HI, just finished reading your posts. Let me just say that I appreciate your discussion and questions. As an adult convert, however, I always find it interesting what life long members of the church don’t know about their own doctrine and history. I joined the church after reading a number of anti-mormon books, and then discovered the doctrines and teachings of Joseph Smith.
I have read Snuffer’s books and heard him speak. I find most of what he writes and says to be true. Those things I question of his are doctrinal ideas I am still researching and praying about. As far as I have read and studied, Joseph Smith had it “right on”. And while things have changed, and not necessarily for the better, It is my understanding that the men Joseph Smith ordained as Apostles were given the keys necessary to continue on in his stead as needed. The question come in of did those men pass on the keys before they left the church or died. So I do question Snuffer’s D&C 110 interpretation. More research and prayer is necessary for me on this. I know the Lord will let me know what I need to know when I need to know it.
I can tell you that it is disappointing to me that the church seems to have over the past years down played the importance of spiritual manifestations and searching to know the mysteries of God, and having our calling & election made sure, not to mention down playing Joseph Smith. I have had many (and I do mean many) spiritual manifestations in the forms of dreams, visions, visits from messengers from the other side of the veil, conversations with the Spirit, promptings, awareness of people I’ve been going through the Temple for, knowledge that Heavenly Mother is also involved in our lives, including a brief visit with the Savior. These things are very real, as is the adversary and his demons etc. I don’t know if these things come to me because of my faith (which gets severely tested from time to time) or lack thereof, my need for encouragement and education, or the fact that I am continually seeking for greater light and knowledge. Whatever the reason, I am profoundly thankful for the experiences. They have seen me through times of trial and allowed me to grow and gain in spiritual and temporal knowledge that I know I would not have had without being in the church. In fact I was told before I was baptized 30 years ago that I could not learn more without being baptized into the church. It is my experience that anything we want to learn about we must accomplish the ordinance for it, then begin the search to understand the lessons and do what work needs doing.
Speaking of works: The work for the dead is a real work that provides the invitation for those having the work done to accept or reject the Gospel in its fullness. This is doctrine. Entering into the presence of the Lord behind the veil at the Temple is the invitation to actually do so in real mortal life, not just as an “after we are dead” occurrence.
I agree that the church seems to have gone in a more “normal” Christian way. Not all bad, I suppose, but all Christian churches and many other beliefs teach service and family and God. The church Joseph Smith began and the doctrines we have available to us as a result are what make the LDS church dynamic, real, more than any other denomination has, a real fulness of what God wants for us and expects from us. If members will study the doctrines, read what J.S. taught, pray to know the truth, and not be afraid of being different, then the spiritual manifestations could once again become a more normal and shared part of our spiritual heritage. But members have to want to have those things in their lives.
The ordinances are the invitations. The accepting of them and living them brings the power. If the members and priesthood leaders don’t seek the Spirit and the Lord, then the full power that is available to them/us is not given. Being given the priesthood and being given the authority come as the Holy Ghost comes after a member has been baptized and confirmed. Confirmation is an invitation to gain the Holy Ghost – the new member has to live, pray, study the doctrines and scriptures, forsake their former sins, and search. The new member is told to receive the Holy Ghost, being given the gift. But they have to accept/receive the gift and live for it to stay in their lives. This we are also taught. So why would the ordaining of the priesthood be any different?
Keep in mind, also, however, that we were told and the scriptures tell us that when we dwindle in unbelief and don’t want to know/do more, when we relinquish our personal spiritual rights to others or our leaders, when we don’t do what we know to do, then those things that we have are taken away. If the church members won’t live what has been given, then the church members lose.
Anyway, hang in there. The Gospel is true, the doctrine’s Joseph Smith brought to light are true. He was a true prophet. Jesus Christ lives, and there is so much more available to our spiritual knowledge if we will continue to search and pray and allow the Lord to assist us as we learn. Not always easy, but the knowing is priceless.
Ruth E. Dorius
My great, great grandfather was Carl Christian Nicoli Dorius
I am a convert of many years now, but was an adult when I was baptized. I have had dreams, visions, experiences, etc., all of which you describe since I was a child of eight. Two years before missionaries found me, I had a dream in which my deceased father came to me and said he was ready to be baptized. I had not a clue as to what that meant. Those beings (deceased relatives, angels, etc.) beyond the veil and the powers we cannot see are very real and experiences with them have increased my testimony. For a while the dreams ceased. Recently, I was praying and expressed to Heavenly Father how I missed them. I began having significant revelatory dreams again within a very short time. God wants us to know him. More importantly, perhaps, is that we must learn to know Him.
I have really enjoyed this blog very much, and thank you for the provocative essays you’ve written. Many commenters have enriched my critical thinking as well, as I study the gospel. There is an unfathomable amount to ponder. Thank you for making time to do this for our benefit.
At times, you or commenters — always men — have put down “stories of fluff” that are emotional, but not spiritual. You point out that tears flow, but not the spirit. You further diss such talks and lessons as having little substance, and that just because one may be having an emotional experience does not mean one is having a spiritual experience. Look back over the past year on this blog for such……
As a female in the LDS church, I grow weary of such high-minded condemnation. Male and female brains and endocrine systems. — IN GENERAL — are designed by God to be the very way they are. When someone shows emotion, please consider that it does not negate the spirit. Further, NOT tearing up does not mean the spirit testifies.
Emotional experiences are not necessarily of the spirit. On that we are in harmony.
But spiritual experiences ALWAYS involve emotion. Great or small, spiritual experiences always involve emotion. Can we be in harmony on that? Please ponder this principle.
Hence, the drain on body and mind, and especially the heart, when prophets have come into the presence of God — the ultimate in spiritual experiences. We are taught that we must be altered to be able to abide such a holy encounter.
When you denigrate lesser spiritual moments and experiences as “fluff” or deem them to be “superficial emotional experiences” you grieve the spirit. If you cannot discern the worth of such, you cannot be entrusted with more…..so the Savior teaches. Your search to receive the Second Comforter may be in vain.
If, and when, you hear talks and lessons, and all about you are in tears, but you are not…..perhaps you might consider that your tear level is simply different from others. Your level is yours, but it is neither more or less proper or correct than any other level. If levels equaled spirituality, one could say yours is the one off-base. If thus accused, I’m sure some amount of defensiveness would ensue — You are who God made you to be…. You feel what you feel, including discomfort when talks and lessons become your definition of “overly emotional”…….you begin to tune out, or think about how emotion does not a spiral moment make.
Yet spiritual experiences always involve emotion. Else, how would you Feel the truth being confirmed, as well as knowing it?
My husband had to have estrogen therapy as part of treatment for prostate cancer. Never before had he teared up in bearing his testimony, or during talks and lessons. Yet he couldn’t help doing so for over two years during what he called his “hormonal” time. He now feels the Lord allowed him to experience this because he feels he understands women “light years” more than before. He also feels emotions greatly enhance spiritual moments and experiences. He feels ashamed that he always condemned emotional men and women, and he has repented for thinking little of their remarks BECAUSE of their emotions. He says he grew up tamping down emotion so as not to be called the worst of all insults: a girl. He believes he may have had deeper spiritual manifestations if he hadn’t always suppressed his emotions. He feels he inadvertently shut down the spirit when he shut down his feelings. And he’s very sorry he thought being called a girl was an insult because he values women as much as men.
I encourage you and commenters to consider these things. Ponder on them. Invite the spirit to let you know how HE feels about your negation of “superficial fluff.” More importantly, ask Him how He feels about your judging such people, talks and lessons. I believe there is room for growth there, and you seem like a warm, open-minded man toward further enlightenment.
I do not often allow my emotions to surface in a talk or lesson. But at times the spirit floods in, commanding my fullest expression of testifying. I stop for seconds, to many long seconds trying to not lose control. I have been chastened for doing this by Him. The spirit is not uncomfortable with expressed emotions….we are. Every single time I become even the tiniest bit emotional, I think of the groaning men who begin tuning me out or negating the value of my words. Some women do likewise.
Yet the spirit always whispers the question, Why do you suppress yourself to testify of truth? Why do you fear these people more than you honor the Savior?
Such are my weaknesses with which I grapple I continue to endeavor to overcome them. Perhaps you might consider re-wording your comments regarding these things until the day hopefully comes that you are willing and able to view them in a most sincere new light.
Thank you for letting me address this tender subject. Perhaps this will make for some good dinner conversation with wives, sons, and daughters.
Hi Quiet Jenny,
I sincerely appreciate your comment, but it has me a little concerned. I think you’ve targeted the wrong blog for your mass-post about men putting down emotional fluff stories. This blog is about the signs of the times in the last days. There are very few, if any stories related that have any commentary about tears flowing or dissing talks or lessons of little substance. That’s simply not what this blog is about. I did as you suggested and looked through all my essays over the past year. Could not find one that fit into the category you described.
And frankly, Jenny, I agree with you. I know the Lord can and does communicate with us through our emotions. I have gone on record verifying that fact many times over the past five or six years on my blog. Perhaps the best example that comes to my mind is the story of how and when I proposed to my wife. Trust me, the spirit was strong and the tears were flowing – mine. For example See my essay on the subject here: https://www.latterdaycommentary.com/2010/02/18/revelation-and-emotional-response/
Shoot me a private email with some examples where I’ve been insensitive in this area and I’ll gladly make corrections. Or if you prefer, leave links to the essays here on this page and I’ll respond publically. I apologize for offending in advance for any high-minded condemnation of emotional experience as evidence of communication from the Lord. I have always felt emotional and comforted in the presence of the Lord.
I can tell that you are puzzled by Quiet Jenny’s post, but I am not, because I really needed the understanding about the differences between men and women. I feel that she was inspired to write what she did and was an answer to a long-time longing of my soul.
I also need to remind everyone about the account in the Book of Mormon when the people bathed the Savior’s feet with their tears. I have never had a profound spiritual experience without the expression of tears.
I also want to say that your views on the priesthood are so profound, and spoke to my heart so powerfully, that I felt a strange refreshing feeling in my body and soul. It was like drinking the most pure delicious water and breathing the most pure, clean air.
With a grateful heart,
In following some of the comments about Denver and his message, I am reminded of a man who used to teach religion at BYU, by the name of George Pace. He wrote a book called “What it means to know Christ”. In it he advocates and admonishes all to come to know Christ on a personal basis. But he got in trouble when some students at the U of U misinterpreted his writings as advocating the worship of Christ and praying to him. I can say that was never his idea or intension. Anyway during one Tuesday devotional, Bruce R. McKonkie, was the guest speaker and publically chastised Bro. Pace. Later I found out that Boyd K. Packard came to him, Bro Pace personally and told him McKonkie was not speaking for the brethren, but he couldn’t make that thought public, as they, the Quorum of the Twelve must appear “united” and left his personal apology. But the damage had been done. Soon after the book was on the bargin table at Deseret Book, then shortly removed and not available at all. Bro. Pace’s son who at the time was in the LTM was in the devotional that day and was devastated. Men are mortal after all no matter what position they may hold. Great book if you can find a copy, although long since out of print.
Hi Mace. Good to read some additional detail on the story. It was sad indeed. I loved George Pace. He made me think and ponder my relationship with the Savior like no other. I was saddened by what Elder McConkie did to their family. I wrote about it:
Tim, I miss your old site/material. I’ve very much enjoyed the more recent posts and discussions about things as they really are (or will be)…no facade or priestcraft, just people coming together with a genuine desire to learn and become closer to God.
What I’ve come to realize over the past few years is the reality of the distinction between church traditions vs. personal spiritual responsibility in seeking the face of the Lord. I listened recently to the recording of the special conference held in Logan that was presided over by Elder L. Whitney Clayton. His talk is a good example of my point. I have nothing bad to say about him-nor would I, but there is a definite difference between how members of the church view their religion. The traditions have, in my opinion, encouraged faith in the institution vs. faith in the only One who saves. Among all the themes that DS has written about, this one has made a lasting impression. We trust too much in the good-intentioned priesthood leader to guide us through mortality. Was not this ancient Israel’s condemnation? Moses said that God would like to speak to each of them and they told Moses they didn’t want any part of it. Does the modern church feel any different? Our very own scriptures condemn the use of intermediaries and yet we still choose them instead of approaching God.
The religion that Joseph restored was different, exciting, and expanding. I’m not quite sure where the metamorphisis occured, but what I see and hear on Sunday doesn’t seem right. A few weeks ago in gospel doctrine, the teacher, a former bishop, was explaining his idea of keys and said that now that he’s no longer bishop, and doesn’t hold the keys over the ward anymore, he “can’t tell people what to do in the ward anymore.” (He wasn’t joking).
The solution isn’t to leave this church-we need the fellowship, the opportunities to serve, and the ordinances. Our hearts need to change..our prayers need to change..and we need to change our view from institutional faith to faith in Christ.
Gnolaum: It should be back up and available at the usual link:
Tim, I had read your thoughts on the matter in that link. Just trying to add to it by my own experience with Bro. Pace. Wish I were more like him.
Gnolaum, “I’m not quite sure where the metamorphosis occurred, but”,etc… The changes have been, in many instances very gradual, starting with the redefinition of many of the words used to teach the doctrines of the kingdom. But some have been so blatant, that I don’t know how the members came to accept them. Then it dawned on me that the first thing that took place, was the idea that the brethren had become infallible, “the Lord would not allow them mew or any other man to lead the church astray” (para). Once that was in place, no changes in doctrine or teachings were out of reach or immune to the coming changes over time. That was in the days of Wilford Woodruff but that quote is so out of context and just plane wrong. Fist of all if that were true, once a man was set apart as president of the church, he now longer had his God given agency, the very crown of this existence. He could not error, at least not in that way. WOW!!!
Because of this, many of those who are under 50 and those who are fairly recent converts to the church, would not even know of the changes, unless an intense personal study revealed it.
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