Concluding Testimony at my Disciplinary Council

MartinLuther95ThesesI shared my testimony in our regular monthly testimony meeting this morning. I wanted to make sure the Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency present – he’s also in our ward – heard me say I sustain the general authorities and local authorities of the church. Of course these words were in addition to sharing comments reflecting my love of my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

Covering All the Bases

Carol asked me afterward if I did that to offset whoever it was that complained about my blog a few months ago. I assured her I was sincere, but yes, I wanted the whole ward to know of my feelings for those who lead this church. I continue to sustain them with my prayers and with my money. Yes, I know my tithing is used to pay their salary. It also helps pay my sister’s salary.

Follow the Bishop’s Counsel

As far as I know, I’m not under any priesthood leader’s watch list for an impending disciplinary council, but a few of my friends and fellow bloggers have been surprised, so I’m being careful. I’m doing my utmost to follow my Bishop’s counsel to keep my headlines non-inflammatory and to keep links to my posts off Facebook. Those links are apparently where I got in trouble before.

It’s Tough to Be a Bishop

I continue to be appreciative of my Bishop’s opening remarks when he called me to talk the first time a few months back. He said our chats – there were two follow-ups – were motivated out of love. I know I’ve shared this before but I believe him. Our bishop is a good man. I love him and appreciate all he does for our ward. It takes a lot of time to manage the largest ward in the stake.

If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear

Specifically because some of my fellow bloggers were surprised at the rapidity of the course of events surrounding their disciplinary councils, I want to be prepared, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually in case I get surprised. In one case the good brother was notified on Sunday he was to be tried for his membership and was excommunicated 72 hours later on Wednesday evening.

Course of Action Planned in Advance

I’ve written my defense before the High Council in a previous post. Obviously it was imaginary, a defense based on years of observation of disciplinary councils in which I have participated as a High Counselor, a Bishopric Counselor or a clerk. I hope this will never be needed, but in that same spirit, I’d like to have my closing testimony prepared in the event I am allowed to share it.

How I Dislike Disciplinary Councils

In case you don’t know, there’s no guarantee you will get to say anything at your disciplinary council. Seriously. I know what the handbook says. About the only thing they have to let you say is how you answer to the charges – innocent or guilty. Don’t you just hate the whole concept of a disciplinary council? I do. It doesn’t seem right to have such things in the church of Jesus Christ.

Our Decision That You Be Excommunicated

But then, what do I know? I’m just a lowly member, happy to be here, grateful to serve. So with that in mind, and since I use my blog as an auxiliary personal journal, here is what I would like to say if I ever hear the words, “Brother Malone, our decision is that you be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Is there anything you would like to say?”

Shared Desire to Do the Will of the Lord

“Thank you President. I’ll be brief here. Thank you to my brethren of the High Council for their service. And thank you, President, for your thoughtful and prayerful consideration of my case. I know this is painful to you, not because you’re losing a financial clerk, but because I know you are a good man, with a desire to do the will of the Lord. I’m grateful we share that same desire.

Excommunication Difficult on Family Members

“There’s no need to go over the details of my case. The decision has been made and I sustain your action. I suspect the decision was made at a higher level in the church, but that doesn’t matter. I am no longer a member but will continue to attend with my wife for whom I pray night and day. This chain of events has been painful for her and a source of resentment and frustration.

Apostasy – Simply Writing a Few Book Reviews

“I will not be appealing the case. I have never seen it do any good for anyone else. Besides, I have no intention of seeking rebaptism. I was excommunicated for apostasy – for simply reading a book and sharing it with others. I felt led by the Lord in the entire process. I was introduced to the book in the temple. I prayed about the book in the temple and was answered in the temple.

My Issue is With Interpreting Church History

“The book has changed my life. It clarified for me many things I already suspected or believed. I know my path is not for everyone. There are fundamental differences in the way we look at the church. I suspect it will always be so. This is not a personal issue with you, your leadership, or anyone in this room. My issue is with the Brethren in Salt Lake, always has been and will be.

The Priesthood Was Taken From Israel

“I will continue to pray for them, but am no longer allowed to sustain them, meaning they will not accept my tithing. It won’t be missed. I will continue to love them. They are good men who have taught and inspired me. They have done a good job in leading this church. You may think me deceived and naïve, but I feel sorry for them. They are stuck. They cannot escape the past.

Gentiles Shall Reject Fullness of the Gospel

“I don’t want to offend anybody so I won’t say anything more. My reasons are on my blog and will be amplified with greater clarity now that I am free to share more openly. I hope you won’t consider my blog to be anti-Mormon because it’s not. I am not an enemy of this church. I love the church and pray for its success, but believe things about the church that are no longer taught.

Prophecy and Traditional Narrative Differ

“For the record, I refute the charges that I do not sustain the Brethren. Perhaps it’s semantics. I simply disagree with some of their interpretations of history and scripture. I’ve been told I need to repent until my thinking is in line with what the Brethren teach about those certain events in our history. I appreciate the invitation. I know it’s offered with love and concern for my welfare.

Testimony of Church History Not Required

“I’ll conclude with words I wrote privately to a long-time reader who was troubled by my blog: Thank you for your love and concern. My mind is made up. I choose to believe things about our history that are not taught in our church or are taught in a manner that leaves out key elements. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to have a testimony of church history to come unto Christ.

The Purging of the Two Percent

“Let’s focus on what is important – to know Christ. I love this church for the renewed focus we have on the Savior. I have watched it happen in my lifetime. I pray that priesthood leaders will leave good men alone who are striving to come unto Christ but don’t believe some of the history. But recent evidence shared with me privately indicates the purge of men like me is accelerating.

The Truth Will Set You Free

If the church continues on this path, they will alienate and lose the strength and backbone of the priesthood brethren who faithfully pay tithes and administer in wards and stakes in the church. Can the church afford that? Perhaps – perhaps not. God bless us each in our pursuit of the truth. It is the truth that sets us free. When I finally accepted the truth of our history, I indeed felt free.”

This Could Never Possibly Happen

I don’t want to end on a negative note. Other than the interviews with my Bishop and the private correspondence with several bloggers who have recently been excommunicated for apostasy, this is all speculation and supposition. You may say it’s a product of my imagination. “You’ve been under a lot of stress, Tim. Nobody at Church headquarters even knows or cares about your blog.”

Strengthening Church Members Committee

That may be true. I hope the book reviews I write on my blog and what I choose to believe about the contents of those books has nothing to do with the status of my temple worthiness or church membership. Recent evidence from others is contrary. The SCMC is real. They really do determine that certain authors and bloggers are a threat to the church and need to be disciplined. It happens.

We Pay People to Read Member’s Blogs

God bless us all to stay in the good graces of the members of the Strengthening the Church Members Committee. I know I have communicated with a few of them. One is a Facebook friend and a blog follower. He is also a church employee. I have lots of church employees who are friends and read my blog, but this individual is vehemently opposed and vociferous in his opposing comments.

Lo Que Será, Será

I served my mission in Central America. They never used this phrase, but I like to use it. It fits in this case. I do all I can to follow what I believe is the will of the Lord. I know there are consequences of being misunderstood. After I have done all I can to make things clear to those who want to know the truth, all I can do is wait. I used to mock sites that said they had the truth of church history. Now…

As Always, Comments Open

What do you think? Is it possible the church is on the lookout for bloggers like me who write about church history in a way that differs from the standard narrative? Is it possible the church is out to squelch opposing viewpoints from among their own members? Am I a wolf in sheep’s clothing? My patriarchal blessing warns me about such individuals. Do you find my blog offensive? I’d love to read your views.

145 thoughts on “Concluding Testimony at my Disciplinary Council”

  1. Sister Friend

    I love your blog, Bro. Malone….you are searching for Truth…you are exposing things going on in the Church that need to come to light. No one should be afraid of the Truth…we need modern day Martin Luthers.
    I must say I love Pres. Monson, and loved him when he was in two different Presidencies…and I sustain him…he appears to be a kind man, giving much service to the Church…I’ve always enjoyed his stories; however, since he has been called to be the Prophet, whenever he speaks, I feel that he looks worried and afraid. Am I the only one who has noticed this?

    1. Worried and afraid maybe what is going on there. I had not thought of that. I always thought he looks like the devil incarnate, personally.

  2. It is sad things in the Church has come to this. I know most of those men are good men and try to do the right thing. I have to ask though, where is their conviction of right and wrong when they get orders form above that does not conform with prescribed policy or even scripture.

    I wonder how they sleep at night knowing they are men of no courage and if they have any admiration to those they are Ex’ing for their held convictions.

    I did not get Disciplinary Council in my case. Only a letter telling I had 30 days to change my mind. I had only asked for Council to see if we could not come to a meeting of the minds. I don’t think we ever would have.

    I have since been re-baptized, mostly I think for the sake of my children. I am not really sure any more. I don’t think the Lord pays much attention to these sort of things other than to hold those in charge accountable for their doings the same as He does ours.

    It is interesting how far afield the GA have gone and how it has spread to low level troops and the general feeling or belief the president is a prophet and he actually does speak and talk with God and whatever he says or does must be acceptable to God. Pretty much like the Pope. I guess we have our own Pope now. We can go and ask for forgiveness and all and get it from them, if we kiss their ring enough times, or is it their a**.

    In the end, I had forgotten this when I had issues with the leaders, is just whose church is it anyway? I know believe as you do it is Christ’s and he can well do with it as He wants. I in turn believe the sheeple are getting just what they want, just enough to feel warm and fuzzy and a wee bit puffed up as being the “Only True Church of Christ”.

    I also find it so disheartening to try to teach them, just a wee bit and they have no ears to hear in the least.The scriptures mean nothing to them. I don’t know why they even carry them to class.

    Keep up the good work.

    Oh ya, about your alter in the home. How is that going. I think I read where your alter is your bed. Did you get an official one now and are you not getting any flack from that? You do know that is an ex’ing offense don’t you, for even talking about doing it.

    1. Hi Haggard Ryder: Another thing to consider. I sat in a priesthood leadership meeting once where the doctrine was taught by the visiting General Authority that the local Stake President was the prophet to the local saints. He had previously mentioned – mainly in passing – that if the stake were cut off from communications with SLC due to natural disaster – extended or even short duration – we were to do everything the stake president asked us to do as if it were from the mouth of the Lord.

      I remember how emphatically he emphasized the local stake president is as the prophet to us and our safety depended on doing exactly as he said if we wanted to save our lives. “OK,” I said to myself, “if it comes to an extended emergency, and our stake president gives us some counsel, I will consider it just as do the counsel from the prophet and the other General Authorities. I will pray about it.” I know such thinking is frowned upon. The correct answer is supposed to be: “I will do as he directs because I know he has the keys of the kingdom for our stake.”

      Note to anyone who thinks I’m talking about my current stake: I’m not. This happened a long time ago in a stake far, far away.

      Oh, about that altar. I have exercised the true order of prayer three times in my home now. Twice by myself and once with my wife. Yes, my bed is still my altar, and I don’t think the Lord has any problems with that. That is to say, the prayers have been more powerful and have been answered quicker than they are if I pray on the other side of the bed. Go figure. I can’t explain it. Seems mysterious, doesn’t it?

      And I wonder about your point that one can be disciplined for even talking or writing about an altar or the true order of prayer. I wonder about that. There are so many sources available online – and these are semi-official sources such as early Pioneer journals – that I no longer think the church has an issue with endowed members participating in the true order of prayer in the home. The 1978 letter from the First Presidency counseled against (forbid?) prayer circles outside the temple. I can always plead ignorance saying, “Then why are we taught the true order of prayer if we can’t use it in our own homes?”

      For anyone who is offended by this dialog – please don’t be. I treat it with the utmost of respect. I only use the TOoP on sacred occasions when I feel the Lord prompting me to do so. As I said – so far, only three times since I got the courage up to start the private practice. I hold it sacred and will continue to do so. Questions? Call or email me.

  3. How many people have been excommunicated for their blogs? I realize that many of these may want to remain anonymous. But who are those who would allow their names to be made public? Also, can a member facing excommunication simply resign? My limited understanding is that somewhat who has resigned would have more rights in the church than someone who was excommunicated. i.e. non-members can bear their testimonies of Christ, participate in class discussions, etc.

    1. Hi Tom. Interesting point about the differences between those who resign and those who are excommunicated. Makes we want to go look it up in the handbook. I will never resign. They’ll have to kick me out. So can a member who resigns continue to bear testimonies in class or from the pulpit and can they participate in classroom discussion? I simply don’t know the answer to that although I feel like I should. Logic dictates they are to be considered as any other individual not baptized as a member of the church. Then why can’t a former member who has been excommunicated speak up in class or bear testimony of Christ?

      Update: A member facing excommunication can try to simply resign but the handbook instructions are for the local priesthood leaders to hold a disciplinary council when a transgression is known.

      By the way, I’ve noted it in a previous post, and I think most people know, but for those who don’t, a disciplinary council is mandatory in cases of apostasy, which is defined as members who A) repeatedly act in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the church or its leaders. B) persist in teaching as church doctrine information that is not church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority. C) Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority. D) Formally join another church.

  4. Nonrandom Set

    Hi Tim,

    I’ve been following your blog since before you started writing about Denver Snuffer. Since you asked for feedback, I’ll share that I don’t find your blog offensive. I’ve always thought you had the best intentions and were sincerely seeking truth. Of course, I don’t always agree…

    I don’t want anyone to be excommunicated for sincerely seeking the truth, but I do understand why church leaders would be concerned about those who are teaching things that could be destructive to faith, and especially those things that are specifically against our doctrine. I believe they also have good intentions. I also believe there is a difference between seeking (and finding) truth versus publishing those things, especially where they question priesthood authority.

    But am I right in concluding that your stance has changed since you wrote your defense last August? In that you said you would give up blogging about Denver Snuffer, or even take your blog down, but from this post doesn’t seem like you would still be willing to do so. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    I hope you never have to deliver your concluding testimony. That said, it does make me wonder if you have gone so far as to write a defense and concluding testimony, have you considered making changes so that it doesn’t come to that? And I ask this in all sincerity: if you sustain the church leaders, would you not consider their counsel regarding these teachings? Please read that as asked with honest curiosity. I’m just thinking about all the many non-doctrinal beliefs I have, and wondering if there are any I hold so strongly that I would rather be excommunicated than to continue expressing them publicly. I can’t really think of one at the moment, even some that I hold quite sacred. Obviously, that’s just me and not you – but I’m curious.

    So anyway, in answer to your questions, I don’t find your blog offensive, I don’t think you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I don’t think the church is on the lookout for those with differing opinions of the standard narrative of church history. I would imagine, however, that they are on the lookout for public refutations of priesthood authority or other teachings against basic doctrine (and I think there’s a big distinction there between a differing opinion about church history and a public refutation of foundational doctrine). I also don’t think the church has any interest in squelching anyone’s opinions, but they have an obvious interest in squelching any teaching against doctrine.

    1. marginalizedmormon

      things that could be destructive to faith, and especially those things that are specifically against our doctrine. I believe they also have good intentions.

      The above quote is from nonrandom set; I just wanted to respond; I hope that is all right. I am nobody. 🙂 Just a Mormon who has been marginalized (but not excommunicated; I even hold a current TR)–

      The problem, as I see it, though I could be wrong, is definitions. What is meant by ‘destructive’ and ‘faith’? Sometimes wrongful beliefs have to go before right beliefs can replace them; I have seen this in my life, but it would be hard to define it to anyone else. I had to get rid of erroneous patterns of thinking and behavior in order to see truth in things in which I had not previously not seen truth and error in things in which I had not previously seen error. I had to be deconstructed. It was a personal thing; the Book of Mormon did most of it for me (bless that book!)–
      faith–means so many different things. I see it as faith in God. ANYthing that builds faith in God should never be denied.
      doctrine–sadly, as I have learned, the ‘doctrine’ of the LDS church is not standardized or unified; it’s not written as “THIS is the doctrine” anywhere; it’s found in scriptures, true, and somewhat in some talks by some past and present leaders, but it’s all up for debate; not everyone agrees about what it is.
      We do know what Christ’s doctrine is; it is found in 3 Nephi, and that is not something over which people are being excommunicated.

      This is why the idea of sending people away because of their beliefs was abhorrent to Joseph Smith and why it is now something that is or should be a serious concern to honest latter day Saints–

      1. marginalizedmormon

        oh, and yes, very much do those men who lead the LDS church have good intentions; I don’t think anyone can doubt that.

        There have been times, however, when I have had the best of intentions and still hurt someone else. And had to repent.

  5. Dang, Tim. I wish you had written that statement before I got excommunicated! I would have preferred saying that rather than what I actually said!

    Oh, well.

    Thank you for clarifying the issues so perfectly!

    1. marginalizedmormon

      Good Will,

      I just read your essay about not appealing–


      I just want you to know that you are being read (and prayed for, not because you are ‘bad’, but because what happened to you WAS violent!)–

      I can’t respond on there, so I’m glad you are coming on here, so I can tell you that I hope you can find healing.

      Spiritual violence. Yes. I’ve heard ecclesiastical abuse, too–

      1. I met Will – along with a few other bloggers – and three of his wonderful children at dinner the other night. He is one of the most delightful and open-minded individuals I have ever met. We enjoyed several hours of conversation about a serious subject, yet there was plenty of laughter and smiles all around, including from Will, who had just been “cut loose” by the church, or at least by the local priesthood leaders.

        If Will is an example of the kind of people this church is willing to excommunicate for reading books and writing intelligent and witty commentary on their blog, then our church is in grave peril. We are losing some of the best and most likable people who are advocates for families – something the church promotes heavily. Is there only one specific mold into which we must now fit? This is crazy. Here’s Will latest:

      2. Is there only one specific mold into which we must now fit? This is crazy.

        Well, how about “should” instead of “must”? It all depends on what your ideal is.

        3 Nephi 27:27
        27 Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.

        John 14:10
        10 [T]he words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me….

        John 8:29
        29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

        3 Nephi 12:16
        16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

        3 Nephi 18:24
        24 Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do.

        John 14:12
        12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

        Mosiah 15
        1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

        2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

        3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

        4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

        5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

        6 And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

        7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

        JST, Luke 6:29
        29 And unto him who smiteth thee on the cheek, offer also the other; or, in other words, it is better to offer the other, than to revile again.

  6. Tim, I love your blog. I’ve read for a while, but only began posting comments recently. Mostly because I have been in my own transition and uncertain where that path would lead. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. I started reading DS a couple years ago. The Second Comforter took me months to complete. It took so much pondering. It was life-changing. I started onto his blog shortly after that time, and within a few months some other blogs, such as yours. It has been inspirational and validating personally, to literally watch another’s views shift in the same direction as mine have.

    I can see why some might say you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I know some people, who upon learning of DS’ excommunication, have abandoned any further interest in his writings. I’ve been warned to stay away from him and any who believe as he does. I’ve been quoted scriptures about even the very elect being deceived. I think that’s why I’ve been so slow and cautious. I have not wanted to be deceived. Yet, there is no denying the way I feel, and what the Spirit has witnessed. I’ve been quoted up and down about false prophets and the wolf in sheep’s clothing (as you mentioned.) A concerned family member, gave me some wise counsel. “Just make sure you are spending as much time in the scriptures as you do from these other sources. That will keep you grounded.” A couple weeks later another dear friend told me the same thing. Funny thing is, the more time I spend in the scriptures, the more clearly I see. The greater the witness grows, and the degree of not turning back widens. Turns out to be the best advice I’ve had or could recommend to anyone else.

    No, Tim, you are not offensive. Your openness and honesty are refreshing. Your approach is considerate and thought provoking. Recently, the Spirit asked me if I would be willing to give up my membership in the Church for the Lord. I said the Lord wouldn’t require that, but was reminded that He will wrench our very heartstrings.

    I don’t know what things will come to, but I know the last 2 weeks have been my most difficult Sundays in Church. Last week in Sunday School, was the lesson “Look to God and Live” with Moses and the brass serpent; somewhere in the lesson, the serpent (Savior) was turned into the prophet it became “Follow the Prophet” and never go astray. This week it was about Balaam and Balak. And it was utter confusion that this Balaam was a prophet. “I thought Moses was the prophet”, one class member said. It was interesting hearing that one explained away. I have a very busy pre-nursery-age child who makes it very hard to make comments sometimes, but am feeling lately a greater need to bear witness. I have felt impressed that my silence may be regarded as fearing men rather than God, and that I may be regarded (in the heavens) as being ashamed of my testimony of Christ. I may not be able to remain silent any longer.

    God bless you. My favorite quote from scripture is “by their fruits ye shall know them”, and you have some good fruit!

    1. Shylohw, you wrote “Recently, the Spirit asked me if I would be willing to give up my membership in the Church for the Lord.” This has more-or-less happened to me on several occasions. Each time the Lord has provided a “ram in the thicket.” I continue to trust in Him regardless of what the future brings.

    2. marginalizedmormon

      am there; doing that. Been told by the Lord to ‘stay in the church and keep quiet’–

      It’s very hard.

      1. In response to Tom and Marginalized Mormon: I have asked that same question of the Lord: “Would you be willing to give up your membership in the church if you KNEW it was asked of you by the Lord – in other words, you were certain the request came from the Lord and not from your own mind or from the adversary?” I said yes. The spirit then said, “It may come to that, but for now, do your best to stay in the church and be a righteous influence – focus on coming unto Christ.

        I asked if I could still use my blog to strengthen others and share my journey on the road to seek an audience with the Savior. The answer was a resounding yes. By the way, that was the subject of my first use of the true order of prayer. I felt very strongly this was something I needed to know. I was overwhelmed with emotion when the answer came in the affirmative. It was undeniable, powerful and comforting.

    3. Hi Shylohw – Regarding your comment about Balaam, a prophet, being contemporary with Moses and this causing confusion in your Sunday school class – Anyone in the church who has managed to make it 4 verses into the first chapter of the Book of Mormon should encounter another big mystery:

      “For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.”

      It speaks of “prophets” in the plural who came in that same year! These prophets were contemporary with Jeremiah.

      “…behold, the Spirit of the Lord ceaseth soon to strive with them; for behold, they have rejected the prophets, and Jeremiah have they cast into prison. And they have sought to take away the life of my father, insomuch that they have driven him out of the land.” (1 Nep 7:14)

      Doesn’t this cause anyone to pause and think? Our current idea in the church about a prophet is incompatible with the Book of Mormon. How is it that we can have it so wrong? There is no scriptural basis for our current idea about a prophet.

      1. Ryan, It’s so true! The scriptural accounts are so vastly different from our current understandings. Thanks for bringing that one up. Especially since 1st Nephi is probably the most commonly and often read book in our entire canon. But, really, our scriptures are full of these type of scenarios. It’s sad. We’ve become so complacent. I honestly feel we as a church are still under condemnation for not taking the BOM seriously enough as Ezra Taft Benson said.

    4. First of all, thank you for sharing your thoughts with those of us who care. It helps to know we are not alone.

      I feel strongly we ARE being watched…whatever that may entail. My husband and I were called into the stake president’s office and asked how things were going…blah, blah, blah…then asked if we had been reading a certain book, which the president pulled out of his desk. When we said no, he said that the book had caused him more grief in our stake than we could imagine and was glad we hadn’t read it. Well, after that…we got the book and read it. We really don’t know why it has caused so much trouble, but his hostility toward it gave us the desire to know what was so bad. (Does this make us bad?) Anyway, the book is entitled “The Four Agreements.” It is a nice little read.

      By the way…we were ready to leave the church, but after reading Denver’s books, especially “Passing the Heavenly Gift”, have decided to stay and show love and compassion. If they decide to get rid of us, so be it. There could be worse things than beings ex’d. The Savior could tell us He does not know us.

      Thank you for your blog. And…you have “some good fruit.”

  7. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog! I feel that I am on a similar path, searching for answers to those nagging questions I have had for years. I read a few other blogs as well, of a similar nature, but yours is my favorite. I feel love coming from your writing – love for the people you serve and love for your Savior. Thank you for taking the time to write; your words and experiences give me hope.

  8. Oogly Boogly

    Dear Brother Tim, I read your post yesterday and it caused me to have a restless nights sleep.
    We are admonished to read and reread the Book of Mormon by our leaders and yet if we do so, gradually our lives will begin to parallel aspects of it.

    Do we really begin to arise and awaken to the simple reality that we are all Alma’s ? I definitely see this in your blogs. He was a part of the pride of the church and priesthood. He raised his son Alma to be full of that powerful pride as well. Maybe his wife/ves were engulfed in it as well.

    Maybe you won’t have that peace of having a Christlike life until you experience the rejection Abinadi did through your own excommunication court. Or maybe you will turn from it all as Alma did.

    Alma the Younger was raised with church and societal privileges so it took an angel to turn him around.

    Either way you are truly converting to Christs ways the redeem you on both sides of the veil and that is better than remaining in Christs church on earth.

    The elite of the church will be lead out in the last days. Some will be lead out by Satan perhaps but many will be lead out by the Saviour and that is a good thing despite what we’ve been raised to assume.

    It is not my intent to sound preachy, perhaps that is the Abinadi within me.

    I definitely want to commend you for knowing the church allows unchecked and unjust excommunications. Think of all the members who blindly believe that anyone exed ” deserved what they got because the leaders act on behalf of Christ”. Can you recall ever thinking that way to a degree? Remorsefully, painfully, and miserably, I can recall when I thought that way.

    I appreciate your blog because you give me a voice. I choose to not blog just so I don’t give the King Noah’s any satisfaction. LOL. Who knows when, but their reign may end sooner than later.

    Have a great day and keep us posted.

    1. marginalizedmormon

      it was reading and reading and reading the Book of Mormon, together, and talking about it–
      just the two of us–
      that led my husband and me to our questions and struggles with the ‘church’. I know those talks in which apostles (usually presidents of the church) admonished to read and read the Book of Mormon were inspired.
      So, where do we go from here? (completely rhetorical question)

      Just wanted you to know that my husband and I are in the same boat.

      But we are trying to be wise as serpents, harmless as doves, even though that is not in the Book of Mormon. 🙂

  9. Russell Anderson

    I assume that the excommunication of other blogs are reported online. Can you give us links to those reports?

  10. marginalizedmormon

    There is absolutely nothing offensive in your blog; nothing at all.

    I believe that if more church members were politically awake (seeing the fallacy in the left/right paradigm)–

    this might not be happening so easily.

    It was in eastern bloc communist countries in Europe, especially, where neighbors could relate suspicions about neighbors and be remunerated.

    People lived in fear; it was a nightmare.

    This can happen in and to any culture. The straight fact is that those who ‘report’ others for what they think is misbehavior are really the backbiters.

    Something God doesn’t like very much.

    So, if it’s happening now and being called something it isn’t, members who are aware of it need to try, somehow, to seek protection from the Lord. Not much else that can be done.

    I know it’s happening in my ward for very silly things. (“Sister _____ isn’t dressing modestly”, etc.)

  11. Dear Brother Tim,

    I perceive from following your recent posts that your journey has come into perfect focus. When it is time to lay it all upon the alter … it is time! Brother Gileadi brought to my understanding the need to descend to bring about ascension to higher spirituality. By no other means can we comprehend, even slightly, our Savior’s condescension for us.

    Yesterday, a wonderful, elderly Brother reminded me with his testimony of this important truth and purpose for our mortal journey. It took great effort for him to get to the pulpit from his seat, clutching each row to steady himself from failing strength. He recounted having a good life, yet suffering with many trials throughout. He said he considered his trials a privilege to bear knowing his Savior and Friend descended below them all. What a humble and sublime witness of truth and how grateful am I to have been there to learn from Him.

    You have my full support and eternal friendship as your journey unfolds. I will need your friendship to make it through mine.

    Look upon Him, and live!

  12. Tim, do you feel like being excommunicated is the Lord’s will for you at this time? Have you prayed about it? If so, would you care to elaborate on the Lord’s response?

    1. JMHiatt: I don’t want to be excommunicated. I am trying to not get excommunicated. I am trying to do what my bishop asked me to do. It would be a very painful experience for my wife if I were to be cast out from the church. She would blame Denver Snuffer. Read Lynn’s insightful and perceptive description below of what happened to him.

      I said I have three more posts to write. Yes, they could cause me to lose my temple recommend and eventually my membership. I am going to the temple this Friday as part of our quarterly stake temple night. I look forward to the chapel sessions with the Stake Presidency and Temple Presidency. I pray to God it won’t be my last visit there.

      But I have prepared myself in all ways I can think of in case I am disciplined for reading and writing about a book – PtHG. I have gone through hell this past year. I am almost completely healed now. I still suffer from the headaches, but they are under control with medication. I only share this because some readers have asked in private emails.

      I don’t seem to have time to answer the private emails anymore. I’ve given my cell phone out to anyone who wants to chat: 818-257-0513. If I am cast out, I will administer the sacrament in my own home. If I am cast out I will continue to exercise the priesthood in my own home. If I am excommunicated I will continue to pray in the True Order of Prayer.

      What? You say I can’t do those things if I’m excommunicated? Oh, well, what can the church do at that point? I will not admit to apostasy. I will not seek repentance for something that is not a sin – seeking Christ. I will continue to seek Christ. I will do whatever he asks me to do until the veil is parted and I embrace my Savior as He has promised I can.

      Have I prayed about this? Yes, I pray about it every morning, noon and night. I hunger and thirst after this – not being excommunicated but receiving the Lord. I want this with all my heart. I have conversed with the Lord through the veil. I’ll leave it up to you to decipher that. He has answered me. He walks with me each day. And I know He loves me.

  13. Lynn Bernhard

    Tim, GOD bless you. Many people benefit from your loving approach and blogging efforts. You may embark on a journey that will break your heart in ways never imagined. I said “I sustain” but don’t believe certain things that are being taught. The Stake President took my recommend. It has been a month and the word is getting out in the Ward. I sit in the testimony meetings and my wife cries and mourns her loss when loving TBM husbands testify of their wife’s love or children’s innocence. She cries in Gospel Doctrine when the discussion if following the prophet and “criticizing” the brethren is discussed. In my wife’s mind she sees that all is lost with no promise of celestial life, eternal marriage, no father for her children, all is lost since GOD’s oracle on earth has damned me to hell for my unbelief. Fellow Saints console her openly and cast sideways glances towards me grimacing. Priesthood leaders currently counsel together to strategize damage control ideas, or how to protect the flock and my family from me or my influence. The Relief Society is bringing funeral meals. What an experience. You’ll begin to question your decision and witness of truth you have discovered. I’m not sure if you have kids in the home, if not it may be a little easier. I have 3 in the home and one missionary out now serving, and it is hurting them. I am learning lessons from GOD that I would have never learned if I had remained in the dark. I’ll pray for you. lb

    1. Lynn, I can’t believe what I just read. And yet your heart is turned outward. You say you’ll pray for me. I am not ashamed to confess I am weeping for you right now. I am weeping for Zion because you are seeking it, are willing to do whatever is required to obtain it and are castigated by those who should be your friends for your devotion to God. I can only imagine what it would be like to be disciplined for seeking to come unto Christ, but you have given me a pretty good idea.

      To the individual who asked me if there was a rash of disciplinary actions going on right now toward those who are seeking to be a part of Zion, I hope what you’ve read in these comments has answered your question. You have been provided at least two links of individuals who have been excommunicated and several detailed accounts of those who are currently being disciplined for apostasy. Maybe two is not a rash, but if what I have seen as I have prayed about it is any indication, it will become an epidemic, not just a rash.

      God bless you Lynn. You have my prayers for your peace and comfort.

    2. Hi again Lynn. Of all the comments on this post so far, yours continues to be in my heart and mind and prayers. I would like to chat with you more about what has happened to you and what you are going through. I’ve left my cell phone number in a message on your work and cell phone but I would like to leave it for you here as well. Please give me a call. Thanks. Tim Malone. 818-257-0513. God bless.

      1. For those who might be interested, Lynn and I spoke for nearly an hour last night about the experience he described above. I asked his permission to share a few more things from our discussion related to the way the General Authorities have been teaching us about how we should be responding to those among us who have questions or concerns and the reality of how priesthood leaders are freaked out whenever someone says, “Well, I’m not sure I believe or understand that yet. Will you teach me a little more about that?” And what is the response of the Stake President? “Let me have your recommend.” It’s as if he’s saying, “You go to the corner and sit for awhile until you can get your thinking in line with mine.” More to come in the next essay…

    3. I am so sorry, Lynn. What a tragic story. Why are we not more gentle with each other? What purpose does it serve to be so “right” when we treat each other so wrong? Love and prayers and best wishes for you and your family…

  14. I appreciate your blog so very much, Tim. I am grateful that you began it years ago and that I found it last year. I have been given a taste of what it means to yearn for Christ’s Face and Presence. Just a taste. And I’m longing for more.

    I admit I am troubled by what I am seeing happening to members of the LDS Church who simply and honestly communicate their thoughts and experiences. I’m trying to understand. That the Lord has admonished His Church to be watchful and to be mindful who is in His Church (see Alma 26 for starters) I understand. But I don’t quite understand the standard that is being applied. It is a mess, in my opinion. Nothing from what I’ve read, either on your blog or elsewhere, from individuals subjected to disciplinary councils suggests any similarity to what Alma was having to contend with in the above reference I’ve given. What am I not comprehending?

    And the Brethren…I’ve always looked up to them and believed they have hearkened to the Lord in all their decisions. I still want to. However, I fear I have not done my due diligence in seeking the Lord’s Will and confirmation on many a matter as I ought to have. Now I am being tutored. But why should members like me and you be afraid of our Brothers? I thought we are supposed to fear the Lord, not man? And that is not even the correct context of fear. The Lord wants our hearts filled with love and awe, not a people lacking courage to look Him in the eyes.

    So many thoughts. So many emotions. The more I See, the more I Hurt. These are my people. I love them ever so much. I weep for my People. I weep for the contention I see. I weep for the needless division. I weep for the silence of the leaders. The Lord is speaking, but who is really listening? What if we each say He is speaking to me and this is what He told me, what then?

    1. Tom. I read the chapter. It had been awhile. So a prophet lied and a prophet died, yet his word was fulfilled. What are we to learn from this?

      1. When we are given an errand from the Lord, we must not allow anyone to change our course including a prophet. * * * Years ago, I set a goal for myself to read the Book of Mormon in Hebrew. I then found out that the LDS Church does not currently offer one due to ultra-sensitive agreements with the Israeli government over the BYU Jerusalem Center. So I then set a quixotic goal to make my own translation and offer it in pdf form on one of my webpages with full disclaimers that it was my own translation and is not endorsed by the LDS Church. (There are compelling scriptural imperatives for offering the Book of Mormon to the Jews). At the onset, I prayerful sought the permission of the Lord regarding this project. His answer as far as my imperfect soul could discern was a faint “It is up to you.” So I began the project, posting the ongoing, partial translation on one of my webpages. Then in April 2012, I received a rather irate phone call from a COB non-GA Director of Scriptures or some such committee who claimed to be acting under the direction of Elder Cook. He told me that I must cease and desist. If the LDS Church could not publish a Hebrew Book of Mormon, then surely I could not offer one either. I was unable to get in a work edgewise and finally hung up on him. But I felt that I was in jeopardy of excommunication. I then determined to prayerfully seek the will of the Lord regarding the continuation of the project. I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood to ponder the matter. No sooner had I left my home, then I received a powerful witness from the Holy Ghost that I was to carry on this work. This was both reassuring and troubling, because I was now faced with a dilemma that I could either obey the Holy Ghost or Elder Cook. I could not deny the Holy Ghost, but the alternative was possible excommunication. So I then tried to contact Elder Cook directly to discuss the matter (which is a violation of Church policy by the way). I was able to talk with two of Elder Cook’s secretaries. (Tim, was one of these possibly your sister?) One of the secretaries adamantly insisted that Elder Cook had nothing to do with the COB director’s phone call. She eventually relayed a message from Elder Cook to “Tell Brother Irvine to be at peace.” This was neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of my project. But it was a reasonable assurance that I would not face excommunication. A year or so later I was sitting in dentist office waiting room and saw a Bible on a table. I prayerfully told the Lord that I was going to open the Bible to some “arbitrary” page and asked Him to give me a personal message accordingly. I fully expected some verse about love thy neighbor, forgive thy enemy, etc. Instead, the Lord showed me 1 Kings 13. I realized that this was a stern warning from the Lord that I must never let anyone turn me away from this project. * * * I have never called the Church to repentance for omitting the scriptural imperative to take the Book of Mormon to the Jews. I have never traveled up and down the Wasatch Front giving seminars. I have never published hardcopy books. But I remain vigilant toward any accounts of Church discipline upon authors, bloggers, etc. * * * I have two other stories about brushes with Church discipline, but I will save these for another day.

      2. Tom: My sister was Elder Cook’s secretary for four years ending in 2005 before he was an apostle so it’s been nearly nine years. His assignment at the time was to oversee the Missionary Department.

      3. Tom, when reading this, I couldn’t help thinking about the visions Nephi saw. He was commanded to record some things. He was also commanded NOT to record some things. (1 Nephi 14) In verse 26, we learn that there are several other people who have responsibilities in availing the Lord’s work.

        That’s just it. It’s the Lord’s work. It’s a “wise purpose in Him.” He can decide that any one of us is responsible to do something. Nephi didn’t have a problem if the Lord wanted another person to write the things he saw. If the Lord wants you to pursue this project, by all means, follow it. I think there is some serious testing for a lot of folks going on right now. The Lord, and the Lord alone are we accountable to. We answer to Him only. If He commands, it is right no matter what any one else thinks, no matter what was previously said, and no matter the (earthly) cost. Anything lost in mortality will surely be recompensed in the eternities.

        God bless in your endeavor.

  15. Brother Tim,

    The scriptures teach that we shouldn’t judge one another, but they also teach that we need to make righteous judgments.

    A case in point, if I owned a grocery store I would be willing to hire individuals who had problems. Ex-convicts, alcoholics, and etc. However, I would be careful in the responsibilities I gave them. For example, I wouldn’t hire an alcoholic to be in charge of the liquor department, even if she had been clean for 20 years.

    I think most people would agree with this reasoning. If not, I will bring up another example that brings the point closer to home. If I were Bishop and a repentant member of my ward had served time for molesting a child I certainly wouldn’t call him to serve in the primary where my 5 year old daughter attended.

    Now, take this line of reasoning and ask yourself if you would allow your son or daughter, who is planning a mission, to be taught by Denver Snuffer using Passing the Heavenly Gift. Would you invite Denver into your home and allow him to teach your children those things he was excommunicated for?

    Tim, I know you think Denver is a great guy and you value his teachings, but would you allow him in your home to teach your missionary minded son or daughter those things he presented in PTHG?

    I’m anxious to hear your response and line of reasoning.

    Thanks in advance for whatever you decide to write.

    1. Jared, is it the case that you believe Snuffer’s excommunication was just and in full accordance with the will of the Lord? If you believe so, or, even better, have direct revelatory knowledge that the Lord directed Snuffer to be excommunicated, then please explain your evidentiary knowledge.

      Also, Jared, is it the case that you have not read PTHG?

    2. I would certainly invite Denver into my home to teach my children who were nearing missionary age (a couple years away still). Since, sadly, your hypothetical isn’t likely to be possible, I’ll have to be content with making it available for them to read and for us to discuss.

      You asked Tim for reasons–I’ll offer my own:

      1. Why not?

      2. Because Denver preaches of Christ, testifies of Christ, testifies that we need to–and can be–personally reconciled with Christ

      3. To inoculate them against unpleasant historical truths that investigators might present them with (either honestly or by sandbagging them)

      4. To equip them to be able to assist the inactive, the offended, and the disaffected among us

      5. To strengthen their testimonies of Joseph Smith’s divine calling

      6. To strengthen their testimonies of the Book of Mormon, the writers of which truly were shown our days by the Lord

      7. So they can recognize that All is Not Well in Zion and not be lulled into a false sense of security and be carried away captive down to hell by the devil

      8. To keep them from innocently perpetuating false folk doctrines

      9. So that they understand that one need not reject Christ’s gospel, or his Church, in spite of the follies of those in the Church, past, present or future

      10. So they can appreciate D&C 121 and the proper uses and limits of authority and priesthood power

      I’m sure there are more good reasons. Those are just the first ten that come to mind.

      Before Salt Lake put out its ecclesiastical hit on Denver there is a good reason, I believe, that his calling was to teach the priest-age young men who were preparing for missions.

    3. Jared, I’m not sure you’re going to like my response. First, the real-world answer which may be too much information. My son left the church at age 16 – half his lifetime ago. Why did he leave? Two reasons: one, he was the odd man out – from a different school district as all the other kids, not a scholar, not a jock, but a computer nerd like his dad. Second, when he was finally befriended, it was by the son of the Relief Society President, who introduced him to skipping seminary to smoke marijuana before school and drink alcohol after school.

      OK, now that I’ve got that off my chest…Yes, I would invite Denver into my home. Why? Because everything I’ve read from him and everything I have heard from him has convinced me he knows the Lord, would be a kind, thoughtful and encouraging teacher who would not need feed my son pabulum but instead would challenge him with things that matter and help him understand the real world and how to prepare for it. In other words, Denver would teach him the true history of our church.

      Sorry, I know that’s not what you wanted to read. You see, it’s not that I think Denver is a great guy – after all, I’ve never met him – it’s that I would trust him to teach my son what would be best to help him be a good missionary. My mother gave me a copy of “No Man Knows My History” to read at age seventeen, long before I had decided to serve a mission. I’m glad she did. That way I was prepared when people on my mission asked me things about Joseph Smith that were not found in the standard “rainbow” missionary discussions. I love her for that.

      Too many of our young missionaries are going into the mission field naïve because they have been sheltered by their parents as to what they will find out there. What they will find is a world much more educated about our own history than we were because they read it on the Internet. True or false, it’s there and our missionaries should know what others are reading. How well do they understand what happened in Nauvoo? Can you imagine that some of our young missionaries find out about Joseph’s wives from some of the families they are teaching? We are doing a terrible job of inoculating them by overprotecting them.

      I’m willing to continue this dialog if you want to try again or is that enough? I’m not trying to be flippant. It’s late, I’m tired and I’m trying to answer you truthfully. I am not a “Brethrenite,” so it’s possible you and I may never be able to come to an agreement because our basic POV is so foreign to each other. I have tried all my life to fit into the mold this church has been trying to put me into – that if I have a different view or interpretation of a scripture or doctrine than the brethren, then I must be wrong and had better repent, even though I feel strongly that my own interpretations were or are inspired of the Holy Ghost.

      1. Hi Tim-

        You wrote: “I’m not sure you’re going to like my response.” Please don’t think that you need to defend or worry about whether I like your response or not.

        I feel that each of us are free to chose our path. After all, Heavenly Father designed this world so we could make choices, and that is what each of us are doing. Currently, our decision regarding the influence we’re willing to let Denver Snuffer wield in our affairs is a choice that needs to be made.

        Tim, that is the reason I asked the questions above. Based on the answers given, you and some others would allow Denver to have total influence in your home and lives because you trust him.

        I’ll share my perspective on all of this. I do so because I want to influence anyone willing to consider an alternate point of view and not become a snufferite.

        1. There are times when it is best for church members to have milk and not meat (D&C 19:22).

        2. Not all truth is of equal value. Long before I read PTHG I understood that the restoration was part success and part failure. We didn’t establish Zion.

        And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season. D&C 100:13

        The consequence is that we do not have the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit (D&C 70:14). In some ways we are left with crumbles from the table. We’re limping along, we’re being chastened.

        However, the Lord makes it clear that, “I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.” D&C 101:3.

        3. I like many things that Denver wrote in PTHG. Why, because I had already considered much of what he wrote. He filled in some gaps and put into words what I had considered. I would guess 80 to 90% of what he wrote is useful.

        However, I recognize Denver deserved to be excommunicated because he set himself up as a light, a guide, an instructor, a teacher, finding fault with the church and church leaders. It isn’t hard to find fault. We are a church under condemnation, our revelations clearly teach this (D&C 84:55-58),.

        I don’t know if Denver is misguided or a deceiver. But we do know he had the opportunity to avoid excommunication. Church leaders didn’t want to excommunicate him. He had a choice and chose excommunication.

        4. I know all the things Denver knows about the flaws the church and church leaders have, and so do you. That isn’t a big deal. The Lord prepared me starting in 1972. I’ve known since 1972 that church history and doctrine would be a source of woe at a future day.

        Since then, I’ve focused on the first principles of the gospel and found them to be true principles. They really work and there is no better place to be than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Denver even says so.

        Tim and others, I hope you will back off from supporting Denver to the extent you jeopardize membership in the Lord’s church, flawed as it is. The Savior is leading the church with a chastening hand. He is separating the wheat from the tares. And the day will soon come when He will return. But before that day comes LDS are going to be severally tried and proven (D&C 112:24-26).

        What we are currently experiencing is just the beginning. It would be far better if we closed the Denver Snuffer episode and focused our attention on important things like financial and home storage preparation.

        I’ll close by saying, I hope the Spirit of the Lord will be with each of us and help us navigate the troubled waters we find ourselves in.

      2. “Based on the answers given, you and some others would allow Denver to have total influence in your home and lives because you trust him.”

        It is possible to learn from someone, even in your home, with allowing them “total influence.” If learning could only be done by submitting to total influence, we would be in a sorry state, indeed.

        “There are times when it is best for church members to have milk and not meat.”

        I agree, and with the number of converts on church rolls, it is understandable why the basics are being focused on more at this time. What troubles me is the increasing resistance to anyone that points out that there is meat to be had. Those that explore further, even relying on the scriptures, and encourage others to do similarly, like Denver, are increasingly told such things are out-of-bounds, inappropriate and not to be discussed, and are ultimately threatened with excommunication.

        “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matt 23:13)

        “I know all the things Denver knows about the flaws the church and church leaders have, and so do you. That isn’t a big deal.”

        Teaching the truth shouldn’t be an excommunicatable offense. If writing books and giving talks was enough to have you removed from the church then the inventory lists of Deseret Book contain the names of those next to be cut loose.

        ” It would be far better if we closed the Denver Snuffer episode and focused our attention on important things like financial and home storage preparation.”

        Ok, now you just convinced me that you are just trolling. You can’t be serious.

      3. Jared, I would also allow Denver Snuffer into my home to teach anything he felt inspired to teach, just as I let home teachers, missionaries, local leaders, and even general authorities (through conference broadcasts) into my home to teach what they like. I’d invite you over too, since I can tell you are sincere and care about what’s important. And if I had kids, I would tell them they needed to pay attention and ask for confirmation from the Lord of anything being taught, regardless of which teacher we were listening to.

        A random thought: while I agree that financial preparation and home storage are important, they are in no way more important than spiritual preparation, and in general, we are in much worse shape spiritually than financially. It’s also entirely possible that when the catastrophes are upon us, no one will be able to access their savings, and we will have to flee without being able to take anything with us. In that moment, having the faith to walk on water or do something similar may be what determines who survives rather than how much food you have in the basement.

      4. Lizzie Nelson

        Setting up oneself as a light is not the bad thing you think. It’s setting oneself up for a light, and getting gain from it that is the criticized thing.

        Since Denver doesn’t charge for any talks, and since he donates his proceeds from his books to the missionary fund and other charitable needs, then we must stop and wonder, who it actually is who sets themselves up for a light and does get gain from it.

    4. The answer is YES I WOULD! PTHG has brought my husband and I closer to the Lord and helped us see our roll in staying “in the church.” I would never hesitate to invite him to teach in my home.

    5. Lynn Bernhard

      Jared, I could not resist replying to this. I have a son on a mission, he is TBM, like his mom. His personality is like that. I have a son who is 18 and a junior in university studying Botany Natural Medicine, he is not TBM, never has been, like me. The truth of our LDS history is the truth. I don’t care who comes to my house to teach, Pres Monson, Denver Snuffer, I want the truth, I want to face it fully with faith and an eye single to the glory of GOD. Brother Denver has never once asked me or anyone else to follow him, but has opened the scriptures and the authority and power of the WORD for the first time in many years. Some seekers of truth need the truth, regardless of its “usefulness.”
      Funny, Brother Thomas Monson has never personally asked me to follow him either, but the institutional mantra drummed into the collective consciousness does. Truth – Prior to David O’Mckay we had a president of the church, Brother Joseph was the Prophet. I find that useful in my walk towards knowledge. I have experience and information to for my TBM missionary if he came to me for guidance about tithing. I now have experience and information to help my non-TBM son if he came seeking my opinion about “Jacob’s Ladder”. I currently live on faith in Christ. I don’t have knowledge of Christ. For the TBM, faith is sufficient. For the non-TBM, faith is path to knowledge, knowledge of what? Chirst Jesus resurrected. Thank GOD for men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord has made and they testify boldly of Christ’s death, suffering, and resurrection. GOD is great, GOD is merciful. For the TBM, TBM stuff. For the non-TBM, GOD also gives liberally. To answer your question, Yes, I would love Brother Denver to come to my home to teach my prospective missionary. He needs the truth, even the truth that is not “useful.”I

      1. And now we have “Fifteen men whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators.”

        Hmmm…. may need to revise Primary Hymn #110 🙂

  16. I do believe the church is looking at blogs that write about church things in a different way from how the church would present it.
    Disciplinary courts are so different today and far removed from what Joseph Smith implemented and what he said about it.

  17. Tim,
    I too understand the imperfections of the Church and even it’s leaders. For someone to deny these imperfections they are either naive, lazy or misinformed. Outside of those individulas are members who understand these imperfections and either become bitter and critical, or those who remain humble and merciful. Clearly, I do not dismiss the importance of pure truth. It is essential to obtaining the FULLNESS of the Gospel. As the Lord brought me to further light and knowledge, I ironically became a bit critical and even bitter toward the Church and it’s leaders, feeling somehow like I was more in the know than they. Maybe I was. Amongst some leaders, I know I knew more than they. However, a wise friend of mine, one who knew and experienced more than I, taught me a very profound but simple truth. After high school some go to college. Some go further in college and obtain their doctorate degrees. For those individuals to look back and criticize and focus on what little was taught in high school and what little their physics teacher really knew about physics would be silly. High school got you to college. It prepared you for more. Was it perfect? Was it complete? Absolutely not, but it worked. We know it worked because you obtained your doctorate degree. With all its imperfections, it worked. The fact that you or anyone can state that the Church is not teaching the fulness because of what you have experienced and know, may be true statement, but it absolutley succeeded in providing you the necessary doctrine, organization and leadership to get you to your point of realization. It is not a Christlike response to criticize, correct and point out faults. It may certainly for learning purposes be appropriate to do that within your own life or within your own family or personal relationships, but publicly it is not our place. A blog is public. Do I agree, Tim, with most everything you write here on your blog? Most of it. It’s delightful to rub shoulders with so many that are learning and having so many precious truths revealed. But it turns sour and spoils when criticism, correction and frustration becomes part of your blog. Can you sustain and be in good standing with the imperfect Church while stil discussing the peaceable things of the Kingdom? Absolutely. Do you have to push things to a point that the Church, in its imperfection focuses in on you, as wrong as that may be? You don’t. Church leaders often maintain inappropriate means of influence. That is just the case, however, the Lord leads this Church. With all its flaws from its leaders, departments, auxiliaries and programs, he stands by and leads it still. Your testimony of Christ is what matters. I for one trust Him.

  18. Jared, you write: “However, I recognize Denver deserved to be excommunicated because he set himself up as a light, a guide, an instructor, a teacher, finding fault with the church and church leaders.”

    I will ask again – what is your evidentiary basis for the assertion that Snuffer “set himself up”?

    After all, if he did not set himself up, but was doing as asked of him by the Lord, then that changes things, does it not? And that – whether Snuffer was or is doing as asked of him by the Lord – is the question at issue.

    1. Log-the fact he allowed himself to be excommunicated is evidentiary.

      I read his first book on the Second Comforter. I enjoyed it. However, after reading it I was surprised that I decided not to read his other books. I felt uneasy about him. I think it was the influence of the Spirit.

      The only reason I read PTHG was due to Tim’s blog and all that was being said about the book else where.
      Ben & Julie-In the question about allowing Denver to come into your home and teach I specifically wrote the following.

      “ask yourself if you would allow your son or daughter, who is planning a mission, to be taught by Denver Snuffer using Passing the Heavenly Gift. Would you invite Denver into your home and allow him to teach your children those things he was excommunicated for?”

      1. My answer still stands, even if he was teaching the stuff he was excommunicated for. But then, I would probably let the Jehovah’s Witnesses over, too.

        One truth I’ve learned recently is that spiritual sensitivity and curiosity in all sources of truth are directly related, not inversely. I’d want my kids to be as open as possible, and as prepared as possible to discern truth from error.

        I should clarify: I’d let whoever come over and teach, and after they’d left, we would have a heart to heart about the merits and flaws of what was taught, and I would make sure they knew where I stood on the important things.

      2. Jared, can you articulate what it was exactly that you believe he was actually excommunicated for?

    2. So please provide the your “evidentiary basis” for assuming that the Lord asked Snuffer to do what he did? I believe Jared is right. Denver had the chance to defend his position, and he knew the protocol would not allow his family into the hearing, and he refused to go. A lot of my respect for him lessened at that point. Furthermore, why is it that everytime DS is questioned on this blog, you (and others) pull the “the Lord told DS to do it” card? What possible means do you have to ascertain what the Lord has or hasn’t told DS?

      1. If someone makes a claim then I want to know if he’s opining, or if he knows something.

        After all, the official position of the Church (if you believe in that kind of thing outside of the canon) is that all opinions are worthless.

        “Study the word of God, and preach it and not your opinions, for no man’s opinion is worth a straw. Advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions.” (History of the Church, 3:395–96.)

        I’m interested in knowledge.

        That’s why I ask the anti-Snuffers if they know Snuffer was, or is, acting on his own, since if Snuffer is acting on instruction from the Lord, the anti-Snuffers are in a problematic position (see Moroni 7, particularly verse 18).

        So far as I know, I have not said Snuffer is acting as directed by the Lord, but have always asked what it would mean for the anti-Snuffers if Snuffer was so acting. I think that would be particularly important information to know, wouldn’t you?

      2. Karl, you asked, “What possible means do you have to ascertain what the Lord has or hasn’t told DS?” Of course there is no ‘sure’ way to obtain this information . The Spirit bears witness. When a witness is received, it should not be denied. DS said the Lord told him to do what He did. I just don’t see any motivation for him to not be truthful. He has not asked me for money, or to follow him, or to do anything for that matter. He has ONLY pointed the way to Christ. That does not sound like fruit of the adversary to me. I could ask Where is the “evidentiary basis” for assuming Joseph Smith really saw diety? Where is the “evidentiary basis” that he handled golden plates and that others also witnessed to see them?

        You see, it is all about the Spirit. The spirit will communicate truths to us as we are ready to receive them. Not every one in this world is ready to receive that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. Those who are ready will receive a witness of the Spirit. We cannot provide “evidence” because there is none to produce. Men can err. God does not. The Spirit does not.

  19. When I wrote:

    ” It would be far better if we closed the Denver Snuffer episode and focused our attention on important things like financial and home storage preparation.”

    In hindsight, I should have said we would be better off preparing financially and laying away food storage, growing gardens, and etc than having our attention focused on Denver.

    The most important thing we can be doing is to follow the counsel in the following verse:

    VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:1)

    1. Jared, I fully support you in doing what you feel the Lord is directing you to do. Your counsel about financial and physical preparation is sound and good advice. Thanks for reminding us. God bless.

      1. All the food storage and financial preparation won’t be of any value if a person does not have a knowledge and relationship with our Savior. Only He can save!

  20. Thank you for your response, Jared. I am unable to address your private and personal experiences, but I do not believe that it is a true principle that each person who “allows” himself to be excommunicated has “set himself up.” I can think of many scriptural counterexamples, including Jesus Christ himself.

    1. When I said that I thought Denver allowed himself to be excommunicated I was referring to him only. I didn’t have anyone else in mind. Denver published the letter from his Stake President for all to see. He was given a choice, he decided to be excommunicated.

      1. Everyone always has a choice.

        5 And it came to pass that the king caused that his guards should surround Abinadi and take him; and they bound him and cast him into prison.

        6 And after three days, having counseled with his priests, he caused that he should again be brought before him.

        7 And he said unto him: Abinadi, we have found an accusation against thee, and thou art worthy of death.

        8 For thou hast said that God himself should come down among the children of men; and now, for this cause thou shalt be put to death unless thou wilt recall all the words which thou hast spoken evil concerning me and my people.

        9 Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands.

        10 Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day.

        11 And now king Noah was about to release him, for he feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him.

        12 But the priests lifted up their voices against him, and began to accuse him, saying: He has reviled the king. Therefore the king was stirred up in anger against him, and he delivered him up that he might be slain.

        Let those with ears to hear, hear.

        JST, Matthew 16:27
        27 Break not my commandments for to save your lives; for whosoever will save his life in this world, shall lose it in the world to come.

      2. Of course we cannot judge the man, but perhaps he had additional knowledge that superseded what the Stake President asked of him. As a conjecture, what if he felt the publishing of PtHG was something asked of him by the Lord? He would therefore be disobeying the Lord if he were to withdraw it’s publication. I’ve heard the arguments that the Lord wouldn’t tell Denver one thing and tell his servants – Denver’s local priesthood leaders – another thing. Yep, ‘ya really ‘gotta think about that one. My friend Eric doesn’t like me to say someone was right and someone was wrong, but in this case, I’ve got to. I’ll leave it up to you to decide who had the higher directive in this case. Cheers.

      3. Since you used my name (in vain?) 🙂 . . .

        Let me clarify that when related to human concepts and opinions (e.g. the definition of “wet”, what’s your favorite book, etc.), people can have varying “degrees of rightness.”

        (Thanks to Log for helping me clarify this in my own mind.) However, regarding God’s concepts, there is only 1 “right” (God’s way, God’s truth). There may be varying “degrees of wrongness,” but in the eternal scheme of things they are all ultimately “wrong” compared to God’s truth.

        “That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, ‘Thou shalt not kill;’ at another time He said, ‘Thou shalt utterly destroy.’ This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is . . . Everything that God gives us is lawful and right” (TPJS, 256).

        From Joseph’s statement it sounds like the Lord can give two differing directives to different people.

        That can pose a challenge to many of us. Although the Lord may have told us to pursue a particular course of action, many may be tempted to infer that everyone is also to pursue the same course of action.

        And many may then be tempted to judge others incorrectly (“Because they’re not doing what I’m doing, they’re obviously wrong”).

      4. “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.” Yes, we all have choices. Put our faith and trust in God, or in men.

      5. I never know if these comments will come out in the right order. This is intended for Eric. It seems like we’ve got all the players on the stage here again as we hash this out. Are we making any progress? As I read your comment, all I could think was, “I can only know what I know from personal, first-hand experience. Any knowledge of circumstances that is based on someone else’s testimony or witness can only be known to me if the Lord reveals it to me. I know this is basic revelation 101 but I trust your logic in this area, Eric.

        So, it seems the main concern of those in the ‘Brethrenite” camp is that we cannot know Denver was acting with the Lord’s blessing when he tried to bring his family into the disciplinary council hearing that night. The secondary, but perhaps more important concern seems to be if Denver was acting with the Lord’s blessing or under his direction when he wrote PtHG – not his first book (Conversing with the Lord through the Veil) – but his last book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. It seems some in the “Brethrenite” camp are willing to concede the first book may have been commissioned by the Lord but not PtHG. Have I got that right?

        (This is directed to everyone: Please forgive me if you are offended by the use of the “Brethrenite” label. It represents a position statement. See Denver’s blog entry entitled “Can’t we build a bridge?” for the distinction between “Brethrenites” and “the Residue of the Saints.”)

        I would like to work on building that bridge here on my blog because we continue to have this discussion every few posts. What will it take? Who is an expert in logic and debate? Is that the wrong way to go about coming to an agreement? We can each say, “It was revealed to me…” but that does nobody else any good unless they also receive the same witness from the same source, or so it seems to me.

        Again, we can’t both be right, can we? I don’t want to judge anybody and I don’t want to assume anyone else has been asked to pursue the same course of action I have been assigned by the Lord. But I do want to see us do a better job of working together on this. It’s not going to go away. If you don’t care about this discussion, you wouldn’t be here. I’m going to assume you want to find some agreement or persuade others to your position, else why are you adding comments to this dialog?

        Eric, I know you and trust you. Do you get my point? Can you help? Is there any hope for an agreement or can we continue to hold different positions about Denver being directed by the Lord and still have a useful, productive dialog? I am OK with those who want to maintain that Denver was deceived and was properly excommunicated. I am OK if those who maintain Denver was inspired only so far – but not with writing PtHG. I’m also OK with those who say Denver WAS inspired in writing, publishing and not withdrawing PtHG when asked to do so.

        This is my blog, but I am extremely grateful for the insight and the comments from each of you whom I love and respect. Can we at least agree on one objective and go from there – that we all want to come unto Christ – and for some – to receive Him in this life, as in part the veil, converse with Him, embrace Him and have Him present us to the Father? Am I the only one who wants that and thinks it can happen?

        Opinions? Counsel for me? Does anybody care? This is not a mental exercise or a game to me. I am looking to learn and to grow from this.

      6. Tim,
        I think that’s the approach, building the bridge.
        Most who frequent your blog do so with a desire to come closer to the lord, be uplifted and have faith strengthened by sharing with one another.
        Most of us also seek uplift and/or knowledge from those we value opinion, the Brethren, Denver or whoever. We DO NOT need to agree on whose opinion we value most, or at all, BUT can share what good we gained from their thoughts.
        I for one look most to hear how others are doing in their quest for further light and knowledge from the Lord. Not so much in how high their IQ is! Pride tends to cheapen most spiritual conversations as does contention. Not much hope to receive the Second Comforter if meekness isn’t in abundance with each other

      7. Tim, there are a lot of statements and questions in your above post, so I will have to send you a private email later, in a few days. (You made me think up an allegory too.)

        To get agreement (or at least understanding) of ideas, there probably first needs to be agreement on definitions.

        For example, I’m sure that your statement, “I trust you” was meant as an expression of familiarity and friendship, so I’m grateful for your sentiment. 🙂 I’m sure you already well know that “Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man” (2 Nephi 28:31).

        For another example, some people may debate whether so-and-so is a prophet. They first need to agree on the definition of “prophet.”

        I’m ambivalent regarding the usefulness of blogs related to gospel topics. Opinions bounce back and forth, but shouldn’t we all be asking God for answers?

  21. Jared and Mark: I can see I’ve been misunderstood or unclear. That’s my fault. I will attempt to correct it here but it may require a separate post to do it justice. We’ll see. Guys, I am not so enamored with Denver Snuffer that I’m willing to give up my membership over him. That’s not what this is about. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think you guys “get” my work. This is not about Denver Snuffer. This is about Agency. I’m willing to give up my membership for a principle we all know and love called Agency. The Lord doesn’t require I defend Denver Snuffer. He has asked me to stand up for the right to read books and write reviews. Seems silly and basic, doesn’t it – not something the Lord would ask of an individual? I can’t speak for others but this is my work.

    Let me see if I can explain. I don’t think you need any basic tutoring. That would be an insult. I know you recognize the principle. It’s the same battle we fought in the pre-mortal realms. I’ll try to show you how agency is related to my blog and, coincidently, the writings of Denver Snuffer. Please bear with me. I hope I don’t get ahead of myself because of my passion for the subject. And make no doubt about it. I am passionate. I have prayed and asked the Lord for help with my response. I don’t want to offend. I simply want to articulate what I believe is a strong position. I hope once I’ve completed explaining my points you’ll agree what I am doing is the right thing.

    Let’s throw Denver out of the picture. Agreed? We can substitute any writer of books or blogs that deal with the LDS Church or the Mormon Faith. So don’t get hung up on Denver Snuffer. I don’t care if you believe what he says or what he has written. I honor your agency. You are free to choose to believe whatever you want. It’s an article of our faith. I’m referring of course to the article that reads: “11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our [own] conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” For me, reading or studying religious books is a form of worship.

    It bugs the heck out me when I read or hear of members say things like, “Oh, how can you read anything from Signature Books? Don’t you know all the authors there are apostates?” Yes, that’s a quote from my neck of the woods. Maybe you don’t get that where you live, but I’ve heard it often. Here’s another one: “Don’t you know you can get excommunicated for reading Visions of Glory? I heard John Pontius was disciplined for writing the book but they wanted to keep it quiet because he was dying.” This is probably the most unbelievable number one daily search item on my blog.

    I have an extensive library of LDS books – over a thousand. Occasionally, when we have ward members over for a social, someone will pick out one of my more controversial books and say something like, “Aren’t you afraid to have this in your house?” When I ask why, it’s usually either one of two responses: “I’ve heard the Brethren don’t like this author – see, that’s why it’s not published by Deseret.” An even worse response is, “Its anti-Mormon. I wouldn’t have it in my house. You never know what kind of spirit it might bring into your house.” Seriously.

    In the seven years I’ve been blogging, I’ve had ongoing email dialogs with many individuals. One of the constant themes I get, especially lately, is “Tim, aren’t you afraid you’ll get in trouble for the things you’re writing?” When I ask why, they invariably point out Denver’s disciplinary action or more recently, the excommunications of Brent Larsen and Will Carter. These last two are bloggers. They were excommunicated for writing about what they read in a book. Can you imagine that? It simply blows my mind. That screams of unrighteous dominion and mind control.

    Like both of you, I’m grateful to have been exposed to imperfections in the church, the leaders, and especially the history from the time I was in seminary at age seventeen. I’ve always been grateful to my mother who provided an example of knowing the flawed history and remaining faithful to her testimony, especially of the temple, to her dying day. She and my father may have stopped attending the meetings – mostly due to poor health – but they loved to watch General Conference and loved to receive the home and visiting teachers. They provided an example to me of tolerance and love of those who were imperfect in the church, especially my kind father.

    My father refused to criticize, attempt to correct or point out faults of anybody in the church. He loved to serve, especially in the temple. They loved the gospel and taught me how to recognize the spirit of the Holy Ghost, which taught me to recognize faith, obedience, sacrifice, service, charity, consecration and all the basics of the gospel I would need to be a successful missionary and to build a happy family life upon a temple marriage. Mother loved to teach and write. I guess I inherited that love. She was careful to never criticize or correct others in the wonderful books and papers she left me as a legacy. I have tried to follow that example in my own blog writings.

    I have no desire to push anyone into doing something they don’t want to or feel they must. As I have always said, my blog is all about book reviews – some of them across multiple posts, as in the Snuffer material. I am eternally grateful Denver’s books point me to Christ. After years of study, I have found them worthy of recommendation – that is, I recommend they be read so you can know and judge for yourself what his message is, and if it is commissioned of the Lord as he has claimed it is. My only intent in sharing what I read in Denver’s or anyone else’s book is to be thorough for my readers. I am exercising my agency to read these books and to pray about them.

    There is no doubt books influence us if we let them. That’s why we read the scriptures and are commanded to seek wisdom out of the best books. I find Michael Quinn’s and Denver’s books to be among some of the best books. I could name a lot of other authors but I’m fairly certain you would find them objectionable so I won’t. Isn’t it wonderful the Lord has given us agency to invite into our home these authors, past and present, into our homes to learn from them? By the way, I hope nobody still uses the word Snufferite. I know Denver has asked us not to do so.

    Some books are not intended for new members. You know, milk before meat and all that. I am grateful there are some gospel scholars who provide us with meat. A diet of all milk can make us weak. We need protein found in the meat of the gospel. We need to think deeply about subjects. Joseph made it clear there is no other way to discover the things of heaven without such thought. I am glad to know that four generations have passed since the death of Joseph and the failure of the church to build the Nauvoo temple in a timely manner to receive the promised blessings.

    I will always be appreciative when an author, in referring to himself, writes, “I am nobody. I am a fool. I am not important,” and then goes on to quote and teach from scriptures that lead us to Christ and the doctrines of Heaven. I am also grateful such authors accept the Lord’s invitation to perform a work in spite of the sure knowledge they will be misunderstood, criticized and perhaps even lose their membership. For those who don’t know, I asked for and received from the Lord permission, perhaps an assignment, to use my blog as a way to publicize certain things.

    The best thing I like about agency is the privilege it is for us to take what we learn to the Lord in prayer, ask for and receive a confirmation or witness for ourselves of the truths we have learned. Of course there must be opposition in all things, so there will always be others who claim the exact opposite – that they also received an answer from the Lord about the same material – and that the Lord told them it was false doctrine, to stay away from it and do everything to suppress it. Isn’t that an amazing process? I don’t know how something can be both true and then false.

    Finally, I’m grateful the Lord allows us to put our energy, might, time, talents and efforts behind something about which we feel strongly, even at the risk or peril of losing all we hold dear. We wouldn’t be a people of character if we didn’t commit ourselves to a course of action in this life. God bless us each to do what we feel best, to follow the dictates of our hearts and to be pleasant and kind with each other as we go about our chosen work. That is what disciples of Christ do.

    1. Tim, But consider another alternative in reference to DS: maybe the Lord told him to write the Second Comforter, but PTHG was something he did on his own (this is my conclusion). Personally, I think the logic and conclusions in PTHG are a complete mess. However, I do NOT agree with Church Discipline being administered for a difference in doctrinal opinion, rather then for a grievous sin. But, and here is something every individual must decide: even if the top GA’s are administering heavy-handed edicts, and even if you think this equals unrighteous dominion, why would you throw yourself under the church bus? What purpose would it serve for yourself or others? If the process Snuffer advocates actually works, that is results in being successful at receiving the Second Comforter, then what else matters?
      And why get side tracked by what the GA’s are doing, rather than staying focused on what the Holy Ghost is requesting you to do? All this speculative talk on the blog about what the Lord “might” require a person to do, such as leaving the Church (really?) is not fruitful. Plus if this is still the Lord’s Church, would he under any circumstances ask you to leave it? This just sounds paranoid to me. If conditions in leadership are as dire as some think, it may be that some innocents will get booted out without a just cause, but this is not the same thing as voluntarily leaving and then claiming the Lord directed you to do it. I’m just concerned about you (and others on this blog). This is a bit like fighting the IRS; why pick a fight you cannot win? Gandhi had a policy of peaceful non-compliance, not direct confrontation, and he took down the whole British Empire with those means. Remember the ways of the Savior are meek, gentle, kind and long-suffering. Like Jared said above: stay with the basic principles and stay with the good ship Zion. You can do a lot more good inside than outside. Peace.

    2. Nonrandom Set

      Tim, Agency doesn’t mean that there are no consequences. People are excommunicated all the time for exercising their agency in ways that are contrary to the commandments. You continue to imply that people are being excommunicated for reading a book. I’ve seen nothing that indicates that is what is happening. At the same time, I don’t want to imply that any particular excommunication was the right thing to do, as I know that many mistakes are made by church leaders, as by us all.

      I admittedly don’t have any firsthand knowledge, as I was not at these particular disciplinary councils, but I have attended several disciplinary councils, and as you stated, no one wants to hold one. I have seen a couple of people disciplined for false doctrine type things (not related to DS), but it was not because they held a belief; rather, they were actively trying to get others to believe. Once again, that is very different than reading a book and expressing an opinion.

      We’re all just too human and imperfect, looking past each other, attributing bad motives where they may not exist. I’ve certainly had run ins with overzealous members (trivial example, but good for a laugh: I remember a girl in my ward at BYU running up and taking a coke out of my hand and throwing it in the trash). And I’ve certainly heard more than I care to hear about the new shopping mall in SLC, or whatever the outrage du jour is about how the brethren are out of touch.

  22. Tim, you wrote “I don’t know how something can be both true and then false.”

    When Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit they were true to the commandment to multiply and replenish the Earth but false to the commandment to abstain from that fruit.

    And he (the Lord) said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? Genesis 3:11

    Let’s take this story at face value, setting aside circumlocutionary rationalizations and embellishments.

    Even in the pristine Garden of Eden there was an existential contradiction. Are we not even more so subjected to contradictions and absurdities in this World fallen?

    Do you realize that President Thomas S. Monson has quoted Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in General Conference no less?

    I suspect that in the Lord’s mysterious calculus an ecclesiastical authority excommunicating an author for proclaiming a truthful message and the author himself could each be both inspired and misguided simultaneously, likewise they could each be both right and wrong.

    Sometimes, I think that this mortal life is a Kobayashi Maru test. Perhaps our task is to reprogram the simulator, as James T. Kirk did, knowing that we will be accused of both cheating and awarded a commendation for “original thinking.”

    Perhaps the no-win scenarios we face are a test of character rather than a choice between right and wrong.

  23. Tim,

    Thanks for your response. This was very helpful. I didn’t understand that your primary concern is agency.

    However, I think most of your readers will be surprised by this. I think they will be especially surprised when you declare: “I am not so enamored with Denver Snuffer that I’m willing to give up my membership over him.”

    Now back to agency. I think you have written that you agree with the right church leaders have to protect the church by excommunicating members who are a threat. Church leaders have agency too. I don’t believe church leaders are arbitrary in disciplinary action. Certainly a well thought out criteria is in place and updated as necessary. I’m sure you agree with all of this, if not, please help me understand.

    The letter announcing Notice of Disciplinary Council, dated Aug 21, 2013, the one Denver published, made it clear that church leaders did not want to excommunicate him. He was given a choice. He choose to ignore the offer.

    This brings up your comment about Brent Larsen and Will Carter. I don’t know enough about their situation to say much. But I will hazard a guess–there is more to their excommunication than blogging about books.

    Sue, I hope you will read the following. She asked why Denver was excommunicated.

    The reason for the disciplinary Council is clearly stated. “Publishing PTHG constitutes an act of apostasy…PTHG is not constructive to work of salvation or the promotion of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    I agree with his Stake President.

    I’ll make an analogy. A couple married in the temple have made covenants. In our day that means that have one companion to be true a faithful to. Should one of them see fit to strike up a flirtatious relationship with another person they are violating their temple covenant and need to repent.

    If the relationship goes from being flirtatious to sexual then it opens the door to a church disciplinary council. I believe Denver has violated his covenants in an analogous way by putting the church in a negative light and denigrating church leaders. He is aiding enemies of the church.

    In business a salesman for a company has a fiduciary responsibility to his employer. A lawyer has a responsibility to his client. If Denver worked for a business or represented a legal client and wrote a book about them like he did the church he would be dismissed. He might even be subject to legal action.

    Tim, as your internet friend, I encourage you to delete this particular post: Concluding Testimony at my Disciplinary Council. It invites problems. Also, the picture you selected is, well, kinda of like wearing a clown nose and expecting to be allowed in the temple.

    I hope you will forgive me if I’ve angered you. My intent is to express honest feelings so that you and those who follow your blog will consider another point of view.

    1. Jared, Here are some additional responses to your last comment: I truly have failed in misleading people if they, like you, thought my main concern about potential disciplinary action being taken against me was due solely to my comments about Denver Snuffer. It has always been about the right to read “non-approved” material and write about it. I am opposed to the idea of a priesthood leader being able to tell you what you can and can’t read. It goes against everything I read in the scriptures about self-reliance and seeking wisdom out of the best books. Surely we can determine “best books” for ourselves.

      I’m sorry that wasn’t clear, so I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I can’t think of anywhere I may have written I would be willing to give up my membership in the church for Denver Snuffer. I urge someone, anyone to point to words on my blog where I have written and shared that statement because I want to correct that misconception. I know I have written a lot about Denver so I can see why someone may think I am enamored with what he teaches but really, I’m more enamored with the concept of learning the step-by-step procedure required to come unto Christ. That’s what gets me excited in life today.

      You are correct that the Church leaders have a responsibility to protect the “good name” and image of the church. The purposes of church discipline are 1) To save the souls of transgressors, 2) To protect the innocent and 3) To safeguard the purity, integrity and good name of the church. I’m not too keen on the idea of “threat” as you used it. Why would the leadership be “on the lookout” for people to excommunicate? They’re not, or at least that has been my observation after twenty-five years serving in church leadership positions. In fact, most leaders will do anything to avoid holding a disciplinary council.

      You wrote that you “don’t believe church leaders are arbitrary in disciplinary action.” Up until a few years ago I would have said the same thing. Based upon communications with several of my blog readers and personal family members, I would say a certain degree of arbitrariness does exist. We have the handbook as a guideline but some leaders are more “free-wheeling” than others when it comes to administering discipline. What some of our good brethren will tolerate others will crack down upon with harsh and quick discipline.

      You also wrote Denver “choose to ignore the offer” in his Notice of Church Discipline letter. I hate to break it to you, but Denver did not ignore the letter. You can read his response online. He did what he felt he could within the contractual obligations which he had made for the publishing of his book. You also wrote that church leaders “did not want to excommunicate him.” Again, I hate to break it to you, but Elder Nelson specifically said, “This man needs to be disciplined.” Yes, the church wanted to excommunicate him.

      You wrote that there is more to the excommunication stories of Brent Larsen and Will Carter. Why don’t you talk to them? I have. They are very open and willing to share. Oh, you mean, more to the story from the church’s point of view. Of course there is but we both know the church will never release details of a private matter of church discipline. You also commented on the reason why Denver was excommunicated – because he continued to publish PtHG, which constitutes an act of apostasy as it is not constructive to the work of salvation or the promotion of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

      I think that paragraph is the crux of the matter and can be debated for years to come. Suffice it to say I disagree with the church in their reasoning. I and thousands of other readers are witnesses that it IS constructive to the work of salvation and that it DOES promote faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s nice you agree with President Hunt. You are obviously a “Brethrenite.” I am not. We can debate that one forever as well.

      I disagree with your analogy comparing Denver’s book to someone committing adultery. That’s a terrible analogy. How could you possibly think there could be any comparison? You also wrote that it was your opinion Denver could be subject to legal action. Jared, you must have all kinds of information the rest of us don’t have. Denver is an attorney. I think he would know if he were committing a crime or breaking a legal obligation.

      You encouraged me to delete my post. After seven years of blogging and nearly 500 posts, I have only done that once – and then replaced it right away with a better version. I will never delete a post. That’s part of a deal I made with the Lord to be open and honest in all I write about my journey to the veil. You write my latest post (this one) invites problems. Jared, all my posts invite problems. I thrive on problems and discussion.

      I’ve already responded (below) to your comment about using the picture of Martin Luther. You felt it was inappropriate and compared it to wearing a clown nose to the temple. As I wrote in my first response, I was stunned you did not seem to know the significance of a picture of Martin Luther or that it was entirely appropriate for the subject of the post. Both my wife and I were truly astounded you would suggest it to be offensive. I cannot think of any picture more appropriate considering Martin Luther’s role in history.

      You asked me to forgive you if you angered me. You did not anger me. You shocked me by the intensity of your closed-mindedness to what so many people already know and have been looking for a way to express without being offensive. I confess PtHG by Denver Snuffer can be shocking but, as he has noted many times, it was not written for someone like you who is perfectly happy with the church the way it is. I am sorry you found it and my support of Denver’s books to be offensive. But you did not anger me.

      I’ll always appreciate the hour we spent on the phone discussing Denver’s book last year. I thought we had a fairly amicable relationship. For my part, I still consider you my friend and wish you all the best in your spiritual journey. Obviously our journeys have taken us in different places from where we were just a year ago. I confess I have moved a long ways from where I was. I love and support my brethren and sisters in the gospel who are happy with the church the way it is. May God bless you and answer your prayers.

  24. Jared, I’m astounded. Martin Luther is consider somewhat of a hero in the LDS Church. That particular picture appeared in many LDS Church publications and audio-visual material, including filmstrips I used on my mission and in many Temple Visitor’s centers. He has been labeled honest and characterized as brave by President Monson in this 1975 General Conference talk:

    “Honest men with yearning hearts, at the peril of their very lives, attempted to establish points of reference, that they might find the true way. The day of the reformation was dawning, but the path ahead was difficult. Persecutions would be severe, personal sacrifice overwhelming, and the cost beyond calculation. The reformers were like pioneers blazing wilderness trails in a desperate search for those lost points of reference which, they felt, when found would lead mankind back to the truth Jesus taught.

    Martin Luther asserted the Bible’s supremacy. His study of the scriptures led him to compare the doctrines and practices of the church with the teachings of the scriptures. Luther stood for the responsibility of the individual and the rights of the individual conscience, and this he did at the imminent risk of his life. Though threatened and persecuted, yet he declared boldly: “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me.”


    Elder Ballard said in a 1984 Conference Address that Martin Luther was moved by the spirit: “Then in 1517, the Spirit moved Martin Luther, a German priest who was disturbed at how far the church had strayed from the gospel as taught by Christ. His work led to a reformation, a movement that was taken up by such other visionaries as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Wesley, and John Smith.”


    And from a current approved LDS Church History manual: “The most famous of the Reformers was Martin Luther, who was born in Eisleben, Saxony, on 10 November 1483. When he was eighteen he was sent by his father, Hans Luther, to Erfurt to prepare for a career in law. In 1505, however, he abandoned his legal training to enter the monastery of the Augustinian Order of Eremites. In 1508 he was sent to Wittenberg to further his studies in theology and lecture on Aristotle’s philosophy. From his earliest years, he seemed to have been tormented by the wide discrepancy between the doctrines and teachings of the scriptures and the practices of Catholicism. During a journey to Rome in 1510, he was shocked at the corruption of the clergy and the religious apathy of the people. This did much to dispel the veneration in which he had held the papacy and armed him to challenge its authority. Luther’s intensive study of the Bible led him to the doctrinal position that later came to mark the reform movement: that men are justified by faith alone (see Romans 3:28) and not by their good works.

    That which most provoked Luther’s direct opposition to the Church of Rome was the sale of indulgences by the agents of Pope Leo X. These indulgences were offered to repay Albert of Mainz his cost in acquiring the archbishopric of Mainz and to continue work on St. Peter’s unfinished basilica. The purchase of indulgences granted individuals the remission of sin and punishment in purgatory and complete remission of all sins for the dead. On 31 October 1517, Luther nailed to the church door at Wittenberg his Ninety-five Theses, which challenged the church to debate on the efficacy of indulgences and the church’s sacramental practices.

    Luther’s theses were originally written to promote discussion among scholars, but the masses soon saw in him a champion and public hero. He defended himself against prelate and scholar and finally was even heard by the imperial diet (assembly) at Worms in 1521. By this time his movement had moved beyond the merely religious to the political, and the unity of the holy Roman Empire was threatened.

    When Luther was ordered to give up his work, he boldly declared: “Unless I be refuted by Scriptural testimonies, or by clear arguments—for I believe neither the Pope nor the councils alone, since it is clear that they have often erred and contradicted one another—I am convinced by the passages of Scripture, which I have cited, and my conscience is bound in the word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything; since it is insecure and dangerous to act against conscience.”

    Luther’s resistance led to his excommunication from the church and to his being placed under the ban of the empire, which made him an outlaw. Luther was protected by German princes who sympathized with his ideas and who wanted more political autonomy from Rome. This protection enabled him to begin a German translation of the Bible. This translation was of transcendent importance in all of Europe because it was the first common language translation not based on Jerome’s Latin Vulgate.

    Gradually new forms of worship and doctrinal innovations advocated by Luther were introduced in many of the German states. When it was evident the Catholic church would not reform, Luther’s followers founded the Lutheran church. Lutheranism became the religion of many of the northern and central German states but never succeeded in winning Bavaria and the states to the east. The faith spread northward, however, into Scandinavia and from there into Iceland. While it cannot be said that Luther brought religious freedom to Europe, the strength of his movement at least assured a pluralistic society where other religious groups could work for toleration.”


    James G. Bleak journal (1877) – Martin Luther is a baptized Mormon:

    “I was also present in the St. George Temple and witnessed the appearance of the Spirits of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. And also the spirits of the Presidents of the U.S. up to that time. And also others, such as Martin Luther and John Wesley, who came to Wilford Woodruff and demanded that their baptism and endowments be done. Wilford Woodruff was baptized for all of them. While I and Brothers J.D.T. McAllister and David H. Cannon (who were witnesses to the request) were endowed for them. These men that we did work for, were choice Spirits, not wicked men. They laid the foundation of this American Gov., and signed the Declaration of Independence and were the best spirits that the God of Heaven could find on the face of the Earth to perform this work. Martin Luther and John Wesley helped to release the people from religious bondage that held them during the dark ages. They also prepared the people’s hearts so long as they would be ready to receive the restored gospel when the Lord sent it again to men on Earth.”


    And just because I’m an ornery old cuss, I’ll refer you to Rock’s excellent post that provides additional commentary on Wilford Woodruff’s “vision:”

    1. William Tyndale (1494 – 1536) translated the Bible into English directly from Hebrew and Greek texts.

      He was the first person to take advantage of Gutenberg’s movable-type press for the purpose of printing the scriptures in the English language.

      Tyndale declared to a clergyman who opposed his work:

      “If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!”

      Tyndale was later burned at the stake for heresy.

      Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke of William Tyndale in his April 2010 conference talk.

      1. It is whimsical that modern Apostles can honor men like Luther and Tyndale in General Conference while strict obedience to authority figures is a solemn requirement in our own Church. Even President Boyd K. Packer has praised Tyndale. 🙂

    2. Tim-

      I agree with you that Martin Luther is a great man.

      The picture of Martin Luther shows him posting the 95 Theses which were the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Do you see yourself as a Martin Luther like reformer posting Theses? Are you shocked at the corruption of the LDS clergy? That what the picture of Martin Luther implies when it is used in a post like this one.

      Is that the message you want to send to the Strengthening the Church Members Committee? If so, then so be it. If not, then you might want to reconsider using it.

      1. Jared. I think we need to lighten up here. No, I do not consider myself a Martin Luther. But I think it fits the general discussion of the two excommunications and the public revelation of discipline noted by others on this blog. I see a need for someone to make it clear to Salt Lake that their local priesthood leaders are going a little overboard on the heavy-handed discipline for reading and writing about a book. How I wish everyone would read and re-read what Lynn Bernhard has written in the comments above.

        Look at what his Stake President has done to his family all because Lynn said he did not believe certain things the church is teaching. Is Lynn such a terrible threat that we as a church have to tear apart his family like this? Shame on us and shame on his Stake President. Where is the love of Christ in his heart? Don’t tell me I don’t know the whole story. I know enough to feel that what Lynn is suffering is unnecessary, inappropriate and an abuse of priesthood authority. If you want to discipline me for so stating than let it be done. Go ahead and call Salt Lake. I’ll give you the number: 1-800-453-3860. This is crazy what we are doing to our own best spiritual and humble people.

  25. On a different topic (or is it?), I think Snuffer has overcomplicated the distinction between Brethrenites and non-Brethrenites.

    The simplest functional definition of a Brethrenite is one who venerates the Brethren.

    regard with great respect; revere.
    “Mother Teresa is venerated as a saint”
    synonyms: revere, regard highly, reverence, worship, hallow, hold sacred, exalt, vaunt, adore, honor, respect, esteem

    I have seen bloggers and scholars say that they venerate the Brethren.

    Mosiah 23:7
    7 But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king.

    James 2
    8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

    9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

    10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

    I will agree that PTHG is damaging to the faith of the Brethrenites, if it can be called faith, by undermining the traditional bases of venerating the Brethren, which veneration is the Brethrenite faith. I do not agree that in undermining the tradition of veneration of the Brethren that Snuffer has necessarily violated either the covenant of sacrifice or the covenant of consecration. None of the saints [sanctified ones] that I know venerate the Brethren, neither do they esteem one flesh above another, but are filled with charity towards all mankind.

    2 Nephi 31
    16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

    17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

    18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

    19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

    20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

    21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

    There is no room for veneration of the Brethren in this doctrine.

    1. And Elder Oaks said in General Conference that the office of stake president is no more honorable than the calling of nursery leader.

      Exact quote:

      “I once presided at the release of a young stake president who had given fine service for nine years and was now rejoicing in his release and in the new calling he and his wife had just received. They were called to be the nursery leaders in their ward. Only in this Church would that be seen as equally honorable!”

      Now back to Realpolitik . . .

      1. My opinion is that for a man to be actually called of God by Prophecy to be nursery leader has got to be the greatest, or at least equal to the greatest, calling in the church, because it means that God can trust him with little children. So far I’ve made it as far as the Senior primary, so I’ve still got some work to do for me to advance.

    2. Log-I known a few of the apostles well enough to say that they don’t fit the mold of the Brethrenite characterization.

  26. Tim-

    I wish you and yours the best. I think the advice about “lighten up here” is what I have been trying to pass on to you and any others who might be interested in the point of view I’ve discussed.

    1. Thank you, Jared, for the lively and invigorating discussion. I’m afraid I added to my comment to “lighten up” by asking everyone to re-read what Lynn Bernhard wrote early on in the comments. It’s haunting me. I can’t get the image out of my mind. I’m not sure what I can do about it but if my blog has any influence, I’m going to use it to test the waters and see if we can get the church to stop abusing it’s own humble members.

      To be disciplined for saying you don’t believe something is simply preposterous. What ever happened to helping our members in their faith struggles and journeys toward the Savior? Are we so insecure as a church that we have to do what we are doing to Lynn’s family? Help me out here people – am I out of line? Should Lynn’s wife be punished because Lynn says he has a few questions about church history?

      I’m going to write him and ask for more detail. I simply can’t believe this.

  27. Tim:

    I for one revere Martin Luther, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Calvin and Huss. The epitome of disciples following the voice of the Lord. Their opponent, however, was not the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

    To briefly summarize my earlier point, knowledge, understanding, enlightenment and revelation are gifts from God. We have agency to do with them what we want. How can I receive such precious blessings of truth and then be critical of the individuals and institutions that helped, taught and led me to a personal relationship with the giver of all truth, Christ himself? This should invite reverent gratitude, humility and meekness. The Church, it’s leaders and programs are imperfect. Enough said. But they function masterfully in bringing people to Christ. The proof of that is in your current personal relationship with Christ Himself. Some leaders will exercise unrighteous dominion. They may absolutely infringe on your agency. If you stated they are incorrect, you would be absolutely justified and speak the truth. However, where much is given much is required.

    The Book of Mormon illustrates Moroni’s grandeur as a man of God. In fact we are told that if all men were like him, hell would have no power. A chapter or two later, this same Moroni, a man of perfect understanding, writes a scathing, short sighted and condemnatory letter to Pahoran. He gave no benefit of the doubt, little patience and a whole lot of accusation. Pahoran’s response demonstrated what I consider a most Christ-like demeanor. He meekly submitted, not without explanation, but with an extra dose of humility. Was Pahoran right and Moroni very wrong? Yes! But Moroni was his leader. You either sustain the Church leaders or you don’t. It does not mean that you believe they are right and it certainly does not mean that they are right by virtue of the office they hold. Nevertheless, you either sustain them or not. Can you disagree with a leader and still sustain them? Can you even sustain someone who is wrong? Absolutely! But it takes humility and meekness to do so.

    The Lord was the perfect example of meekness, submissiveness and humility. The most wrongly accused individual to walk the earth, submitted to the most vile contradictions of life. His submission to them led to His overcoming all of them.

    Shall we shrink or shun the fight? No! So what do you stand up for? What do you fight for? I’m convinced that the Church and it’s leaders are worth submitting to. They are the wrong opponent to stand up to and fight against. Yes, even if they are infringing on your agency and even if you know they are wrong. It is my opinion that you CANNOT falter if you submit to your priesthood leaders. You may state, “but I am simply opining on books I have read and they are on the offensive, threatening me with excommunication! How can a Church that teaches agency do such a thing. They are wrong!” You are correct. They are wrong, but maybe the test is whether or not you are willing to submit to it? And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them. A wise friend once taught me something he was taught from an Apostle. The Apostle asked him what the three reasons are for the Lord to call someone as bishop? Instantly my friend responded with, “to bless the ward.” The Apostle stated that is correct. My friend then stated “to try the ward members.” The Apostle stated that too was correct. After a whole lot of time passed my friend could not think of the third reason. The Apostle asked if he could share the reason. Of course my friend agreed. The Apostle stated that the third reason is that the Lord will call a bishop for the individuals sake as a last effort to either help the individual turn from their ways, or seal the individual to damnation.

    It is not ours to judge. For with what measure of grace I meet out will I be judged. Only you know, Tim, what the Lord is asking of you. To that end, is it possible you are called by Him to speak, opine and teach the things you speak of on this blog? Who am I to know and question that? The Lord can do whatever He sees fit to do. Who am I to limit that? I sincerely believe you desire to do the will of the Lord and try to do that. Again, who am I to even say that, but my thoughts that I’ve written come from what little I know about character of Christ. He is willing to share and unfold to anyone willing to receive all of His mysteries, even to the least of us. However, I’m convinced it is not the knowledge of these things that saves or progresses us, but remains to be His love, grace and patience with us that ultimately brings our salvation. This love, grace and gift giving produces the fruits of humility, meekness, service and more love. This is where salvation and Eternal Life is found. Not in my own will but in the Father’s.

    1. Mark: I agree with everything you said. It seems unfaithful to claim to receive all the Lord can bestow, and then turn around and criticize the very organization that made that pathway possible. And, as you stated the real fruit of the gospel are all the Christlike traits of meekness, service, charity. I’m an Elder’s Quorum instructor, and have a wide-ranging search through church and non-church literature. This has a been a lifelong habit, so I’ve plowed through a lot of material. There are a ton of historical and doctrinal issues in the church. But, when I teach the direction of the HG to me has always been to be cautious and not provoke discussion that would actually serve as a wrecking ball for someone else’s faith. I think those that are blessed with intellectual insight need to be ever vigilant about making sure what they teach is motivated by love, and not the desire to stroke one’s own ego. Truth is important, even crucial, but it needs to be spoken with love. Peace.

      1. And in certain cases, “it is not always wise to relate all the truth” (History of the Church 6:608).

      2. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

        John 8:32

        … all things which are hid must be revealed upon the house-tops.

        Mormon 5:8

      3. Yes. And until the time that all is revealed, “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matthew 13:11).

    2. Shall we shrink or shun the fight? No! So what do you stand up for? What do you fight for? I’m convinced that the Church and it’s leaders are worth submitting to.

      This has the makings of an awesome protest…

      What do we want?
      To Submit to Leaders!
      When do we want it?

    3. Pahoran’s response demonstrated what I consider a most Christ-like demeanor. He meekly submitted, not without explanation, but with an extra dose of humility. Was Pahoran right and Moroni very wrong? Yes! But Moroni was his leader. You either sustain the Church leaders or you don’t.

      It was the other way around–Pahoran was the leader–the chief judge. That’s why Cap’n Moroni had to ask Pahoran for the reinforcements he wasn’t getting.

  28. It is my opinion that you CANNOT falter if you submit to your priesthood leaders.

    That opinion led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

    Was Pahoran right and Moroni very wrong? Yes! But Moroni was his leader.

    Actually since Pahoran was the chief judge and governor (Alma 50:39-40) he would be Moroni’s superior.

    1. Sue,

      Thank you for your corrections. The context in which I wrote my comments was more regarding whether to continue writing certain opinions in a blog and not whether to follow an unrighteous priesthood leader into killing innocent people. Maybe I should’ve clarified.

      As for Pahoran being Moroni’s superior, I stand corrected. Moroni mistakenly, perhaps due to an incomplete picture, accused his superior of treason.

      1. I have seen Hugh Nibley make that same assertion, but the text belies it.

        First, it was addressed to all the government, and not Pahoran in particular.

        1 And it came to pass that he wrote again to the governor of the land, who was Pahoran, and these are the words which he wrote, saying: Behold, I direct mine epistle to Pahoran, in the city of Zarahemla, who is the chief judge and the governor over the land, and also to all those who have been chosen by this people to govern and manage the affairs of this war.

        Secondly, he does not specifically accuse Pahoran of treason.

        Alma 60:18
        18 But why should I say much concerning this matter? For we know not but what ye yourselves are seeking for authority. We know not but what ye are also traitors to your country.

        Thirdly, in these things he is doing the will of God.

        33 Ye know that ye do transgress the laws of God, and ye do know that ye do trample them under your feet. Behold, the Lord saith unto me: If those whom ye have appointed your governors do not repent of their sins and iniquities, ye shall go up to battle against them.

      2. The lesson I think that is applicable with Pahoran and Moroni, is that although Moroni may have erred in his ‘hastiness’, and accusations, Pahoran didn’t remove him. He could have swung the gavel so to speak, and stripped him of his command for daring to question the leadership. Instead, he listened and responded to each of his concerns.

      3. The context in which I wrote my comments was more regarding whether to continue writing certain opinions in a blog and not whether to follow an unrighteous priesthood leader into killing innocent people. Maybe I should’ve clarified.

        Your statement above was phrased absolutely (using all caps even). I am relieved you wouldn’t submit to being part of a premeditated mass-murder if your priesthood leaders instructed you to.

        Besides murder, what exceptions–I hope there are more–does your “opinion that you CANNOT falter if you submit to your priesthood leaders” have?

      1. Lemuel? Why not Laman? Interesting choice of screen name.

        My statement using the bold letters of “CANNOT falter” were made in the context of what Tim opened the discussion with. Tim writes book reviews and opines on various Church related subjects on this blog. I believe the more Christlike response to potentially over zealous Church leaders threatening excommunication is to submit to their request. They are not asking Tim or any of the others mentioned by Tim to take action such as the examples cited regarding marrying or not marrying somebody, or killing innocent people. They are asking individuals to stop openly criticizing the Church and it’s leaders or openly taking a stance on controversial Church subjects. Again, submissiveness is what Christ taught and still teaches. Are the leaders potentially wrong? You bet. I am not suggesting that they are right simply because I believe the response of submission to them is a better course to take. So all of the posts arguing that the Church is wrong over this and that, has nothing to do with whether or not to submit to Priesthood leaders. The point is they are imperfect. Christ asks us to be submissive to not only our Priesthood leaders who may err, but even our enemies that despitefully use us and in fact to love them and pray for them. Does submission have a final ending point? I guess it may only depend upon the covenant made by the individual with the Lord. Nonetheless my comments were written in that context.

        1. We have been provided divine attributes to guide our journey. We enter mortality not to float with the moving currents of life but with the power to think, to reason, and to achieve.

          – President Thomas S. Monson, April 2012 General Conference

          Come now, and let us reason together . . . Isaiah 1:18

    2. Before my wife and I started dating many years ago, her bishop gave her a solemn instruction that she was to marry a gay (or bi?) man in the ward. I am forever grateful that she disregarded his instruction.

        1. Sister Friend

          I have also heard a disgruntled former member state that his former bishop told his newly baptized wife she should divorce him (her husband) because, in his opinion, (the bishop)…..her husband wasn’t righteous enough…(even though the man and his wife were planning and preparing to go to the Temple within the year). BTW….this young wife, pregnant, did go through with the divorce.

  29. Essay alert — you’ve been warned.

    Touching first on the subject of building bridges, I don’t think finding resolutions to these issues will build one. What I mean is that the bridge won’t be built from resolutions. I think the bridge materials will be a willingness for open discussion, and a willingness to accept fully that everyone is entitled to believe according to the dictates of their own conscience, without judgment or harassment. AKA respect of agency. The resolutions will be the traffic over the bridge, once it’s been built.

    I think when Lehi speaks of opposition in all things, he also means ideas. Every idea that a person embraces has evidence to support it, or nobody would embrace it. But we all weigh the evidences differently, which is part of the reason we choose different sides of the fence. We then have a tendency to judge the assessment abilities of others when they weigh the evidences differently than we do.

    History isn’t a simple collection of facts. Unfortunately. It’s a subjective illustration fabricated by a collection of varied minds. We say we know things like “history is written by the victors,” “historians construct historical narratives they want to project,” etc. Historians don’t generally write according to the spirit, which means that the influences on them for what to include or neglect and how to summarize things is subject to at best a 50/50 share of light and dark influence.

    But in application we often fail to include this as a factor in historical studies. We frequently pick and choose what to believe based on what we want to believe. Or which view point is louder or has more voices, because we prefer to think truth will bubble itself to the surface in these ways, making our task easier. It’s hard to let evidence influence us against our preferences, perhaps to the point where God doesn’t even try to tell us stuff by the spirit if He knows we’re unwilling to hear it. But then we have to ask ourselves which evidences should hold more weight?

    When Mormon and Moroni compiled the Book of Mormon, they said it was probably less than 1% of their history. I wonder how entirely different our view of their history would be if we read the other 99%, especially that portion not kept by prophets. Think about it. What if they had historians who wanted to paint a different picture of their peoples than what was true? We have that in American history, Bancroft for example, who frequently embellished, neglected or fabricated to suit the American narrative he wanted to tell. Abe Lincoln is a current subject of alternative histories, our traditional view of him as a hero now being questioned as a rather villainous man can also emerge from our records. We might reject the Book of Mormon entirely if we had 99% telling us a different story than the 1% (insert Occupy Movement joke here). If we had 99% of the Nephite history telling us 1% was false, how willing would we be to listen to the spirit telling us the opposite? That the preponderance of evidence is unnecessary, irrelevant, too muddy and erroneous to be trusted? Yet apparently it was.

    I can’t help but feel we might be facing that very thing with our own history. The early church membership had a sincere desire to match themselves and their history with a specific narrative. I find it unrealistic to think that this wouldn’t paint the way they kept their histories, and there are too many contradictions and inconsistencies in their records to think they were all entirely honest. And why wouldn’t the adversary want to muddy up the waters to make our learning and understanding more difficult? Which brings me to the recurring PTHG issue.

    Believe or disbelieve that his work was divinely inspired, Denver has stated something to the effect that he isn’t viewing it through the same historical lens that most people are, he’s viewing things through the lens of prophecy. I think we have to take this idea as a factor when reading the book. He is saying he didn’t just read the histories and draw conclusions based on reading the histories. He looked first at prophecies in scriptures, then looked for those prophecies to poke their head out of the sands of history. (That is even setting aside the possibility that he has seen the actual unfolding of the events in divine schooling and is using that to help draw his conclusions.) Prophecy is a wildly different beast than history, and this is a wildly different approach than simply reading and drawing conclusions from the histories, perhaps a far better one. Because if the prophecies are true, then that gives us a litmus test for what the histories are saying, something to measure them against. There will certainly be other evidences pointing at things being different, at prophecies not being fulfilled or correct. We will be given the opposition of ideas, and left to choose what we believe. We will all be allowed to see it differently, according to our agency.

    The only thing the scriptures say that everyone will see will be the great sign in heaven of the coming of the Son of Man. This implies that not only will there be people unwilling to see each and every other thing in existence, but that they also won’t see those things because there is something else to see, something which they prefer. Which is why the spirit is so necessary, as the only thing reliable for sorting it all out.

    I don’t feel like digging into the ongoing LDS debates of “I have the spirit and it says this”, “nuh-uh cuz I have the spirit and it says this,” because that nerve is too sensitive to strike. For some reason we can’t seem to handle the possibility that we might be wrong in our interpretation of the spirit speaking to us, a sensitivity I think the adversary imposes upon us. However, I find that when one LDS person has to say “the spirit told me so” to another LDS person, I generally feel their position is weakened. I feel like it belies insecurity about the issue, and the person is trying to convince themselves as well as others that it was the spirit that was responsible for their view, when perhaps it wasn’t. I believe that when the spirit ACTUALLY tells somebody something, they don’t generally try to use that witness to beef up an argument. They are secure enough in their position to simply state it and let the listeners do what they will with it. (This is a different matter than when a person is telling you the source of a message they’ve been entrusted to share, I hope you understand and recognize the difference.)

    But when two people claim the spirit confirms contradicting ideas, I have seen something cropping up in the church recently that troubles me. Specifically, it’s the New Age doctrine of “it’s true/not true FOR ME/THEM.” It shouldn’t be hard to see how quickly that Pandora’s Box can spin out of control, with truth becoming subjective to the whims of man. The way I see it used is to rationalize “there is a portion of truth which that person simply doesn’t need,” as opposed to “there is a portion of truth which that person is not ready to accept yet.” Is there really any portion of truth that anyone simply doesn’t need? Didn’t Joseph Smith teach that there is no degree of variableness between saved beings? All are saved the same on the same principles? Which portions of truth did our Father not require in his ascent to becoming who He is? Which portions of truth are unnecessary for Him to currently possess in doing the work He does? Are we not climbing the same ascent He did? If it is correct that such and such is not true for them, or for me, while it is true for another, why aren’t we taught that “the truth can be circumscribed into one great whole–except for the detached optional truths A, B and C?” I think it’s a misreading of there being truths independent to each of the spheres, and it’s a severely damaging one that I think the adversary is finding great success with. But I guess I need to still love the people and respect their agency if they are unwilling to be persuaded.

    Which brings me to the end. In this world we have only so many divinely approved tools we can use to try and convince others of something. (D&C 121:41-43) The first is persuasion, and I think we have a tendency to get hung up on this one, trying it over and over again. A lesson I am currently being taught the hard way is that this is ineffective, the other tools are listed for a reason. Persuasion doesn’t always work. Some people simply cannot be persuaded, at least at a given time on a given thing. So we have to move on to the rest of the list and leave persuasion alone. As funny as it may sound, the Serenity Prayer has been coming to mind a lot with this. I think it is an inspired prayer.

    End essay.

    1. Great essay.

      However, about the 1% vs. the 99%, we Latter-Day-Saints seem to have enough trouble reading, let along actually studying and pondering, the 531 pages we do have of the Nephite record. Imagine if we had an additional 52,569 pages, even if they completely supported and backed up the 1% we do have.

      No one would even attempt to read anything other than brief extracts, except possibly PHD academics in Theology or Philosophy or Ancient History, and we would still be depending on them to give us the “meat” that we are already too busy/lazy/distracted to study ourselves. Let alone the gold to engrave it on, and the time it would have taken Joseph Smith to translate it. Seems Mormon did a great job of digesting it down to something even I can handle with a little bit of consistent effort.

      Regarding persuasion, sometimes we have to accept a person right where they are and continue to love them unconditionally, and I am having to learn that often the only time to teach by persuasion is when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and also sometimes the Holy Ghost will teach soneone when they are ready, whether or not we are trying to teach or persuade them.

  30. Well, my friends, let’s try not to get all worked up about all this. The church is toast. God is about to hit the reset button. Whether as members in good standing, or as excommunicated cast-offs, we’re all in this together. So much of this really doesn’t matter anymore.

    We need to embrace truth, stand for truth, and fully come into the light of truth where stands the Savior with open arms receive us. We need to not care about what man can do, We need to just love, serve, and obey the Lord. I need far more focus on forgiveness and gratitude.

    All the Brethrenites at church have nothing but my pity. I pray for them as I pray for myself. In the dark or in the know, we all so desperately need the Lord’s help in the terrible days of violence and destruction which must surely come. We will all need each other and we will need the Lord. What a marvelous blessing that will be.

    1. There are two Jared commenting on this post. The Jared above is not the Jared who has commented many times on this post. My website can be accessed by clicking my name. My website is I don’t have a picture of myself either.

      I sustain LDS church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators.

      1. Not being a Brethrenite does not necessarily mean one does not sustain LDS church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators.

        Not being a Brethrenite only necessarily means one does not esteem the Brethren above anyone else.

  31. With reference to Pahoran and Captain Moroni, communication was the barrier here. Moroni was desparate and there wasn’t instant communication. Pahoran knew this and like a wise leader gave him the benefit of the doubt. As far as Denver is concerned, he does not set himself as a light. He avoids it like the plague. Listen to all his talks. Because one teaches, which he desires to do for edification only, a light is automatically set up because of the nature of the platform. The 1st ammendment was inspired and becomes an eternal principle in all phases of life. It should be no different in the church. It is the protecting of the institution (tail), which is wagging our coming to Christ (the dog). The earthly institution should never, I mean never come between you and the Lord, period. Let u all read our scriptures that testify of the divine nature of our being reconciled. The church as it is today cannot do this when grace and mercy take a second fiddle to works and outward appearance. I love my Savior enough to seek him without cudos from our leaders. Isn’t it becoming more clear?

    1. Wow, I missed alot while I was gone. I wish I could’ve responded sooner. I find it interesting that every post I read makes valid and good points. Some are softer in their comments than others. What intrigues me is that the percieved tone (because it is written, I give the benefit of the doubt that I may be mis-interpreting) with which some respond, even with truth, is quite “in your face.” I’m right you’re wrong. The intellect with which some have even responded is astute and well thought out. In fact, the points made in reference to my comments, even the in your face comments have caused me to reflect and stand corrected. So I appreciate the comments. But the fervor with which some seemed to respond portrays a spirit that I think makes my point about submissiveness being a more Christlike reponse.

      May I better clarify and maybe even redact my bold CANNOT statement? Valid points were raised, so I stand corrected. Again, I wrote what I wrote in the context of blog writings regarding book reviews, as Tim clarified. In this context, I still believe that the CANNOT falter statement still applies. Why? Because the blog posts are opinion, arguments and not action. The leadership request is to not publicly write or make certain statements. The requests aren’t actionable commands to do anything other than to stop with certain public open criticism or controversial beliefs. I wholeheartedly agree with everyone that some of the Church leaders are way out of line. Seems funny that when I suggest the better move is to submit regardless, that some continue to point out the error of the Church and it’s leaders as if to continue to try and convince of just how wrong they are. I’m not disputing or contending that they are correct by submitting to them. It is my belief that this is simply the wiser more Christlike action.

      I was good friends with John Pontius. Some believe he was not in good standing with the Church prior to his death. This was not the case in the slightest. Why? Because he followed the counsel of his Priesthood leaders. He submitted to them. He still wrote and published books that caused some loftier thinking than what is taught in Church, but he never bad mouthed the Church nor it’s leaders. Ever. He was submissive, meek and full of gratitude toward their service. If you come out in open criticism of the Church and it’s leaders, ones spirit tends to turn more judgemental, contentious and bitter. These are not fruits of the Spirit of the Lord.

      As for Moroni and Pahoran, some raised some very good points which have caused me to review my imerfect (sic) understanding of the specifics written. Thank you for that.

  32. A whole lot of valid points were made in response to my comments. Some more contentious than others. My statement using the bold letters of “CANNOT falter” were made in the context of what Tim opened the discussion with. Tim writes book reviews and opines on various Church related subjects on this blog. I believe the more Christlike response to potentially over zealous Church leaders threatening excommunication is to submit to their request. They are not asking Tim or any of the others mentioned by Tim to take action such as the examples cited regarding marrying or not marrying somebody, or killing innocent people. They are asking individuals to stop openly criticizing the Church and it’s leaders or openly taking a stance on controversial Church subjects. Again, submissiveness is what Christ taught and still teaches. Are the leaders potentially wrong? You bet. I am not suggesting that they are right simply because I believe the response of submission to them is a better course to take. So all of the posts arguing that the Church is wrong over this and that, has nothing to do with whether or not to submit to Priesthood leaders. The point is they are imperfect. Christ asks us to be submissive to not only our Priesthood leaders who my err, but even our enemies that despitefully use us. Does submission have a final ending point? I guess it may only depend upon the covenant made by the individual with the Lord. Nonetheless my comments were written in that context.

    I was close friends with John Pontius. Some believe he was in poor standing with the Church prior to his death because of the books he wrote. This is simply not true. John never spoke ill of Priesthood leaders or the Church. In fact, he often expressed gratitude and appreciation for the Priesthood leaders. He still wrote books that contained loftier thoughts than those taught in and by the Church and it’s leaders. But he never criticized, let alone openly criticized the Church and it’s leaders. Why would he? The Church succeeded in bringing him to a personal testimony of Christ. The Church and it’s Priesthood leadership, even with all it’s flaws, works! Souls are coming to Christ through Church efforts. I know that because of the testimony I have. Yes, there are many flaws, sticking points, and in my opinion way too much emphasis on works over grace, but at the end of the day, I have the Church and it’s organization to thank for helping me arrive to a personal relationship with my Savior. From here forward, I know in Whom I trust and to Whom I will rely. I also know that when one openly criticizes the Church and it’s leaders, ones spirit tends to drift toward judgement and frustration, then pride creeps in. These are not the fruits of Christ’s spirit.

    1. I posted similar posts back to back because I thought I lost the first post. I typed it on my phone and thought the post got erased accidentally. My apologies.

      1. From Mark: “submissiveness is what Christ taught”.

        Can someone give me a citation of where Christ teaches we must submit to our priesthood leaders?

        Can someone give me any scriptural example of where it was necessary to submit to or obey a priesthood leader, without any concrete evidence or testimony that the priesthood leader had a direct commission from God?

        We must submit to the Lord–that is clear. I haven’t been convinced we are supposed to just submit to our leaders, unless I’ve misunderstood what you mean by submit. I’ve also spent some time on looking for various combinations of obey/obedience and leader/priesthood, and as far as I can tell, not even the Church teaches explicitly that you must submit to your leaders.

      2. Submissiveness to all is what Christ taught – and one’s leaders are a subset of “all.”

      3. Julie,

        In the temple, wives covenant to hearken unto their husbands as their husbands hearken unto the Lord.

        I suggest that we should follow this same pattern in regard to church leaders.

        D&C 121:37 warns that a leader may lose his priesthood authority by unrighteous dominion.

        Thus we must be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” even among our own fellow church members. Matthew 10:16

      4. Log, I agree in part. If it be the Lord’s will to submit to the leaders you are correct. Perhaps it be the Lord’s will that we must learn by our own experience what His voice says to us, and be willing to submit to the conflicts that may arise as a result of that.

        Mosiah 3:19
        For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

    2. Thank you for clarifying further. Submission to authority in the face of unrighteous dominion is touchy for me because the logic and reasoning too often it leads to even worse abuse.

      For example, when a missionary rapes and impregnates a young teenage girl and the local Bishop counsels the family to hush things up and not report it to the authorities, it may in the short run “protect the good name of the Church” but in the long run it does far more eternal damage to all involved and to the Church’s reputation itself when the truth inevitably comes out.

      If Joseph was right that when he said that (paraphrasing) priesthood is used to cover sins, gratify our pride, or our vain ambition or to exercise control or dominion in any degree of unrighteousness then it is amen to the priesthood & authority of that man, then we cannot submit to “authority” because in the very act the one seeking to make us submit has forfeited their authority entirely.

      At that point it is not a question of “submitting” but of how to be most constructively charitable towards a lost soul who has cut themselves off from the powers of heaven. The response of the one sinned against may be interpretable as “submission” by the sinner, certainly, but the difference is one of motive.

      1. At that point it is not a question of “submitting” but of how to be most constructively charitable towards a lost soul who has cut themselves off from the powers of heaven.

        I think it is rather always a question of obedience to the precepts of the Lord.

        3 Nephi 12
        38 And behold, it is written, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;

        39 But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;

        40 And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;

        41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

        42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.

        43 And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;

        44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

        45 That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

        46 Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled.

        47 Old things are done away, and all things have become new.

        48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

        He meant it.

        3 Nephi 12:20
        20 Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

        Submission to authority in the face of unrighteous dominion is touchy for me because the logic and reasoning too often it leads to even worse abuse.

        That is part of the test.

        JST, Matthew 16:27
        27 Break not my commandments for to save your lives; for whosoever will save his life in this world, shall lose it in the world to come.

        Doctrine and Covenants 136:31
        31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.

        Incidentally, I hear a lot about Zion lately…

      2. Sue, you bring up very real and significant points that require serious consideration. A blanket statement of “submit to authority” seems to be a short-sighted response. I understand your point.

        We know there are many varying degrees of justification for various actions. Nephi was told to cutoff Laban’s head. Save being commanded of the Lord, and in that particular context, I’d be interested how anyone could justify, with right and wrong arguments, Nephi’s actions. On the other hand you have the Anti-Nephi Lehi’s willing to die and not defend themselves because of a covenant they made with the Lord. Weren’t they justified in killing those that wickedly attacked them? Yet they didn’t. Then consider some of the commandments that the Lord gave in the Old Testament, it can easily be argued that the Canaanite massacre where all things living, men, women, children was barbaric and seemingly unjust. Would you have listened to the prophets command to kill every living thing in the city?

        I guess the bottom line is this…the Lord can do whatever he sees fit to do. My perspective is so limited. I am simply asked to follow Him and His voice. I have found that as I have tried to do that, he Has revealed many glorious truths to me. Knowing these truths at first caused me to wonder why the Church and it’s leaders seem to be missing the boat. As I traveled down that road of critique, I found my Spirit drifting into a state of frustration. This frustration turned to criticism. It was then that the Lord reminded me of my own nothingness. What a blessing that is! Who am I to judge another? The Lord clearly asks us to be submissive like a child doth submit to his father in order to overcome the natural man. Can we be justified in many cases to not submit. In other words is it a sin not to submit. I believe it may not be a sin to claim justice in this life. But I also believe that we then may remain neutral in our progression. Do we glory in tribulation or defend ourselves? Do we condemn those who despitefully use us?

        I believe the Lord isn’t so much telling us what to do when it comes to the Law of Moses being fulfilled, ie., “be ye therefore perfect,” pray for your enemies, do good to those who despitefully use you etc., but rather inviting us and proclaiming to us that through Him we CAN be perfected, we can sincerely desire good for our enemies, we can love those that despitefully use us. I can’t do that on my own. I can fake it, but that is all it is…it’s fake. But through Christ, I can really feel those things and become a new creature in Him. As we are submissive, we open the door to Him changing us and molding us into these new creatures in Christ. I believe this may just be the most difficult path in life to walk. It certainly is a painful one, but the blessings will always exceed the pain and difficulty, even a hundred fold. Can someone chose a path of justice and still inherit Salvation? I think so. I think the minimum requirement for Salvation is to be born again. Are there others that will not only be born again, but also receive their calling and election and the Second Comforter in this life and also inherit Salvation with those that did not? I believe so. I just submit to you that potentially the greater path to trod is the same one the Savior Himself trod. He submitted Himself to the will of the Father in all things. Apparently it was the Father’s will for Him to submit to the most vile of judgements, scorn, ridicule and unfair contradictions of life. He went as a lamb to the slaughter.

    3. Does anyone know who said that there is no “spiritual elitism” in the Church?

      In other words, I think that means that the Church does not necessarily have a hierarchy of increasing spirituality as we go “up the ranks” of leadership.

      For example, the bishop of a ward is not necessarily the most spiritual, most intelligent, or most friendly male in the ward.

      Those who think that there is, or should be, spiritual elitism might be more likely to openly find fault with their leaders.

      Those who expect increasing spirituality “up” the organizational structure will eventually become disappointed.

      I wonder if this concept is related to Joseph’s statement, “I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives” (TPJS, 156-7).

      1. Sister Friend

        If I read a book by Bro. Snuffer or by John Pontius or The Sealed Portion of The Book of Mormon, and stated that I believed parts of these works to be influenced by the Holy Spirit, would I be likely to be excommunicated? Would that decision be arbitrarily decided by the Stake Presidency or would this directive come from a “higher level”….and is there a possibility my statement might be totally ignored “by the powers that be”?

    4. The Gospel, I am finding, is so full of contradictions. It’s as if there is a very basic, relative layer of truth. Once faithfulness has been determined and mastered on one level, another layer of truth is revealed. Some things in this layer build on the previous. Other truths directly oppose it. Sometimes, those have to go on ‘the shelf’ for a while. Meanwhile, continuing to be faithful, the next layer opens, and answers some of the questions and contradicts even more. I think contradictions are necessary, for without them, it would be very difficult to exercise faith. We are to be tried in all things, afterall If you find a contradiction, it just means you’ve not yet attained the next ‘level’ of understanding to reconcile it. Truth and knowledge reconciles what we perceive as contradictory principles or commandments.

      So, is one commandment more important than another? Is it more important to be honest? Or to be chaste? Does it matter if it affects others people versus only ourselves? Who determines that? For instance. We have our scriptures full of commandments. At any given time, perhaps any of them might completely clash with the next in a certain set of circumstance. Consider the garden:
      “Do you not remember that Father commanded us not to partake of the fruit of that tree?”…
      “Do you intend to obey all of Father’s commandments?…..Do you not remember that Father commanded us to..(also obey this other commandment?)……”
      Which commandment to obey? Can we indeed obey them all? Is one predicated on the other? So much talk about being commanded to submit to authority.

      Perhaps there are some scriptures that talk of being submissive to leaders. I can’t think of any. I can think of plenty that speak of submitting to God, though. This, I think, is the conundrum many are finding themselves in. “If God asks me to do something, and my leaders (whom I have been taught and conditioned to obey inexplicably all my life) ask me to do something different, whom do I obey? Common sense would tell anyone the answer is to obey God. The problem, I think that a lot of people have, is reconciling that the leaders actually could or would ask of something different than what the Lord might. The leaders speak for the Lord, do they not?

      It’s a delicate balance. It really is a test. Some people have experienced and beheld things they have been commissioned and commanded by the Lord to do and say. They are living in a different layer of truth so to speak. That in itself does not mean such a person is critical, misled, deceived or disgruntled. While I agree, we should always be as Christlike as possible, and especially those who have ‘received’ more are likely held to a higher standard, we might still need to be bold in our responses.

      Consider the Savior himself in the temple, turning the tables of the money changers. There was no monkey business, he called the spade a spade. The scripture and command “Stand for truth and righteousness”…..Stand as a witness at all times and in all things and in all places.. Standing is not idle. It can happen in a Lion’s den, consumed in flames, in a hurricane, in a prison, or even in Sunday School. We simply do not know what the Lord has asked of our neighbors (unless they tell us). We also do not know what the Lord has asked of our leaders (unless they tell us). I don’t think we are supposed to remain silent, we are to take a Stand. Take action. But it’s all about the spirit in which we go about it……

      Sorry this is becoming such a long post, I have one more point.

      A number of years back, I attended a FAIR conference. During at the Q&A segment of a presentation by Darius Gray and Margaret Young on blacks and the priesthood, Darius talked about meeting with President Hinckley. President Hinckley said of the priesthood ban, that it “Was not imposed by God, but was allowed by God as a test to see how we would treat each other”.
      I think the same applies here. We find essentially 2 groups with varying degrees of differences of opinion. How do we treat each other? How do we be true to the truth the Lord has revealed to each of us without being prideful and esteeming ourselves above our (perhaps less-revealed) neighbor? How do we show charity? How do we emulate those Christlike characteristics? When we raise questions that involve Church leaders, what is the condition of our hearts? Is it of anger, frustration? Or of Godly sorrow and love? What if we’re missing the whole boat? What if our test isn’t about having the ‘correct and most complete version of the truth’, but who will treat others as the Savior would regardless of those differences? I don’t mean to say that it’s all as simple as that, but I do think our interactions towards our fellow men deserve careful consideration, lest we be worthy of condemnation.

  33. By disciplining or excommunicating intellectuals the church is reminding me of the Catholic church back in the dark ages. To some degree your case like many others remind me of the monk Martin Luther. When an institution becomes large like the LDS church unavoidably misses its essence. The church today is not the same church Joseph Smith restored. As an active believing member I no longer believe this institution to be the true and only church of Christ. Something is missing…

  34. “This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile, … for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene, and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence.” (TPJS, p. 149.)>

    The Holy Ghost is pure intelligence (ONLY). Feelings associated with the Holy Ghost are our emotional reaction to it. It does take practice to discern the two. Spiritual progression is slow or halted by not being able to identify and learn from the Holy Ghost correctly. Feelings/emotional response that correlate with the Holy Ghost can be indicators/areas of stumbling blocks.

    We can learn a lot from the responses we have to the inflow of the Holy Ghost and being vigilante in making it our constant guide. Our salvation is dependent on this.

  35. JST, Luke 6:29–30.
    Compare Luke 6:29–30
    29 And unto him who smiteth thee on the cheek, offer also the other; or, in other words, it is better to offer the other, than to revile again. And him who taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.

    30 For it is better that thou suffer thine enemy to take these things, than to contend with him. Verily I say unto you, Your heavenly Father who seeth in secret, shall bring that wicked one into judgment.

    While we who seek to follow Christ have a duty to suffer injustices from whence they may come, yet the Lord knows the burdens of his people, even when they are caused by those whom the Lord has made rulers in his household.

    JST, Luke 12:41–57.
    Compare Luke 12:37–48
    41 For, behold, he cometh in the first watch of the night, and he shall also come in the second watch, and again he shall come in the third watch.

    42 And verily I say unto you, He hath already come, as it is written of him; and again when he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, blessed are those servants when he cometh, that he shall find so doing;

    43 For the Lord of those servants shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

    44 And now, verily I say these things unto you, that ye may know this, that the coming of the Lord is as a thief in the night.

    45 And it is like unto a man who is an householder, who, if he watcheth not his goods, the thief cometh in an hour of which he is not aware, and taketh his goods, and divideth them among his fellows.

    46 And they said among themselves, If the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through and the loss of his goods.

    47 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

    48 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or unto all?

    49 And the Lord said, I speak unto those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household, to give his children their portion of meat in due season.

    50 And they said, Who then is that faithful and wise servant?

    51 And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season.

    52 Blessed be that servant whom his Lord shall find, when he cometh, so doing.

    53 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

    54 But the evil servant is he who is not found watching. And if that servant is not found watching, he will say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants, and the maidens, and to eat, and drink, and to be drunken.

    55 The Lord of that servant will come in a day he looketh not for, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him down, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

    56 And that servant who knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not for his Lord’s coming, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

    57 But he that knew not his Lord’s will, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom the Lord has committed much, of him will men ask the more.

    It is no guarantee of righteousness that a man is called, even by God, a servant of the Lord.

  36. hermanaclark

    If feel like the last person to get up in Fast and Testimony meeting and it’s already 20 past the hour.

    Tim, you have said more than once that you feel admonished by the Lord to stand up for agency and…

    “It has always been about the right to read “non-approved material” and then write about it.”

    I think your supporters (and we are all your supporters, because we are here) and your detractors, alike, would agree that what you do here is much more than read books and write reviews about them.

    Those who have learned and been edified by your blog would say you don’t give yourself enough credit. Although, we all know you don’t do this for the glory of men.

    Those who believe you are going down the wrong path might agree that by asserting all you are doing on your blog is simply (innocently) reading books and reviewing them is akin to saying, “I didn’t inhale.”

    Tim, you minimize the influence you are having, either way, when you say that reading books and reviewing them is all that is happening here.

  37. Log,

    Please don’t confuse submissiveness to church leaders as if we are tested by having shakles put upon us. Before truth can enter the soul, unbelief must be cast out. Though the church may be under strong delusion, it doesn’t mean we half to submit to any unbelief. This would mean that we keep the chain of unelief front and center. The Catholic priests submit to their Bishops. In the eternal perspective, it means nothing because unbelief follows unbelief. We must identify unbelief and decide how far we want it influencing our lives.

    1. “[I]t is not always wise to relate all the truth. Even Jesus, the Son of God had to refrain from doing so . . . we have the revelation of Jesus . . . but we lack the physical strength . . . to defend our principles, and we have of necessity to be afflicted, persecuted and smitten, and to bear it patiently until Jacob is of age, then he will take care of himself” (History of the Church 6:608-9).

  38. Jesus would not critisize ? What was it He called the Pharasees ? He not only critisized them through the metaphor of referring to them as snakes, He was name calling as well.

    Why is there so much political correctness that permeates discussions concerning obvious things the Lord Himself would never condone from leaders that are taking place in the Lord’s Church ? Simple truth is masked with excuses where excuses are not called for by God or desired. But rather corrective action levied at those actually responsible for violating church laws by the abuse of Priesthood authority being tolerated because of Rank. Is Rank what it’s supposed to be about ? Or is Truth what it’s supposed to be about ? Rank seems to trump the truth every time when it comes to making excuses for those with Rank and no consideration is given to those of little rank.

    Why is there a means for disiplining even the President of the church given in the D&C, if we are to excuse every wrong thing a GA does ? They counsel you for exercising correct & righteous principles then excommunicate a person if they fail to agree to being guilty of a crime. Since when is critisizing anything a crime punishable by exile ?

    Not allowing critical examination on the part of every member, closes the door to truth being discovered or maintained. Since when did Christ make this a standing policy in His Church ? Sounds like the church is moving through every parallel phase of silencing descent that Americans are receiving at the hand of Government.

    I agree it’s the Lord’s Church, but when has the Lord ever not allowed leaders or members of any dispensation to make foolish decisions He did not approve of ? He would always allow this up to the point of complete apostasy having set in and then took measures of judging the wicked among His flock and spared the few who remained faithful to God.

    This has been a never ending pattern since the beginning of time. The wrong decisions made by our leaders are only tolerated by the Lord because we ourselves make excuses for them and deserve what we ask for, like in the days of King Noah or any other unrighteous leader of the Lord’s People, whom the people tolerated. Right up unto the time the Lord feels He’s had enough of the Covenant People’s tolerance of evil and the Lord eventually takes matters into His own hands and causes a division among the righteous and the wicked and destroys the wicked and reestablishes the righteous under new leadership.

    But until that time arrives, the Lord is content to allow us the exercise of our free agency. It’s our God given right to be foolish, blind sheep if this is what we choose.

    How is what the average American citizen is going through right now with regard to tolerating corrupt political practices any different in concept to what members of the Lord’s Church are going through in a very similar manner ? Yet few members would disagree that our political leaders are definately in an apostate condition and yet refuse to believe that our church leaders could possibly be in that same condition. Has it ever happened among the Lord’s People before ?

    A better question might be….When has it not happened before ?

    Of course it’s the Lord’s Church. Always has been. But when has He never had to clean things up a bit when things began going the way of men as a result of these men ceasing to inquire of God and began relying on their own wisdom that ultimately fails them and anyone who listens to them ?

    How long does this go on according to patterns of the past ?….Until it’s too late for men to settle matters and God must do it for us, like it should have been happening all along. I think we are pretty close to this now.

    1. Sister Friend

      Great comment and insight, Lex. If you pardon the pun, You’ve hit the nail right on the head. Unrighteous dominion has begun to creep into “The Lord’s Church”….let us all seek for truth.

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