Coming Unto Christ Through Reading

ScriptureStudyLDSOne of the books we were allowed to bring with us on our missions back in the 70’s was Jesus the Christ by Elder Talmage. I remember reading it as part of our personal study time. The little white missionary handbook that laid out our daily schedule included one hour of personal study time but we often found time during lunch or just before we retired around 10:30 each evening.

Even with reading the book several hours each day, it took at least a month to get through it. I had to look up so many of the words that were new to me at that age. We were allowed to read The Articles of Faith and The Great Apostasy, both by Talmage, also A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards and D&C Commentary by Hyrum M Smith and Janne M Sjodahl.

Different Apostle for a Different Generation

Words are important. They convey a world of meaning. The little book that got me through Jesus The Christ was called Understanding Talmage, 1973 from Deseret Book – forty pages of words not found in the every-day language of middle-class 19-year old LDS missionaries. Talmage was on one level and I was way down on a much lower level when it came to his massive vocabulary.

Later in my life I read the Messiah series from Bruce R. McConkie. I found the books easier to read, mainly because I was older, had a college education behind me and frankly, I don’t think McConkie used quite so many erudite words. I felt a greater sense of majesty about the Savior as I read McConkie’s books, quite different from the rather scholarly approach I got from Talmage.

Except Some Man Should Guide Me

It was not until I read The Second Comforter and Come, Let Us Adore Him by Denver Snuffer that I began to feel a connection with the Savior as someone with whom I could relate. The Lord became a friend, a brother and a mentor. Something in Denver Snuffer’s books touched me in a way Talmage and McConkie could not. I’d like to investigate that difference in this short post.

I’ve read and heard many people say, “You shouldn’t need to have someone else interpret the scriptures for you. You should be able to get everything you need out of the scriptures.” Sorry, that doesn’t work for me. I’ve noted before, I feel like the Eunuch reading from Isaiah asked by Philip if he understood what he was reading. “How can I, except some man should guide me?”

Those Who Know Don’t Talk About It

I’m not saying Talmage or McConkie have not met the Lord. Goodness knows we adore Elder McConkie’s last conference talk as being a witness of that fact. On the other hand, neither of them ever came out and said, “I first met the Lord on such and such a date. He ministered to me. We embraced. I felt the wound in his side and touched the nail marks in his hands and his feet.”

There are many who continue to respond the same way to every essay I write which includes a reference to Denver Snuffer. “You can tell Denver Snuffer is a liar because God tells men not to talk about the experience when they come into the presence of Christ.” We have discussed this myth ad infinitum on this blog starting with my first post on Snuffer back in February of 2012.

Bear Witness of the Testimony of Jesus

I am a witness that God asks us to share sacred experiences as appropriate. I have been prompted by the Lord many times to relate some experience in conversing with the Lord through the veil. On the other hand, some things should never be shared, nor can they be shared because words fail when trying to relate such experiences. They are intended only to prepare us for the next life.

Perhaps I relate better to Snuffer because I’m older now. Denver and I are similar in age. He is an attorney, while I am employed as a computer professional. His vocabulary does not seem to overwhelm me. I enjoy his writing style, even though I have complained in the past about his tendency toward verbosity and replication. That skill is actually the sign of a good teacher.

Seek Balance Through Service to Others

My mother was a professional educator. My love of learning and of books comes from her. My personal library contains numerous books inherited from my mother. My sister, a librarian, has an equal number. I seem to spend all my spare time reading. Physical limitations kept me from participating in sports and kept me from following the military career exampled by my father.

The argument can and should be made about coming unto Christ through service. I fully agree, but there is nothing that can replace studying about a subject or individual to obtain a foundation upon which to build. Thus, coming unto Christ by reading is and has been my focus. I spend far more time reading than I do in service. I know that’s imbalanced, but it’s the way it worked out.

Reading and Learning Motivates Action

I’ve reviewed the Second Comforter in several previous posts. I tried to relate the points that I found enlightening. I was amazed to find multiple readers wanted to argue with me about the source. Their contention was that nothing from Denver Snuffer could be trusted, especially since the man had been cast off from the LDS Church for apostasy. That seems a little close-minded.

The book was published in 2006. Since then Denver has come out with numerous other books and multiple lectures, all focusing on the same subject of coming unto Christ. As far as I can tell his message has always been, “You can read about it all you want, but until you actually do what the Lord directs, you’ll never obtain the desired goal of entering into the presence of the Lord.”

A Book on How to Meet the Savior

I think that’s the difference I find in Snuffer’s books about the Savior as compared to Talmage, McConkie, or others who have written about the Messiah. Denver’s books invite us to action, and contain promises of results, to which he bears witness by personal examples. Church leaders today simply don’t come out and say, “I have seen him and so can you. Here’s how you do it.”

I suspect that’s the appeal of Denver Snuffer to so many like me who have long believed the promises of D&C 93:1, D&C 107:18-19 and D&C 88:68. I suppose that’s why hundreds flock to his lectures in spite of threats from local church leaders to “stay away from that apostate.” There are those who recognize not all truth comes exclusively through the LDS General Authorities.

Suffering in the Garden Came in Waves

I have written previously about my own witness of what I saw in the Garden of Gethsemane, but it was nothing compared to the witness borne by Denver in his book, Come, Let us Adore Him. I challenge anybody to read the chapter on Gethsemane with humility and then come away with anything but great adoration for the Lord and Savior of us all for what he suffered on that night.

Wave after wave of suffering, torment, grief and pain tore through his body. He healed himself using his own virtue because he was a God, even the Son of God. He suffered the pains of both those who caused the sorrow of others and those who were the victims. The greater suffering came in the second wave – that of the victims – who suffered anger, bitterness and resentments.

We Can Hear His Voice as we Read

How grateful I am to know we can have a direct and personal relationship with our Savior. He wants to talk to us, to commune with us and to dwell with us. I learned this in greater abundance through reading the words of a man now cast off by the LDS Church. Yes, I had read and knew this previously, but I didn’t internalize this until it was explained in words I could understand.

How can a man come to know the Master unless someone teaches him? How can someone teach of the Master unless they know him? There is so much out there written about the Savior. Those who have taken the Holy Ghost for their guide will recognize the Master’s voice, no matter what the source. His promises to come unto us, to dwell with us are real and can be literally fulfilled.

The Promises of the Lord to Us

One of the great promises of the Lord to us is that his work is not yet complete. What he did while upon the earth, teaching, preaching and then suffering for us, he called his preparations. For what was He preparing? He was putting into place the mechanism for us to fulfill our life’s work, which is to exercise faith in Him, to repent, and then to be baptized by water and by fire.

“You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” One of the most common topics of my private emails seems to center on the process of how one can receive the baptism of fire.

We Can Know and Hear the Voice of the Lord

The second most common topic is how we can hear the voice of the Lord. The answer lies in the first question. Once you receive the Holy Ghost, you can speak with the tongue of angels. Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

The scriptures act as a Urim and Thummim or a conduit for the voice of the Lord to come unto us. The more familiar we are with the scriptures, the more familiar we are with the voice of the Lord. We learn to distinguish that voice, oftentimes delivered to us by angels and sometimes by the Lord directly, from all the other voices we hear. We can also speak by that same tongue.

Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy

Joseph Smith linked revelation from the Lord with our own salvation. Without it, we cannot be saved. “Salvation cannot come without revelation. It is vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy.” (DHC 3:389)

I thank God for the knowledge of Christ or the testimony of Jesus that has come into my life both through studying scripture and the words of those who know Christ today. My efforts to put into practice acts of kindness and service are directed by the ongoing voice of the Lord that comes to me through the Holy Ghost. We can know Christ. We can hear His voice. But we must study.

Learn by Study and by Faith

We must understand doctrine.  We must study the scriptures.  But more important than anything else, we must seek to gain further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord directly. In this post I have focused on the importance of studying. I have strong feelings about studying because in my rebellious youth, I felt I didn’t need to study. The Lord showed me otherwise.

But there is a better kind of knowledge, one that has greater eternal impact. As Joseph said, “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.” He also declared that “the best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.”

May we do both with faith and diligent effort. God will bless us for so doing.

71 thoughts on “Coming Unto Christ Through Reading”

  1. I have been asked why I study so much. I’m not a CES employee, so I don’t get paid to study the gospel. I have no professional reason to do so. My interest and effort in studying the gospel and our history is purely to prepare me to receive the word of the Lord. As I’m warned in my patriarchal blessing:

    “…there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing who are actually representatives of Satan that would try to destroy your testimony. But you will be protected if you will make an effort through prayer and study…”

    The more I study and pray, the clearer the voice of the Lord becomes. He speaks to each of us differently, but I know from experience I can hear His voice. Another quote from my patriarchal blessing:

    “…if you will listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, that comes to you, you will be directed into the path that you should go, that your advancement will not be detained, that you will use every possible moment in your development for the work that you have been called to do.”

    1. Tim,
      I have read Jesus the Christ 10 times, plus, twice on cd to and from work, the McConkie New Testament Commentary 3 times his Messiah series, all 6 volumes, 4 times, Tad Callisters the Infinite Atonement 4 times, and LOVED every second.
      And l agree with you regarding the DS writings. He speaks as one having authority, one who KNOWS, not just “his” interpretation, but, his experience, his eye witness, in very simple and applicable, terms. I cant put them down, I have now read them all.These other works helped me learn about Christ and I will be forever grateful for them. But now, I’m beginning to get to know the Savior, and have a road map for what to do with that knowledge.
      Your brother in Christ!

  2. Tim,

    You said that: ” One of the most common topics of my private emails seems to center on the process of how one can receive the baptism of fire”.

    I was wondering if you have ever written a post on Latter-day Commentary about receiving the baptism of fire?

  3. I hope that one day, I will be as brave as you. I love reading Gileadi and feel the Spirit as I read his book Isaiah Decoded. But I am still terrified of touching the books of Denver Snuffer. I am not young and I am not well. I don’t want to wake up on the other side and find out I made a mistake by listening to Snuffer. I am praying about these things, but the fear of feeling the wrong spirit is great. I wonder if someone here can relate to what I’m going through.

    1. Sara… I know what you’re saying. I wrote Tim once and said “I’m not ready to get excommunicated”. That was my fear; however, I would say that “I don’t want to wake up on the other side and find out I made a mistake” by not taking the offerings of Christ… whatever they are.

      I hope that makes sense. I’m not advocating one thing over the other except this… Seek Christ and the baptism of fire… the rest will come as we all learn to let go of false beliefs and are led by the spirit.

      The Savior will surely lead us if we ask, I have no doubt.


    2. In your case I’d recommend you give Ten Parables a try. It is written as fiction (in the wisdom literature tradition). There are no footnotes to wade through, no sources cited, no bibliography. It is a short read but packs a ton of insight.

      Even having read them all a dozen time I can’t narrow down a favorite parable: 2, 3, 7, 8 & 10 would all be contenders. I’ve discovered things from pondering the meaning of all ten.

    3. I’m not young either, and I felt like you do, but now I am reading his books with a prayerful heart and I feel edified when I read them. Don’t let fear rob you.

    4. I bet I am older than you are (69) and have been active all my life ( RM. temple marriage, bishoprics for 13 years – 9 as bishop, high council twice in 2 different stakes, wife an RM, sons RMs ,HP group leader, scoutmaster twice , Temple Worker etc ,etc). I am still active . Will be teaching the GD class Sunday , Going to hear Denver speak in Mesa on Tuesday then will go work my shift in the temple. You have nothing to fear. Studying Snuffers works have brought me closer to the Savior than anything I have ever read other than the B of M. Read “The Second Comforter”. It is not critical of traditional mormonism at all and will potentially bring you to the Savior in a way you could barely imagine. Remember ‘perfect love casteth out all fear” Moroni8:16. Better examine than reach the other side and discover the Lord was giving you a supernal opportunity and you let fear ( a tool of the adversary) defeat you . God will bless you

    5. Never do felt the spirit as strong as when I study Denver Snuffer’s books. I didn’t know he was a “pariah” when I started reading them, and then when I found out, I didn’t care. This man was something special and his words woke something inside me that had been sleeping for years. I have grown more spiritually in the last year than all the years I’ve lived put together. Don’t be afraid. Just read either Come Let Us Adore Him or Conversing With the Lord Through The Veil. Both are so wonderful, you’ll sob clear through them.

  4. Dear Sara k,

    Many of us focus on listening to someone. I think we have been trained to do that in our culture. I would like to make the point that you or I should not focus on listening to someone, for cursed is the person who trusts in the arm of flesh. We should focus on listening to the voice of our Father. Everything that we read or study should only be used to help us hear the voice of Father. We must develop that relationship. That one will be the only one that will matter in the end. Whatever you read or study that helps you develop that relationship is worth reading. I hope no one is “listening” to Snuffer or trying to follow Snuffer. His speaking or writing should only be used to encourage us to develop our own relationship with God. If it doesn’t do that then no one should read any of it. Develop your own relationship with our Father. Don’t be afraid but have faith, believing that it is possible. I promise he will speak to you! Develop the ability to listen to the Spirit every time you begin to read anything. Father will tell you if it is worth your time and attention.

    1. Amen. The only suggestion I would add is that Father can answer our prayers however he chooses. He can send an angel. He can send us impressions through the Holy Ghost. He can inspire a friend to call us or visit us. He can lead us to an article or a scripture. The beautiful thing is that once we have received the baptism of fire, we can hear the voice of the Lord and have an ongoing conversation with our Savior each day. At least that’s the way it is with me. Your experience may be different.

  5. I happened to have re-read one of those quotes earlier today. I’ll add the text preceding it too, which seems to fit with what you’re saying:

    Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them [so that would mean the scriptures], can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject (Joseph Smith, HC 6:50).

  6. I laud this post focusing on the Savior and those who witness of him, Tim. Thank you for this. I do take exception to the following from your post, “Church leaders today simply don’t come out and say, ‘I have seen him and so can you. Here’s how you do it.'” I’ve heard that parroted by many and spent the time to create a video that shows recent leaders doing just that. If you’re interested, I’ll send you the YouTube link I created – but know that the truth and path is indeed there amongst our leaders.

    1. Kevin, if that’s a video of apostles saying “I have seen him, and you can too. Here’s how you do it,” then that needs to be made public and shared all over the world. Saying, “I have seen him” is different from saying “I know he lives.” Don’t you agree?

      1. It’s several video clips of just that, taken from General Conferences that I pulled off the public pages on It’s there for all to see and find.

      2. Hi Kevin. I sent an email requesting the link to the video yesterday. I look forward to viewing it, especially where our apostles say in words of plainness, “I have seen the Lord and you can too. He appeared to me and ministered to me,” because I have watched every General Conference for the last fifty years of my life and have never once seen or heard an apostle use those words. I’d be happy to report otherwise after viewing your compilation once I receive the link if you choose to share it.

      3. Kevin: I replied privately this morning but I also wanted to reply publicly on the blog. Thank you for compiling and sharing the clips of several recent – and some not so recent – apostolic witnesses of Christ. I enjoyed hearing and seeing them. I have no doubt some of the Brethren have indeed been in the presence of the Savior.

        It is encouraging to me in my efforts to seek and obtain my own witness. I know I’m a long way off. I’ve got a lot of repenting to do, especially in the area of obedience and submission. Anyway, thanks for your kindness in putting the clips together and sharing them.

        God bless

    2. Kevin… why do you refuse to share your You Tube link. We would all like to see the evidence of what you are proclaiming. It would benefit us all to read a testimony of any of them sharing their witness.

      1. No refusal at all. I posted my personal email address above so I can privately share it. I chose not to publicly post it because I don’t want naysayers and critics to pick it apart. The message is sacred to me and I demonstrate that by how I gift it to others.

      2. I watched the clips that Kevin put together, and I appreciate him doing that. The spirit bore witness to me of their apostolic calling and witness. I don’t believe it’s wise to prescribe the words that someone must use to conform to what we might be looking for.

        That link that Kevin shared to Elder Packers talk was also very plain and I think refutes the words of those who say we put the prophet before the Lord. His focus was on the Lord and he spoke very clearly of our need to do so as well.

      3. Likewise, I watched it.

        I would add my appreciation to Kevin taking the time to compile some of the best (I don’t mean to minimize others though) conference ‘testimonies’ of Christ.

        I recalled Elder Packers talk and statement, “I have heard one of my brethren declare “I know from experiences too sacred to relate that Jesus is the Christ” ” There was also the phrase used by one authority, “…in the most unusual way.” One did say how he saw the period of the Saviors atonement and resurrection.

        I can say, “I know from experiences too sacred to relate that Jesus is the Christ”, while adhering to hardline Mormon social pressure to keep spiritual experiences to myself, and also state truthfully, I have not seen the resurrected Christ while in this, the second estate, dream or vision.

        Yet this does not mean that they have not.

        I didn’t see anything that would be compelling in what Tim has queried though… not to be disrespectful of course.

        ~ Rodney

        1. “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

          “For we saw him” (D&C 76:22–23).

          Their words are my words.

      4. Also, Elder Holland said, “These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.”16 What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine.”

        See 2 Peter 1:16-19 and D&C 131:5 for what more sure word of prophecy means.

        Once again, I believe it is a mistake to ignore because it’s not the words you would prescribe. Where is that prescription in the scriptures? Where is it said, “I have seen the Lord and you can too”? And where is it said that is a requirement of our leaders?

        1. Joseph Smith encouraged every new apostle to have this kind of experience with the Lord or at least an angel. It quit being something general authorities were encouraged to reach for because it stopped happening. Why was that?

  7. Tim,

    I really appreciate this post.

    Of late I have learned a bit about the the use of the word “prophet”… and the thing is… this has not been ‘my question’ in conversations with Father. IMO He has been teaching me because I constantly ask for Him to teach me His truths.

    In an earlier post (FB?) I had mentioned ‘prophets’ spoken of in Acts 21… Agabus and the 4 daughters of Phillip and others who remain un-named. As stated at “The Faithful ( the statement is made: “Prophetess” is not listed in the LDS Bible Dictionary…” This is something that intriges me.

    Then there’s something I was told in conversation with Father last week, which I’ve been mulling over… and that brings me to this current post where you said, “No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet.” What Father has been teaching me could not have been made more informative and plain than with this post.

    One of my old paradigms has been cast off and replaced by a new one. Thank you for conveying His message to me as I learn to distinguish **HIS** voice and doctrinal truths.

    ~ Rodney

    1. I might add, “No woman is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet” also. I suspect you meant that, I’m just saying what I was thinking.

  8. It is early in the morning, and I only have my phone, so this will not be long, but I just wanted to tell you how excited I am that you have your blog up and running again! You have no idea how happy it makes me. You probably have no idea how many people you touch with this blog. Thank you! now I will go back and read what you wrote. 😉

  9. Speaking of Bruce R. McConkie, he often said, “You cannot be saved in ignorance of God and His laws.” In other words, salvation in the higher kingdoms requires study and learning.

    Also, it needs to be continually reiterated that the church is not a hierarchy of righteousness or of spiritual gifts. As evidence, we can point to 21 ordained apostles from this dispensation that have either apostatized or been excommunicated.

    Anyone who teaches that we should disbelieve or reject other people’s testimonies or witnesses of Christ are teaching that we should not be believing and that we should reject the gifts of the Spirit. These are false teachers and false priests.

    In this church we supposedly embrace revelation and miracles, but that all becomes BS when we manifestly don’t have the belief or faith to except people’s testimonies that they have received these things. When we as members of the LDS church reject the witnesses of Christ and the gifts of the Spirit that come from Him we accordingly invalidate our own religion. Do we believe this stuff or not?

    The General Authorities do not teach essential doctrines of salvation such as Calling and Election Made Sure, the Second Comforter, or even the Baptism of Fire. They don’t even teach that any of these things are necessary. The apostles of today claim that they are worthy to receive these things but that the Lord has not seen fit to bestow these gifts on them. In other words, they say the Gospel doesn’t really work and they blame the Lord for their lack of spiritual experience. The LDS apostles essentially call Jesus Christ a bold faced liar. These are false apostles.

    True apostles bare witness of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. They testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ really works. They testify that it has worked for them, for they have seen Him.

    In this sense, I declare that Denver Snuffer is a true apostle. I recommend rereading D&C 1 with this in mind.

    1. Jared, Thank you for putting in words what is in my heart so much better than I could have said at this point. Pave Park

    2. Where does any scripture require that to be a true Apostle, they must have seen Christ? I believe that all or most of the 12 have NOT seen Christ, but I believe they are true, legitimate Apostles, because that is what the Holy Ghost has manifested to me. Please, be careful that your conclusions are justified. Please don’t impose a requirement on the office of Apostle that simply does not exist. God bless.

      1. Peter thought it was a requirement.

        Acts 1:21-22

        21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
        22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

        You’ve already been quoted that Oliver Cowdery, who ordained the apostles in the first place, charged them to make their ordination complete by seeking the Lord personally.

        This was also echoed again by Bruce R. McConkie, for example:,%20Bruce%20R/McConkieBR_SeekTheFaceOfTheLordAlways.html

      2. I do know that in both the Book of Mormon and in the Bible that the Savior expected his apostles to go forth performing miracles, healing the sick etc… doing the same things he did. That was their command, to do what they had seen him do. I’m not saying that the twelve we have now aren’t genuine apostles, but I would sure love to see them doing what Jesus has always commanded his apostles to do.

  10. Hey Mr. Tim, it was great to meet you in Las Vegas during the sacrament up on that “highest” floor.
    I wondered if I could get your physical address, as I want to send you a book?
    Hope to see you in Phoenix,
    In Christ,
    Bret Corbridge

      1. Camarillo?! I dated a girl from Camarillo. You may know her? Last name is Pareja. Her folks aren’t members, but she is.
        It’s a beautiful city.

  11. Shared privately by a respected Wordsmith friend. I just had to share:

    In English, the word root of read is also found in ready, ride (journey), and road.

    Road can mean physical path and a spiritual path as in counsel, teaching, direction (as in the name-title Conrad or keen-road, and could be written in Isaiah 9:6 for the KJV name-phrase “Wonderful Counselor”).

    A more hidden meaning is that of a higher road and a lower road, up and down, or what Nibley calls the Two Ways; one is either going forward or backward, like in Alma 12:10-11.

    So when one truly reads, one takes the counsel, goes on that path, joined and joy in a journey, and thus becomes ready. Reading the word of God is the higher path of God. One is then Ready of God.

    Ride/Road is one of the 24 runes. ?

    Also, what if reading is service?

  12. Jared, I am going to need some clarity on this “The General Authorities do not teach essential doctrines of salvation such as Calling and Election Made Sure, the Second Comforter, or even the Baptism of Fire. They don’t even teach that any of these things are necessary” Jared, that is a mouth full on a lot of levels. correct me if I’m wrong, and I desire to be illuminated. Are you saying receiving salvation/exaltation require one to gain these three spiritual objectives here in mortality? Have your family members who you love and have passed on, did they give you reassurance that such spiritual blessings have been had by them before they left this world?…

    1. Pete read Marion g Romnys talk in GC in 1966 and several Ensign articles in the 1970s about Calling and Election. ( the subject hasn’t been talked about since) They should be and can be obtained here just like baptism etc should be obtained here. If you miss out because you refused to make the effort you will be similar to those that had the opportunity to obtain other ordinances but because of sloth or unbelief failed to do so,

    2. Pete, great question and great topic. Personally, I believe it does have to be done in the flesh, in mortality. It would behoove to read Snuffer’s Ephraim lecture for more light and knowledge.

  13. The notion expressed here that to be a true Apostle you MUST have seen Christ is utter hogwash. Find one scripture in all the standard works that requires this, and you may be able to build a case. Remember please that testimonies of Christ will always be gained through the power of the Holy Ghost. Testifying of the witness of the Holy Ghost is sufficient. I believe that ALL or MOST of the current 12 have NOT seen Christ; nevertheless, I believe that they are true Apostles. This is because the Holy Spirit has manifested to me that they are real Apostles. If you have any doubt, you are entitled to revelation through the Holy Spirit on this matter. You must be a prophet to understand who the true prophets really are. This puts the burden of proof to discern true messengers back on our shoulders as lay members. I believe that having seen Christ is a wonderful goal for lay members and leadership alike; I do not however lay a demand upon leadership just because I would like to see it happen. Besides, isn’t Snuffer’s main message that we don’t have to depend upon leaders to make our way back to God? Why get upset if you perceive the shortcomings of leaders; if the heavens are open, they are open. Please don’t sidetrack yourself and let go of the iron rod because of what your perception of a leader is. I think that personal appearances of the Savior have always been, and continue to be rare; not because they need to be, but because our faith is so weak. Further, most of us need an extensive tutoring period via the Holy Spirit before we are ready for the greater blessings. Even John Pontius said he worked diligently for 15 years trying to respond immediately to promptings of the Holy Spirit before he received the greater blessings. Even Denver Snuffer went nearly 7 years from the time of his divorce to the time when he said he first saw the Savior. I think the shortest period of time I’ve ever heard on a blog, from the time the person got serious about getting their C&E, and getting it was about 2 1/2 years (and this was to hear the voice for C&E, not seeing the Savior). We live in an instant gratification culture, especially our blogging world; the spiritual blessings operate on the same basis as the natural laws do in our natural world; the law of the harvest is the same. Getting ourselves ready for the greater blessings is a long and arduous process, and frankly, few in the church are up to the task. When I really started striving personally about 18 months ago, all hell (pardon the pun) began to break out. I think there is a spiritual law at work which is the BOM phrase “must needs be opposition in all things.” When you really get serious about this, heaven notices, but the adversary does too. You just have to fight through this all and obtain reassurance from the Spirit that all this striving is going to be worth it. Sometimes I wonder if it will, but despite the troubles I do find that the Spirit reassures me from time to time. I am in a better place than I was when I started (spiritually) and I believe I have made real progress towards my goal. I hope each of you will too and we can all “ascend together.” God bless us all.

  14. I do believe that our apostles are true apostles, but I also “get it” about an apostle or prophet sometimes showing up who is not officially in the ranks. We all know that the apostle Paul was not one of the Twelve. I have not yet received personal revelation on whether or not Denver Snuffer is a true prophet. I am working on it. After prayer I am now feeling a sense of peace that is replacing my terror of making a mistake of judgement on this issue. My deepest prayer is that I not receive a “feel-good” manifestation from Satanic forces. I know that the Lord is with me on this, even though He has not yet given me the answer. One thing I don’t understand is why the Lord would punish the people for not finishing the Nauvoo temple on time by withdrawing priesthood power and authority and leaving everyone in the dark. Isn’t it a very human error, to not finish a building on time? On the other hand, I feel terribly negative about many of the things Brigham Young said and did. I acknowledge him as a great leader, but wonder if a true prophet could have made that many mistakes. BY is in my prayers as much as DS. SWK was prophet when I joined the Church, and I always had a strong positive feeling that he was a true prophet. Still do. So I do not believe like many here that there were no true prophets after Joseph Smith. I think that most of our presidents were true prophets. Even Thomas S. Monson. But like many, I don’t feel confident about Boyd K. Packer.

    1. From what I’ve learned in my studies, the Saints weren’t punished only because they ran out of time to finish the temple. It’s because they ignored finishing the temple while they built up their “beautiful city.” They’d had plenty of time. I suppose it is like being a normal parent. Like when you have asked your kids to clean their room and because of their obedience you plan to reward them with something fun, and then you check their bedroom and it’s a disaster. They had plenty of time to clean it but they messed around doing other things. And so you say, “You did not earn your reward. You do not get icecream, or to hang out with friends, or get go to the movies or whatever.” the punishment happens because you love your children and you want them to learn to be responsible. You do not want them to learn that they get rewarded for their, I’m thinking it’s pretty much like that.

  15. If Boyd K. Packer becomes President of the Church I will sustain him, but I am not sure I will feel trust in him as a prophet. I wish there were another way besides seniority of becoming something as vitally important as a prophet.

    1. Not to trust anyone except God with your own salvation is a good thing:

      Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)

      I cannot save you; you cannot save me; we cannot save each other, only so far as we can persuade each other to receive the truth, by teaching it. (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, April 1902, 86)

      I happened to be thinking about the greatest, most important prophet today:

      A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. (Acts 3:22-3)

      He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses . . . He said that that prophet was Christ (Joseph Smith—History 1:40).

      Makes me kind of want to sing: 🙂

      Follow the (greatest, perfect) Prophet
      Don’t go astray
      Follow the (infallible) Prophet:
      Christ IS the way

    2. Personally, I do not feel they automatically become a prophet. They automatically become the president. Whether or not they are a prophet is completely up to them and God.

      1. Exactly! They are the automatically the president, but must BECOME a prophet.

        D&C 107:91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—

        92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

  16. BAM! Amen, “which he bestows”. All the voting and sustaining and calling and wanting it to be so,by our will,can’t make it so. If it is to be it will be by him. Sweet…

  17. Hogwash?

    The first chapter of Acts gives a fascinating, intimate glimpse of the Body of Christ in its infancy, including a detailed account of how the apostles identified the man who would replace Judas as the twelfth apostle. In verses 21-22, Peter declares that

    it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.

    According to Peter, the new apostle needed to be someone who was associated with Christ, who had consistently sat under His teaching, and who had witnessed firsthand His ministry and life. It wasn’t enough to know about Christ—the replacement apostle needed to know Him personally. In particular, he needed to have known Christ after His resurrection.

    There were two candidates who fit that description, “so they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias” (Acts 1:23). The rest of the apostles prayed for the Lord to reveal His will and then drew lots—a common Old Testament method of determining God’s will (cf. Leviticus 16:8-10; Joshua 7:14; Proverbs 18:18)—which revealed Matthias as the Lord’s choice for the task.

    Later in Acts 10:38-41, Peter reasserts the importance of the apostles’ firsthand knowledge of the risen Christ. In his sermon in Cornelius’s household, Peter says:

    You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

    The resurrection was particularly important because it gave credibility to Jesus’ life—it verified that He was who He said He was. So, for the apostles, being eyewitness verifiers of Christ’s resurrection gave heft to their ministry. In fact, the resurrection was the primary theme of apostolic preaching (cf. Acts 2:24; Acts 3:15; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:40; Acts 13:30-37).

    Another proof that an apostle must be an eye witness:

    1 Cor. 9:1, “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?”

    Paul was the last apostle (He witnessed Christ on the Road to Damascus):

    1 Cor. 15:8, “Then he [Christ] appeared to James, then to ALL the apostles, and LAST of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

    Oliver commissions the twelve:

    “You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.

    “Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off you doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days?” (Oliver Cowdery, HC v 2, ch 13, p 195)

    1. The commission from Oliver you cited was given as an aspirational message to those commissioned as apostles. I support the idea 100% that they should strive to be eyewitnesses. However, obviously the charge itself assumes that they have NOT YET had the eyewitness, else why would it be laid out as a goal for them to achieve? If Joseph Smith’s intent be that they already had received an eyewitness testimony of the Savior BEFORE they are called as apostles, such as the New Testament scriptures you quote, then he failed, as this commission by Oliver clearly evidences that they had NOT YET received it. True there were many spiritual manifestations given in the Kirtland period that would probably qualify; unfortunately most of the 12 left the church within a year of having received that tremendous pentecostal outpouring. The scriptures you cite from the NT do state the procedure they used to replace one apostle, but do not constitute a proof that this procedure would be followed in every case, let alone that this would be the one & only procedure for the modern dispensation (in fact this procedure seems to never have been used in this dispensation). Please if you can find a scripture citation from the D&C that supports your view that an Apostle must be an eyewitness BEFORE they are ordained as a legitimate Apostle. Best regards.

    2. Good quotes.

      1 Cor. 9:1 & 1 Cor. 15:8 are less strong logically. That a person had experiences X and Y could mean, but does not necessarily mean, that X is an absolute prerequisite for Y, or that Y is an absolute prerequisite for X. (Surely Paul doesn’t mean that to see God, you must be an apostle.)

      Acts 1:21-22 is stronger. But this was before the day of Pentecost, so it is possible that one or more people in that group had the witness of the eyes without the witness of the Spirit.

      (There are people all over the Internet who claim to have seen the Savior. They could all be correct, but without the witness of the Spirit, one or more of them could have been deceived.)

      It is a great blessing to have both types of witnesses, but I assume that the witness of the Spirit alone is preferable to the witness of the eyes alone.

      Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. . . . Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you (Oliver Cowdery, HC 2:195).

      It follows that everything stated by Elder Oliver Cowdery in his charge to the apostles could also be given as a charge to all elders. Every elder is entitled and expected to seek and obtain all the spiritual blessings of the gospel, including the crowning blessing of seeing the Lord face to face (Bruce R. McConkie; thanks to Ben for providing the link to it).

      Since the priesthood “has power and authority over all the offices in the church” (D&C 107:8), I agree with the above statements.

  18. “Please if you can find a scripture citation from the D&C that supports your view that an Apostle must be an eyewitness BEFORE they are ordained as a legitimate Apostle”

    I never made that contention.

    Obviously, during the restoration, as opposed to the meridian of time, the Lord was willing to extend the call to the apostleship before the candidate attained to the fulness of their calling. That was the clarification that Oliver was making.

    Oliver probably knew what he was talking about since God had given him and David Whitmer the divine mandate to choose the latter day quorum of the Twelve by revelation. Further, Oliver himself was an apostle after the same manner that Paul had been called into the apostleship (D&C 18:9) Paul, like all of the other apostles in the meridian of time, was an eye witness 1 Corinthians 15:8–11

    Cowdery was simply letting them know that although the call was being extended, they would not be a true apostle until they knew, as eye witnesses, of the resurrection and divinity of Christ.

    I was simply responding to your false claim that a “true apostle” does not need to have personally seen Christ.

    I believe you are wrong.

    You are allowed your opinion, I am allowed mine.

    In response to your challenge, I have provided what I believe to be evidence to the contrary, to refute your false claim.. If it does not make sense to you, so be it.

    An apostle is to testify, among other things, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from person knowledge. The scriptural definition of what a true “testimony” of an apostle is, is found in D&C 76

    “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

    FOR WE SAW HIM, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—”

    Why you would take one of the most profound and sacred tenets of the gospel having to do with the calling of apostles, and call it hogwash is beyond my comprehension. Why you feel the need to enlighten people with such disregard for the word of God just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Your “hogwash” comment represents “zeal without knowledge” IMO

    1. Thank you for this further witness of Truth. We can not continue to bend the Plain and Simple truths born in the Scriptures to fit our Image of the Savior and his Gospel.

    2. In a Church organizational sense, I agree with Karl. (Why give the apostles the charge if all of them already had the experience?)

      In an ultimate spiritual sense, I agree with Hogwash?

      Ultimately, an apostle or elder who has not seen Christ and had the witness from the Spirit is a “false” (“incomplete”) apostle or elder.

      That which had been conferred upon [the elders in D&C 67:10-14] by the prophet was the power to see the Lord. The name of that power is the Melchizedek Priesthood. . . . How much spiritual progress we have made in the Church since the day of this revelation may be measured in terms of the number of the elders of Israel for whom the veil has been rent and who have seen the face of Him whose we are. (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 591)

      [The Savior] was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings; and for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed. (Lectures on Faith 7:16)

      “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “. . . there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18).

      Having said that, I want to emphasize that “false” or “not good” people can still do great good in the world.

      And we are all so very fortunate that God is very patient with us.

      “You may say, that man is a sinner. Well, if he repents, he shall be forgiven. Be cautious: await” (Joseph Smith, HC 6:315).

      1. Sorry — I didn’t read Hogwash?’s post closely enough. Hogwash? also did say:

        Obviously, during the restoration, as opposed to the meridian of time, the Lord was willing to extend the call to the apostleship before the candidate attained to the fulness of their calling.

        So to clarify: In a Church organizational sense, I agree with Karl and Hogwash?

  19. This man was raised by terrorists. I have met many peaceful Muslims that are not like this at all. I have read the Qur’an and did not receive the impression that it incites violence. The terrorists have distorted the meanings of their holy book. Allah is the Arabic word for God. He is the same as El, or Elohim. Muslims actually believe Jesus is the Messiah, but they believe he is a great prophet, not the Son of God or the Savior.
    I believe that this guy really did meet the Savior and learned that He truly is the Son of God and our Savior. However, except for the terrorist factions, I do not believe that Islam is evil. The pagan religion of the Arabs, that had people killing their female babies and treating their women as mere chattel, was evil. Islam elevated the status of women and girls and taught the people to turn back to the values of the one true God, El or Allah, the God of Abraham. This guy says that Islam is evil because all of the Muslims he ever knew were terrorists. He was taught a very incorrect interpretation of the Qur’an. I say this as a Christian who loves our Savior.

    1. Thanks Sara. Good points. I like your clarifications on a religion that most of us know little or nothing about other than the extreme views we see in headlines and news articles written to inflame instead of inform. Gee, kind of like the early days of Mormonism 🙂

    2. Sara

      I agree with you. I do not think that the Muslim religion in itself is evil. Mohammad was not an evil man. He was a prophet to his people and wanted to stay out of political affairs. However, he was drug into politics by those who insisted he give an opinion on political issues. Much of the discord in the religion comes from his opinion of political issues which was misunderstood or corrupted.

      I too believe his experience was real. Do you see where he placed his fingers when he mentioned the holes in Christ’s hands? I found it to be interesting. His face was just alight by the time the video was over in retelling his experience.

      His experience confirms to me that God is not a respecter of persons. His cry unto the Lord was real and it was answered in a way that he did not expect. It should be encouraging to us who desire to have similar experience.

      There are 1.6 Billion Muslims on the earth today. I think we should take seriously the threat that the extreme faction is and how it will play out in the second coming… especially for the Jews.

      Our 15 Million will never stand a chance unless we are worthy to be protected by the Lord.


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