The Rules of the Contest

the-contestHow easy it is to be misunderstood. People often jump to conclusions so quickly. Even things close friends write in response to a post can be way out of line. It becomes clear to see where an individual stands in fulfilling one the most important parts of friendship. Or maybe I’m such a damned poor writer I am unable to get my thoughts across as clear as I once believed I could.

I was raised with four sisters. I learned way too late in my teenage years how important it is to be kind to those you love. My brother and I were rough with each other but never worried about hurting each other’s feelings. Hell, he was a U.S. Marine, gone from home at age seventeen so he wasn’t around when I was a teenager. It was from my sisters I learned a fundamental key of life.

Kindness, non-judgment, and expressions of compassion are character traits real men can learn and use all their lives. Men who master these traits will have a great advantage over those who push their way through life with a mean, rough exterior being exhibited as their primary persona. Learning how to listen and hear a person out is not the exclusive domain of women in our lives.

The Glory of God is Intelligence

glory-of-god-is-intelligenceThe most intelligent man I know is also the best listener. In fact, when I think of him, his ability to hear and understand me are the first things that come to mind. He seems to know my mind on any given subject even before I do. Yet he listens and never butts in when I’m explaining how I feel about something. Come to think of it, he only responds when I invite him to share his ideas.

Long-time readers know how seriously I take my religion. Perhaps too serious. I have often been counseled to lighten up. Well-meaning people with my best interests in mind have been clear on this idea. Perhaps a better word for religion would be faith. Specifically, faith in Jesus Christ. I have strong feelings about my Savior and greatly respect those who exhibit His mild demeanor.

I think gentleness best describes what I appreciate about the Savior. He truly is a gentle man. I don’t mean gentle in the sense of weak or wishy-washy, but gentle in his concern for us and how we will respond to what he asks of us. Which leads me to the focus of this post: understanding what the Lord asks of us. Sometimes, it can seem strange or even contrary to a previous request.

Timing Can Be so Important

god-is-patientFor example, in my previous post, I summarized how for several years I studied the teachings of a man I consider inspired and a servant of the Lord before taking action on an invitation to show I accepted those teachings. I stated that perhaps I had made a mistake in the way I managed this essential action. In short, I resigned my membership in the LDS Church and sought for baptism.

Because I mentioned mistake, some thought I was referring to the idea of being baptized again. Let me be clear. I don’t believe it was a mistake to be baptized again. I know many who have been re-baptized, but did it quietly, sharing their good news with only a few close friends. In my case, I also felt it was right at that time to publicize it widely. So where did I make a mistake?

I don’t feel I made a mistake in resigning from the LDS Church. I could have gone ahead and been baptized without resigning and without announcing it on my blog. Others shared they felt that was the right path for them. I didn’t feel that way then and still don’t. It seems dishonest. If anything, my mistake was in not consulting with Carol before taking such a consequential action.

A Few Definitions to Agree Upon

define-prayerSeveral individuals who I thought were trusted friends jumped all over me for that very reason. “How could you do such a thing?” they said. “What were you thinking?” another said. “Did it not occur to you how this would affect your wife?” Trust me, I pondered Carol’s response very carefully over many days. Because I trust her, I followed the promptings of the Lord in prayer.

Because it’s important, here is my definition of how the Lord answers prayer, at least for me. When I want to know the Lord’s will on something, I ask for inspiration and guidance in my thoughts, I review what I already know about the idea or subject and then I ask the Lord to make it clear what would be the best path for me – the one that is filled with the most light at that time.

In describing answers to prayers in previous posts, I have mentioned feelings, visits, visions, voices, dreams and promptings. I have given examples of each. The most common has been in feelings, as in, “the Spirit of the Lord pressed upon my feelings,” or “A feeling I should pursue a certain course of action continually ran through my mind so much I could see myself doing it.”

Responding to the Ultimate Authority

jesus-teaching1I was surprised at the number of private emails I received in response to this last post. Perhaps the individuals didn’t want others to know how they felt about my post. After all, it *appeared* I was saying I wanted to be baptized again in the LDS Church. I noted I had met with my current bishop without mentioning things we discussed, limited mainly to historical and doctrinal doubts.

I suppose what I’m looking for is someone who can answer my questions and clear up doubts I have picked up over the past few years along with those I have put on the shelf from years past. I recognize the responsibility to answer these questions are mine. I own these questions. It would be unfair to anyone else to burden them with my doubts. The Savior is the ultimate authority.

In one of those private emails the individual asked, “If the Lord told you to be baptized into the LDS Church once again, would you do so?” My immediate response was in the affirmative. I love the people of my ward and stake. I hold no ill feelings toward anyone in our congregation although I’m sure there are many who are angry with me for the very public actions I have taken.

The Objective is Truth

truth-has-no-agendaAlthough this is certainly not a game, I’ve shared two rules of the contest: How, for me, prayers are answered and what actions should be taken when such prayers are clearly answered. May I introduce a third rule? Truth is the objective in this competition. I am not interested in being part of a group whose goal is to create loyal followers or congregants who fit their idea of fellowship.

I am seeking truth. I don’t believe truth is subjective based on who is telling the story. I’m not in this for the social benefits, although there are clearly many such benefits. I appreciate the idea that fellowship is required in order to serve one another that our burdens may be light. I love to worship together in song and prayer. The gifts of the spirit are given to strengthen one another.

Perhaps I can leave you with something to ponder to demonstrate the objective of truth. In 3 Ne 11, the Lord taught the requirements of baptism are to repent and to become as a little child. He also said, “And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock.” Now look at the second baptismal question.

Come Follow Me, the Savior Said

come-follow-meWho has the right to set the requirements for baptism? We are entering into a covenant with our Savior, with Jesus Christ. Why is it a requirement of salvation to accept a man as an intermediary between us and Christ? I’m not trying to trick anyone here. I simply want to know. It just doesn’t seem right. Christ was clear what he taught in 3 Ne 11, at least it’s clear to me as I pray about it.

We follow the Lord. He has the power to save us. No man, as far as I can tell, can do anything to redeem us from hell. That’s why I was baptized again. I was not baptized into a Church. I was not baptized to demonstrate allegiance to any man. I was baptized to demonstrate my acceptance of the doctrine to follow Christ. Adding to these requirements is evil. Or so the Savior has said.

I wish I had the power to open the eyes of the people to see what we have done. We have set a man in the place of Christ. I know that sounds harsh, but this is the first question I would need to have resolved before I would consider accepting baptism in the LDS Church. That question and several others would need to be removed from the baptismal interview. Does this not seem clear?

10 thoughts on “The Rules of the Contest”

  1. I miss your blog my friend…just sayin’.. I applaud you for seeking nothing more than truth…and for your obvious devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ. May you find all the truth you seek. I have been baptized as well…it has changed my life forever.

  2. I’ve missed your blog. And I feel like you do. I’m just searching for truth. I have not found a community to meet with, but I kind of like just studying with my family. It’s probably time to stretch and start meeting with others too, but change is hard! LOL Thank you for writing again!

  3. I always enjoy reading your blog. I think one of the greatest things you did was your Snuffer interview. That gave us some of the clearest statements on the second restoration movement. We are all indebted to you for doing that.

    I read on several sites conflicted thoughts and emotions about maintaining one’s LDS church connection. I, like you, had my name removed from the LDS records. I think it was the best thing I have ever done. I, like your wife, have LDS ancestors that go way back. My grandmother taught me that the 19th person to join the LDS church was an Indian Princess ancestor of mine. I have many ancestors from Nauvoo and some from Missouri and some from Kirtland. I feel very strongly that my LDS ancestors want me out of the fallen LDS kingdom. They want me to worthily obtain Patriarchal Priesthood so I can be sealed to the patriarchal fathers so that I can then seal my worthy ancestors (the proud residents of Nauvoo) to myself so they can be saved. They want to be connected to the Fathers and I may be their best shot.

    I, like you, have a history of LDS Church service including mission and various church callings.

    When I read Preserving the Restoration I made note of some of Snuffer’s statements regarding the LDS Church. I confess for several years I have had serious concerns over the stupid things the LDS Church does. For example, I cannot view a Choir broadcast on Sunday Morning and wonder what the Hell they are doing there instead of attending their Sacrament Meetings. You see, it has been very subtle over the years how the LDS “brethren” have hijacked true worship of Christ to getting glory for themselves. They have not been interested in doing what Christ wants. They are clearly anti-Christ in most of the things they do.

    Life is all about learning to discern right from wrong. That is the whole focus. I faithfully attended the LDS temple each week for approximately 30 years. The more I attended and the more they changed things, the less spirit I obtained there. And, the less I learned.

    Anyway, I have compiled a list of things Snuffer said about the LDS Church and it’s pretenders from PTR. Here it is. Again thanks for what you have done and are doing to further the work of the Lord:

    The following document discusses what Preserving the Restoration by Denver Snuffer teaches us about the current status of the LDS Church. I include some comments on what he has taught there.

    In every generation, false religionists take away the key of knowledge. “they are doing so today.” (p.17) False teachers claim that they (the teachers) offer salvation, rather than the Lord. (18) Teachers who tell us to avoid learning the mysteries are “anti-Christ.” (20) “I put the word “priesthood” in quotes because it is the LDS Church’s claim, and therefore I use their word. However, as this book will clarify, their claim is not the reality.” (ix)

    True priesthood has power because it forms a relationship or connection with the Powers of Heaven. Few men qualify to associate with the Powers of Heaven. When the Powers of Heaven are offended by men, the fellowship with man is withdrawn and that connection is broken. “Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” When that connection is broken, men are left to their own vain ambition and thus become part of the great whore, or church of the devil. (174) (When one’s priesthood is “amened” their connection with the Powers of Heaven is lost and they become connected with the “church of the devil”) It seems, loss of one’s priesthood connection with the Gods of Light severs the connection with light but makes a connection with the devil.

    The purpose of the Holy Priesthood (Patriarchal Authority) is to obtain answers or direction. (187) If the Holy Priesthood connection is lost, then no more answers or directions are given. The “oracles of God” or revelations from God were originally given through Joseph Smith. John the Baptist had priesthood and was authorized by the Powers of Heaven. (189) The kingdom of God will always arrive as unwelcomed and unheralded as a thief in the night. The kingdom of God exists whenever there is a legally authorized administrator from God. (191)

    John the Baptist “wrested the keys” and the power and glory from the Jews by a holy anointing and decree of heaven. John was sent to be rejected by the Jews to allow the keys to be taken from the Jews. (192) The rejection of John the Baptist by the Jews was necessary to close one dispensation and begin another dispensation. God follows this pattern in every age. (192) God always sends a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood. When men continue to build up those churches they do it without authority from God. (quoting Joseph 192) The conclusion: If we continue to build up the LDS Church which has become fallen, we do so without any authority from God. What does that make it?

    Applying this to our current situation we must realize that Snuffer has wrested the keys from the brethren in Salt Lake City. They, the brethren, have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood. There is an enormous gulf between what was revealed at the beginning of the restoration and the religion practiced now. (255) They continue to build up their (man’s) church without authority from the God of light. But, I suppose a good argument can be made that they are well supported by some other god. As Snuffer says: “The LDS Church has adopted Satan’s plan as God’s.” (243)

    Truth always inspires institutional (church) opposition. (332) Salvation is tied to accepting prophets actually sent by Christ. Not pretenders that Christ has not spoken with. (340) Our (LDS church) failure to obtain the fullness means the church would be rejected. The modern LDS church mirrors ancient Israel. We would be left with a limited body of rites to repeat endlessly while God awaits another generation willing to enter His presence. (352) We (LDS) kindled God’s anger just like ancient Israel did and we were left with only lesser authority. (356)

    We are now led by a well-paid professional clergy. (261) LDS Mormonism has been reduced to nothing other than priesthood dominion and control through an anti-scriptural correlation process. (ix) Taking God’s name in vain consists of cloaking a false message with the pretense of God’s approval. (21, 366)

    Snuffer was required to remind us of the prophecy of Ezekiel 33. Prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. They feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? There is no shepherd. The shepherds feed themselves and did not feed the flock. “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” (270-271) Isn’t the message obvious. The Lord will seek out and deliver His sheep. (271) Snuffer made the message clear. “We should apply these verses to ourselves.” (273) LDS sheep perish because of ignorance because LDS shepherds feed themselves and bring the flock destruction.

    Christ’s appearance to the Nephites spared the “more righteous part of the people.” It was they who “received the prophets and stoned them not” who were spared. Christ is coming again. It will be cosmic. We need to follow true prophets of Christ. (345) Not institutional pretenders.

    “The LDS Church makes claims that are contrary to prophecy; contrary to scripture and in many instances anti-Christ.” (399) “Do not let your children be instructed in any religion advocating vanity and pride.” (400) Snuffer actually put a footnote of such a talk given by LDS apostle Neil Anderson, You Know Enough. (400) The tradition of their fathers is one of the primary means used by the wicked one to produce error. (399) How can we respect the false stories taught to us by professionals who support themselves with our tithes? (400) Boring a child while calling it the gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to the child and an offense to God. (400)

    Nephi criticized the latter-day gentile claims that God has given His authority to Men. (411) The LDS church presumed it was time for a priesthood policy change regarding African Americans. Hearing no objection from the Lord, the LDS leaders changed the scriptural standard. (458)

    The Book of Mormon foretold that the latter-day gentiles would reject the full gospel. The downward spiral of rejection has accelerated. (477) The whole church is under condemnation because of vanity and unbelief. Our minds are darkened. We have treated the things we received lightly. Condemnation rests on the children of Zion, even all.

    A scourge and judgment are to be poured out upon the children of Zion. Mormon leaders have never acknowledged God’s ire at them. Mormons have never acknowledged their failure and rejection. But they have elevated their humiliating failure into the pride of triumph. The Lord’s chastisements failed to produce humility. (477- 478)

    Some priesthood remained in the church through Hyrum Smith’s descendents until President Kimball made the priesthood office of patriarch “emeritus” or inactive. The third and fourth generations have passed. We live at the end of one era and the beginning of another.” (480)

    Referring to John the Baptist wresting the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, we should expect something similar to this at the return of Jesus Christ. The second coming will have the same pattern. John the Baptist’s mission required the Jews of his day to reject the truth and his testimony. It was an orderly, public and conflicted rejection of truth. Prior to the second coming the LDS hierarchy must again voluntarily and clearly violate God’s standard. (482-483)

    Christ’s parable foretold the LDS failure. Those who are first bidden to the wedding feast would not come. The wedding feast is the symbolic invitation into the Kingdom of Heaven. It will only be the poor, lame, blind and deaf who will enter into the wedding supper. Those who refuse to hear or respect the pretended great wisdom of the empty cisterns who have become apostate and have nothing edifying to offer. Those who follow the LDS “prophets” are those who will continue to reject the Lord and His business of salvation. (483-486) Part of the key is following those who are not paid professionals. An unpaid ministry requires sacrifice and keeps vanity, pride and ambition in check. (487)

    Many prophecies fortell the gentile rejection of their invitation. The condemnation in 1832. The expulsion from Missouri. The forced Nauvoo winter exodus. The suffering during and following the exodus. The afflictions, judgments and wrath of God at the saints. The saints’ pride, lying murders, priestcrafts and whoredoms. The conflict in teachings. The paid ministry. The changes to ordinances. The correlation process removing truth. The journey from light into darkness as we honor men and reject Christ. The rule by tradition. These things confirm they (LDS) are asleep and “cannot be awakened. God is now doing something new, and has left them to find their own law.” (488-489)

    When the LDS church excommunicated Snuffer it was clear evidence of “an abuse of authority” when applying LDS scriptural standards on how to use priesthood. The Lord has “ended all claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to claim it is led by the priesthood.” (494) The Lord had allowed the LDS community to claim connection to Him through four generations of misdeeds. “Now, however, their claims have ended by His voice, so He can continue the restoration without them. (495) The LDS claims have ended. The Lord will continue the restoration without them. This seems pretty clear. The Lord has nothing to do with those prideful boys in the fancy red chairs and spacious buildings in Salt Lake City.

    The LDS church had operated under a commission from the Lord from the time they rejected the fullness offered through Joseph Smith. That commission was with limited authority, just like Israel had after Moses was taken. God has now brought to an end the authority of the LDS church leaders, just as God ended the kingdom of the Jews through the ministry of John the Baptist. God is now free to proceed with the next chapter of His “strange act.” (497)

    God will now use other servants to labor in His vineyard to prune and care for His people. (503) We have been foolish stewards for three and four generations. But, God is speaking again. We are now to obtain our own covenant. (530) God has a “living” church on earth when there is a valid prophet. (531) An authentic, continuing, open line of communication between God and His church is required. “It has long since ended.” (532)

    We must listed to God declare to us, “This is what I want you to do.” God has authorized this work to begin again.” Snuffer’s book is approved by God and is written by His inspiration and guidance. God is offering again to “any that will hear” to “begin again.” God is beginning anew. The leaky ruin of a farm (Church) begun by Joseph is not even wanted by Joseph. Begin anew. Get on board. This seems to be what Snuffer is saying.

    The conclusion is the LDS church is no longer authorized by God. The presiding LDS authorities no longer have any priesthood from God to do His work. If the Lord is not in control, then it appears that Nephi was right. They are claiming to have authority to do work on their own. When the connection with heaven is broken, and men are left to their own ambition, they become part of the great whore, or church of the devil. (174)

    1. Snuffer said this, Snuffer said that…Stop worshiping Snuffer!

      What do the scriptures say to us as individuals and as a group? What does the Lord say personally to us as individuals? These are the questions we should be asking, and seeking.

      What the Church preaches does not always match up with what the scriptures say. And the same is true of what Snuffer preaches! His teachings are, how shall I say, mingled, with scripture.

      When Snuffer published his book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, with a picture of a smouldering candle on the cover, I thought the irony was immense. Anyone know what a snuffer is?

      I say congratulations to Tim, and give you my hearty encouragement! Not for looking into the Church again, but for doing what you feel is right, regardless of its popularity, and regardless of the opinions of other men.

      1. I don’t see anywhere where Tim wrote that he is looking into the church again (for membership). Maybe I read it wrong, but I don’t think that’s what he was saying at all.

        And as far as Denver goes, what’s the difference of people saying “Denver said this or that” with others saying, “The prophet said this or that?” You may not believe Denver is a man of God, but there are many others who do. There’s no need to make derogatory comments about someone’s beliefs just because they’re different than yours. We all need to be more tolerant and kind. That’s the WHOLE point of Tim’s post!

        Every day I see people bicker and argue in the rudest ways, and I’m so disappointed, considering most of us claim to be followers of Christ.

        1. Yes, yes, yes, I absolutely agree! 🙂 🙂 🙂

          It is exactly the same as saying “the prophet said this or that”! Don’t you see? They are the same thing! And I disagree with BOTH of them. Don’t you? It is hypocrisy to do one and ridicule the other. It is not progress, it is a lateral move.

          If you can call my comments “derogatory” then I guess we all make them 🙂 Your comments about my comments were, in the same sense, derogatory. And in the post above, Denver makes A LOT of derogatory comments about the church (A LOT), and Bill does too by quoting them.

          So much for Snuffer being a follower of Christ, I guess.
          This is said in jest of course – I am just holding up a mirror for you – you know, because making derogatory comments about someone’s beliefs (as Snuffer surely does) just because they are different than yours is not becoming a follower of Christ.

          Of course one of the amazing things about human nature is that we are allowed to disagree justly, but when others do so, it is “bickering and arguing in the rudest ways”

          At least I am glad to see that you can make a response without quoting Snuffer, or Monson. Hooray! I wish there were much, much, much more of this, and much. much, much less of the other.

          And for the record, I think the WHOLE point of Tim’s post was not about being tolerant of others (altho his opening remarks were about that), it was about our individual search for truth, and as I said before, I commend Tim for his, and I commend Denver for his, and I commend every other man and woman for theirs.

          Go ahead and have disagreements (after all, it would be in STRICT keeping with the example Christ set to call out hypocrisy when one sees it), but when you do so, don’t just quote another man as your authority. It’s sickening, and weak.

          Gain your own knowledge, think your own thoughts, form your own opinions, get your own revelation, make your own connection to heaven. Read the scriptures instead of the Ensign! Read the scriptures instead of Denver Snuffer!

          As Tim said so well, “I wish I had the power to open the eyes of the people to see what we have done. We have set a man in the place of Christ.”

  4. Tim

    You are a brave man to put yourself so openly on the line. Yes, you have become subject to every Tom, Dick and Harry’s opinion. That’s got to be hard. I admire that you have held closely to your convictions. It shows me that you have tremendous integrity.

    I have to say that your blog and a few others have opened my mind to explore the gospel deeper. My scripture study has unfolded so many things that I might not other wise had seen. It’s an exciting journey for me. What I have come to understand, and just recently, just how solitary this journey can be. It certainly does not result in a group salvation.

    No matter where we get our information from, it take patience, diligence, and the spirit to sort it all out. But blogs, like yours have been helpful in presenting the questions. Now it’s up to me to find the answers. All I can say is… Thank you, Thank you.

    It’s good to hear from you again on an open format. Blessings to you my friend.

  5. Tim it has been a while….I enjoyed my stay with you and I will only tell you a story.

    I don’t read Denvers blog daily like many…..however 2 years ago around August….I got the inspiration to give two people one of denvers books or two of his books. to each book I signed a revelation and ended it with “The Lord” as if He was signing these books via me.

    as stated I had not read Denvers Blog in quite a while….however i randomly opened it back up in december only to find out Denver had been excommunicated….I heard it clearly “Well you were so brazen to sign my name to something….will you still stand by it?”….yes that came with all the har har WELLL???? connotations you can think of.

    I thought for a moment….okay sure. I’ll still stand by it.

    I can’t recall the second thing that happened…..but again the question was presented….will i still follow you Lord?

    sometime later I discovered the unholy monster known as circumcison….again asked “will you still follow me???”

    now it wasnt Denvers call to baptism that got me to be rebaptised….its something I had wondered on my own….truth be told I’ve yet to hear the whole 10 lectures so I never heard that call to be rebaptised. I stumbled across it on my own. again….”will you still follow me???”

    as a man of visions since a child….I figured out the next question “will you still follow Me even if I am silent?” I have been used to a God that is not silent….so this was a strange trial

    after truly learning about the terrifying truth of the world….learning the betrayal that is rape and infant mutilation aka circumcision….and even having fun flashbacks of my own…..again I was asked with you still follow me and forgive your parents anyway?

    Recently….Doug has quite helped with some demon casting out, which has tried my soul my greatly. my soul has been set on fire in agony. I have prayed and only had demons appear and laugh in my face and tell me “I CURSE YOU TO DIE HAHAHAHA” as a seemingly silent and distant God sits afar….”will you still follow Me???”

    the point here is Tim….your testimony….your faith….Christ will ask you to follow Him….baptism was your first sign, your first covenant that you will follow God, Jesus to the ends of the earth, to hell itself. you will Follow after Him. Do not be pressured by anyone….church, family, friends, your wife, NO ONE!!!….Follow God to the very ends of the earth. Follow Him.

    if Christ told you to be rebaptised….stand by it no matter what. if your conditions of being readmitted into church ask you to revoke your rebaptism….do not do it for anyone.

    stand firm.

    and remember….revelation can come from three sources…God, You, and Satan. make sure you’re getting the right source.

    Tim….it has been 31 years to get to this point….but I say it clearly….I do not care for my life as long as I am right with My Maker…..Tim….Follow God….to the ends and back, no matter the consequence….consider Job…..His wife told him “Curse God and die”…..tell me could you handle that? Go be like Job. FOllow God no matter what.

    For the Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away….blessed be the name of The Lord.

    I understand that now.

    I hope you get it now too.

    take care of yourself yeah?

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