A kind reader, Michael, asked my opinion of a recent post on his blog, Latter-day Flare Gun. At first I thought to answer him privately, but decided he had done such a good job of making his point that I emailed to let him know I would answer publicly. Here is his point: “We should be advocates (as Christ) of the LDS church, not accusers, regardless of their priesthood status.”
There is a lot in that concluding statement, which I take as my opening statement. I’d like to examine it and throw it out for discussion. In Michael’s post entitled, “What Denver Didn’t Say,” he shares parallels Denver brought to our attention in the tenth lecture about what the Lord did through John the Baptist and what he is doing today. Lecture ten was a day of decision for many.
Although he didn’t quote any examples of rhetoric, he appears to be responding to conversations on the various forums, blogs and email groups where Denver’s writings are discussed. Michael quoted and discussed several key points from the tenth lecture. He then wrote, “…the rhetoric among people that have accepted the Denver Snuffer message seems to paint a picture which:
God’s Strange Act
- Neglects the historical parallels to John the Baptist beyond a superficial level
- Maintains an exclusionary LDS God model
- Reflects current LDS priesthood models
- Judges the LDS church to be in a deeper state of disrepair than it currently is
- Attributes God’s act to the current state of the LDS church, rather than to future changes it will undergo
I hope by now you’re intrigued enough to have visited Michael’s blog. If not, take a minute to read the supporting statements that accompany his five concluding points. At first I wasn’t sure I agreed with his conclusion. The more I thought about what is going on in the online community among those who were re-baptized – and there are thousands – the more I agreed with Michael.
I have stayed out of the lively discussions going on this week at each of the online groups after Denver’s post about the need for a central recorder. Frankly, I didn’t think it was that big a deal. My baptism was very public, shared dozens of times by other LDS bloggers, and was witnessed by my wife, who attended and took the photos. I sent my name in to Debbie to have it recorded.
Present A Record In The Temple
For anyone who is following the developments of those who have accepted the message the Lord delivered through Denver Snuffer, you know we are very loosely organized. In fact, there is no hierarchical structure in place at all, at least as far as I can tell. It’s pretty flat. We each report to the Lord and can accept truth from whatever messenger we deem to be a true messenger of God.
Apparently having a central recorder is important enough for Denver to nominate Keith to the position. That does not mean those who have been acting as recorders, such as Debbie, need to cease their volunteer efforts at all. There can be as many local recorders as are needed for each of the local groups. The central recorder ensures the record to be presented in the temple is correct.
I’ve shared in a previous post I want to contribute to the building of that temple. It may or may not be in my lifetime, but I want to be involved. I have no idea where it will be, nor do I care. Just as there are many places that could qualify for the gathering place of the people of Zion, there are many places where the temple could be built. I want to live long enough to see it built.
Policy Changes in the LDS Church
On to the point: “We should be advocates (as Christ) of the LDS church, not accusers, regardless of their priesthood status.” Denver has made it clear the LDS Church can no longer claim to be the exclusive channel through which the Lord will perform His work in the last days. This, of course is due to the actions of the leaders in exercising compulsion and control in the priesthood.
I experienced this firsthand when I was placed on informal probation – the lowest of disciplinary actions – for writing in my blog. In other words, the LDS Church seeks to control and compel the members of the church to believe a certain way. Yet the church is sending mixed messages with the recent statement no member is to be punished for advocating or supporting marriage equality.
That raises the question, in my mind at least, if I would have been disciplined had my blog posts been in support of marriage equality instead of supporting the idea the Lord can send authorized messengers from outside the hierarchy of the LDS Church. I am personally aware of a dozen excommunications for apostasy of individuals who feel the same as I do about such messengers.
God Bless The LDS Church
I don’t want to make this a long post. I simply wanted to draw your attention to Michael’s blog, Latter Day Flare Gun, his post on “What Denver Didn’t Say,” and to see if you agree with his conclusion that we should be advocates of the LDS Church, not accusers, regardless of their priesthood status. I agree with his closing statement and offer the following for consideration:
I still attend Sacrament meeting with my wife each Sunday. I enjoy the talks, the singing and the sacrament. Yes, I take the sacrament even though I’m not a member. I then go home and have my own sacrament with wine. Sometime I dress in the robes of the priesthood and offer up the desires of my heart to the Lord before my altar in a more formal manner than I do each day.
I love the people of my ward. They are good people. I love the leaders of my ward and stake, even though I am no longer a member. I pray for them. I appreciate their efforts. They are doing a great job and deserve my prayers and support. I do not pay tithing to the LDS Church anymore but have asked Carol to please hold the tithing money until the Lord directs us how to spend it.
Continue To Pray For One Another
I also pray for the general authorities of the LDS Church. I look forward to hearing what they have to say in two weeks. I will watch all sessions of General Conference with Carol as we always do. I probably won’t tweet about it as I have in the past but I will enjoy the ongoing commentary of fellow bloggers and tweeters as the talks are delivered and discussed online.
If I have come across in my blog of being critical of the LDS Church, I repent and ask your forgiveness. There’s no way I’ll ever be a member of the LDS Church again in my lifetime. I have no desire to join the organization, nor can I qualify as I don’t believe the statement that Thomas Monson holds and is the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys.
In spite of over fifty years of membership in the LDS Church, having served in many leadership positions for over twenty-five years – bishoprics and a high council – in spite of having taught a multitude of lessons about the subject, in spite of a dozen blog posts on the same, I still can’t define keys or what specific keys the LDS Church claims to hold and exercise in exclusivity.
Follow Christ, Give Heed To Prophets
I belong to several online groups that have the mission to build bridges between those who believe a certain way and those who believe the traditional or orthodox way the LDS Church teaches on certain subjects. I like that. I believe dialog helps understanding and prevents hard feelings. I hope we can have the same consideration for those who accept outside messengers.
I know there are always going to be those who hate, in spite of claims to love and a belief in the eleventh article of faith: “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.” I worship and follow Christ and only Christ. I follow no prophet.
I appreciate those who are firm in their convictions but are able to express them with love and understanding. They feel secure in what God has revealed to them about following the prophets. I continue to have dozens of ongoing conversations with non-LDS folks. I encourage them to get baptized into the LDS Church, wait a year and go to the temple. You need that sacred instruction.
Unconditional Love For One Another
I continue to pray for the LDS missionaries. I welcome them into my home. Two of my former primary students are now serving missions. I pray for their success. I am so pleased I was able to serve a mission for the LDS Church and to have been endowed in the temple nearly forty years ago. I love the temple. I miss attending the temple but am grateful for what I have learned there.
I appreciate my former stake presidents and missionary companions who have reached out to me. The LDS Church is filled with good people. I recommend it to anybody needing a supporting social organization for their family. The youth programs are the best. I loved attending seminary and institute as well as my days at Ricks College BYU Idaho. I’m glad I was a Latter-day Saint.
I hope we can focus on commonalities going forward. I am not trying to convince or persuade you of anything. I simply enjoy sharing my experiences as I travel this same path back to heaven as we all must follow – through this mortal plane of existence. I look forward to being with my family members in eternity, relying on the promise of my Savior to redeem my soul from hell.
The Lord’s Unique Timetable
One final note comes to mind which I feel to share. I was re-reading a chapter in The Second Comforter the other day. In it, Denver expressed the idea that the receipt of the personal visit from the Savior is most likely after many years of maturing in the gospel. I like that. I feel like I still need to mature in the gospel. There is so much about the Lord’s work I don’t understand.
I think I may have shared I had a dream a few years ago, shortly after I was introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer. In that dream I was visited by my mother, who came from the spirit world to express how pleased she was with my progress. As we embraced, she looked at my hands and arms, saw they were filled with light and said, “You are ready for your mission.”
Immediately the thought came to my mind, “When will I embrace the Savior?” I heard a voice say, “Seven of eight.” There was more to the dream. I have recorded it. I asked the Lord for an interpretation. It came thus, “If you live into your eighties, you will embrace the Lord in your seventies.” I rejoiced and still rejoice. I have time to repent. I thank God for this mortal life.