On July 2, 2016 an assembly gathered in Eden, Utah to discuss missionary work. At that gathering Denver offered some thoughts and insights which are shared here.
Denver: I think everyone was making perfectly valid, true and wonderful points, and it may seem like there are contradictions but the souls of men are so differently situated that they have to be met wherever they are, in whatever circumstances you find them in, with regard to their unique view of the world.
What happened in the early church when the missionaries went out and aggressively pursued, and argued, and debated, and won over people who were persuaded by the power of the argument that brought them forth?
Comment: You’ve got the Campbellites.
Denver: Yes. The book that is coming out next explains how… The book is based upon three monumental failures in the life of Joseph Smith. In each one of the failures Joseph responded, not by despairing or by throwing up his hands, he went to work on what he thought would fix the problem.
From the time that John the Baptist promised that there would be some higher priesthood conferred upon them in May of 1829, until after the Church was organized and they were holding a conference in June of 1831, Joseph Smith was looking forward to getting this higher priesthood conferred upon him. He finally got the commandment by the voice of God just as the inspired version of Genesis 14 says: that this priesthood is conferred upon men by the voice of God. The voice of God came to Joseph in the conference, and he was told to ordain people to this higher priesthood. He ordained six – and the one of those six that he ordained, ordained the rest of the people. 23 total people were ordained to that high order of priesthood. The book documents what happened to every one of them. It was not simply a failure, it was a catastrophic failure.
One of those who was ordained, Ezra Booth, went out and published of series of nine letters explaining what a fraud Joseph was. He had received by the voice of God the ordination to the higher priesthood in June. By October the Ohio newspaper was printing the scandalous retelling of Joseph’s hopeless failure that occurred in the ordinations in June. In the same month that the Ohio newspaper was printing it, they hold another conference and Joseph ordains people again – while you’re reading in the newspaper about what an abject failure this was. This was in October of 1831.
Joseph Smith did not accept the failure. He set about trying to conclude how it would be possible for people to get ‘power in the priesthood, upon them and their posterity, through all generations of time and into eternity,’ a phrase that shows up again at the end of his ministry, which utterly fails. What was the solution to the problem? It was Lectures on Faith. The Lectures on Faith addressed the crisis of the failure of the faith of the people. Joseph’s response was to say, “Okay, that didn’t work.” It’s not a defect in those people, it’s a defect in the ministry of Joseph. He simply assumed the responsibly and set about trying to fix the problem. That’s exactly the sort of response you would expect from someone who knows that they are about God’s work and they are not just freelancing.
The book tells the story, and invariably it doesn’t matter which crisis you look at, and the product that Joseph creates in response to the crisis. The villains are Latter-day Saints. Ultimately the villains that would be responsible for the murder of Joseph Smith would be Latter-day Saints. If it had not been for those who managed to get themselves into a position of trust and confidence, what happened in Illinois that resulted in the death of Joseph could not have occurred.
Joseph believed that you could take anyone and convert them, save their soul, and march forward to Zion. Time and time again it did not matter how bitter the betrayal was, time and time again he simply said, “Okay, that is a failure on my part, I can fix them by what I teach, therefore I need to be better, I need to explain more, I need to teach more.”
Juxtapose that with Abinadi, who comes he and delivers a message. He says, “This is the way it is. This is where the large burley animal is going to defecate in the woods, and that’s the way it is,” –and he leaves. He shuts down and he’s gone. He comes back two years later and he says, “Time’s up, it didn’t work. Now, your life now is going to be valued like a garment in a hot fire.” They kill him. He makes one convert. The one convert of Abinadi is the hinge point of the entire Book of Mormon. Everything that happens before and everything that happens thereafter goes through Abinadi. Abinadi and his one convert, they become custodians of the record. It is that convert’s posterity that goes all the way to Mormon and Moroni. He is the hinge-point of the story. One convert. And quite frankly, the priests of Noah, they didn’t get much of a sermon. He vindicated how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that cry peace – in his own person, despite the fact that he was pronouncing judgements and wo upon them, which seems like an odd contradiction – by pointing them to the Ten Commandments and saying, “You don’t believe them, you don’t do them, you are not converted to them.” He didn’t get into anything other than an explanation of the prophecy of Isaiah in the context of the Ten Commandments, fairly rudimentary stuff.
He persuades one guy. And that one guy goes out to be re-baptized. Before he re-baptizes, apparently himself, he asked for authority from heaven to do that and the baptism takes place. And from there to the end of the Book of Mormon, that is the focus and the story line, that’s it.
If you are going to measure quantity, and you look to Joseph Smith, who had probably 30,000 in. Joseph probably had 100,000 people baptized while he was still alive but there were 30,000 that still held on. About 18,000-19,000 were in Nauvoo, others were in faithful congregations around England, New England and other places. But Abinadi had one.
Both of them gave their lives up. If you take one step back from that and you say, whose ministry was more successful? The prophet of the restoration, whose own followers were responsible for the conspiracy to have him murdered, who created an absolutely completely vertically integrated structure that could be compromised by simply taking over the top seat. Or Abinadi, who preached the message of repentance and organized nothing.
There are a lot dynamics that go into the success of the gospel; one of which is, if Joseph were here today and had in front of him the history of what occurred when he was here before, would he do the same thing again? It would be insane. It would be madness. You have a formula for failure; therefore you don’t invoke the formula for failure in order to achieve success. If you’re going to succeed, you must find the pattern other than the pattern which brought about the excommunication of people that believe in the Book of Mormon and choose follow Christ. You have to have something other than that.
The Book of Mormon’s religious structure – I’m not talking about the era of the judges, where there were governmental and church functions that were going on and you really don’t have a distinct separation of the two adequate in the records. What you have – the best description is the one that is given in Alma about how they functioned. The priests came and would teach them on Sunday. Everyone would drop what they were doing, they come, they would be taught, and then when they were done with their Sabbath observances, everyone would go back and they would work and they would labor. There was no professional clergy, there was no hierarchy. They had a high priest who was apparently an itinerant that traveled around.
The more you consolidate power and authority into an office, the more you tempt the adversary to gain control of the office. Because the one thing about salvation is, it is entirely other worldly. If you can get gain in saving the souls of men you will be unable to save the souls of men, because faith, and the first principle of faith, is obedience to God and sacrifice of everything. Without the willingness to sacrifice everything, it is impossible to gain the faith that will save your soul.
So what happens when you trade sacrifice for power? What happens when you trade it for wealth? What happens when you trade it for the ability to control the souls of men?
Joseph Smith sitting in Liberty Jail was not concerned about the governmental abuse that had confined him into a filthy dungeon. I cannot imagine the reek in the dungeon basement of Liberty Jail. Quite frankly the display and the “Temple Prison” does not communicate to you the wretchedness of the conditions in which they found themselves. There were two windows on either end of the building that had an opening less than a foot wide with one bar going through the middle of it, and there was no glass. So in winter when the wind blew there was no way to stay warm. If you lit a fire in the basement the jailers would make you put it out, but if they didn’t, they sat upstairs and laughed. By the time the straw generated heat, you were choking.
In those direful circumstances what Joseph is concerned about is the power of the priesthood and the abuse of priestly authority. “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood but by persuasion.” Where does that come from in those circumstances? [It comes from] God. Because Joseph’s concern was not about, and his faith was not based upon, the salvation of his own soul. The salvation of others; his response to every crisis he went through was exactly the same.
So what can we learn about the value of numerosity by juxtaposing the tens of thousands that came aboard, many of whom were responsible for the death of Joseph Smith, and a structure that ultimately wound up utterly compromised on the one hand, and the ministry of Abinadi with the one convert on the other?
If we manage to bring someone aboard by persuasion and out-arguing them and beating them in a scripture bash, how long do they remain aboard when someone else with a better argument comes along to persuade them contrary-wise? If you make a convert because they felt the presence of God with them, you can beat them with a crowbar and they’re not going to give that up.
Taking the message of the restoration to people and being rejected by 900,000 readers, and having one person show up, is a perfect model. If you had 30,000 people show up and you baptized them, my guess is that in short order the abuses and the mess you would have on your hands would be shameful. It’s the quality of the conversion process, and it’s the presence of the Spirit.
Even in the caution that we were getting in Section 88, if you look at verse 72, the Lord says, “Behold and lo, I will take care of your flock and will raise up elders and send them unto them.” Well, how is that we gain jurisdiction over someone by bringing them aboard when the Lord said He’s going to be the one that takes care of them? I agree we need to nurture, we need to dung, we need to water. But ultimately, all we can really do is facilitate the Lord nurturing, and facilitate the Lord dunging, and facilitate the Lord ultimately giving the increase.
I was a newly baptized LDS zealot. I had more baptisms than the full-time missionaries. I was a baptizing machine. A couple of them went on to serve missions before leaving the Church. As I counted the track record of the numerous baptisms that I’ve made, with time I think there are two still left and I am not one of them. There are two of them that are still paying the Church, because what I did to get them converted was so in your face.
I attended the local Jewish temple lectures on Judaism to mine Jews and I got some of them aboard. Jews don’t last long in Mormonism. I think that we have to be sensitive to a whole host of things. One of them is, when the conversion takes place, it can’t be us.
I talked during those ten talks, and then I worked on the book and tried to be as quiet as I could be. I tried to be as nondescript as I could be, because what I don’t want… Every one of you that has talked about your conversion experience, it may have been facilitated by something I wrote, but she’s right, it doesn’t have anything to do with me. We can facilitate but it has to be between them and the Lord.
I’ll tell you, someone who’s heart is inclined to the Lord and who has accepted Him is not going to turn around and conspire to murder Joseph Smith. They aren’t going to do that. They will not find it in their heart.
I want to point out, that as Christ leads them to “this is my doctrine,” go back to verse 29 of 3rd Nephi 11 and it says, “Verily, verily I say unto you, he that has the spirit of contention is not of me.” Paul says “contend earnestly for the faith,” and I did that and I brought a bunch of people aboard the LDS Church by contending. But Christ is saying “contention is not of Him” and yet that was one of the primary conversion tools that I employed.
The difference between persuasion and contention: Persuasion largely does not happen because you overcome the resistance with argument and contention. Persuasion comes by opening up an idea and letting it enter into the heart of the man or the woman, and then letting God take over and get the growth inside them. “Contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, who 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; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”(3 Nephi 11:29-30) He is saying, don’t contend, don’t make people mad, don’t confront them, take a step back from that and I’ll tell you what my doctrine is. And then, “this is my doctrine, …I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me.” (3 Nephi 11:32) Every bit of that is internal to the proselyte, every bit of that.
Preach, teach, exhort, expound, contend, bitch them into conversion; you’ve ignored what His doctrine is. It’s internal to them. It goes on with Him and them. We facilitate but He is the one who ultimately becomes the object of their worship, the object of their adoration. It’s like God lights a candle inside of you. You can hold the candle up and you can give people light but if they don’t get their own candle, get their own flame, they’re still dead. They aren’t alive.
There’s this description that’s given in 1st Nephi chapter 14 verse 12:
“And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.”
We’re not going to get 15 million people, but it’s not necessary that we get 15 million people. It’s only necessary that the invitation be extended. If the invitation is extended and if the hearts of people respond, there is a resilience, there is a power, there is something inside of them that cannot be broken. We are not looking for anything other than the few.
If you go back to… I want to remind you, D&C Section 88 was given in December of 1832. Three months earlier, in September of 1832, the Church was under condemnation. When the revelation was given to Hyrum Smith telling him, hold your peace, wait, you’re not ready to go out yet, that was given before the Book of Mormon had come into print. Without the Book of Mormon yet in print, without the formal Church organization, in 1829 – David Whitmer would write about it his address to all the leaders. They were baptizing people. In 1829, the Lord, by revelation, over and over said to people, if you have a desire to participate, “you are called to the work.” Everyone that wanted to was told “the field is white already to harvest.” (D&C 33:3). One of the interesting things about the harvest is the only sickle that you can throw in or thrust in in order to make the harvest actually work, is one that invites the grain to be harvested. If you are out there with a power mower and you’re just bringing them in by the dozens, that may not have that kind of satisfactory results we would like to have.
We do have the Book of Mormon. We do have the record of the fallen people who went before us, times two.
I have become less and less curious over time about the future because every time I’m inquiring about that I wind up with more work to do. It got to the point that I said the only thing that I want to know about is the next step. I don’t want to hear about anything past that, because I didn’t like what I saw when I reached out a little ways into the future. I don’t want to go there and I don’t want to be there.
The book that just got completed and will be out shortly, is written with the objective of having something that can be handed to a believing Christian to introduce Joseph Smith as a significant Christian figure, and nothing else. It goes no further than that one step. The content of that book is a brilliant little layout and simple story. I can take no credit for it because everything about it was from above. But it is a brilliant little book. If a Christian reads that book, they may be ready for something more and they may be willing to talk to those who might be able to answer their questions.
My wife and I were talking this last week how happy I was that I finished that, and so far as I knew there was nothing else coming, and wouldn’t it be great to take some time off. She left me alone and I spent some time praying, and now there’s another project and I don’t like where it is headed. I had already started on another project and I hadn’t even gotten printer’s proof in the mail yet from the last one. But the next one will include within it, in the book, the websites where they can request baptism and where they can learn more.
The genius of the Lord in what happened with the restoration and then what He started over with again, is that literally anywhere in the world where there is a single soul who was one time baptized and one time ordained – it doesn’t matter if they are sitting in Japan and they’re inactive, it doesn’t matter if they’re in Slovakia and they haven’t had anything to do with Mormons – if they heard the message. If one time long ago they were baptized and one time long ago they were ordained, wherever they are in the world they can repent, they can call upon God and they can ask for God to give them authority to baptize again. They are immediately empowered to baptize within their own family. As soon as you have enough to call a conference and you are sustained by seven women, you have the ability right then to begin to baptize outside of your family anywhere in the world.
Isaiah prophesied that in the last days “it would break forth on the right and it would break forth on the left.” (Isaiah 54:3). Well, how does it break forth, because no one is in control of running out there and saying, “You! You! You need to get busy!” It is them that is responding to God and God breaking it forth everywhere in the world.
The website allows people to contact, wherever they are in the world, and someone nearby can then volunteer or someone will travel. Everything that is happening is happening in an order organized by someone other than man. And I know what the next step is after this step that’s rolling out at this moment. All of it is designed to appeal outside of Mormonism, to bring people aboard from anywhere, in any religious tradition, primarily the Christian tradition, to convince them that they need to look into this.
I was remarking to Alan that I’m now going to manage to make enemies in the Christian world along with making enemies with the Mormon world, because this stuff will not be happy for ministers, because priestcraft is priestcraft, whether the practice is inside or outside the LDS Church. LDS priestcraft may make the typical priest look like a piker and a poverty-ridden amateur. I don’t know of many groups of ministers that can embark upon a trillion dollar cost of the development as Mormon leadership can, but priestcraft is wrong wherever you find it.
In the verses that we looked at in [D&C] 88, which is after the church has been brought into condemnation:
“Tarry ye, tarry ye in this place, and call a solemn assembly, even of those who are the first laborers in this last kingdom.” (D&C 88:70)
They did call solemn assemblies and Joseph would write from Liberty Jail how poor, how meek, how mean the conferences of the church had been. Too low, too mean, too vulgar, to condescending for the characters of those who are called by God. So even though they are calling solemn assemblies there’s something more to the solemnities of God than merely getting together with long faces and pondering over scripture. There’s something about accepting the influence of the Spirit and proceeding, when if you have the desire, you’re called to the work.
“And let those whom they have warned in their traveling call on the Lord, and ponder the warning in their hearts which they have received, for a little season.” (D&C 88:71)
See, the purpose to warn against the harvest and to harvest the wheat is so that they are gathered in to a place where they are protected against what is coming, because ultimately the field is going be burned. The only thing that’s going to be gathered in are the wheat that is harvested. The way to harvest is to warn, and the way to warn is not with a lot of words but with the sincerity of your heart, persuading people to open themselves up and to receive a message from God.
There was comment about the misapprehension that some people entertain about Jesus, but they came in the sincerity of their hearts to accept Him. I would suggest that when you talk to the typical Christian about Jesus, the Christian who is going to listen is going to you is going to have in his mind or her mind exactly the figure that Joseph Smith saw in the First Vision and not a triune, cosmic, incomprehensible cosmic muffin, “whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, who sits on the top of a topless throne surrounded by a myriad of beings who are saved, not through any acts of theirs but by His good pleasure.” I’m quoting the old endowment. If you went through before the minister’s role, it was removed.
So when you go and you preach Jesus to them, they are not thinking what the theologians are thinking, they are thinking what you are thinking, they are thinking what Joseph was thinking. They are thinking about a man who came into the upper room and said, “handle me and see, for Spirit hath not flesh and bone as ye see me have,” they are thinking of that guy. They are not thinking of the Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. And yet there are not three incomprehensibles, but one incomprehensible. That is one of the things that Jesus denounced when He said the creeds are an abomination.
“…I will take care of your flocks.” (D&C 88:72)
“I will raise up Elders.” The Melchizedek priesthood, the higher order, wasn’t restored until 1831. In 1829 Joseph and Oliver were called the First Elders of the church. In the beginning, the title “Elder” – this is the problem with all of our filters and all of our vocabulary –in the beginning an elder simply referred to someone who knew more, someone who was wiser. “Respect your elders.” What if the oldest and wisest in the village is a woman, who was here the last time we went through this. She is the elder. Because what you are looking for is someone that is in possession of information that may help you. Does that mean that she is ordained to the priesthood and all the nonsense the “ordain women” are clamoring for? (Which by the way, ordain them all you want, it is not going to amount to a hill of beans.) Elders that the Lord intends to raise up are people whose wisdom and counsel will bring people closer to the Lord, whether that elder is Eliza Snow, Sister Martineau, Sister May. In the Proverbs there is a statement about if you hold your tongue, everyone will account you for being wise. Jan takes it all in. My guess is if you could ever get advice from her you would find an elder, indeed.
“And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me.” (D&C 88:74)
What is the purpose of cleansing the hands? So that you do not handle anything that is unclean. How do you handle anything that is unclean? You go out and you meddle in stuff that isn’t your prerogative to do, all of the unclean things in this world, all of the stuff that bogs you down. How do you get contamination primarily into the body? Your hands lead you: on a keyboard, they lead you when you’re paid. There are manifestations of the cares that you have. [Do] you want clean hands? Change the things about which you care.
When we had animal sacrifice, particularly when we had industrial animal sacrifice in the courtyard of the temple of Solomon, and the second temple, and then temple there, you could not go into the courtyard where the animals were being sacrificed, even if you were only going to sacrifice a turtle dove. You could not go in there – and turtle doves they just wrung the neck and they say it’s a relatively blood-free thing – you couldn’t go in there and not get blood on your feet, because the sacrifices that were going on were just dumping blood. They collected it in bowls and they sprinkled it on the altar. But you severe the carotid artery in any animal and you’ve got spray, and the courtyard is a mess. If you walk out into the courtyard, even for a modest sacrifice and you walk back, you have blood on your feet.
What is the blood representing? The sins of this world. How do you cleanse your feet? If you want your hands clean and you want your feet clean then walk in the paths of righteousness. “He leadeth me beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2). Your feet are walking where there’s peace, where they are going to stay clean. And if need be, you can take a step or two into the still waters to make sure that the feet are clean. But you can go sacrifice goats and lambs and anything you want to sacrifice all day long and be no cleaner from the sins of this world for that act. Just like you can have the Savior kneel and wash your feet and receive no benefit if you’re Judas (although I think he had left the room by that time.)
When it’s talking about this, they would invoke a ceremony inside the Kirtland temple to actually wash feet, but it’s a symbol of the cleansing and the abandonment of sin. Do you want to have clean feet? We can wash all of your feet, but it’s not going to take any greater effect upon you than what you already received in the LDS temple. If you want your feet clean, walk in the paths of righteousness and stay in there, “that I may make you clean.” That is the cleanliness that we seek for.
That I may testify unto your Father, and your God, and my God, that you are clean from the blood of this wicked generation; that I may fulfil this promise, this great and last promise, which I have made unto you, when I will.
Also, I give unto you a commandment that ye shall continue in prayer and fasting from this time forth. (D&C 88:75)
“Let your food be prepared with singleness of heart that your fasting may be…” (D&C 59:13). You can fast more effectively by shutting off the things of this world and tuning in the things of God than you can by simply by going hungry. Some people go hungry and they get grouchy. They don’t closer to the Lord, they get more irritating to their neighbor.
Comment: It’s called ‘hangry’.
“And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.” (D&C 88:77)
Every one of you that have spoken up today, every one of you has been doing this, teaching one another the doctrine of the kingdom. That’s what we are supposed to do.
“Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand.” (D&C 88:78)
We’re going to have an opportunity for that up in Boise and I’m hoping that those that are going to be talking are spending time on teaching one another this stuff. I would hope that it would be useful and edifying and in conformity with what we’re directed to do.
“Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth.” (D&C 88:79)
This is a huge aside, but the things that are “under the earth” aren’t dirt and caves. It is the movement of the stars as they rise and fall on the horizon. [Adrian] has written a little about that. But the things under the earth,
“…[T]hings which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass;” (D&C 88:79)
That’s the definition of truth. Truth is the knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.
“Things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land;” (D&C 88:79)
One of the biggest judgements that are upon this land, is that this land belongs to and is going to be preserved for those who worship the god of this land. And when they reject the god of this land they get swept away, when they’ve fulfilled the measure that is required for that.
“…[A]nd a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms.” That means more than just France and Italy. Countries are places that are lands of inheritance that have been given by God. No one owns a country that hasn’t been given to them by covenant from God. “And of kingdoms,” that’s not the monarchs of Europe or the Middle East, that’s God’s. Because what difference does it make to us who the king of Saudi Arabia is?
“That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.” (D&C 88:80)
Look, the commission has been given.
“I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.” (D&C 88:81)
You guys have been warned. The content of what has been given, and understand all of those ten talks and Preserving the Restoration is entirely based upon expounding the scriptures. You can take the message of everything in that book, bypass the book, go to the scriptures, teach, preach, exhort and expound using only the source material, and they don’t have to listen to an apostate. My name doesn’t have to come up. I’ve noticed it’s been leaking into General Conference a little bit.
“Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.” (D&C 88:82)
I’ve gotten the signal I need to shut up and sit down so I’m going to shut up and sit down. But I do think that everything that everyone has said is part of dealing with it. And once we have brought someone aboard, if their heart is right – I’m not going get around to pointing them to websites and inviting baptism in what I’m writing until the book after the book that is now coming out but that will be addressed to the Christian world. Very methodical. The pace is somewhat slow but I can tell you we’re better off bringing the right people aboard, as Abinadi did, than harvesting huge numbers and winding up with an absolute mess on our hands. But if they come aboard, then they come aboard as the Lord’s. The Lord is going to watch over them and the Lord is going to care for them in a way that exceeds our capacity to do so.
Question: Can you mention anything about what you received on the April 14th that you mentioned on your blog?
Denver: I’m sorry, I laugh at myself. I’m not a very good student. I am embarrassingly oblivious to the obvious. I could tell you stories about that but you would wonder at the Lord’s patience.
I wanted to know about Joseph and the restoration and details about what went on in Nauvoo and what has been going since Nauvoo, and where and what and who, and I couldn’t get enough questions out on the table. I was obnoxious, obnoxiously inquisitive, nothing about the future. I wanted to know about the past up until now.
I saw what we were doing and how apparently important that was, and how the Lord is watching over this.
And then the view expanded and, God is working with people that we won’t encounter for some time still, to get them ready for what’s coming. And He’s surprisingly just as involved in caring for them as He is in attending to us.
Then the view increased another order of magnitude and I could see every people everywhere, and it doesn’t matter who they are, where they are, what their culture is; it doesn’t matter where they are in this world. He is working to bring about ultimately their salvation as well.
And then it got ridiculous, because He has concerns about creations that are without number. In trying to put it into words, this is the analogy that I’ve come up with:
Let’s liken Zion to a bus station. Someone needs to build the bus station, and that might be us. If we build a bus station and we have the place that can receive people and that is a place of safety where they can pass through. When we finish with that, the bus station won’t amount to much if someone doesn’t build a bus, and we’re not building that bus. The buses that get built are not going anywhere if they don’t have fuel, and someone has got to do that. That is going to involve miners and explorers and manufacturers and refiners and transport people and delivery mechanisms that God is working with. And when they finally fill the buses, that will be someone over whom God is responsible.
When they finally get to our bus station we’re not going to be the ones that stand there and say, “Yeah, we built the bus station. We rock!” Zion is an absolutely critical component in the last day’s plan of God and indispensable in the salvation of the souls of men, living and dead. But it is just a bus station. And through it will pass concourses of people with whom we’ve had very little responsibility.
When He says that there is going to come a time “when the prophets are going to awaken and will no longer stay themselves, and they are going to come from the lands of the north, and they are going to come to the bus station to receive something at the hands of His servants, Ephraim, in the boundaries of the everlasting hills,” He is working on that. And He is working with people on that.
We need to be about what He has asked us to do. And it is important. It’s indispensable. But it is absolutely no more indispensable than what He is doing among people in Asia and Europe and Africa, and everywhere else in the world. He promises you to lead on with the scriptures, and He tells you after the voice of warning – then He is going to preach a sermon – and His sermon is going to shake and cause fear. It’s not because He is an angry God, it is because He is a loving God who knows what it takes to stir people up, to get attention, to consider the things of eternity.
But that’s essentially… It’s hard to put into words.
Comment: Heard and saw much.
Denver: Yes. That’s the analogy and I think that it conveys the meaning. He is the God of the whole world and every soul is precious to Him. Christ’s atonement was intended to yield the absolute greatest benefit that can be obtained through the suffering of the Lord. For some people, their reluctance is no deterrent to the Lord’s desire to save them anyway. I think Zion needs to be people that receive the word with gladness and not people we contend with to bring the glory. I am really interested to see what will happen up in Boise. I think that is going to be an interesting moment.