowshipping with one another. Bearing one another’s burdens presumes that you know what the burdens are that someone else carries. Which means that I have been patient enough, I have been attentive enough, I have been friendly enough, and I have been trusted enough that I can find out what the burden is that they bear.
I have a very good friend, went to elementary, junior high, high school with him and I’ve kept in touch with him for many years and he has recently contracted a terminal form of cancer. He called me to talk about that without telling his family, without telling his neighbors, without telling his friends because he and I have a friendship that is built upon the kind of trust that allows me to share that burden with him because of the relationship.
We’re supposed to help one another get through this ordeal of mortality. And it is an ordeal. It is not easy. Even the people that you think you envy. If you were living inside their world you would find out that they have burdens they are carrying as well.
Fellowshipping allows us to carry one another’s burdens, and bearing one another’s burdens implies a whole universe of connectivity, trust, confidence, friendship, and affection between one another before you get to the point that you even know what the burdens are. But that is supposed to be a blessing and part of what it means to worship together. Worshipping together, by assisting one another allows all of us to feel a great part of what it is that Christ is and does. It allows us to know who we worship. It allows us to know how to worship him. It allows us to know what makes us one with one another. Now, it’s really hard to accomplish that across state lines, but it still can be done.
The example I use of that friend, he and I have spent a lot of time on the phone since I learned of the illness about a month ago. That’s because I care and that’s because he needs to talk to someone and because he finds it a relief to be able to do that with me. It can be done. It can be done across any barriers.
All of us are victims of institutional abuse. Many of us can sense it when the slightest hint of abuse appears. One recent writer on your blog has identified it as paternalism and that’s not an inappropriate designation for it. We should learn how to be loving and equal with one another. The idea of equality is resisted by a lot of skeptics, who accuse me of wanting authority and control, when I despise control, but I absolutely welcome fellowship, equality, and worship with one another. This isn’t easy, but it is godly to pursue. We’re going to make mistakes and there are going to be a lot of institutional habits that we walk in and we want to ‘whip this into shape.’ The idea of a whip – when Christ resorted to the scourge to drive them out, he didn’t drive them out to organize them. He drove them out to cleanse the place. If we’re going to whip anything, we’re going to drive them out. We would be better off practicing the kind of patience, and kindness, and to realize that in terms of Mormonism almost everyone is a refugee suffering post religious trauma syndrome and they’re going to think you’re abusive. They’re going to think they want to be used as a tool for someone else’s power base. Someone wants to use you. The idea that there is someone who doesn’t want to use them, or abuse them, but wants to fellowship with them, and help them bear a burden – that’s the idea of Christianity at its core and that’s what is really alien in this world. We need to bring that back again.
TM: I love the heading on your old blog,
“The content of this blog presumes you are already familiar with Denver Snuffer’s books. Careful explanations given in the books lay the foundation for what is contained here. If you read this blog without having first read his books, then you assume responsibility for your own misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the writer’s intent. Please do not presume to judge Mr. Snuffer’s intentions if you have not first read his books.”
From the Wikipedia page created about you:
“Snuffer claims his intentions are faith-promoting: ‘I have loved every minute of being a Mormon since I joined the church in September 1973 in New Hampshire,’ he says. ‘I am actually advocating activity and fidelity to the Mormon church.’ Snuffer claims that he intended Passing the Heavenly Gift and his other works to promote loyalty to the LDS Church.”
Have your intentions changed? Do you still advocate LDS Members stay faithful and active in their wards and stakes? How can they do that and yet accept the invitation to be baptized which was renewed at the conclusion of the lectures?
DS: My wife edits everything, so whatever it is I wrote it turns into something useful after she applies her editing skills to it.
Here’s the problem, since that talk, the LDS church has behaved poorly. I wish they would allow people to worship God and still be allowed in fellowship within the LDS church. That seems to have been a naïve expectation on my part. The LDS church simply will not permit it if they can find it out. Therefore, I’m not certain it is possible. But that having been said, I think it ought to be attempted.
I attend LDS services. Sunday I was at sacrament meeting, then I attended a high priest’s group, I talked to two members of the stake presidency in the hallway. I contributed in high priest’s group. I’m not sure how long the church is going to continue to tolerate that. But from my end I don’t have any animosity. I’m not argumentative, but I have to say the fellowship groups that I have attended offer – I’m seeing prophecy and miracles. I’m seeing gifts that are evident. I’m seeing things in fellowship groups that I don’t see when I go to an LDS meeting.
I wish it were possible to not only co-exist peacefully but to import some of the blessings from the one into the other. But there seems to be a hostility there. There seems to be a desire not to permit that kind of coexistence to take place.
I actually think that a Catholic could be baptized and join one of these fellowships and be better accepted in the Catholic church, than a latter-day saint could in an LDS church. Same for Presbyterians, Methodists, and others. And that is coming, but right now we’re still focused on the Mormon corridor and the Mormon community. But eventually it’s going to spread. There are actually right now people who have been baptized in Iran, who are putative Muslims that have been rebaptized a member of this restoration movement. It will go worldwide. It will penetrate every clime. It will cross every barrier. It will do so in a non-institutional way and it will do so in a way that cannot be controlled. Because an idea cannot be taxed, cannot be regulated, cannot be overcome by the cares of this world. You cannot prohibit an idea. Even if you make a law against it you can’t shut an idea down. This assumes a form in which man has no ability to resist it. It will spread.
The stone cut out of the mountain without hands is an idea. And it is virtue, and it is individual. It resists all opposition.
TM: From page four of the Mesa lecture:
“The Holy Ghost does not thrill you, it informs you. It gives you understanding. … thrilling music can rouse you. A great TV show can get you thrilled and feeling goosebumps. That is not the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost enlightens your mind, it enlivens your senses, it brings light into your life, and 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—these are the Holy Ghost, not emotion, thrills and goose bumps.” (See DS blog 1-21-15 for more)
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in LDS Church meetings and heard the individual offering the invocation say, “Please bless that we will feel the spirit in our meetings today.” I can’t begin to recount the number of testimonies I have heard where the person sharing their thoughts becomes emotional, and states they are feeling the spirit so strongly. I suppose this is based on our interpretation of D&C 8:2 (mind and heart) and D&C 9:8 (bosom shall burn). Are you saying the Holy Ghost NEVER causes one to feel emotional? I have felt strong emotion in prayer that I attribute to the presence of the Holy Ghost. Isn’t that the comforter?
DS: The Holy Ghost is informational. Its purpose is to enlighten the mind and to inform you. It is a revelator. Our reaction to the information can be very emotional. How we react is up to us. I’ve had very strong emotional reactions to some of the things revealed by the Holy Ghost to me. Those aren’t always those positive, warm feelings. It has been sometimes dread. It has been sometimes fear. It has been sometimes anxiety. And being troubled in mind, body, and spirit.
If I were to liken the Holy Ghost and its function – imagine that you were sitting in this room. Imagine that this room is absolutely pitch black, so much so that you can’t even see your hand in front of your face if you put your hand there. It is just black. And you want to go about determining what is in this room. You begin by feeling. And you may be able to feel enough to determine that there is in front of you a table. You may be able to determine how wide the table is immediately in front of you. But you’re going to have to get up and move around in order to find out how long the table is, because your arm will not reach to that other end. If you’re going to explore that, between here and the other end of the table, you’ve got a lot of obstacles, including as we said here a chair that you occupy, a chair that is unoccupied, another chair that is occupied, several empty chairs down further still, and you’re going to have to feel your way through all of that. And it is a long, arduous process.
Let’s assume that the Holy Ghost is a light. And let’s assume that the light is initially a candle, and you light the candle and set it in front of you. The first thing that you begin to realize is that sitting in front of me is not only a table, but there are papers on the table, and there’s a book on the table, and there’s a glass of water and a watch on the table. And that the table is actually made of wood. I can see that, because I’ve lit a candle, but I still cannot see the far end. I don’t know what’s down there, because the candle does not produce enough light for me to perceive that. It has been lost in the shadows.
The Holy Ghost illuminates something. When you get the fullness of something revealed to you, you turn the light switch on and you no longer have to feel your way to the far end of the table. At a glance you can look and you can take in the fact that there are a dozen chairs around this table, that it’s probably twenty or more feet long. The ceiling in the room is vaulted and there are four lights overhead. There are windows on two of the four walls and a door through which you can enter and exit. There’s wainscoting in the middle of the room. Different colored wallpaper between what is below and what is above. You can take that all in and I think I can recognize Pennsylvania Avenue and the capitol building in a painting on the wall. All because someone turned on the light. Nothing more than someone turned on a light.
I got a phone call, from a fellow asking me a question about a matter that I knew nothing about and I cared nothing about. I was about to tell him, ‘stop calling me with stupid questions. I’m not interested in that. If you’re interested go search the Bible and see if you can find an answer to this rubbish.’ Instead, I had the impression that I ought to say, ‘I’m not going to talk to you about it on the phone. Why don’t you come in?’ So I said, “I don’t want to talk about this on the phone, why don’t you come in? Let’s get together in a couple weeks.” Hung up the phone and I thought, ‘you know I’m not even interested in this subject. But if I’m going to talk about it I probably ought to look into it.’ So I spent a few minutes until I was distracted by work. Looking into it I found nothing. The two weeks came and went. I’m a busy person. I didn’t have any time to look into it. The fellow arrived for the appointment. When he arrived, I thought to myself, ‘oh crap, I was going to look into that and have an answer. This guy has come. I told him to come, and now he’s here. I got nothing. I have absolutely nothing.’
So I went out, in fact it was two instead of one, he brought a friend with him. Brought them in, sat them down in my office and I was shutting the door to my office and taking a breath to say, ‘I’m sorry I made you come in. I don’t have anything to say to you.’ In the time it took to take that breath, in that instant, a light came on. And I knew everything there was about the subject. I knew where it was in the scriptures. I knew what the answers were. I knew what the explanation was. I even knew nuances and details about the scriptures that are only implied that you have to tease out of them but they’re not there. Because a light went on. When the light went on, I turned and for the next forty-five minutes, using these scriptures that I’ve got in front of me, I found and read from the scriptures the examples that proved the answer to the question that he asked.
The Holy Ghost illuminates. Your reaction is your reaction. The purpose is to enliven and enlighten and to reveal. That’s what it does, but how we respond to that is up to us.