You Do What You Want

My mother taught me a profound truth when I was a teenager. She was trying to get me to go with the rest of the family to attend the premier of some movie down in Hollywood. I had made other plans to hang out with some of my friends and was being resistant, stubborn and rebellious, typical for my teenage years.

Only this time, I went too far. I would not do as she desired. In fact, I climbed up into my tree-house in the backyard and refused to come down. I guess it was the last straw in a long chain of events that summer. Mother had dad call the police. I ended up in Juvenile Hall for a week, learning what the word incorrigible meant.


The Fine Art of Culture

Mother was a great connoisseur of the arts. It was her mission to bring culture to our family and she did it well. We traveled to the Old Globe Theater in San Diego to see Shakespeare. We went to various theaters around the Southland to enjoy ballet, which I did not. My sisters, yes. Me, not so much. That puzzled my mother.

When live theater came to our little community, we went regularly. I have fond memories of seeing Peter Pan in theater in the round, unique to the old Carousel theater in West Covina back in the mid-60’s. The Doors later played there along with The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Animals, Rascals, and Dave Clark Five.

Mother dragged us to Hollywood for premiers: Lawrence of Arabia, The Sound of Music, The Bible. I don’t know why we couldn’t wait until they came out in our local theaters. Perhaps it was the excitement of Hollywood. We were still new to California, having moved here just ten years earlier from very rural Oklahoma.


Time Out to Sit in the Corner

My parents seemed happy to see me when they came to get me out of Juvenile Hall after a week. I did not enjoy my time there. I think I had only just turned thirteen years old. Some of the other kids were in there for much more serious crimes of arson, rape, murder. Many had been there for months, some years.

Mother asked me if I had learned anything. I think I said something hurtful which I won’t repeat here. Mother quietly cried. She and dad went out of the room to discuss my fate. Dad came back in, looking very serious, told me to gather my things, we were going home. It was a quiet ride back to West Covina from LA.

I thought a lot about that little episode. It wasn’t my first, nor was it my last brush with the law. I think I was in and out of jail at least a half dozen times before my sixteenth birthday. But nobody wants to read about my rebellious teenage years. Those days are long past. However, I’ve always remembered what mother said:


“Ultimately, we do in life what we deeply desire to do. Always have. Always will.”

Overcoming the Natural Man

Selfishness, rebellion and a willful nature are part of the natural man. I have plenty of experience in this area. It wasn’t until I was about seventeen that I decided my willful nature was not going to bring me happiness in this life. I decided to conform, submit and comply with the desires of others for me.

I became a model citizen, a perfect latter-day saint and made my parents very happy, or so they said. Life was good. Went on a mission, married in the temple, raised a son. Served in the church, taught somebody from some manual every Sunday. EQ Pres, Bishopric, High Council, HP Group Leader, Ward & Stake Clerk.


Submissive to God, not Man

I wish I had decided to be submissive to my Father in Heaven or my Savior as my central guiding light instead of what I thought others desired of me. At the time, there wasn’t much difference. Today, the difference is obvious, at least to me. Wanting to please God is so much more powerful. It has an everlasting effect.

I think that’s why I continue to feel the love of my Savior, in spite of my rebellious nature. I feel exasperation at times, as in, “Come on, Tim, rise up, you can do it,” especially after I’ve disappointed myself with a poor choice in response to some stressful situation. But ultimately, you do what you want to do. You always do.

Jesus the Very Thought of Thee

I’ve thought a lot lately about wanting to do good and wanting to please the Lord. That very thought is perhaps the greatest motivational idea I’ve ever considered. From the hymn: “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee,” and from Helaman 5: “There was power given unto them that they did turn and look.” Both inspiring thoughts.

As long as we focus on the Savior, He is determined to work with us. Repentance is simply turning to Him, asking and desiring to know and do His will for us. He will not disappoint us. Never in my life have a felt Him say “No, I will not help you.” He is constant and kind, always there, always willing to help, responsive to our love.


Our Thoughts are a Battleground

Perhaps that’s the key to a successful relationship with the Lord: love. He loves us. We all know that. But do we love Him? We say we do, but do our thoughts and our actions show it? Ultimately, we do what we want to do. The desires of our hearts become manifest to ourselves, to others around us and to the heavens.

“The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the silent chambers of the soul.” A great thought attributed to David O. McKay. In the end, what do we take with us but our character, our thoughts, our relationships and the results of our deeds? Will our memories be sweet, filled with recollections of kind service to others?

A Spirit-world Visit

My father is a hero to me. A kind man, never cross, always patient, never angry. Without complaint, he rescued me from predicaments I had gotten myself into. In the final days of his life, he struggled to have someone open the door for him so he could pass through to the other side. He visited me after he arrived there.

Symbolically dressed in a Scottish kilt, he was accompanied by family members of our Celtic tribe. He seemed happy, progressing in his journey, anxious to be with my mother, yet she, earth-bound, came directly to me, full of care and concern for my welfare, looked deep into my eyes, told me she was happy for me then.

Time in the Spirit World

That was long ago. I’ve often wondered how time is measured in the spirit world. Have they moved on? Have they reacquainted themselves with the thousands upon thousands of individuals they researched and for whom they performed the ordinances they believed would bring salvation and open the door to exaltation?

Did mother meet Joseph, whose life she studied so diligently, or did she discover, as others who visited from the spirit world have reported, that he has gone on to other realms, still engaged in the work he did not get to finish here? Just how are the spirits on the other side organized? Are they happy? Are they progressing?


Emerging Mormon Mysticism

When Seth Payne wrote about Denver (and me) back in 2015, he referred to the “Emerging Mormon Mysticism,” comprised of individuals “primarily focused on direct experience with the ineffable divine.” I was surprised at the time, and am still puzzled today, that religion is anything other than direct interaction with God.

I mean, isn’t that what religion is supposed to be, a pathway to heaven, brought about by a loving Savior, who rescues us from the lone and dreary world? I desire to rise up, to walk the paths of heaven, like Elijah, ascending the fiery conduit to the realms above. Who will open the conduit so we may ascend Jacob’s ladder?

Choosing What to Read and Study

When I have questions like these, I first turn to the scriptures and then to other sources the Lord brings to my attention. In a recent email exchange with a reader, we discussed the idea of being led by the spirit, particularly in regard to what we choose to read and to study. It is a fascinating topic and worthy of consideration.

My reader had asked me for some additional clarification of my positions on a few doctrinal and historical questions. I provided links to some of Denver’s papers and a few of my own posts. He responded he had read my posts but felt constrained by the spirit to not read any of Denver’s materials, even though he said he tried.


Counseled to Burn Books

That approach to learning more about a subject reminded me of a visit with a Stake President early in our married life. Before we were married, I had amassed a small collection of what I considered classic anti-Mormon material, which I used for reference when I was researching and writing about a pertinent subject.

It bothered Carol. She mentioned it in an interview with our Stake President. I think he had called us to be Stake Missionaries or something. He counseled us to burn it. I resisted, having invested a few thousand dollars over the years. It became a sore subject in our marriage. In order to keep peace, I finally relented.

Constrained by the Spirit

Was my friend really constrained by the spirit to not read Denver’s materials? I believe he was. Carol has a similar response whenever I try to share something with her that originates from Denver’s writings. It is emotionally distressing. Out of love and consideration for her feelings, I choose to not share such material.

Similarly, could a loving Heavenly Father be protecting my friend from the conflicted feelings that would surely come about if he read some of the content to which I had referred him? I have no doubt. For him, it would not be good, especially since he currently serves in a leadership position in his ward.

Making Well-Informed Decisions

Of course one could make the argument that there is no way you can consider yourself well-informed if you don’t read both sides of a subject and especially if you don’t read foundational works of an author in order to understand more fully his positions and reasonings behind those positions, even if they are contrary.

Perhaps it is simply a character trait of my personality, the one my mother so clearly identified for me so long ago. Of course, I know the long-standing position of the LDS Church is to NOT read anti-Mormon literature, just as the counsel has always been to read only the official interpretation of the early church history.


Careful Consideration of Knowledge

But ultimately, I always do what I want to do in life, as my mother pointed out. I think about what knowledge I want. I research where to obtain it and then I go about very carefully studying it, making sure to jump to no conclusions until I have obtained sufficient understanding of the material in question. Careful is the key.

With forty years of engineering experience, I have learned to be careful when I analyze a problem. I make sure I identify as many of the variables as I can, study them out, understand their characteristics, how they influence the situation, and what effect they have on the outcome as they are tweaked one way or another.

Knowledge Changes Us

Similarly, there are variables in our learning experience. One we often overlook is how our deep study of a subject, and coming to a clearer understanding of it, can affect our relationships with others. For example, if you pay the price to become a professional such as a doctor or lawyer, don’t others treat you a bit differently?

Presumably there is respect for your years of sacrifice and diligence in becoming an expert in your field. Then there is usually a deference when consulting with you about the specifics of a legal matter or a health issue. Yes, we all know some lawyers and some doctors are jerks, but they usually know more than we do.

Breadth and Depth of Knowledge

Another variable in learning is just how deeply you are willing to delve into a subject. Are you one who desires only a cursory understanding that comes from a review of the literature, or do you hunger and thirst after deep knowledge, seeking out and devouring everything you can find published on a subject?

Thus, you may be involved in a field and may even make your living at it, but are you a subject matter expert? Do you want to be? Is it worth the price? Translate that to the spiritual realm. How deeply do you want to know spiritual truths? Why did Nephi express frustration about people who refuse to seek deep knowledge?


Takes Time and Experience

Joseph taught “…the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.” We often focus on the idea that it takes effort to ponder and think about the things of the spirit before we can understand them. But what about time and experience?

Have we ignored the other part of the quote about time and life’s experiences when we consider what things the Lord would have us obtain in this life? Some knowledge comes only with the passage of time, a precious gift of mortality. It takes time to determine how the knowledge we obtain affects our relationships.

Knowledge Affects Relationships

It takes time to understand that some knowledge is more important than others. It takes experience with life, primarily in relationships that change as we grow in knowledge and wisdom. Can our relationships survive an increase in knowledge? Now, do you understand why sometimes we can’t share everything we know?

Ultimately you act in life according to your desires. If you want something, you’re usually going to find a way to obtain it. Even if it takes years of sacrifice, in the end, we seek out that which we desire, hopefully after consulting with the Lord about those desires. Do we desire what the Lord desires for us? Do we pray for it?

Knowledge of God Saves Us

The Lord has been very careful in encouraging us to deepen our knowledge of the things of eternity. Why? Because just as knowledge affects our relationships with others in mortality, knowledge affects our relationships with Him in eternity. We are saved no faster than we obtain knowledge. The knowledge of God saves us.

God asks us to trust Him, to love Him and to hearken to His counsels. He asks us to believe His promises, that sacrifice is worth it and that he will compensate for loss in this life. After all, didn’t He give up everything in a divine act of trust in His Father in Heaven? Ultimately, we will do what we want. May we do it like Christ.

10 thoughts on “You Do What You Want”

  1. Rex Patterson

    Thanks Tim, I’m always inspired by your insights.

    TBM friends and family have responded for years to me that “the spirit” has told them not to look at or consider ideas or material I’ve presented to them, or that what I’m about is not of God, etc. That always used to bug me. But I eventually came to the same conclusion, after much wrestling, that perhaps the spirit actually could legitimately be telling them to steer clear, for the reasons you suggest. And in light of the Lord using parables that actually makes a lot of sense.

    I never noticed before about the time and experience part of Joseph’s quote. I’ve always been extremely impatient in wanting answers. But I can certainly see that some things I have learned only by years of experience. Like, specifically, how my Zion-seeking actions, and over-zealousness, have effected things over the years. Denver’s parable about the Beast in the Pass really rings true to me now, but years ago I probably would have dismissed it. Time and Experience. Wow. What a difference it has really made in my understanding!

    Thanks again, and God Bless!

    Rex Patterson

    1. Have you considered the possibility that the reason your wife and the reader you refer to feel constrained by the Holy Ghost not to read or listen to what comes from Denver Snuffer is not because God is protecting them from greater truth they are not ready for, but rather because Denver is a false prophet and the Holy Ghost is warning them to stay away so that they won’t be deceived?

      Clearly you have reached the conclusion that Denver is a true prophet who speaks for God, but does that mean he actually is?

      Didn’t Joseph Smith say that false prophets will prophecy so very near the truth that even those who are nearly the elect of God will be deceived by them.

      Are you humble enough to consider that you might be deceived?

      1. insightfulnana

        LDSWatchman. Have you considered that everyone is on their own journey? If your understanding has close ties to the CURRENT LDS point of view, that is okay. It is your journey. It does not appear to be Tim’s and it is not mine. I believe we are all trying to find our way to Christ. However, I’m of the opinion that 90% of what comes out of our mouth is a “point of view” coming from our past experience, and only 10% is the actual truth. Even scriptures can allude us as they are often biased by our preconceived ideas. Fresh ways of looking at them can be helpful.

        I have read many of Denver’s writings and there is one bit of counsel that I appreciated. He was the one who encouraged me to read the scriptures purely. In other words, believing what they actually say, not what I have been conditioned to believe. Man, that was a hard one to do. I read the Book of Mormon and much about what I had been previously been taught appeared in conflict to what I was reading. When I ask for the answers to these questions from teachers and other LDS sources, I did not get answers, only the old dialog. So, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater… I simply put my questions and doubts on a “Mental Table” until I come to a better understanding of the subject. Even though I’m an active member of the LDS Church and enjoy its fellowship, I have I still have many questions, and to say the least, the traditional LDS dialog still produces many scriptural conflicts for me.

        I have read much of Snuffer’s material and I have considered his point of view without embracing every word. I also learn from other teachers or messengers, who have given me additional insight to consider.

        I am still on a learning journey, and I respect yours as well as Tim’s. However, it is dishearting when someone is so sure they are “On The Right Path” that they feel confident enough to suggest that someone else is being deceived and lacks humility. What’s that word? Oh… self-righteous.

  2. LDSWatchman ( Thank you for reading and commenting on my essay. I appreciate all who take the time to leave comments for consideration. We’ve dialoged before. I read your stuff. Your posts are on my reading list. Thank you for your contributions and thoughtfulness.

    I have considered what you propose. I have asked myself that question many times. I have taken it to the Lord in prayer many times. I am on the other side of the equation from when I was a missionary. I was often perplexed when, after bearing a heartful testimony and feeling the warmth of the spirit as I did so, my listener would respond, “No, I don’t think I want to hear any more about Joseph Smith,” or “No, I don’t think I will take that copy of the Book of Mormon,” or “No, I don’t think I will be joining you in worship services at your church this Sunday.”

    I will be forever grateful for my missionary experience. It taught me many things about people I had never considered. Primarily, they are not in the same place in their journey as I am. There are so many people who are simply not ready for new truths revealed by the prophet Joseph or found in the Book of Mormon. Even after being baptized and sealed in the temple, my own mother continued to question why we needed the Book of Mormon. It took her many years to accept it as the word of God. She was converted to the Church’s focus on the family and on family history work, which she loved.

    Today, I am in a small minority of people who have considered the words, the messages, the profound declarations of Denver Snuffer and have decided they are worthy of solemn consideration. I took a long time to study everything he had written, went to hear him speak, visited with him and his family, interviewed him, asked him all my hard questions and took his every answer to the Lord in prayer. Yes, I am thoroughly convinced there is something to what Denver says. I have asked the Lord if he is a true messenger. Not once, not twice, but dozens of times, about dozens of different messages.

    Yet, I remain in a very small minority of people who have heard of Denver, an even smaller number who have read something he wrote – I mean seriously studied, and an even smaller number who have felt through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost that the messages delivered were from one who was sent of God. Yes, this is an incredibly difficult proposition to entertain and yes, he is dismissed as a false prophet by many influential folks in the Mormon community, including my own wife, who reminds me of it almost daily as we read something in the scriptures that warns against false prophets in our day.

    So, yes, I have considered that my wife and others who will not read Denver’s words are being warned of the spirit to give no heed to what he says, while, on the other hand, I have felt enticed by the spirit of the Lord to entertain his messages and to present them to the Lord for confirmation. It’s the age-old question: How can two people take the same question to the Lord and get two different answers? I’ve been asked your question many, many times over the years. I have tried to answer it in many different ways but have concluded I really don’t need to answer it any more. I am at peace with my answers.

    You ask, “Are you humble enough to consider that you might be deceived?” Of course, I can never be a witness of an absolute standard of humility, but I will share this: I am willing to consider anything you may have to say about being deceived. In fact, I have read your recent posts about being deceived by false prophets. Your most recent post about fruits is excellent, well written. Thank you for sharing it. We could probably take your lists and apply them to whomever we want to consider as being prophets. But I’ll bet we would each come up with different examples to prove our conclusions one way or the other.

    Would it be a profitable exercise? You decide. I have probably written about Denver directly or indirectly fifty times in the last seven years. Probably ten percent of my 583 posts mention him or something he has taught. I took a long time to read, study, ponder and pray about his messages. I did not resign from the LDS Church on a whim. I knew it might cost me my marriage. It still might. It has been a long and difficult seven-year journey, especially the last five years since I resigned and was baptized as a sign of my acceptance of the messages delivered by Denver in the “Forty Years in Mormonism” talk series.

    So, we’re in a quandary, aren’t we? We are both convinced we are right. We have both made up our minds. We are both advocating for a path that is different or even contrary to the other. I’ve made it clear I do not accept any LDS church President after Joseph Smith as being an authorized messenger or prophet. Yet, I do accept and have said, even if he hasn’t, that Denver is a prophet. In his words, he is a servant, a messenger, a teacher. He is being humble. He is much more than that. Which, of course, causes me to say thank you again for writing your series of posts about not trusting the arm of flesh.

    I hope people will read your posts. I believe you are sincere. I commend you for your efforts. As I have had this conversation many times, I can only say, “Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?” God bless you in your journey. As InsightfulNana said, we are all on different places in the journey of life. I believe I am in the right place. I am doing what is pleasing to the Lord, or so I feel in my heart as I pray. I am committed to love my wife, to support her, to provide for her and to encourage her in her journey. I know that is pleasing to the Lord. He has told me so. She is my focus. I desire her happiness above all.

    May you have the righteous desires of you heart, my friend. Peace be with you.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Sorry I didn’t see your comment before replying to Insightfulnana.

      I mean no offense. I’m sure you have had this conversation many times, especially with your wife.

      I’m sure that’s a tough place to be in. I don’t envy you.

      It’s been really hard on my wife that I have awoken to the reality that all is not well in Zion and that there are many problems in the church.

      It has put a strain on out relationship as well. It’s tough.

      I agree that we are at an impasse when it comes to Denver.

      I’ll put together a post (or perhaps a series of posts) breaking down what I believe proves Denver is a false prophet.

      I hope you’ll consider the evidence.

      I would also love to get your feedback if there is something you disagree with.

      The truth is what I’m after, not winning an argument.

      You’re right that we’re on different paths, which means one of us is on the wrong path or we both are. There is only one path. There aren’t multiple paths back to God.

      If I reject a true prophet of God and his teachings, I’m on the wrong path. If you accept a false prophet and his teachings you are on the wrong path. Even if I reject a false prophet and you accept him, I could still quite possibly be on the wrong path.

      The path back to God is straight and narrow and few there be that find it.

  3. Insightfulnana,

    I don’t consider myself to be super righteous, I’m a sinner like everyone else. In fact I’m sure there are many who are more righteous than I am.

    However, my point to Tim was that he could indeed be deceived. The warning of the Holy Ghost to his wife and the reader he referred to to stay away from Denver’s writings could very well be hard evidence that Denver is a false prophet and that his teachings are dangerous.

    It appears that Tim is all in on Denver Snuffer. It would appear that he will hold him up as the Lord’s servant, even the Davidic Servant, no matter what.

    Based on Tim’s writings I don’t think there is anything Denver could do or say that would change his mind.

    I know that’s pretty a harsh, but I’m just trying to call it like I see it.

    I sincerely hoped that I am misjuding Tim and that he is humble enough to consider that he is deceived and willing to reject Denver if it can be proven that Denver is not what Tim believes he is.

    I can prove beyond a doubt that Denver is not the Lord’s servant by weighing his fruits (teachings and actions) against the scriptures and the teachings of Joseph Smith.

    Heck, I can prove Denver is not what he claims using only Denver’s words and nothing else.

    Based on Denver’s fruits he is a false prophet he teaches very near the truth. In fact he teaches a lot of truth, but there is always a subtle falsehood or half truth mixed in here and there.

    It doesn’t matter what proof I present, though, if Tim’s heart is not open to receive it

    I don’t doubt that you have learned things from Denver and other self-proclaimed teachers. I have as well.

    I’m glad to hear that you don’t believe everything he teaches. Good for you.

    By asking Tim if he was humble enough to consider that he might be deceived, I meant no insult. Rather I was being direct instead of beating around the bush.

    We all need to be humble and willing to admit that we can be in error. I’ve been wrong about many things in my life and there are no doubt many things I am still wrong about.

    Nevertheless, I try very hard to change when I learn new truth.

    One of the truths I have learned is that even though Denver teaches a lot of truth and that his message appears so very appealing to the honest seeker of truth, he is teaching his own doctrines and ideas, not the word of the Lord.

    He claims to be a prophet, and indeed he is, but based on his fruits he can’t be a true one. I might add that based on his claims he cannot just be some nice guy teaching some good things that can be taken for what they are worth. He has set himself up as a light to follow, so unless he really is a prophet (which he isn’t) the word for that is… priestcraft.

  4. Hi Tim,
    Many years ago I wrote to you about Dr. Fish and the good work he was involved in. Since his passing, there is a void in the force.

    Here in Utah there was a famous man known to most as Bishop Koyle. He died in 1947. He was a righteous man, yet had some unusual experiences with angelic visitors and because of those visits made some amazing prophecies, which have all come to pass.
    His last one relating to our times was that 3 apostles would die close together and the 3 new apostles would not be able to keep the church together.

    I’m taking that to mean there will be a split of some kind. More about that later.

    Now about a month ago I came across a memo, that wasn’t supposed to see the light of day, although it had been prepared for release to all Bishops and Stake Presidents. It was the result of a member of the Presiding Bishopric interviewing 60 members who were brave enough to come forward seeking to expose high ranking GA’s involved in SRA. (satanic ritual abuse)
    The abuse caused all of them to develop multiple personalities. Energy work that Dr. Fish was so proficient in healing people, including MP disorder. His patients were no longer being controlled by those who hide within the church. The area of southern Utah is a stronghold if you will of these abusers. Dr. Fish was no doubt stepping on toes. Unfortunately these gadiantons have not only infiltrated our government at high levels, but the LDS church as well.

    The gadiantons in my opinion are striking out at the healers, because they can now be exposed by those they once controlled. By ex-ing the healers, the average saint won’t believe in whatever it is they are doing, and people shunning them in general.

    What they, the Gads, aren’t looking at is President Trumps crack down against child sex offenders world wide. I believe they will be scooped up by Trump’s white hats–then we’ll see a real awakening like we’ve never seen before. Perhaps that split in the church. Which church leaders will the saints follow? Hence President Nelson’s plea to get close to Jesus, and the spirit of truth.

    I found the memo in Glenn L. Pace memo

    This was back in 1990. I don’t know who leaked the memo, but the committee for strenghtening the members didn’t want it released…. The same committee that removes members from church membership….

    I don’t know who is on the committee?

    Can you imagine how many more abusers there are today?

    1. Concerning Denver, I’ve read bits and pieces of what he’s written and can’t see anything wrong.

      What is revealing to me is the numbers of saints who may read something not on the approved reading list, like say the Apocrypha and equate the feeling of FEAR as coming from the Lord not to read it.

      Joseph Smith specifically asked the Lord if he should re-translate it. Section 91 is the result, that it is mostly correct but there are many things that man has thrown in. By the spirit you can discern the truth and benefit from these writings.

      So how many have read the Apocrypha? Do you feel fear from reading the word of the Lord?
      I was taught that FEAR comes from satan. LOVE comes from God. God is Love. If God is both fear and love, isn’t that sending conflicting messages, which is confusion? BTW the Old Testament “fear” meant having respect for God. Its in the Dictionary.

      How are we supposed to grow and learn if we can’t sort out what comes from Satan and how we get answers from God?

      Section 8, gives us a clue. I’m not going to spoon feed. You can look it up.

      Satan does not want us to progress and fear is his best tool. He knows that we confuse the two powers, and thus he wins and we remain ‘stuck’.

      The Great Commandment is to LOVE the Lord, and the second is like unto it, LOVE thy neighbor as thyself.

      It we truly Love Tim, lets not follow the Southern Baptist approach. Can’t we just love each other?

      In the end, its LOVE that conquers fear.

      “Fear knocked at the door, Faith answered, and no one was there.”

      1. Mahonri Moriancumer

        Dean, I would say what does feeling “constrained” by the Spirit feel like? Does it feel like fear? No. It does not. Only FEAR feels like fear – and yes, that does come from the adversary.

        I feel like there are people that confuse fear with feeling constrained by the Spirit, but when you are under the powerful influence of the Spirit, it is quite easy to tell the difference.

        Personally, when I react to fear by obeying that prompting, I am not left with feeling the love of God – I am either rattled by fear, or left with nothing. When I react to feeling constrained by the Spirit by obeying the prompting, I am left with a Spiritual confirmation that the constraining guidance was from God and I continue to feel His love. When I disobey the constraining guidance, the Spirit withdraws and I end up pursuing my own will.

        You are right that LOVE is the key. The peaceful love and light that comes from God is our guide. God respects our agency, but it is HIS work and glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men – NOT ours. Should we assume we are better at His job than He is?

        This is why we must respect His timetable. Perhaps people feel presently constrained in some things that others may not. Perhaps they will not continue to feel constrained in the future. I remember as a young man feeling quite troubled by some of the doctrines I now treasure as the words of eternal truth. We must take care that the Lord directs us in our growth because He is mighty to save and will direct our paths for the greatest good.

        Sometimes we are not ready to accept the answer because we must first take care of our unbelief, or falsely held beliefs that we continue to cling to that get in the way of further light and knowledge. While fear can and does affect us, we can’t assume those on a different path are under its influence.

  5. I have three thoughts here:

    On answers from the Lord:

    God honors agency more than we think He does. If we are unwilling to receive an answer, then He will give us answers we are willing to receive. He will give us the lesser answer. It may be a “good” answer, but may not be the best. We should always be willing to accept ANY answer and not put conditions on the Lord. We can use scripture and prophets as guidelines, but remember that exegesis is never perfect and eisegesis is the only way we can really get the truth of a heavenly message in totality. That means asking for the Lord to interpret, get the context, and deliver it to us unvarnished.

    On “false prophets,”

    What we call a false prophet is an over-interpretation of the warning about false prophets. What the scriptures warn of are people who are prophesying to “feed off the flock.” Anyone who is bolsting their wallet, their prestige, their image, the legacy, their institutional successes, their ego, by appearing as a prophet . . . is what is being warned about here. This is more directed to popish prophets than the guy on the street corner, internet lecturer, or blogger prophet, who are simply out to share ideas or deliver a message. Wool suits are often sheep’s clothing.

    Besides, the warning is to beware, not to ignore. The best approach is to consider the sincere and earnest message deliverer, take it to the Lord, and then give heed if true. This is a message-specific instruction, not a answer relating to bona fides. In a way, while there could be may “false prophets” there are indeed no “true prophets.” Why? All come short of the glory of God. Only Christ is the True Prophet. Every message should be considered on it’s own merit and not used to measure subsequent ones. Any moment, a true prophet can become a false one. Why? D&C 121 gives us the answer.

    On fruits:

    Fruits are what the message does for you, not the behavior of the messenger current or future.

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